As the owner of multiple businesses, head of her own brand, a multi-sponsored fitness personality, and a mother of three, Ashley Horner is the straight-up CEO of her life. An entrepreneur from the age of 23, she has since expanded her brand to include 14 training programs, her own gym, a line of surf-inspired apparel, and just recently, a coffee/whiskey shop in her current hometown of Virginia Beach. Here, our first cover athlete of 2017 shares how she got her start, what keeps her going, and why training everyday keeps her on top of her game.

1. She made her first million in her 20s.

Ashley sold her first ebook when she was 23, a PDF of her training program that she promoted to fans on Facebook. “I was really nervous putting it out because I thought people wouldn’t pay $100. But I just had to have confidence in myself and trust my gut instinct that they would believe in it too. I took the first bit of money I made and invested in a cheap website. That’s how it all started.”

2. She genuinely wants to help people.

In 2015, Ashley launched the Unbroken Foundation, which fundraises for shelters for battered women and children. To help kickstart the charity, she ran 280 miles from Virginia Beach to a women’s shelter in Wilmington, North Carolina, raising $19,000 to build them a new roof. “I was very passionate about raising money for the shelter and the women living there. I just knew there’s so many women that are suffering, that are getting the living shit kicked out of them. That burned inside of me and made me want to do it. I wasn’t afraid of the pain.”

3. She has a badass squad.

With so many balls in the air, Ashley knows she can’t juggle them alone. Instead, she surrounds herself with other strong women to help manage her businesses, her schedule, and even her family. “You have to align yourself with people who are like minded. It’s extremely scary opening your own business, and it can be easy to let your guard down and let people in your circle help you out, but some people just want an easy ride or a hand-out. Or they try to take your vision and make it into their own. When bringing people onto your team, make sure they understand your vision and believe in it.”

4. She refuses to compromise her training.

No matter what’s going on in her life, her fitness is non-negotiable. Most days she can be found at her training facility, American Sled Dogs, putting her powerful body through the paces. “I might miss a day in the week, but it’s really important to me. My training helps keep my head level. I always get really inspired when I train. I’m focused on what I’m doing, but sometimes there are those moments when I have the best ideas or figure out solutions to problems, when I’m in the zone and training.”

5. She doesn’t take anything for granted.

In spite of all her entrepreneurial success, multiple sponsorships, and more than a million social media followers, Ashley remains humble. “I don’t think my followers truly understand how great it makes me feel when they tell me how I’ve changed their lives. Realistically, they have changed my life. They have entrusted me; they have allowed me to do what I do on a much bigger platform. Knowing just one person from a small town was able to have such a huge impact on their lives is pretty cool. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it, that shit never gets old.”

To read our full interview with Ashley, pick up the January/February 2017 issue of STRONG Fitness Magazine!

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