If You Want To Be Successful, Wake Up And Hustle
As a proven entrepreneur who has created and sold five companies, the hallmark of Alisa Marie Beyer’s success has been her passion to create clear vision, articulated values, and focused strategy to drive her companies and her client companies.
Alisa decided to bring a better “buzz” to the market in 2019 with Spa Girl Cocktails, an award-winning, clean-tasting, low-calorie, low-sugar, perfect-proof, guilt-free “pop and pour” cocktail collection. The brand has grown distribution to over 500+ national grocery store locations, including Albertson’s, Whole Foods, Vons, Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms, BevMo and Total Wine & More as well as an expanding footprint in the luxury hotel and spa resort channel in California, Arizona and Nevada.
I had the opportunity to interview Alisa recently. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:
Jill Griffin: Where did you grow up? Describe your early childhood and its significance on your life.
Alisa Marie Beyer: I am a child of the 70s who grew up in Southern California. Which means I wanted to be to be a Solid Gold dancer, Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie or Jan Brady. I loved going to flea markets, listened to Helen Reddy and lived for the drive-in movies. However, as a result of reading too many Mother Earth magazines, in my teens my parents moved us to a farm in Pennsylvania, where I saw snow, cows, ponds and cute boys on tractors for the first time and I became a country girl. As a child my parents were dreamers and storytellers and they taught me how to enjoy life and take a few risks along the way.
Griffin: Describe a painful setback in your life and what it taught you.
Beyer: Like many, I know grief. It visited me early in life, and again as an adult. Losing people we love causes unparalleled pain. I learned that in the face of significant loss, we don’t “recover” from grief. You will grieve, in some form, forever and that is okay. Grief is like an old injury that aches when it rains. Grief becomes a part of how we love a person even though they are gone. Learning to live with grief has provided me with an immense capacity for finding strength in the most difficult of times. I hope to spend my retirement as a grief counselor. (Wow, I’ve never written that down or said that out loud).
Griffin: When did you first get the whisper you belonged in business?
Beyer: I wish I had a sexier answer, but the truth is by my second job out of college, it became clear that I was a terrible employee who was on constantly on the verge of getting fired! At 29 I thought I’d take some time off before going to grad school, but I still had to pay the bills, so I hung out a shingle so to speak and the rest has been history.
Griffin: Briefly outline your early career and your goals.
Beyer: The truth is there’s one concept that sums up my career from day one through today: hustle and heart. I am a worker. I love working. I love people. I love building a business with people. Whether I was an intern or the CEO, I’m the same person. I wake up, I pray and then I hustle.
Griffin: What drew you to liquor?
Beyer: Well, I’ve gone from lipstick to liquor and it’s been an amazing journey. I always wanted to get into the liquor business. Growing up, my dad would tell me stories about our family: a group of ‘Bootleggers and Bathtub Gin Makers’ that arrived in the U.S. before the Revolutionary War and then settled in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania in 1901. Rumor has it that my great, great grandmother, Estella Houston Fogelman, bottled her own booze to enjoy at home and share with family and friends, neighbors and fellow church goers.
Griffin: Talk about a big business set back and how you handled it. What did it teach you?
Beyer: Feels like a loaded question, I’ve had so many setbacks, but the hardest ones always center around hiring the wrong people. A bad hire can really derail me, the team and the culture. I’ve had to figure out what kind of CEO I am, what kind of company I build and who are the right people to go on that journey with me. I’m blessed to have over a dozen women who have worked with me in multiple companies. But the changing moment for me was listening to Saturday Night Live creator, Lorne Michaels’ advice on building the right team for a high-octane company. Lorne said he asks himself “do we like each other enough to drive across the country together in the same car?” In my company we call it the road trip test question.
Griffin: What are the principles you now live by?
Beyer: Mine are simple really and the same I hope my husband and I taught our kids, which is know what matters and try your best to live by it. God matters. Family matters. Doing the right thing matters. Love matters. Joy matters. Traveling into the world and seeing new perspectives matter. People in your life matter. When tough times happen- and they will- often the only way out is through. And, of course, chocolate matters, too.
Griffin: What advice do you have for people who want to ready themselves for a great life?
Beyer: Regardless of what your version of a great life is, it still requires you to show up, and when it does not turn out how you thought or something goes wrong, and it will, just yell “plot twist” and move to the next scene.