Rachel Rodgers: Exactly. Automation has a place in your operations. Even in your marketing, there are elements that you automate, but there’s got to be stuff that you don’t. Otherwise, what’s special about you? Where’s the connection? There’s no point of connection with pure 100% automation. You’ll set it up, you’ll make a little bit of money, and then you’ll plateau and decline.
Jennifer Kem: Exactly.
Rachel Rodgers: Then you’ll have to get to fucking work. So, just go ahead and do it now.
Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast. I’m your host, Rachel Rodgers, wife, mother of four children, a lover of Beyoncé, coffee drinker, and afro-wearer, and I just happen to be the CEO of a seven-figure business. I am on a mission to help every woman I meet become a millionaire. If you want to make more money, you are in the right place. Let’s get it going.
Hello friends and welcome back to the Hello Seven podcast. I’m so delighted to have you here today and really excited about the interview that you are about to listen to. Today, we have million dollar bad-ass Jennifer Kem on the podcast. Jennifer is a friend of mine. She is also an amazing coach. I hired her recently to help me with next leveling my business from $2 million to $10 million, and let me tell you, this woman is the truth. Jen is a San Francisco Bay area based branding and marketing expert and she has 17 years of corporate experience and experience launching multiple companies. She became a millionaire at 32 with a retail business and she talks all about that. And then she lost it all to a recession two years later. So she became a millionaire at 32 only to lose it all in a recession. And then she went on to build now three multimillion-dollar businesses and brands and two of them are making eight figures.
So you understand why I hired her. She is an incredible woman of color. She’s Filipino from Hawaii and she is the mother of three children. She’s worked with celebrity brands like the Oprah Winfrey Network and Steve Harvey and major corporations like Verizon and Bank of Hawaii. She has an incredible podcast called Femmefluence that you should definitely check out as well.
In this episode, Jen is sharing some incredible tips. She is sharing her journey from the top to rock bottom, and then all the way back up. There is a moment where we were both tearing up. This is one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done in a while. You are absolutely going to love Jen. She’s like a sister from another mother and a dear friend. Please enjoy this fantastic interview with Jen Kem.
I actually want to start the conversation back to when you were a little girl because I’m sure this life that you’re having is probably not what you imagined. I know for me, there’s no way I could have imagined this. So, what did you imagine being when you were a little girl?
Jennifer Kem: Oh, my gosh. I have a very clear thing I imagined. When I tell this story, people are like, “That is the weirdest story.” You know in second grade, one of the most popular questions that you’re given is what do you want to be when you grow up? I grew up in this teeny tiny sugar plantation town in Hawaii. So, my mom thought that she could keep me safe from the drugs and sex as I got older if she put me in private school.
Even though she couldn’t really afford it, even though she was a single mom raising me, and we lived with my grandma because my dad and my mom broke up. In second grade, I was always this curious child, and I definitely did not feel like I belonged in the place I was living, if you will. I knew that very early. Probably in preschool is probably the earliest I can remember.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: I was like, “I’m not supposed to be here.” I felt like that, but I feel very grateful because I grew up in a melting pot, obviously, of cultures and diversity because I’m Filipino. I grew up in a town where everybody was all different kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes. That benefit was like, “Okay, great.” But the cultural things that came with it, like all of the judgment and shame, I recognized that really early, is my point.
Even the fear-based precautions because in Filipino culture, we’re all about the superstition. They pretend they’re Roman Catholics, and what it really is, is their black magic witches that are like, “Don’t hang your clothes out at night or else you might have a baby that’s a fish.” These are some of the things my grandma and my mom would tell me as a young girl. I was like, “Okay.”
Weirdly, as a four and five-year-old, I’ll call it discernment now, I don’t know how I had that level of discernment, but I really was like, “These two things don’t add up,” but I was confused because, of course, you want to belong, and you want to be part of something. You don’t want to be weird. You want to be accepted.
Anyway, fast forward to second grade. Sister Fatima at St. Michael’s school asks all of us, there’s only 17 of us in this class, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Half the class who were boys are saying they want to be firefighters, policemen, and doctors. Then the other half, the girls, are saying they want to be teachers, nurses, and moms. Okay? It’s still so clear. Sister Fatima says, “Okay. Jennifer Kem, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I said, “I want to be the general counsel of Coca-Cola International.”
Rachel Rodgers: What?
Jennifer Kem: I knew you’d appreciate that because you’re an attorney.
Rachel Rodgers: That was very specific.
Jennifer Kem: Very specific, and even using words like general counsel. It was hilarious because looking back, I can see Sister Fatima’s face in her nun outfit was so confused, and she was also irritated.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: I always thought I was that first-row kid raising my hand all the time, teacher’s pet. Obviously, I was only in second grade, but the first time in my first three years of school, I was sent to the back of the room for acting up in class. Then that night, they called my mom.
Rachel Rodgers: What? They called your mom about this?
Jennifer Kem: Yes, girl. They called my mom and said, “She’s got these weird ideas. I don’t know where she’s getting them, but you might want to have a talk with her about making up stories, basically.” My mom says to me, “Jenny, so tell me about what happened today.” I was just bawling and crying because I was like, “Why did I get in trouble? I don’t understand what’s happening here.” She said, “Well, tell me more about this. What is a general counsel?” My mom asks me. I said, “Well, it’s the top attorney in a company.”
Rachel Rodgers: You were like, “Duh.”
Jennifer Kem: Yeah, I’m like, “It’s the person in the company who’s the lawyer.” She’s like, “Okay.” She goes, “First of all, why didn’t you just say you want to be a lawyer because that’s radical enough?” That’s what my mom said to me. That was like, “Oh, wow.” I said to her, “I don’t understand that. I can’t be a lawyer.”
She said, “Well, of course you can.” My mom would always say, “Of course you can be whatever you want, but other people may not understand that that’s what you want to be. So, you have to keep it at the level that they understand it. Okay?” This all happened to me around the kitchen table in second grade.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: So, I had these grown conversations in second grade about people who are ignorant.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly.
Jennifer Kem: The second part of what my mom said, “Well, tell me more about why Coca-Cola International.” I said, “Well, mom, it’s the biggest company and brand in the world.” She said, “How do you know that? I said, “Well, while you’ve been working.” My mom was a secretary, and she had to leave before I woke up every morning. So, it was really my grandma who got me ready every morning.
My grandma used to have peanut butter toast and Lipton hot tea. I’d sit next to her. She had not more than a fourth-grade education, my grandma. She immigrated from the Philippines. She said, “I don’t understand this section of the newspaper, but you might,” and it was the business section of the newspaper. Every morning before school, she would share it with me. We would have our little breakfast.
