Revolutionizing Women's Workforce Empowerment: The Prowess Project Unveiled with Ashley Connell


Please enjoy this transcript of the Crown Yourself Podcast, with CEO of Prowess Project, Ashley Connell [@prowessproject], and your host, transformational story coach, Kimberly Spencer (@Kimberly.Spencer)

Connect with Ashley Connell








Did you know taking time off for caregiving can cost women up to $467,000 in lifetime earnings? In this episode of the Crown Yourself podcast, host Kimberly Spencer talks with Ashley Connell, founder of the Prowess Project, about the financial challenges women face when leaving the workforce for caregiving. They discuss the project's mission to empower women by training them as online business managers and matching them with CEOs. The conversation covers the value of caregivers' skills in the workplace, the use of AI in the matching process, and the importance of focusing on one's genius zone for business success. Ashley shares her entrepreneurial journey, the project's niche strategy, and the societal shift in recognizing caregivers' contributions. The episode wraps up with Ashley's insights and an invitation to join the Prowess Project.

What we can learn from this episode:

  • Impact of women leaving the workforce for caregiving
  • Prowess Project's mission to empower women financially
  • Matching CEOs with online business managers
  • Training for women and caregivers to become online business managers
  • Role of emotional intelligence and empathy in the workforce
  • Use of AI in matching process and training for online business managers
  • Significance of having an integrator in a business
  • Ashley's personal journey as an entrepreneur
  • Prowess Project's niche strategy and inclusive approach
  • Challenges and opportunities faced by caregivers in the workforce

*Transcripts may contain typos. We do our best to catch any human or robot errors prior to release. And we thank you in advance for your understanding. Enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or your favorite podcast platform. And, you can always watch the episode on YouTube here.





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We good? Great. Let's get to the goods.


Kimberly Spencer (00:00:00) - Welcome back to another money making March episode with some fabulous women to celebrate women in history, making some money making moves, and I could not be more excited to share this guest with you, because her mission is so heart led and so driven by a fire for women's financial empowerment that we're just going to dive in. But first, I want to give you some really cool statistics that might make you activate a little bit of divine women's rage. So did you know that women who leave the workforce to care for children can experience a significant loss of lifetime earnings? Studies have shown that women who take a five year career break to raise children can lose as much as $467,000 in lifetime earnings compared to women who remain in the workforce. Not only that, according to a study by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 43% of women with children under the age of 18 leave the workforce at some point in their careers for caregiving reasons, including to raise children, and a significant portion of them eventually return to work after a period of time.

Kimberly Spencer (00:01:11) - Now, if 43% of women are leaving to care for children or to care for elderly parents, and they are losing nearly half $1 million, what is that doing for our financial empowerment? And that is why I am so excited to bring to you Ashley Cordell, who took these statistics and chose to do something about it. She is the founder of the Proust Project, where she connects CEOs with online business managers to run your business so you can grow your business. Now what? How? What makes the project different is she not only does the matchmaking between CEOs and online business managers, she helps women and caregivers who have left the workforce to train them in how to be an online business manager, and then she pairs them with the CEOs that are a match for their vision, for their values, for their future, and to be that integrator to the visionary. And I know you've heard me talk on this podcast about how integral that relationship is of having the integrator to the visionary thinker, especially as you're growing, especially as you're developing, especially as you're expanding your empire.

Kimberly Spencer (00:02:23) - And Ashley and I could stand on this soapbox forever, and I love that she has not just taken this information and ran with it, but she created an entire, incredibly successful business out of it that is supporting women in building a life and business on their own terms. That allows them the freedom to also be a caregiver and have the power of having and be that person who is the online business manager, who is supporting a CEO's vision, who's supporting a bigger dream come to life, who puts them in an integral role of the integrator into a business that is so beautiful. I just think we need to dive in like right now. So without further ado, I give you Ashley Connell. Welcome to the Crown Yourself podcast, where together we build your empire and transform your subconscious stories about what's possible for your business, body, and life. I'm your host, Kimberly Spencer, founder of Crown Yourself. Com and I'm a master mindset coach, bestselling author, TEDx speaker known to my clients as a game changer.

Kimberly Spencer (00:03:35) - Each week you get the conscious leadership strategies you need to help you reign with courage, clarity and confidence so that you too, can make the income and impact you deserve. Imagine this podcast as your royal invitation to step into your full potential and reign in your divine purpose. Your sovereignty starts here and your reign is now. Welcome, Ashley to crown yourself. I'm so excited this has been a long time in the making to get you here and.

Ashley Connell (00:04:04) - Girl right back atcha like I am so loved. Oh, I'm so excited.

Kimberly Spencer (00:04:10) - So I just want to.

Ashley Connell (00:04:12) - Just rip the box.

Kimberly Spencer (00:04:14) - Open. Because you have.

