Ep. 34

How to Conquer Self-Sabotage Part 1 with Ashley Beaudin

Ashley Beaudin grew up shy, soft-spoken, and unsure of herself and the world around her. Surrounded by an environment in turmoil, she experienced painful trauma and difficulty in her life, which led to self-sabotaging behaviors down the line.

But through the years, Ashley never gave up. She began to create her own recovery program and threw herself into a journey to re-write her story. Today, Ashley shares her story boldly to empower others to show up for themselves, imperfections and all.

Ashley Beaudin’s website: https://www.ashleybeaudin.com/

Jessmyn:
All right, hi guys. Welcome back to Interact’s Creator Stories Podcast. I’m Jessmyn Solana, the host. With me today, I have actually one of our strategic partners, Ashley Beaudin, and I know we talked a little bit before this, so I’m going to let you do your formal introduction, but we worked with you for quite a while, and you’ve had a couple of different businesses at least with Interact. So I’m really excited to get this going, and we have this plan to do this special thing today, where we’re going to talk a little bit deeper into what Ashley does. I know I’m being secretive, but… I know, I’m trying to say it, but not say it, but we do want to go deeper. This may be a two-part episode, so if it is, stay tuned. And yeah, Ashley, do you want to go ahead and talk a little bit more about yourself, your business, how you got started, and then where you are now?

Ashley:
Yeah, absolutely. Well one, I’m super pumped to be here. If we haven’t met, my name is Ashley, and I am a self-sabotage coach. So I help people shift from self-sabotage to self-support. And self-sabotage can be such a big and sometimes emotional topic, but can show up in a lot of different ways, everything from procrastination, perfectionism, and many more, which I feel we can all relate to as entrepreneurs, having those things pop up. And those moments where we’re like, “Why am I doing this? I really want this launch to go well, why am I screwing it up?”

Ashley:
And so I really help people look at why are you doing that, and how can we help you heal and change those patterns? And I have been in business since 2013.

Jessmyn:
Wow.

Ashley:
It’s been an amazing and emotional several years. How I started in business was through community building. If you look at through my entire business history, I feel like the main thing that you would see pop up is this heart for community, and for gathering, and for creating healing spaces. And so my first real official business community was called Firework People, and it was this community that I had created on a whim. I had created it in a time where I had felt so broken, and so like, “Does my life have any meaning anymore?”

Ashley:
I had just come back from volunteering overseas. I had to come home sort of very last minute because of mental health reasons. I was back living with my mom in the town that I grew up in. And I remember at this point, I remember reading through my grade 12 yearbook, and in my grade 12 yearbook, I have all these comments in my grade 12 yearbook from students and teachers that are really nice. They’re like, “Ashley, you are going to change the world.” You know, “My high school experience was amazing because you were in it.” They were very inspirational type things, and I remember reading those comments and thinking, “This is not what I had hoped for when I was a few years out of high school.”

Ashley:
And so I was like, “I need to do something that reminds me that I still have gifts, and I can still make a difference.” And so I started this community called Firework People. It was for women who wanted to use their gifts to make a difference. You can kind of see the parallel there. It really took off. It created this super close-knit community. I had my first experience of making a significant amount of money online at that time. The first thing I ever launched was a group coaching course where I wasn’t even the coach, I was just a facilitator, and we made like $5000.

Jessmyn:
Wow.

Ashley:
Yean, and it’s pretty good for your first-

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And then I think that really created this opening in my mind of like, “I can make money online, and there’s a million different ways to do it.” And so, continued with that community. Over time, a lot of stuff went down, and that community fell apart, and so I’ve had multiple phases in my business since then. I also did things like a subscription box. I was a freelance copywriter for three years. And then I started The Imperfect Boss, which is where Interact came to know me. The Imperfect Boss was a hundred times bigger than Firework People. That was really created out of a heart to show the more imperfect side of running a business, basically what this podcast is about.

Ashley:
And ran the big [inaudible 00:05:23], The Imperfect Boss [inaudible 00:05:24], these hashtag campaigns that went viral, and then two really large camp events over two years, 2018, 2019. And Imperfect Boss has sort of been to the side, because I had a huge wake up call through The Imperfect Boss and through doing the camps. I had been… On the outside, it looked like, “Oh my gosh! So many followers. These camps are huge.” But I wasn’t really making very much profit, and it was this realization of like, “I need to figure out how to actually make money in my business.” And I mean, anyone who does events knows that the profit margins can be pretty small.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And so I was like, “I need to create more structure in my business to give me the space, the room to be able to do some of those things that I love, those community expressions and those larger events. And so that is when I was like, “I need to shift to one-on-one coaching,” which is what I’m doing now. And when I made the decision like, “I need to offer services, I need to go back to coaching,” I didn’t know what it was going to be about. I didn’t know it was going to be about self-sabotage.

