167. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Ashley Stahl

July 2, 2024

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Ready to level up your career and personal brand? Tune into this episode of the Financial Feminist podcast, where Tori sits down with Ashley Stahl, former counterterrorism pro turned entrepreneur, and personal branding expert. 

Ashley shares her incredible journey from working in national security under the Obama administration to becoming a leading expert in personal branding and TEDx coaching. With nearly 9 million views on her TED Talk and a podcast ranked among the top 100 mental health shows in the US, Ashley’s insights are not only inspiring but also actionable for anyone looking to make a significant impact in their professional life. Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, or someone eager to enhance your career, this episode is packed with valuable advice and real-world strategies that will help you elevate your game.

Key Takeaways:

  • The power of personal branding: Personal branding is not just for entrepreneurs; it’s essential for anyone wanting to control their narrative and open up new opportunities. By presenting an authentic and consistent image, you can attract unexpected opportunities and significantly impact your career trajectory.
  • Overcome imposter syndrome: Imposter syndrome is a common challenge, even for highly successful individuals. The key to overcoming it is to start despite the fear. Taking action helps build confidence and allows you to discover your strengths and passions over time.
  • Just start: You don’t need to have all the answers before you start. Beginning the journey, whether it’s launching a business, starting a podcast, or pursuing a new career path, is crucial. The experience gained along the way is invaluable and helps you refine your goals and methods.
  • Curate and create content: Originality is not always about creating new ideas but about presenting existing information in a unique and relatable way. Curating valuable insights and adding your personal touch can make your content stand out and resonate deeply with your audience..
  • Commit to excellence and resilience: Success requires a steadfast commitment to excellence and the resilience to face setbacks. Building a personal brand or business involves continuous improvement and the ability to navigate and learn from challenges without taking them personally.
  • Choose the right platform: Select the platform that best aligns with your skills and where your target audience spends their time. Whether it’s through podcasts, TEDx talks, or social media, dedicating consistent effort to your chosen platform can significantly boost your visibility and influence.

Notable quotes

“Create your brand or people will create it for you. And the world will create your reputation for you if you have not done the diligence of creating your reputation.”

“The internet has the power to multiply you in ways that you can’t do alone, so you might as well pick your island and put your voice on it, and remember that you have permission to change.”

“Narcissism is a spectrum. But for the people who are like, “I don’t really know what the point of this for me,” here’s my answer — The TEDx Talk that we gave, gave me a five-year spokesperson deal, it gave me five book deal offers, it gave me a speaking agent, it put me on a speaking tour, I tripled my keynote fees…There’s at least $1 to 2 million of revenue for my business tied to it.”

Episode at-a-glance:

≫ 06:43 The power of personal branding

≫ 11:35 Navigating TEDx Talks and personal branding

≫ 18:29 Finding your path 

≫ 28:46 Subway stories and storytelling elements

≫ 29:13 Elevator pitch formula and viral success

≫ 30:43 Content creation and pivoting strategies

≫ 31:52 Curating and adding value

≫ 33:01 Overcoming imposter syndrome

≫ 33:52 Building momentum and personal authority

≫ 34:47 Choosing your topic and expertise

≫ 44:15 Starting and sustaining a business

≫ 52:55 First steps to growing your personal brand

Ashley’s Links:

Visit ashleystahl.com/TEDx to learn more about how Ashley and her team can help you write and book your TEDx talk.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Thrive Causemetics: Get an exclusive 10% off your first order at thrivecausemetics.com/FFPOD

Squarespace: Go to www.squarespace.com/FFPOD to save 10% off your first website or domain purchase.

Hill House: Visit hillhousehome.com and use the discount code TORI at check out for 15% off.

Bossbabe: Subscribe to The Bossbabe Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform to level up your business this year.


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Meet Ashley

Ashley Stahl is the founder of Wise Whisper Ghostwriting house, where she has helped more than 40 changemakers write their TEDx talks– and she has gotten 39 of those clients booked on the TEDx stage. As a counterterrorism professional under the Obama Administration turned entrepreneur and international bestselling author of the book called YOU TURN: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction,
Design Your Dream Career, she’s passionate about helping others share authentic wisdom and stories that deeply inspire their audiences. With nearly 9 million views, her TED talk is ranked amongst the top 100 on the Internet, and her show, The You Turn Podcast, is ranked amongst the top 100 mental health shows in the United States. Her most important message is this: don’t do what you love, do what you ARE. Visit ashleystahl.com/tedx to learn more about how Ashley and her team can help you write and book your TEDx talk.


Ashley Stahl:

I think that’s one of the most painstaking questions people can ask, it’s like, we spend 90,000 hours of our time on this planet awake at work, it’s almost two thirds of our time awake, it makes sense to me that we need to get an answer on how do we want to be using that time, because if you hate your job, chances are you kind of hate your life. It’s not very fun to hate everything you’re doing. It’s too much time going out of not being happy.

Tori Dunlap:

Hi, financial feminists, welcome to the show. I’m thrilled to see you, as always. If you’re an oldie but a goodie, welcome back, and if you’re new here, my name is Tori, I fight the patriarchy by making you rich. I’m a New York Times bestselling author of a book also called Financial Feminist, that’s available wherever you get your books, and if you’re on Spotify, it’s available right in your Spotify app, probably for free if you’re a premium subscriber. We’ve helped 5 million women save money, pay off debt, start investing, start businesses, and feel financially confident. And today on the show is one of my all time favorite guests and a friend of mine in real life, this is her second time on the show, and we loved her first episode so much we had to have her back. Ashley Stahl is the founder of Wise Whisper ghostwriting house, where she has helped more than 40 changemakers write their TEDx Talks, and 39 of those clients make it to the TEDx stage.

As a counterterrorism professional, under the Obama administration, turned entrepreneur and international bestselling author of the book called U-Turn, we talked about this in her first episode, she’s passionate about helping others share authentic wisdom and stories that deeply inspire their audiences. With nearly 9 million views, her TED Talk has ranked amongst the top 100 on the internet, and her show, The U-Turn Podcast, has raked amongst the top 100 mental health shows in the United States. Her most important message is this, “Don’t do what you love, do what you are.” We talked about a couple things in this episode, imposter syndrome, and all the ways it shows up to derail us, and the power of a personal brand, really getting to what lights you up, as well as how to advocate for yourself in the workplace.

We also discuss finding your content and creative niche, especially if you’re someone who’s like, I don’t know what I want to do, there’s so many people out there doing this, how do I navigate all of that? We’re talking about it today. So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and get into it. But first, a word from our sponsors. My parents both could not drive without glasses or contacts, and I’m probably at that level.