Ashley Connell (00:04:16) - Helped 43%.

Kimberly Spencer (00:04:19) - Of caregivers return to the workforce.

Ashley Connell (00:04:22) - Let me clarify that. So the statistic is 43% of women leave the workforce to raise children. That was the statistic that I saw that I was like, oh, that is a problem I am tackling and helping to solve in that over the past four years, we've helped well over a thousand. Phenomenal.

Kimberly Spencer (00:04:48) - And so.

Ashley Connell (00:04:48) - Why? Why target.

Kimberly Spencer (00:04:51) - Caregivers?

Ashley Connell (00:04:52) - Oh. So, But in my background, I was in tech marketing for 15 years and looked up at all my leadership, and they were all men. So I asked the women who are in my level in my cohort, like, hey, are you going up for the next promotion? Or hey, you want to be CMO one day, like. And they're like, actually, I can't, like, I have kids, so I have to stay here, and I may take a pause and I may, but, I don't think I can do both. And that infuriated me because I was thinking like, I want to have both. I want to be in leadership and have a family. So hopped on Google, found the horrific Harvard Business Review statistic that 43% of women leave when they're out for just three years. Caregiving. They lose a total of 37% of their compensation power forever or ever. Then. See? It's insane. And the real kicker that was like, oh my gosh, this project needs to happen is 97% of all of those women would return to the workforce if they had access to flexible jobs.

Ashley Connell (00:06:01) - When I read that, it was like underline, underline, underline, light bulb, light bulb, light bulb, let's go do this. You know, it reminds me of that.

Kimberly Spencer (00:06:09) - Scene in one of my favorite movies, Erin Brockovich. The opening scene where she's in the job interview and she's like, I spent the past three years, you know, you know, five years raising babies.

Ashley Connell (00:06:22) - And I know right before.

Kimberly Spencer (00:06:25) - The show I was saying, you know, I'm sure dads do it too. And single.

Ashley Connell (00:06:28) - Dad totally, you.

Kimberly Spencer (00:06:29) - Know, rock it out. But I have found as a mom, like, more often than not, the moms are the schedulers. They're thinking six months out, a year out. We're planning and scheduling for camps and like, what are the activities that are going to be done at Christmas? And it's July so that we have that foresight for where our kids are going, and we're the ones crafting that vision and that structure in a way. For the most part.

Kimberly Spencer (00:06:57) - And I was just reflecting on this with my husband the other day. I was like, that's why moms.

Ashley Connell (00:07:03) - Are.

Kimberly Spencer (00:07:04) - Such like dads to my husband is amazing. Nothing against dads like dads are here. It's right here, right? Right. But caregivers, for the most part, I have found moms are.

Ashley Connell (00:07:14) - Just.

Kimberly Spencer (00:07:15) - Rocking it with the vision structure of being able to map out a vision and operationalize where that goes. And I think each child is basically its own business.

Ashley Connell (00:07:28) - 100% its own business. And what I love about what you just said is, yes, moms can pinpoint the vision and create that plan to make it happen. They can operationalize it. They can build a structure that's only half of it. What we haven't even covered is the mass amount of emotional intelligence and empathy and communication skills and teamwork and negotiation that you create as a caregiver, especially a mom, that is directly applicable to the workforce. They say. Now, the number one great of a successful leader is empathy. Like moms have that in spades hands down.

Ashley Connell (00:08:12) - So these two things together right. The hard skills and the soft skills. These women are just dive into the rock. They're amazing. Amazing. And so with the Prowess.

Kimberly Spencer (00:08:25) - Project and what you're creating, what positions are you typically just create, like guiding them to become online business managers? Or are there other positions that you're seeing that they better fill? What's the process that you you work them through?

Ashley Connell (00:08:40) - Absolutely. So the actual, you know, brass tacks of the business is we built an online platform where we help women train to be online business managers, what an online business manager is. Think of it as a cross between like the strategy of a CEO, but the execution of the A with a digital marketing. So this is the perfect integrator to the visionary. It's the perfect hey, I'm a CEO and I have all these ideas and I need that thought partner to get shit done. That is an open the platform takes all the data that we are learning from them as they're doing the training and then matches them up with ideal CEOs based on their role that the CEO has, the work style that the CEO has, the communication style, and making sure all of that is compatible.

Ashley Connell (00:09:34) - So think of the tech almost as like LinkedIn meets eHarmony. That's really what we built to make sure that the CEO of Team Fit is the best thing possible.

Kimberly Spencer (00:09:48) - I absolutely love that strategy of LinkedIn meets eHarmony. How are you leveraging AI, if at all, for these matches?

