Mamaprenista Alicia Underwood, Co-Owner of Socially Inspired and Founder of TwentyThree, on Creating a Meaningful Presence Online and Beyond
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
Hello! My name is Alicia Underwood, and I am the Co-Owner and Director of Digital Strategy at Socially Inspired. I’ve been in the social media space since the very beginning. Fun fact: I was in Twitter’s Focus Group before it became Twitter! I’ve owned my business for a decade. I have helped over 100 brands in managing social media accounts, executing influencer campaigns, designing websites, and creative materials, and providing overall marketing strategy and support. At Socially Inspired, we believe in creating a meaningful presence online and helping you build an authentic connection with your audience.
As of January 2023, I am excited to announce that I will launch my new digital consulting studio, TwentyThree! TwentyThree is a consulting studio for enthusiastic and honest brands. I’m here to help bring clarity to all your digital marketing needs. From social media to influencer marketing, my decade-long experience in the industry will take your brand to the next level. It’s time to strategize your digital marketing!
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Being around like-minded and helpful entreprenistas who are serious about their work!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was 22 at a male-dominated agency. When I asked about their maternity policy, they said I could use my two-weeks vacation and possibly work from home. Since then, I knew I had to work myself and create an environment that supports moms.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Social Media Manager (agency)
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! For as long as I can remember, I’ve always started a business. I believe in creating opportunities for myself and others in this world.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out, and did it go as planned?
I knew I’d always wanted to start one, but how it began wasn’t intentional. I worked as a Social Media Manager at a previous agency when the Account Manager there wanted to leave. She approached me about starting an agency together. While it was a wild move (side note: I was closing on my first home in two weeks), I’m glad we took the leap! She focused on sales, while I worked on the production of our service. We were both 24 and made over $100k in our first year. While our partnership ended a few years later, I’ve carried on the business and have been blessed with many unique opportunities along the way!
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
Trusting my gut. It’s something I’m still learning but getting better at. From hiring to making important financial decisions, I know never to ignore my intuition.
What is the accomplishment you are the proudest of to date?
At the very start of the pandemic, we received a call from a billionaire who was writing a book. They hired a New York firm and fired them within two months for lack of results. The pressure to show results from our marketing strategy was high. We are proud to say that we’ve helped him sell 45,000 books to date!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! Our team believed in the hybrid model way before the pandemic even began. Our team is made of mothers, so work/life balance is essential. We don’t believe in micro-managing vendors to employees. We believe in taking ownership of our projects and being a service to our clients. The best tip is to time-block! Time blocking allows us to focus on the highest priority tasks so we can give it our best. Second tip: Let go and delegate. As entrepreneurs, it’s tough to let go. But if you hire or partner up with the right person, your business will flourish even more. Third tip: Pick your battle! I always ask myself – is this worth the fight? If not, let it go and move on to the next thing.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Plans are great but invest in people. Listen, guide, and do not manipulate.
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
We’ve worked with our biggest client to date – Fair Saint Louis and piloted a social media program for a national client.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Scaling up and acquiring high-level projects!