Ashley Stahl:

Oh, wonderful. I just wrote a TEDx Talk for a client on, he had a baseball average of 500… It exceeded Babe Ruth’s baseball average, when he was 10 or 12 years old.

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

The next season, he kept missing all his shots, and all these people started giving him a hard time, like, try harder, do this, do that… In the end, it turns out he was blind, he lost his vision.

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

And so, it’s a talk about confounding variables, about the things we don’t consider and we just start blaming things based on what-

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

Yeah, meets the eye, that’s a good one. I put that in there. But you did see what I did there.

Tori Dunlap:

Yeah, you write that one down. He is blind, but now he sees.

Ashley Stahl:

Exactly. Tori, why do you have a full-time business, it would be so much more fun to just talk to you, and be entertained with you, about all of our problems.

Tori Dunlap:

I am so excited you’re back on the show. You are one of our favorite guests. I actually, people ask me, what podcast are you’re listening to? And I’m like, honestly, sometimes my own, and the episode I go back to is the episode with you.

Ashley Stahl:

Oh my God.

Tori Dunlap:

Because it’s the best. It’s so impactful. And if you guys haven’t listened to the first episode as we’re recording the second, please go listen to that, it’s a good precursor. But what have you been up to since then? I think the last time we talked maybe was a year and a half ago.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah. Well, first of all, isn’t it wild how much we need our own podcast? It just shows [inaudible 00:03:59]-

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

Because sometimes you get imposter syndrome, maybe, maybe not, and you’re like, am I providing value? And then it’s like you listen to your own thing. But yeah, so much has happened. The short of it is, forever ago, in my 20s, when I worked in national security, and I know we talked a little bit about that on the last podcast, I got this award, it was one of those 30 under 30 things, but for security people. So, it’s like a nerdy publication, that’s like, you’re making achievements in the national security arena, and you’re under 33 years old. It was 33 under 33, or something like that. My dad flew out, and I ended up getting a TEDx Talk referred to me because of that, and I was 23, 24 years old.

And I just remember back then being like, oh my gosh, how am I going to speak in front of people? I’ve never spoken on a stage in my life, and now I have this TEDx situation, which I was grateful for, but terrified. I found somebody in the administration, I was working in Obama administration, not for him direct, I was working at Department of Defense, but I found one of his speechwriters, I’m like, “Can you give me some tips? Because I’m about to mortify myself in front of…” And it was a big TEDx, it was 4,000 people. And he gave me this little structure, and the talk ended up going viral, but over the years, I always felt like I need to redeem myself with myself, because this talk is not an example of who I am, or what I can do. And I gave another one in 2019, that one hit the top 100 on the internet, and I started telling all my career coaching clients, “You’ve got to do one of these.”

So, I started helping people write outline talks, like, oh, you have 10 sessions with me, use a few of them on this, this is just a no-brainer thing. Then I started referring them to somebody that could book them for TEDx Talks, pitch them, get them booked. I saw the woman book every single one, all 40 of my referrals, and then we put it in house. And now, I have a whole agency, and I’m just like TEDx lady all of a sudden, not affiliated officially with TEDx in any way, but just a lot of people who want to write one and book one have been coming to find me. And it’s been a really intimate, interesting experience to get to know people on the level that I have.

And I never would’ve calculated what it’s like for people who are investing in this because I would assume they’re not going to be scared to get on stage for a TEDx Talk when they’ve exited five companies, and whatever they’ve done, written a New York Times bestseller, like you have. It’s the whole gamut. But people are nervous, and it’s just a reminder, nerves never end, no matter how much you achieve. So, yeah, since we last spoke, I’ve literally written over 67 TEDx Talks, and booked nearly all of them. And I am just a personal branding machine since you last saw me.

Tori Dunlap:

That’s amazing. Well, I feel like this is a perfect just dive straight into the conversation. I do feel like I have a pretty lengthy resume at this point, I’m very proud of our accomplishments at HFK, and proud of what I’ve done personally, but there is something about a TED Talk that feels even for me, who could get up right now and speak about 10 different things and knock your socks off. There’s something about a TED Talk that just feels so serious. Of like, oh, this is my moment, and to your point about TED Talks going viral, there’s plenty of TED Talks out there that no one’s ever seen, and then there’s some that, you think of Brené Brown’s, that changed the course of her entire life and career. So, I get that even, I imagine I’m a similar person to a lot of the folks you’re working with, where, yeah, I’m not scared to get on stage, although a lot of people are, but there is a level of a TED Talk that I would be nervous about, because it just feels high stakes.

Ashley Stahl:

100%, and it kind of is… It is and it’s not, right? You could view it as another thing, I think what makes it high stakes is people know the opportunity that exists if you do it right. And so, it’s like, I’ve been telling people, number one, you want to memorize it, because when you memorize… And I hate offering that, because it feels forced. But the thing is, a lot of TED Talks or anything from… And when I say TED, I mean TEDx, because I know the TED brand is pretty much invite only, and then the TEDx brand, which is a license from them, you can pitch yourself and secure a talk, and there’s hundreds if not thousands of those events. They’re hard to get, it’s tedious to get, but it’s very possible to get, and we’ve had a really flowy time with it, at this point.

But people say, okay, well, it’s 10 to 19 minutes, if you look at the TED channel, you see short ones, long ones. I always tell people, if you’re going to do it, write a shorter one because you’re getting the same personal brand value as you would doing a long one, why are you writing a 19-minute talk? That’s six pages in Times New Roman, 12, 19 minutes, I do a rule, 115 words a minute, when I think about the structure of something being written. So, I tell people, write a 10-minute one because that’s no more than three pages typed, you can do that. And if you get a yes, if you book a talk, I’ve talked to the bookers, and they’re very like, well, they don’t see it as a difference, if you’re pitching a shorter talk. If you have the talk already written, they’re not going to dispute it, if they like it, they’re going to say, great, keep it as it is.

They’re not going to say, this would be great if it was longer. And you get about three to six months out, if you get a yes from a TEDx event, and you’re pitching yourself, they run three to six months out. And so, you have plenty of time to memorize three pages. And once you’ve memorized it, it gives you the space to get out of looking for your words in your head on stage, and into being a true performer. And that’s the thing, I went to see Hamilton in New York, and I was thinking to myself, oh my God, these tickets are expensive, but what you’re getting on a Thursday, for Hamilton, is what you’re getting on Friday. People pay a lot for consistency, they don’t want you up there at Hamilton channeling your lines this time. It’s a performance. And it’s funny, I have offered time to some of our speakers, after we write and book their TEDx for them, and said let’s go through it.