Ashley Connell (00:10:03) - Great question. So the technology platform we've built over three years and there's a ton of AI inter workings in there. I could probably bore you all for hours if you really wanted to know, but where? I think the AI is most used to benefit either the Obamas, online business managers or the CEOs is in our training. We are constantly, constantly upskilling our online business managers to know about the latest AI. How do I integrate that into my clients? If a CEO is coming to me and they're spending all this time doing these repetitive tasks. What does it look like to automate and use AI to streamline everything so that the CEO has more time and paying a heck of a lot less money because it doesn't take the OBS very long to do all of this.

Ashley Connell (00:10:59) - So that's really where we're seeing AI change the game on both sides of our business. One of the things.

Kimberly Spencer (00:11:07) - That I've been preparing a lot of my clients for is just.

Ashley Connell (00:11:10) - This.

Kimberly Spencer (00:11:11) - Radical transformation that's happening in the next five years with the leveraging AI, not as a done for you operation, because I think when we think of it as, as, oh, it's just going to do everything for me, that's when we get the, the content. That just sounds like kind of whack.

Ashley Connell (00:11:32) - And totally.

Kimberly Spencer (00:11:33) - Boring and soulless versus using and leveraging AI like Jarvis and Iron Man to be able to be that copilot.

Ashley Connell (00:11:43) - That's exactly what it is. And it's like now your co-pilot, your OBM has copilot. So imagine what this person can do for you then. I just was speaking to one of our clients and she was like, Ashley as a CEO, as a coach, what an Uber has really helped me do is think bigger because I would think bigger. But then the next thought in my head was like, oh my God, how am I going to do the back end of this? And so then she would just lay that dream to the side or lay that next revenue goal to the side.

Ashley Connell (00:12:17) - But now she has the OBM who is will happily take the back end, get it all done, get it all done quickly with all the technology and she's making more money, more profit underscore than she ever has before.

Kimberly Spencer (00:12:32) - Yes, making more revenue is good, but profit is king.

Ashley Connell (00:12:38) - Yes.

Kimberly Spencer (00:12:39) - And I.

Ashley Connell (00:12:40) - Was like.

Kimberly Spencer (00:12:41) - Yeah, I mean I have worked with so many business centers who they are, you know, oh let's scale. We have let's make another couple million. But their profit margins just are so tight that they're stuck in this space of not actually not they're working harder than they did before.

Ashley Connell (00:13:01) - Absolutely. I mean, revenue literally is a vanity metric. Like let's let's be honest, it is. And we talk about that with our online business managers quite a bit, like, hey, look, get really clear with your CEO, your clients on what is most important to them. And if they do, say revenue, ask clarification questions like, is it because you want to go raise money? Then yes, revenue is super important or is it really profit or is it really cash? And then let's pull the different levers in your business to optimize to that.

Ashley Connell (00:13:34) - What really that goal is and understanding that why? so I really feel like every CEO needs that quote unquote integrator or needs that OBM who can really help make all of those dreams come true.

Kimberly Spencer (00:13:50) - Yeah, I completely agree with the the integrator aspect because, I mean, we followed, Gina Whiteman's traction. Yeah. Which which builds on that and Visionary Integrator magic sauce that happens when you have somebody who can take that vision and implement it, and that allows you to just shine in your space of your genius. So and I have seen a direct correlation between the amount of money a CEO is making and the amount of time that they're spending and their genius and the amount of money the business is making entirely.

Ashley Connell (00:14:29) - Well, it's it's the amount of money. It's the impact. It's this is all around. When you're in your zone of genius, you're just happier. Like Arizona genius is what your where your passion meets your innate talent. Like if you're in that all day long. And I think the beauty in this is these.

Ashley Connell (00:14:49) - Their zone of genius is all the operations. So both people are winning and you're making more money and you're making more impact. It's just such a no brainer, right? It really is.

Kimberly Spencer (00:14:59) - So when you were finding this solution to this gigantic problem of so many caregivers leaving the workforce, what was your driving factor to to say, I'm going to turn this into a business to to leverage this as an asset. And did you secretly want to leverage this for yourself as well to have an open.

Ashley Connell (00:15:22) - Yes. So. Yeah. Point blank. so I knew that this was going to be a business because I wanted a way to still have control to to make my vision happen and change as many lives as possible. And I felt like I'm. This was going to be the best vehicle to do that. Also, I started this before I had children, so really this was to solve my at the time future problem of hey, if I do want to step out of the workforce, how do I get back in? Or if I do want to step out of the workforce and not be full time, but maybe be part time? I can go be an OB versus A versus working full time.

Ashley Connell (00:16:07) - And we see that a lot to women who are working 40, 50, 60 hours a week and like, hey, I don't want to get out completely, but I need something. And so they come to us. But I have to give our CEO, Leah Stein. Kirk, so much credit in this. She really was the first OBM and we were like. Leah, you are amazing. Can we just package you and help women scream to do exactly what you're doing? Because as the CEO, you are invaluable to me. So how do we help doing help make this happen? And so really, Leah has been a huge inspiration in this. And she is the one who builds the training, who helps all of the Odms get to where they want to be, is really the brainchild behind the whole algorithm and the IQ plus IQ. It's just she's phenomenal.

