Alison Chace – Founder of Pink Wisdom

Attend conferences, meet people and read blogs that inspire you, reach out and “cold call” important people to meet you for a coffee, and then act “as if” you are one of them already.

Alison Chace is a commercial actress, lifestyle and entertainment television host, voice-over talent, and entrepreneur. Most recently, she has launched Pink Wisdom, a support network dedicated to helping women reinvigorate their careers and love lives. The site offers life-affirming videos from wise and experienced women that give insight and sisterly support needed in order to take the next steps — baby steps, giant leaps — down a new career or relationship path.

Where did the idea for Pink Wisdom come from?

In 2009, I founded a website called What began as a lark turned into a life-changer. Among other things, I’m also an actress. You might remember me as that woman washing her hair with Herbal Essence, emerging from the bathroom murmuring, “yes, yes, YESSS!”

As an actor, you have to create your own projects or you do a lot of sitting by the phone. Even Brad Pitt has his own production company! The project I came up with was conceived as an on-line Today Show for all things “relationship.” It would especially speak to the lovelorn and I would be the Oprah, shepherding women through the agony of painful breakups with my wisdom, humor, and special guests. With acting (and, okay, life!) I’d been through more than my share of rejection and I thought, “dammit, who better to walk the jilted, dumped and two-timed through the Valley of Forlornity and deliver them out the other side!” It felt like the perfect career vehicle for me.

After a few years, I came to realize that my absolute all-time favorite part of the site was the section we called “Expert Advice.” There, I would interview some of this country’s leading relationship experts and get incredible advice to pass along to our members. The thing I loved the most about putting this section of our site together was searching out, connecting with and then getting to know these smart, successful experts through these interviews. My desire to learn more from these marvelous women and to further explore the psychology of relationships is what inspired me to launch Pink Wisdom.

And then, once Pink Wisdom was up and running, I had questions about this new career I’d made. With the Valley of Forlornity in my rearview, I faced the steep Hills of Entrepreneurship. So I started asking career experts — trailblazing women who’ve simply insisted on their own success — for their advice. The answers I got, from entrepreneurs to media moguls and much more, are all here.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am three things: a Mom, an Actress, and the Founder of Pink Wisdom. After dropping my son at school at 8 am, I head to my secret weapon: WeWork. I use the collaborative workspace lounge on Grand and Layfettye, of which I pay 300 a month for what’s called a “hot desk”. It’s quiet, and it’s full of entrepreneurs busily working on their laptops. The vibe inspires me to get shit done. After using WeWork for the past couple years, I can’t imagine going back to sitting on my living room computer.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have heard from my Agent the night before regarding an audition. If this is the case, hair and make-up needs to get done so I look like a shiny, heightened version of myself, because if not, and if I actually look like me, I will absolutely not get the job (unless the part calls for a middle-aged bag lady). I am also what is called a “Voice Over Talent”. Often times, I record voice-overs at a studio called Lotas Productions on Broadway and 25th. The owner has become a good friend over the years, and his validation and encouragement keeps me driving in the direction I want to go.

If I’m feeling out of shape, which is often, I’ll try and fit in a workout. I’ll go directly from school drop-off to a Soul Cycle class in the West Village or walk on the treadmill at Equinox prior to settling in at Wework. For fun, I like to take theater workshops or improv classes to keep my acting career on a slow burn. Usually, these take up a few hours a week, a couple times a week. I am taking a great New Play Workshop with Jessica Hecht that feels like bliss. I love surrounding myself by “real” actors working on their “craft” as much as I enjoy surrounding myself by female entrepreneurs working on their craft.

