It’s important to learn how to seize opportunities and how to spot opportunities. Dr. Ashley Hampton, started with a career in the prison system and thought that was her lifelong career, until she had a devastating injury that forced her to take an alternate path. She turned her psychology background and her previous experience with career development and started getting into a new market by starting a practice in a completely unrelated field, serving the people in that need. According to Dr. Hampton, you have to keep your mind open to new opportunities because that leads to transitions and higher revenue potential. It also frees up your time for you to be able to design your business around your life and launch yourself into the next opportunity.
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Career Development, Prison, And Psych Evaluator Expertise with Dr. Ashley Hampton
In this episode, I dove deep and I drilled down into some very important questions with Dr. Ashley Hampton, who had a career in the prison system and she thought that her lifelong career was going to be in the prison system until she had a devastating injury that forced her to take an alternate path. The reason why I wanted to have her on this interview is that I wanted her to tell her journey. Not necessarily that she always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I wanted to share that journey of how she spotted the opportunity. It took us awhile to get there because I like asking questions and uncovering the gaps from how she turned her background and her experience as a doctor and a prison guard to starting her own practice in a completely unrelated field. I want you to understand that that is why I asked these questions and that is my whole purpose for this podcast. You’re going to love this episode, so stay tuned and enjoy.
Dr. Ashley, welcome to the show.
Thank you for inviting me. I’m excited to be here.
We met back in New York City at Chris Winfield’s event and we had connected. I mentioned to you about this show and you said you were interested. I’m super excited to have you on because your story is so unique. In my background, I work with a lot of digital marketers, people in the business space, and it’s not all that often that I come across somebody like you who has made a successful career helping others in a nonbusiness sense. Right now, you’re doing some business coaching, but your primary success, what got you here is not what your background is. Give our audience a quick introduction about who you are and what you’re currently doing. Then I want to rewind and we’ll start at the very beginning and talk about your journey in how you discovered that you’ve got this expertise that people need and want and we’ll turn it into a business. Let’s start there.
My journey has been wild and twisty. I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy which I never used before I went to be a school counselor, which I loved, but didn’t quite love the paperwork and all of the administrative stuff involved. I went back to school and got my PhD in Psychology. Along the way, I did some internship work at the Federal Prison System and I enjoyed that work. After graduation, there wasn’t a position open where I wanted to be so I came back to my home the State of Alabama. I got a forensic psychologist position at our Secure Medical Facility, which works with guys that have been adjudicated, not guilty by reason of insanity. I did that for about a year before a position opened up at the Federal Prison.
I went back to the Federal Prison and was there about six months before I got hurt in a training exercise. In that job, even though I was up for promotion like starting to make all of the plans and thought I was going to be there for 25 years and retire when done. I made a risky move to turn in my two-week notice and return back to my home in the State of Alabama and opened a private practice. Initially I worked mostly with people applying for disability, evaluating them. I’ve now moved into evaluations for kids and adults in child protective services in that system. That’s my private practice world. The transition that I’m doing now is adding on some coaching to teach people how to do what I’ve done in building this business and making it successful as a solo entrepreneur.
What’s fascinating about your story and what I love is when we’re doing our pre-interview, I was trying to draw this correlation between when you left the prison system, this place where you had dreamed, “This is going to be my long-term career, 25 years. I’ve got my plans set out. Then somebody throws a wrench into my plans and I have to make a major pivot.” You said, “I don’t recommend this for anybody, but I left and I started a private practice.”
I was trying to draw the correlation between what you were doing in the prison system and then what you did in your private practice. There is a huge difference there because a lot of people can take their experience and what they are doing in the corporate world and transition it to your private practice but I want to start there. Number one, it’s fascinating because you truly love to help people, which is the number one rule of experts. You have to want to help people and you serve very needy audience. Explain a little bit more about what you were doing. What was your job role when you got hurt? Go deep into that a little bit more and then I want to start with when you started your private practice and what the difference in skills and skill set were. Then we’ll try to draw a little bit of a correlation.
