Dash of Social, the brainchild of founder and CEO Ashley Mason, is a marketing firm that offers social media management, marketing strategy, SEO, paid ads, blogging and email marketing. Mason has had a head for business since childhood, and launched her business at only 19 years old.
“I have been very entrepreneurial-minded since the age of 6,” said Mason. “I was always trying to find ways to make money. Although I knew I wanted to own a business one day, I didn’t know what that business would be until September 2012, when I launched a blog at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school when I was only 15.”
Mason treated that blog as if it was a part-time job and dedicated at least 10 to 15 hours on it each week writing blog posts, connecting with other bloggers, collaborating with companies, and more.
“As I started to work with more companies to promote their products on my blog, I realized that many of these companies barely had any online presence. I knew from my own experience of using social media to grow my blog that it was incredibly important for companies to be consistent with marketing for awareness and growth,” said Mason.
As her interest in marketing and her desire to help these companies grew, Mason began offering them pro-bono marketing services. She built marketing strategies, managed their social media profiles, coordinated influencer relationships, etc.
“I realized that marketing was something that I started to genuinely enjoy,” she said, “which led me to taking on casual freelance gigs by the time I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. After knowing for years that I wanted to own a business but just couldn’t figure out what it would be, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I knew I wanted to own a marketing firm one day.”
However, because of the narrative that society tends to force upon young people today, Mason thought she’d have to go to college, get a degree, build up a successful 20-year career and then have the ability to launch her own business.
That all changed in January 2016, when her mother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a grade IV brain cancer, during Mason’s freshman year of college.
“For someone who was always so active, healthy and full of life, her diagnosis made me realize that life is short, and we really don’t have as much time as we think we do to follow our dreams,” said Mason. “So if there is ever a ‘right time’ to go after what lights you up, it’s now.” She knew it was time to follow her own dream.
From that point on, Mason worked hard to figure out what Dash of Social would look like, and officially launched the company just eight months later, in September 2016.
“Once I started my own company, I knew I never wanted to work for someone else,” she said. “I hustled to be able to build something that I was proud of, with my goal to be able to take it full-time once I graduated from college. My schedule was jam-packed from 4 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday, when I was in school because I had so much to do with so little time.”
In addition to running a business and going to school full-time, Mason took care of her mother until she passed away in June 2018.
“She has been my reason for everything,” said Mason. “We were really close and, on the really tough days, thinking of her is what has helped me to power through.”
Mason’s part-time company was a success, and Dash of Social reached six-figures by the time she turned 21 and was a senior in college. She took Dash of Social full-time after graduating in May 2019.
“I’ve never looked back or been happier!” she said.
Dash of Social’s team consists of Mason and four subcontractors: Marketing Associate, Content Writer, SEO Specialist, and Pinterest Manager. She hired an assistant in 2019.
According to Mason, these are the primary reasons businesses seek out her help:
- They have no time, and they often share that marketing feels like a full-time job in itself.
- Many business owners spend so much time and effort on their marketing while truthfully having no idea what they’re doing.
- They genuinely feel like Mason and her associates are part of their team.
“At first I thought that people probably wouldn’t want to hire me because I’m young,” she said, “but it turns out that’s exactly why they do hire me! They value the fact that I ‘grew up’ during the social media era and taught myself the ins and outs of marketing through my own brand. Many people also often share that they can hear how excited and passionate I am about the work that I do, and they want someone with that personality who will be just as excited about their own brand.”
Additionally, she said, trends are always changing in marketing, and Mason has always made it a priority to stay on top of what’s working and what isn’t, and relay that information back to her clients so that Dash of Social can do what’s best for their brands moving forward. Her clients appreciate that she genuinely works hard on their accounts and always has their best interests at heart.
“I’m thankful to say that there are too many good things about entrepreneurship to be able to pick just one,” she said. “The most important ones for me were being able to create my own schedule so that I could spend so much time with my mom up until she passed away and having the ability to take Fridays off in the summer to go to the beach. I’ve also realized that I’ve had some really cool opportunities and achievements that never would have happened had I been in a 9-to-5 job, like being able to pay off my student loans in less than six months after graduating from college, and delivering a TEDx talk at the age of 22. Every day that I get to my office, I feel so grateful that this is what I get to do.”
In addition to continuing to grow and work with hundreds of more clients across the country, Mason wants to further build her team so she can step more into the CEO role. Rather than being so involved in the client work each day as she is now, she’d eventually like to delegate almost all of that to team members so that her time can be spent focusing on business development, sales and growth.
In addition to running her company, Mason still finds time to give back. She launched “Student to CEO” in May 2020, which is a free platform that encourages young individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial interests, rather than follow the tradition, 9-to-5 route through the support of a blog, podcast, Facebook group, and resource hub.
“I had felt a ‘calling’ for over a year to build something that would help other students to launch businesses, because it’s a subject that I’m really passionate about,” said Mason. “There were so many things I didn’t know about running a business when I was just starting out, and I wanted to be able to provide both community and support to others. I like to describe Student to CEO as the platform that I wish I had to refer to when I was just starting Student to CEO.”
For more information visit dashofsocial.com