In my own words
I quit my job at 24 and made $417,000 in my first six months as a freelance social media marketer and went on to scale my business to even more. I went from living paycheck to paycheck, to making $60k/year working for someone else, to making so much money working for myself that I had to start a legal business so that I wouldn’t get slaughtered entirely by taxes.
I’ve made over $150 million for brands on Facebook and Instagram by managing their campaigns, producing their copy and creative, designing their landing pages, finding new markets, and develop their marketing strategies. I’ve built multimillion-dollar beauty, apparel, and lifestyle brands through paid FB/IG ads, further grew preexisting multimillion-dollar ad accounts, created campaigns at a significant scale that returned over 7x ROAS (not counting Black Friday), and even managed ads for high profile influencers such as Jake Paul, David Dobrik and MrBeast.
Before I got into marketing, I was a full-time student, lived with my parents, and worked 30 hour weeks at Starbucks. We were still recovering from the market crash, so I worked to help my family and provide a little for myself. We lost everything in that crash…our house, cars, and even our dog. We were on food stamps, and it felt like things were just getting worse. My parents had to sell everything so that we could survive, and I’m very grateful to them for getting us through that. At one point, my six-person family had to move in with my aunt in her two-bedroom, one-bathroom house with my two cousins (8 PEOPLE LIVING IN THAT SMALL HOUSE). She was incredibly gracious enough to let us stay for so long. Some of my best memories are from our time living there. Crazy enough, I got straight A’s that year and was determined to have a better future.
Eventually, things did get better, my parents got greats jobs, and we moved into our own condo. Things were looking slightly up, but I was going through the motions: school, Starbucks, sleep, repeat. Starbucks was great for me. I had an incredible manager that invested so much support and kindness into my life when I needed it the most, but I knew I wanted more from life. I had no idea what that was, or how to get there. I didn’t even know what online marketing was at that point, but one day after class, I told myself, “Enough is enough. Go find better.” So I began looking for office jobs on Craigslist. I found an admin assistant/creative writer role for a marketing company. I like what it paid ($15/hr), and I liked that I would be getting more business exposure than as a barista, so I applied. I got the position and quit Starbucks a week later. I changed my school schedule to complete my degree online so that I could work full-time.
I was an admin assistant/creative writer for about four months, and then they offered me a promotion: Media Buyer. I had no idea what the hell that was, but I was down. It paid $40k/month + commission. I learned Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest advertising. I learned how to operate the platforms, build my own creative, write my own copy, and many best practices. I quickly became one of the best buyers in the office. My numbers proved this, and I was still a full-time straight-A student.
Still, I knew I could do more and started feeling complacent, so I began looking for better opportunities in this field a few months in. I reached out to one of our tech clients who was looking for an in-house Facebook marketer. We went back and forth for a while, but nothing happened. Then literally a year later, they reached out and offered me $60k + commission, an excellent benefits program, unlimited PTO, a great office space, great people, and pretty everything you could want working for someone else. I took it.
But what no one knew at this point was I had started looking for my own freelance clients on Craigslist at the same time. The only reason I thought to do it was because my little sister was living with me at the time, and I wanted to move back into a nicer part of downtown San Diego but could not afford a two-bedroom on one salary. I responded to a remote Facebook marketer part-time position days before I had received a new tech job offer. The Craigslist client reached out to me the SAME DAY I got a call from that company.
I decided F it, do it all: full-time online student, a full-time job, provide for my sister (a full-time traditional on-campus student at that point) who didn’t have a car, and manage a freelance client. Somehow I was balancing it all well, taking my sister to school every morning before work and picking her up late at night, getting straight A’s of my own, succeeding at work — all my accounts were performing to par or above. So two weeks into my new full-time job, I started looking for another client I could personally take on. I searched through Instagram beauty hashtags for clients as I had previously seen a lot of success with beauty clients at my old job. I found a small brand I saw a lot of potential in and sent them an email pitch. They signed with me, and in two months, I was making $30k+/month with them just as a freelancer.
I thought WOAH, but this might just be a fluke, so I didn’t quit my job for another three months and made sure I had a year’s salary saved just in case freelancing didn’t pan out. I knew I would be okay, and my sister would be okay for a year.
Crazy enough it kept working. Those two clients began to refer me to other clients, and I officially didn’t have enough bandwidth. I didn’t have the time to work full-time for someone else. It was no longer worth the money. So I took a semi-comfy leap of faith and quit. I built my freelance business and finished school.
Fast-forward to now. I currently manage a full roster of clients monthly, work with an elite team of marketers/creators, and regularly travel the world. I make sure I strive for three things above all else in my life: to love what really matters, to outgrow myself consistently, and always to give back to people who need a little hope right now.
That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I’m so grateful to God for the life I GET to live and the people He’s woven into my journey. I’m grateful for you and the fact that you’re taking time out of your life to read this. That was my beginning. This is my mid-story, and I can’t wait to keep jogging into my beautifully extra ending, which hopefully does not come until I’m at least 79 haha ... as I consistently pray: “Please leave me on earth until I can no longer wipe my own ass. After that, take me to heaven where I’ll have a six-pack and be best friends with Whitney. Amen.”
So now that you know me, I hope my valleys inspire you just as much as my mountain tops do. They are both so important. You’ll never consistently win if you don’t consistently learn from your failures. It’s a requirement of the process, just like the hard work is. Success just does not happen.
You have to go forward with wisdom, not just passion. You have to put in the hours that no one wants to put in today so that you can live the life no one really gets to live tomorrow. You have to learn the hard lessons that no one wants to learn so that you can make smarter, wiser decisions in your next significant life endeavor. You have to learn never to belittle your small beginnings because that is where your magic is birthed. Protect your dreams and vision and share it with people who get you! I am 100% always down to listen and send you a little word of encouragement --- Connect with me on Instagram @_ashleighwarren.
Stay focused on your vision. Stay focused on your reason. Stay close to your tribe. Take your moment to celebrate when you can, but don’t do so for too long. Keep pressing forward because now isn’t the real win. Tomorrow is.
Thanks for reading!