I had the pleasure of interviewing Alicia Williams, Founder and CEO of Aliste Marketing. She is an award winning entrepreneur and author whose out of the box creative strategies have helped businesses expand their market reach by effectively using Social Media.
As an accomplished public speaker, she has enlightened and entertained audiences at local and national conferences as well as on regional radio programs. Recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Women of Family Business Award Recipient, recognition as one of The Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty, and the honor of being the Spotlight Entrepreneur for Capital One Spark.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I always had an eye for good branding — it’s a blessing and a curse.
I can’t look at anything without diving deeper into why a company utilized specific colors, wording or imagery on their social pages- my goal is to figure out what story they are telling.
Creating a brand experience is in my blood, from my first fundraising event I hosted I was coordinating the candy bar to match the foundations colors, creating invitations that mimicked their mission and pushed the boundaries of guerilla marketing to grab the attention of my prospective guests.
A graduate of Curry College in Milton, MA, I majored in Communications with concentrations in Public Relations and Theatre- I wanted to be the star of the show and then quickly realized you need to be able to sing in order to hit it big on Broadway- so marketing was my next stage that I took to.
I graduated a semester early and decided to attempt starting my own business in the height of a recession when everyone was telling me “Don’t Do It!”
With nightly networking events filling my calendar and projects piled on my 12×12 desk situated in my laundry room- I got to working!
Why did you found your company?
I remember being fascinated with the word entrepreneur as a child. It wasn’t until I graduated that I understood what it meant for my own self. The adrenaline of working for myself and learning people’s stories, drives me everyday. If I wanted easy, I would go work for someone else.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
One thing that we are doing for our clients is taking an approach to truly nail down who their target audience is and where they can captivate them. For example, everyone thinks that if they are not on social media they will be missing out. That is not always the case.
Focusing on one channel and making sure that you are hitting your target audience. For some organizations, earned media is the key to reaching their buyers.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My parents, because even though we grew up with a ton of opportunity, my parents made us work for what we have and they were never driven by money. They were driven by experiences and the ability to put us through school or take a vacation and that definitely factors into what I do.
Mentors at college included my PR professor. I still keep in touch with this person and they truly gave me the drive and insight that I needed to go for it.
Also my first internship was with the Alumni Relations center at my college. My boss there was a huge influence on me as well.
How are you going to shake things up next?
We are always working on new things to throw a monkey wrench in the everyday norm.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
It is going to suck….a lot: owning a business sucks sometimes…and that’s ok! When you lose a deal, mess up during a presentation or can’t collect an invoice just know that you’re not alone and that it sometimes sucks to be the person at the wheel.
Surround yourself with people way smarter than you: there is no such thing as a jack of all trades…you will end up being a master of none. So build a solid network of people that align with your culture, mission and quality. We focus on what we’re amazing at and work with incredible teams that support the pieces we need to bring to our clients.
Have fun: Working for yourself isn’t easy- if you want easy, go get a job! With all the ups, downs, stresses, wins and successes just have fun- this is one chapter in your life, enjoy it.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
“Permission to Screw Up” by Kristen Hadeed is a book that I found to be very insightful, I really related to it and made several of the same mistakes she did! I always love hearing about how others have struggled, and what they have gone through to get to where they are. It is very relatable.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Richard Branson because he seems to stay true to his purpose, isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of ideas, supports entrepreneurs, has fun while doing all of this and is a killer branding strategist. I have mentioned him several times in articles, but maybe this time he will see it and let me take him out to breakfast 🙂
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Originally published at medium.com