Alexis Grant has over a decade of experience in helping entrepreneurs grow and sell their businesses, as well as founding her own ventures such as blog-management company Socialexis, an online community for writers called The Write Life, and media company They Got Acquired. She earned her Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Colby College and her Master’s in Journalism from Northwestern University.
She was recently awarded the 2022 Medill / Garage Media Entrepreneurship Fellowship, supporting underrepresented groups in addressing challenges facing the media. The Garage was lucky enough to sit down with Alexis to learn about her and her vision.
What does your entrepreneurial background look like?
My first company was a boutique content marketing agency; we ran blogs for businesses from 2010 - 2015. I went in-house at The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance publication, in 2015. While it wasn't my company, I worked alongside the founder to scale the team, so my work still felt entrepreneurial there. I started a website for writers called The Write Life in 2013; sold it in 2021. I then launched They Got Acquired in February 2022.
What interested you in journalism - specifically related to entrepreneurship?
I actually wasn't interested in entrepreneurship when I studied journalism and went into the field. For journalism, I appreciated the variety of the work, the opportunity to learn about lots of different topics, and I enjoyed writing. It wasn't until I stumbled into freelancing, then writing and selling ebooks, that I recognized the potential for creating my own job. I realized I could do similar work, yet have complete autonomy over when I worked, how much I earned, and who I worked with. That's when I got hooked on entrepreneurship. For me it was really all about freedom.
In your opinion, what’s the best way for entrepreneurs to leverage the media?
Understand all the different ways you can work with media to get the word out about your company. It's not just traditional media mentions anymore; you can leverage partnerships, paid media, organic, etc. Personally, I appreciate the opportunity to get high-quality backlinks, which boost our site SEO, so the right people are more likely to find us through search. Media mentions can also lend credibility, especially in a business's early days.
What innovations do you hope to see in the media industry?
I'd love to see more local publications find new ways to be sustainable. Local journalism, especially accountability reporting, is so important, yet it can be tricky to monetize well. I'm also interested more generally in new ways to fund media operations.
What is your ultimate vision for They Got Acquired? What are your goals for the platform?
I'd like to see us become the No. 1 resource for entrepreneurs looking to sell their business, especially bootstrapped founders. Every time we hear from a founder who is on a path to exit because of our help, that's a sign we're on the right track. And some of the most satisfying stories are founders who didn't even realize selling was an option -- they figured they'd simply wind down their business -- and then ended up with a sale that was meaningful financially for their family.
We're also developing a database of deals, with a focus on "small" acquisitions between $100K-$50M, most of which are private. The goal is to make this information accessible to all the players in the ecosystem, from entrepreneurs to M&A professionals to investors.
Now that you’ve officially visited the space, what excites you about The Garage and its programs?
I was really impressed to see just how many students are tackling more than one area of focus for their studies; I think that interdisciplinary approach is really applicable for the real world and sets you up well for entrepreneurship. And the energy in The Garage was infectious! So cool to see students taking seriously the challenge of building a business that offers real value to others -- and having fun at the same time.