When I went back to the prison system, I was working inpatient substance space. There is a program in the Federal System that allows inmates to participate and learn, trying to reduce their criminal thinking, trying to reduce their substance use and/or their substance use selling. If they successfully complete the program, they’re able to have a year off their sentence if they meet all the criteria. It’s not just that easy. That is quite a long program for most people. You need several practitioners, staff members in it. I was one of them. It was a huge program and basically, I ran groups. I did individual counseling with these guys. I taught them social skills, communication skills, those things that unfortunately people don’t learn. I did that and I was learning a lot about me. I thought people knew these things but some people just don’t.
When I got hurt and the reason I said I don’t recommend people to do what I did, I just turned in my two-week notice and left. I was like, “I’ll just open a business.” I’ve always had little side hustles along the way. I have a business mindset. I never went that way for some reason. I came home and found this need in the community where I was, that there were two psychologists doing evaluations for social security disability, only two. They have this huge backlog of people that needed to be evaluated. I filled out the paperwork. I got it. It turns out, I actually I do like evaluations. I was on the lucky end that I got to do what I liked and have pretty much a full calendar within a couple of months of opening my practice.
For somebody to get a full calendar within three months of starting a brand-new business, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it.
It was a total shocker to me as well and not at all what I expected and not with the industries that would even happen. Apparently, in psychology, you should go into a group practice, you can’t do this by yourself. You should have a secretary and a building professional, all of these people working for you. I don’t have anybody. It’s just me. Apparently, I can’t do what I’ve done. I don’t believe in the word can’t. It’s worked out just fine for me.
I want to talk about expertise and ideas. The way that I view building a successful business and finding the right niche, finding the right idea is number one, what are you great at? When we were talking before we started this podcast, we started this interview, you had mentioned something that I found was fascinating. The core skill. The markets that you were serving are completely different from what you’re doing in the prison versus what you were doing in your private practice. The correlation that you’re putting together was the word ‘evaluation’ and you said you liked putting together puzzles. What do you mean by that? Explain that a little bit.
For me and working with people, they don’t always give you everything you need verbally. You have to pull things from them sometimes. Sometimes you get things from records, sometimes you get things from watching them, observation, what other people have seen and you put it all together and try to make your best guess as to what’s going on. Then, you check it out with the person like, “Here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s what I’m seeing. What of these works for you?” For me, that’s what I was doing in the prison. That’s what I do now in private practice.
When you say that’s what you were doing in the prison, it was a substance abuse program. You were helping them get off of the substance, was that true?
They were already done. Most of them had already been in prison for several years.
In the psychology world, what were you helping those specific people do? You’re putting together the pieces of the puzzle, but what were you helping them do?
The biggest thing that I did for my caseload specifically, and I don’t want to talk about everybody in general, I had a lot of people that were still stuck in what we call criminal thinking instead of like you and I follow the rules and it just happens because that’s what we think. Some of these individuals were constantly trying to figure out how I manipulate the situation to make this easier for me regardless of whether or not I’m following the rule. What happens with that kind of criminal thinking is when they are released into the society and almost all of them do, they basically just commit a crime again and return back. The idea behind the program is you reduce the criminal thinking and try to teach them more of how to live in society successfully, then you reduce the recidivism rate or the return to prison rate.
[bctt tweet=”Your stories and experiences are helpful in helping other people figure things out.” username=””]
Most of what I did was trying to figure out a picture of how these people live their lives outside the prison before they came in, what the difference was in what they wanted to do when they left. I see a lot of guys who were in for 20, 25 years. That’s been a large chunk of their life in prison. They didn’t want to come back. We had to figure out the picture of what it looked like, what we wanted it to look like, and then what we needed to change in the middle in order to make it look like this new picture they wanted.
You’re probably excellent in sales calls by the way. It’s a similar process.
It’s very shocking to me how much these skills that you learned in psychology translate to business very well. The more I talk to people, the more they’re like, “Are you sure you haven’t had any business courses?” I took Accounting one when I was in a college, but that was it. It does translate so well and thankfully, it’s helped me a great deal as I’ve moved through the private practice world.
