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Alyssa Hoffman: “Neutrality is the most important pillar in my business”

Neutrality is the most important pillar in my business. Anytime that you are reacting from an emotion, you are reacting from the past experience that is being projected onto the new moment. A great company has to be grounded in the present. Being neutral and allowing a situation to be what it is, not projecting […]

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Neutrality is the most important pillar in my business. Anytime that you are reacting from an emotion, you are reacting from the past experience that is being projected onto the new moment. A great company has to be grounded in the present. Being neutral and allowing a situation to be what it is, not projecting what we think it is, allows us the opportunity to be responsible. We use our response-ability, our ability to respond, in a way that is present, grounded, and focused. This creates discernment and good decision making.


As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyssa Hoffman, the fearlyss rock and roll manager of Wayland the band. Fear “lyss” like her name, she encourages others to feel the fear and do it anyway. Alyssa quit her Fortune 500 job and sold her possessions to become a female force in the music industry through the practice of “shaking your ass and saving your soul” that you can learn all about at www.alyssahopehoffman.com


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I had worked for over a decade at a Fortune 500 company and thought that it was where I would be retiring. I was on the path to climbing right up the corporate ladder like you “should” do. I realized I had been “shoulding” all over myself for years and living out a life I didn’t even want.

I went to a rock concert with my mom to meet a band she had been telling me about for years. I ended up at the after party, agreed that night to sell their merch, and after one night on the road realized I never wanted to do anything besides that again. I quit my job, sold my possessions, and moved onto a tour bus to manage Wayland.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

There were so many hard times. The bus would break down. Shows would get cancelled. Promoters or managers wouldn’t take my phone call because I was a girl. No joke. I never thought about giving up. Not for one minute. I knew it, like I knew my own name, that this was meant for me, and I was not going to give up on myself. Everyday I knew that I had to do it for me, and that cultivation of self trust was what kept me going.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Oh God. When I first started I was entering all the shows into the Bands In Town website and it was a very tedious practice. I had to enter every venue, address, phone number, and ticket link for over 100 shows. I thought I found a shortcut to enter them all in and all of a sudden, Phillip, the guitar player of the band who is now my boyfriend, came in the back of the bus and said three venue owners had called him and said we were all playing their club that night, did I have any idea why that was happening? I didn’t, so I kept going and two more venue owners called while he was on the bus with me. I realized I had totally skipped the scheduling part and over 20,000 fans were getting notifications that we were playing a show that night in their city. The biggest lesson I learned was to not take the shortcut, and that the “tedious” things we do, the “rinse and repeats” and the “chop wood carry waters” are the most important part of life.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Fearlyss Entertainment is not a traditional company, and it’s definitely not a traditional music company. Being “fearlyss” is a business that is in service to the artist. Fearlyss Entertainment trusts itself, and therefore it’s able to trust the artists with their own art.

Being “fearlyss” isn’t about doing the most dangerous thing, or risking it all for clout. Being “fearlyss” is about embodiment, that’s why I used my name in the spelling. It’s embodying the zero point. The stillness. Neutrality. From that place of presence and clarity, I’m able to make the best decision for the artist and their music.

Everyone thought I was insane to travel full time with the band and not have an office. I worked out of a bunk for two and a half years, gained ten pounds, and couldn’t move my back from being hunched over. But being on the road I listened to every conversation, every complaint, every prayer, and every piece of gratitude. It allowed me the opportunity to see the music industry first hand from the artist’s perspective which is something no school or mentorship would have ever taught me. This knowledge is what makes us different.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

To avoid burn out, be fearlyss. When you are “fired up” and emotionally charged, you’re going to burn out. That passion flame gets hot too fast, and it will eventually burn you. When you are fearlyss, which is to say when you are neutral, you are present, you are listening, actively, to what wants to be birthed through you or through your artist, and you are controlling your energy. You’re turning up the heat slowly and intentionally to where you’re paying attention to what’s in front of you in that moment, in each moment, and that way you won’t get burned.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My mother has been responsible for getting me everywhere in my life. She coached me through cosmetology school, through my career with Great Clips…she introduced me to the band and encouraged me to tour. I called her the night before I was quitting my job after a decade and asked her what to do if I’m making a mistake and she reminded me that a mistake is a mistake for a minute, but a regret is for a lifetime. She is my best friend.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

A good company is a company that functions. It profits, it treats its employees well, and it’s able to hold its own.

A GREAT company serves. It serves itself. It serves its employees. It serves its customers. It is in service to the highest and best good of all in integrity at all times.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

If I were to name five things that would lead a company from good to great it would be awareness, listening, neutrality, discernment, and presence.

A company needs to be aware of what it’s doing, what it’s perceiving, and how it’s being perceived at all times. Every moment is fleeting and not being aware of what your company feels like is a deadly mistake. It’s not just about numbers. If I wasn’t aware of what singles were performing the best on the road to live crowds, and what type of VIP encounters were resonating with the fans the most, I would still be trialing and erroring and guessing things that I knew nothing about. Being aware means making eye contact, as well as third eye contact, with everyone in the room and seeing what the overall vibe is.

