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Ever wondered how your favorite influencer became so successful? How do they get big brands to pay you good money to live your best life? That’s what we all want to know, right? That’s why I asked @heyashleyrenne to sit with us and spill the tea!

Watch this exclusive behind the business look at what Ashley Renne does every day to run her business and spread her influence.

Listen to how she went from a “crazy” idea to influencing over 73k followers on Instagram alone! Learn why she started with opening up her own production company. See why she has a thriving YouTube channel. And discover how she partners with HUGE brands.

...when somebody tells me no I don't necessarily hear no I hear not right now..
Ashley Renne Nsonwu headshot
Ashley Renne Nsonwu
Sustainable Lifestyle & Vegan Travel Expert

Transcript

Christiana: Hey guys! We’re here at the home of Ashley Renne. She’s a Sustainable Lifestyle and Vegan Travel Expert. She’s going to talk to us all about how she runs her business from start to finish. She’s a powerhouse in the Influencer space so we’re gonna learn a few of her

secrets and get to know the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur like she is. You ready? Let’s go!

Ashley: Hey Christiana! I’m gonna unlock the door remotely then

you can just come in okay?

Christiana: Alright, thanks.

Ashley: OK, bye.

cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne & Christiana

So good to see you!

Christiana: Thanks for having us.

A: No, thank you for coming over

C: I’m excited to get started. You ready?

A: I’m excited to show you

what I do for a living.

C: Let’s go!

[intro] 

So you ready? Let’s go.

cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne on Instagram
You know, I am an Instagramer, I'm a YouTuber, and I'm a blogger. So I'm what I like to call a triple threat content creator.
Ashley Renne Nsonwu headshot
Ashley Renne Nsonwu
Sustainable Lifestyle & Vegan Travel Expert

C: What is the day in your life like? Walk us through that.

A: Every day is so different it just depends on what project I’m working on. So let’s say that I have to do a photo shoot. So I need to figure out what my concepts gonna be. 

So, usually if it’s just me, I’m just the one brainstorming but if I’m involving my husband and we’ll brainstorm together and then once we come up with the concept then it’s time to prop it. 

I have a giant prop closet and an equipment shelf and everything and so I gather all that stuff together, I lay it all out. I visualize exactly how I want the photo to be – I might draw inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram and then it’s time to set it all up. 

I could take like, like dozens and dozens of shots before I get the perfect one that I want.

once I actually am done with the shoot then it’s time to edit. And editing process takes quite a bit, too – but that’s just a photo shoot. 

You know, I am an Instagramer, I’m a YouTuber, and I’m a blogger. So I’m what I like to call a triple threat content creator. 

So for any given project I might have a photoshoot to do, I might have an entire video to shoot and edit, and then I have to write a blog post for it as well. 

And so that’s pretty much what a day in the life of a Lifestyle Influencer is like. It’s a lot of concepting, it’s a lot of shooting, and it’s a lot of editing. And a lot of answering emails in between.

C: I can’t imagine having to do all that you’re doing now at the beginning – yeah – lay that all out for us.

A: In the beginning usually it’s just you with an idea. A crazy one at that. That nobody believes in and what I wanted to do was definitely kind of out there at the time, because you know growing up like I was taught that I was supposed to go to college and then get a full-time job and then climb the corporate ladder

and that was just so ingrained in me that it took me years before I actually had the courage to think about my career path differently. 

I felt like in order to be respected I had to be in corporate America, but that’s that’s just not the case. That was just, you know, my antiquated way of thinking. 

And what changed my mind was I actually was approached by two friends of mine and they wanted to be entrepreneurs and they were like you know you’re just so talented and we want to be entrepreneurs and we can see that you have the potential to be one would you like to start a mastermind group? 

Make sure you never miss a thing:

So for any given project I might have a photoshoot to do, I might have an entire video to shoot and edit, and then I have to write a blog post for it as well. 

And so that’s pretty much what a day in the life of a Lifestyle Influencer is like. It’s a lot of concepting, it’s a lot of shooting, and it’s a lot of editing. And a lot of answering emails in between.