The first books that got me interested in business were psychology books. I would go to the library and I would literally go to the Psychology section and Malcolm Gladwell was the first mainstream books that I bought. In prison, you’re dissecting their minds and you’re putting together their past, what was life back then and what got you into this situation, what do you want it to be when you get out and you’re helping them with that transition. In your first private practice, what were you serving people? What are you helping them do in your private practice in terms of putting the puzzle pieces together when you use your own words?
For disability evaluations, and there may be some people out there that have been through this process, people that have applied for disability have all these steps they have to go through. If they meet all of these criteria, then they get appointments with medical professionals. A medical doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, whatever they’re disabling condition if they’ve recorded is. I will get people into my office and in this very brief interview with some records from Social Security that the person had provided, I had to try to determine what their disabling condition was and how it was impacting their lives. In terms of Social Security question is something like, “Can this person be employed again? Even if it’s not necessarily the job they had, can they be employed again doing something else?”
It was in this short period of time, I almost had to do the same thing. Figure out what their life looked like before this condition happened, what happened, what that condition was then causing and can we figure out any other way for them to basically improve their quality of life? Can they go back to work? Do they need to go to vocational rehab to get some job skills, retraining, and those things? Just like with the prison system, my main goal in my head is to improve their quality of life later. That’s how I approached all of those. Putting the puzzle pieces together, the quality of life for probably 85% of them was great. Then, they have this trauma, either the onset of a mental illness or they had a car accident, it caused a bunch of things or an on-the-job injury and then we’re dealing with this and where do we go from here? It’s still very much a puzzle to put together and figure out. I feel like I had the corners and then had to figure out the middle and how to get them there.
Was there any relationship to the injury that you had at the prison system to what you’re helping people do in this specific role?
It colored some of the vision. I understood for the people that were going through a worker’s camp. I understood that which is a horrible process for everyone. When they started complaining about that, I could commiserate with them. I knew. I didn’t qualify for disability because I hurt my knee and according to the people, I only need my ears to do my job, which is partially true. That was the transition idea is even if they can’t work in environment number one, can we get them some help where they can work in environment number two? Although it wasn’t planned that way, my story and my experiences were helpful, I felt, in helping other people figure out, “Let’s see what we can do for you.” Everybody says, “Everybody’s on disability.” Not everybody’s on disability. If you are the people that were injured and going through this traumatic process of trying to heal, we’re talking about a lot of people who are making thousands of dollars a month and then they go to a thousand dollars a month. It was a huge negative impact on their life overall in addition to all the mental stuff that happens because “I can’t provide. I can’t do what I was doing.” All of the sad depressive pieces that come in.
Would they have to pay you to come to see you with this interview? What do you provide aside from the psychological health or is that all they’re coming for or they just want psychological assistance? Where’s the connection here?
They were sent to me by Social Security. Social Security paid me. They came from my State. I got paid by the state for each evaluation that I did. Those people were mandated to come to me to get the evaluation. I just took it one step further and try to figure out what could help them because it seemed not a nice thing to do to talk to them and ask them all these things and then it’d be like, “Get out of my office.” The recommendations were not necessarily something that everyone would get in terms of whatever provider they went to. I just did it because I felt like it needed to be done. I got paid per evaluation so it didn’t matter how much time I spent with them. For me, it didn’t matter that I at least tried to help them move forward and put the last piece of the puzzle that I could put together for them.
At the end of the evaluation, would you make a recommendation? Would you refer them somewhere? What happens at the end?
I would send my report to the Social Security and they do whatever they do. They either get disability or they don’t. If they get the disability, they start to check. That’s the process. They come back for a reevaluation every three to five years. It’s a worker’s comp type thing. The doctor releases them, then they come back earlier. If they don’t get disability, sometimes they have to come back for another evaluation. Sometimes they go for a court appeal. There are all kinds of things that can happen. I may or may not be called in to do something else with their case, but usually, it was a one and done. I saw them for 45 minutes to an hour and that was it.
This is like the stuff that they had to go through to get disability to see if they qualify. Take me to the next step. You launched your private practice, how long were you doing this for wildly successful within three months?
