We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Segura and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Initially, I didn’t choose to start my own business. The opportunity to become a business owner sort of fell into my lap.
A few days after my college graduation I was on the phone with my insurance agent to make a few updates to my policies now that I was out of college. “You went to college…” he said. “Can you make me a website? I really need to get into marketing!”
Being unable to say no to a new opportunity I said sure, I can do that! Next thing I knew I was managing his social media, writing blog posts, and making the finishing touches on a brand new website.
After the success of the website launch, he invited me to speak in front of a California board of insurance agents and teach them about marketing, showing just what I did for him and how they could benefit from similar efforts. Speaking at that event was where I gained my first real set of “clients” and opened the doors of my first agency, Semplicita Marketing.
As I continued to self-teach online marketing and develop an online presence for these insurance agents, I decided the best way to take my knowledge and experience to the next level is to work at a large marketing agency, while continuing to run what was becoming my side-hustle marketing agency.
For years I worked at multiple agencies and in-house as a Marketing Director, trying to learn everything there is about online marketing and running an agency, all while maintaining clients and gaining new ones through additional speaking events.
When I felt truly confident that I had the experience needed to expand my own agency, five years later, I took the leap and quit my full-time Marketing Director role and made my agency (which by that point had been rebranded and renamed about several times) my one and only role.
What was tossed in my lap many, many years ago transpired into an entrepreneurial passion that still drives me today as I recently opened my fourth and largest marketing agency, TopHatSocial.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve learned what makes a company great and what makes a company fail. Simply, it all comes down to the customer.
I’ve had to change my services a thousand times, constantly tweaking the deliverables to make sure what we provide to our clients is exactly what they need, in a language they can understand, and just the right amount of data to help them make a difference.
It’s taken years to fine tune what each service looks like and all thanks to the feedback from our clients. Each time they request XYZ, we add it to our service so the next client gets XYZ without having to ask.
Feedback can be challenging to receive as a business owner, but when you put your pride aside and truly listen you can develop the best product / service out there that your type of customer actually needs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh, I love planning an itinerary!
– Arrive at the San Diego Airport and have lunch at the Embarcadero
– Set sail and embark on a sunset harbor cruise around the bay
– Finish the night off with drinks and dinner in Little Italy
– Spend the day with wildlife at the Safari Park in Escondido
– Finish the day off with a beer or two and a delicious dinner at Stone Brewery
– Beach day! Head over to Mission Beach and rent a bike, pack a picnic and ride around the bay and the beach (don’t forget the rollercoaster!)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I could call the phone company and ask for a list of every call I’ve made to my father over the last decade of my career, but I’m not sure they’d have the time (or the want) to collect all of that data.
Every time I’ve run into an issue with my company, had a big decision to make, or doubted that being a business owner was the right thing to do, my father has been the person I go to.
As a manager in a government sector for several decades, his professional experience would overflow into each of my many questions. He has always supplied me with just the right advice to help succeed the company and my own professional growth. It’s thanks to him, and the countless hours on the phone, that myself and my company is where it is today.
I always recommend fellow business owners to have a business coach because one day, if not everyday, there are going to be big decisions you have to make that could make or break the fate of the company and your success.
I’ve been lucky enough to have my father as that business coach.