Bootstrapping LadyBoss into a $43M/Year eCommerce Giant with Kaelin Poulin – EP 139

Interview with Kaelin Poulin

Mario Matavesco

Bootstrapping LadyBoss into a $43M/Year eCommerce Giant with Kaelin Poulin

Kaelin Poulin and her husband Brandon used their last $1,000 in savings to launch LadyBoss – a women’s weight loss brand that they scaled into a $43M/year eCommerce giant. The business became the 4th fastest growing privately held company in America in 2019 and was eventually acquired by Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels.

After selling LadyBoss, the couple decided to launch Enterprise CEO, which helps 7 and 8-Figure founder-led businesses operate more efficiently, boost profits, and scale without breaking or burnout.

The pair have personally built marketing, sales, service, support, IT, HR, and finance teams that have generated over $200M in combined revenue through multiple D2C verticals and channels including consumer packaged goods, high ticket coaching, apparel & accessories, digital products, webinars, courses, live events, and book sales.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

The story of how Kaelin and Brandon went from not being able to afford groceries to starting and scaling LadyBoss from their living room into an 8-figure per year eCommerce brand.

✅ How to shift your mindset, build confidence in yourself, and will into existence unimaginable goals.

The process for getting acquired, including the non-negotiable terms that Kaelin put in place to make sure she was able to live life on her terms.

Featured on This Episode: Kaelin Poulin

✅ What she does: Kaelin Poulin is the Founder and Managing Partner of Enterprise CEO. She has built an audience of 1M+ Followers, generated billions of views on her content & ads, created & perfected the art of “Attracting Your Perfect Customer”, built a Facebook community of 170,000+ raving customers, led a marketing team in creative processes to develop converting ads & organic content on a weekly basis, crafted sales messages & presentations that sold $200 million from stages, webinars, emails, social media posts, & ads. She now translates her marketing expertise & sales success directly into each business she works with to scale acquisition, conversion, reach, & revenue.

💬 Words of wisdom: What’s the exit for if you don’t like what you see on the other side?” – Kaelin Poulin

🔎 Where to find Kaelin Poulin: Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | LinkedIn

Key Takeaways with Kaelin Poulin

  • Why Kaelin rejected an $80k salary right after college.
  • How pain and discomfort are a catalyst for exceptional achievements.
  • Know your customer as you know yourself.
  • There’s no excuse anymore for not finding good mentors.
  • How Kaelin went from overweight to breaking the world record for fastest-won IFBB Pro Card.
  • What it takes to build a business with 750,000 loyal customers.
  • What’s great about owning a business if it ends up owning you?
  • Why Russel Brunson was eager to buy LadyBoss.

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Kaelin Poulin on Putting Time Freedom Ahead of LadyBoss Success

Kaelin Poulin Tweetables

“You got to know when you're in great timing and how something can change overnight, like sell it when it's way up. Don't wait for the market to change on you. If you're thinking about it, start the process.” - Kaelin Poulin Click To Tweet “I am not economically motivated. I don’t need a check to make me feel good. Like that’s not it. I’m willing to walk away from it because I’m not willing to give up the things that I want from life in this transition.” - Kaelin Poulin Click To Tweet


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Read the Full Transcript with Kaelin Poulin

Justin Donald: What’s up, Kaelin? So good to have you on the show.


Kaelin Poulin: What’s up, Justin? I am excited to be here. Ready to get grilled, hot seated.


Justin Donald: Well, this is a really nice treat. I’m really looking forward to learning your story because you guys have just had a tremendous amount of success over the last number of years, but not without the highs and lows, which is what makes it so special. But you guys have had like your story with LadyBoss is so cool and even before LadyBoss with kind of like the MLM space. And I would just love to explore all the cool stuff that you’ve been up to over the years and the difference between life back then versus life today. So, I’m thrilled to have you here, Kaelin.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, it’s a big contrast, so I’m excited. I’m excited to talk about it because we didn’t start with money. We were broke rock bottom. So, if there’s hope for me, there’s hope for anybody else out there.


