Self-employment teaches people lessons of independence and accountability that can’t be learned any other way. Combine these lessons with a solid education, and you’ve got everything you need to start a successful small business. At ChooseWhat, we believe in both small businesses and the power of education. That is why we created a scholarship specifically designed for students with self-employment experience and aspirations. We are thrilled to announce the winner of the seventh biannual ChooseWhat Scholarship for Students with Self-Employment Experience: Sarah Morgan Ashey.
With a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and a mind set on success, Sarah moved from Tennessee to New York City to pursue her acting career. It was not long before she found herself working five jobs just to get by in the busy city. She knew she needed a better financial plan that would support her career goals and ambitions.
Newly wed, Sarah and her husband were on a honeymoon flight when she happened to come across an article in the New York Times about the comeback of the Czech dessert pastry, Kolaches. The pastry waspopularized in Texas in the 1950s, where her husband grew up eating them. That article happened to be the seed of inspiration requisite in bringing what was once casual talk of opening a kolache bakery into fruition. In 2014 Sarah and her husband became the first wholesale kolache distributors in New York City.
Sarah and her husband sensibly bartered with a locally established restaurant to use their commercial kitchen in return for a daily supply kolaches. They not only saved on rent and pricey equipment, they also got free product promotion and quickly learned how the kolaches were received by the patrons of the restaurant.
The kolache bakery was never intended to overshadow Sarah’s passion for theatre arts, and in no way has it. In fact, allowing herself to dive into the intricacies of running a small business has imparted on her excellent management experience and problem solving skills and tools that are equally relevant in the acting world.
“My classroom management has improved, I have built an impressive roster of corporate clients for my improv and acting workshops, ticket sales to my shows have increased by over 25% and I have utilized several out-of-the-box techniques for show promotion, including sidewalk chalk advertising near heavily trafficked subway stops.”
Although Kings Kolaches keeps her busy, Sarah has been actively performing as well as teaching. She currently teaches improv at Bay Ridge Preporatory School in Brooklyn, as lead teacher for improv levels one and three at the Peoples Improv Theater in Manhattan and as the weekly improv instructor for Facebook’s New York Headquarters. She has also lead improv workshops for the NY Presbyterian Hospital, Google, Prudential Financial, American Express, the TripleLift advertising team, Baruch College and The Storm King School.
A few of Sarah’s favorite acting credits include: Emily Webb (Our Town), Queen Aggravain (Once Upon a Mattress), May (The Last Trainto Nibroc) and Miss Piggy (We Love TV Presents: The Muppet Show!). Not to mention the various films, commercials, web series and organizations for actors that Sarah is involved in.
Sarah’s passion and focus in the midst of all she does is improv acting. We find that especially interesting in connection with running a small business. Sarah uses improv as a tool to help businesspeople bring their relationships to a new level of communication, understanding, and ultimately success.
“Without scripts, costumes, sets, or lights, the performers must rely solely on each other to build a successful scene. They must actively listen to each other’s unique voices and gifts. […] The collaboration needed to create something out of nothing is truly magical to witness in this theater form.“
Here at ChooseWhat we admire and respect entrepreneurs who not only manage to launch lucrative businesses with fresh ideas, but also manage to do all that in harmony with their life’s passion. We are happy to support Sarah on her continued path toward achievement and fulfillment. We wish her all the success in continuing to find balance in her busy busy world.