Kylie Jenner — Business & Life Lessons From The Kardashians
Maybe you’ve never heard of Kylie Jenner, the lesser-known half-sister of reality TV star and fashion mogul Kim Kardashian. Kylie Jenner is one of the most watched people on Snapchat and one of the most followed people on Instagram, with 230+ million followers. At 23, she’s the youngest ever self-made billionaire in the U.S. What does it take to run a successful business and live a bright life like Kylie Jenner’s? Here are her business and life lessons we picked up straight from Kylie.
Kylie Jenner is a celebrity we all feel like we grew up with.
She’s one of the most successful of the Kardashians sisters after she created a ground-breaking, billion dollar cosmetics brand from the ground up, creating even more of a conversation around her name. Self-made or not, she has the clout and she knows how to brew up the controversy it takes to dominate the headlines and drive traffic to her Lip Kits.
You probably think that she has not earned any of those riches, since all she does for a living is sit around and look pretty.
Yes she had some assets to jump start her success. Her celebrity status, $250,000 that she earned from modeling gigs and a business savvy mom-ager to support her, but she had to put in the work to turn that investment into millions. Something that most people with these similar resources at their disposal haven’t been able to do. Especially not as fast as she has.
When Kylie Jenner launched her lip kit on her website in November 2015, she sold out in 30 seconds.
Yes, 30 seconds! She went back to the factory, made other kits and re-launched them a few other times, and all these times, the lip kits have sold out in less than 20 minutes. Few people doubt that Kylie worked hard for where she is now considering most people don’t have such a tremendous head start in terms of money, connections, and built-in social recognition. Well, there’s nothing to gain by brushing her off, so why not look closer and take a lesson from what she does well.
Love her or hate her, we can all learn valuable business & life lessons from Kylie Jenner.
I believe that success leaves clues and here are some lessons I picked up from Kylie’s success story. Lessons I feel will also be helpful for other girl bosses with the desire to build successful businesses and generational wealth. For those looking to be like Kylie Jenner and expand their brand and/or social media presence, here are seven business lessons to learn from her empire and her life.
Lesson #1: Criticism Makes You Stronger
With trolls commenting on her social content, Kylie shows that you have to move beyond negative press and focus on your vision and dream. With $630 million in sales since launching in 2016, the data and numbers can silence the haters.
As young Kylie Jenner moved into the spotlight, the internet had a field day trash-talking the up-and-coming Kardashian sibling and her wild lips.
Now some people would do anything in their power to downplay the feature causing so much hubbub, but Kylie went the opposite way, launching her lip kits. In doing so, Kylie Jenner silenced her critics by developing one of the most talked about products in the beauty industry. In the words of her brother-in-law: take this, haters.
Hearing negative things about yourself can be soul-crushing.
Nevertheless, you can practice taking that negative energy and putting it towards something positive. Some days are just not your day, and that’s okay. We all have off days and it’s easy to let them take over, but it’s important to stay positive and remember you are a boss babe.
Every entrepreneurial pursuit will have obstacles, but continue to believe in your business and address any valid concerns.
In ignoring the negative, Kylie can focus on providing the community that adores her with exclusive access at her pop-up shops and appearances, and she creates a special bond with fans as she replies and reposts their content across social media channels. Listen to feedback from the community to better your product and content, but remember to reward your community that wants you to succeed with special offers and experiences. Overall, it is better to continue to post content than to let negativity deter you from your passions.
Kylie Jenner is the controversy queen.
Not only has her life been captured on film since before she became a tween, but she has risen to fame on the heels of multiple controversies including getting plastic surgery on multiple parts of her body, making controversial statements and creating hype around her relationships, friendships and partnerships. Kylie didn’t have to try all that hard to get mentioned in controversial tabloids. However, what she has taught us is that there is no such thing as bad press.
Being some of the biggest reality stars in the world might come with a ton of perks, but it also comes with its fair share of criticism.
Though she still comes across online bullies on social media, the billionaire tries not to dwell on the negative things people say about her. Instead, the reality star continues to set trends and lead by example, which is exactly how she’s gain the massive following she has today. So while people continue having negativity things to say about her, Kylie Jenner will keep on ignoring those trolls and just focuses on being the successful Boss Babe she is.
Lesson #2: Know Your Audience
Kylie’s audience is largely made up of her loyal social media followers — predominantly young women and teenagers — who are glued to every carefully curated picture she posts. She uses social media to sell her products, but she’s also careful to create content that will hold her audience’s attention.
Understand who your audience is and speak to them in their language, through outlets they frequent.
Are you targeting Millennials, or business executives in their 40s-60s? Your older prospects are far more likely to be reading trade journals and monitoring LinkedIn, whereas Millennials are getting their latest news and information on Instagram and Snapchat.
