Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashley Deland, CEO of Deland Marketing, located in Burlington, ON, Canada.

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

With over a decade of experience in marketing and business consulting, my passion lies in helping transform entrepreneurs into 6-figure CEOs through my signature trio of brand development, marketing strategies, and scalable systems.

As the Owner of Deland Marketing, a digital marketing and branding agency that provides result-driven strategies, creative solutions, and powerful services that scale. As well as being an award-winning Business Consultant, my educational background in Business Marketing combined with years of corporate experience working as a Director of Marketing & Events for a billion-dollar enterprise has helped me mentor and guide hundreds of businesses towards great success.

Tell us about yourself

Entrepreneurship and the world of business have always been in my blood. I had my first job when I was just six days old as a model, and for as long as I can remember, I was always happiest when I had the freedom and space to do what I wanted with my time and energy.

After graduating from university, I took the next natural step, which was diving into the corporate world. Although I was truly blessed to land such an amazing position within a top Canadian company and climb the ladder at extraordinary rates, I was always very aware that I was living to fulfill someone else’s dream.

I knew I had to take the chance and bet on myself, so I left everything behind and started to pursue my own dreams. Since then, I’ve owned multiple successful companies and learned the ins and outs of what hands-on entrepreneurship is all about. The good, the bad, and the very ugly.

I now marry my corporate life, education, and hands-on experience, to build up businesses and help other entrepreneurs find success and fulfillment. It’s truly the best job in the world.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This year I’ve been asked to sit on the Forbes Business Council, which is a great honor, and I just won Business Elites Top 40 Under 40 award. My marketing agency won CBRB Top Canadian Company of 2021 & 2022. I’ve been featured in numerous media outlets such as Forbes, INC, Entrepreneur, Authority Magazine, NBC, ABC, and FOX. However, besides all of that, last month, I became a mother for the first time, and so far, that’s been the biggest blessing (and challenge) to date.

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

There are a few realities that come with owning a business that are not always talked about, such as you’re working even when you’re not “working.”

In the beginning, there was a lot more giving than receiving. As in, you have to continually invest your time, energy, and money into growing this venture and expect nothing in return. Sometimes it takes years to see a paycheck. It can sometimes be lonely, the hours are very long, and it takes a lot of courage and stamina to get up every day and show up for your dream.

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

  1. Know who you’re talking to. Discover, research, and become obsessed with your ideal client. Know that you are not building this business for yourself but for the people that will be buying your product or service. Revolve your entire business plan, marketing, and branding around them, and try your best to get out of your own way.
  2. If you’re going into entrepreneurship because you want to “make money,” then save yourself the trouble and go work a 9-5, where there’s much less risk. People often view owning a business as a golden ticket, but the reality is that it’s the opposite. You’re going to encounter failures and mishaps, and there’s no guarantee of success. Not only is it one of the hardest jobs, but you also have to show up every day and bet on yourself.
  3. Marketing is the backbone of your success. Marketing is the act of understanding your customers' needs and selling them a product or service that will exceed their expectations while building trust with them. Without a solid marketing plan, you run the very high risk of getting lost in the “sameness” of your competitors or, even worse, never being seen by the right consumers. Competitive advantage, growth, and market domination are all results of strong marketing tactics and strategies, so don’t skip out on this crucial aspect of your 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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