Rachel Rodgers: I’m obsessed with this. This is so perfect.
Jennifer Kem: I started reading it, and I didn’t understand everything, but what I understood was by context clues, as I would read the business section, was there was this article, and I remember it was the headline, and Coca-Cola’s shares went up or something like that. You know how sometimes in the newspaper, like the Wall Street Journal, they did an illustration of the person who they’re quoting in the article.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: It was this white dude who was the general counsel of Coca-Cola International. He seemed very important, and I was like, “I want to be important like him because if this company is making all of this money and all of this impact, then I want to be like him.” That’s how that answer came out of my mouth in second grade.
So, to answer your question with all that story and context, that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a leader. I wouldn’t have put words around that as that. It’s interesting now being a brand futurist and what I do in the world. I ended up really helping the biggest brands in the world and now small businesses do the same. I think the key is knowing that from that moment, so many things that happened, we could talk all day about it, that basically fought me to be that.
I ended up not being it because of what fought me to be it. I think it’s interesting when we listen to a lot of second graders, you would actually hear a lot of things that are not just doctors, or nurses, or teachers, or whatever, and that we should be listening for that. So, that’s my answer to your question.
Rachel Rodgers: First of all, that is a fantastic answer. I’m obsessed with all of that. My daughter is in second grade. I’m going to ask her when she gets home, “What do you want to be?” I can’t wait to hear what she says. I love that because I ask that question of almost all of the guests on this podcast, all women, many women of color, and for a lot of us, it’s like, “I want to be a teacher. I want to be a vet. I want to be something altruistic.” You know what I mean? “I want to help others.”
Of course, we all help others anyway in our work, and that’s an important part of it for us. I just think it’s interesting how girls can get socialized to be in professions to help people. Like, “I’m going to be a nurse, or I’m going to be a secretary.” I remember my oldest, who’s 19, somebody asked her in front of my husband what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she was like, she wants to be a babysitter.
Jennifer Kem: Oh, my gosh. I love that.
Rachel Rodgers: He was so upset. I was like, “Oh, my God. She’s in first grade. Calm down,” but I just loved it. I thought it was so funny.
Jennifer Kem: That’s great.
Rachel Rodgers: I love so much about that. First of all, even the phrase radical enough, we could unpack that for the rest of this podcast episode. That phrase of radical enough, and I’ve definitely experienced that, and I’m sure you have too of like, “Be a little crazy, be ambitious, be who you are, but only so much. There’s a limit to it.”
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: Like, “Don’t take it too far. You’re overdoing it.” So, that’s such an interesting phrase. Then also this concept of like, “Keep it at the level that people can understand. Recognize who your audience is.” What?
Jennifer Kem: Yes. I know, right? That’s the battle I even have as an adult of the intersection of marketing and truth, is if you’re a good person, if you’re a good brand, if you’re doing good things in the world, you have to meet people where they are in order to get them to understand why it’s important to them to choose in.
At the same time, as you can tell, I have some trauma around it. It bothers me that I have to, what I would call, and not in any way to denigrate the audience, but for me, to feel like I have to dumb myself down. I have to continuously check myself on that. My ego and my trauma, frankly, around even that moment in second grade where I was showing up as a pretty powerful little girl, not even trying to be that girl.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Truly, Rachel. I didn’t recognize that I was scary to a nun, to a grown woman, who was married to God apparently, that I scared her. I didn’t know that. Frankly, I thought I’d get rewarded for being so specific.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly.
Jennifer Kem: You know what I mean? I was like, “Oh, I want to get the gold star,” and instead, it caused residue in my soul up until my 30s in terms of who I was. It changed a lot for me, who I thought I was going to be, because of that initial stuff.
So, I think to your point, there’s so much here around marketing, and then parenting, and how you recognize greatness in others, especially young people, and celebrate it in a way that still allows us to parent because the trust. I’m a Filipino mom, there is some controls that have to be around these parts. Okay?
Rachel Rodgers: Okay. I’m totally with you.
Jennifer Kem: I’m glad you opened asking that question because I wasn’t expecting you to. Every time I tell it, it actually helps me see even different things in lenses around my life.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: And stuff too.
Rachel Rodgers: Totally. Those stories, and the ones that we remember, because there’s so many stories that we could be telling, but the ones we choose to tell are the ones that really steered into our soul for good reasons, bad reasons, or both.
Jennifer Kem: Yes, yes.
Rachel Rodgers: That’s interesting that what should have been a moment to say, “Oh, my God. That’s amazing,” and applauding you, that it was a point of shame.
Jennifer Kem: Absolutely.
Rachel Rodgers: It was like, “No, you should be ashamed for disrupting this process, and you can’t possibly be serious.” It’s like, “Oh, no. I’m serious as a heart attack. What are you all talking about? I’ve just read in the business section this morning.”
Jennifer Kem: Exactly.
Rachel Rodgers: “I’ve been reading it in the business section with grandma. I know what’s up. Okay?”
Jennifer Kem: Yes. “I should teach class next, so you guys can read the business section a little bit more.” So, whatever.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly. “Step aside, Sister Fatima. I have things to say.”
Jennifer Kem: Yes. Oh, my gosh.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, my gosh. I love it. That is amazing. It’s amazing how these stories can impact us so much. One of the things that you touched on that I’m so interested in right now is just looking at leadership, and authenticity, and the connection to the two, and just leaders in corporations where typically there’s this air of conservativeness in corporations, and seeing how in some ways, that that’s changing.
Also, I just got a book deal, so I’ve been studying these New York Times bestsellers, and just reading them, and seeing what kind of stories are told in them, and seeing how telling more of those stories that you’re almost not supposed to tell is almost an essential ingredient into probably building a strong brand in general, but also telling a good story, or writing a good book, or creating a good program.
So, I’ve been noticing that and also looking at people like Luvvie Ajayi and just other leaders that are in the public eye, and seeing how they engage with their audience. I feel like I’m craving just sharing more and stepping that up more. People tell me all the time, “Oh, you’re so authentic,” and I’m sure you get this too a ton. Then I’m like, “Oh, but there’s so much more that I could be sharing.” You know?
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: I’m craving doing that, but then there’s the other part of me that’s like, “Oh, well, is that going to ostracize people? Is that too much?” It’s that question of like, “You’re radical enough, aren’t you already?”
Jennifer Kem: Yes. Oh, my God.
Rachel Rodgers: What do you do? What are your thoughts about that, and how do you navigate that? Of course, this is your area of expertise too. I’m just curious what your thoughts are about that leadership and authenticity piece. I’ll give you an example, Luvvie Ajayi recently wrote a post about Kanye and his spiritual journey that he’s been on, with air quotes, but air quotes for some people, and for some people, they’re like, “No, I’m all about it.