Ashley:
But January 2020, I did 27 free coaching calls to kind of figure out, who do I want to serve, and who can I help? And so through that, it became super clear that the calls that I was really able to support people was in the topic of self-sabotage.

Jessmyn:
Ah.

Ashley:
And I remember having this feeling of like, because I had tried coaching in the past, it didn’t go super well. But I had, I mean on the personal side, like outside of business, had really embraced that process of recovery, which I’m fairly open about. And through that process for myself and learning how to sit with my emotions and sit with my self-sabotage, it ended up giving me a lot of tools, and so I realize some of those kind of came out in the coaching session, and I had this feeling of, “Was I always this good at this?”

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
But I think part of it, which I feel like there was a real lesson in that too, of really embracing your process, and can you walk me through your work first for yourself, especially on some of the more personal things. And so I through that, realized, I can really help people heal from self-sabotage, and really get a lot of insight on what this is really about, and how can we help you not just fix yourself, or not just push yourself to do something different, but actually heal you from the root? And so that’s kind of a very brief synopsis of what’s led me here.

Jessmyn:
Oh, my gosh. That’s really cool, because even talking before this, remember I was like, “Oh, did you rebrand? What is it like?” And you were like, “Ah, actually I have a few different businesses.” So I think my first question, because I do want to get into the nitty gritty of all the self-sabotage stuff, but my first question is really, what was it like in that process of like, “Okay, I’m starting this business,” say I’m going to call it Business 1. And you’re going through it and you’re like, “Actually…” At what point did you say, “This isn’t working. I need to continue,” and what did that feel like?

Ashley:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I feel like specifically at the beginning, a lot of it was financial.

Jessmyn:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ashley:
Because I feel like all that other stuff, I could figure out. But the finances, I was like… I had that initial launch of selling this class and making a significant amount of money which allowed me to move out of my mom’s and sort of go on. But then I was like, “I don’t know how to continue this. I don’t know how to keep making money.” It was sort of like that, “Wow, I struck gold, and now I don’t know how to strike gold any more.” And so that was really challenging. There was a lot of points where I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to make this work.”

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And I’ve shared about this a couple of times, but I actually haven’t talked about it that often. In my first year of business, I went on social assistance to make it work.

Jessmyn:
Oh, wow.

Ashley:
And here in Canada, we have social assistance specific to self-employed [inaudible 00:10:35]. And so I was able to work with someone. I remember at the end of my time with using that resource, the caseworker or whatever was like, “Aren’t you so proud of yourself? Your business is making enough money to support you.” And I was like, “Yeah.” Which I feel like shows that real cycle that we can get in, specifically as online business owners, of, “It’s never enough. I’m never making enough money, I never have enough followers.” And so I would find myself caught in that loop for a very long time, like when is it enough?

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
How do I know it’s enough?

Jessmyn:
So I guess, how did you answer that question?

Ashley:
I feel like I didn’t answer that question for many years. I think it was just always a drive for more.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
You know, I would go on to make more money, like $10,000, $20,000, $60,000, $70,000, over a year, and it was just never enough. Because then in the back of my head, I’m caught up in that narrative and that dialogue of, “You’ve got to make $100,000. You have to make $500,000, a million.” And I remember having a moment actually quite recently where I was like, “Do I even want to?”

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And even with followers, I always felt a drive for followers, and part of that comes from my own wounding of, “I just want to be loved, and I want to be seen.” And even though that’s kind of a false experience of being loved and being seen, I feel like it still can give this feel-good moment to the parts of us that are hurting. So I remember having a moment in the last few months where I was like, “I don’t even actually think that I want that many followers.” Like I think I actually value a much slower and more intimate type of life. It’s just something I’m so big on right now, of really sitting back and asking myself, “Why am I going so hard after this? Out of a place of desire, or is it out of a place of different narratives that I picked up in the online business space?”

