Success Story: Jen Kelly, Owner of KeliComm

MyTalk 107.1 Entrepreneur of the Month for January

What do you get when you combine decades of professional experience with a personal passion? For Jen Kelly, it became KeliComm, a business that coupled her expertise from 20 years in employee communications and her love of photography. She officially launched the business in 2011, after accepting an early retirement. "I saw it as an opportunity to pursue my passion," Jen said. "And I am an entrepreneur at heart."

Jen followed a colleague's advice and contacted WomenVenture to help her navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship. She participated in a 3-day class on how to develop a business. Then she connected with a WomenVenture consultant who gave her some valuable feedback. Initially the photography side of her business focused on family portraits, while she separately established herself as an independent communications consultant. "WomenVenture encouraged me to be open to the marketplace shaping the business' direction," Jen said. "It quickly became apparent that my clients were interested in both communications consulting services and professional headshots. I discovered that co-branding the services into one portfolio business better served my clients and made good business sense."

Today, KeliComm provides communications solutions and photography that captures her clients' brands and delivers their vision. Jen has earned a reputation in the Twin Cities as the go-to headshot photographer for LinkedIn, social and digital media, and business websites. By following her WomenVenture consultant's advice, Jen feels fortunate that she has been able to develop her business in a way that brings value to her clients.

What has WomenVenture provided to Jen that she feels she could not have gotten elsewhere? A central resource for guidance and strategic direction. Jen also received a microloan from WomenVenture and was able to create a successful financial plan for the best return for her business. "I hadn’t considered taking out a loan to finance my business," she said. "But with WomenVenture, I learned about effective business planning and the advantages of using appropriate financing."

Jen continues to utilize the classes and services WomenVenture provides. "When running your own business it is essential to have a solid support system," Jen said. "WomenVenture is a key element of that support."