As much as you like or love her, Kim Kardashian is a force to be reckoned with in the age of television and social media. She and her family used the TV reality wave in the early 2000s to help catapult themselves to fame and finance their businesses and life starting with the E! reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Almost two decades later, Kim Kardashian has multiple business ventures such as KKW Beauty, KKW Fragrance, and SKIMS, including many multi-million dollar business endorsements.
What can we learn from Kim Kardashian? The world did not think she would be so successful, we overlooked her drive and ambition, but Kim and her family navigated through the controversies and created a social media following as they slowly rose to the top.
“People often ask me, “Money or fame?” My focus has always been on success, and with success comes money. I’m at this place now where I am not concerned anymore about fame but if you would have asked me this question 10 years ago, I probably would have said that fame and money were of equal importance. My focus has shifted a lot.”
— Kim KardashianVogue Magazine, “Kanye West interviews wife.”
When we have the drive, ambition, and hard work coupled with a positive mindset, we can inevitably make success come to us. Height is 8 lessons from Kim Kardashian on business and life that enabled her to succeed beyond her wildest imagination.
1. Family Is the Secret Sauce of Success
When the reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashian started in early 2007, no one knew about the Kardashian-Jenner family. However, it did help that their family had been part of the Hollywood and celebrity circles. They used this to their advantage from the start. For example, Kim was initially known as Paris Hilton’s friend and stylist in the early 2000s.
However, the launch of the Kardashian reality show helped the family gain attention simply through its family dynamic. Early on, the show highlighted every sibling, and their mother, Kris Jenner, was the driving force to ensure that they used this fame to their advantage.
The Kardashians are known as a tight-knit family that used their fame intelligently to establish their businesses, coupled with their family supporting each member as they created new ventures. Kim, as a mother of four kids herself, treasures the importance of family.
The secret sauce in Kim Kardashian’s successes came from her family’s support which was the catalyst of their family brand, fame, and eventual family fortune. Even after watching an episode of the Kardashian reality show, we can get the impression that family was the key to how they built their empire.
2. Creating a Following
Kim Kardashian knew that building a following was the way to business success. She used her persona to create an image that people will remember. The age of television and the internet meant information and media would be everywhere competing for our attention. Kim was a master marketer from the very beginning.
In the early 2000s, she ensured the photographers captured her alongside the limelight with Paris Hilton and all the other famous socialites of that time. Her goal was to get her name and presence known. It was this ambition for fame that was the start of her brand.
Currently, Kim Kardashian has 318 million Instagram followers. Her social media followers total 1.2 billion. The opportunity to create a social presence is new, as social media is fast becoming a platform that supplants many traditional media venues such as television, magazines, and newspapers.
The Kardashian family saw these new platforms as an opportunity to expand their businesses and build their brands further.
3. Commodifying Authenticity
The show Keeping Up with the Kardashians showed each member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan growing up together, including their family struggles and eventual successes. Kim and her family used this media to their advantage as a way for America to get to know them. Through this, we are shown their true authentic selves, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not many of us would want cameras in our faces every day, but this show provided a sense of authenticity that people can view, perhaps admire, and then root for even.
Kim Kardashian and her family commodified authenticity through their reality television show and social media presence, letting people into their lives in a way that enabled us to build trust, which worked.
Authenticity is an essential element in marketing, others are intrigued and care for the story of the product or the person, and they become invested in you. And this was the differentiating element that brought Kim Kardashian and her family to the forefront of fame and business fortunes.
For example, in a recent event, while doing her cosmetic tutorial, she was interrupted by her daughter North West. She intentionally hid from her kids so she could do the video, but unfortunately, North West found her. Kim, exasperated, exclaimed: “North, can I please just do my little tutorial? It’s all I want to do, just one little fun thing for myself.” Although this was not meant to be a stunt, it was authentic, and many mothers can relate to this one, and it further broadens Kim’s likeability factor to her followers.
The idea is that authenticity comes from what is happening to us. Though we need to be judicious in sharing, some moments can create a community of people who can emphatize with the struggle or the condition. This area is where the Kardashians and Kim particularly lead in showing authenticity.
Kim Kardashian has often been open and raw about her problems with the world. This includes her health and relationship issues, and this openness shows bravery that many of us would only dare to show. It also lends itself to many of her followers supporting her and her authenticity, deepening her influence.
4. Online Branding Is the Future
Kim Kardashian catapulted her brand from Keeping Up With the Kardashians into a series of businesses, including her brands KKW Beauty, SKIMS, and various beauty brand partnerships. In addition, her social media presence gave her the unrivaled following of millions, using her celebrity status, sex, beauty, and luxurious lifestyle to keep everyone’s attention on her.
In other words, Kim Kardashian can create any brand and command attention, followers, and consumers because she has used her celebrity status and fame as her marketing brand.
Kim Kardashian was ahead of the curve – reality television was just a stepping stone. However, Kim’s marketing prowess showed when she leveraged her social media followers to her advantage when she built her businesses around it.
Kim Kardashian was ahead of her peers and many businesses in realizing that social media followers were a new business asset that could be used for effortless marketing and business ventures to build an online business. The branding of her name created a following, and her form of authenticity and her story became a fundamental platform for creating her future businesses.
5. The Importance of Hard Work
“You can say a lot of things about me, but you cannot say I don’t work hard. I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t act. But I am not lazy.”