It’s interesting to see the divide that’s happening, but she took a stand and was like, “No, Kanye and his bullshit is not okay because all of a sudden, he’s a Christian.” Then I saw in her comments there was all this backlash, and that’s not the first time that she’s gotten that. I just find it interesting, and I’ve been trying to decide for myself what to share and what not to share. I’m just curious what your approach is to that, what your thoughts are on it.
Jennifer Kem: I think in this era of social media, I tell people all the time, I’m not a spring chicken, I’m a seasoned chicken. So I got to live in the world of when analog, and TV, and radio were king and queen, and newspapers. Then also we had the first pagers, we had the first BlackBerrys, we had the first Macs.
Then on the flip side of that now, as you can see how momentum works, obviously, you can’t avoid that this is here and now, the social media piece. That actually, to me, is what has made the struggle around authentic storytelling for leaders prevalent. Transparency and authenticity are not the same thing and a lot of times thought to be synonyms, and they are not. Okay?
I think that as a storyteller, and obviously, since yes, that’s what our company does for a lot of people and big companies too, is help them develop brand stories that actually can turn into money. But you can tell a brand story to your point, and it can turn into money without any depth, and the struggle for a leader, back to the leadership conversation, is that we’re like, “Is it enough, or is it really showing the truth of all the things?”
I like to say there are two types of stories that are effective in storytelling because I think that if you’re in business, and I think if you’re listening, the women that are listening to this podcast right now, you care about growing your business. So, let me say this. There are two types of stories. Approachability stories and authority stories. You have to learn how to become a master of both if you want to be great at affecting your audience in a way that moves them into action.
There’s the approachability stories, which are actually your real stories. I just shared an approachability story. Now, to some people, it’s not approachable that some second grader was saying they wanted to be the general counsel of Coca-Cola, but the flip side of it is approachable, which is like, “Oh, I was one of the other kids that actually might’ve had – I also was one of the girls that wished I would have said something more,” whatever.
Like, “I was either kept down, or actually as I grew up, I realized that I thought I wanted to be a babysitter or a nurse because that’s what my other friends said,” or whatever. That’s an example of an approachability story that is valid that supports my authority stories, which is, “I’ve been doing what I do for over 20 years. Half of those years, I spent in the corporate world. My last job was with Verizon as a vice president of marketing and branding. When I left and started my first business, I left because my values were violated.”
When I tell those stories, those are my authority stories. That’s what shows that I’m qualified to have the conversation that I’m having. I think that we can do better storytelling if we find a way to intersect our approachability with our authority because women tend to, generally, I’m going to generalize here, but I think I’m sure you’ve heard your clients or your audience say this.
We’re afraid to brag about our authority, what we’re a badass at. So, we dumb that down, and we don’t get radical enough. Then on the approachability side, we as natural nurturers, as women, even if we’re alpha types, we want to protect our family. We want to protect what’s sacred to us. I always say, “Take the exercise of we have literally hundreds if not thousands of both.”
Actually, approachability stories. We have a ton of those. Authority stories actually are pretty short because let’s face it, what we’ve accomplished is actually fact. It’s F-A-C-T, girls. It trips me out that we struggle with our authority stories, but then what we do is we vomit approachability stories without any strategic thought into how it’s going to grow our business.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: What’s cool is if you do both in a juicy way, you’ll actually feel like, “Oh, I’m sharing enough for me. Not for the audience, but for me, what would really serve and sow into them what they need to make a radical shift in their life?” But so many times, we’re so stuck in frankly, the social media epidemic around like, “Oh, look at them. They’re sharing everything.” Really, they’re not.
We’ve got a president of the United States who’s not real. He’s a fucking, pardon my language, an emperor with no clothes on, but we’re believing it because it’s part of the hype, but then we’re feeling lost and thinking we need to be a part of that. Just like second grade Jen thought, “Oh, I should have just said I wanted to be a lawyer because that would have been radical enough.” It’s the same idea.
So, to answer your question, I think that if we worked more on our approachability and our authority stories and integrated them into the way that we tell people about ourselves, we would be better leaders because we would feel really high integrity to what’s true about us. I get worried that, “Oh, I’m going to have to be less integrous in order to fully slay and dominate.” I got to catch myself a lot on that, and I bet there’s a lot of people listening that probably feel the same about that.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, that was so good. I love just putting a strategy around it, putting some structure around it, because otherwise, it is just a deluge of content every day on social media that can be so much. Then you feel like, “Oh, I need to show up and say things.”
So, I see two different styles, and you probably see this too, of either they’re going to the authority stories, always telling about their expertise or their work, and there’s no substance of like, “Who the fuck are you?” Especially, I work with a lot of lawyers, and my lawyers in particular, it’s like, “What are you besides a lawyer?”
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: “What do you do when you’re not lawyering?”
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: “You’re not a robot.”
Jennifer Kem: We got it. We know what you had to go through to actually get your degree, and to practice law, and to pass the bar, and all the things.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly.
Jennifer Kem: That’s why actually you need to season your authority stories with approachability stories.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Only coachability stories that matter to your offer and your audience. Otherwise, you’re emoting.
Rachel Rodgers: You’re emoting.
Jennifer Kem: By the way, feelings and emoting is cool, but you can do that because those stories are real too. They’re not less real than some of the other shit you don’t need to share, and it’s up to you. If you want to share it, go for it, but I honestly think it’s a waste of time and energy because here’s the other guarantee. If you put something radical to anybody, and there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t agree with you, especially on social media, expect clap back, expect haters, expect trolls.
Why would you share your most intimate things that do not have anything to do with your offer, unless you’re willing to face that because it’s going to happen? So, just be grown. That’s my whole thing about we have to be grown when we’re telling the stories that have traumatized us. We have to be outside of it. So, even the people that you’re researching, congratulations, by the way, on getting the book deal.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, thanks.
Jennifer Kem: I feel pretty sure that those New York Times bestsellers, or leaders of corporations, or leaders in entrepreneurship, we all got to decide whether that story is going to serve what we want, period.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Ultimately, if it’s not serving what your big goals are, then don’t do it. If it does, then use it. Why not? It’s yours.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: You know what happened to you.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly.
Jennifer Kem: I don’t see why you wouldn’t do it, but transparency and authenticity are not synonyms. So, don’t get it twisted. I think that’s really important.
Rachel Rodgers: I love it. Just dropping gems right at the top. So good. It’s really good to think about and just to put some structure around it so that we all have a system to think about the stories that we’re telling, and like, “Why am I telling this story right now? Is this I need to call my best girlfriend and tell her this story, and not share it with all of the world?”