Justin Donald: Hey, and that’s a great story in itself. Like, if you can do it, if you can figure it out, others can as well, and we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of it. But let’s start first and foremost with like how you even got into this world of business and sales. I think it started first with sales and then it transitioned into business ownership and operations because I don’t know that there is anyone in your life that paved that path for you, right?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, not at all. Not at all. Yeah. I grew up on a 200-acre farm in Indiana like super tiny town. I graduated with like 30 kids. Like, there are farmers there, not like entrepreneurs. The farmer is the entrepreneur, you know? So, I remember early on in my life just being like I hate other people telling me what to do. I can’t stand it, you know? And so, I always knew I was going to do my own thing and I was like the black sheep, still the black sheep of the family, the black sheep of my school. I just knew even like being bullied in school, like all this stuff. I’m like, I just know I’m supposed to do something like way bigger than being in this town, way bigger with my life than what anybody else has vision for. Like, I have, I don’t know what it is, but I know it’ll be something. And I actually went to this really crazy liberal arts school, one of the hardest ones in the country that still do verbal exams for you to be able to graduate college. Like, the whole team of people who ever taught you sit on a panel and you have to verbally pass an exam of everything you’ve ever remembered over four years. And I got into network marketing when I was a junior in college, and I basically double majored in business and communication in my business school. This is a business school at this college that other MBA programs that are graduate programs come and model our undergrad Business Scholars program.


Justin Donald: Wow. Which school is this?


Kaelin Poulin: This is Hanover College in Indiana. And there’s only like 1,100 kids like you pretty much have to graduate with over a 4.0 to get in. But what’s crazy is I had gotten this job with Frito-Lay. They would only take one like out of the state of Indiana for Indianapolis Frito-Lay that you got this internship so I was basically competing against all everybody else. And I get it. And so, for two years, I spent summers on this fast-track program that I would end up like a regional sales manager at Frito-Lay. And in my senior year, my network marketing business was doing well enough that upon when we’re getting close to graduation, my professor brings me in. He knew I was doing it. And I’m talking like the ex-CMO from Heinz. Okay. This guy is like as corporate as corporate gets. And he’s like, “So, what’s the plan after college? Like, you going full-time with Frito? They’re going to pay you 80K a year coming out of college,” because I’ve been on this fast track, right? And I was like, “Well, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to go full-time in my network marketing business and I’m going to be an entrepreneur and that’s what I’m going to do.”


And he literally fell out of his chair like he was like, “You can’t do that. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Like, what do you mean you’re going to throw away this opportunity? You’ve gone to the school for four years to get an opportunity like this and you’re not going to take it?” And I was like, “No, because I know that I don’t want to work for anyone else.” And so, that’s how I got into network marketing. And I was just doing that gig and that’s how I met Brandon actually. That’s where me and Brandon met, is I was like had huge success in that company at 21, 22, 23 years old and he saw me on stage all the time. He was like, “I want to marry that girl.” You know, like, “That’s my wife. That’s my wife.” And so, that’s how we met. And then through that, we spent the next year building that company together. And that company started to go down, go under and we just always knew like direct marketing is great for people that are number twos, but Brandon is a number one. Like, he could own his own business. He can run it. He can operate it like we just had that inside of us and we’re like, “Do you want to be number one?” And at this time in this transition of our network marketing, we literally walked away from our business because our families were involved, right?


So, if we jumped companies, there’s two options, we jump companies and go build another network marketing business or part two would be like go start our own business. And so, we decided to start our own because we’re like, we’re going to take money away from his little sister’s private school fund, and we want to take money away from my mom’s grocery fund and paying off her bills. Like, we can’t do that. So, in that transition of leaving that company literally just walked away from it, we were a broker than broke like broker than broke.


