Entrepreneur Spotlight: Alexandra Carvalho, Creative Strategist and Founder of Alex’s House of Social

Tell us about yourself and your background.

My background started in the world of arts; my nana was an opera singer, so I would spend time in the theatre with her when I was 5. I think I stepped on the stage for the first time singing and continued my performing arts and acting training through London and New York. I am originally from Portugal, even though I lived in Brazil, Singapore, and US! I pivoted from performing arts after a period of being super lost, getting lost can be the catalyst for you to explore so many new opportunities, so then I fell in love with online marketing and digital media and spent around 10 years working in the agency world where I learned everything I could and was always the social media girl, especially in the early years and grew my career to build and run departments across Dubai, London, Singapore and I I was fortunate to work with  Fortune 500 Brands allowing me to develop a multitude of experiences. About 9 Years ago, I was done with all the toxic bullying and politics of the last agency I was at and called it quits! No backup plan, no savings, and decided It was now time to be my own boss, and I launched Alex’s House of Social.

Tell us about your company ‘Alex’s House of Social’ and what is it that you do exactly.

I help people kick ass and stand out in the ever-changing world of social media! I’m a consultant, educator, and a never-ending energy boost to your goals. I have over 18+ years experience in the media digital world so I’m extremely savvy and versatile with whom I can work with. I’m a creative strategist, meaning that when you work or learn with me, whether you are an entrepreneur, small biz, big company, or a personal brand or marketer, you will have a lot of creativity blended with strategy. My offering is quite robust. The key areas I really love are helping brands with their creative content & campaign creative strategy; I love working with personal brands. I’ve been building my 8 years of business, all leveraging my personal brand.

I have a Rebel Club, the only marketing club made for ambitious people, where you can work with me 101 and join an incredible group of people! You can learn for free with me by enrolling on my FREE REBEL ACADEMY streams over 30+ free courses 8k + students have joined. Published a book, “It’s a Good Day To Be Rebel,” made it to 4th on Amazon’s social media best-seller list. From time to time, I create this out of the box events my most recent one was YACHTCLASS where we set sail at sea to learn and showcase and network. Over the past years I’ve done bootcamps, masterclasses, short courses you name it! And beyond UAE also in Brazil. There is always something exciting happening in this house. Oh I am about to kick off a 10 live free webinars marathon of classes! You can head to www.alexhouseofsocial.com to pick your energy boost!

Why did you choose the Middle East as the location for your business and your home?

 I was already here, so prior to the launch of House of Social, I had been here for approximately 9 years working for agencies, so when I was told by a big CEO that “You will never make it in this city and not with that hair! And no one will take you seriously! It fired up my belly to prove to everyone in my industry! 9 years ago, Dubai was not what it is today; there were no freelance visas or even freelancers or consultant agencies that still dominated the whole market, and the rise of small businesses was about to get started. I chose Dubai because I knew it was going to be hard, and I thrive with challenges, but at the same time, I knew that my new unconventional approach was going to work, and if I had patience and grit, I would hopefully make it!

What has been your biggest success since founding House of Social? There is not one; there are many, and the truest answer is every day, I get to wake up and do what I love, how I want it, without asking for anyone’s permission, and I get to make a living 100% self-funded no loans or investor out of it. I get to do what I love so freaking much and have this freedom; this is a daily success for me.

And your biggest challenge?

Being an entrepreneur comes with its full sets of challenges, daily ones and at times bigger ones. I would say so far, my biggest challenge was a guy in the US coming after my business. I can’t go into too much detail yet, but this was a really tough and horrible experience to see that some people are that psycho and will threaten you and go to legal extends to do it and that some US platforms have extreme policies and can shut down your stuff. To feel for a moment that someone can come and take down your business can be scary.

What does a day in your life look like?

Oh Lala..! Crazy! Wake up and blast out some music in my turquoise kitchen (Yes, I painted it my favourite colour), make coffee on my discofied Smeg, and do my morning vlog. obviously, look at my phone and check for clients’ messages. Train and have my me time I visualize the day ahead and set intentions. Days are super mixed from back-to-back client meetings, which I love! Client work because I’m a hybrid consultant. I can create stuff for you! Create content for my socials and work on my HOS marketing and any other business aspect. I will squeeze time for extra passion projects I might be working on, and if we are lucky, I’ll be in bed by midnight.

What current trends do you see in the marketing space in MENA?

I see that some brands are starting to really take the quality of the creative execution and ideas to a much better level. It’s like, finally, MENA is starting to level up to some of the international brands. Influencer marketing is starting to get better with brands picking better creators to align with their brand and products and not just doing the usual fluff. We are having amazing talented people creating more and more unique content on Tik Tok, Instagram and Snapchat and that is really exciting!

What are your top tips for personal branding? And why should every entrepreneur who is launching a new startup business also build a personal brand?

Your origin story and who you are are the most powerful assets you will ever have, period. People are not buying products for products or services. People are buying into emotions and feelings that elevate their life, their desires their ambitions. If I ask you what your favourite brand is and why 99% of the replies are emotion-based. You need to develop a relationship with the audience; the most successful brands out there right now know this and implement it. Especially for small businesses, your personal story about why you started maybe a jewelry business and your day-to-day life of running it is what enables you to be authentic, vulnerable, and unique, people will connect with many of these aspects and when the time comes to choose if I will buy jewellery from an AD I see or Sally’s Jewellery business I will very much likely go with Sally either because I totally relate to how she left the corporate world behind and now has kids and tries to run a business I’m not emotionally connected to her! No one as Sally’s story, they can similar jewellery but they will never be her. If you don’t build a personal brand you cut short your opportunities to connect with the people.

What is your favorite social media platform, and why?

I don’t get emotionally attached to platforms; what matters to me is to keep going where the attention is; I’m always saying this: It’s not about what you like. It’s about where the opportunity is because attention is the biggest asset for you to get your brand any exposure. TikTok is amazing; the potential for growth there is so great; Instagram is vital but has such slow growth, so you need to focus on really nourishing your community. I’m really enjoying YouTube Shorts great growth there, and Linkedin for btob is super strong.

How do you see the social media landscape evolving over the next 3-5 years?

I’m not a fan of predictions; I like to stay focused on the present and capitalize on it. But it will most likely continue to turn around on trends, now we are in a micro bite-size content consumption video era, but on the flip side, long form is starting to arise in storytelling, so we may start to see a turn for longer content. Brands will continue to elevate even more their storytelling on social media to a more cinematic approach with multi-part mini-movies, like we are seeing with Dunking Donuts, for example.

What is your number ONE piece of advice you give to entrepreneurs starting out?

Do more and execute more than all the thinking and planning you are doing. The real stuff happens when you execute and get out there! So, stop sitting on the sidelines and do as much as you can so you can learn as much as you can to optimise your business.

And your favourite quote?

You Got This!

What are your goals for the next 3 years?

Many! I’ll keep them for myself right now…Just keep watching…

How can readers find out more about you?

You can find everything on my website and my socials www.alexhouseofsocial.com and on all socials @alexhouseofsocial ! See you there

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East