And they are always so surprised by how much I’m like, you need to put a little more jeuje into your enthusiasm. It feels like such a big stage, you just want your body to be smaller on there. So, I tell people, don’t be afraid to raise your hands all the way up, and go all the way… I could talk forever about this stuff. The short of it is, after 15 years being a business owner, we’ve all done this stuff, right, Tori? You’ve done the books, and the things, and they’re all heartfelt, in theory, that’s the goal, is to care about what you’re doing. I have written more than 600 blog posts for Forbes, I’ve probably provided more than 100 blog posts to other platforms, I’ve probably been on 20 to 50 TV coverages, nothing has done for me what a 12-minute TEDx has done.

And so, for me, I’m like, why are we all pushing so hard in our businesses when there is a one and done, set it, forget it, 80/20… And I say that respectfully, I don’t say that like throw it up and don’t care. I say care so hard, and then step back and let it do the work for you. That’s what good investments of your time, money, energy are supposed to do.

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

I guess I just heard you on the investment topic, but you know what I mean.

Tori Dunlap:

Yeah. We’re just diving right in. So, we got to take a step back. So, you and I are business owners, who already understand the importance of getting out there, doing things, showing up. And I will say, as a quick side note, as a theater major, as someone who did theater growing up, I was 100% more likely to get a role in an audition if my monologue that I had prepared, I knew in my bones.

Ashley Stahl:


Tori Dunlap:

Because then you’re just nervous about the thing, you’re not nervous about dropping a line. And that sounds like the same thing, but it’s very different. You will be nervous, you will be excited before you do anything, but if you know you know your material, that’s never going to be an issue. I have been in auditions where I have shown up and not known my monologue very well, or I memorized it the night before, and the difference in your nerves, I’m not as confident, anyway. It’s know your shit, memorize it, know it up and down.

So, let’s talk about four people who might be business owners, might want to be business owners, or who are just figuring out why is personal branding important? Let’s talk about that. You’ve said, at its worst, a personal brand is delusional, which is such a great interesting statement. Break down the power of a personal brand, and especially for women who might not feel confident in themselves, who have that little bit of imposter syndrome, who maybe do have these wild dreams of doing a TED Talk, or writing a book, or speaking on stages. How do we get there?

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah. I say at its worst it’s delusional, because think about Tinder Swindler, Inventing Anna… And we are sensitive to that. How many people rent a Lamborghini back in 2015 to do their Facebook ads and pretend it’s their Lamborghini? Look at what I’ve created, you can have it too. It’s not the best of personal branding. But here’s what I learned working in national security and counterterrorism, is if you look at politicians of the past, and I’ll say no names, but anybody could think of anything, right? Think of a political scandal that you know all too well. Usually, whether it’s a senator, or president, political candidate, they bounce back just fine in no time. They’re back at it, they’re getting their speaking fees, they’re doing whatever they’re doing in their career after being senator, president, whatever. The victim spends decades repairing who they are, and their reputation. They are known for so long as the whatever person, that this happened to them.

Tori Dunlap:

Monica Lewinsky. Yep.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah. So, here’s the thing, right? Create your brand or people will create it for you. And the world will create your reputation for you, if you have not done the diligence of creating your reputation. It doesn’t mean being inauthentic, it means putting honest communication out there. And on top of that, people don’t realize… Like Yelp, for example. I don’t think a lot of business owners know that somebody can create a Yelp account for your business, you don’t even have to be the one that does it, and review you. So, they can go create your brand on Yelp, like a random stranger who doesn’t like you, today. So, I don’t say that to spark any fear, as much as to empower people, to say, okay, I get to create this, and I get to control the narrative, and it’s time that you don’t let any Tinder Swindler vibes come get you.

When I think about what I’m creating now, so my business is called Wise Whisper, and it’s interesting because I think about all the personal brand agencies, where, for a long time… And we saw the emails, Tori, and anybody listening to this that started a business, or even if you thought about it, you know this exists. It’s like, the giveaway, and you are not really building a brand, you’re just tricking people into pressing a blue button, and they don’t actually want to hear what you have to say. So, you have the perception of influence but not the actual influence. And people talk about, it’s all about who you know. I do think it’s also who knows you, and I don’t mean that from an egoic place, I mean that from, have you really connected and shared and provided value, people know that from you? And so, I’ve really worked hard in the past year to build something that is the shortcut for people taking the long cut.

I’m trying to curate a business where we are not serving people that are in Tinder Swindler energy, say that five times… Tinder Swindler. And I’ve been really trying to ask myself, what does it mean? And a question I ask people all the time is, how do you want to make people feel? What are some words that are a representation of that? And a deeper question for anybody listening, and I know a lot of people will think of this sort of question with TEDx, but I actually think about it more, which is personal branding, is what do you seem to really understand about the world, about life, about your work, that you want other people to really get? And how would the world be different? How would people be different if they really got it? And what are the pillars of content that you need to be providing to help people get it?

So, that’s just one facet of it, but I will say, personal brands, you can pivot on top of them. So, I think it’s something that people who don’t even have a business, don’t even know what they want to do in their career, don’t realize how powerful it is, that it can just carry them. So, a lot of people will say, how do I stay relevant? I want to make a pivot, I’ve been doing fitness and now I want to do fashion. And all my people are going to stop following me, or all the people aren’t going to listen to me because I worked in a bank for three years, and what does that have to do with fashion? And I don’t even have followers. Or whatever. But when you build trust with people on any topic, they’ll come with you on the other. And granted, some people aren’t going to have the interest.

But I had a conversation with my friend Andrea [inaudible 00:17:37], and she was talking to me about relevance. And we realized that relevance is resonance. When you are relevant for somebody, what’s happening is that you’re deeply resonating for them. And in order to deeply resonate for other people, you need to resonate with yourself. You need to feel that deep sense of belief. And we’ve all been there before, I imagine, Tori, all your social media posting, you know when you put your heart into a post. And you get met, usually. You see people feel you’re feeling. So, it’s like that made you relevant in the social channel, right? The resonance. So, when people think about making a pivot, not knowing who they are, how do I make sense of my brand? I always point people back to, don’t forget the importance of your own resonance. Don’t just do this because it’s a strategy, do you feel this in your bones when you’re speaking it and sharing it?

Tori Dunlap:

I love all of that, and I also want to highlight, I think if I’m a listener who isn’t a business owner, or who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur, I’m going, what’s the point of a personal brand though? Talk to me about that.

