Small Business Saturday – Podcast – Melissa Alam
During this week’s episode of the Small Business Saturday Philadelphia podcast, we spoke with Melissa Alam. Melissa is a creator, serial entrepreneur, and digital strategist who has been in Philly since her college years 12 years ago.
Melissa can be known as a “Jane” of all trades and master of all – she is always working on a new and exciting project. Listen as Mac, Delilah, and Melissa discuss collaboration/making connections, learning different skill sets, imposter syndrome, and learning how to hustle.
Melissa began her entrepreneurship journey in 6th grade when she began selling random things to her classmates. Her entrepreneurial spirit followed her to college at Temple University. During college, she put all of her time and effort into starting a sorority – Kappa Phi Gamma. After graduation, her passion for development and building organizations led her to start her first of many businesses, “Wood Works Paddle,” with one of her sorority sisters.
Post college, Melissa worked for a few different agencies in the area. She realizes that it wasn’t her thing and decided that she wanted to pursue freelance work. When she first started freelancing, she did not have high paying clients or an extensive portfolio. To make up for this, she started to build her portfolio up with hypothetical work for events and businesses that she wanted to run in the future. This helped her secure real clients now. Melissa says that freelancing taught her to hustle. From there, she launched her next major project, The Hive, followed by her own agency, Femme & Fortune. She has also developed a number of yearly events and conventions including:
- Fearless Con
- The “Study Hall Summit” during Philly Tech Week
- Tnd the upcoming “Recess” during this year’s Philly Tech Week.
For Melissa, the best part of being an entrepreneur is having freedom and being able to sleep in.
She attributes her success to the amazing connections she has made in the Philadelphia small business community. In Philadelphia, she says that the entrepreneurs all help each other. Here, it’s not about your background or education, it’s about the people you meet and the connections you make.
The hardest things for Melissa when she was first getting started was building her brand and voice and affording the tools that she needed to succeed. No matter the struggle, Melissa would never go back to working a traditional 9-5 job.
Currently, Melissa is working on client work, branding, creating an online digital course, and marketing her upcoming events. What’s next for her? She hopes to continue to teach at UArts, travel, and perfect her stand up comedy skills.
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