Kelci Borges of Sherose: Five Things I Learned As A Twenty-Something Founder
An Interview With Doug Noll
Your personal growth is directly related to your business growth. There are a lot of inner demons that you’re going to have to face in order to scale your company. Your business will bring these things straight to the surface. It’s really hard because you’ll want to focus on growing your business and that’s what everyone on social media tells you to do, but what you actually need to do is focus on overcoming your inner thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Your business will grow as a result of facing those fears, behaviors and beliefs that are holding you back.
As a part of our series called “My Life as a TwentySomething Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelci Borges.
Kelci is the founder and CEO of Sherose, a social media marketing and education company that works with lifestyle and leisure companies to boost their brand, amplify their awareness, and increase their revenue through connection-based marketing. She has accumulated over 7 years in traditional and digital marketing throughout various roles and industries, one of her most noteworthy projects were spearheading a grand-reopening marketing campaign for a $20 million renovation project that resulted in record-breaking sales for opening weekend. Kelci is exceptionally creative and innovative in developing a brand, conceptualizing content, organizing and executing creative direction, designing launch plans, and orchestrating high-touch, luxury brand experiences.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you for having me! I got my start after getting told ‘no’ when I asked for a raise several times following the successful completion of a huge marketing campaign for a $20 million renovation project at a company I was working at. Not only had I executed a grand re-opening campaign that resulted in a record-breaking sales weekend, I also lead a project following an act of vandalism that forced our property’s golf course to shut down for 8 weeks. I had 6 weeks to pull together a successful event that got the community involved and to see the golf course in a positive light. The event I directed involved 20+ local non-profits, had record-breaking attendance in the lifetime of the course, and raised more than $5,000 for local charities. These two projects were assigned to me on top of my regular duties as a digital marketing coordinator.
Safe to say, I thought my efforts were more worthy than a $40,000 salary so I asked to be promoted because I was doing more than anyone else in my department. My manager basically ghosted the request and didn’t fight to keep me there by trying to get what I was asking for. I didn’t feel valued so I knew it was time to figure something else out.
I had always wanted to start my own company, and so that’s what I did! With a fire lit underneath me, I burned the midnight oil to get everything ready for the launch of my marketing company. I was able to secure 2 clients that replaced my 9–5 salary and I took the leap… scared, nervous, and equally excited!
I’ve been full-time in my entrepreneurship journey since October 16, 2018, and it’s been a wild roller coaster ride!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?
Oh wow, there are SO many stories that I could share here. One that’s coming to mind is when someone took my content on social media and posted it as their own. I’m not talking about just taking an idea that I shared… this person copy and pasted my exact caption and shared it on their account verbatim. Even worse, this person was someone that I had coached! I was shocked at the audacity as if I wouldn’t see it!
My retaliation (if you can call it that) was sharing a post that said, “You can copy the sauce, but the recipe won’t taste the same” elaborating on what had happened and telling people not to worry too much about imitators because while they can try and be like you, they never will. YOU are what makes your business unique and people will gravitate toward that more than anything else.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company stands out because of its name and what we stand for. There’s so much competition online but we believe collaboration is more important, even with your competitors.
Our name holds significant meaning behind it… Sherose separated out is she rose and that stems from a female rising above. It also is a play on words for a “she” hero… Shero! But make it plural… Sherose.
We celebrate women and their unique abilities, and my special sauce is being able to extract their vision, purpose and what makes them special to help them share that with the world through marketing and strategy.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My company would not have evolved into such a meaningful brand if it were not for my friend Eve. We were coworkers before I left to start my company. After a year or so into my business, we met for coffee and our conversation that day changed everything.
She saw that I was burnt out and uninspired doing what I was doing. She is an intuitive person and told me that my aura was “rose gold” and that I was meant to be uplifting women, sharing my education and expertise with them to help them build their dream lives using their business as the vehicle (which is exactly what I did).
We played with words and came up with Sherose because she told me that as long as she’s known me, I always rise from the ashes. I always rise to the occasion, with whatever hand I’m dealt. And now, I help other women do the same thing. She helped this vision come to life, and if it weren’t for her, I probably would have gone back to a 9–5 job.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, I just launched a local community networking event called The Boise Breakfast Club. My goal is to launch chapters of The Breakfast Club across the country and eventually the globe. Our mission is to connect, educate, empower, and build rapport amongst our community of diverse, badass women.
I’m also working on a hybrid mastermind group program that will focus on business strategy, mindset, and health to combine all of the elements necessary to build a well-rounded CEO. There are so many masterminds out there that focus on business growth, but what gets left behind are the personal things that fall on the back burner while scaling a company. Those things are just as important to keep at the forefront as a business strategy!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have used my platform and success to spread everything that I’ve learned into the community. I share tips and experiences on my social media. I’ve recently launched an in-person networking community where I’m sharing even more intimate information and believe that by making education and resources accessible, I’m giving women what they need in order to build their own visions.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
A book that has changed my life is “The ONE Thing” by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. I read it at a time in my life when I was getting really distracted and doing things to keep “busy” but it wasn’t actually helping me make forward progress. This book really simplifies your to-do list so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and helps you put your goals at the forefront of everything that you do. It invites you to do the ONE thing that “by doing such, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.” I found that when I peeled back everything I was doing, most of it could be eliminated or delegated. I wasn’t spending my time where it was most valuable and it was a super important lesson to learn. I go back to the premise of this book very often.