Ashley Stahl:

Okay. So, I think everybody should have one, and we’ve seen it all before, we’ve seen everything from your mom’s cat to your neighbor’s armpit having a personal brand. I don’t know if I’m exaggerating, but it feels true. It just feels like they’re everywhere. So, here’s the thing, you don’t have to have a business, you don’t have to know if you want to have a business, you do need to ask yourself, where do you think you provide the most value? What do you like to talk about, that you know is a topic you could commit to? And when you do that, when you create an audience, whether it’s on Instagram… And here’s the thing, I think the internet is like a bunch of islands. TEDx is an island, it’s a powerful island. I wrote a Forbes column for a lot of years, that’s an island. TV is an island. Podcasting is an island.

Whether you guest on a ton of them, or you have a bunch of episodes. It’s an island that people can visit, they can experience you, and the question is, and it almost ties into our last episode we recorded, is around core skill set, and career pivots. It’s like, which island meets your core skill set best? If you hate video, obviously we do need to care if you eventually want to start business, or eventually want to have a certain type of career where your ideal customers or whatever’s are. But in the meantime, if you don’t really know the answer to that, you don’t even know you want to have a business or brand, at least being able to ask yourself, what topic do I want to share about? And what platform is using my core skill set, in the way that you and I discussed, Tori, in that last episode about career clarity and pivots.

Because I knew for some people it’s like TikTok is great because they’re sound bite people, they’re very good. And I say that not in a demeaning way, I think it’s very impressive. They can get something across quickly. They know how to do it on TikTok. Instagram, for a long time, it was about being aesthetic, and being a good writer. All these platforms change over time. TEDx is if you’re a good writer, and by the way, I used to tell my therapist all the time, I wish I could write talks and not give them, because I hate how my body feels when everybody’s looking at me. Who likes it? Some people do. But yeah, you like, I love that for you, Tori, I love you so much.

Tori Dunlap:

I just raised my hand. No, being on a stage is where I feel most comfortable.

Ashley Stahl:

I love that for you so much. I feel [inaudible 00:20:59].

Tori Dunlap:

Maybe that makes me a narcissist, I don’t know. I love it. It’s where that feel most comfortable, it’s actually, ironically, I hate showing up and doing branded videos. It’s one of my least favorite parts of my job.

Ashley Stahl:

That’s so funny. Well, there is a healthy level of narcissism, we all have, to having a personal brand. Narcissism is a spectrum. But for the people who are like, I don’t really know what the point of this for me, here’s my answer. The TEDx Talk that we gave, gave me a five-year spokesperson deal, it gave me five book deal offers, it gave me a speaking agent, it put me on a speaking tour, I tripled my keynote fees… There’s at least one to 2 million of revenue for my business tied to it. Forget the business side of it, it created mysticism in my life. What happened was I put my energy out, and instead of being in masculine energy, which is not a bad thing, we have all energies. The trademark of an evolved person, and I’m not a spiritual woo person, but I love this stuff still, and I respect this stuff. At its best, well-intended harnessed masculine energy is in pursuit, right? It’s going outwards.

So, that’s what we’re doing in our day-to-day life in our career. We’re pushing, we’re doing, we’re executing. But feminine energy is such a warm and cuddly little blanket for your career, so you don’t even need to know what’s going to come to you. But what you’re doing is you’re putting energy out, and it’s very powerful in your self-discovery journey, because the things that came and found me from my TEDx Talk, being SoFi’s spoke spokesperson for almost four or five years, I would’ve never thought of that myself. But it influenced my career, it made me think differently, it gave me new ideas. And it used a lot of my time in the best way, I really enjoyed it. So, my point is you don’t know what you’re going to attract, but you know that by putting energy out, you are contributing to this mystical sense of things coming to find you, and people, a whole force field of people out there, thinking of you, and thinking of opportunities for you that are not you. And you get to just sit there and receive response to that, and become a filter.

And I can’t recall if we talked about this, Tori, I think we did about lily pads in your career, and we talked about… I don’t know if we did. Yeah, we did. I talked about the first lily pad is people that think everything’s fine, and then the second lily pad is when people swim on over, and they kind of do the work in the zone of my book, U-Turn, which is about getting clarity, and working in your zone of genius. That lily pad is super cool, because then you’re doing work that you’re not forcing yourself to be someone else, people notice talented people, and it’s easier to be talented when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. If anybody puts me in an operations role, I’m going to flounder quick and not look very talented. Put me in a writing role, people aren’t going to believe what they see.

So, it’s like, I know my zone of genius, I’m on the second lily pad. Your life becomes a filter system. Yes, no, yes, no… Do I want this? Do I not? So, when you put your personal brand out there, you don’t need to know what you want out of your career, you do need to know what topic you want to speak on, or share from, you do need to know what island of the internet matches your skill set, and you do need to trust that you’re inviting energy back at you. And that is a part, I think, of the human experience that is so beyond business, that I think helps us self-actualize in ways that we would’ve never done in the matrix, that usually requires us to push, and earn, and brainstorm, and create every single thing, versus receive, and say yes or no.

Tori Dunlap:

You just gave so much information that’s so good. So, I think the natural next question for a listener is I want a lot of things, how do I determine what path to take? Or the flip side, which I hear a lot, which is, I actually don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want to do. I have certain dreams, or I have certain… But I don’t know what I want to do.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah. I think even just that first episode we recorded about career pivots and my book, writing that, there was so much soul in that because I think that’s one of the most painstaking questions people can ask. It’s like, we spend 90,000 hours of our time on this planet awake, at work, it’s almost two thirds of our time awake, it makes sense to me that we need to get an answer on how do we want to be using that time. Because if you hate your job, chances are you kind of hate your life. It’s not very fun to hate everything you’re doing. It’s too much time going out, of not being happy. So, I would say, when it comes to personal branding, going back to the relevance resonance piece, it’s like, well, what do you resonate with right now?

And I think that one thing, having written so many TEDx Talks for clients, so far, I’m finding is, out of, we have about 30 on deck right now, out of that 30, there’s probably two clients that, I try to filter for this, they just don’t have as much of a body of thought on things. So, I’m doing a little more lifting on the writing side, on my behalf. I’m happy to do it, but I would say in retrospect to those types of clients, I wish you were doing… Because I’m following their lead. I’m helping them brainstorm, but if they want us to do a talk on leadership because they’ve been an HR executive for 15 years, who am I to say, maybe you want to do it on cats, because you love your cats so much? I don’t know. I would advise somebody that if you’re going to pick a topic, pick something you really have a lot to say about. And I think one of the most vulnerable things in personal brand, and the most important things, is saying something that you actually believe is true, and is original thought.

