How I FINALLY Started My Own Business

If you read the blog, you know that I’ve spent the last several years in turmoil over finding my “passion”. Although I was very fortunate to have found a niche in fit modeling that not only paid very well but allowed me to continue modeling into my 30’s – it was not a job that I felt was my passion or my calling. The problem is, when you’re making good money, you simply don’t have that fire pushing you to go out and take risks. Instead I chose the route of getting my real estate license – another career path that didn’t excite me but seemed like a good way to make money. I learned quickly that if you don’t have the passion and money is your main goal – you’re destined to fail since you’re not enjoying what you do.

What it took for me to finally start my own business was seeing an opportunity where I could do things better and with more integrity than my competitors. I had signed with a big modeling agency in NYC and was not working nearly enough to pay my bills. Worse even, I was being charged insane fees like $650 a year just to be featured on the agency website. This was mandatory, and you would think this would be a free since it helps to get you work (and in reality doesn’t cost a fraction of this price). On top of all this, I wasn’t getting paid for the work I was actually booking – it took me having to hunt down clients myself to finally get invoices processed. It was through this experience that I realized that I could create an amazing agency for fit models that was run with a little more efficiency. With everything that I had been through I knew that I could create a business that could still be successful without being greedy – without taking advantage of models and always keeping their best interests in mind. With that I founded Stetts Model Management.

It was definitely scary realizing that I was now completely dependent on only myself for my income, but I knew that my intentions were in the right place and that I would be doing something that helped other models like me make money without all of the drama and stress that can come with the bigger modeling agencies. It’s only been a couple of months, but things are flowing nicely and I’ve built a quality roster of amazing girls who are trusting me to help get them work – and that’s a responsibility I’m taking very seriously.

Dream of starting your own thing?

My biggest piece of advice to anyone who thinks that they want to start something of their own would be to not make money your goal. Do something that interests you, that you’re knowledgeable about, and that fills a need… and make sure it’s something that you truly enjoy doing. When you believe in your idea and in yourself, the money will follow. Another huge push in this process was reading The Martha Rules – I wrote a whole post on the key points that I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of starting or growing a business > The Martha Rules: Take Martha Stewart’s Advice. Although it can be scary, starting a business is definitely not as hard as you’ve created it to be in your mind. Sure, it becomes something that you work on from the time you open your eyes to the time you close them, and sure you are never guaranteed a paycheck, but the feeling of pride and self-respect that comes with creating something that works AND serves others is worth it all.

Take it one step at a time. Write a business plan. Do something every day that brings you closer to getting your business started. Call in your favors from your lawyer friends – your accountant friends – your connections. Join meet-ups to network. I never thought I would be an entrepreneur, but it’s been the most rewarding couple of months of my life. The hardest part is the first step – step into the unknown and I promise you’ll never look back.




  1. Audrey Garcia says:

    I am so proud of you Ashley. Just reading that gave me the chills. You are an inspiration in strength and motivation to me and my own success. Keep on it girl! I am SO happy to know you and I can’t wait to see where you go from here! Kill ettttttt!!!!!


  2. Stephanie L says:

    Congrats to you Ashley! I have been following your journey from the beginning cause I felt like I could relate to so many things you shared. I just turned 30, I am comfortable in my job and I’m good at it, but I feel like there is something more out there for me (oh, and I like a good deal!). I like to think I can relate to your tenacity and ambition too :) I am now pregnant and that’s been the fuel under my belt to work on making some changes to live a more flexible and rewarding lifestyle with a family. I am working on taking those small steps daily to start my own thing so I loved seeing that you’ve done the same. The Stetts website looks great and I wish you all the best! xo

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write this Stephanie! It’s always encouraging to know there’s women out there who find some good knowledge or inspiration from my story! Congrats on your new project of being a mom and I’m sure it will only help you to find what you really are inspired to do. Thanks again so much for this message – I appreciate it so much.

  3. Ashley,

    Congratulations! Your site looks wonderful. All the best to you in your new endeavor.


    Tracy Kay


      I really appreciate that. Trying my best to keep up with the new biz and TFM – it’s like having a second child!

  4. How exciting! Good luck with the business, I think it’s a great idea!

  5. I found you recently through another PF blogger (might have been our good friend J. Money) and am in that comfortable position of making decent money and challenging myself to get out and do something more significant.
    I’d love to hear more about how you started your business and how you’ve grown it.

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  7. Dear Ashely, from the day i met you in Miami with Martha i knew you are a special person. congrats for your new dream ,congrats for your straight to go further in everything, you are a fearless person and i really really really clap my hands for you !!!!

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