I also think distance matters. I love what you said about being a grownup when you’re telling your stories. If you’re telling very emotional stories, there are stories that I’ve chosen not to include in keynotes that I gave this year because I was like, “I’m not ready to tell that story without balling.” So, that story ain’t getting told.”
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: I don’t need to be a crying mess on the stage.
Jennifer Kem: Yes, yes. Again, unless your brand is literally you are consistent with that’s your style of communicating, then doing it without strategy is silly to me.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Now, that’s, again, my opinion, but I just think it’s a wasted effort that we’ve only got three main things. We’ve got to conserve time, energy, and money, and of those three, I think our energy is the most important. Telling our stories, it’s energetic work. So, if we’re just telling them because we got to keep up with the Joneses and, or social media to show how authentic we are, then we’re just fucking ourselves. I can’t. That’s what I see with so many women going through.
Back to leadership, being a leader of yourself is the most important job that you have. It’s so hard to lead others. You can lead others without leading yourself for a while, but that’s what causes burnout. That’s what causes imposter syndrome, all the things that mess us up. I’m just such a stand for it, for us women, to just un-fuck ourselves basically from that because it’s so much work. So, why not do the work smartly.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, I’m with you. Yes. Also, it doesn’t feel good when the marketing in your business feels like, “Dance, fool. Show up and dance, entertain us.” You know what I mean?
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: It feels so gross.
Jennifer Kem: It is. I do believe that the best marketers do have performance built in. It’s performative, and I actually am okay with that.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, me too.
Jennifer Kem: But if it’s only a performance, if I’ve got to be a jester in the court instead of the damn queen, you trippin.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes. You confused. Okay? You got it wrong. That ain’t it.
Jennifer Kem: The queen holding court, bitches, not the jester.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly. I love it. I love it. Okay. So, I have another question for you, which I have a feeling I know what the answer is going to be. Well, the question I usually ask is when did you decide that you would be a woman who makes bank? I feel like it was in second grade.
Jennifer Kem: You know what? I probably wouldn’t have answered that unless you had opened with that question. So, yeah, now I’m like second grade Jen knew what she wanted.
Rachel Rodgers: She was like, “Listen, Jen the queen is here, and let me tell you how this is going to go down.” You already knew you were going to make bank as a little girl, which I love. Tell me about a rock bottom moment that you had and how it was pivotal for your journey.
Jennifer Kem: I’ve had actually a couple.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, if you’re around for a while, you usually have a couple cycles of that.
Jennifer Kem: Seasoned chicken status. Okay? Let’s just be clear. I could put my brand of seasoned chicken sauce. Basically, I would say that my biggest rock bottom moment that really had such an impact on how I am lifeing and businessing today is actually now 11 years ago in the great recession of 2008.
I left my corporate job at Verizon on the top of my game, and I left because I found out that my male counterpart basically got a $100,000 raise from an initiative that I had implemented, and he got the promotion and the raise. By the way, he and I are still friends. I always tell people like, “I love men. I just love men who realize that we should be equal like them.”
I’ll just say, Nick was one of those guys. He felt guilty and bad that it happened, and I said, “Look, this is just proof that the system is not set up for me. Now, it’s set up for you. Cool for you, dude. I’m happy for you, but I got to make a change.” So, nine months, I didn’t also leap off the ship. A lot of people jump. I’m like, “Hmm, I need to be smart.” I had two young daughters that I was taking care of at the time.
Rachel Rodgers: You were making a significant amount of money.
Jennifer Kem: Significant. Let’s just put it this way. My total compensation package was worth $400,000, and I had a parking spot with my damn name on it. That right there, you just need to understand,
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, there were parks involved.
Jennifer Kem: 100%. Every time I rolled in with my car and it said Jen MF Kem.
Rachel Rodgers: You were reminded that, “Bitch, I’m a queen.”
Jennifer Kem: Right. So, I had a lot of those external totems, if you will, that showed that I was something. By the way, I loved my job. This is the other thing I tell people. I actually didn’t hate my job. I hated corporate politics. I hated that I felt strangled by it, but did I love my team, and did I love what we did? The answer is yes, but that’s why I was set up well to be an entrepreneur, I think, because I was like, “Oh, I could have that on my own terms.”
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, totally. That was my motivation too with culture. Just going through law school, working at law firms, and being like, “This culture is bullshit, and I’m going to leave and take the good shit, and then create my own culture that’s amazing.”
Jennifer Kem: That’s a lesson right there that I hope a lot of people here that are listening right now, is that sometimes we leave the corporate world, and then we forget the gems, the jewels, the gifts that came with in.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: We don’t take that with us, and we think we need to separate ourselves completely as entrepreneurs. That’s actually what’s screwing up our business. It’s why we’re not growing because we’re not taking the good from it. So, anyway, that’s a whole other question. To get back to yours, anyway, I left. Nine months later, I created a plan to exit, and I did, and I honestly, Rachel, did not have an idea of what I wanted to do.
Rachel Rodgers: So, you walked out the door and didn’t know what you were going to do next?
Jennifer Kem: Well, when I decided the moment that I found out that I was leaving, it was nine months before that. In that moment, I didn’t know, but over the course of nine months, I basically did the things I would do to create any brand. It was like, “What’s working? What does the market want?” So, this is what the market wanted. I realized they wanted underwear.
Rachel Rodgers: I love it.
Jennifer Kem: The way that I think is so creepy, but it’s good because I might start looking at what are people really consuming and caring about right now. At the time, I lived in Hawaii, and I had to fly a lot to Texas because Verizon’s corporate headquarters was in Dallas.
So, I was on a plane a lot, and those nine months, I was noticing, “What are people walking off the plane with?” I noticed that women walked off the plane with one thing very consistently, and that it was a pink striped bag. It was Victoria’s Secret. The reason I was like, “Oh, my God. This is the next business I have to get into.”
Rachel Rodgers: I’m laughing because I literally just bought new underwear on my last trip in the Atlanta Airport.
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: That is so funny. It’s the only time you have to underwear shop.
Jennifer Kem: I’m telling you. What’s crazy about women in Hawaii at the time, Hawaii, because it’s so isolated, it’s basically a monopoly driven marketplace. So, there was no place to buy underwear for us. We couldn’t buy bras or panties. We didn’t even have Macy’s 11 years ago.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: We had Walmart.
Rachel Rodgers: What? That ain’t going to work for a queen.
Jennifer Kem: No, it doesn’t work. I realized there it was. There was my big idea, “Wow, I’m going to sell underwear.” Now, did I know anything about underwear besides being a consumer of it? No, I didn’t, but I knew how to build a brand, and already, I knew that if I could just, even for the first year, get into Hawaii, because also Victoria’s Secret didn’t exist in Hawaii.