So, for example, I remember early in my career when I was a career coach… Because I was at that for almost 15 years after leaving national security, and before now just running an agency. But in my career coaching land, I just remember all these years, thinking, okay, how do I change my mind about what I want to do? How do I share what I actually have to say? And I remember the first blog post I ever wrote that I had original advice in. It’s not to say that anything I wrote didn’t have original advice, but I was playing it safe. Here’s my three steps for salary negotiation. They’re kind of indisputable, it’s not like it’s what everybody’s saying, which by the way, when it comes to branding and having your own voice, the best people I think I’ve followed to learn from aren’t always so original in the one thought that they have to say, what makes them original is that they’re curators.

Someone that’s like, I’ve read 27 books on this thing, and they can pull all those bodies of works. Like, Terry Real in the relationship space says this. Esther Perel is going to say that, this person’s going to say that. They can present all the bodies of works, and then chime in with their thought on those bodies of work. That makes you a powerful brander, that makes you a powerful content creator. So, a lot of people are like, I don’t know what to say, I’m like them curate. Collect information and have a take on it, and don’t be afraid to have a take on it. That’s the bare minimum. But it’s also about how you express yourself, right?

When I talk about salary negotiation, I have courses hiding in the bowels of my internet pages somewhere, and I talk about salary negotiation in one of them. And it’s like, I talk to my students, and I say, talk about the number like you’re ordering a sandwich at Subway. Do you want pickles? Do you want olives? It’s neutral. Yes, I want this, yes… Ask questions from your Subway order energy. Obviously, I’m pretty basic ordering from Subway all the time, but don’t hate. But point being, it’s like, that’s what made it original is the stories or the lens through which I looked at it. I might’ve been giving a negotiation tip, but I was looking at it through a Subway lens. So, it’s also your elements of storytelling that make you different, it’s not about having a totally different approach to everything. So, I remember I had my own formula to come up with an elevator pitch, and I still use it to this day, which, funny enough, the speech writing formula I learned from somebody in the president’s speech writing team, I still use to this day.

It’s 15 years later, and all my viral stuff comes straight from it. So, the oldies sometimes are the goodies. So, I always look back and say, look, that was the Ashley that had no idea what business to start, just knew a thing that was working for her, and to this day, 15 years in a business, I still think that method I came up with is the best that I’ve come up with. So, if you’re sitting here now, and you don’t have a business, you don’t have a platform, don’t discount what you already know. Don’t have a belief that you need a platform in order to be credible with what you have to say. It’s really about you playing the game, and I do think personal branding is a bit of a game, but I also think it is one of the highest forms of self-expression, because the internet has the power to multiply you in ways that you can’t do alone, so you might as well pick your island and put your voice on it, and remember that you have permission to change. You can course correct.

But as long as you’re sharing content that you resonate with, and you feel like you’ve got horsepower behind. For example, I’m really into wellness, but I really don’t know enough about the supplements I’m taking to create a wellness page and give advice. So, just because into it, I’m like, that sounds like a lot of content I can’t easily have squeeze out of myself. So, I think it’s asking yourself, what do you have a lot to say about, and remembering that you can think later about how you want to change that. You can add new content pillars into your main set of content and you could pivot over that way. So, instead of posting five days a week about this one thing, that thing becomes three days a week and your new thing becomes two days a week, and then it becomes three, and then it takes over.

So, it’s really just about creating an ecosystem for yourself that holds you through your pivots. And as you stay relevant because you commit to that resonance, and you change what resonates for you, change what feels like purpose for you, people are willing to come with you because you are a curator, you are providing value. And I’ll never forget that day I shared with that editor my elevator pitch steps, that post was the most viral post I ever did. And it ended up getting picked up in Asia and put into 30 languages all over the internet, and it was like, oh my gosh, this is the permission and validation I needed to remember that your original thought, you don’t need to put the pressure on yourself to be original all day long, that makes artists want to die a little bit inside, but you can continue to be a curator, and consume as much as you create.

Tori Dunlap:

And I also want to piggyback off of what you just said, which is, I think the other common thing I hear for women, especially who want to be business owners or want to teach, they go, well, I’m not an expert, I don’t have the PhD, I haven’t written all these academic papers. And I’m like, here’s the thing, and this is what I love about your curation, it is probably not shocking to people that the information I teach you can find almost everywhere. And that doesn’t make me a scammer, it makes me a smart business owner to be able to teach things that you may have heard before, which is how to save money, how to budget, what a Roth IRA is… But my package is different because we’re doing it in an inclusive, feminist, accessible way, where I’m also going to tell you when I don’t know things.

I’m the first person, if you ask me a question and I don’t know it, I’m going to say, hey, I don’t know that, but I will get back to you with an answer. And so, I feel like that is one thing too that I want to debunk, that is the part two that I can hear somebody saying it to your response, which is, okay, great… Okay, but I’m not an expert, and I need to be an expert. And that’s the imposter syndrome kicking in, and I think especially for women, as we’ve been told, you either do it perfect, or you don’t do it at all. And that’s just not true. Yes, you can curate, there’s value that you can add even without the six different master’s degrees, and the different editions of your book, and all of that. You have value in what you teach and what you give, even if your resume isn’t the longest resume.

Ashley Stahl:

Well, people pay for momentum. So, like I was saying before, it’s like my agency seeks to be the shortcut for the long cut people. You have a Nobel Peace Prize winner, they’re busy working, and they’re like, yeah, this TEDx thing is useful, I just don’t have time for it. Oh, Ashley’s team can do that in four phone calls for me? I have four phone calls. So, for you, with your platform, it’s like your packaging is designed to get the information to somebody in a way that creates more momentum in their life. And I’ve had some friends that their revenue isn’t up yet, or they’re like what you’re talking about, they don’t really want to have a career, but they do want to have a brand, they have something they care about they want to say, they see the value of that, which I think is indisputable at this point.

I think it’s over 90% of recruiters Google you before they hire you, wouldn’t it be nice to position yourself as an authority on different outlets, and for that to show up as a bigger salary offer? I think, yes. So, I think a lot of friends who don’t have the income to buy services like what I’m doing, I say to them, you can absolutely do what I’m doing for yourself. You can write your own TEDx Talk, you can go get yourself booked. It just takes a lot of time, and it’s just tedious. But do you want to do it? And so, for the people listening that are not experts, pick a topic you’re into. I joke you not… I can’t believe I said I joke you. I shit you not, this is how I actually talk. But, shit you not, Tori, if I didn’t have a career coaching platform, I would’ve had a platform about friendship.