Kimberly Spencer (00:17:04) - Magic.

Ashley Connell (00:17:05) - Magic? Yeah, it did the magic like that.

Kimberly Spencer (00:17:07) - That's the magic of having an amazing Obion. And when that that manager is in place, like, I know our online business manager, she is just she just kind of grew with with us with she started out as a VA for me.

Kimberly Spencer (00:17:22) - And I was like, you're a mom of four. I think we need we can let's let's skill you up and get you to that place where you are able to like, invaluable, like absolutely invaluable. And it's that ability, I think, in the visionary role to recognize other people's genius zones.

Ashley Connell (00:17:46) - Absolutely and to know when you need to uplevel your support. I think what you said was so important, like you saw the potential in her and you're like, hey, yeah, she can be more and that will bring us more and we can make more impact as a business. And I love that you said that. I think a lot of times people hire a virtual assistant with the best intentions of the world, but then don't couple that with either training or have misaligned expectations. One of my mentor said this and I thought it was absolutely perfect. A virtual assistant takes a task and executes an online business manager takes a vision, and strategize like you need to know when you're a CEO, when it's time for an observation because you need to get to that next level.

Kimberly Spencer (00:18:43) - Yeah, I think of a virtual assistant is they're the task master. They are doing the tasks and the things. The difference is, is when you get to the managers side that they have now, not just the responsibility to ensure the task gets done, but they have the responsibility for the overarching of the project. Bingo.

Ashley Connell (00:19:03) - And how is that going to make impact to our KPIs, and how is that going to make this more money? And how is that going to what can we do to implement tech or systems or processes to go faster like that is what they need to be thinking about all the time. And so when we're looking for online business managers, we love women who have a background that looks like a patchwork quilt. That's what we call it. So instead of that linear like I started as, you know, accounting coordinator, then manager, specialist, blah, blah, blah more. I've done some ups, I've done some accounting, I've done some marketing, I've done some sales. So they have this well-rounded background, but they they're like, I don't know what to go do next.

Ashley Connell (00:19:48) - I don't know how to turn this into a career. They make perfect boobs.

Kimberly Spencer (00:19:53) - I could see so many people in freelancing and entertainment right now, because there's a lot of jobs open right now in entertainment. Yes. and being rockstar obvious, especially producers, they are, you know, they're managing teams and schedules, but they have multiple different projects.

Ashley Connell (00:20:13) - Irons in the fire.

Kimberly Spencer (00:20:14) - Yeah, yeah. So the resume is like a patchwork quilt. And so it does it, as I said early to the untrained I see that. But when I get people from the entertainment industry, I'm like, I see your skill set as an operation business manager. Like I see it and value it.

Ashley Connell (00:20:28) - Absolutely. And then all it is, is training them how to speak to those transferable skills, or helping them see that and helping them meet the CEO where they are, and explain how all of these skills will really take that CEO and that business to the next level. And that's a lot of what we do in our training.

Kimberly Spencer (00:20:50) - Phenomenal. So looking at your story like was being an entrepreneur always in your journey? I know you started out in marketing in tech, but like it seems like you kind of got this in your in your blood.

Ashley Connell (00:21:03) - Yeah. Girl, I would love to tell you something. I think, I think, being an entrepreneur was always for me. My mom is a very accomplished interior designer, and I.

Kimberly Spencer (00:21:18) - Watched her.

Ashley Connell (00:21:19) - When, you know, I was growing up work out of the back of her car and stay up all night long doing, like, running the business. And so I saw all of that. and so I didn't know at the time, obviously, but realized that, oh my gosh, I had that same bug. So prowess, I started a marketing agency with two other people, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity because we made every.

Kimberly Spencer (00:21:47) - Mistake in the book.

Ashley Connell (00:21:48) - So so then I was able to take that and be like, okay, this is what we're doing with prowess.

Ashley Connell (00:21:55) - That's going to be different.

Kimberly Spencer (00:21:57) - And what was the main thing that you did differently?

Ashley Connell (00:22:00) - I quite frankly have an album. The three of us were visionaries, and we we were kind of I would almost say that we weren't building a business. We were just building jobs for ourselves. And I, I realize now, like, I can see that now. We made all the operations, mistakes we made all of we didn't focus and niche down and just do one thing. And so when you're, you know, everything for everyone, you're nothing to no one. And that was a huge mistake. So that's why you you mentioned how specific we are in Niching for prowess. That was a huge lesson learned.

Kimberly Spencer (00:22:39) - Yeah, yeah. Because focusing on caregivers and while other people from other industries could absolutely benefit, I think the heart of your mission, it sounds like, really came from just the statistics alone of seeing how women weren't moving up in the corporate ladder.