Here’s the other thing. Here’s a lesson ladies. I read all the SEC filings on Victoria’s Secret. I looked at what their five-year forecast was going to be. They said they considered Hawaii and Alaska to be international destinations. I was like, “Oh, yes. If I’m going to open my own brand, I’m actually going to hit Hawaii, and then I’m going to go to Alaska next, and then Victoria’s Secret is going to buy me.”
Rachel Rodgers: I’m so obsessed with this because when I started my law practice, it was for different reasons, but I used to read similar filings, like federal filings for large corporations, because I was stealing their contract templates.
Jennifer Kem: Yeah, see.
Rachel Rodgers: I would go in and get those documents, and then use them in my firm with my own clients, kind of finesse them for my clients because I didn’t have contract templates, and I couldn’t afford all the software. This speaks to abundance. There’s an abundance of resources out there for you, and you just have to be resourceful and look for them.
Jennifer Kem: Totally, totally. Also, lean on your skillset and your gifts. For me, I didn’t know anything about being an entrepreneur, guys. I knew one major thing. If your market wants it, you can sell it. So, I was like, “I don’t know anything about retail.”
Rachel Rodgers: First of all, I just want to have a banner in a blimp going by. It’s like, “If your market wants it, you can sell it.” So fucking good. That’s a gem right there.
Jennifer Kem: That is, thank you. I’m like, “Okay.” So, that’s what happened. I mortgaged my house. That’s when I took bigger, bigger risks.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, my God. First of all, I’m just so obsessed with every part of this story. You’re like, “Okay, I did some research. Now, I’m ready to make a move,” and you took a risk. That’s what’s required.
Jennifer Kem: Yes, yes. It was big because at the time, the behind the scenes story is my marriage wasn’t going so great. My first marriage wasn’t going so great. Keyword, first marriage. So, now you all know that I’m remarried. Also, my grandmother was getting older, and she was going through a lot of health problems. She was my goddess. My grandma was everything to me.
During the time, I felt extreme pressure, obviously, but what I leaned on was those things that I just said. That I understood what a market wanted. I understood where to get the information. Notice, I was now an aspiring small business owner who was using corporate and business background to actually help me get more predictable with the result I wanted. That was my whole thing. I knew that I couldn’t guarantee it, but what I could do is I could gain my results to win for me if I used and didn’t ignore what I was good at.
Anyways, fast forward. Here’s the crazy part. I’m going gloss over this because I want to get to the story of where I lost it all. Let’s just put it this way. I took a big risk. I borrowed $250,000 from myself by mortgaging my house. I opened my first store. I went for the first time to buy stuff that I didn’t know if people would want. I just did my research. I opened my store. I did all this prepress work. I didn’t have any relationships with the press, but what I did know is that nobody was doing this and how to do it. If I could sell fucking modems and manage services and cloudware, I was like, “I can sell panties to women.”
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, fabulous panties, not Walmart panties.
Jennifer Kem: I was like, “It’s not going to be in a plastic pack of six and shit.” I’m like, “Okay. We are going to go and do this.” Let’s just put it this way. It was a phenomenal success. Between 2006 and 2008, I had an eight-figure business. Yeah, we did $10 million in sales in 18 months.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow, that’s insane. Brand new business.
Jennifer Kem: Selling panties and bras, you all I’m saying. I carried things that were weird. By the way, I had a little bit of the Oprah effect that helped at the time in 2006, I want to say, or early 2007, she did her episode on bra fitting and all of that. It helped because then I was able to, what I call, brand jack, that story for the local market.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Then the press was like, “We’re the only place in town that does bra fittings.” Nordstrom wasn’t in Hawaii yet. Nobody was in Hawaii yet. I couldn’t even keep up. Let’s put it that way. What’s interesting is, you and I were talking about it before we hit record on this, that a lot of people assume that I’m very structured. I love structure, but I am not structured, if that makes sense. Meaning I need it to feel like my goals are moving forward and my life is in order, but I’m not personally that organized.
So, in my retail business, I needed to learn how to become good at everything. Let’s face it, when you first start, you’re the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the janitor, and the CEO. You’re all the things. At the time, I wasn’t used to not having a team. I had to do this on my own. I wasn’t that stupid. I knew I needed some help. So, I had a part-time assistant, and it grew so rapidly, that I didn’t hire an ops person fast enough. That was one of the things that happened.
I needed an operations person to handle logistics because ops is not my gift. I understand it and know how important it is to my growth, and it’s why I’ve been able to now build three, eight-figure businesses now since that first one. It’s because I could recognize the gaps, and then I would take action, but in the retail business, because it was something I didn’t know as well, and there was something happening in the economy, which my financial advisor told me, “Do not open any new stores.”
This was mid-2007. I was like, “I have to. I’ve got to keep up the demand, and I need to move to the other islands. I need to now think about Alaska per my plan at the beginning.” He told me, “Do not do that. Hold onto your cash reserves. A major thing is going to be happening in the market, and you need to be ready.” You know what I did? I didn’t listen.
By the way, I don’t regret that I didn’t listen because now I have the life I have now, but back then, boy, did I. I felt the effects of me not listening to that advice because he was right. Everything he said was right, and I didn’t have enough cash reserves. If you want to build a scalable business, you need to have cash in the bank.
Rachel Rodgers: 100%.
Jennifer Kem: If you do not have profit, and you are now at the point of scaling, which is really when you’re making multiple six to seven figures. In the beginning, you actually just have to make money. So, you have to care about attention that you’re getting and sales. Once you get that, then you turn it into a predictable system, then you can turn it into something bigger.
Anyway, I didn’t listen to the person that I hired to teach me these things, and as a result, when the market crashed in 2008, I lost everything. There’s a lot more. I could tell you the whole story from how I walked into the bank, and all of my assets were frozen, and then everybody is suing me. Yes, girl, in my fancy shoes, in my fancy jeans, in my fancy car.
Rachel Rodgers: Fuck. And your fancy underwear and bra.
Jennifer Kem: Girl, three days before Christmas 2008. Things like this don’t happen overnight, by the way, too. You know shit is flying, but what you’re doing as a survivor and a thriver is trying to keep it together. I knew shit was flying, but I was like, “I’m keeping it together. I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to work with my team. We’re going to figure out how to get people in the stores.” I was just trying to firefight while cars were not moving. We have entire car companies that don’t exist anymore from 2008. You know what I mean?