I booked out within three months and within twelve months I was making six figures. That was more money than I’d ever made in my life. I had absolutely no clue what to do with that other than put it in the bank. Mindset-wise, it was a little weird to know that I was seeing all these people that were having such a hard time and I, at that time of my life was making more money than I’d ever made. I had to deal with that piece but what I was also seeing on the business side as I started to see my no-show rate climb. In the very beginning, I had about 20% of people that wouldn’t show which was all right. That wasn’t that big of a deal. I just plugged in paperwork until the next person got there. When I moved to locations, my no-show rate started to climb. First, it was 30%, 35%. Then it went up to 40%, 45%.
I’m looking at like maybe I would book eight people a day and four would show, which is not going to work business wise. At the same time, I got into working with Child Protective Services and that is a much longer evaluation, much more intense, much more things that have to be done. I was seeing on my calendar and I was booking these evaluations for Social Security that was about 45 minutes to an hour. Those people weren’t showing but I needed two and a half hours for an evaluation for Child Protective Services. I’m a huge statistics nerd and all this research stuff and I was looking at the data and realized that my no-show rate for disability evaluations was much higher than my no-show rate for my Child Protective Services evaluations and I make more money doing the Child Protective Services evaluations.
[bctt tweet=”Make sure there’s a logical reason as to why you’re doing these moves and then make it happen.” username=””]
I started slowly moving out the disability evaluations, moving up the Child Protective Services evaluations and was making more money getting rid of one revenue stream than I was keeping both. About a year and a half to two years into the business, I completely stopped doing disability evaluations and added more counties for Child Protective Services, which was great except I then got into dealing with a lot of people who were completely underserved population. They have very little resources here. I’m in Alabama and so a lot of it was rural. They didn’t have transportation a lot of times. I would then drive to the county they were in to see them.
Back to the data, I was not making enough money in my office to even keep my office so I closed my office. I started traveling to whatever county needed me. I work now almost exclusively with Child Protective Services in about fourteen or fifteen different counties in my state. It’s about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes one way depending on where I go. Sometimes it’ll be a county from Southern Alabama or Collins they’d say, “We need something and we’ve got a client in Birmingham.” I was like, “No big deal. I’ll just go see them wherever they are.” Usually, it’s at the hospital. I have gotten some outside radius counties, but their clients are in my area. It’s all these shifts to move based on the data I didn’t make. That’s the biggest thing for me is to make sure there’s a logical reason as to why I’m doing these moves and then make it happen. It’s been a steady increase in work and I work about 30 to 35 hours a week and I’ve doubled my income since I deleted disability and went exclusively to Child Protective Services evaluations.
Is the business model of the same? Was the government still paying you to approve? They had to come to you first before they got approved for any sort of funding? The government would pay you to do these evaluations. They have to come to you in order to get some benefit?
In Child Protective Services there are no benefits. What you’re talking about for disability, yeah. That was one of their checkmarks on this long list of things. For Child Protective Services, the idea behind what I do is if it’s a kid, I figure out if the kid is safe and or where the kid needs to go to be safe and get treatment. If it’s an adult, it’s usually how do we improve the quality of life where they don’t make the same mistake twice. A lot of what I do with kids and teenagers is treatment placement like what are their negative behaviors? What’s going on with them? Can they stay in their house and just get counseling versus all the way to they need an intensive placement in order to target their behaviors to hopefully try to keep them out of prison?
The business model is the same. I still get paid by the State Government. I don’t need an office so I’ve reduced my expenses by $1,000 a month. A little bit more than that when you do insurance and things, but I pay more for gas now, that stuff. The bonus for me with driving is that I get to listen to podcasts like this. I am improving what I feel like is my business knowledge while I’m driving to these places because they don’t have a background in business. I try to listen to business podcasts like this to learn more pieces of how I can make myself more efficient, more business.