Kylie Jenner uses her social media as a window into her everyday life.
This includes everything from posting ‘no-makeup’ selfies to racy home photo shoots. She entices her audience to keep coming back for more. Her Instagram page remains true to its creative and vivid aesthetics, and her photos are always high quality. As a global influencer, she’s tapped into the demographic of young people who are passionate about new trends and have grown up with reality TV and social media. The Kylie Cosmetics brand messaging reflect her knowledge base of this demographic and produce products around these insights including “On Wednesday Matte Lip Kit” — a reference to Mean Girls — and the slang lingo “Damm Gina Gloss.“
Kylie Jenner created her business using her most famous assets — her cosmetically enhanced lips.
Her popular product, Kylie’s Lip Kit, is a pack containing a liquid lipstick and lip liner of the same shade which retails for $29 and targets the younger generation, vowing to give them the same pouty famous lips as hers. Kylie’s audience predominantly consists of young women from Generation X and Generation Y, which makes things easier for her as these generations are completely at home with social media and the technology. She took the factors that make her unique from her family and used it smartly to make her products stand out.
Knowing your audience becomes especially crucial when stepping into the digital marketing era.
Knowing your audience and what they are looking for will better answer how you should market your business; while also allowing you to create a tone for all of your content that will align with what they find appealing. This knowledge will provide an edge for better SEO by utilizing keywords that your audience may use when searching out a product or service such as yours. Truly knowing who you’re marketing to will allow your marketing to be as successful as possible because you will know when and how to best reach these people.
Kylie knows her target demographic and it shows.
From the language she uses to the platform she chooses, it is clear that she has nailed her buyer persona, especially when her products sell out within minutes of launching. While Kylie Jenner posts a variety of content, her voice, topics, and look remain consistent. It’s not about posting a quote every Tuesday or ensuring that your blog is up the 3rd Wednesday of every month. Consistency is about giving your audience what they want to engage with; they should know what to expect when they read or view something from your brand.
Lesson #3: Surround Yourself With People You Trust
After experiencing wild success with her makeup line, Kylie was ready to collaborate. She looked no further than her siblings and has launched various capsule collections with Kim and Khloe Kardashian. Being in business is tough, but finding people you trust for projects makes all the difference.
Be thorough and relentless as you evaluate everything from potential employees to partners to technology solutions.
When you trust your people, you can let go of the little things and concentrate on the big picture. Kylie’s no dummy. When you come from a famous family, you use them to sell your stuff. Kylie and her ever-present manager, her mom Kris Jenner evaluate options for each vendor or partner they choose, all to ensure trusted, best-in-class service from start to finish.
It’s always best to work with people you trust.
Kylie must’ve been approached by hundreds of people wanting to collaborate with her but she strategically picked people in her inner circle to do this with. Although our own businesses look more like lawn-mowing services we offer in the summer or babysitting gigs, we can take a cue from Kylie Jenner and look to our close network when trying to expand or gain more business.
Kylie is a great example of the power of collaboration and leveraging influencer marketing to build a brand.
She has a built-in network of people to help her in this area, including the clout of her famous family and friends. She isn’t shy about using these connections to bolster her business. Her cosmetics brand touts a number of collaborations with her celebrity family members. Since all the Jenner-Kardashians come with millions of their own followers, these partnerships have been incredibly successful in boosting sales.
Find influencers within your niche that have reach beyond your community that can provide validation through social media content for your product or services.
You can find influencers in a variety of ways. These include: working with influencer agencies, utilizing influencer apps that connect brands and influencers, search hashtags to find relevant influencers within your industry and then reach out by email or direct message on social channels to start a relationship.
People who challenge you and push you forward are some of the most powerful in your network.
You don’t have all of the answers and they’ve got most of the tough questions you didn’t think of. And maybe you’re pissed you didn’t think of those questions or have the answers but thank goodness you’ve got these people in your life for that! They may annoy you at times but they bring you to a level you might not have attained.
Lesson #4: Focus on What You Know
At 21 years old, Kylie doesn’t yet have the experience to oversee every arena of her business, and she’s smart enough to know that. She is the brand — that is her core competency. So how does she handle the rest? Simple: She outsources everything else, from manufacturing and finance to packaging and fulfillment.
Kylie is the brand; she projects “Kylie Cosmetics” in everything she does.
But she also recognizes that she doesn’t know everything about the business world, and she has sought help and advice in these areas. This has kept her business lean but effective, meaning Kylie can pocket more money without necessarily dealing with the daily grind of running a business. By outsourcing everything, Kylie can focus on her core competencies and growing her business via social media. Each employee, vendor or partner she hires is thoroughly evaluated to ensure they’re a good fit for her business, and this allows her to focus on big-picture issues and keep the quality of her products high.
