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Meet Ashley Ryall of UntapSocial

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Ryall.

Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ever since I could remember, I’ve been fascinated with advertising and its influence on what and how we buy things. At the same time, my mom was in career development so I had a resume when I was 15 years old.

Throughout my four years at Connecticut College, this fascination with marketing grew and took on a social responsibility perspective. I conducted a three-year study on how women internalize and are affected by advertising, studying consumer behavior abroad in Sydney, Australia and getting my first taste of a marketing career at a PR firm there.

When I graduated in 2009, I fell in love with social media and took on marketing roles at a software giant and two recruitment firms before starting my own consulting business.

I’ve been drawn towards studying how we identify ourselves online and what our personal brands can do for our careers. Today, my career lives at the intersection of marketing and career development – where social media and personal branding – collide.

A hyper-sensitive, self-aware, only child who played competitive sports in high school and college has given me all the tenacity, grit and vulnerability I’ve needed to launch and (so far) sustain a growing business.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There’s nothing about my journey that’s been smooth. While my high school friends skated through AP English or walked on as a girl’s basketball captain in high school, I had to work for every A- grade I got and put in countless off-season practices to make varsity my sophomore year. And it took me a year and a half to find my first ‘real job’ after graduating college.

To that end, I’ve struggled with self-worth my entire life. Which doesn’t make much sense because I’ve had two devoted, loving, together with parents. But speaking up and letting myself be heard, and seen, has been my biggest fear… bigger than my fear of failure.

When you lack confidence, it’s hard to ask a client for $15,000.

Attaching a price to the value I provide my clients have been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since starting my business, but it’s been the best lesson, and experience, I’ve had in the last 2 1/2 years.

Now, I have a better understanding of what my time and my expertise is worth, but without attaching a number to my self-worth.

UntapSocial – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I own and operate a consulting firm helping companies around the globe leverage social media, content and thought leadership best practices.

My specialty is in aligning subject matter experts with other influencers within their industry vertical and providing them with a platform, social channel and voice to demonstrate their expertise…for lead generation and for attracting talent.

What’s funny though, is that I’m often known for my patience in teaching my clients how to use Twitter (as an example) and typically get my larger contracts by first helping an executive with his or her LinkedIn profile.

When there are so many ‘social media consultants’ out there that give us decent ones a bad rap, I genuinely love what I do. I’m the one who spends her free time reading how Facebook’s algorithm has changed and what companies need to do to adapt.

When so many are overwhelmed by and feel at the mercy of these social giants, I’m learning how to take better advantage.

I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve built with my network and the speaking opportunities I’ve had.

What sets me apart from others? I’m very selective about who I engage with as a client and I’m not in the business of making a quick buck. As of now, I’m in this for the long-haul.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I’m constantly writing and rewriting in my journal about what success looks like to me. And every time I beat myself up for doubting what I want in life, I go back to my journal and write it again. But every time, I write the same, exact things. Success to me looks like this:

I can work from anywhere in the world and my job does not include a commute that drains my energy; I have the ability and means to travel anywhere, anytime; I am in a loving relationship built on trust, laughter, honesty, and humility; my mind, body, and soul are healthy and happy.

I always try new things that take me out of my comfort zone; my career makes me feel fulfilled mentally and creatively; I have time for my spiritual practice.

My successes will be to know and like who I am and to know my life’s purpose… and more superficially, I define success as becoming a professional ice cream eater, hip-hop dancer, yoga instructor and puggle snuggler.

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