We might not even get to like now you’re training other people how to do what you do. I’m very fascinated with how you launched this part of your career so successfully. To recap of where we are right now, got your education, worked in the prison system, got injured, putting the two weeks’ notice and just said, “I’m going to go open my own brand-new practice.” You started with the disability. Then, you realized there was more opportunity with Child Protective Services and so that’s where we are right now. I want to go back to when you first launched your private practice with the disability services. You hadn’t worked in that field yet and you’re basically pitching yourself to the government. How did you land your first client? Let’s ask that question.
While I hadn’t done a specific disability evaluation, I actually I had done these evaluations in different areas. When I was an intern at the prison, I was doing forensic evaluations for people who had not gone to court yet. I was doing IQ tests. I was these long clinical backgrounds and what’s going on with them again like the puzzle pieces putting them together. When I went to the Secure Hospital I was doing the exact same thing and then we had a subset of people who were what we called stepping down to a less secure environment. We would have to put together their history, what their progress was and how they could make this step-down and be successful. Those pieces were like the evaluation part. I knew how to do a clinical background, I knew how to ask the mental health questions, I knew how to do that IQ test, that kind of thing.
The piece that I had that was most beneficial, that a lot of psychologists don’t have was when I was in my master’s program, getting my master’s degree, I worked for a year in Career Development Services at the university where I was. One of my little hobby fascinations has always been how people got to where they got in their career. I did a whole lot of studying on what jobs were, how you got there. When I said wild and twisty, it really has been a wild and twisty journey for me. The piece that set me apart from other people is that I had the clinical background to do the evaluation, but I also had the career knowledge to say, “If somebody gets hurt like a truck driver. He was in an accident for example. He knows how to have a huge truck and drive it and he has CDL, can we then get him a forklift certification? Can we transfer those skills to something elsewhere it’s not as demanding or can we work with his injury to get him another job kind of thing?”
I was able to look at the whole picture in a different way than most people can. That was how that happened. Even though I had never officially worked for disability, literally I just called and talked to the guy and told him like, “Here’s who I am. Here’s what I’ve done. I’m here. I’ve heard you guys had a huge backlog and I want to help you fix it.” He was like, “Okay.” I signed the paperwork in like an hour. At that point, I did not have a printer with a scanner so I had to go buy a printer with a scanner in order to scan this paperwork and send it back to him and that was it. I was approved within a week. It was literally that fast. Now looking back, I can see the connection. Like if I call somebody and say, “I can help you here so I can help you.” I have gotten in every single time. When it’s not about me but it’s about helping them.
[bctt tweet=”You shouldn’t be giving away all of your stuff for free.” username=””]
You found the demand, you found the pain point.
I just heard it when talking to people. At that point, maybe one of my dad’s friends was going through the process because he had gotten hurt on the job and he was like, “I’ve been waiting for like six months to get in with a psychologist.” I was like, “That shouldn’t happen.” Here there were times where people had been waiting up to a year to get the whole process complete. It’s very interesting like the background stuff, but I just heard it and I was trying to figure out. I didn’t want to do therapy. It’s not my thing. I can do it but it’s just not my zone of genius. I love the puzzle pieces and putting them together. That’s my thing.
I love the connection piece that you talked awhile back because it’s also how my mind works. During this entire interview, I’ve been trying to figure out the connection piece and it’s like you finally came up with it. I had to keep asking, but the connection with how you landed your first client actually went back to what you were doing in your master’s program and career development. There was a huge gap. I’m like, I’m not seeing the connection between the prison thing” but I knew it would come out. That’s what I love doing too. It’s a fun process to go through. You found the connection with your background and experience in career development. That’s how you related it to what you’re going to do to help people do with disability, the evaluations and then the governance. I believe you. I like your credentials. That makes total sense and we need somebody to relieve this pressure. The backlog is just pressure building up.
I’m glad you said that because now I can make that connection for myself. I told them all that back then, but I hadn’t connected that piece for me. I’m always connected that I liked working with the underserved populations. If you look at my resume, it’s always been working with people that have been considered an underserved population. I just thought that was the common thread but now I know there’s more.
You served two different markets with your private practice. You’ve got a big opportunity with Child Protective Services. Tell us what you’re doing and how the transition has taken you to where you are because now you’re helping other people do what you’re doing.
