Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashley Janssen, Founder of Ashley Janssen Consulting, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a productivity consultant, and I help entrepreneurs and business leaders calm their chaos and reduce burnout through intentional time management.

My superpower is calming chaos! I work one-on-one with people who are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out and know something needs to change but don’t know where to start. Together we evaluate what's working and what's not and prioritize where to start. I provide the tools to take immediate action, shift how you think about and spend your time, energy, and attention, and help you establish sustainable, lasting processes and habits.

I write a bi-weekly newsletter, Every Intention, with articles on productivity and living with intention. I also speak regularly, sharing my unique personal path to entrepreneurship, teaching tools and tactics to calm your chaos, and learning resilience.

Tell us about yourself

My philosophy on productivity is not about being a better worker bee. It’s about being thoughtful and intentional about what you give your time, energy, and attention to. If you are lucky, we all have approximately 4000 weeks to live our lives, and no productivity hack is going to get you more time. Instead, approaching your day-to-day with more intention will provide you clarity on what’s important, where it fits in your life, and in your circumstances, so you can spend your time, energy, and attention on what matters.

This philosophy was hard-won: My husband and business partner went through cancer at 28. A close family member went through a terminal illness and passed away. I have Multiple Sclerosis, and my health could change at any time. Then there was that whole pandemic… All while running multiple businesses. These experiences through over 13 years as an entrepreneur building a software development company inspired me to start my consultancy. The most important thing I have learned is time is not guaranteed. It’s so easy to become a passenger in our own lives and head down the path of overwhelm and eventually burnout.

Now I work every day to help others to pull them back from overwhelm and burnout, calm their chaos, and reconnect with what’s important to them through approaching their life with intention.

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness?

I have several daily rituals that help support my work, fitness, and overall mindfulness.

The first is a daily writing ritual. A primary part of my work outside my consulting is writing articles for my newsletter. I publish bi-weekly, and it's important to me to be consistent, so I write every weekday morning for at least an hour. My writing ritual goes like this:

  1. Collect my support items: Blanket, coffee, water, AirPods (for noise canceling) 
  2. Settle in at my writing desk
  3. Close my email, Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp
  4. Put my phone on Do Not Disturb
  5. Open a Google Doc (either a new one or whatever one I have been working on)
  6. If I only have a certain amount of time available, I set a timer on my watch
  7. Full-screen the document and get to work

This ritual helps ensure I make consistent progress on new content and always have a new article in the queue.

My second daily ritual is for my fitness. Taking care of my body and physical health is a high priority, so I do some kind of fitness every single day for 30-60 minutes. I haven't missed a day since January 1, 2018! The question is never, "Will I do something?". It's always "What will I do today?". Because I work from home and have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, my usual fitness ritual goes like this:

  1. Break at 11:00 am
  2. Do a self-check for how my body is feeling
  3. Check my Streaks App for which type of fitness I have done most recently
    1. If I'm sore, yoga or pilates
    2. If the weather is nice, an outdoor run
    3. If it's not, an indoor cycle
    4. Otherwise, upper or lower body free weights
  4. Choose a YouTube video from one of my favorite fitness channels 
  5. Put in my AirPods and turn on my audiobook
  6. Start the workout video

After that, I eat lunch, shower, and get on with my day. Doing something physical daily helps me manage my energy, and midday fitness prevents the afternoon slump!

My third daily ritual is my daily reflection. Every night before I go to bed, I spend a few minutes answering the following questions:

  1. What went well today?
  2. What was tricky or didn't go well?
  3. What would I do differently in the future?
  4. What am I grateful for?

In mid-February, I passed 1500 days in a row of daily reflection! I am a staunch believer that reflection is a requirement for building self-awareness and self-improvement. You can't change what you don't notice! It's a great way to notice patterns over time, work on making adjustments, and also take a moment to appreciate your wins, big or small. It's also a great way to see how far you've come over time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Deciding to build a business on terms that suited my life and my circumstances. The narrative of the exhausted entrepreneur, working their 80-hour workweek, where if you are not hustling, you are doing it wrong… is only one way to be. It took me a long time and hard life experiences to get clarity on my values, the life I wanted, and how my businesses would support that life, not the other way around.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Staying clear on your priorities. There are always too many things to do. Too many tasks on your to-do list and demands on your time. You are pulled in a million different directions, and everyone has an option on what you “should” do. It’s very hard to stay the course and remember what matters and what doesn’t. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually important and get pulled under by the endless work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Consistency is key, and you just have to start. Don’t wait for the right time, when it’s perfect, or when it feels comfortable. Putting your art, product, or service out into the world is always scary, even after many years. You just have to do it and keep doing it every single day.
  2. Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides, and don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone is struggling, no one has all the answers, and what others share is only a fraction of the truth. Don’t spend too much time on social media; just keep going.
  3. Self-care and self-maintenance are competitive advantages in life. You are your greatest asset, and you have to take care of the asset, or you do a disservice to yourself and all the things that are important to you.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

You only get one life, and it’s easy to waste. Get clear on your values and build a business that aligns with those values, not what someone else has defined as “the way to run a business.”

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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