And that’s not something you can really be an expert on, that’s pretty, I have a lot of friends, and I’m pretty sure they think I’m great, so I’m going to talk about it. But the thing is, the question that you ultimately need to answer, and it’s not one you can answer, it’s when other people answer, that are your people, is is this helpful? And when people hire you, they’re not saying, what is your pedigree? And I think about my boyfriend, he has a fund called, Necessary Ventures. And he is very much in that venture world, that your credibility matters. Whenever he’s working from home, in my living room, it sounds like Shark Tank in my living room, people pitching him all these ideas. And it all does sound very stamp of approval, like, oh, I was at MIT for five years, I was at Stanford for this many…

You hear that stuff. So, I do think some industries in order to be seen as an expert, the pedigrees are a thing, but I would venture to say that that’s not the case with most things. If you want to be an expert about kindness, and maybe eventually you want to start a life coaching business, maybe you don’t, maybe eventually you want to have a certain product, and you can add that topic pillar into your brand later. You don’t know, but you care about kindness, go read 15 books about kindness this year, and start posting about what you’re taking away from the books, what they mean to you, post quotes that resonated for you. It’s resonance, right? I would say by then, chances are you know more than about 98% of people about kindness. You’ve read the Science of Kindness, you’ve read… Da da da da. And think about books.

I don’t know if you felt this way, Tori, I’m sure you did. But I felt like I birthed everything that was living inside of me in my book, and 2020 me, by the time I submitted that thing, had nothing left to say about careers. It was like, this is what I got to say. So, I think people underestimate that when you are walking into a library, you are walking into an art gallery of people’s art. And a lot of big thinkers, it’s everything they actually have to say on that subject. And so, I think we’re in a quick soundbite era, which I respect, but I also think we sometimes lose sight of the value of that.

So, I think anybody listening to this episode today, bare minimum, choose a topic, and learn a lot about it, and commit to being a curator. I actually just recorded a podcast episode on my show about a money book I read, I’ve read your book, which I am in love with, and all the lessons that I learned. And I actually thought, this is a really cool way to create podcast content. Which by the way, my friends, the podcasting space, it’s not too late to join as part of your personal brand. I think I read, Tori, there’s 5 million podcasts, but only 470,000 have released an episode in the past 90 days, or something like that. It’s like-

Tori Dunlap:

That sounds about right.

Ashley Stahl:

Right? And the top 2% of podcasts are getting, what is it, like 10,000 downloads ever?

Tori Dunlap:

That also sounds about right. I was going to say, this is where I need Kristin to pop in, and she’s probably got the numbers on that. But yeah, there’s a wild amount of content out there. We’ve had previous guests on the show who have talked about the belief that, oh, this is the other thing, is it’s like, okay, I’m not an expert, I don’t know what I would do, and also there’s too many people doing what I think I want to do. And so, yeah, we’ve had guests on the show before who was like, take a walk through the God damn bread aisle, how much bread is there? There are so many options.

Ashley Stahl:


Tori Dunlap:

There’s so many different kinds of bread, and you’re out here saying, I’m going to deny the world my gift because somebody’s already doing it. No, they’re not.

Ashley Stahl:

Cream rises to the top too. If you curate right, if you push right, there’s so much room on top, people don’t even realize it. I think there’s just, it’s busy… I feel like this is such an ass hole thing to say. It’s busy at the bottom… And when I say bottom, I don’t mean you’ve been at it for a while. I think it’s busy at the bottom when you don’t really commit to your success, and you’re not really committing to something that is in alignment with what you really have to offer. And you were asking me for those people that maybe listened to our other episode about career clarity, it’s like, how do I know what to offer? I do think if you’re feeling super cut off, and you don’t have an answer, the first order of business is not to grab onto another thing, I think it’s to get back to yourself.

And that’s what all my writing has been about as a career person for so long, and I think the best way to get back to yourself is to tune into what do you do that makes you feel like you. I feel like myself. I just went to a hip hop dance class, and to be honest, I would say I felt like myself there because dance makes me feel like me. But that class was way too hard, and I was falling over on the side of the class, embarrassing myself. Usually hip hop dance classes feel like myself. The ocean makes me feel like myself. I guess I can’t twerk as well as I thought, that was a nightmare of a class. But putting my feet in the sand, journal, and I will say, I have a handful of friends, my friend, Amanda Bucci, that girl just makes me feel like me.

There’s just some people I’ve come across over the years, even if I have a lot of friends, and I’m like, you, you do something for me that brings me back. So, I think it’s about paying attention to that, and realizing life is in seasons, some seasons have questions, some seasons have answers. My questions season, between being a career coach and starting this agency, was about three to four years. And in that three to four years, everything I was doing was at a small simmer. After I completed my book, I was like, I have nothing left to say, I don’t know who I’m supposed to be again yet ,but I’m finishing out all the things I’ve become, and I’m slow simmering all of them. Instead of grabbing onto 40 different ways to scale whatever I have just because I should, I just said, how much money do I need to make every month?

And I invite anyone to ask yourself that question, and thank God I’m not a money expert, and that Tori is. But what’s my nut? Because so many people are like, when they think about taking on a side hustle, or going part-time in their job, and giving themselves some space, especially if they’re burnt out, they think, well, I can’t afford that. I’m like, wait, wait, before you say you can’t afford that, do some number crunching and make sure that’s a fact, because it’s usually a knee-jerk reaction, of like, oh, that’s a no, versus can you create some space in your life for you to get back to you, and let that season be that season, so that you start to notice the breadcrumbs? Because when I hang out with those right people, when I do those right things, I start to feel good. And it’s like my friends who have a kid, they’re like, oh, I didn’t really have clarity on a lot of things until I had my kid, and now everything’s a hell no, except for seven things.

I think it’s the same thing. It’s like, you have so much love in your heart for your kid, I wouldn’t know, I just have a dog. But maybe that counts. It’s like, you have so much love in your heart that suddenly all the things you don’t love become so clear, and such a no. I think it’s the same with this exercise I’m talking about, in its own right, it’s like go do the things that make you feel like you create space in your life for those, be in the season you need to be in, slow simmer on the things that are not a full yes for you, and just make the money you need to make to get by and support yourself before you pull onto that next of who you’re going to become.

Because right now, I feel like a wet rag, I’ve rung myself out so fully, in the best way, and I feel like I’m really in my mission and my calling. I always knew I wanted to help people with stories, I didn’t know how it would look. Books felt a little bit heavy on me. And these 12-minute TEDx Talks have been the exact use of my skills. And it took me two of my own viral TED Talks and all this stuff to finally get here. I know it’s a long-winded thing, but hopefully that’s helpful.

