We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Neal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is so important in life. A statement that always follows me is in a song by Lee Ann Womack. She sings, “If you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”. In my younger years, my first thought was always to take the most comfortable path. The most recent risk has been “going all in ” with Aligned Tutoring and entrepreneurship. I started my business a year ago, and at its inception, I did not dedicate my all. I held on to my “safe” paycheck and advertised occasionally. Well, 2021 led me to follow my dream all the way through. I have had more success in 3 months of “going all in” than a year of straddling the fence. Mindset is everything. Always remember if you believe you can or believe you can’t, You’re right!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is Aligned Tutoring and Instructional Services, LLC. I started Aligned during 2020, the “virtual education” year. At the time, I had a first grader and a full-time corporate job. I have 10 years of experience in education but it was so challenging to balance my career and to ensure that my daughter received the building blocks of her education! From this experience, I created Aligned Tutoring to help lighten the academic load for busy families.
Little known fact… Students that attend school in a traditional educational setting, spend less than 15% of their waking hours at school. Most learning comes from home! Aligned Tutoring provides thought out, fun, and effective activities to promote continuous learning.
Our unique offerings include creating small learning communities. In these small groups, we have discussions over reading and math fundamentals as well as unique STEAM topics. We also provide homework help and tutoring to fill in learning gaps or assist in following this year’s academic pace for all students, Kindergarten through 12th grade. Lastly, I enjoy providing consultations to homeschooling and working parents who need advice on how to organize their children’s learning options.
My path has not been easy. However, I constantly seek to learn and better the business. I am so appreciative of fellow entrepreneurs that have willingly provided sincere guidance. So now, I am collecting all that I discover and molding it to fit my specific business and structure. Some weeks are better than others, but I celebrate every small win.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d go to Sandaga 813 in Deep Ellum or Pangea in Garland – it has a great happy hour vibe. Also, Sidecar Social in Addison is fun to catch a drink and the Rockwall Harbor is nice to view some casual scenery.
Regarding local food, Sweet Georgia Brown’s, in South Dallas, Herreara’s in Addison and both locations of the Daiquiri Shoppe are favs.
For my friends vacationing with kids, I would encourage buying a Pogo Pass to take in activities around the DFW metroplex. Outside of the Pogo Pass, the Crayola Museum, Kid’s Empire, Hurricane Harbor and the free Uptown Trolley are all great family fun.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many to shoutout. So much has helped to mold me and push me to follow my dreams. First, giving honor to God. I am blessed and highly favored and praise Him for this daily! Secondly, my family! From my grandparents who were early examples of different forms of entrepreneurship, to my parents who instilled a solid character and work ethic, to my brother and cousins who follow their dreams and continuously inspire me.
Outside of my family, I am grateful for my friends. Every one of them are so different but always give sound, thoughtful and encouraging advice.
My alma mater, Prairie View A&M University opened my eyes to the fact that so many others that looked like me strive, dream, and work hard for a successful life.
My colleagues from Skyview and O.Henry Elementary, my church family from Open Bible Fellowship Church and so many others have molded my mindset and built me up to follow my dreams.
Books have played a major role in my transition to an entrepreneurial mindset. Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice by Dennis Kimbrough and Napoleon Hill is just the most recent that has had a major impact. Earlier books and Ted Talks include The Danger of a Single Story, a Ted Talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.
M. Jeanette Photography