She Started A Business At 19 Now She Wants To Help Others Become Young Entrepreneurs

By Mina Corpuz The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ashley Mason launched "Student to CEO" last month. As Mina Corpuz reports, "It includes a Facebook group of entrepreneurs, a podcast with guests who talk about how they started businesses and a blog with advice. All of the resources are free."

Bridgewater

Ashley Mason remembers being 19 and starting a business on top of college classes, work, family and personal time.

She said she didn't always know what she was doing. People questioned how she would succeed or didn't take her seriously because of her age.

Mason said it was a difficult and lonely time.

Four years later, the Bridgewater native and Stonehill College graduate has created Student CEO, a resource to help young adults become entrepreneurs.

"I want to be able to help entrepreneurs in the same place as I was," said Mason, who is 23. "I wanted to give back and inspire people through my own story."

People who have used the platform have found that their experiences with starting businesses were similar to hers. Seeing her succeed has also made them inspired to pursue entrepreneurship, Mason said.

She launched Student to CEO last month. It includes a Facebook group of entrepreneurs, a podcast with guests who talk about how they started businesses and a blog with advice. All of the resources are free.

For recent college graduates, jobs and interviews they lined up may have fallen through because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading them to consider starting a business to get their career going, Mason said.

Some young adults who already graduated and whose jobs may have been affected by the pandemic may be thinking about starting a business and going the entrepreneurial route, Mason said.

Anyone who is thinking of starting a business should take the leap instead of coming up with countless excuses not to, she said.

That advice came in handy when Mason started her own business, a marketing firm called Dash of Social, in 2016. She helps clients with social media, advertising, content marketing like blogging and search engine optimization.

"It's a humbling job," Mason said. "I know the work I'm doing with my clients is directly helping them to grow."

To start the marketing firm, she drew on years of experience from creating content on a blog she started during high school and working as a freelance marketer before college. Mason also networked virtually and interacted with other entrepreneurs.

The same year, Mason's mother, Terry, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor. From her diagnosis, Mason said she saw that life is short and there isn't always time to follow your dreams, so she decided to start her business.

Her mother died in June 2018 at the age of 61. Mason said both of her parents supported her and pushed her and her three sisters to pursue their passions.

In addition to building her business and balancing her life, Mason said she faced challenges from other people who questioned how she was going to succeed.

There is a narrative that people don't start businesses at a young age, she said, and instead the expectation is for them to go to college or get a job with hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

She said people sometimes didn't take her seriously and wanted to see her as an intern or pay her a lower rate. Mason pushed back by showing them that she had the experience to do the work.

"I had to get past my own impostor syndrome," she said.

Looking ahead, Mason would like Student to CEO to host in-person events, like workshops. She is thinking of hosting some virtually, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mason wants to transition into a CEO role at her marketing firm, Dash of Social, by building a staff. In that role, she would be able to oversee the business rather than do the everyday work herself.

"I can do this as long as I stick to my goals," Mason said. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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