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: There I was, this little bitty business owner. Even though I had a $10 million business, I only had four stores. For me to think that I could survive that without enough cash in the bank when I was in inventory business, was crazy, but I was in my own delusion of like, “I can make it, I can make it, I can make it right.”
Rachel Rodgers: Well, and you just made something out of nothing. You made $10 million off of just your own intelligence. So, it’s completely crazy.
Jennifer Kem: I think the lesson there too is sometimes you need that outside perspective. You need the outsiders that you trust to go, “Hey, I know you’re committed to barreling down this way. I just need to point out a few things.” I was so in my stuff, plus I was having, frankly, issues at home. My marriage wasn’t going so great, my grandmother was failing, and I felt all this pressure to still make it.
Anyway, three days before Christmas, all I wanted to do was buy bikes for my two daughters, who at the time were 10 and 6, because bad mommy, didn’t buy them Christmas gifts yet. I walked in, and the teller, her name is Jill, and we had a great relationship. She was my banker for three years, and she said, “Jenn, you didn’t get my voice message?” I was like, “First of all, Jill, you know I don’t check no voice messages.” Number two, who from your bank leaves you a voice message with good news.
Rachel Rodgers: I know, right.
Jennifer Kem: I realized, and she was like, “We got a letter from the state, from the feds, from GGP,” who was my landlord at the malls that they own back to its monopoly kind of thing, which is also back to like, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” because I signed all my leases with one company. So, these kind of points of failure, I had to learn in that moment.
Basically, what I did was I walked out of there in a daze. I sat in the alley, and literally, there was this homeless guy who came up to me and said, “Why are you crying?” He was very kind, and he was like, “Why are you crying? Are you okay?” Here I was in my designer clothes, and he’s a homeless guy, and he’s comforting me. All I’m thinking about, Rachel, I’m not even thinking about what a failure I felt like. You know what I was thinking about was, “My daughters are not going to have a Christmas this year.”
Rachel Rodgers: Like, “How am I going to get these bikes?”
Jennifer Kem: Right, “I need to get these bikes.” Girl, you feel me? I’m not a cash carrier either. I don’t know about any of you. I use my debit and my credit card. So, I had just whatever pennies, loose change at the bottom of my purse. I didn’t have access to any of my accounts.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: You know what I did? I got in my fancy car, and I went to the consignment shop, and even though everybody was hurting, they took my shoes and my jeans that I was wearing. They gave me $300 for them.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: So, I took that money, and I bought some bikes at Walmart. From that point between December 22nd, 2008 until mid-year 2008, I was in the lowest point of my life. Depressed, I lost my house, I lost my business, I lost my marriage. My grandmother died.
Rachel Rodgers: Wow. Fuck.
Jennifer Kem: Yeah. So, back to lowest point ever, that was the biggest. I literally would sit on the porch because here’s the good news. My grandma, who loved me dearly, all my cousins hate me and my brother too. Just kidding, they love me, but she gave me her house when she died.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, wow.
Jennifer Kem: Her our house, even though it was old, old, old, don’t get it twisted, ladies. It wasn’t this luxury house in Hawaii that people think on the beach. It was literally not. It was a breaking down house. In fact, one of the things that I wanted to give her before she died was to fix the house up with all my money, and I didn’t get time to do it because I was so busy building my empire. The things that I was missing on.
Anyway, I lived in one of the bedrooms after she died, and I literally came out. I would sit on the porch, and I would eat. By eat, I would eat green tea because I didn’t realize, but I was becoming anorexic and didn’t know it. I withered down to like 95 pounds, and people thought I was on drugs, which I’ve never taken a drug in my life, and people assumed that I was. Really, what it was is I didn’t know that I was so depressed, so lost. Because guess what? My ego had been completely shattered to its lowest point.
I was always a winner, or I thought I was, and then here I was, the biggest loser in the world. Finally, my daughter, after watching me for two months, and thank God for my uncle who was an angel in my life at the time, who really stepped up and took care of my daughters those two months that I was really at my lowest point because I literally just watched the cars drive by me. Literally, if you know me, and you know JenKem, you’d be like, “I cannot even imagine you sitting.”
Rachel Rodgers: Just not talking, not eating.
Jennifer Kem: Not talking. Yeah, just catatonic. Literally not eating, not paying attention to anything. So, my daughter came out, and finally, she was just done. She was done. This 11-year-old girl, she’s like, “I’m done.” So, she gets out, and she puts her hand on my shoulder and she says, “Mommy, you’re JenKem. You know what to do next.”
Rachel Rodgers: Wow.
Jennifer Kem: Right there, even that moment, it gets me emotional even to this day saying it. I just remember it so potently just like I remember the second-grade incident.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: My eyes just opened up and said, “Oh, my God. I can do it again because I’ve proved that I can do it.” It was my 11-year-old daughter that had to wake me up to do that. She was sick, she was like, “Look, where are you? It’s been two months. You need to be my mom. Get your ass together.”
So, from that moment, I realized, “Oh, my God. I got to do something again,” and I started KemComm, which is now my eight-figure brand strategy company. The funny thing is my first client was Verizon, the company that I left three years before then.
Rachel Rodgers: I love it.
Jennifer Kem: That’s the other thing people don’t realize. If you are ever in your low, and you came from corporate, trust me, they want you back, but do it on your terms.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: If you need to do that in transition, do it. That’s what I did. I went back in transition and said, “Do you have any work for me, but I will only do it as a consultant” They were like, “Yes, please,” because they had money, and they got protected with the bailout. So, they needed me to be on their strategy team.
They became my first client in KemComm, which I started in 2009. All of our clients are big corporate clients, and they pay us multiple, multiple, multiple six figures every month to do their strategy, and branding, and launch their new products. Anyway, it’s been a journey. So, that’s really my lowest moment. Created so many gifts for me too.
Rachel Rodgers: Oh, my God. First of all, I’m teary-eyed. It’s such a powerful story, and honestly, like there’s something about those ego shattering moments that is such a gift. In the moment you’re like, “What the fuck world am I living in? This is not how it’s supposed to turn out.” Then when you just get even a little bit of distance away from it, then you start to see how much you needed that, and how much that is serving you, and creating the foundation. You know what I mean? And the stage on which we will build everything else.
Jennifer Kem: Oh, my God, 100%. Honestly, I didn’t love the retail business, if I’m being honest. Remember, I said I actually liked my job. I didn’t love the retail business. It was hard, and it was a lot of inventory, and it was just a lot of. I realized that I love to shop. I didn’t want to open shops, and if that wouldn’t have happened to me, and I would have continued to be successful, I would have got stuck in that. Even though, obviously, boy, the lesson was a little bit harsh, God.
Rachel Rodgers: That was intense.