— Kim Kardashian
Recently, Kim Kardashian suffered a backlash of complaints after she said this in an interview about women in business: “I have the best advice for women in business. Get your f*cking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days..”. In this sound bite, the world misconstrued what she meant, which was interpreted as demeaning and cruel.
However, in the current moment where small sound bites are floated around without the whole context, Kim Kardashian clarified what she meant in this Cosmopolitan magazine interview. She stated:
“Having a social media presence and having a reality show does not mean overnight success. And you have to work hard to get there, even if it might seem like it’s easy and that you can build a really successful business off of social media and you can if you put in a lot of hard work. And it wasn’t a blanket statement toward women or to feel like I don’t respect the work or [don’t] think that they work hard—I know that they do. That was taken out of context, but I’m really sorry if it was received that way.”
— Kim Kardashian
If you ask anyone about the Kardashians, most people will write them off, and it may seem like opportunities come to them relatively quickly and effortlessly. However, although it may look easy, this is due to the work they have put in over the years. The Kardashians have been on reality television since 2007, and up until now, every sibling has done various individual projects and enterprises. Their businesses require a lot of time, money, and hard work, and they deliver it.
I believe the secret to Kim Kardashian’s and her family’s success is merging their personal and business life. Work to them feels like everyday life, and this shows. The effort they put in is a lot, but they enjoy it. This is a lesson we can all learn. When work becomes less drudgery and more of the regular living we enjoy, we can all become successful.
“The biggest thing my own parents taught me is that family is everything—and it’s definitely a lesson I try to teach my own kids. That, and to be kind. I want my kids to be kind and to treat everybody with respect.”
— Kim Kardashian
6. Never Give Up
When the world discounted her, Kim Kardashian did not care about people’s perception of her – amidst her successes and failure, she never gave up.
The world knew that Kim Kardashian wanted to pursue Law school and become a lawyer. And she had taken the baby bar exam and was open about failing it. She failed the California baby bar 3 times in two years. But she moved along and continued pursuing it until she finally passed.
In her recent divorce from then-husband Kanye West, Kim Kardashian said about failure: “I feel like a f***g failure that it’s [my] third f***g marriage,” she cries. “I feel like a f***g loser. But I can’t even think about that. I want to be happy.”
The lesson that we can learn from Kim Kardashian is that chasing a dream will lead to failure, but it can also lead us to become stronger and better for it in the end. Success comes from trials and tribulations.
We need to look at all angles and reframe our narrative. Early in her career, Kim Kardashian was plagued by bad press, sex scandals, and others. However, she turned this around once the world saw her and how she portrayed herself on television and social media.
Though the opinions of others about us seem horrible, we need to keep our eyes on the goal that we want to achieve and perhaps even use that to fuel ourselves. Just like Kim Kardashian, people’s negative perceptions of us do not count in the end because everyone would have forgotten about it once we triumphed over them.
7. Be Open to Change
Kim Kardashian does not shy away from change throughout her life and career. This lesson is an important one for many of us. Change is a natural state of things that we either hide from or thrive in.
We can all learn from Kim Kardashian’s audacity to live her life amidst the limelight, focusing on the things that make her happy and not letting the public’s criticism of her bring her to a halt. The world initially said that Kim Kardashian was “famous for being famous,” but as much as we thought that, Kim has grown into a force that is impacting the world and people’s lives.
Trying on new things is what makes Kim Kardashian come alive. When Kim Kardashian changed her hair color to platinum blond during Paris Fashion Week, it symbolized her fearless nature in treating change as impermanent. Change is inevitable, but we must face it bravely and must be open to more blessings that it can provide us.
In addition, one of the best qualities that Kim Kardashian has is being proactive, knowing that change is something she has control over. This is apparent throughout her life and career; we often wait to make a change or even complain. But the best way to tackle the things we don’t like is to change them if we can.
“If I don’t like something that’s going on in my life, I change it. And I don’t sit and complain about it for a year.”
— Kim Kardashian
8. Fighting for a Good Cause
Kim Kardashian has used her social media following to support many human rights, environmental issues, and other causes that could help create change and positively impact the world.
Her dream of becoming a lawyer was initially influenced by her late father, Robert Kardashian, famous for the O.J. Simpson case. Her devotion to criminal justice reform further reignited her passion and pursuit of the law.
“I’m very passionate about criminal justice reform, and I want to advocate for those who I feel they were wrongfully convicted.”
– Kim KardashianThe New York Times
Fighting to change the world for a cause we believe in is a fundamental catalyst for pursuing our dreams. When we have a mission to accomplish, we are motivated to continue amidst the failure and the criticisms.
Kim Kardashian has set herself apart by actually standing up to make a change in criminal justice and prison reform. For example, she used her voice in social media by asking for clemency for Alice Johnson via Twitter in 2017. President Donald Trump listened and agreed with her. Trump released a statement to enact clemency: “While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance..”.
Aside from her glamorous life and beauty brands, Kim went to the White House and partnered with various organizations to champion prison reform. Slowly but surely, her efforts are changing people’s minds.
Kim Kardashian is a public figure that most of us have discounted throughout the years. However, Kim’s motivation and consistent hard work, which includes gaining millions of followers on television and social media, creating successful brands and businesses, and her humanitarian work is something we all can admire. Amidst the criticisms, Kim Kardashian never looked back. Instead, she looked forward and continued to pursue her dreams. Some of us may think she is controversial, but we cannot deny the accomplishments she has made and the intelligence she truly has to fulfill her goals and reach success after success.