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From Advrsity to Entrepreneurship–Inspiring Future Lady Bosses

Alexa Carlin.  At 17, she was a CEO–designing jewelry for an L.A. based fashion company under her own label where she donated a percentage of proceeds to help build schools in Africa. Since then, she has been passionate about making a difference in others lives through her entrepreneurial endeavors.  At 21 she had a 1% chance to live.   Later while attending the University of Florida, Carlin started the inspirational blog Hello Perfect®, a blog that elicited quotes from celebrities ranging from Shaquille O’Neal to Mark Cuban. These endeavors enabled Carlin, who in high school was too shy to raise her hand in class, to build confidence– her mission, to promote self-esteem in girls and women.  In the midst of all of this, she was rushed to the hospital where one, then five then 25 doctors were called to the emergency room where she was rushed—not being able to breathe. She had suddenly gone into septic shock and the family was told she had a 1% chance to live.  Miraculously she walked out of the hospital, but constant ingestion of antibiotics had destroyed her system.  Since then, she has been passionate about making a difference in others lives through her entrepreneurial endeavors.  She continues to suffer from autoimmune disease but has managed to rise above it despite severe constant physical pain.  Alexa has dedicated her life to doing one thing: inspiring people to dream big and believe in themselves.   

Founded in 2016, Alexa grew the Women Empower Expo (WEX) to become the largest event for female entrepreneurs on the east coast hosting events in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Washington D.C.. Through WEX Alexa has created a platform for women entrepreneurs to gain support, find funding, and meet other like-minded women.Alexa’s mission is to make a difference in at least one person’s life every single day. Today, Alexa travels the world as a sought-after public speaker on the topics of entrepreneurship, authentic leadership, women’s empowerment and overcoming obstacles. 

What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?

I’m working on growing and expanding my company, the Women Empower Expo. The Women Empower Expo has grown to become the largest event for female entrepreneurs within the first year and currently i’m working on expanding to more cities and to reach more people with our events and message. I came up with this idea inspired by my own experiences as an entrepreneur and from a missing link I saw in the market while I was speaking to numerous women’s organizations as a public speaker.

When I was a senior in college, just a few months before graduation, I got really sick out of nowhere and my body went into septic shock. I was induced into a medical coma given a 1% chance of living. This experience changed my entire life as I was then diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease which I struggle with on a daily basis. While I was trying to heal my body I still was working on turning my ideas into reality. I became immensely passionate about sharing my story with others publicly and began pursuing public speaking. I spoke anywhere and everywhere for free for about a year until I started getting paid to speak. As I was growing my business as a public speaker I noticed a big disconnect amongst the women’s organizations and events I was speaking at. All of these women were doing amazing things in their own industry and community but no one knew each other, they all just stayed within their own groups or industries. I knew this needed to change if any real change was to be made.
I believe it is through collaboration vs competition that we can create real change and especially as an entrepreneur, you need to get out there and meet other people from different industries and walks of life. I created my business, the Women Empower Expo (WEX) with this in mind so at WEX you know you are truly getting a diverse and customized experience. You get to choose what sessions you want to attend based on your interests and passions and you get the opportunity to be in an environment of thousands to entrepreneurs from all different industries so if you are in need of a lawyer, graphic designer, investor, or even a podcast guest- you can meet them at WEX.


How is your company different?

The Women Empower Expo (WEX) differentiates itself from other women focused events with our ticket price, programming, and speaker selection. We work extremely hard to keep our ticket prices way below market standard because we truly are on a mission to empower as many women as possible and want to ensure it is an affordable investment. Regarding programming, at our events the attendee gets to customize their experience based on their passions and interests sitting into session only they are interested in. We have no general session or sit down meals, throughout the day, you get to create your own WEX experience. For our speaker selection, we choose a majority of our speakers from the local community where we are hosting our event. The reason for this is because we want to help create a thriving community of female entrepreneurs and leaders in the cities we visit and work to highlight women who are doing amazing things right in your backyard! This allows attendees to really connect with speakers after WEX and throughout the year, creating a real relationship that fosters change and growth.

What’s your dream with your company?

My dream is to have the Women Empower Expo be the go-to event for all female entrepreneurs and female leaders creating a ripple effect of change by empowering each attendee to take action on the things they want most in life. My dream is to hear stories from the women who attend on how WEX was that pivotal moment for them and their business and today they are doing what they love full time and making a difference in the process. I want to help create the next “Sara Blakely’s” of the world.

 

How do you creatively advertise?

Good question! I’d say the creative way we advertise is through my public speaking gigs. We attract thousands of attendees and customers through my own speaking gigs without me ever saying “come to this event or buy this ticket”.  Public speaking has been my #1 marketing and advertising tool to grow my business. That’s actually the inspiration to why I created BeAPublicSpeaker.com, to teach more entrepreneurs how to grow their business by authentically sharing their stories. It’s the BEST advertising and the most cost-effective!

 

What is your core competency?

We equip female entrepreneurs with the knowledge and community to create and grow successful companies.

 

What was your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?

I really don’t believe I’ve failed at anything because every misstep led me to where I am today but I guess to answer this question i’d say the biggest thing I did wrong was not remain consistent in my business in the beginning. When I was first starting out as an entrepreneur I jumped around a lot, trying to find things that would produce the results I wanted. Now looking back I realize the importance of being consistent, with everything you do, especially when it comes to producing content. That’s definitely something i’ve learned the hard way (I started my first youtube show back when YouTube was still infant sized, if I remained consistent I’d have a much larger following than I do today!).

Biggest success has been the number of people in attendance at the Women Empower Expo. I started the company in 2016 and have produced 3 events so far which attracted over 7,000 people in attendance! From this success I really learned the value of putting yourself out there authentically and vulnerably. The more I share who I am, the more transparent I am in my business, the more relatable I become as a Founder and the more trustworthy my business becomes. It creates a really great environment for long-term success creating a real community we do business with.

 

Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.

Fear regret more than you fear failure.

 

Teach us something about networking:

Don’t go to a networking event with the mission to tell people what you do, but rather share who you are. The more authentic and real you can be, the greater result you’ll receive from networking.

 

What’s something new you’ve learned in the past month?

People have different communication expectations and that can cause a lot of perspective differences when it comes to working with a team. It’s easy for someone to think they are communicating well and the other party think the communication is lacking if it is not clearly laid out of what is expected. It’s best to be upfront as a leader and clearly outline what you expect from your team when it comes to communication and the vehicle of communication.

 

What do you think you do better than most people?

Improvise! I’m really great at thinking on my toes, especially when I’m in front of a crowd. I’ve heard so many people tell me that a crowd of people causes them to be shy or timid, but it actually does the opposite for me. When i’m speaking in front of people, I get so much energy and the words flow! Whether that be on a conference call to 50+ team members or in front of an audience on stage. 

What should an entrepreneur focus on?

The bigger vision and the feeling that vision will bring them. When you focus on the feeling, then you can better understand the journey. Sometimes things don’t work out, but that thing may not be what will help you achieve the feeling you want. For example, you don’t want a million dollars, you want the feeling a million dollars will bring you or the feeling you’ll get when you spend that million or even when you make that million. When you can focus on the feeling, your vision becomes clearer of the life you are building for yourself and for others, and that will drive you closer to achieving it!

What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Unbinding the Heart by Agapi Stassinopoulos are a few of my favorites.

Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?

In a few years I see the Women Empower Expo taking place in 4 cities across the country impacting 3,000+ people at each of our events. On a personal note, in a few years I see myself traveling the country on a book tour!


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