Justin Donald: Now, real quick, for clarity’s sake, though, when you say that you were crushing it, I would love for people to understand like even financially what that looked like because at a young age, you were pulling in like monster paychecks. So, what was it like being one of the top people in that company, in that network marketing company?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. So, when I met Brandon, I think I was doing, I mean, you have to think 21 years old, okay? In college, I was making like, I don’t know, $5,000 a month but once I got out and went full time, I was making like $25,000, $28,000 a month in network marketing.


Justin Donald: Wow. That is incredible. And by the way, the way that network marketing works and the reason that this was so important, like if we really kind of extrapolate this out is that the down legs you had family members in your down leg. So, what you produced like you were helping support their bills, right? They had become accustomed to a certain lifestyle because they were earning a percentage off of what you sold, right?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, exactly. And our uplines at the time when me and Brandon got together, they were like we wanted to get married and they forbid us from getting married because in network marketing, if you get married, one of the businesses has to collapse onto the other person and they’re like, “You can be married like in quotations, but you can’t be married on paper.” And we’re like, “That’s just not an option for us. Like, we’re getting married. The business is not going to stand in the way of that.”


Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s a really weird caveat that they kind of wreck one of the uplines because of that.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, exactly.


Justin Donald: Very interesting. Well, and by the way, network marketing has always kind of fallen under a good deal of scrutiny over the years and for different reasons. And then often you’ll see that a lot of the companies are kind of like there’s like fad type of support where it’s like really big in a certain season because this miracle supplement is huge. And then later research shows that it’s not as good. So, it’s to me one of those things where, hey, make hay while the sun’s out and do the best you can because you don’t know how long that season’s going to last. Your situation is a little different because the company was still doing well. You guys were still doing well. But as I understand it, and correct me if I’m wrong here, this is just kind of what I remember from Brandon’s conversation with me about this way back when. And it was more in passing, but you were dating someone else.


Kaelin Poulin: I was engaged to someone else.


Justin Donald: You’re engaged to someone else but what had happened is somehow he had convinced you to like run your business through him. So, he was like the number like all the payments went through him or something before they got to you. So, you were in a weird situation where you’re making all this money, but this guy isn’t who you want to end up with.


Kaelin Poulin: No. It’s worse than that, Justin. It’s worse than that.


Justin Donald: Let’s hear it.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. So, me and this guy had been together since I was a senior in high school, and we went to the same college. Like, that’s one of the reasons I ended up going there. And so, we had been together for like six, seven years. We’ve been engaged for almost two years. And so, we were building this business together, like from day one, and his position was above mine, right? He had signed up first. He was a personal trainer and his position was above mine. And so, we’re like, “Well, we’re getting married.” Like, we know that we’ve been together forever. And so, we built the entire business under his account, right, like his Social Security number. And so, Brandon always had a crush on me. We’d come to these events and he’d be like, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry,” and all of his friends are like, “Nah, bro, you can’t marry her. That’s her fiancée right there next to her. You ain’t marrying her.” And he was like, “I know, but like a chick like that.” And probably like a year later, this guy, like two months before we were supposed to be married, actually runs off with a girl on Instagram. And he’s supposedly going to a network marketing conference in South Carolina or whatever it was. I booked the hotel, I booked the flight, I booked everything and it’s for like trainers. So, he was the only one going because he was a personal trainer and booked everything.


And then I had like probably 20,000 followers on Instagram at the time and she had blocked me and stuff but she posted a picture of them kissing at a restaurant. And so, the way I found out was people started DMing me the picture of my fiancé, who I’d been with for like six, seven years that I was supposed to marry in two months kissing the other girl, being like, “Isn’t this your fiancée? This looks like him.” And that’s how I found out. So, he got home and I threw the ring at him. I was done. I was like, “We ain’t married yet. Like, thank God it happened now.” You know what I mean? I don’t have to do anything like I’m gone. I’m out of here. So, I went. We lived in a house together at the time and we had just moved out of our old apartment. And so, I literally went back to our apartment and started squatting in that apartment. So, it’s 2 hours away. I went down, I went to Walmart. All I had in my bank account was like, I don’t know, $200. And he wouldn’t give me any of the money. He was like, “Well, if you stay or if you come back, I’ll give you money.” And so, all I had to my name was $200 on a debit card. So, I went to Walmart, bought a blow-up mattress, and went and squatted in my old apartment and I’m talking like I had a skillet. I bought a skillet and a blow-up mattress and some egg whites.


