Alyssa Hoffman shows us an example of what would happen if we followed our passions. After graduating in high school with honors, and spending ten years managing salons, she moved on to be a part of the education department of a Fortune 500 company. She found success there, being named her industry’s “Board Member of the Year” and “Educator of the Year.”
However, that wasn’t enough for Alyssa Hoffman. While traveling across the country for her work, she ended up at a rock concert. It was at this concert when she met the band that would literally change her life. After meeting the band Wayland, a six-time radio charting group from Michigan, Alyssa decided to sell off her possessions, leave her spot at the Fortune 500 company, and live life on the road.
After her Fortune 500 stint, Alyssa Hoffman became the manager of Wayland. While managing the band, she also got the idea to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become Fearlyss Entertainment. Her efforts as manager have also introduced the band to Rock Against Trafficking, allowing the group to contribute to a cause larger than music itself.
Through her business experience and acumen, Alyssa Hoffman has helped secure major opportunities for her band, including endorsements, sponsorships, and live performances. She has also branched out to other high-profile positions in the music industry.
Check out more interviews with industry daredevils here. Alyssa Hoffman also offers some tips on creating peace during today’s troubled times in this video.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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.
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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”?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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. 🙂
Alyssa Hoffman: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
Alyssa Hoffman: Thank you so much for #lysstening.
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