Connecticut native Alexa Curtis created a following from a fashion blog she began at a young age, which she transitioned into a mental health platform called Life Unfiltered with Alexa Curtis. Since then, she has made it her mission to empower teenagers and young adults. In 2016, Alexa launched a nonprofit, Media Impact and Navigation for Teens. She has also established an LLC, produced a show with Radio Disney that she landed after running her successful podcast, and created the Be Fearless Summit.
MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price caught up with Alexa to learn more about what it takes to be a young entrepreneur.
NAN PRICE: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
ALEXA CURTIS: To me it’s about continuous growth, continuous branding, and continuous evolution. I’ve been doing this for a while now. I’m 21 and I started when I was 12, but I finally feel like something’s working. I honestly never thought I would be where I am today—but in some ways I thought I would be further along. The outside perception is that I’ve done so much, but there’s much more I want to do.
My mission was always to inspire teenagers. That’s why I started Media Impact and Navigation for Teens. We’ve presented at high schools over the last few years, including a few places in Connecticut.
NAN: The presentations you’ve done were the idea behind the Be Fearless Summit.
ALEXA: Right. I’ve spoken at many different colleges and large conferences and I began to notice that I was always the youngest person on the panel—it wasn’t a bad thing, but I realized the there was a whole audience that needed more relevant life information. So, in summer 2018, I came up with this idea to create a summit that was targeted to young adults and millennials who need help planning for their futures.
I pitched my idea to hundreds of colleges and they all said no, because it’s never been done before. I was at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women and approached someone from Drexel University, which agreed to host the full-day summit.
The first Be Fearless Summit was March 15, 2019. We provided attendees with tons of resources and connected them with CEOs and entrepreneurs. There were breakout sessions and panels on everything young people should know from how to pay taxes to how to choose a degree to how to land your dream job. The goal was for attendees to leave feeling empowered and inspired. The event was really successful.
NAN: How are you making connections with summit presenters?
ALEXA: From the beginning I’ve always known it’s all about your relationships. And it’s all about how people perceive you. So, I was always savvy about having business cards and networking, even at a young age.
I reach out a lot and I’ve created many connections just by emailing somebody and asking: Can I interview you? Six months later, I may ask them to participate at the summit. Also, I work in entertainment. It’s a very small industry, so you get to know people.
NAN: Any advice or things you’ve learned along the way in your entrepreneurial journey?
ALEXA: Don’t be afraid of the word “no.” People sometimes tell me they have a great idea but they’re afraid of emailing someone and bothering them. For me, especially via email, it feels like I’m getting told “no” every hour! But I’m not scared of it anymore because eventually a “no” will be a “yes” and then I can prove my idea is awesome. You just have to keep going and let every “no” make you want success more.
I think one of the reasons I’ve built such a huge following is because I’m so open about rejection. I’ve heard many “nos” and had many ideas that haven’t worked out. But when I look back, it always worked out. You can kind of follow along since the beginning of my journey and see that.
I think especially in entertainment, but really any industry, you always have to be thinking about what’s next because things change so fast. And, if you get too comfortable, then you’re going to be really uncomfortable when things don’t work out. Stay uncomfortable.