Kylie’s biggest strength has been the social media following she had built from her celebrity status.
And she’s mastered the art of profiting in every way from her fame. First through sponsorship and endorsement deals then by using this very fan base to start and grow her company with zero advertising budget. Her strengths are building a loyal fan base which is why she is the face of her company. Successful entrepreneurs use their strengths to soar and delegate their weaknesses to experts.
Focus on your niche and stick with it. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or diversity yourself too much.
Focus on what you know, what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about it. It may sound hokey, but when you do, you’ll be on the path to success without adding any more stress to your life. Trying to do everything on your own is a recipe for crashing and burning. To avoid burnout while growing your business, focus only on what you do best. As for the rest, delegate or outsource them to someone else.
By focusing more on what you’re good at, instead of wasting time trying to do things you’re bad at, consider building off your strengths.
You’ll see a better outcome in the long run. It’s kind of like using the Pareto principle for your own business efforts. You know that 20% of your effort is the basis for 80% of the results you get from your business. As a result, it makes sense to focus on the things you do well — the things that are most likely to give you those results.
After all, one of the reasons so many entrepreneurs fail in business is that they’re trying to do everything themselves and eventually run their business into the ground.
Create a list that includes all the things you do in your business where you’re recognized for your unique brilliance: what you would do for free all day long because you enjoy it so much, what you have passion for, what you just keep getting better and better at and finally, what brings in revenue and new business. These are your strengths that you’re going to continue to strengthen.
Lesson #5: Be Authentically You
It’s easy to confuse the Kardashians so Kylie had to do something to stand out. She could have mimicked her sisters’ already famous style and behaviour, but she chose instead to own and magnify the qualities that make her different.
Today Kylie is known for her unique style, her ever-changing hair, and of course those infamous lips.
Kylie’s brand is great at making her audience feel like they are accessing her directly and getting to see different sides of her. She seamlessly weaves posts about her everyday life with promotions for products she’s using at the moment, which further increases customer demand.
It’s her ability to authentically project herself that draws her audience in.
Her social media pages are also filled with posts about her personal life, including photos of her baby, Stormi. She allows her followers to peek behind the curtain, giving them insights into what it’s like to be Kylie. Gone are the days of perfectly polished and packaged communications. These days, images of real people have replaced models airbrushed to perfection.
You will want to create a personal connection with your audience. You need to bond with people so that they would love you.
Your customers want to get to know what’s behind the business and who drives the company, which creates brand loyalty. Don’t be shy about posting behind-the-scenes photos of people at work or in meetings at your office, or photos of your last business trip or company picnic. It builds a stronger bond between you and your contacts.
Remember to be genuine and true to your personality.
Look for ways to capture your unique style and give your followers glimpses into what makes you and your business so unique. Consider how you can authentically project yourself — you shouldn’t fake love for a product or pretend to live a Kylie Jenner lifestyle if you don’t.
As human beings, trust is the glue that holds any meaningful relationship together, trust is what keeps your audience engaged, and ultimately, it is how you build longstanding relationships with your customers.
Well, authenticity is the key for building trust. By keeping it real, the relationship between your brand and followers becomes stronger, increasing the customers’ engagement, respect, and even, loyalty. Indeed, authenticity is also about perception and how brands are perceived. When a customer knows they support an authentic and honest brand, it triggers a positive feeling about their own choices. And who doesn’t want to feel good?
Lesson #6: Follow The Money
Money flows in the direction of traffic. There’s probably no better way to say this than to remind you that if you need more money, you should have what it takes to drive more traffic to your business. This is exactly what Kylie Jenner did to increase her wealth.
Kylie Jenner invested $250,000 that she had earned from modelling to jump start her company.
An investment that paid off and has multiplied over time to grow her net worth to $900 million. The goal isn’t just to make money, the goal is to make money and then use that money to make more. That’s how the rich get richer. They know that you can’t save your way to wealth. They know how to make the money they have work for them by investing.
Follow the money flow. Sell what people are already buying.
Kylie is not selling anything new or fancy. She is selling the same lipstick sold by Loreal and the rest of the cosmetics companies. The only difference is that she is packaging it differently. Most entrepreneurs try to reinvent the wheel creating things that no one is interested in buying. Look at what people are already spending money on and create products to meet that demand.
Kylie turned her weakness, or something that she was not confident about into the source of her income.
