VEU Magazine just announced their 9 Youth Bosses You Need To Know list for the May issue, and KidNewsMaker founder Alejandra Stack was there along with some of her real life kidboss friends. Here’s her interview with correspondent Alex Rogers.
1) Tell us how you got started in your field. My mom is an award-winning journalist but she’s also a divorced single parent. When she was at her last newspaper job she was working deadline and she had me in the office with her. Basically, I’ve grown up in the newsroom. My first time in a newsroom was I was 3 weeks old. So I’ve always grown up behind the scenes and even when my mom was doing live broadcasts, sometimes I would help her with the camera if her cameraman was it there. So when I was 11 we were in the newsroom and she’s basically told me to leave her alone and I didn’t have anything left to do after my phone died. So I was going through newspapers and I realized that there was no news on kids. They were only highlighting athletes or entertainers or if the kid had done something bad. So asked her why this was the way it was and she said, well if you don’t like it, then you change it and make your own. So I went on my Instagram and I got some of my friends and we did some questions and then I gave it back to her a couple days later and she was very impressed with it. So I paid her $50 from acting money that I earned and I asked her to help me as an editor and so she helped me with the layout in the design. And because I already know like paper qualities and everything, because I’ve been in the printing department, I already knew what I wanted. So she just got a couple copies to share with friends and they liked it and they advised I continue doing it. After awhile it got a little bit expensive to print because it’s only my mom and I behind it and so we decided to post a lot of the stories online. We also post the magazine online and it went on to become an Amazon bestseller in seven categories.
2) Talk to us about the initial startup stages with your business. It was pretty easy to start because my mom has been in news for like 19 years and most of the adults I know are either in entertainment or in journalism. So the way a kid can be in the kitchen a lot of times and learn how their mom or their grandmother makes a recipe it’s kind of how I grew up learning how to edit how to design, what gloss and matte and paperweights and bleed and saddle stitch and perfect binding and staple stitch is about. Those kinds of things come easy for me. Even when it comes to cameras I love that side of things because I’m also an actress and I’ve been on several movies and TV shows most notably ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 and I play the younger version of the lead character in ‘Mixed Emotions’ with Jossie Harris from ‘In Living Color’. So a lot of the people I work with know I like that side of things so they allow me to see how to do work. I think I also love interviewing as well and that’s something I got from my mom. She still does journalism but she does a lot more writing like book writing for novels. So it’s kind of cool because a lot of people have to look outside the box to find a role model but I have a Georgia Press Association award-winning journalist who is my parent.
3) What is the most rewarding part for you about what you do?
I think the most rewarding part about what I do is definitely to be able to talk to kids on their level because I’m a kid too. A lot of things I have found out my mom hasn’t even been able to find out because they don’t feel 100% comfortable talking to a grown up. I think I can relate to my peers because it’s just another kid conversation. I think what’s been rewarding is to have kids and adults realize how important my product is and then I had kids tell me that they started their business because of something they got out of reading my magazine. There aren’t a lot of products for kids that are positive. A lot of the competitors that have the word teen in front of it really encouraged us to grow up too fast and they don’t have a lot of substance about how kids created it. So when I see kids doing something that they learned in the magazine or say that I helped show them that it’s normal to be young but doing something they feel like they’re not weird anymore. Another important thing is when being able to meet kids and see their faces when they realize that the person behind the product is an afro-latina girl because it’s important to feel like you’re represented and diversity is so important.
4) What has been the biggest lesson about overcoming obstacles and failure that you have learned throughout your business journey?
I think the biggest lesson that we learn is that we can’t do it all by ourselves and we need to have a support system in place. I’m a typical teenage girl sometimes and it kind of bugs me when my mom gets on me and reminds me that I can’t do certain things because I’ve got a lot of people who look up to me. Also we had to learn how to designate our tasks because even though I had the idea and I liked it I know I prefer to do the questions but she’s definitely a lot better at layout design and the writing. So like we’ll have our business meetings and we will talk she will make sure get my input so I do have the last say but I pick the pictures I pick the kids and for the most part she does editing. I love interviewing and I love doing the camera. I also love pitching and talking about the product so I could do the face of the company but she still allows me to do the behind-the-scenes and who better to trust as your chief executive officer then your mom. We are also a part of the Raising A Mogul community and through that we have a lot of family members well-extended family who understand what it means to have a child in the limelight or in business so we have a group that’s kind of normal instead of a lot of people saying things like oh she’s too young to be doing all of this. A big lesson both my mom and I had to learn was how to balance the business side versus parent and child relationship. Sometimes you do have to bring other people in and you have to take a step back and realize which relationship is more important to you. As time has gone we have learned how to balance that.
5) Tell us about upcoming projects you are working on.
Oh my gosh I have a lot of stuff. I have a couple of TV shows I worked on last year that are coming out this year and because I’m kind of short I play younger so people think I’m like 12. I’m also hosting the Gen Z Summit panel segment with my mom. I have several speaking engagements and in the summer I have to go to Maryland and DC for events including the Excel Youth Mentoring Institute award ceremony. I’ve also been scheduled for an event in 2020 in the Bahamas and I have an event in LA later on this year. I also have a few book collaborations and several hosting bookings. And I am excited to get back on set for a few TV series that have invited me back. I also want to work on being able to develop more staff for my company so that we can expand it and get it into schools.
6) Leave us with some words of advice you can offer to aspiring and current entrepreneurs? My company motto is we are not waiting we are creating. That basically means that you don’t have to wait to be great and you’re never too young to start the foundation to your dreams. You have to go after it even when you don’t have any money and we have been poor, I have no communication with my dad, we are immigrants in this country, and there are times where the only thing we had is McDonald’s internet or a cellphone and ideas. But we still tried and at the end of the day people invested in us people believed our dream and we keep fighting because we see the value in it and the value in ourselves. So my advice is to not wait but to create with whatever you have in your hand right now.
7) How do you balance being a young entrepreneur and your social life with friends and family? Well, first of all, I’m homeschooled and I don’t like that all the time because it’s kind of like I don’t get to be average. But I do have a lot of friends are also homeschool students and many of them are actors as well so we tend to see each other once every other week when we’re filming especially if it’s a TV show. Like ‘The Walking Dead’ I did that for a couple of months so I got to see the same kids for a while. Then with my Raising a Mogul crew there are a lot of like-minded families so we do a lot of talking. I mean I do go to the movies but I also do a lot of traveling and I definitely do a lot of social media. My mom just gets on me a lot if she feels I’m spending too much time. I mean I do miss regular school but I realize I would not be able to do all these amazing things because I realize I’m not average. But the crazy thing is I love what I do so it’s not work for me it’s a hobby I enjoy that other people enjoy watching me dothat.