Thank You to Angle Bush, Radio Host of Your15Minutes Radio, For Interviewing Valerie Jennings, CEO & Founder of Jennings Social Media & MarTech, in Celebration of Women’s History Month & International Women’s Day!

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Thank You to Angle Bush, radio host of Your15Minutes Radio, for including Valerie Jennings, CEO & founder of Jennings Social Media, during a panel discussion: “Blueprint for Success” with Diane Hansen and Pam Brossman on International Women’s Day in celebration of Women’s History Month (

Listen to show: [podcast][/podcast]

Here is a partial transcript from the radio interview —

Angle: Valerie, tell us about the beginning of your journey.

Valerie:  I started my company when I was 24 and will have had the business eight years this June. It has definitely been difficult starting at such a young age because there were some things that I had to learn and overcome, from being a female business owner to starting at age 24.  I will say I had a ton of support from the community and Johnson County, Kan. There were a lot of people who invested time in working with me and it really helped me advance my career as a business owner. To both the men and women who really supported and talked about the success that we had with our clients early on, I just want to say thank you for being so supportive in those early stages and now to all of the wonderful companies we work with today, almost eight years later. It has been a lot of dedication and commitment not only on my part but everybody that works here,  which is a pretty small social media marketing and pr firm.  There is so much to be learned no matter what age you start your business at.  There are some unique challenges when you launch that early in the game.

Angle:  So you have gone through some things being 24 with people probably misjudging you like ‘she is only 24’

Valerie:  Yes, that is probably fair.

Angle:  One of the buzz words that many business owners are hearing at this moment is branding. We had a show on branding, discussing the book by Mr. Damon John, “The Brand Within.”  I want to know from each of you, how important is branding and what does branding look like for each of you.  When a client comes in and says, ‘I have a business but I don’t have a brand. Right now I’m an item.  I haven’t gotten into the branding stage just yet.  What do you do to assist that client that has not built their brand and is just starting out?

Valerie:  It is incredibly important because without a brand you don’t have a message. There is not a story to share with your audience.  There are all kinds of aspects that you need to review when building a brand and one of them is search engine optimization.  What I mean by that is somebody jumps on Google and researches either the owner of the company, the product, the service they better find information or that organization immediately.  It shows people in about 30 to 60 seconds if you have a brand presence and that you are dominating the search engines on either your company name or the owner of your company.

We spend a lot of time looking at the brand and most of the companies we work with  do have a brand that’s been created and in existence for a while.  Every now and again there is a startup that comes through here and we talk about how they are going to build up their brand.  One of the first steps is to make sure you reserve all of the social networking sites for your organization on YouTube, Twitter Facebook to make sure that nobody else takes it down the road, or that a competitor takes it.  That does happen and we see the brand hijacking going on.  So once you have your brand going, protect the brand and cherish the brand.  You can shift throughout the course of your company and change directions with branding  and reinvent the brand.  There are a lot of things you can look at overall it is such an incredible component.  From a story telling standpoint and a marketing standpoint that brand has to be solid so you can understand how to advance your company farther down the road.

Angle: What in starting your business overall do you wish you knew then that you know now.

Valerie:  I think overall it’s a resources concern. It’s one of things that you have to look into multiple components to building the business. I started when I moved into the Kansas City market and I really didn’t know anybody.  I wish I would have a little bit better database of connections of people I trusted.  I wish I would have been able to call on people who had established businesses that could have been trusted advisors.  I felt like I was fumbling a little bit in the beginning because I just didn’t have those resources to call upon people and lean on them.  I feel completely blessed to have those types of  relationships now and there are so many people that I can call up anytime and I feel super supported.   I think that is such a hard thing for many business owners who feel like they are going through this alone and if they don’t have those relationships or resources it can be really scary.

Angle:   Last thing I want to know, tell me Valerie, what is your blue print for success.  We want to know, how do you become successful when you are pursuing your passion.

Valerie:  It’s commitment overall.  It’s so hard to stay focused on everything that you want to accomplish.  You have to look at the bottom line.  If this is what you want then you have to be committed to it and that sounds like a generic response but I just have to tell you that it’s the most important thing to any business owner.  If you don’t  like what you are doing then you have to change it.

Listen to the Interview: [podcast][/podcast] with Valerie Jennings, Diane Hansen and Pam Brossman on International Women’s Day!