Can you share 5 of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a “TwentySomething founder”. Please share an example or story for each.
1 . Your personal growth is directly related to your business growth. There are a lot of inner demons that you’re going to have to face in order to scale your company. Your business will bring these things straight to the surface. It’s really hard because you’ll want to focus on growing your business and that’s what everyone on social media tells you to do, but what you actually need to do is focus on overcoming your inner thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Your business will grow as a result of facing those fears, behaviors and beliefs that are holding you back.
2 . Be careful who you trust. I’ve had people that I thought were in my corner completely tear me down… publicly. Regaining my confidence after that was incredibly difficult. Keeping a tight circle of friends is to your benefit because you are an average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with, so you want them to be positive influences. Not only that, but the more people that you share your ideas with, the more opinions that you’re allowing to influence your decision on that idea. Sometimes it’s better to just act on the idea you have by putting blinders on and just doing the damn thing!
3 . Your work is your life… but this can lead to burnout. I don’t think there’s such thing as complete balance as in, you’re going to work 8 hours a day and then you’ll have a certain number of hours on the weekend or after work to do whatever you please. I believe that you’ll create a sense of balance by knowing that some weeks are going to be sprints and you’re going to have a TON of work to do… but then other weeks will be light and you’ll have that freedom that you started your company for in the first place. It’s important that you prioritize doing something for YOU each day to ground you and fill your cup.
4 . You’re going to have to sacrifice things in order to build your business to where you want it to be. As a young person, there are a lot of potential distractions that could get in the way of your success… like partying on the weekend with your friends. As a 20something founder, you have to be laser-focused on what it is that you’re working towards so that you don’t get distracted along the way. You’re going to have to say ‘No’ to social gatherings that would be fun, but maybe not a great use of your time in the grand scheme of things. With that being said, don’t sacrifice everything so that you don’t have a life worth living… Just get your priorities straight and know what is actually worth doing.
5 . Time is your most valuable resource. Do your best to not let people waste it, which is inevitable at times. Be as diligent as possible with your time and spend it where it’s best used. Everyone has 24 hours in a day, what matters is how you spend them. I highly recommend getting clear on your vision, and the goals that you have at hand and creating a quarterly, monthly, and weekly action plan from there. That way, those big goals are broken down and feel doable and you know exactly what you need to do in order to achieve them.
What are the main takeaways that you would advise a twenty year old who is looking to found a business?
Trust yourself, if you have a vision and idea, launch it into action. Taking quick and imperfect action is better than trying to get everything right the first time. At some point, you just have to put it out there and then gather feedback and go from there. Don’t be afraid to take your customer’s feedback, this is what will help your offers improve and make you a better business owner — it’s not personal. It’s okay to change course if you’re not feeling passionate about something anymore, do some soul-searching and figure out what you’re being called to. Before you completely scrap everything, make sure that it’s because you’re truly not passionate anymore instead of feeling a sense of burnout. Remember to nourish your soul with self-care and time away from your business. You can easily lose yourself in the thing that you’re building, especially when you’re young with the gift of time and very few responsibilities. Continue to do things that fill up your cup outside of your business to ensure sustainability and long-term success.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Alex Cooper from Call Her Daddy! How she was able to pivot her podcast and let go of its past identity to fully embrace her new vision is really inspiring. I think that she does a fantastic job of interviewing people and getting high profile people to share intimate details of their life that make them more relatable. I commend her for sharing openly about mental health, political issues and other taboo topics that allow people like me a safe place to learn, understand and grow. She inspires me in my podcast, The Sherose Show, to talk about the shit that stinks in business and make the ups and downs of business feel less lonely.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can find me @wearesherose or @kelcidouglas on Instagram and @wearesherose @kelciborges on TikTok.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About the Interviewer: Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA was born nearly blind, crippled with club feet, partially deaf, and left-handed. He overcame all of these obstacles to become a successful civil trial lawyer. In 2000, he abandoned his law practice to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts. Doug teaches his innovative de-escalation skill that calms any angry person in 90 seconds or less. With Laurel Kaufer, Doug founded Prison of Peace in 2009. The Prison of Peace project trains life and long terms incarcerated people to be powerful peacemakers and mediators. He has been deeply moved by inmates who have learned and applied deep, empathic listening skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills to reduce violence in their prison communities. Their dedication to learning, improving, and serving their communities motivates him to expand the principles of Prison of Peace so that every human wanting to learn the skills of peace may do so. Doug’s awards include California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year, Purpose Prize Fellow, International Academy of Mediators Syd Leezak Award of Excellence, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Neutral of the Year. His four books have won a number of awards and commendations. Doug’s podcast, Listen With Leaders, is now accepting guests. Click on this link to learn more and apply.