Kendra Y. Hill on how her drive to make a difference in the lives of others led her to build her dream management firm
Kendra Y. Hill, founder of Kendra, Scale My Business, sits down with us to chat about her multi-faceted career working everywhere from Google to fashion direction, how the pandemic paid off for her, and how her spirituality is essential to her small business success.
Describe your business in a few words?
Kendra, Scale My Business is a business management firm that helps successful corporations and creators grow beyond their wildest dreams.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I became an entrepreneur in 2011 because I was bored. I had worked for a bunch of companies but I was just unfulfilled. After 6 years of running my own brand management firm, I decided it was time to finally pursue my passion for fashion. And through an act of God, I was working in the fashion industry.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
My professional background includes the U.S. House of Representatives, UNCF, Google and the San Antonio Spurs. I have also produced international television.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No way! I thought I was going to be a politician actually. My whole goal was to change the lives of people in my community, so when I launched my first business, I helped local businesses and churches get online. That snowballed into international campaigns and big business branding and marketing which landed me where I am now – scaling corporations and creators.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
KSMB is my third business. I already had an audience but that audience was used to me doing other things – branding, styling and creative direction. I had already started to acquire clients by referral when I launched, but to go to the masses, I shot a promotional video and built my website then used social media to share that I had changed course. In addition, I emailed my 6K+ mailing list notifying them that I had this new business. It all went as planned and helped me generate 6-figures in the first month of business.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
The most challenging part of my business is internal management. As I am serving corps and creators, the hours are not set in stone. A team member could be up with me at 1am planning for a launch the next day or working Saturday and Sunday to ensure our week will be successful. One of the biggest mistakes I made (just last year) was promoting someone who came from a different work culture. My first employee was a European national who believed in extreme work-life balance. The work relationship went well until they were promoted. With their promotion of course came greater responsibility, more hours, etc. and it just wasn’t working. The greatest lesson for me was to be OVERLY communicative of my expectations so that the employee has the opportunity to excel.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
No question – making 7-figures in 7 months in the middle of a global health pandemic and racial uprising.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I have an interesting hiring process that I use to hire not only for my company but for my clients as well. Though I feel all of the questions are helpful, the one that throws people off the most is asking, “What 5 places – countries, cities, states, etc. – are you most obsessed with right now and why?” Most interviewees are taken aback by the question, but it reveals a lot about them. I look for candidates with a global perspective as half of my clientele are not American. This question also shows me a lot about their personality.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
In the best of ways! The initial week of quarantine (March 2020) was the highest grossing week in my company. We went right into crisis mode and developed contingency plans for our clients as well as one-off businesses, all of which are still a year later.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We just fully expanded into the YouTube space using my knowledge from my time at Google and working as a television producer. The biggest thing now is taking my knowledge and sharing it with real small businesses that can’t afford our retainer. I’ve developed The Milli Club – a membership for faith-based small business owners who are ready to grow and scale. For $37 a month, they get a monthly teaching from me as well as Q&As, work sessions, and weekly entrepreneurial bible study plus opportunities to network with people just like them. We’re launching Mid-March.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
When you’re prepared (mentally, spiritually, emotionally), the opportunities come. It took me nearly 10 years to be really ready for the abundance and easy flow that God had promised me. The MOMENT I was ready, the dam broke and now I’m floating on blessings.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Soak up every single experience. You never know when the culmination of your experiences and knowledge will be necessary for your next assignment.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
First and foremost, my relationship with God keeps me grounded. I stay in constant communion with the Creator who created me. Between prayer and bible study, I’m inundated with His messaging. Beyond that, I take a LOT of time to be still and introspective.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe that work-life balance is necessary to curb burnout. One of the things I was able to start doing when the business blew up was take 4-day weekends. I only interact with clients Tuesday-Thursday. While that may not be ideal for everyone, my best tip is to set boundaries. If you don’t work past 5pm M_F, then DON’T and don’t compromise. The deals, clients and customers will be there. Use that time away to rest, reset and recharge.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m super down to earth and a closet comedian. I can turn almost anything into a joke that will make you cry with laughter.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1. Keep the mission in front of you. This is your ‘why’. 2. Keep the vision in front of you. This is your ‘what’. 3. Keep the plan in front of you. This is your ‘how’. Those three things will fuel you daily if you let them.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Simple: working hard to have the life I desire and inspiring other women to do the same.