I was a record label manager at 21 & other wild adventures 📚

May 13, 2024
Alecia sitting at a desk with a laptop. Looking up with a thinking expression.

I spend A LOT of time researching what other people are teaching when it comes to storytelling.

I love checking out other people’s storytelling methods and theories - and often testing them to see what has merits.

There’s the one who says value posts are dead and it’s all about being funny. (problematic for a lot of nonprofits)

There’s the one that’s all about thought leadership. (which is prettty great)

The one I was looking at the other day was all about telling your life’s story and all the times you fell down, failed, why you didn’t fit in and didn’t’ succeed until you reached that perfect moment where it all made sense and you succeeded.

I realised this last one doesn’t suit me at all.

I actually realised my story in some ways, is the complete opposite.

I was actually traditionally ‘successful’ in the eyes of others very early on.

I often wonder how this has shaped my journey, the need to continue being successful - in a way that other people could see it. 

If you're interested in the condensed version of the story... here we go. 

I didn’t get into the uni course I wanted because my scores weren’t high enough, but managed to talk my way into it anyway.

My first full-time job (age 20) was as senior editor, responsible for setting up the state office of an international online media company, with three full-time staff reporting to me (and one of them was one of my friends from uni!).

When that company crumbled, I leveraged my entertainment contacts and landed a job as the manager of a record label. Yep, really.

I was 21 years old and going on international buying trips to Europe, placing orders worth 5 figures and setting direction for staff more than twice my age.

When I decided I wanted back into media, I went for a job as assistant editor of a health magazine. I ended up as the Managing Editor for a women’s fitness magazine and a men’s bodybuilding magazine of all things.

I met two Mr Olympia champions, learned more than I ever wanted to know about supplements and interviewed some incredible athletes and inspiring women.

Ready to step up to something bigger, I took the leap and I went for a part-time magazine editor job at a fashion & lifestyle magazine within a big company. Within three months, I was full time and in the process of launching a second magazine under my leadership.

When the GFC happened and magazines took a hit, I ended up falling into merging two departments in the sales team (somewhere I never thought I’d be!) and found myself responsible for all the advertising creative for all the clients of the major daily newspaper.

Once I’d faced the challenge and got everything running properly – I was bored. When I discovered I’d been blocked for several opportunities in editorial by my manager who didn’t want to lose me… well I knew that was it for me.

I started my own company, aged 30, which I built up from my back bedroom to having clients all over the country, and then the world. 

So for me, my journey wasn’t this path of failure and loss, but one of growth and reinvention.

My hardest years happened later, when I had my entire heart and soul invested in creating something I believed in that I knew could change the world... but things got hard.

Enough about me. My point is - this is why I believe there is no one sized fits all answer to your organisations strategy.

Anyone selling you a pat answer to how to grow without knowing your audience, your story, your goals, your team… I just can’t see how it could work for more than a small percentage of people.

I believe strategy is a journey. It’s about gaining knowledge from people you trust, understanding how to apply it in your situation and having the ability to reflect and understand your own needs and create a solution that makes sense in your world.

A bit of a strange tangent in this week's update – but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about storytelling this last week as I’ve worked with two amazing consulting clients and developing their strategies.

They could not be more different and the plans for them could not be further apart.

So don’t let anyone tell you who you need to be and how your story needs to go.

Instead, write your real story and find the right way to tell that to the audience that needs to hear it, in the places they spend time, at the time they are there and in a way that connects… and you’ve pretty much got the future nailed.

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