And I lived off of egg whites. And I’m squatting in this apartment, we go to the national event and I was like, “We can’t tell anyone because in network marketing, like, it’s all about how they’re feeling in the moment at the event and like getting everybody hyped, right? And if we talk about us breaking up, that’s all people are going to care to know about. It’s going to be drama.” So, then he shows up to the event with that chick. And what’s insane? The best part about this story is later that night, Brandon goes up to him and literally says to him, “Hey, man, I just want to tell you like Kaelin is so awesome, dude. I want to have a chick like that one day. Don’t mess it up. Don’t mess it up.” So, we get home from this event, I go single on Facebook. I’m squatting in this apartment. Brandon calls me out of nowhere and I don’t know him like he has my phone where he got it from somebody. I’m like, “Who’s calling me from Albuquerque, New Mexico?” And he’s like, “Hey, this is Brandon Poulin. You’re not going to remember me but like, what happened?” and he was the first person to ask me like, what happened? And so, we just started talking. We started FaceTiming. We’re both really into personal development. And so, I read The 5 Love Languages, which I know you know this book well, right?


Justin Donald: I do. I love it.


Kaelin Poulin: You know this book really well. And I read the book and I’m like, “Man, you got to read this book right now,” not even for relationship advice because I’ve been in a seven-year relationship. I wasn’t looking for that, right? I was like, “This guy’s fun to talk to.” That’s all I was thinking. I’m like, “You got to read this book for your team to know how people operate, like how they feel loved like this is great. This is like ammunition.” And so, he reads it, and then he uses the ammo against me, right? He’s like, “Which one are you”? And at that time, I was a gifter. I was a gifter because I didn’t have money so gifts were what was important to me like receiving those things meant more. Now, it’s quality time because that’s a harder resource to get for my husband. But he’s like, “Which one are you?” And I’m like, “I’m a grifter.” He finds out that my favorite thing is sugar cookies. He sends a bouquet of sugar cookies to this apartment that I’m squatting at. I literally answer the door and see this big bouquet. I read the card and it says, “You always tell me I know what to say, but it’s your language I wish to speak. See you soon. Brandon.” And I’ve already packed my whole car up, drove to Denver to be there for a week. That’s where he was at the time with the rest of his network marketing team staying there in a house, basically a frat house full of guys.


And I go to stay out there for a week and just be in a new place. Like, he can message me like, “Just come out here and work. We’ll do it together,” type of deal. And got out there, rolled up in the driveway. It’s 1 AM, get out of the car. He comes out of the front door, skinny jeans, no shirt, high tops, snap back-on tattoos. I’m like, “Who is this guy?” You know? And I get out of the car and he picks me up by the driveway, kisses me, and it’s like, it was going to happen sooner or later. Might as well have happened sooner. And like, from that moment, I was like sold on him. And then what’s funny is over that next week we’re doing calls together. We’re helping each other on calls. Like, from day one, we were building a business together. And even though network marketing is two separate businesses that we had, from day one, that was where me and Brandon connected. And so, I think that it’s funny, we still work together today, even in transition from LadyBoss to Enterprise CEO and advising businesses and founder-led companies now, it’s like we had the conversation, “Do we want to continue to work together? Do we want to do something separate?” We’re like, “No. This is how we connect. We love doing it together.” So, from day one, we’ve been doing that.