C: I can’t imagine having to do all that you’re doing now at the beginning – yeah – lay that all out for us.

A: In the beginning usually it’s just you with an idea. A crazy one at that. That nobody believes in and what I wanted to do was definitely kind of out there at the time, because you know growing up like I was taught that I was supposed to go to college and then get a full-time job and then climb the corporate ladder

and that was just so ingrained in me that it took me years before I actually had the courage to think about my career path differently. 

I felt like in order to be respected I had to be in corporate America, but that’s that’s just not the case. That was just, you know, my antiquated way of thinking. 

And what changed my mind was I actually was approached by two friends of mine and they wanted to be entrepreneurs and they were like you know you’re just so talented and we want to be entrepreneurs and we can see that you have the potential to be one would you like to start a mastermind group? 

a lot of people think that, you know, blogging and being a social media Influencer's like some overnight success thing - not at all. 
Ashley Renne Nsonwu headshot
Ashley Renne Nsonwu
Sustainable Lifestyle & Vegan Travel Expert

Basically a mastermind group is when you and a group of other like-minded individuals get together and you hold each other accountable on your dreams and your aspirations 

and so what really gave me the courage to finally put in that two weeks notice is I was pitched to the Travel Channel.

I had just started uploading like Travel YouTube videos and maybe a few months after that, somebody saw them and was like we love your stuff we want to pitch you to the Travel Channel. 

And, long story short, Travel Channel said “Eh, you know we really want somebody with TV experience” and I was like, okay cool. 

And see the thing about me is like when somebody tells me no I don’t necessarily hear no I hear not right now so I didn’t hear no you can’t be a travel TV host, I heard you can’t be a travel TV host right now and maybe not for us. 

But there’s plenty of other fish in the sea, there are plenty other networks, there are plenty other, you know, brands who probably needed video people and so I said you know what I’m gonna quit my job because I’m pretty sure if I had the opportunity to work for the Travel Channel (and even though that didn’t, you know, go off) I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there who would want to work for me or work with.

And so I did. I quit. Like seven months later I put in my two week’s notice and I left. I started my blog in 2013, I didn’t quit until 2017. 

cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne on Instagram

So a lot of people think that, you know, blogging and being a social media Influencer’s like some overnight success thing – not at all. 

It takes a long time to get there and it’s not something that you can just set out to do and then expect to have like a million followers after like a couple months of, you know, putting in the work it takes a lot of time and effort.

And you’re constantly working on improving their skills. 

Like, I look at my Instagram feed now compared to where it was like back in 2015 when I first got on Instagram. But it took lots of practice it took lots of, you know, experience working with other Influencers, and studying other Influencers, and also learning my own style. 

So it took a long time for me to develop my own style and really come into my own for me to feel comfortable with what I was doing and who I was as an Influencer and what I wanted my message to be. 

Travel was really what motivated me to go down this path to begin with. You know, I studied abroad when I was 20 years old. I went to Egypt.

And that’s the moment I fell in love with travel. I started this blog around the theme of travel, but eventually it just wasn’t enough for me and it’s like there’s got to be more to what I’m doing

than just talking about traveling and so I don’t think that’s usually something that you can just come up with on a whim

it ended up being more of a journey for me. And so what happened was I went to Bali in 2015. And it was in that moment that I realized just how much of an effect we have on the planet.

And so I found myself becoming very passionate about environmentalism. And so that ended up being the direction that I headed in for my blog. 

At some point I realized that I could have an even bigger impact if, instead of going to where people already think like me, and instead staying in a region where people don’t think like me I could essentially create change and affect change. 

cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne & Christiana interview

And so, all of a sudden, I found that I was really starting to find my voice and so that’s

how my blog and my brand just kind of evolved. And now I’m the Sustainability Lifestyle and Travel Blogger. 

You know, being an Influencer isn’t about your photography, it’s not about your video skills, it’s not about, you know, how awesome your life is – at least for me like I didn’t want to become an Influencer for that reason. 

I didn’t want it to be about me. I wanted to have a platform to be able to send a message, to be able to inspire people, to encourage people. 