Ashley Connell (00:22:58) - Actually, a.

Kimberly Spencer (00:22:59) - Family.

Ashley Connell (00:23:00) - Absolutely.

Ashley Connell (00:23:01) - And we get a ton of women who are caring for their parents or caring for in an older relative, or it's not just moms, which I think is really great. However, I heard this about Niching and I thought it was so spot on. Like use your niche strategy as a magnet, not a filter. So for example, with prowess project, we would never say no to someone who isn't a caregiver who wants to be an OB. We would never say no. But what the content that we are putting out there in the messaging and the energy, we are going to attract people who, love that idea and love the mission. So whether they're an actual caregiver or a caregiver ally, I don't really care because we use it as a method, not a filter.

Kimberly Spencer (00:23:52) - I love that metaphor because I. Yeah, couldn't agree more that like if you chose to use it as a filter, it would actually be a disservice. But the magnet metaphor just it attracts you, it attracts, and you're attracting those who could be caregivers, the future moms, the future parents, the future, you know, people who are taking care of their parents, which isn't going to be a growing massive population that actually doesn't have as much risk.

Kimberly Spencer (00:24:23) - Not not I'm not going to say respect, but we give a lot more credence to, oh, there you have your kids to take care of too. Oh, you have your very stubborn, ornery 80 year old parent.

Ashley Connell (00:24:37) - Who is.

Kimberly Spencer (00:24:37) - Live life and doesn't want to listen to you.

Ashley Connell (00:24:40) - Right? I think it's an awareness thing less than even like a a respect thing. And I know you didn't mean that word, but like, I think we're just expected to take care of the parents, but also that generation is living longer. So to your point, I think we are going to see this more and more and, and even like more critical for our population. And I guess opportunity to become online business managers is the sandwich generation. You're taking care of your parents and you're taking care of your kids. And how do you still make money through that? Because inflation, nothing's getting cheaper, right? So I really hope that prowess is at a point where we can be a solution for so many women out there.

Kimberly Spencer (00:25:29) - Yeah. So how has it been the transition for you since you are a newer mom shifting from like being CEO to CEO and caregiver?

Ashley Connell (00:25:42) - Tough. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It's been really hard because it's made me focus on what works in the business and not all of the other nonsense that, like, feels like busy work or, you know, like there's a difference between, you know, being busy and being effective. I had to have a crash course in that. And oftentimes the things that were effective, maybe something that felt a little uncomfortable at first, but knowing that I'd have to do it because I have between 9 and 5, those are the times that I can work. I can't stay up all night long before, like I did with three kids. Right. So, I think that that has been the biggest learning, and I have a 20 month old girl, so I'm building this so that she never has to think about, do I have.

Kimberly Spencer (00:26:35) - A career or.

Ashley Connell (00:26:36) - Family or that is not going to be a thought in her mind.

Ashley Connell (00:26:41) - And that's why I'm doing this. Yeah.

Kimberly Spencer (00:26:43) - So how did having children change your perspective, if at all? Or did it just deepen?

Ashley Connell (00:26:48) - It was. It deepened. It absolutely deepened. I realized the it's not even important. It is critical for caregivers to have flexibility in their jobs. Critical. and so I'm not surprised that the statistics now, I've seen the bias of women trying to return to the workforce after a break. Caregiving. It's wild. A woman can be out being a mom for three years and go up for a job. It's same person can be out for three years doing something else, and that person who was doing something else will be three times more likely to get an interview than the caregiver. So the bias is real. The bias is very, very.

Kimberly Spencer (00:27:43) - Very.

Ashley Connell (00:27:43) - Real. And just seeing that over and over and over again was an was eye opening. But to your point before just fuel the fire even more.

Kimberly Spencer (00:27:55) - Yeah. That's like gasoline.

Ashley Connell (00:27:56) - Yes. You know not letting it down knowing like let's do this.

Ashley Connell (00:28:01) - Yes, yes, this will be successful. This will change lives. Yes.

Kimberly Spencer (00:28:05) - And so with the prowess project, is there a because it seems to me like it's not just providing women and caregivers with, with the tools, the training, the skill set to be OB, EMS, but a level deeper that there is a paradigm shift in society, in our system of what we think is valuable as a valuable skill set. And so how do we. And I don't know if you have the answer of why this is something we're going to have to.

Ashley Connell (00:28:39) - Collectively come.

Kimberly Spencer (00:28:40) - Up with. But how would you say that that paradigm needs to shift so that we see caregivers for the value that they provide?

Ashley Connell (00:28:51) - The only way, in my opinion, or one of the only ways that it is going to shift, is if we as leaders, speak about our caregiving duties more often and praise other people. Or going to ballet recital or going to a baseball game. We're going to, you know, flute practice, whatever it is, we have to call that out.