Apparently, what I’ve done is just not possible according to my industry. I still talk with people when I go to psychology conferences and they’re like, “You’ve done what. I didn’t know you could do that.” I’m like, “You can but unfortunately you’re a better businessperson than you are necessary as a psychology person.” We don’t get trained in business, which is unfortunate. The kind of the nexus for me was when I started having the success and people were asking me, “How are you doing this? I don’t understand how you can do all of this without a secretary. I don’t understand how you do all this without a billing person. It’s like, I just do the work.
To me, it was a common knowledge, to other people it wasn’t. I started telling people here’s how I do this. Here’s how I made it more efficient for me. I wasn’t picking up the phone every time it rang because I did initially. I thought I need to make sure I get that appointment. At the end of the disability stuff, I told them I will call you at lunch and I will call you within the day. I didn’t have the time to call you in between clients because I was booking so many clients to try to overcompensate for the no-shows. Once they understood, I would call them like clockwork at lunch. I would call them in the afternoon. They didn’t give away those appointments to somebody else because it’s supposed to be round robin system. If they couldn’t get me on the phone they’re supposed to go to the next person. It was like, every time I missed the phone call, I’m missing the money. I had to figure out a way to make that not happen.
Now, it’s a lot easier because it doesn’t have to be that instantaneous. If somebody can’t get me on the phone, they know they just email me and if I can respond, I’ll respond right away because email is less intrusive for me to deal with. Those kinds of pieces I was telling people like, “Here’s how I’ve set up my business. Here’s how I deal with the workers. Here’s how I deal with the financial piece.” I was having all of these people in all different kinds of businesses like, “I can do that for this. I can implement this system in this practice, this book writing deal, this whatever. I can do that easily.” Finally, somebody said to me like, “Why aren’t you teaching people how to do this and why did you give that to me for free?” I was like, “I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that.” I mean, I obviously give it to somebody for free because I wanted them to do the exact same thing as me.
In this business world, I know there’s competition, I get that intuitively but when somebody is in a completely different industry than me, it’s not going to hurt me to share my secrets. I was doing this and then like, “You got to stop because this is too much. You need to start teaching people how to do this, making yourself available and making it part of your business. I thought about that for a little while and I was like, “You know what? They’re right. I shouldn’t be giving away all of this stuff for free even though I still do a whole lot, but I should be teaching people how to do this.” Even though my background is not in serving women, my prison work, my mental health hospital work, my research when I was in graduate school, all of it was related to working with men. I realized at this point where we are in society and where I am as a woman, I was like, “I want to focus on helping women succeed and helping women realize that they can do this. It’s not going to take away from their family and it’s not going to take away from all the things they want to achieve with their people.”
You can do this a whole lot more efficiently and not work any more hours because that’s what I was doing. I used to work 60 hours because I was trying to like figure everything out for myself and build my own stuff and how is that going to do it this way. That was fun because I was determined when I left. I would work 80 hours for myself than 40 hours for somebody else but I didn’t want to keep doing that because I was missing out on all of this stuff that I wanted to do. I was like, “How do I fix this where I can work 30 to 35 hours because that’s like my goal every week and then play?” I would rather play than do much work.
I started getting all of these pieces put together and I was like, “I just need to teach other people how to do this.” It was like an itch where I couldn’t get rid of it once I started thinking about it. I was like, it’s time, I need to do it. That’s in the process of having signing up all the paperwork to make it an official business. The website is in the design process and should hopefully be finished soon. Instead of jumping in like I did with the first business because I had to, I’ve taken my time with this one instead of what I feel is the proper way. Branding every kind of piece that I needed to do first. I’m going back and starting, I’m like, “Let’s do some lead generation and those kinds of things.”
You’re defining what is like the ultimate expert. As you progress, you’re perfecting certain skills and then seeing that when you solve that one problem, which for you, you discovered was when you were starting out and in your no-show rate would climb with the disability services. You probably right away realized that was a problem and so you figured out how to solve that like in Child Protective Services. You’re building your business around here. You’re doing some sort of self-reflection and realizing that other people are having this similar issue and that’s springboarding you to the next stage of your professional career. It’s fascinating because you’re an expert at something in something.