And if you think about it, that’s a big responsibility to have. What you say – everything that you say and everything that you do can have the potential to affect somebody. To change their life. To change a decision that they might be thinking about. It can literally alter someone’s path. 

And so with that kind of responsibility like you really have to pay attention to everything you say, everything you do, and you have to approach everything that you create with excellence. 

And I started getting very real on my platform and using my platform as a way to to teach people about money and, you know,

like hey I’m doing pretty well and I want to show you what I’m doing and be very transparent about my numbers and how I got to where I am today instead of just keeping it all to myself which is what a lot of people do and so I thought it’d be a great way to use my platform to,

you know, deliver a positive message and actually you know share information that’s genuinely valuable to people. 

It encourages me to keep that connection going instead of just trying to be like everybody else. It’s what inspires me to stay unique and stay true to myself.


cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne at work

C: Can you talk a little bit about what some of the triumphs, the joys, of being an entrepreneur being your own boss? It’s like the little things honestly that I find so much joy in being an entrepreneur, you know, finally getting to the point where people come to me. 

A: I think because my niche is so specific, I end up getting approached by a lot of brands that align with my message. You know, when you start getting hit up by the brands and the clients that speak to you and really align with what you want to put out there in the world, that’s a big win. 

It shows that people are recognizing you as an expert in something. 

C: So thinking about where you are now, just like internalizing that for a second. What would you, if you could, tell your 2015 self about this journey that you were embarking on?

cdatbusiness episode 1 Ashley Renne & Christiana

A: I would say don’t wait to get started. I think it’s very easy to you know in the beginning you’re just like, God there’s just so much to do and I don’t want to put anything out there until it’s perfect.

Don’t think like that. Because in the beginning, it’s not gonna be perfect and you don’t start learning what you need to improve until you just start putting your work out there for people to see.

Also know how to discern good advice from bad advice because not everybody’s going to give you the best advice.

 

 

I also am about following my heart and my passion and I knew that if I just kept at this eventually it would take off and so, even though I have a lot of smart friends, and I have a very smart husband, I chose not to listen to their advice and I kept going and a few months later as a matter of fact that’s when things really started to take off and I was able to say HA!

Ashley Renne Nsonwu on CDATbusiness
I think all too often you'll see people who are just they're too scared to have an opinion - have an opinion.
Ashley Renne Nsonwu headshot
Ashley Renne Nsonwu
Sustainable Lifestyle & Vegan Travel Expert

C: What kind of advice would you give today’s up-and-comer, people who want to either be an Influencer or who want to travel for a living, who want to learn how to pitch like any kind of piece of what you do because we know nobody’s doing everything you’re doing. What kind of would you have for those people?

A: So, in the beginning, you’re gonna do a lot of stuff on your own and it’s gonna be cumbersome. You know when I first started I was my own advocate for everything. 

I had to be my own photographer, my own videographer, my own editor, my own accountant. You know those are just things that you’re gonna have to learn.

Like you know I think people sometimes are really afraid to get started because there are so many things that you have to learn in order to be a successful entrepreneur. 

Do not be afraid to learn what you have to learn in order to be an entrepreneur. Those are all learnable skill sets.

Don’t ever limit yourself based on what you think you can or cannot do. I think once you figure out who you are and what your voice is, what your unique perspective is on a certain topic, that’s when you’ll be able to spark conversation. 

You know, I think all too often you’ll see people who are just they’re too scared to have an opinion – have an opinion.

Like talk about what you believe in, because that’s what’s going to invite people to comment. 

That’s what’s going to invite people to engage with you. But if you’re just putting out generic photos and playing it safe all the time you’re never gonna stand out. Like choose you. Be you. 

Find out what makes you unique and you’re gonna get that feedback, you’re gonna get that conversation.

 

C: Alright, so we just got done talking to Ashley. We got to talk about how she got started in her business and the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur if you have any questions for her or for me feel free to add them to the comments below and we’ll get to them.

Make sure you never miss a thing:

cdatbusiness episode 1 christiana datubo-brown

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