Ashley Connell (00:29:21) - And we also, as leaders, need to pinpoint, how our qualities and other qualities on our team are good. Or maybe, started from caregiving experiences. Wow. Kimberly, I can see how empathetic you are. Is that because of. Or do you feel like being a caregiver really helped you do that, giving you the opportunity to talk about it, giving it the opportunity to shine? And then obviously, if someone likes praise in public, saying that in public, I think that bringing it up more often and hiring for the whole person is absolutely critical and again, will be one of the only ways that we combat this. What we're also seeing is because we are very forward on our mission to help caregivers, the CEOs who are coming to us again, if we're thinking about magnets already, appreciate that we have that mission, already know that our jobs are caregivers, already know that they're going to come with all of this enriching empathy and operations know how just in their blood. And so I think that we are seeing this shift in society, specifically in business, where people are.

Ashley Connell (00:30:53) - Aligning their dollars with mission and with values and with what they care about, and that's becoming increasingly more important.

Kimberly Spencer (00:31:02) - Did you see this shift? Take off during Covid. Because one of the one of the things that I saw was that suddenly, you know, kids would wander in during that meeting because, you know, that was normal, because we were all in our homes. So this normalization, we're no longer we have these boxes of like, here's my work box and here's my family, and here's here's the here's this fragmentation. Rather than actually allowing for the holistic awesomeness that is the human and every piece of it and every aspect that we have in our lives. What was the greatest shift that you saw?

Ashley Connell (00:31:43) - You nailed it. you absolutely nailed it. So pre-COVID, we still had a workforce of all remote, you know, candidates and a lot of people, business owners like. No, not for me, not for me, any of the FaceTime. Well, you know, May. 10th 2020 hit and March.

Ashley Connell (00:32:05) - And probably by March 25th, they were all coming back like, oh, I guess remote could work for me. And so we did see this shift of CEOs thinking differently about their staff and the type of candidates that they could get if they weren't looking at just a ten mile radius from where their office is. And I mean, Covid also left 5.4 million American women out of the workforce because they couldn't juggle the working from home and caregiving. And so that was an additional supply of women who were like, I can't and won't make this traditional work. But but since I'm not going to do that anymore, so I need to find another solution. And so I'm grateful that we were at the path where we could be that solution for a lot of women.

Kimberly Spencer (00:33:00) - Yeah, it seemed like that just has. It's that that luck where preparation meets opportunity and ability. Opportunity like you did just met perfectly at it. Perfect divine timing for your business to expand. So as your business has grown, what has been the most recent challenges? You're as you're leaning into that next phase of growth.

Ashley Connell (00:33:28) - Our biggest challenge has been I am a typical visionary who loves sparkly objects. Oh yeah, you love the next idea. I love growing and, you know, having side projects. So it has been absolutely critical that we stay true to and focus on just training online business managers and matching them up with CEOs who need that partner. That has been actually the biggest challenge is to stay focused on that, because I am so idea focused and light bulbs and that really riles me up. And so, that is probably been our biggest challenge just to focus. But what they say, right. Like think about the power of the light of the sun versus the power of the light of a laser. What is so focused? But you can get so much further versus the sun. Like, yes, it warms you up, but it's not going to do you know, the damage of a laser. We need to be the laser. And that is a challenge to stay a laser.

Kimberly Spencer (00:34:44) - So in that space, do you find how have you scaled up with your leadership?

Ashley Connell (00:34:50) - I have invested in several networking groups, several, upskilling courses or programs.

Ashley Connell (00:35:00) - it is absolutely critical that I, and I challenge myself to do this. Always be the greenest person in the room. I'm constantly looking for that. I'm constantly looking. What can I learn from this person? I'm constantly looking for, hey, how can I be in a room where someone is so much further ahead and what can I learn? And that has helped me exponentially. Also, being a part of accelerator programs. So that has really helped me expand my network. because I didn't come from yes, my mom is an entrepreneur, but, you know, just recently has she really had her business take off. So I didn't have a network, a family network. I didn't have a lot of people that I knew in this space. But by investing in accelerators, networking groups and upskilling programs, it has changed not only the people I surround myself with, but probably even more importantly, my mindset and constantly thinking about going bigger in a calculated, operationalized way and in a way.

Kimberly Spencer (00:36:12) - The intentionality of being that laser and seeing, you know, ten feet, 20ft a mile down as to where that laser is going to go rather than like completely off into the stratosphere.

Ashley Connell (00:36:27) - But literally, that's what I would be. I am that astronaut. Like, see you later. So it's focusing, focusing, focusing. So I love.

Kimberly Spencer (00:36:37) - That you are a second-generation entrepreneur. I am.

Ashley Connell (00:36:40) - As well. Oh love it, love it.

