- October 15, 2020
Owning a business wasn’t part of Alyssa Gay’s plan.
“I had actually sworn for years I would never own my own business,” Gay says. She grew up seeing family members run businesses — and how hard it was — and she knew she didn’t want any part of it.
In college, she had a job at a startup hub with 15 different businesses, working with them with different tasks. The experience made her realize she had a passion for small business owners and helping them navigate their marketing.
So in January 2018, Gay founded Alyssa Gay Consulting. The firm offers social media services, along with email marketing, blog writing and search engine optimization.
“When I started, I was very happy and content to kind of freelance and pay my bills,” Gay says. “My husband was like, ‘No, you’re going to grow into an agency.’ I just kind of realized as time went on, as we were getting larger clients, that I needed to bring on a team.”
The Alyssa Gay Consulting team is now eight people strong, with six full-time and two part-time employees. The staff includes account managers, a graphic designer and an operations manager. The agency’s growth was gradual initially, she says, but growth has increased in a big way this year. The firm has been able to bring on more clients primarily through word of mouth and referrals.
Gay says a crucial element of what she and her team do is create strategies to guide their clients’ social media. “We’re not just posting to post,” she says. “We have a strategy behind it, and it’s to cultivate those relationships with followers who are customers or potential customers.”
The agency usually plans content a month in advance, but that process has had to become more flexible in recent months. “As soon as the pandemic hit, we immediately reached out to all of our clients,” Gay says. Conversations revolved around how those businesses were going to shift and how marketing should adapt along with those efforts, including promoting virtual options offered by businesses.
Gay also says it’s important to her to provide analytics reports to her clients each month. “We love seeing those results and showing them to clients,” she says. “Our goal has been the same from the beginning, and that’s to help small business owners get their businesses online in the digital space. That goal has never changed and thankfully has grown as far as the number of business we walk alongside.”
City of Residence
Alyssa Gay Consulting, self
Founder and chief content strategist
Years on the Gulf Coast
Born and raised
Married to my husband, Taylor, for seven years. One fur child: rescue pup, Bentley
University of Florida — telecommunications
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
Pre-pandemic, I was very involved with Breakfast & Big Ideas (a Realize Bradenton initiative) and TopButtons based in Lakeland.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
I worked at YouFit right out of high school as a front desk/sales person also as a pre-K teacher in a day care.
What's your top tip for being productive?
My top tip is to prepare. Although we use a digital project management system, nothing beats writing out my to-do list for the week and scheduling work blocks in my calendar. I also try to tackle the least exciting or most important project/task first, so that I feel accomplished.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
It would involve interior design or fashion styling.
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
Aside from travel, I've really loved getting outside and exploring more of old Florida with Taylor. When things are normal, I love to entertain at our home, typically through dinner and game nights.
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
I love Blackjack, and Pit is a requirement at every game night. A little-known fact is that I also love to play Call of Duty with Taylor — especially when I'm in need of some stress relief.
What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)
Can I say Amazon? Ha! I've never used food delivery services.
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
Zoom. Most of my team is local, but some are remote, so we use Zoom for our team meetings and client meetings.
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
There are too many to count. To name a few: "Mindhunter," "Dead to Me," "Younger" and "Selling Sunset."
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
Our team meetings probably run the longest. We've had some that are about an hour and a half. Thankfully, we try to keep things pretty streamlined, and so do our clients.
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
A ton! Whether internal or client facing, sometimes video is easier than email or phone calls.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
The most important business lesson I've learned is the importance of industry professionals to guide you (i.e., CPAs, bankers, lawyers, etc.) and to run a lean business. Personally, I've learned to enjoy rest and have taught myself it's OK to slow down — honestly, I'm still learning this.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
I miss the times of people being responsible and accountable for themselves, without being attacked by others.
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
I've spent much more time outside, more quality time with my husband and generally just slowing down to appreciate more of the good stuff.
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
Both. After working from home for two years, we just moved into our office space, and it has been so nice to work collaboratively as a team and has allowed me to be more focused.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
Our team speaks fluently in GIFs, so whether by text or Slack, that has kept camaraderie.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?
The first thing I'll do is have a group of friends over for dinner and game night.