An Interview with Kat Mische Elle
I help people make passive income from new technologies with our educational company.
Ashley Armstrong is a Canadian entrepreneur, professional spokesperson, author, speaker and consultant who is most well-known as The Hidden Rules Expert®, teaching the “hidden rules of business.” She was one of the only female authorities in the online/eCommerce industry, bringing her expertise to TV as a regular guest expert on a nationally syndicated Emmy Award-winning show, The List TV, on CBS, NBC, ABC and viewed by 40% of the United States.
Armstrong partnered with ecommerce sales expert Dan Hollings, which achieved sales of over $57 million in only seven months, launching the world’s most popular crypto training program, The Plan, breaking digital marketing records and onboarding members from 130 countries. In her spare time, she focuses on championing women over 40, especially mothers, breaking ceilings in life and business.
What was it like growing up in Canada and how did it impact you in regard to what you do now?
I am from the very isolated Peterborough in Ontario, Canada. My childhood “friends” were whatever animal I could catch, and I kept myself occupied by making clothing, jewelry, and tree forts.
My father was not around much in my younger years. He was a “racer chaser,” a ski technician for the Canadian National Men’s and Women’s Downhill Ski teams; he also was a manager at Atomic Sports Canada. I lived with my mom, aunt and uncles, and grandparents. My mother was also very distracted with her time and left me to raise my little sister. I felt like a mom at eight years old. It was hard being a young child in a parenting position.
My father traveled the world with athletes taking them to the Olympics. I grew up in a very structured, mentally focused, athletic family. I watched the athletes grow their careers, train, and observed their stumbling blocks.
With my father being the man he was, I was thrown into a sport I didn’t like as a child, but I loved skiing because I was better than everyone else. I was a natural athlete and always ended up on podiums for any sport I competed in. I had to live up to expectations and win. At that time, the belief was that if you didn’t hurt yourself, you were not trying hard enough—the typical 1980s sports mentality.
Despite being terrific athletes, everyone in my family seemed to have issues with learning. Regarding formal education, we were a square-peg-round-hole family. My grandmother understood my challenges with school and helped me feel loved, understood, and normal. She was a college professor, and one of the first to introduce the concept of learning disabilities to people in Canada.
When I got into school, I did not have the foundation and stability that others had with their classwork. My parents wanted my sister and me to be bilingual in French and English. However, I couldn’t write or read English, let alone French. So, in grade 4, I had to start all over again at the level of grade 1. I was put into a class with kids with learning disabilities.
In high school, I was constantly put in a room where I felt like I didn’t belong. It was a massive struggle because I was always treated like I was stupid. Thank God for my sports abilities – I kicked everyone’s butt on the field, so the other kids knew better than to make fun of me.
My friends excelled at school, and were placed in general or advanced classes, whereas I was in lower-level classes. This caused my first deep depression in Grade 9, because I was separated from my friends.
I worked my butt off going to summer school every year with tutors, and I went back to high school after I graduated to take more credits so I could qualify to apply to college.
When did you find out where you fit in the best?
I’ve had a few epiphanies in life. I was a skier, competed at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) level, and went into coaching and training. I coached in all four disciplines within the snow sports industry, ski racing, half-pipe, park, and snowboarding. One of the only few females at the time, I ran ski schools, trained individuals, and was a representative for a ski company.
One of my most significant, eye-opening experiences happened in Whistler, Canada. There was an important event where ski companies would demo skis and introduce new equipment. I was the only woman in this group of 20 guys. And one of the guys who has known me since I was a child working with my father told me, “You’re a girl, you don’t belong there, you shouldn’t be here, and my son should have your job.”
It was then that I asked myself, ”Why am I staying in this sport that I don’t love? It isn’t me. It isn’t my passion.” I walked out of that event and did not step on snow again for 17 years. I was done.
I then questioned myself, “Who am I? What do I want? And what do I even do?”
And at that time, I took any job I could and started selling timeshares, where I met my future husband, decided to trade the snow for the sand, and moved to Mexico.
My first child was born in Cabo San Lucas. I was a young adult living in a country where I barely spoke the language and was unemployable. None of my skill sets were there. That lit a fire – I began to focus on increasing my education and staying relevant.
I decided at that time to set up a future for my children that would be better than my upbringing. My journey was unique and different. When I was almost 30, I started a small business out of my home. I became a local natural health practitioner and a childbirth educator. I created things that didn’t exist in the town where I lived.