If you’re listening right now, you’ve got some skill that people want and it can be so super specific like making your process more efficient. You solved a no-show rate, you solved how to make your time more efficient, how to make your business more efficient. Almost every entrepreneur needs that some form of efficiency. I love listening to the journey. It’s like, “If you have this skill and you’re going to apply it six months, a year, two years down the road because other people need that.“ You might not see it right now, but it’s taking a step back and reflecting on what got me to where I am today, how can I help other people? Those are the core questions u need to ask?
A long time ago when I worked with a Federal Grant. I was responsible for all the administrative and the statistics. I told you I’ve been a statistic nerd for years. The stats and the research, I had to prove that we needed this money. I had to figure out how to evaluate the program for 21 years to show that we needed hundreds of thousands of dollars for these kids to have this afterschool program and the summer camp. When I started looking at what I wanted to do in my graduate program, that piece came up again for me because I liked it.
I liked looking at what was beneficial and what was useful and getting rid of the rest and let’s make more room for what’s beneficial and useful. When this started coming in the practice, I was like, “Let me go back to that and use those things to figure out where do I need to go because this is not working.” Much like I made that quick two-week decision to even start a business, when something’s not working, I want to fix it. I don’t want to wait because that’s impacting everything. It’s impacting my revenue, it’s impacting the amount of time I have to spend working and it’s impacting the number of people I can help.
[bctt tweet=”Look at what’s beneficial and useful and get rid of the rest to make more room for it.” username=””]
My whole goal is to make money. Obviously, this is a business, but my goal is to reach a large number of people, which is also one of my driving forces for the coaching because I thought if I can teach people how to do this, then I’m not just reaching the people that I’m sitting across from, I’m reaching everybody that they can reach by being more efficient in using their time better, those kinds of things. That’s the journey there. When I was 21 years old, I never thought almost twenty years later that I would be using that skill for me. Over the time period, I just picked it up and used it and was like, “This is great.” What I thought was a hard thing back then actually has been super beneficial learning it.
It’s fascinating to me because every time that we have these discoveries in the journeys, whether I’m interviewing somebody or I’m talking to somebody to figure out how they got to where they are now, a lot of professionals who are considering starting a side hustle or starting their business or growing their coaching program. The thing that holds them back is nobody knows me. It’s basically how do I jump into a new market or how do I get my first client? That fear never goes away, meaning you can have a successful business and then you’re ready to transition. How do I jump into a new market or new opportunity when nobody has heard of me? In your story, it’s like you’re making that pivot right now.
In your psychology profession, you’re built up there, but now you’re going to help fellow entrepreneurs and you haven’t served them yet. The same thing happened when you first went and launched your practice. You had never served that group before. It’s uncovering like how I got that first client, how I got the first person to say yes’s. Then it starts to snowball. I want people to understand that getting into a new market is not as difficult as you think. It’s all about what you said earlier, “How can you solve the pain? What’s the pain that you can solve and how can you correlate something in your past to say, “I can help you.” For you, it was your career development specialty and your expertise that got them to say yes.
It sounds simple when talking about it but when you sit down and think about it, it really is that simple. Is it going to be super simple for me to get clients in? I don’t know? Maybe or maybe not. The reality is I feel really pretty lucky to jump into what I did with my practice and do well so quickly. I’m not expecting that for this next one. If that happens, I’m not going to complain but there are some things that you can set up that make it not so hard. Especially with talking to people, meeting people and listening to stories that’s what I like the most. One of the reasons why I went to that unfair advantage, “I had never met anybody like me, “I thought. I belong in this space. It’s what I realized over the past. This is where I should have been the whole time. I love psychology and I am great at psychology. I don’t generally think the same way as psychologists do, but the entrepreneurs that I’ve met like were dead on a 100%. I can have a conversation. We can come up with all these ideas on how to do things. I’m really energized after I have these conversations and I’m a total introvert.