Kimberly Spencer (00:36:43) - Yes, I had got to see my parents grow a business from like nothing to where my mom was like pushing me around in the stroller, passing out the flyers to the neighbor like she was like that was the most ineffective marketing can ever done. and then to seeing them grow to a multi-million dollar annual. Business. But it wasn't until, like, the last ten years. And recently, we just got her a buyout for her business after my dad passed.

Ashley Connell (00:37:11) - Yeah.

Kimberly Spencer (00:37:12) - Which is very rare for tree businesses, but that experience meeting a second-generation entrepreneur. Have you noticed with other people who grew up with maybe employee parents, the difference in the mindset of risk of how willing you are? and comfortable you are with risk?

Ashley Connell (00:37:35) - 1,000%.

Ashley Connell (00:37:38) - And how we define risk. I say this to our OB all the time because they are building their own online business manager business, right? I actually think it is a lot riskier to be a W-2 employee. You never know if you're going to get let go. Like, you have no control of how much you make. You have no control of your boss. Really. Versus an entrepreneur? Yes. It takes a lot of work. And yes, it takes a lot of sacrifice. And I would be lying if we were eating tuna for a good portion of the first few years. But I have control over all of that. I want to make more money, bring home more money. I know what I need to do. It may be super hard. It may like I may sacrifice a ton, but I have control. So for me, like I feel a lot more. The cure as an entrepreneur, which I know is not how most people. Think I also was talking to a mentor of mine and he's like, if you're trying to make real wealth, it is hard to be an employee and create real wealth because you see your wealth grow over time.

Ashley Connell (00:38:53) - And so your expenses keep up with your wealth. And so again, like it's like revenue over profit, you know, like you you're not spending as much because you buy the fancier car, you buy the nicer house. Whereas when you're an entrepreneur you're so used to for the longest time, what do I really need? What am I really going to invest in? Do I really need that, you know, fourth black dress, or does that make more sense to go to Google Ads for my business or whatever? And so you learn that. So then when you do come into money, you put it in different places so that it will grow for you and you can make more of an impact if wealth generation is really where you want to go. Now, everyone has different opinions on that. That was his and I really liked it, so I thought I'd share.

Kimberly Spencer (00:39:44) - How is your money mindset grown since growing your business?

Ashley Connell (00:39:50) - I have control of my money mindset now. Does that mean that I'm always great at it? No.

Ashley Connell (00:39:56) - Does that mean that I don't have blocks? No. Does it mean that I'm already where I want to be? Oh. But as soon as I became intentional about having, like, a monthly date with myself every night. And it is. Seconds long, maybe 30s, but I visualize where I want to be. And I have a number and I do that, and I put that intention out once a day. And it has significantly helped once I started doing this. And I only really started doing this in January. And I've seen the change. It's massive. Yeah.

Kimberly Spencer (00:40:41) - And so I mean.

Ashley Connell (00:40:42) - That is.

Kimberly Spencer (00:40:43) - Seven months. Yeah.

Ashley Connell (00:40:45) - Months. Yeah. And I've to text my take on like so it's absolutely possible. It's absolutely possible. Now again do I have a lot of work to do. Absolutely. Absolutely. So I'm excited to even go down that journey further. But I now that I've done it and kept that habit up, I see the benefit 100%.

Kimberly Spencer (00:41:08) - I loved our conversations.

Ashley Connell (00:41:11) - So.

Kimberly Spencer (00:41:11) - Much, Ashley. Like, you're just so phenomenal. And I just I am so excited for how you are revolutionizing the workforce, because I do believe that entrepreneurship is the way of the future. I agree with you 1,000%, and I probably said it on like 40 different podcasts that I think being an entrepreneur and specifically having a skill set so that you can sell.

Ashley Connell (00:41:36) - Anything.

Kimberly Spencer (00:41:36) - And make money out of nowhere, is the greatest job security that you could ever have.

Ashley Connell (00:41:43) - I could not agree more, and thank you that it's a massive compliment. Massive. You have no idea. Thank you.

Kimberly Spencer (00:41:50) - You are so welcome and I would love to move into some rapid fire.

Ashley Connell (00:41:56) - Ooh, let's do it, girl. Love it down.

Kimberly Spencer (00:41:58) - Who is your favorite female character in a book or a movie and why?

Ashley Connell (00:42:04) - So it would be, Wonder Woman in the first Wonder Woman movie.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:09) - It's so good.

Ashley Connell (00:42:10) - It's so good. Reason being first time in my life, I was well into my 30s when I saw that movie.

Ashley Connell (00:42:15) - First time in my life I saw a female rescue, a male person first time, and then.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:22) - I. I cried at that scene when seeing her leading men into battle. I was like, that was a Joan of Arc moment.

Ashley Connell (00:42:31) - 100%.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:32) - So what woman would you want to trade places with at any point in history? Just for a day. Live in their body. See what they saw. Experience living as them.

