Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Ashley Werner-Sithonnorath of That Digital Rush

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Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Ashley Werner-Sithonnorath of That Digital Rush

Ashley Werner-Sithonnorath started her own business after her manager took credit for something she created. She knew if her work was good enough to be “stolen,” she was good enough to do things on her own. 

Des Moines Parent connected with Ashley to learn more about her and her journey.  

Give us a little background on yourself. 

I started my marketing career in a large corporate environment and quickly realized it was not a healthy place for me. My mental health quickly spiraled. Thankfully, my background in data warehousing and email marketing helped me land a job I loved at Meredith Corporation. Meredith’s environment made it easier for us “creatives” to survive in a corporate setting. I worked there until I had my first child and then I wanted to experiment with staying home.

I freelanced while staying home, had another child, and continued freelancing. After a while, I was getting frustrated with trying to build clientele in Des Moines while living in a small town. To take a break from “hustling,” I snagged a full-time job in Des Moines focused on real estate marketing. After a couple of years in the wild world of real estate (what a unique group of people!) I decided to fully commit to not just being a “freelancer” but to owning my digital marketing firm.

I quit my job (again). Moved from the small town I was in to Des Moines and launched That Digital Rush. It was a great move for me. I’ve lived in Des Moines for 7 years now and have since had another child.

Could you give us an overview of your business and what inspired it?

I own a digital marketing firm. I help small- to medium-sized businesses grow their online presence, market their services online, set up CRM campaigns, and even help create the creepy little ads that follow you around (just buy the shoes already!). I started my own business because I needed more flexibility and I wanted to earn money based on the quality of my work. Not based on budget minimums dictated by someone who doesn’t even know me.

The turning point for me was sitting in a meeting and hearing a manager take credit for a digital marketing strategy I created because it was so good (trust me, it was) and then watching as it was shared with sister companies so they could use it, too. I sat there thinking, “Huh. If my work is good enough to be stolen and shared, then it’s good enough for me to start my own business.” And that was the start of That Digital Rush!

What are your favorite parts of your business?

Besides my flexible work hours, my favorite part of being a business owner would be the connections I make along the way. I especially love working with female business owners. I’m a female business owner myself and often have the same experiences, successes, and struggles, and need the same forms of encouragement as my clients. I refuse to ignore those personal aspects of running a business when meeting with a client.

My goal has been to run a company that feels NOTHING like a big, stuffy, suffocating corporation and instead feels like an actual relationship between real people built on trust and support. I used to get lectured and laughed at because I’d look at my clients as a person first before I worried about dollar signs. This is how I do business as a woman, and I refuse to be ashamed of that. I’m proud of it.

How do you juggle your parenting responsibilities with your business responsibilities? 

Working for myself has been THE answer to my work-life balance struggle. Some days I feel like the only thing I get done is driving through the state of Iowa running my kids to the next location! Having the flexibility to cater my schedule to my children and then finish work when I get home has been the answer I needed.  

I think we’ve all sat in a job and thought about the fact that we KNOW we can get our work done but might need to rearrange our schedules a bit to make it work. I’ve been in jobs where we had 8 a.m. meetings every single Monday! Doing anything by 8 a.m. when you have kids (unless it’s getting the kids ready and where they are supposed to be) feels like such a daunting task.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your family around the metro? 

I have two teens and one preschooler, so it’s difficult to find something we all enjoy. In the summer, we hang out at the local beaches quite a bit and usually end up wherever we can rent paddle boards and kayaks. We enjoy the concerts at Water Works Park as well! Our preschooler loves attending events at the libraries around us and anything that has to do with animals (zoo, llamas, reptile fair, things like that). Smash Park is fun if it’s not too busy. We like Monsterama on SW 9th and my preschooler, of all people, loves the horror décor. 

What’s your ideal parent day or night out?  

If I don’t have my kids with me, and I’m not exhausted, then I try to do something with friends (BINGO, paint and sip, thrift stores, new age shops, anything new or weird – like that Vampire Speakeasy bar, I forgot the name lol) or go out for dinner with my husband (Sakari, JJ Jasmine, Rancho Alegre, Taco Marianas).

What’s your number one parenting tip?

Let your kids be embarrassed and rude. They’re not that embarrassing or rude, you’re just worried about judgment. We’ve got kids on spectrums. We’ve got kids trying to tell us that something doesn’t feel right. We’ve got kids who honestly just don’t want to hug Uncle Jerry today. We’ve got kids on too much red dye #40. It can feel embarrassing and rude, but they are FINE. Let them be. 

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Lindsey Giardino

Lindsey Giardino

Lindsey Giardino is a freelance writer based in the Des Moines metro. She's also a new mom and learning as she goes. When she's not working on her business or watching her little guy explore this big new world, she loves to cook, read and enjoy the outdoors.

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