Justin Donald: Well, it’s fascinating to me that you had this experience where you’re one of the top salespeople in this entire network marketing company. You’re making $27,000 a month, and it goes to zero overnight because you don’t have control, right? He’s got control. And wow, what a brutal wake-up call and what a hard way to learn the lesson of kind of owning your income or owning your business, right?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. Brandon said the moment he fell in love with me was when he asked me what happened, and I told him and like he’s got all of it. He’s got the whole business. He’s got all the money. He’s not giving me any but I’m going to build it back bigger and better and better than I did before. And like blah, blah, and all this stuff, and he was like, “Dang, most chicks would be like eating bonbons right now, like crying and watching romcoms. And this chick is just like, “I’m going to go build it back and like build it myself and like, all this.” And I did. And over the next year, me and Brandon built that position and we built it together. We built that position back to the same income. And unfortunately, that company that we were in, it wasn’t like a magic ingredient type deal. It was just a shake, right, and just a protein shake, basically, meal replacement, and a TCPA lawsuit is what took that company under. So, when that company started going down, we were like, what are we going to do? Are we going to jump or are we going to go build something? And we’re like feel like we could build something. And we had spent countless, I mean, like countless hours every single night in a different living room, talking to mostly women who wanted to lose weight with a shake. Right?


And so, I was just like that’s the customer that I knew the most and I had been through a weight loss transformation myself. So, I was like this is a person I want to serve. I want to serve who I used to be, and let’s go start a business and do exactly that. So, people think LadyBoss was this huge rocket ship overnight success. I’m like, “No, I spent four years in living rooms with a customer.” That’s why it had that trajectory and like blew up like it did because I knew the customer better than anyone else.


Justin Donald: Yeah, there’s no doubt. And what a cool brand. So, you built LadyBoss into just this powerhouse company. You guys were doing just crazy revenue. I remember talking to you guys at one point about your ad spend and your ad spend a month was more than what most companies were doing in revenue a year. It’s just really incredible what you’ve been able to do there.


Kaelin Poulin: Over a million a month. I think we were spending like 100K a day, 75K a day. Crazy stuff.


Justin Donald: Yeah, that’s just fascinating. I love it. Now, it wasn’t always the big business we know today. So, we’re going to talk a little bit about what it was like having this business, scaling it, having an exit, also having algorithms mess things up, right? So, there’s a lot that happens and a lot that you can’t control in the online world. I mean, just the world of business in general but especially in online, if you’re relying on certain algorithms and certain ways of doing things because that’s always going to change just the way that business in general always changes. But in the beginning years, you guys were not doing well financially. You went from no money to a ton of money to no money to a ton of money and then back to no money again, right?


Kaelin Poulin: Right, exactly.


Justin Donald: And so, I remember talking to you off air and I just, “We got to capture this because this is so powerful.” And on your podcast, we talk about embarrassing moments but one of the most embarrassing moments that you’re sharing with me happened in a grocery store. Will you share that story?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. So, in that transition from that network marketing company, we were walking on the treadmills at a gym, the $10 a month gym where two people can come for $10 a month. That’s where we were at. Yeah, that’s all we could afford. And I had a permanent guest pass, basically. We’re walking on the treadmills and we’re like, “So, what are we going to do?” And I was like, “Oh, like there’s this guy that sells weight loss programs online. We should do that.” And so, we decide on it. We’re like, “Okay.” And so, right now we’re making no income, like we’re in the building process for like months and there’s no money. I have no money. He has no money because in network marketing, when you’re young, you spend it all and you pay it all to go to events and you do all that and they don’t teach you about taxes, and then all your money goes to that. And eventually, I ended up with nothing because I was young and dumb and didn’t know what I didn’t know basically. And so, we have nothing. I mean, we’re behind on rent, we’re behind on our car payments like it’s not good. And so, I go to the grocery store and I’m literally just trying to buy spinach and egg whites and almond milk and a couple other little things, like not a $400 grocery cart. I’m talking like $50, $40 type deal.


