Kim Kardashian’s built her empire on the Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality series, to be sure, but she’s also an expert side hustler, with apps, Kimojis that broke the app store and related merch, beauty lines, and other ventures. Some of them started off as licensing deals—where she lent her name to a product in exchange for some of the profits—but she’s since moved on to more hands-on work. And it’s paid off: Just as an example, her first line of fragrances, all 300,000 of them, sold out the initial November launch. In any case, she’s worth a reported $175 million now, so when she dished out some business advice at Saturday’s Create + Cultivate panel, you can bet we were listening.
“I love where I’m at right now,” she told the audience. “I love that I’ve taken myself out of having licensing deals and owning my business instead. It’s more time-consuming and more pressure, so every decision is something that is on my shoulders, and definitely you have to make all these mistakes… I’ve learned so much.”
Of course, she’s had a few wouldn’t-do-that-again moments along the way but took a lot from them, including, looking back, that she could have spoken up for her worth as a businesswoman sooner. “I did a lot back in the day, but I still don’t regret my decisions in doing a lot. I found power in saying yes to everything,” she said, before contrasting her and Kanye’s work styles. “That’s how I figured it out. Had I said no, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now, but looking back, I’ve learned from my husband, who says no to everything, I wish I had that confidence back then to know my business worth a bit more. I was just so excited everything was happening and couldn’t believe [people] knew who I am, so I said yes to everything. That took me on a journey to where I am now, but if I look back, I wish I knew my power a little bit more.”
Kim also talked about the role O.G. momager Kris Jenner, plays in her business success: “I think when you do a few things that are successful, it gives you confidence and you feel empowered, like, ‘I can do this,'” Kim said. “My mom is the person I go to if I need business advice. She figured out the makeup model, the fragrance model that no one had done digitally and have your own outlet be social media.
She also talked about how she decides how and when to prioritize her business work over spending time with her kids—because, as the saying goes, you can have it all, just not at the same time. “I would say having kids forced me to take a minute, if you take a step back and figure out what you love to do and just focus on those things 100 percent, that’s what I did,” she says. “If I’m going to spend time away from my kids, I better really love what I’m doing. I think having kids really changed a lot for me.”
“When I do something and it’s successful, it just empowers me and makes me want to work even harder,” Kim added. “My kids, my family, my husband, if you only heard the bathroom conversations between me and my husband every morning and night, those moments motivate me. It’s important to take time for me, my husband, my kids…and just have a really supportive team. Be with someone who builds you up.”