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114. Knowing When to Make a Change: Ashley Rector’s Million-Dollar Skill

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Imagine knowing exactly when it’s time to try something different for your business. Or when it’s best to keep going and not make a change at all. You would know you’re always spending your time and energy as efficiently as you can. But it’s surprisingly even more valuable than that.

Meet Ashley Rector

Ashley Rector joins us at the Mompreneur Co. Studio this week and tells us how she’s built a thriving digital marketing agency on the back of knowing when “next” needed to become “now.”

She talks about her first business selling organic tote bags — 50 of them, to be exact — and making the call to close it down with thousands of bags still in inventory. She grew her next business, Harness Magazine, to 6,000 writers while still maintaining her day job as an attorney.

The workload took a serious toll on her mental health though; she left her career as an attorney and sold Harness, knowing it needed outside help to continue growing. She started her digital marketing agency Quimby, recognizing her passion for marketing and realizing how often people asked her for advice about growing engaged communities on social media.

She’s targeting over $1,000,000 in revenue this year.

Now what if Ashley had kept at that tote bag business. Or kept grinding in her career. Or kept plateauing at her magazine.

It’s easy to get stuck at any of those points, whether out of pride, sunk cost fallacy, or a belief that sticking with it was the admirable thing to do. It’s hard to make a change.

Ashley has a skill that sets her apart. Whether it’s listening to her market, to her community, or to herself, knowing when the time for change is “now” secretly also means knowing when the time is “not yet.”

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

Ashley’s (secret!) first business: from 1,000 unsold organic tote bags to 6,000 female writers [01:54]

What she learned from buying thousands of organic tote bags, selling 50 of them, and sunsetting the business not long after starting it up.

Then Ashley talks about how she started and grew her next business, Harness Magazine. She wanted to share authentic stories from women around the world, running contrary to the two most popular women’s magazines at the time.

The ups and downs of the high achiever [07:57]

Ashley ran Harness while still working her full-time job. She tells us how she drove herself into the ground and discovered the power of choosing how to rebuild herself while building her next business.

Knowing when it was time to sell her magazine [14:49]

We get into a little bit of everything here. Life changes, getting pregnant, leaving the law firm, getting drawn back to Cleveland. Feeling spread too thing, recognizing the effects of the stress on her body. Feeling a plateau at Harness and knowing it needed help for the next phase of growth.

Starting Quimby and leaning into what she was best at: growing social community [19:23]

Everyone kept asking Ashely for social media advice and how to grow a community like she had done at Harness. She recognized the sign that she had something special. “People are telling you what you’re good at, are you listening?”

Quimby’s biggest success story so far [22:14]

“It was our work with a period tracker app not built by men.” She harnessed the deep buy-in of the community that organically grew around it. She recognized they would respond to founder-led social material as well as a dedicated team for listening to feature requests. It culminated in a single video pulling in 60,000 app downloads, changing the trajectory of the business forever.

Quick-hitter social media needle movers [25:11]

Brilliant tips from Ashley before shes heads out, including her thoughts on founder-led social media content, “people relate to humans”, a few easy questions to use as prompts for your content, and how she balances content batching, inspiration, and curation.

Learn more about Ashley Rector and Quimby:



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Ashley Rector joins us at the Mompreneur Co. Studio this week and tells us how she’s built a thriving digital marketing agency on the back of knowing when “next” needed to become “now.”
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