More than a decade ago, Lueda Alia started forging friendships online, frequenting absolutepunk.net and engaging with its online community. Today, she’s turned her taste in music and the online community she found into a business all her own.
Alia, a Western Criminology student, is the CEO of madeofchalk.com, a multimedia music website. In less than a year, the site has grown a large international following, garnering attention from a wide array of publications and media, most recently NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly.
“Over the years I’ve gone out to festivals, I’ve met up with my readers (from AbsolutePunk), and it’s been really awesome. Eventually, I wanted to do something that didn’t restrict me,” after she worked as an editor covering indie music for the website.
Bringing a group of loyal readers and followers from AbsolutePunk, Alia launched madeofchalk.com last February.
“Over the years, I had built a following. I created relationships with record labels, artists, publicists, managers – with just my computer and my headphones,” she said.
Her team consists of readers, fans and followers from her time with AbsolutePunk. They all work ‘pro bono,’ calling the website a “labour of love,” dedicated to promoting music and artists they enjoy. The site even features professionally produced backstage videos, something you don’t see anywhere else, explained Alia, who also works for 24West, a marketing company based in New York.
“Being an entrepreneur has simultaneously been the most challenging and the most rewarding experience of my life. It’s difficult to stay motivated when ‘living your dream’ isn’t supporting you financially, which is a reality that young entrepreneurs face when embarking on their journey. It’s crucial to acknowledge that reality, but it’s not one that should prevent anyone from following their dream,” she said.
“The best advice I can give anyone is to network everywhere, all the time, and to make an effort with your relationships, which requires more than just the random birthday wishes on Facebook. Connecting with and helping people — as a friend — will take you a long way, and it’s the best investment you can make for your future. Made of Chalk took months to build, and it takes continuous work despite and because of its success, but no challenge is too difficult to overcome with my extensive network of friends and associates in the entertainment industry.”
Story originally appeared in the Aug. 21 edition of Western News.