Tori Dunlap:

No, and what I want to piece out from what you just said is, none of this happens unless you start, and I keep saying this over and over and over again on the show, but whether it’s starting a podcast, wanting to give a TED Talk, getting a promotion at work, not putting up with shit from people anymore, whatever that is, none of this happens… Building wealth. None of this happens unless you start. And yet, we get so overwhelmed thinking that we need all of the answers to questions we haven’t even encountered yet. And to your point, about I didn’t even know that this is what I wanted to do until I did it, you have to… For me, it was money. The business I launched was not personal finance education through a feminist lens, that’s not what it was when I first started.

But I had to start and do things in order to realize that’s what I wanted to do. So, I just see, again, so many women think they need all the answers, think they need to be that expert, think they need to have all their ducks in a row, and the truth is, is even the most well-accomplished Smartest person ever is not going to have all the answers because they don’t know the questions yet. But you figure out the questions and the answers along the way by actually starting the thing.

Ashley Stahl:

And I love that you’re talking about that. It’s interesting because my personality… It’s interesting, when you look at your childhood, it’s like my dad…. I think we talked about, my dad lost all of his money, and then I lost all of my money, and then I had to rebuild myself. So, it was in my bones, it was in my financial thermostat. And I hadn’t reset it. I hadn’t done my own real mindset work. And because of that, I recreated results I saw. When I look back at my upbringing, my dad was a very experimental entrepreneur, he lost all his money, he was never afraid of starting something new. So, it was modeled for me, it was like my dad had the wildest businesses, Tori, I actually kind of die inside thinking about some of them. They’re kind of funny.

One of them, he’s such an emotional being, gotta love my dad, ultimate creature. One of our dogs died, and he was so torn up about it, he created a pet home memorial business, and it was like Pet Home Memorial… And he had 17 phone lines. So, you never knew how he was going to answer the phone, like Pet Home Memorial, da da da da. But my point being, he was never afraid to start things to the extent of creating animal urns, like an animal urn business. And so, I watched somebody not afraid to start, but what I didn’t see anyone do was sustain. My dad is still, he’s rebuilt himself since he lost everything, but never to the extent that he was before. But he supports himself, he does great, he’s fine, but he never got to the levels of success I once saw him at, whatever that meant for him.

The financial success, the emotional fulfillment, or whatever it is. And so he’s getting by now, but I’ve never seen him build something, sustain it, and create stability. So, for some people listening, starting is going to be the thing. You weren’t modeled starting. Nobody showed you. Or maybe they did, but they showed you that it sucks, and you shouldn’t do it, and it’s a regrettable thing to do, whatever the message was you got. I saw that starting is no big deal, so for me, it’s like, okay, I’ll do that. And I have had to learn as an adult to re-parent myself into sustaining. And I think a lot of the financial stuff you teach, Tori, is around the long-term, right? It’s around you make this money now, well, you got to do something with it to build wealth.

And so, the chapter that I’ve been even in now is people who are listening now, and maybe they get the motivation to just start, and stop overthinking it. I will admit that I am a straight shooter, and I haven’t been in a startup since 12, 13, 14 years. I started my business in 2012, so I haven’t started another company since then. I just built my career coaching business from there on out. Building this new agency, hiring talent, getting things done right, I totally feel like I’ve had to eat shit so many times, and I forgot what that feels like. I forgot what feels like to be a startup person, and in some ways, I think a lot of women in our circle, we get successful, for whatever that means, you feel good about what you’re doing, people are buying what you’re providing, you’re making real money… Whatever success means for you.

I think we do forget, it’s like childbirth. My friends are like, “Oh, never doing that again, that was crazy,” and then two years later, they’re like, “I’m pregnant.” I’m like, “Amazing.” So, I think it’s kind of startups for me. I’m like, I totally forgot what it feels like to manage people and them not to know… To need a lot of guidance. And I totally forgot what it feels like to have an employee drop the ball on something and somebody’s upset at me, and I’m not dialed in yet. So, I think a lot of people listening, the fear is credible, of starting something, and I don’t want to poo poo that. I don’t know why I’m saying poo poo that, I think that’s such a funny expression, but-

Tori Dunlap:

No, we get that the starting is scary, because it also… I think, my biggest theory with all of it is that we are either so scared of failure, and we’re also so scared of our dreams, as cheesy as that sounds, we’re so scared of our own success that maybe we’re not going to be able to handle it. And it’s like, no, you will be able to handle it as you go. I’ve told this story many times, but when I first launched my business, I remember looking at people, who are now friends and colleagues, and being like, I want that business, I want that opportunity, I want that speaking engagement. I know I can write a book.

And I kept thinking, I know I’m capable of all of this, why is it not happening? And that was a moment I could have given up, but the realization that if a genie had magically given me that opportunity, okay, landed me that book deal, got me that business that was multimillion dollars, I would not have been able to handle it because I didn’t have the experience to be able to. I hadn’t grown my own skillset and experience the things I had to experience in order to be ready for those things. So, yeah, I get that starting feels terrifying.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah. It is, it’s crazy. I feel wobbly. I feel like a little kid right when they get their training wheels off, and they’re on the bike down the street-

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

… wobbly as fuck. And I don’t even know [inaudible 00:49:20]. It’s just wobbly, it’s a little unsure, but I am moving, and I’m committed to excellence and putting magic out there. And so, I would tell anyone, you do need resilience. And I’m working on having thicker skin every day. Just the other day, somebody in my business that I really appreciate, she subcontracted labor out without my permission, and I didn’t like the subs. They got back to a client, the client confronted me, “Ashley, who are these people?” I’m like, “Great question, who are these people?” And then, I went back to a person that I really value, and it turns out she wasn’t fully wanting to do the work herself, she contracted out without my…

So, it’s like, there is a lot out of your control that is going to feel personal, it’s going to feel like it’s falling on you, and I think the work is really in saying, how do I be solutions, or how do I feel all this, feel it, and then how do I be solutions oriented? That’s this week’s thing, last week’s thing, a client of ours told us we were doing one of the most magical things he’d ever seen, he was so impressed by the writing in his TEDx Talk, but he wasn’t in the mood to pay his payment plan. And it wasn’t that he didn’t have the funds, because anybody that says to me, hey, I’m having an accentuated circumstance, I’d say, no problem. Let’s delay your payment plan by a month.

But he just said, “Hey, I actually don’t really like what we agreed to, let’s change it.” It was like, what? I already paid my team, we can’t do this. So, on my inside I’m like, that’s so unprofessional, whatever. But on the outside, it’s like, I need to be solutions-oriented, and not let my feelings of like, wow, I just paid my entire team for this person who’s just not in the mood today. Ended up getting on a Zoom call with him about it, and he was just like, “I feel really vulnerable, TEDx is really scary for me. Okay, I’ll pay my payment plan.” He needed the coddling from me, for lack of a better term, Tori.

Tori Dunlap:

Validation. Yeah.

