Big Grit is about sharing the stories that highlight tenacity, ingenuity, and perseverance.
Monica Kline’s story is no exception...
Her story is one of many trials and setbacks. She has suffered great loss but has always pressed through to great triumph throughout her life. This intimate story paints a picture of a strong and driven entrepreneur who knows the taste of failure maintains an enduring spirit that never yields. She is Big Grit.
Driven from a young age
Monica grew up in a multicultural household. Her hispanic father was a major influence in her life early on. “He was the epitome of an entrepreneur, he drove me to focus on personal growth, education, and public speaking,” said Monica.
Her father’s focus on education and business paid off. Monica was the first on her street to have a lemonade stand. It was in those moments she discovered the connection between her hard work and success, just like her father had shown her.
The years of dedication to reading, working on public speaking, and learning the importance of hard work and perseverance are what molded Monica at a young age. Eventually, those small steps turned into big leaps in her career. She got her start in marketing in the beauty industry at a young age and within the span of 13 years moved her way up the corporate ladder to Vice President at a multinational corporation. Her time there took her all over the world.
She had reached the top, and that’s when everything changed.
She found herself craving more out of life, and had an epiphany.
“I’m building someone else's dream in the prime of my life...if I'm going to do that kind of work and those kind of hours it better be for my own dream.”
Monica did what many entrepreneurs have done before her and will continue to do after her - she quit her job and bet on herself. She took a chance on realizing her dream..
The hardest moments in life
With her father’s voice in her head, she set out to create something of her own in one of the hardest places to make it -- New York City. She uprooted her life in California and started a branding agency. She was successful and established herself with a strong book of business early on in her new life in the big city, but everything changed when Monica’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.
She began traveling back to California to be with her mother in her time of need. To be faced with such a challenge after finally getting her business off the ground was a curveball she never expected. She was completely entrenched with helping her mother, so her husband came to the rescue.
Monica recalls, “So my husband says, let me take care of all your legal filings for your business. I see so much potential in you and your business. I remember flying to visit my mom thinking, wow I’m so lucky to have someone I can trust.”
It was shortly thereafter she realized that her husband had taken advantage of her. He took her idea and launched the business in his name, stealing Monica’s ideas. In the coming days and weeks she faced an uphill battle in court as she fought to keep her business alive, all while still traveling to and from New York to her mother in California.
Monica’s mother passed away after her long battle with cancer. Life landed another knockout blow at a time when it was hardest. She had nothing left, her business was on life support, and she was left feeling empty. It was at this moment she drew upon her lifetime of experience in perseverance. She knew she wouldn’t fail, she had conviction and drive that made her who she was, and she never lost sight of where she was going.
Nothing can hold her back
Life was hard for a while. Monica’s financial woes forced her to adapt. She remembers selling possessions, eating next to nothing, and navigating life in New York with almost no money to make ends meet. Rock bottom came and Monica found herself on Christmas day alone, hungry, and pensive. Moments like this define entrepreneurship; when life throws you curveballs and you face adversity, what do you do?
Monica had that moment of epiphany - “what am I doing? I have everything I need to succeed."
So she did. The same way she did as a little girl with her lemonade stand. She ran the numbers to see what it would take to keep her business alive and stay afloat. Slowly but surely she began to pull herself back up and grow her business. She rebranded, she got referrals, and she used marketing automation to build her business into what she always wanted.
Then, the unthinkable happened, her father passed away.
During a routine medical procedure the doctor struck an artery and killed him. This abrupt and heartbreaking event happened just before Monica returned home to California, completely blindsiding her. Faced yet again with life’s most harrowing challenges - Monica found a way to keep her business moving through turmoil.
Monica utilized the tools and technology she had at her disposal with Keap. “If automation didn’t exist I probably would have lost every single client because I was not capable of sitting down and working at those moments...”
Once again Monica had to make a choice. Fortunately she had the systems and processes in place to keep her business running without much effort. “I knew my business was going to be on autopilot, and that’s because I use a platform like Keap that I was able to do that”
Through her trials she never gave up, she kept going. Now what’s most important to Monica and her business is to keep her parent’s legacy alive. “I will never give up. It’s ingrained in me, more so now that both of my parents are gone.” Monica continues to lean into all she has gone through in hopes to impart the life and business lessons on others and show them it is possible, “If I do that, I know I’ve done my job.”
Big Grit is more than just an idea. It is a way of life for all entrepreneurs. The things that unite us are also what define us. In Monica’s case it was perseverance and fearlessness in the face of enormous obstacles.
Your entrepreneurial journey also has its own Big Grit moments. Are you taking the time to appreciate your own Big Grit moments? I know how overwhelming and absorbing the entrepreneurial hustle can be. What’s important is you also take the moments, even if only for a second, to stop and take a look around. Look at what you’ve built, what you’ve accomplished, what you have created, and appreciate it.
Big Grit is what got you here and what will continue to get you where you are going.
To learn more about Monica, visit her Instagram.
To watch her full Big Grit story, visit keap.com/big-grit or watch below.