Visalus’ Ashley Sarnicola Talks Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Motherhood

Ashley Sarnicola,Visalus,Vi


If you’ve ever been in an audience of thousands at a Vi national event, it’s very likely you’ll see on stage one of the world’s top female entrepreneurs.

And it’s even more likely that after you heard her speak—whether it’s about goal-setting or becoming successful in business—you’ll feel empowered, and probably entirely inspired.

Meet Ashley Sarnicola.

She was the youngest female to achieve ViSalus’ prestigious Ambassador rank in 2008, and has over the past eight years worked her way to become one of the top three highest income earners in the company.

While some might naturally assume that Ashley’s success in the industry is due in large part to the fact she’s married to ViSalus Co-Founder and Global Ambassador, Nick Sarnicola, they would only need to talk to her for a minute to recognize that her years of expertise and experience coupled with an insatiabl work ethic stand on their own. It’s why those in the industry have coined Nick and Ashley the ultimate Power Couple—each brings 100% to the business table.

We sat down with Ashley and asked her to share with us what life is like not only as a full-time entrepreneur but also as a mother of an adorable free-spirited 20-month-old girl named Jia (who is the spitting image of Ashley!), and what advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Vi: Tell us about your background in business. Were you always an entrepreneur, or was there a career shift?

ASHLEY: There was an absolute shift. I started in Corporate America in the pharmaceutical industry and worked my way to one of the top positions in the company. But I hated the idea of putting on a suit and answering to a boss. And although I had everything the typical professional would want – 401K, a nice car, a company gas card, etc. – I felt I was wearing ‘the Golden Handcuffs.’ I wasn’t free. After working eight years in that industry, I had only two weeks of vacation per year. I wasn’t creating my own; they owned me…my time. I became really curious about pursuing other opportunities. I got into a lot of personal development growth books and learned to use my skill set for my own purpose. I knew the pharmaceutical industry just wasn’t for me anymore.

Vi: What attracted you to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur?

ASHLEY: If you had asked me years ago if I ever saw myself building a business in the direct marketing industry, I would have told you that you’re crazy. But, I learned it was the perfect transition from the corporate world—and was exactly what I wanted in my life: freedom. I mean, you get to choose who you work with, where you work, when you work… You can create your own schedule. I had never experienced that before, and I was hungry for it.

Vi: What was something about yourself you had to work on to improve?

ASHLEY: I knew I would have to become disciplined and grow as an entrepreneur. Leading people was actually really challenging for me in the beginning. When I was in Sales, I was a Closer—I had to convince doctors to sell my drug over another drug. And I was really good at that. But with Vi, you have to deal with so many different personalities. You can’t just ‘sell’…you need to lead people. The best way to explain that is that I had to shift my lens to building relationships by realizing what THEY wanted…not want I wanted. I learned to detach from what I wanted personally and instead help my teammates get what they wanted.

Vi: How did you change your mindset?

ASHLEY: Environment is so important. I strongly believe in the power of those you surround yourself with. There are those who build you up, or build you down, and I only want those who can add to my life in a positive way.  I’m very black and white with that, and I sought out friendships with people who were more successful than me and could mentor me. I also focus on intense personal development. I have a yearly goal of reading at least one book a month. I love audio books as well. Everything I read or listen to is either on a leadership topic or is a biography on somebody who became a leader. I also attend personal growth events; my favorites are those involving Tony Robbins. I recommend his talks for everybody.

Vi: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

ASHLEY: I think many don’t know that my road to becoming Global Ambassador was really difficult for me and that I had to reinvent myself or recreate my strategy a few times. There were periods in my career when, although I never doubted Vi, I did doubt myself. Can I do this? Am I a good enough leader? Am I failing my team? And when that self-doubt crept in, I made sure to go back to my belief in our Vi Mission. It reminds me of the biblical story of Nehemiah about building a wall…he had all these people coming out and building it. He believed he was doing good work. That’s what always inspired me. I know we’re doing good work. I’ve seen it in the transformations of thousands of lives. Once you get a taste of that, you never look back.

Vi: What do you think is the main thing that holds many women back from realizing their full potential in terms of becoming an entrepreneur?

Some women have this Superwomen complex, where they’re scared to ask for help. I was that way for years. As you rise, you need to ask for help. Ask people to help watch your kids. These are family goals…not just mommy goals. When I hit a goal, we take a family trip to Disneyland, for example. Don’t isolate your business from your family. Bring in your spouse and your kids into your business.

I’m so thankful we have that culture here at Vi. I look forward to my daughter being on stage with us… Jia’s already fearless! I mean, she’s smacking the microphone out of my hand. She’ll become a great leader, and I would love to mentor her. This industry is so exciting for women because you do write your own paycheck. You don’t wait around for somebody to notice you. You recruit and build. A lot of our top earners are female—and they get to spend time with their families while still being successful entrepreneurs.

Vi: Let’s talk about your life as a mom. What surprises you most about motherhood?

My favorite thing about motherhood is that you learn selflessness. It’s the first time in your life you truly realize that the things you want and need are just way low on the priority list now. I want to give Jia incredible life experiences. That’s all that matters—the fun I have with her. People always told me that when you become a mom that you feel like your heart is outside your chest. The longest I’ve ever been away from her is five days when we were in Europe building there…she had an ear infection and she couldn’t go. And I missed her tremendously. I have a very strong desire to be more than just a great mom….I want to leave a legacy that showed her how her mom and dad changed lives.

Vi: As moms, we always have the special mommy moments. What’s one of your favorites?

Singing and dancing. I love roughhousing with her. Steam-rolling. Chasing her. That is my and Nick’s favorite thing …just getting on the floor with her and playing and laughing.

The following are Ashley’s top 12 tips for how to become successful in business:

1. Think long term, not short term.

Give up temporary pleasures to instead pursue big goals. Don’t give up your dreams or career or passion for anybody; otherwise, you’ll eventually resent your decision (or them!).

2. Spend very little time with negative and non-driven people.

Consciously seek out successful men and women to mentor and lead you. It’s why I’m so thrilled about our new VET (Vi Events & Training) program. For only $29 a month, you can learn from our Millionaire Mentors and top earners in the company how to become stronger leaders and build your business in a huge way.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Busy professionals and parents must ask for help; don’t let pride get in your way.

4. Always follow through.

Tell people what you are going to do…and then make sure you follow through with actions.

5. Learn how to lead other women and men.

You can learn how to become better leaders just by asking the right questions. Learn what people really want, and then show how Vi can help them get it.

6. Value your time — people will respect that.

The time I spend away from my daughter and husband is filled with the things that really build my business or make me very happy.

7. Every year, reset new goals.

It’s important to create new goals…together as a couple and also individually.

8. Get uncomfortable.

Get out of the house more. Speak in front of the room. Wake up earlier. Basically, improve in the areas that you don’t feel you’re good at. Expand your boundaries.

9. Find people who believe in you…and then be that person for somebody else.

10. Although you will likely encounter haters along the way, brace yourself and stay focused.

We all experience those who misjudge us. I’ve been perceived as too young, too southern, too nice. Turn their negative energy into your positive energy to pursue your goals.

11. Never depend on anybody for your own happiness.

I have faith in my Creator and know that we all deserve a great life; I never depend on anybody else to create that for me. Become a great person; great things can happen to great people.

12. SPEAK UP! Be assertive, ask for the sale, and CLOSE!

If you REALLY believe in what we are doing, you will ask people to join you. They will see your passion and believe. They will join you… but first, you just have to ask.

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