Jennifer Kem: But I was like, “Okay.” I love product, by the way, but I’m a big believer in that if you don’t have a services-based component to whatever you do, I think that you’re creating a lot of risk in your business. So, that’s how it all came down.
Rachel Rodgers: Man, I’m almost speechless. I’m like, “Okay, well, let, let’s just end it right there.” So good. So many good lessons, and just everything that you shared on how you built it. It’s like all you had to do is have a mindset shift to realize, “Oh I can rebuild.” There were things in that story that speak to how to recession proof your business like having cash reserves, having advisors, building a team early on as possible with the skill sets that you don’t have. All of those things, I think, super important. Oh, my God. So amazing. I’m obsessed.
Jennifer Kem: Thank you. It’s so fun. Thank you for being so easy to talk to you. I hope what I’ve demonstrated is you can tell your approachability and your authority stories in a way that actually then creates structure. I love that you’re pointing out, “Oh, this nugget,” because I wasn’t coming at it with this that, but you’re able to pull it out, and that’s the beauty also on a dyad like this where we can play, and talk, and discuss things that matter.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, for sure.
Jennifer Kem: So, thanks for creating an environment for that.
Rachel Rodgers: Before we wrap up, tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing now. So, you have your KemComm company, which is serving corporations with brand strategy, and then tell us about the other two businesses that you have.
Jennifer Kem: What happened when KemComm started going, and then I structured it, and then, frankly, I realized, “Oh, my gosh. This is the best business ever because I get to do all the things that I’m good at. I have an incredible team.” What has started happening, Rachel, is what I wanted to invest in, which I’ve always invested in, is my mindset.
Even when I was for free, whether I was still watching Wayne Dyer on PBS, the reruns, or I was reading books when I didn’t have any money to when I started making money again with KemComm, I was like, “I need to invest in continuing my leadership, continuing my personal development, keeping my mind right, being around the right people.” I started investing in going to not just masterminds, but getting a mindset coach, all that stuff.
So, four and a half years ago, as I was doing all this, what was funny is every single coach that I worked with just to keep my mind right and keep me on track, was like, “Why aren’t you teaching this to entrepreneurs?” I was like, “Oh, no. That’s not my market.” I was very much in brand/marketing Jenn. Like, “Look, I’m happy. I’m good.” You know what I also felt though? I was like, “But I’m missing something still. I’m still missing something.” I didn’t know what it was, and what I realized after doing that inner work was I’m missing the true impact I was made for.
It was like women especially need to hear not just my stories, but they need to be taught properly, frankly, how to build a brand like a leader would, not just as a marketer would because there’s a difference. You can sell widgets if you become good at marketing because marketing runs the world. That’s the truth. But to feel good while you’re doing it, and to leave a lasting impact, it requires a level of leadership and direction that I felt was missing, especially in the online world.
Rachel Rodgers: For sure.
Jennifer Kem: Frankly, I still think it’s missing.
Rachel Rodgers: Agreed.
Jennifer Kem: There’s people like us who are really wanting to elevate the conversation to a bigger conversation, and it’s not just about launching, and it’s not just about funnels, which by the way, you do need, but those are tactics. They’re not life strategies for leaving a legacy.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly. I think this is what happens, Jenn, when there’s a, what’s the word I’m looking for, when it’s like an echo chamber of white guys. You know what I mean?
Jennifer Kem: Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: You need diversity of ideas, and you lose that when you have an echo chamber for all of the leaders are just basically stuck in this circle jerk. You know what I mean?
Jennifer Kem: Yes. Oh, it’s a total pass of the plate. It’s pass the plate, and not in a good way. Let’s just put it that way. As an outsider, I was looking at all this, and frankly, I told some of my coaches, “I’m not interested in that,” but they were interested in me teaching them.
They were like, “Wait, look, you came to me, and I want you to know that I want to build my business like this.” I said, “Well, I’ll do it for you,” and that’s literally what happened. It was Lisa Nichols. She was my first transformational coach, if you’re familiar with Lisa Nichols work.
Rachel Rodgers: Well, I think we all are or at least should be because she’s a fucking badass.
Jennifer Kem: Right, and she is amazing
Rachel Rodgers: Pretty epic first client too.
Jennifer Kem: I hired her as my transformational coach, and then she was like, “Look, pardon me, but you’re leaving us all out by not teaching us this, and I think there’s something there.” I really resisted her for a good six, seven months. Then finally, I was like, “Okay, I’ll help you.
Rachel Rodgers: Okay, if you insist. You can pay me.
Jennifer Kem: I was like, “Let me let you know. Warning, if I do this, we’re going all in, and you have to be willing to actually let go of all these lies on the internet that these consultants have told you.” I said, “They’re telling you, you need to be a cookie cutter thing,” and Lisa Nichols is not cookie cutter.
Rachel Rodgers: Hello?
Jennifer Kem: None of us are. She was like, “You do me right, and we’ll make it magic happen.” That’s literally what happened. From that, I realized, “Oh, here’s my third company.” So, I actually have two companies now, and my third company was really the first fashion business, if you will. This third business is called Master Brand Institute. It’s a training and development company that helps entrepreneurs, but especially women. Two of our core values are justice and economy.
Our whole goal is to help diverse ideas and diverse women make their ideas matter and tell better stories so that they can create those lives of legacy. Well, we don’t know what’s next, honestly, Rachel, but I can say for now, I’m very excited about what we built. It is now an eight-figure company as of last year.
Rachel Rodgers: Congrats on that.
Jennifer Kem: I’ve just applied a lot of the same things, but just with a different message because the market is different. Also, doing things without playing the game. I’ve never had affiliates, and I have nothing against affiliate marketing. I have an issue, frankly, with the way it’s done in online marketing. It is actually not done like that in the real world to the point where we’re not just in an echo chamber.
People are literally on purpose being put in a corner, and a lot of people don’t even know they’re being put in a corner in this online world. So, what we want to do is free women, especially from that, because if you come out of that space, and you learn how to scale with a real brand strategy. One of my secret sauces is that I can predict the future pretty well because not only I’m obsessed with research. I’m not good at a lot of things, to be honest with you, but what I am really good at is potent. I can really what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work.
So, when you put those two things together, it really supports people. Anyway, that’s what we do at Master Brand Institute. We help people, everyday entrepreneurs, who really want to move into truth and the money. That’s what we do. Personally, my next big thing, honestly, is the Femmefluence movement that is helping women achieve the highest level of affluence and influence possible for them.
Right now, I’m deciding what that’s going to look like, but it’s my creative project right now. I’m really excited about it, and we’ll see where it goes, but now that I’ve turned Master Brand Institute into an eight-figure company, and I’ve built a great team, now, I’m like, “Okay, what’s next for Femmefluence?”