Ashley Stahl:

Validation. And that shit is so hard, when you’re a hardworking entrepreneur, you have so much on your plate, and you have other people that are like, coddle me, help me, whatever. You’re like, I want to coddle myself, I want to go rock in a corner and watch Love is Blind and eat 17 pints of cookie dough ice cream. I can’t-

Tori Dunlap:

If you’re not watching on YouTube, my neck is hurting from shaking my head too hard. Yes.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah, literally. I have so much empathy for that. But I do think the people that rise to the top, they’re not just original, they get thicker skin, they don’t make other people’s missteps about them. Because we’re constantly creating our story about who we are. And the narrative I have is that I think I have one of the best writing teams I’ve ever seen, I think we are providing something that is so special, and any part of this business that isn’t excellent, I will face the problem, and I will fix it myself, even if it takes time, even if I have to slow down my revenue so that I get things right, and I don’t make as much money or whatever. So, I think people just need to have that commitment beneath everything, not just to what they’re doing, but to themselves. And I think a lot of people are scared to commit that much to anything because commitment is hard. In life it’s hard, right? It’s hard with a partner, it’s hard with a business, it’s hard with everything. Oh, Tori.

Tori Dunlap:

I don’t want to wrap us up, but I know we need to. So, someone who is realizing, okay, I want to grow my personal brand, whether for a business, or just to level up my career, or just to see what I’m made of, what’s the first step? What’s that big thing that somebody can do? Any words of wisdom for them?

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah, I love the questions you’re asking me because it’s making me think of things I don’t usually share and think about, which is your little gift over there. I think the first step is pick your island. The internet is full of them. Do you want to live on the podcast island? If I look at the past 15 years of business, I spent one to two years on each island, and then once it was effectively built… So, for example, one year was all about my Forbes column. I’m like, I’m just getting this right, and then once I figured out how to get that right, and it was automated, and not a cognitive load for me anymore, because it wasn’t new, and I was dialed in, then I was like, okay, time for me to focus on a new line. I’ll keep this island running, but now I can lead with a different island.

So, pick your island. Is it having a podcast? Is it being a guest on a bunch of podcasts? Is it being on Instagram? Is it being on TikTok? Is it being on YouTube? Is it being on TEDx? Pick an island. Obviously, I’m biased, I’m obsessed with TEDx, I just think there’s no place that is more of a super highway for your brand. Where else do you have 40 million subscribers just waiting to listen to you talk for 10 minutes, or 20 minutes? And my TEDx, it got picked up by Ted because it did so well. So, it’s kind of like the gift that keeps giving that I didn’t realize back at the time. But pick your island. And the second thing is sync that with your skill set. If you have a business, you know who your ideal customer is, consider where they hang out when you’re picking your island, but also consider your core skill set.

And if you didn’t listen to that episode of me and Tori talking about core skill set, definitely listen because it’s all this is about, is picking your gift, zone of genius. So those are the first couple of things I would do. And then, third, just go all in, and create structure on your calendar for it. So, if your First island is podcast, you’re building a podcast, have five hours of non-negotiable time a week with yourself that are devoted to that pursuit. And don’t make anything harder than it needs to be. For my podcast, I don’t pick my guest anymore, I don’t write the show notes, I don’t write… There’s so many things I don’t do, I just show up and connect, which is what I’m meant to do. And I’m sure, Tori, you’re nodding because you’re like, yeah, we can’t create things if we’re creating everything all day long.

Tori Dunlap:

And you also need to learn to give away things too, that’s been a hard lesson for me, and that’s something that I have to remember all of the time. Is it’s like, you won’t get to the next place you’re trying to go if you are so obsessed with making sure it’s you who does everything.

Ashley Stahl:

Yep, totally.

Tori Dunlap:

You have to it over to other people.

Ashley Stahl:

Don’t be the bottleneck.

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

And there’s talent at all price points, and people at all price points that can help you all over the world. So, don’t be narrow and have knee-jerk thinking about hiring help. If you have a full-time corporate job, and you’re starting a podcast, you might be able to find somebody for a very affordable price, whether it’s on Fiverr, or Upwork, or any of these platforms. It’s so funny, Tori, I feel like you’ve crushed it so much, you have so many different sponsorship situations. Whenever I mention brands, I’m like, am I allowed to mention this brand? She’s such a badass. Can I… But I do think Upwork and Fiverr are pretty badass for hiring overseas talent and getting good prices for things.

Tori Dunlap:

Amazing. Ashley, thank you, as always. I have so many questions I’m asking you offline when we wrap about TED, and about everything else that’s going on. Where can people find out more about you, about Wise Whisperer? Tell me all the good things.

Ashley Stahl:

Yeah, right now we’re in a whole rebrand, so many TEDx Talks found me that I didn’t even have time to change my career coaching site out. But it’s at ashleystahl.com, and everything about me is on there, and it’ll be forwarding soon to my new agency site. And everything about the TEDx offer that we have is at Ashleystahl.com/TEDxoffer. And we would love to hear from you. And if you come from Tori, please tell me so I can give you 1000 dollars off because-

Tori Dunlap:

We love that.

Ashley Stahl:

… I just love to help our people’s people.

Tori Dunlap:


Ashley Stahl:

So, thanks again, Tori, for having me.

Tori Dunlap:

Thank you.

Thank you as always to Ashley for joining us. You can go to Ashleystahl.com/TEDx to learn more about how Ashley and her team can help you write and book your TEDx Talk. Her book and podcast are called U-Turn, and you can find them wherever you listen to shows, and wherever you buy books. Thank you as always for being here, financial feminists, we appreciate you, and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields, associate Producer Tamisha Grant. Research by Sarah Sciortino. Audio and Video Engineering by Alyssa Midcalf. Marketing and Operations by Karina Patel, Amanda Leffew, Elizabeth McCumber, Masha Bakhmetyeva, Taylor Chou, Kailyn Sprinkle, Sasha Bonar, Claire Kurronen, and Daryl Ann Ingman.

Promotional Graphics by Mary Stratton, photography by Sarah Wolf. And theme music by Jonah Cohen. A huge thanks to the entire Her First 100K team and community for supporting this show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First 100K, our guests and episode show notes, visit financialfeministpodcast.com.

Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is an internationally-recognized money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. She has helped over five million women negotiate salaries, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, BBC, TIME, PEOPLE, CNN, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed, and more.

With a dedicated following of over 2.1 million on Instagram and 2.4 million on TikTok —and multiple instances of her story going viral—Tori’s unique take on financial advice has made her the go-to voice for ambitious millennial women. CNBC called Tori “the voice of financial confidence for women.”

An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

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