Jessmyn:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I like that you made that realization / kind of connection with yourself, and what you thought you wanted, I guess you could say. But I really identify with that, because even myself, I think it’s also part of social media culture, right? It’s always like, “How do I get more people to comment on my photo? How do I get more people to like my photo?” And even something that I was diving into recently of my personal Instagram account was [inaudible 00:13:39] Instagram likes, people who comment on other people’s photos, right? That’s how you get more seen, and people will see you if you’re on public and they’re not following you, and so and so. And anyway, recently, I kind of also made that realization of, what am I looking for here? Because what’s crazy with it is, people will comment on your photo and they’ll say the same thing on everyone else’s photo. “So pretty, so beautiful, heart eyes, heart eyes,” and really what are you getting out of that? So I think that’s something that a lot of people can identify with, whether it’s their own business or not.

Ashley:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Jessmyn:
Sorry, I needed to get a sip there after talking. So I guess, how did you… you know, you’re going through this I guess phase of, “Okay, what am I looking for?” And maybe you didn’t really answer it, and it was still ongoing. When you’re going through those pivots and all these kind of self reflections, how did you work through that?

Ashley:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So I feel like in order to answer this question, I have to really paint a picture of what I was going through personally, and then you’ll see as we go on how this really plays a big part into my work.

Jessmyn:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ashley:
Personally, even in my business, at different times there was different levels of success. Personally in the background, I was really struggling on such a very deep and emotional level. I was constantly dealing with a lot of past trauma. I was in huge cycles of self-sabotage through addiction, being… Addiction is like one of these cycles of self-sabotage that can just have this way of creating so much chaos in your entire life. And I really used my work at that point to kind of give myself some meaning and some encouragement. So similar to how sometimes people will use work for their worth, or they’ll use productivity to not feel their feelings, I was definitely caught up in a lot of that cycle. And so because of that, it sort of created this element of… it really just created this pattern. I would say that the pattern was sort of that, I was really struggling personally, and to cope with that, I would do these really big things in my business, in my work, and then if they didn’t work out, I would just go back to struggling personally. If they did work out, I would have this fleeting moment of, “Maybe I’ll be okay, maybe I’ll be okay,” but then of course it would be fleeting because at the background, it had the base of what I was experiencing in my day to day life, was this real self-sabotage.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And so it was really hard at that point to change and heal, because the self-sabotage was so active. And so I would say it wasn’t even until I was able to start in recovery for addiction, that I was able to start to look at, why are some of these patterns happening? And also start to really detangle my work from my worth, my work from my identity, I would say, and from this place of just like… it was almost like sometimes I could just hear my heart saying, “Do I still matter? Let’s use my work to prove to myself that I do.”

Jessmyn:
I love that. I think it’s important to always check in with yourself too, and really ask the hard questions. I know I don’t own Interact, but my role in Interact is one whole department, right?

Ashley:
Yeah.

Jessmyn:
It’s most of marketing, and I think that’s where I really connected with your self-sabotage business, was that I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m in this position where I have a lot of…” I don’t know if freedom is the right word, but freedom to figure out what our next steps are for the year, how we’re go do this, and as cool as it is, and as exciting as it is, I always kind of stop and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, is this happening? Why is it me doing it? Should I be doing it?”

Jessmyn:
And it’s crazy, when I think even yesterday, I had a call with someone from another company where they were also the growth marketing team for their company, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, he sounds so eloquent. He is much more experienced than I am, and I’m still in my 20s. What am I doing here on this call?” And I had to take a step back and I just told myself, “You know what? This is just your imposter syndrome talking.” And personal growth is scary, is pretty much what I came to the conclusion of, and I was like, “It is really scary,” and you kind of have to just keep moving. But that self-check was super important. I mean, I’m not good at it, I will say. And I will say that in the past, it took a while for me to get to this point where you will kind of self-reflect and say, “Hey, you’re doing this thing. Keep a check on that. Keep an eye on it.”

Ashley:
Yes. Yeah, yeah, that checking in is such an important tool. I feel like it’s probably one of the most foundational tools for me. I was consistently checking in and seeing, “How am I? What’s going on here?”

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
“How can I support myself in this moment?”

Jessmyn:
Yeah. So this probably does tie more into the whole self-sabotage part of your business, but would you say, I guess for people listening, that that whole kind of self reflection, checking in with yourself, that doesn’t necessarily… I don’t want to make it definitive like it doesn’t go away, but it’s a good practice to continue doing.