That’s where I’m at right now as you listen at the timing of this recording. So, we’ll see what happens. If someone is listening to this 10 years from now, I hope that it’s an epic movement that helps women own their awesomeness. That’s my goal.
Rachel Rodgers: I love it. I love it. I just want to point out to people too. I love the way that you’re going about building companies of building one, scaling it to not just seven figures, but eight figures, and then saying, “Okay, there’s another thing that I’m interested in,” and you’re free up to do it because you’ve got a team, you’ve got profit.
Jennifer Kem: Totally.
Rachel Rodgers: You’ve built a healthy business. I think people try to do that like, “I’m making $50,000, and now, I want to start this whole second thing.” It’s like, “No, honey. No.”
Jennifer Kem: Yes. Yes.
Rachel Rodgers: Not yet.
Jennifer Kem: Yes, don’t press pause on what’s next. One thing that I say is you need to put discipline around your desires. If you really want this, you need to put some discipline around it, honey. Period. Okay? And you need to learn from great people. Rachel is a great one. People who are going to tell you straight and be honest, and you want to also be around, to your point, diverse ideas, diverse opinions, although I don’t have a lot of room for bullshit. I would be willing if I see you put in the work and understand how it lines up with the greater good. If I can understand that, I’m your huckleberry.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: Otherwise, I got no time because this body is going to expire, period. Our bodies are going to expire. That’s a guarantee. So, we got to be available for shit, and jumping around thinking, it’s not going to help your body. It’s going to hurt it.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly. Also, not having real success. That is really fueled by fear switching around all the time thinking, “There’s never enough time, there’s never enough money, there’s never enough offers.” You know what I mean? That’s all fueled by fear, and so I really encourage people, and I’m excited that they’re hearing your story and can see that like, “Listen, you can do other things. You’re not stuck in this business forever.”
This business can keep generating money, and generating a very healthy salary, and dividends for you, and providing a great workplace for an amazing team and a great service for people, and at the same time, you could be moving on to other projects, but you got to build it to a certain level where you can actually have a team in place to run it. This whole idea of a completely 100% automated business is bullshit.
Jennifer Kem: Oh, my God. I could just rant all day on that shit. It’s such a lie, and it presses exactly what all of us at the humanist level possible is, is our lazy button.
Rachel Rodgers: Totally.
Jennifer Kem: Why is 7-Eleven one of the biggest brands in the world? Because we pay for convenience.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes.
Jennifer Kem: All of you ladies who are paying just for convenience, there’s no such thing as a 100% automated business. If there was, why would we want it anyway? I don’t understand. So, if you just want to sell widgets, girl, open up a factory, but guess what? Those are going away too pretty soon. You know what I mean? If you just want to sell generic widgets, that’s what automation looks like, but automation is not the brand.
Rachel Rodgers: No.
Jennifer Kem: It’s not business. It’s a tactic that a company uses to create cars or whatever. It’s not who we are. So, don’t be mesmerized. I call it taking in the blue fumes. Like sniffing them blue fumes messing us up, man.
Rachel Rodgers: It’s so true. Blue fumes. Exactly, automation has a place in your operations. Even in your marketing, there are elements that you automate, but there’s got to be stuff that you don’t. Otherwise, what’s special about you? Where’s the connection? There’s no point of connection with pure 100% automation. You’ll set it up, you’ll make a little bit of money, and then you’ll plateau and decline, and then you’ll have to get to fucking work. So, just go ahead and do it now. Stop fucking around.
Jennifer Kem: I do feel like I have a lot of autonomy in my business now, which is perfect because it’s in alignment with my values. For example, I was just sharing with Rachel before we hit record that I had to take some sick leave. I’ve had to handle some things surgically inside of my body that I’ve been, frankly, putting off because I’ve been building Master Brand Institute.
I was finally like, “I need to take a couple of weeks off,” and I took off literally these past six weeks, honestly, and did it without missing a beat, without any money being lost. Shoot, shoot, I better because how can I even stand proudly on the fact of what I built, and honesty and integrity say what I built, and then still feel like I have to be in my business 100%? Forget about automation, seek autonomy. Autonomy is automation.
That’s the goal, the control to allow yourself to create the space that you need to take care of yourself, to take care of your family, and to take care of your business. It’s crazy to me how everything is twisted because of marketing. You don’t have to believe us. We’re both marketers, but I like to think that we are socially conscious marketers who understand that there is a way to still get what you want without a shortcut. That’s not how it works anyway. Just not really.
Rachel Rodgers: Exactly, it’s just not real. You heard it here first, or for the 100th time, whichever. Jenn, thank you so much for this conversation. It was amazing, and inspiring, and enlightening, and I know everyone is just going to be so filled up by everything that you’ve shared. Can you tell us where they can find you if they want to connect with you?
Jennifer Kem: Yeah, you can find me at JenniferKem.com. I love to play on Instagram. So, if you want to follow me on Instagram, I’d love to have you over there to chat. It’s @jennifer.kem. I’m sure they’ll be in the show notes too, so would love to meet you over there.
Rachel Rodgers: Yes, for sure. By the way, I did take your brand archetype quiz.
Jennifer Kem: Oh, you did?
Rachel Rodgers: I did, I’m a ruler.
Jennifer Kem: I knew it. The only reason I was like, “You’re a ruler, right?” I’m a dominant ruler too. So, I’d be interested even more so to hear what your two other ones are. I’ll make sure we get you that so that you can get that. If they want to a play and you’re willing, we can get that link.
Rachel Rodgers: Yeah, for sure. Go ahead and tell us, and then we’ll make sure we put it in the show notes too.
Jennifer Kem: Sure. It’s brandarchetypequiz.com/rachelrodgers, just so that we can make sure that we attributed that to Rachel, and that you found us here. You will get one of my most important tools. It’s called the Brand Archetype Assessment. It’s one of the tools that I’ve used when I was working on the Coca-Cola account when I was a young copywriter, and have now turned it into a diagnostic that helps hundreds of entrepreneurs determine what their brand voice is, and their essence, and how to show up. So, I’m excited for you to try that. Let me know what your insights were from the assessment.
Rachel Rodgers: Awesome, I love it. Just giving gifts. Gifts for the people.
Are you ready for a revolution? Then download my free guide called Million Dollar Behavior. In it, you will learn the 10 behavior shifts you need to make to build wealth, claim power, and have an impact.
I’ve learned how to play the game of success by my own rules, and in this guide, I’m going to lay out the million-dollar behavior required for you to define your own success and chase after your goals on your terms. Get this free guide now at helloseven.co/guide.