Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeanne Kelly, Founder of Kelly Group Coaching, Inc., located in Rhinebeck, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide credit education. We all use credit, but often no one has ever taught us how. We usually do not learn about credit until we make a mistake with it. My clients are most often people who want to purchase a home.
Tell us about yourself
At the age of 21, I got married and, at 25, had my daughter, Cassandra. Like most newlyweds and new mothers, I believed this was it – my perfect fairytale. But life had another plan (as it often does!). A year later, at 26, I was separated. Things just didn’t work out. I went from living in my dream home to living in a tiny cottage on my parent’s farm. When I went to get myself back on my feet and find my own place, I quickly realized how much credit played a part in opening doors of opportunity...or, in my case, closing them.
Like most people, I never had formal training on what credit was or why it mattered. Little things that I didn’t even realize would affect my credit, like paying my car loan late, breaking an unreasonable phone contract, or missing a $10 copay at the doctor’s office, were taking BIG hits in my credit health and even being sent to collection. After finding numerous rejections when trying to land a mortgage, I felt desperate for change. I guess you could say this was my big “a-ha” moment! When I looked around for help, nobody provided what I needed to fix my situation. Luckily, my parents let me continue living with them and supported me in childcare. I began waitressing at night so that I could be with Cassandra all day. And in my free time, I started my research. When I finally cracked the code on how to fix my credit, I thought to myself, “If I could do this for ME, I could do this for OTHERS.”
So I quit waitressing and began my business from the group up…literally. From a basement, I tirelessly flipped through the yellow pages, cold-pitching mortgage brokers (this was before social media and Google!). My bank account was down to $125, but I was determined. “I can help you close more loans, help clients with credit issues, and you can keep them in the pipeline!” I carried on with my script. Finally, to my surprise, a man named Mike Daversa answered my call (by accident- but hey, I took what I could get!) and let me share my full pitch. It turned out he had a client who needed my help. And that was it…The Kelly Group was OFFICIALLY in business! My mission is to help others not feel stuck with bad credit and educate them on healthy credit. Once you learn more about credit, you can take steps to rebuild or build better credit.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Working with incredible people every day is what I love, and I feel grateful to have an amazing team. We have been helping others for over twenty years. Staying in business after the 2008 housing crash and continuing to grow was a huge accomplishment.
On October 25, 2022, the leading global publication for personal and professional development, SUCCESS Magazine, announced the 25 finalists for their first-ever Real Estate Trendsetter Award & I was one of the winners.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Trying not to do it all. I make sure that everything that is done at my company I learned to do. I must remember to know how to do things but not stay doing them. You can get stuck doing time-consuming daily tasks that do not need your attention as much as growing your business. So, it is always important to find great team members and trust them to get it done.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start. Often I hear people wanting to start but waiting for things to be perfect. When you own a business, you are always changing things you started with, so just begin.
- Your Circle. Make sure you surround yourself with a great team. If you are starting a small business and only you will need to work to get things going, still make sure you are talking to good friends to keep you motivated.
- Keep Learning. I love to learn more with podcasts, webinars, live events, and books.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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