I wanted to make my business bigger, so I moved the business online and learned about making money in different capacities from anywhere in the world.
How much strength and success did you gain by beleiving in yourself?
It’s a foundational thing – if you can’t run with me or as fast as I can, then you need to get out of my way; I’m going to blow you over. It came from my influence in sports originally, but I have come to apply it in many areas of my life.
My faith has always been strong. For me, there never has been a question of if taking a chance would work. I believe that you can get what you want as long as you keep showing up and doing the work, but you also must let it go at times and let the universe provide.
What took you to your next best success in the story of your career?
I decided to move everything online, ‘the early years.’
I had my girls, and now my most significant focus was preparing them for when I was dead.
People asked, “What are you doing?” I told them – this is how I operate. I am preparing my children for a life without me. I have done that since they were born. When my oldest was four years old, I decided that I was going to write a book. No one thought I could do it! I ended up publishing six of them. My passion project turned into books about my kids and for my kids, about life lessons, how to be an entrepreneur, how to deal with bullies, how to meditate, and how to ground yourself.
It was my first kick in the butt, the first thing that made me realize that I could do anything and make money from anywhere. I had discovered how to make my own money my way. The idea of being online and selling something when I was sleeping was almost unbelievable. I thought if I could do this with books, I could do it with other things. So I began to manufacture products.
Have you always been a leader?
I’m going to be the best, and I’m going to be the leader; no one tells me what to do.
I’ve always been the teacher, the trainer, and the leader. I guess it is from the maternal instinct I discovered while raising my younger sibling from a very young age. I created the Cabo Moms group when I had my kids because I didn’t have a community. I started the community online, and opened it up to all local mothers; we now have over 2000 members. It’s amazing! I’m always trying to create and cultivate whatever I see is missing. Someone has to take charge, and when I’m passionate about something, I usually end up being that person.
Through my mom’s groups, I helped many women make money from home, start local businesses, online businesses, or start manufacturing within the country. I went from nurturing my kids to nurturing and encouraging women by helping those women accomplish their goals.
What supportive advice and guidance would you offer to self-sacrificing, career-driven individuals, especially women?
When it comes to self-sacrificing, that’s an interesting term for me. The word “sacrifice” to me means hardship, difficulty, and pain. And I think life naturally is all those things, no matter what. It depends on what mood I’m in, or at what point in life I am to either accept that word or not.
When it comes to business however, it’s more about the whole concept of balance. Is there such a thing as balance in business and life? I don’t believe there is, especially in parenthood. You make the best choice at the moment that you’re in for whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish. And that’s it.
What is your primary focus for 2023?
As a founding partner, we launched Dan Hollings Crypto Program in the last two years. It was the largest digital marketing launch ever, breaking records.
We generated 57 million in seven months, which was hard to embody. When you hit these big goals, you ask yourself, “How can I do this again?”
It was life-changing and scary, and I went through a massive entrepreneurial depression throughout that success. I would think, “I have everything I need and want, and every success. So how can I be depressed, sad, or upset when everything is so great?”
I’m still coping with it, trying to figure out its meaning and how I will leverage it.
The next big focus is to build business bigger, better, and help more people than I’ve been able to help this far.
I am also planning to write another book, do speaking engagements, and eventually host a TV show in the next three-to-five years.
My next book will focus on the value of women in their 40s; we are not trade-in-able and are way more valuable than society might imply. We are statistically the most depressed demographic, and I aim to change that for my daughter’s future and create a positive influence for business leaders toward change. Part of this plan is to share it as a talk on a TED X stage.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
My father often said, “Just make sure you’re always flexing your failure muscle.” That’s the quote we’ve coined since I was knee-high. It means that you need to lean into the fact that failure is your best teacher. Failure is a positive word. We use failures as stepping stones to reflect, detect, and correct. Just keep going. It is important to always strengthen your failure muscle like any other muscle in your body.
Who has been a significant inspirational influence in your life?
My family. My mom, my dad, and my matriarchal grandmother have always inspired me. But to be quite honest, the biggest inspiration in my life is me. I have done everything I possibly can to live the best life ever. If I die tomorrow, I will die happy.
What is the best way for people to find and follow you?
Instagram. @AshleyArmstrong.HiddenRules or www.TheHiddenRulesExpert.com.