For me to get energized about putting in an effort with other people is hard. It turns out, I hadn’t met my people yet. Pulling from that and pulling from the little pieces here and there, it makes it a little easier. It’s a little scary. I’m not going to lie. It is scary, but I have a practice already. If I don’t do anything with coaching, down the road I’ll only help one person, that’s still one more person that was helped and that’s fine for me. I’m not going to close my business unless the coaching thing takes off. I’m exploring some other things for the business anyway. I just like to be open to what comes my way and to make those decisions as they come and I think that has really served me.
[bctt tweet=”Getting into a new market is not as difficult as you think. It’s all about how you can solve a pain.” username=””]
It seems very critical, just seeing what the opportunities are. The same thing happened with me when I started in webinars. I never thought that I’d be a webinar specialist but that was the opportunity that presented itself and that’s how I seized it.
That’s important and that is one of the big lessons that I’ve learned is you may go in thinking it’s going to look like ABC. It doesn’t always have to be exactly what you envisioned for you to have the impact that you want to have.
Dr. Ashley, I had a great time. At the beginning of your professional career, which is your specific different types of education, you have a Bachelor’s, a Master’s and a Doctorate and then you went to go work for the prison system and you got hurt. You’re like, “There goes my plan. My plan’s screwed up.” You said, “I’m going to take a risk. Here are my two weeks and I’m going to go open my own private practice,” against all the advice of the entire field saying that it’s not going to work. You booked up your calendar within three months and made six figures the first year because you solved a pain. The real thing that we learned from this entire conversation was how you landed that first client was because you related your previous experience with career development. You said, “This is why I’m great at career development. Here’s how I can apply my psychology background to serving the people that need the disability evaluations.” You’re hired. Let me send you 100 clients.
We also discussed keeping your mind open to new opportunities because that led you to then transitioning to Child Protective Services which allowed you higher revenue potential and it also freed up your time. You’re able to design your business around your life. Then, that transitioned to where you’re going on now, which is helping people become more efficient in their own business. This whole leapfrog opportunity that we’re seeing is how we can apply what we learned maybe six months ago or a year ago, or maybe even a week ago to use that expertise to leverage yourself and launch yourself into the next opportunity. Don’t leave anything out. Where can people find you because you’re venturing out into your own opportunities? You have your own wealth of knowledge. How can people connect with you and follow you?
My website is up now, it’s DrAshleyHampton.com. If you want to go see behind the scenes and how great of a web developer I am, you want to go fast. There will be some blog posts. There will be some content upgrades on there. There’s a way to schedule a call with me if anybody’s interested and wants to chat and see if I would be somebody that they would want to work with. I’m not one of those people that are going to take everyone that calls and promise them the world. If we’re not a good fit, then I have a huge bank of people that I could refer you to who does all kinds of awesome work. That’s where I am hanging out these days.
Be sure to go check out. Hit up Ashley, follow her and check out what she’s doing. She’s in an awesome launch pad. It’s always fun to watch. I know she’s going to be doing big things. Go check out her website, connect with her and follow her because I always like watching people on their journey through their transition points and their journey out. Let her know that you connected with her through our podcast. Ashley, thanks again for spending so much time with us and sharing your journey. It was very inspirational and educational.
Thank you. I really enjoyed it. Thanks, Joel.
Until next time. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you in the next episode. Take care.
About Dr. Ashley Hampton
My journey into entrepreneurship has been a long and twisty one, starting when I was 15-years-old scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins and trying any other side hustle I could to make more money. Fast forward 20 years, and I’ve continuously worked multiple jobs, even while I was a grad student. (And no, that wasn’t popular with my professors.)
It was nothing for me to work two part-time jobs while in school and still hustle on the side selling things on eBay to make a profit. It’s no wonder I have founded and run multiple businesses. While it’s still about the profit, the motivation now is less to pay the bills and more to use the money to help others. Hence, the social entrepreneurship focus.
In 2013, I worked in the Psychology Department in a medium security federal prison. After an unfortunate injury in a training exercise, I was forced to make a change – job, lifestyle, location, everything.