Ashley:
Yeah. Yeah. It is. It is so important. I would say, because often when I talk about self-sabotage, I talk about, how is that opposite of self-sabotage, is self-support. And the best way to know how to [inaudible 00:20:49] support yourself is through knowing what you need, which you’ll have to check in. And I think the mistake that a lot of people make is that they’re just giving themselves what they think they need or they should need at this point, and not checking in to see if that, “Actually, what’s going on for me, is that actually what I need, or is it actually what will be really supportive to me in this moment?” So I feel like it’s a lifelong practice, just like brushing your teeth.

Jessmyn:
Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got to get used to it, and you have to build the habit, pretty much.

Ashley:
Yeah. And it gets easier over time. I mean, I do a lot of check-ins in many different ways. It’s so second nature for me that it doesn’t even take a lot of thought or energy in some ways. So it definitely gets easier, especially if you’re someone, you know, maybe just feels uncomfortable because you haven’t done it that often, where there’s different things that come up that you don’t want to face. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Jessmyn:
Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that’s super important. So, I’m trying to think of having more last-minute questions before, I feel like the self-sabotage will turn into its whole conversation, so I’m hesitant to start it now. But I guess my last question in terms of your story is really just for people out there who don’t know when it’s time to take the next step, or totally change, or pivot their business, or even just tweak little things, I guess what was something that you maybe in your self-reflection or your self-checking, that you did or kind of talked to yourself about in finally making that switch, or finally moving forward?

Ashley:
Yeah, so I would say there’s two different kind of checks. So, the one is profitability, [inaudible 00:22:51], like is, am I actually making money? Am I actually making enough money from the energy and time that it is taking to create these things? If I am, yay. If I’m not, is this something where I need to just embrace the process and stay in this a little bit longer? Or is this something where it’s like, I need to really focus on things that brings profitability over things that just aren’t working.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And I think especially when you’re first starting out, the goal is profitability, and everything that you prioritize should be about that. I think that’s a thing that a lot of entrepreneurs starting out get lost in, of like, “Well, I do all these things, being on all these social media channels, and do all these things for free,” but really, every task, looking at it like, is this making money? Is super important, because at least in a lot of the people that I coach, they get really stuck in not making money. They just stay in that cycle.

Ashley:
But then the second one I would say is, “Does this light me up, or does this feel good to me? Does this make me come alive?” So for example, when I was in copywriting, it was one of these situations where I was really good at it, but I really didn’t like it.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And there are a lot of copywriters out there who love what they do.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
but that was not me. I was like, “My soul is being emptied.” Every time. And so it had kind of become like a side hustle in my full-time hustle, to figure out things. For me, I had to reflect on this of like, “Is this what I want? Is this how I can best serve people?” For example, if you are… I really honestly believe that if you’re running a business and you’re not excited about the work that you’re doing, you’re not truly serving people to that full extent that they can be served. And so it’s a greater service to really look at, “What do I really want to do? What really gets me excited? How can I truly support people in a way that really uses my gifts, and also makes me come alive?” And so those are sort of the two different times I’ve had to pivot and [crosstalk 00:25:38].

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
Two different types of situations obviously, to really reflect on.

Jessmyn:
I think that’s really great advice, and I think people don’t talk about that enough of, do you actually like what you’re doing? And even in the marketing for Interact, a lot of people ask, “Oh, My quiz isn’t doing this, it’s not doing that.” Or like, “I thought I’m asking these questions. Why aren’t people responding?” Or, “People will start it and they’ll stop.” A lot of marketing in general, or even just your business and your brand, has to do with yourself, like who are you? Like your authenticity. And that shows through if you actually are enjoying what you’re doing, if it makes sense. And I think also kind of figuring out that part of your business is number one before actually doing anything else, and figuring out, “This is what I want to do because I do enjoy it,” and that really shines through. And people will buy from you, or they will become loyal to you as a brand because of that.

Ashley:
Absolutely.

Jessmyn:
At least that’s my perspective.

Ashley:
No, I tot agree. Yeah. I mean, I feel like this is a pretty common marketing thing, is it’s really hard to sell if you’re not excited about your services.

Jessmyn:
Yeah.

Ashley:
And so, how can you get into that place of joy [crosstalk 00:27:09] doing?

Jessmyn:
Yeah. Yeah. I feel like that’s a big word, just, place of joy. Love that a lot.

Ashley:
Yeah. That’s how I would describe it.

Jessmyn:
Yeah. No, I think that’s great.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.