A company has to listen. Listen to its employees. Listen to its customers. Listen to its feedback. What does everyone say when you leave the room? Customers and employees alike. What does your youngest employee think? Your newest? Your most tenured? What does an intern say? A stranger? Are you taking this advice in actively or passively? Some of our greatest and most successful music video ideas have come from conversations. Some of my biggest public speaking talks have come from behind the stage. I was backstage on The Kiss Kruise and a request Gene Simmons gave an employee on the deck shaped my entire leadership strategy for that quarter. If I wasn’t listening to what was happening around me, I would have missed it.

Neutrality is the most important pillar in my business. Anytime that you are reacting from an emotion, you are reacting from the past experience that is being projected onto the new moment. A great company has to be grounded in the present. Being neutral and allowing a situation to be what it is, not projecting what we think it is, allows us the opportunity to be responsible. We use our response-ability, our ability to respond, in a way that is present, grounded, and focused. This creates discernment and good decision making.

Discernment is a skill that every great company has to embody. Every decision must be in integrity- not just on brand, but in integrity. Your “brand” is subjective, your integrity is not. What is true and authentic for your company and its customers? Can you stay true to that path?

Presence is what makes a great company. Are you present in your meetings? Present when reviewing your goals? Present when discussing a product or launch? Being present in the music industry allows you to be the music. Music is the space in between the notes, and presence creates space for new ideas and innovations to flow. Forcing music or business doesn’t make anything great. Greatness flows.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

Business creates culture. Without having a purpose or something or someone to serve, you aren’t living up to your responsibility as a business owner. Business and commerce is an energetic exchange, and what energy you put out is what you receive. Giving is always the highest energetic exchange and one that yields the only results that matter. I’m not talking about conversions or paydays, I’m talking about integrity and fulfillment. The funny part is, is that those principles actually lead to the conversions you’re looking for.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

When a business leader is at a standstill, it’s usually a mirror reflection of their energy and their behavior. What you put in, you get out. Ask yourself where are you at a standstill in your personal life? Your professional life? Where do you feel stuck? The answers are always being reflected back to us externally and we seldom take the time to be aware that the same thing is happening internally.

Restarting your engine is as simple as turning the key. You have to turn yourself on everyday. There is action you have to take no matter how much success that you have previously had. The Universe doesn’t care what you did yesterday. Be here now.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

If you focus on what the economy is doing, you will be in alignment with the economy. If you focus on what you’re doing, you can influence the economy around you. Being present is the key to this. Business needs to be fluid. You need to serve your customers in that moment the way they need to be served. Your business plan and your goals should be consistently revisited and revised so you can continue to grow. Focusing on what’s not working in the economy only brings more of what’s not working. Swap out your worry for wonder. “I wonder what would serve my customer and the economy right now,” opens you up to possibility. Worrying about it closes you off.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

The most underestimated part of running a company is always your relationship with yourself. So many leaders will do everything for their business and do nothing for themselves, not realizing that they are that business. Soon, the external reflects the internal and you’re wondering why you’re not growing, why you’re burned out, why you’re unfulfilled. Decrease your workload by 20% and increase your self care by 20% and watch the profits match that 20% and then some.

As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

Instead of thinking about making “sales,” I like to think about offering value. When you think about what the most valuable thing you can offer somebody is, and you truly believe it and know it like your own name, the conversions will come naturally. Being cerebral isn’t what’s going to create conversions. Stories sell. Feelings sell. Connection sells. Connect and feel and share your story behind your why. It wins everytime.

Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

To earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand requires being in your integrity. When you are true and authentic to your values, your mission, and vision, and you embody that experience, the authenticity is magnetic.

Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

The golden rule in every language is treat others the way you want to be treated. When you think about your most incredible customer service experience, do that, and do it better. Customer experiences are not just customer experiences. It is actual time out of a real person’s life. It is an interaction, a moment in time, that cannot be duplicated or replaced. Life is sacred, and business is sacred. Pay attention to the details and make every interaction better than your last.

What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Social Media shouldn’t be a concern. We give too much power to it. We have all given in to a “groupthink” mentality and are “afraid” to be “cancelled.” We have replaced pop culture with “cancel culture” and it won’t stop until we stop giving it our power. Forgiveness, grace, and resilience are characteristics of companies that I want to align myself with- as an owner and a consumer. This is our social responsibility to trust ourselves and not fall into the “but what will they think” mentality. Authenticity and integrity will always be my go-to answers.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The biggest mistakes I’ve seen CEO’s and founders make is giving up on themselves. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to be fast. It is going to ask EVERYTHING of you in every moment. Making mistakes is part of it. You’re not even making mistakes- you’re making discoveries. You’re discovering what doesn’t work which brings you closer to what will work. TRUST yourself. This is your religion, your mantra, your saving grace. You are who you have been waiting for.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The only movement I would ever be interested in is love. Jimi Hendrix says “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” I believe that music and love are the most powerful forces in the universe, and John Lennon was onto something I’d like to finish.

How can our readers further follow you online?

www.alyssahopehoffman.com or www.waylandtheband.com

I am live on WaylandTV every week on YouTube at www.youtube.com/waylandtheband

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Thank you so much for #lysstening.


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