Former NFL Cheerleader Turned Award-Winning CEO Mentoring Visionaries Across The Globe, A Founder’s Story with Kelly Roach
Kelly Roach is a former NFL cheerleader and Fortune 500 executive turned award-winning 8-figure entrepreneur, business consultant, and mentor to leaders and visionaries across the globe. She is a 4X bestselling author, host of the top-rated podcast, The Kelly Roach Show, and founder of Kelly Roach International and The Conviction Marketing Agency. She is committed to disrupting entrepreneurial and leadership education for hard-working business owners across the globe.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up
My four siblings and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. My father worked for a nonprofit and my mother stayed home to take care of us. While I grew up surrounded by a lot of love, our family struggled to make ends meet. There were months where bills barely got paid, I was on the free lunch program, and frequent arguments or stress around money — lots of “we can’t afford that right now.” I often share the story of cleaning my dance studio in order to pay for lessons there — because it truly was one of my first entrepreneurial awakenings. In middle school, I was recruited to be a competitive dancer at one of the top technical schools in the area, but we couldn’t afford lessons there. So, my mom and I made a deal with the owner to clean the studio in exchange for free lessons. I would clean the floors, toilets, and mirrors, and take out the trash, after school and on weekends. I worked multiple jobs since I was old enough: babysitter, cocktail waitress, gatekeeper at the pool — you name it. But it taught me more than anything else that while you can’t control the circumstances you’re handed, you can control how you respond to them. You are 100% in control of your outcomes. Success has very little to do with upbringing or having a competitive advantage, and a whole lot to do with your willingness to do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I began my career at a Fortune 500 staffing firm, and it started out like any entry-level corporate job. I was making $36K a year and eventually climbed the ladder to become the youngest SVP in the company — earning 7 promotions over the course of 8 years. But as I moved up, I realized I was climbing the wrong ladder. I was managing teams across 17 branches, breaking company records for profit, growth, expansion, and sales, and meeting with CEOs in boardrooms all in my 20s. On the outside, I was extremely “successful.” But I was unhappy. I knew I could make a bigger difference, experience more schedule freedom working for myself, and ultimately make more money — so I started my business initially as a side hustle. I’d work in the mornings, during lunch breaks, and after work taking sales calls. I did that until my side business had reached 7-figures before pursuing entrepreneurship full time — because I wanted to be sure I had the funds to reinvest back into my business to continue growing. I was extremely intentional about that.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Train for your business like an athlete trains for your sport. Now more than ever, it’s easy to get distracted or discouraged by all the noise online. When you constantly see your social media feed flooded with designer labels, private jets, and gorgeous properties, you fall victim to the “shiny object syndrome” and want the reward without the hard work (or the failures, setbacks, and lessons) it takes to get there. So, my biggest piece of advice would be to play the long game. Don’t seek instant gratification or overnight success — because it never happens overnight. Commit to running the reps even when no one is there to clap for you. Focus on getting 1% better each day. Use your failures and mistakes as a learning tool to constantly improve. And, take 100% ownership of your outcomes. Athletes don’t play one game and make it to the Super Bowl. They execute the basics over and over and over again until they create mastery.