Clearly, her new lips gave her confidence, and as a result, she used them for her gain. She turned her newly found confidence and strength into financial opportunities. She got gigs to model for lipstick brands and went ahead and launched her own lip kits. From your newly found confidence, you can go ahead and make it work for you. Yes, you can fake that confidence and end up making money out of it, or using it to get things you couldn’t get before.
No market is too saturated to penetrate There were so many cosmetics brands already in the market.
But Kylie cosmetics is now a multi million dollar company that started out selling lip kits. Maybe the market doesn’t really need another lipstick company, but it sure did love the idea of a lip kit. You can be successful in a saturated market, but you have to know how to differentiate yourself from the brands that already exist. It’s all about being different and being creative about how you market to your target audience, not necessarily about being unique.
The lesson is to look for ways to use exposure to your benefit. It may not be obvious at first, but if you keep an open mind, you can use nearly any type of exposure to your advantage.
From endorsements to a clothing line with her sister Kendall to income from modelling gigs just to name a few. She is profiting in every way from her fame. As entrepreneurs, we need to not only leverage our strengths but also find multiple ways to get paid. We can’t build generational wealth with only one income stream.
Lesson #7: Life Is a Marathon
Kylie Jenner had a very public “lack of self esteem” episode a couple of years back. Her family’s TV show chronicled how upset she was when her career wasn’t taking off as much as that of her older sisters. Kendall was on her way to becoming a model and Kylie didn’t feel like she had found her calling.
Kylie nevertheless persevered and went on to be a makeup mogul and young entrepreneur.
It’s normal for all of us to feel down once in a while, but it doesn’t help when we compare ourselves to others. Kylie proved that life is a long marathon where you have to pace yourself. Success didn’t come easily for her but now she is considered even more successful than some of her siblings.
In the end, her lip insecurity became an inspiration for her company.
Her infatuation and excitement over her product line is evident in her social media posts, which further captivate and engage her audience. The lesson here is to pick something that is a natural offshoot of your interests, which is an area you’ll be fully invested in and passionate about. Dedication, perseverance and hard work are all required for both marathons and starting a business.
Running a business is like running a marathon, it’s not a sprint.
As entrepreneurs, we have to train our minds to see opportunities everywhere. And sometimes, they will show up as obstacles, challenges, insecurities or disadvantages. If we are brave and courageous enough to face these challenges head on, perhaps on the other side lies our greatest success. The story of the tortoise and the hare comes to mind. It’s easy for an entrepreneur to be hare-like: enthusiastic, full of energy and raring to go, confident, and dangerously close to cocky, lacking a plan and discipline, because they underestimate the challenge ahead.
Running anything takes discipline and focus. If you don’t have discipline running a business, it will fail — it’s as simple as that.
You don’t break a lifelong couch addiction and immediately venture into long-distance running — that is, unless you’re perfectly happy to tear a muscle and end up on crutches for months. You have to steadily acclimatize to the punishing demands of the road by steadily ramping up intensity, extending your cardio sessions and cleaning up your diet.
It’s not how you start, it’s where you end up.
You might prepare as well as you can to launch your business, then find that you get very little business for a year, leaving you stuck in the early stages of the race. But it isn’t over as long as you don’t give up. You can run a marathon in 2.5 hours, 5 hours, or an entire day. When you finally get to the finish line, you’ll still have completed the same race as everyone else.
Of course, it’s debatable whether Kylie can truly be called a “self-made” billionaire. Nonetheless, even if Kylie’s world may appear very different to the world of corporate business, there are many valuable, unexpected business and marketing lessons nobody should miss from her success story.
Growing up in the spotlight can’t be easy, but Kylie has been seeding us little nuggets of wisdom along the way.
What I’m taking from this inspiring story is that entrepreneurial success is about starting where you are, using what you have and doing the best you can to create something that others find valuable enough to pay you for it.
Focus on building a community that shares your values and values what you share.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t think big and be working to grow your business beyond the confines of your own city or country. But let that growth happen via the support and nurturing of a community that will, in turn, tell their community all the good things that you offer. Share great content. Demonstrate your values, culture and authenticity. And keep listening.
Whether your goal is to become a billionaire or not, with the right help, publicity and social media can be leveraged to your advantage.
The greatest lesson we can all learn from Kylie is to be our own golden ticket. She could have been a shadow behind her sisters. And she admits to not knowing what she wanted to do on her own. But she kept trying different things until she found her way. While a family name gave her a jump start, she decided to build her own personal brand that she can now pass down to her daughter Stormi.
Being yourself is what life is all about.
With a momager like Kris Jenner, it’s no wonder Kylie is the name she is. And we can all stand to learn a few lessons from Kylie and her momager: Business is business. Controversy sells and use what you know to make your coin. What do you think? Share your insights in the comments section below.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.