The Inside Story: Alecia Hancock – Helping Cause Organisations to Be Heard

Alecia Hancock is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, with a passion for helping cause-based organisation tell their story.

Her agency – Hancock Creative – has won three Australian Web Awards for social media in WA, and a national Australian Web Award in 2015. Hancock Creative also a finalist for The Western Australian Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award.

Alecia was a finalist for Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year in 2014 and was voted in the Top 100 Influential Person of the Year in 2016 by NIFNEX.

Alecia’s vision is to further worthy causes around the world by providing accessible education. She has worked with brands like Bankwest Foundation, Australian Red Cross, WA Police, Foodbank WA, Activ, Ability Centre and Lifeline WA.

She worked as journalist and magazine editor for more than 15 years, with most of her time spent at the helm of local and national magazines. Her work has appeared in The West Australian, marie claire, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine. Alecia is also currently a lecturer at Notre Dame University, teaching Interactive Media. She recently won the 2017 Telstra Western Australian Micro Business Award.

Can you give us an overview of your business?

Hancock Creative launched in October 2010, initially focused on providing small business a range of creative services. The business we have today bears little resemblance to that early vision.

We find our purpose a few years ago, and Hancock Creative is now on a mission to further worthy causes around the globe. We provide accessible education to not for profits and socially-motivated organisations and help them tell their stories in today’s digital world.

We predominately teach causes to use social media to fuel their growth, as it’s the most powerful tool that exists today to reach out to an audience and get them to take action – with little or no money spent.

We’ve worked with organisations like Starlight Children’s Foundation, Australian Red Cross, Bankwest Foundation, and Royal Life Saving Australia – just to name a few.

Our training programs range from a whole year of hands-on education and mentoring, to a one-hour seminar to online training.

As well as our paid programs, we also provide a great deal of free education for the cause sector. We run a free full day event called Change the World, where we bring Australia’s best marketing experts together in one place to help the cause sector. So far, we’ve helped around 450 organisations through those days.

We’ve also awarded more than $170,000 in training grants into our programs.

While Perth based, we have clients now all-around Australia, and have recently opened in Sydney. Next year, we have plans to roll out into Brisbane and Victoria as well with both our free Change the World events, and our paid programs. We want to touch one million lives in the next year through our work.

 

What ignited the spark in you to start your business?

I’ll focus on our big shift here for this. We actually spent about six-months planning to merge with another agency. Through that whole process we spent a lot of time digging deeply into our personal goals, and where we wanted to go in the future. While the deal never went through, I think that was pivotal for me to realise where I had wanted to focus all along.

What do you believe was the best decision you made in business?

It was terribly scary at the time, but it was to focus 100% of our attention on what we’d always wanted to do – work that made a difference. We let go of a lot of clients, scrapped products and entire revenue streams. We ended up with about $7,000 in the bank and a huge plan to change the lives of a million people, by supporting the not for profits that help them.

Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?

Go all in on your vision. I once thought the best path was to keep our fingers in lots of pies, because diversification brought security. Actually, it brought us stagnation and a lack of clarity. As soon as I had the courage to really pursue the one thing we’d always wanted to do, everything changed. Our team culture is the strongest it has ever been, we find it easy to attract great people, our products are clear and effective, and our clients get inspiring results.

Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?

It’s not an easy question to answer because I get inspiration from so many people, depending on what I need at the time. I think there is something we can learn from everyone we meet from the corner hairdresser, to the multi-millionaire.

I look up to people who have created sustainable, successful businesses that are making a big difference in people’s lives.

I have huge admiration for Richard Bell, the CEO of Unfiltered and the chair of our advisory board. He is constantly out there practising what he preaches. He has achieved so much and is an incredible font of knowledge, but he only backs businesses he truly believes in.

I really admire what brands like Thankyou and Who Gives a Crap have done, they’ve created an entirely new business model focused on social change.

I’d love to meet Amy Porterfield, I have huge admiration for her success, her transparency in everything she does, and her passion for helping others succeed.

I’m inspired by Jessica Alba’s story. She’s transformed the public perception of her from being about the way she looks and the films and television shows she’s been in, to her intelligence, business acumen, and the difference her brand is making in the world.

What was the best advice that you have been given?

I’ve been given a lot of good advice over the years, but I think the best one was from Richard Bell and it was profoundly simple – just do the work. He explained to me that the work has to be done, but it’s up to us how we approach it. We can choose to tackle the hard stuff, with a smile on our face and a focus on the big picture.

How do you make the most of your day?

I make the most of my day with planning. I need to constantly readjust my thinking and my work to make sure I’m focusing on the right things. If you don’t constantly re-focus to make sure you’re heading in the right direction, you’ll find yourself six months down the road feeling like you’ve worked extremely hard, but are no closer to your goal.

Sometimes it is the things you choose to put aside that has the biggest impact.

Hancock-Creative-TeamWhat is your favourite app?

I’d like to say it’s my Audible and Podcast apps. I love getting a dose of inspiration in the car on my way to work each day. It’s a great way to get myself in the right mindset before I even walk in the door.

It’s probably Google Maps though. I have a terrible sense of direction, and I’d literally be lost without it.

What motivates you?

I think motivation is a constant choice. We can’t all stay motivated all the time, so we have to choose to seek out things that inspire us. Our team will watch videos from brands that inspire us, or share our ‘wows’ – something in our week that has inspired us personally or professionally.

Our biggest motivation comes directly from our clients. When we see one of their campaigns achieving incredible results, when they hit their fundraising targets, or simply share a message with us about how we’ve been able to help them – that’s truly what keeps us going.

How do you generate new ideas?

As a team. When we come up against a problem, or need some inspiration it’s something we tackle as a team. It doesn’t matter if someone works in accounts or they are an intern, if they have a great marketing idea – then it’s a great idea.

I also try to surround myself with people who think differently. I have friends who own different types of businesses, advisors and people I respect. They are all great sounding boards for new ideas.

In terms of products and programs, most our ideas come from our clients. We are very hands on with them, so we get pretty of chances to listen to what challenges they face, and develop new ways to help.

Change-The-WorldWhat is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

For me, it’s those moments when I see other people get behind what we’re doing. It’s hard for me to acknowledge sometimes that it all started with this crazy dream I had, that it was just something in my head – because now I see how many people it has taken to get us to where we are.

Moments like wining the Telstra Micro Business of the Year WA this year – it was really amazing that such a well-known and recognised company could look at what we’ve done, and agree it was worth recognising.

I am so grateful every time that happens, as it helps stoke the fire that keeps us going, and helping more and more people every day.

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

I think every business has something to admire about it, no matter the industry. I particularly admire Thankyou, as they have a powerful story, are able to convey their messages in a really authentic way, and have been able to grow as a business while also staying true to their purpose of making the world a better place.

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