Ashley Connell (00:42:42) - Michelle Obama.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:44) - The number one answer.

Ashley Connell (00:42:46) - Is it really? It's the.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:47) - Number one.

Ashley Connell (00:42:48) - Answer. You. She's just everything I just are.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:54) - I have no words. I'm like an overwhelmed even thinking about it.

Ashley Connell (00:42:56) - She's just amazing.

Kimberly Spencer (00:42:59) - What is your morning routine?

Ashley Connell (00:43:02) - Is the almost two year old having a meltdown or not because it's full on meltdown? Okay, that was today. Get up. She comes in bed with us for a little bit, and that's like a little family time. Then I make breakfast, she eats breakfast, I shower, and ultimately, that's when the meltdown starts.

Ashley Connell (00:43:23) - The meltdown finishes as she's walking into daycare. That's the routine. What was your morning.

Kimberly Spencer (00:43:29) - Routine pre.

Ashley Connell (00:43:30) - Kids? Honestly it was wake up or roll out of bed. Go to my computer. I wish I could tell you that I, you know, jogged five miles and drank all of this, you know, linen infused water and did my mantra is that's just not me, sadly. Maybe one day, maybe someday.

Kimberly Spencer (00:43:52) - What is your evening routine to set you up for a successful morning?

Ashley Connell (00:43:56) - Okay, I have a little bit more of that. it is while I'm putting my daughter down. That's when I do that. I do ten points of gratitude for that day. And it can't be. I'm very specific with my gratitude. It can't be like I love my family. It has to be very small moments in the day. Like I've saw Blue Jay and Blue Jays mean hoping you're on the right path. Like it has speed, that type of thing. So while I'm rocking her, I do ten of those gratitude points and the 30s of the visualization on that helps me up for the next day.

Kimberly Spencer (00:44:31) - What do you define to be your kingdom or Queendom?

Ashley Connell (00:44:36) - A world where women don't feel like they're second. Anything. I think that some people are turned off by the idea of equality, because I don't know if men and women should be equal. Yes, but we also have very different guests. And so I just want women to be celebrated for our innate gifts, just like men are.

Kimberly Spencer (00:45:00) - And lastly, how do you crown yourself?

Ashley Connell (00:45:04) - Traveling. So I just got back from a spending a week with my sister in Manhattan. and it was great.

Kimberly Spencer (00:45:14) - Because I was.

Ashley Connell (00:45:15) - Like, all I want to do this week is live like you do. So I'll work like you do. We'll go to a coffee shop. We'll eat dinner. I just want to live like you do. I lived in London for two years and it was the absolute best experience of my life. Like mind shifting. And so the travel bug is how I found myself.

Kimberly Spencer (00:45:38) - Ashley. How do we find you? How do we work with the Prowess project? I'll do the aspiring obs.

Kimberly Spencer (00:45:46) - Jump in and join you in this mission.

Ashley Connell (00:45:50) - Yes, yes. So if you are a, well, CEO or aspiring MBA, OBM come to your proudest project. Com we have a ton of free training for OBS who want to be like hey, is OBM for me? So I can send you that link. We can share it out to people and then a ton of resources for SEOs to to understand, like, hey, am I ready for an IBM? Does this make sense for me? So again, head over to browse We're at this project on all social channels too.

Kimberly Spencer (00:46:23) - Ashley, you have been absolutely phenomenal. I just have to say the energy that you project has like this CEO queen vibe. And I am so excited to see where you're going to go with this project in the next decade, because I just know your impact is going to be revolutionary.

Ashley Connell (00:46:45) - Like, that is such a compliment. Thank you, thank you, thank you Kimberly. This has been so fun. I feel like I have so much energy.

Ashley Connell (00:46:52) - Maybe I will go run those five miles. I love that one. Okay, me.

Kimberly Spencer (00:47:00) - As always, my fellow sovereigns, own your throne. Mind your business. Because your reign is now. Thank you so much for tuning in today.

Kimberly Spencer (00:47:09) - If what you heard resonated with you, be sure to subscribe and start creating a bigger impact now by sharing this with a friend. Just by doing that one simple act of kindness, you are creating a royal ripple to support more people in their sovereignty. And if you're not already following on social media, connect with me everywhere at Crown Yourself Now for more inspiration. I am so excited to connect with you in the next episode, and in the meantime, go out there and create a body, business, and life that rules because today you crown yourself.

The Crown Yourself Podcast is a fast-growing self-improvement podcast, ranked in the top #200 personal-development podcasts in two countries, so far,  out of 4.5 million podcasts. Each week, you get the conscious leadership strategies you need to help you reign with courage, clarity and confidence, so that you too can make the income and impact you deserve. Imagine this podcast as your royal invitation to step into your full potential and reign in your divine purpose. To listen any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.


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