My work day “ends” at 3 pm, as I pick my son up from school and head back into Mom- mode. This usually means attending his sports games, going to the grocery store, making dinner, running errands with him, helping with homework, etc. On Tuesday and Friday nights when my son is with his dad, I have “date night” with my guy or my girlfriends.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I get the idea, and then I surround myself with young, very talented freelancers (usually always female; writers, directors, camera operators, editors, other actresses, comedians) to motivate me. If I didn’t have a group of part-time freelancers with whom I can bounce ideas around, it would be harder for me to hone those ideas, then push them through and actually make them happen. In a way, I create a competition between myself and these freelancers as motivation. It’s hard to explain, but it’s an effective system that helps me get things done quickly and well.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Podcasts currently excite me. I am planning on doing one with Lotas Productions that combine the two themes of Pink Wisdom: love and career.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

If I’m interested in something, I don’t give up, even after loads of rejection. The rejection motivates me. Obviously, this helps with my acting career, which is 90 percent rejection. It also helps with dating. I happen to love blind dates, whether they involve rejection or not.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Right after graduating from UCLA, I couldn’t get a job, so I took a part-time gig at a prop room in Los Angeles. As the name suggests, the prop room provided “props” for movies. I sat all day in a dark closet space doing data entry and ordering things like cups, towel racks, chairs — tons of mundane stuff. I felt utterly hopeless and powerless. I haven’t thought about this in a long time, and even now, 25 years later, I’m getting a sick feeling in my stomach. I left early one Friday afternoon at 4 pm, which was a big no-no, and when I got home, the boss called me and fired me. I was hysterically sobbing: I didn’t even want the job, I hated it, and yet I had gotten myself fired — I hadn’t quit. I learned then that it’s important for me to have my self-image match up with my career life. Otherwise, I feel like a total and complete loser.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have majored in theater at UCLA. At times, I’d say I would have made a different marriage choice —mine failed miserably— although I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, so I suppose I would marry him all over again.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Attend conferences, meet people and read blogs that inspire you, reach out and “cold call” important people to meet you for a coffee, and then act “as if” you are one of them already.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Pink Wisdom is a win-win. My experts get free exposure and a PR boost, as well as the opportunity to help other women, and my viewers and I get expert advice for free. This concept of multi-tasking, and the fact that helping others actually helps me is a big key for me and ensures a certain degree of inevitable success.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Initially, I was not great at handling the technical aspects of the website — using adobe instead of flash and things like that. I overcame it by biting the bullet, and just writing the check to fix it. An all-time worst example of technical difficulties: One time we were recording a group of my female relationship experts and we realized during the edit that the sound was messed up. I had to invite them back for a re-record. It was embarrassing and asking a lot of these women who’d been generous with their time in the first place That was mortifying, but as always happens, their second go around was far better than their first. I try to make the interview session feel like a fun party, with cocktails, a make- up artist, a good music playlist, etc. And as always, being genuinely very, very grateful goes a very, very long way.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’ve thought about doing a show called “Intimate Radio”: I interview people while lying down in random locations. When people get horizontal, they are inevitably more both vulnerable and comfortable, in a great number of different ways. For an interview, I’d bet this would mean that you don’t get canned talk show-type answers. The Meredith Viera Show did something similar, but since I’ve had this idea for a few years now, I’m taking credit. Maybe I’ll do this with my podcast.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I went to the Four Seasons restaurant with two girlfriends last Friday, where we ate an over-priced power lunch at the classic Park Avenue spot, which is closing soon. Just sitting on their sexy cantilevered chairs amid the wood-clad walls, I felt like a badass and we had a great time. Even though they put us “girls” in the Pool Room versus the powerhouse Grill room, where there was not a single woman to be seen, we had a blast.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Welcome to my Rolodex: I work with White Design Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio (it’s my brother’s best friend from high school’s company), and they use GoDaddy and Vimeo so I don’t have to. For IT Support, I use Delaney Computer Services in Sloatsburg, NY. They haven’t let me down yet.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I love all things relationship, love, sex, dating and all things female entrepreneurship. So I’d suggest a mix of those things, which can be found in a book I read in high school called “Having it All” by Helen Gurley Brown. She was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, among the bold, beautiful, unapologetically sexy career women in New York.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I am a very big fan of Joanne Wilson and her blog, called The Gotham Gal. She inspires the hell out of me and she is living my dream life in many ways. I suppose Gwen Paltrow and her Goop website inspire me, as do Cindy Crawford, Jessica Alba, Kathy Ireland and Katie Couric. Any woman who is a Mom and combines entertainment with business — but who is, first and foremost, a mom.