BEHIND THE SCREENS WITH INTERNET PEOPLE: FIRE + WIND CO. FOUNDER ASHLEY BEAUDIN
In this installment of behind the screens with internet people, we connected with Fire + Wind Co. founder Ashley Beaudin. Ashley hails from Canada, where she started a Twitter party several years back using the #fireworkpeople. Ashley continues those chats, though her site recently underwent a rebrand to become Fire+Wind Co.
The site is filled with messages of female empowerment and encouraging entrepreneurship, providing content and a forum for women who hope to build soulful, successful businesses. Ashley also created the Firework Box, a subscription box designed for female entrepreneurs to encourage them to build a business and lifestyle they desire.
We dove into Ashley’s background and what her success story looks like, as well as details on how she feels about business and technology, her thoughts on unplugging, favorite analog tools and more.
Can you share some background on Firework people and how your journey brought about that community?
I had been really interested in entrepreneurship and specifically online businesses, creating an online community since 2011. The first time I ever ran a Twitter party was 2011 – they were not as popular as they are now.
With Firework People, the heart of why I started it was just my desire to create a community for women who wanted to make a difference and wanted to use their passions and dreams to impact people. I really just wanted to do a Twitter party, because I love hosting them since I started hosting in 2011. So I hosted a Twitter party in August 2014; that’s all I was expecting for it to be, was a Twitter party. In our first three months, Firework people grew really fast. It was almost like I was just keeping up with it, as if I wasn’t really in charge.
So your original idea was to create a community via Twitter – what was the impetus there?
Part of it comes from hosting Twitter parties in the past – I love the energy that can happen. Especially when you can create a space where it’s not just information being shared, but there’s a value for connection and speaking into one another.
There are some Twitter parties you’ll go to and they’re more information based, things like what’s the best way to write a newsletter. Those are super good, but the heart behind what I wanted to create was that I wanted to create a community. I had seen in the past the power that could happen when you ask a question like ‘what lie do you really struggle with in running your business?’ Then someone comes up and says ‘I struggle with feeling like I’m never enough,’ and then you watch all these other girls respond to that person and speak truth. I love the energy of watching that happen and how much it really affects people.
From the beginning, I really wanted to this format of taking 15 minutes to really encourage each other. I felt like it was a really good way to build momentum and energy.
ou recently announced a name change, among other things. Can you talk through what that means, and how things will change for your brand/business?
Things were kind in the air last fall, and then I think I made the decision to do it in late November or early December. I did it for a few different reasons; one being that I felt like the direction had changed and I wanted the name to match that new vision. The other it’s so hard with a name; someone tells you a name and you instantly have a reaction to that name based on your own experiences. I wanted to give us a fresh start, which was the motivation behind the name change.
How do you pay the bills? All through Firework People? 9-5? Freelance clients? Something totally different?
I’ve been doing this full time since last January. At first it started out as two separate companies – I was doing Firework People and I was freelancing. In the past few months I have been trying to bring them into one.
As a total #girlboss, what does your daily/weekly schedule look like?
I work for home generally, but I do enjoy the flexibility of working from other places. I have this thing that I’ve never met in someone else, but I actually love to work at the mall. So I’ll set myself up in the food court, and I just love this positive energy in the mall, and I don’t drink coffee so there you have it.
I try to keep somewhat regular hours, but I wouldn’t say that’s always been very successful. I actually never set an alarm. I wake up when I want, then usually my hours tend to be something like 10-7. I do a lot of phone meetings, whether just for networking or calling a client. I try to do a lot of things in batches.
I try to schedule all of the social media and blog content on Sundays, because that just makes it easier on myself. If I don’t schedule my social media and then I realize there have been hours or days when content hasn’t been going out it really drains me. Even just doing it ahead of time and putting it in my schedule makes me feel better.
What role has technology played in shaping Firework People? What role does it play in sustaining that project?
It would be very difficult for me to do what I do without technology. Especially for me, being someone where 90% of my client base in not even in my own country. Technology is super important. It’s so important in all of the ways that it can make things happen and make life and business easier. Even in the automation of things – you can almost make technology work for you.
Especially as a business owner it’s like all of that is always in your head. I find even when I’m unplugged digitally, it’s always in my mind.
Would you ever commit to a social media or digital detox?
I haven’t really ever done a detox. I would consider it for one to three days. I actually probably should. I think the thing for me would be having systems in place to handle it.
I definitely find myself sometimes falling into that social media hole – like suddenly wondering why am I on this profile page of someone I don’t even know. I was having that a lot with Facebook – one thing that has kind of helped me is this extension for Google Chrome called Newsfeed Eradicator, that literally just gets rid of your newsfeed and replaces it with an inspirational quote. So then I find myself hardly scrolling anymore on Facebook.
What is your:
Favorite Pre-Internet Hobby: I’ll give you two: Reading, I still love reading and do a lot of it. And the other is playing Monopoly.
Favorite Off-Line Place: I actually love going to the movies by myself. There’s something so calm about being in the dark all by yourself in the theatre.