And I get to the checkout and I put everything up there, you know, like, Justin, you may not know but you get to the checkout, you know that like nervous feeling you get about this is before your bank was on your phone. You could check in, like make sure you got it in there. It was just kind of like Russian roulette at the checkout of like, is this card going to go through or not? And so, I’m up there and the ladies like bringing everything up and the total comes and I swiped my debit card, and my debit card doesn’t go through. And then like swipe it again and it doesn’t go through. And so, I’m literally standing there being like and I’m an I, right? So, fear of rejection is like the worst thing ever. I don’t know why the grocery, the cashier lady is so intimidating to me, but she always has been. I feel like I start sweating at the checkout and so the card doesn’t go through and I like literally just like, “Oh, I guess my card doesn’t work. I’ll come back later with a different card.” And I just, like, was so embarrassed. There’s a line of people behind me and I make up some excuse and hightail out of there. And I called Brandon as I’m like walking through the parking lot like, “My card just didn’t go through at the grocery store,” and I’m like crying at this point of how embarrassed I am. And I’m like, “I hate this. Like, we have to figure this out right now because I don’t ever want to feel like this ever again.”


Justin Donald: That is a powerful experience and heartbreaking in the moment but I’ll tell you what, it’s the pain and the discomfort that can create amazing action. And it sounds like it happened for you. It’s moments like this that have been some of my most defining moments in life, especially in business, and just saying, “No, it’s not going to be this way anymore. I vow to do it differently and it starts now.” So, I love that. And then you guys go on. So, walk us through what it was like scaling LadyBoss and for those that are listening and for those that are watching, like this is a household name. Like, this is a big-time business that you guys built that, I mean, almost everyone in the online space knew about it. So, walk us through some of that process of scaling, and then we can talk about the exit.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. I think, in the beginning, we were just trying to do it to be like, “Oh, you know, we’re young and laptop lifestyle was like the thing.” It’s like the words that everyone was spewing back then and we’re like, “That’s what we want, laptop lifestyle.” And so, we literally went through Russell Brunson’s course back in the day of like how to build a program and a product. We set out to Starbucks. Somebody showed us ClickFunnels. We’re like, “Okay. We’re going to do an online, something like a PDF or whatever. Who do we know that knows how to do this?” And this is a big thing here is like, who do you know that can teach you a skillset or get you the answers? We didn’t go to Google and try to figure things out. We found the person that was selling things online and found them and said, “Show us what you do. Like, show us all the software, show us the tech stack.” We know what a tech stack was back then, by the way. And he showed us ClickFunnels had just launched. And so, I start going through Russell’s course. We went to Lowe’s because we were broke. We bought the two big like pieces of wood that serve as a whiteboard because we can’t afford. Whiteboards are expensive, man, and we couldn’t afford that. So, I spent $20 getting like a six-foot thing that goes under laminate flooring from Lowe’s that serves as a dry-erase board. I bought two huge ones of those. We go through the course and start mapping out like Brandon’s ask me questions.


He’s like, “What was everything you needed during your weight loss journey? What were the things that you didn’t have? What were the things that you had to go a million different places so you can put it all into one thing? And so, on these whiteboards, we really just mapped out every single piece of information, education, and tools and resources that these women would need to do it. And I remember we’re filming in the gym, like all the tutorial workouts and stuff. I mean, his brother was a manager at the gym, so he’d let us in at like 11 p.m. at night after the gym close and we’d film until like 4 in the morning and we do that like every night for a month filming all this stuff. And then as we’re doing all that, we’re building this product, and I built the whole app myself. Like, I literally found an app builder online. I build the whole app myself. I put it all in. We’re doing all these hours, like literally working overnights and we launch this program and I’ll never forget it. Yolanda, shout out Yolanda, was our very first customer, $23. And I’m telling you what, that moment that Yolanda came through on MoonClerk, for all of you like old school OGs back before Stripe and stuff, but when she came through in MoonClerk that she had bought, it was like better than the first million that we did because it was like, “Oh my gosh, like someone bought like this can work.” It’s not a zero like this can work.


And so, I remember jumping up and down in the living room with Brandon and being like, “Oh my gosh, we might be able to do this thing.” And at that time, we couldn’t even afford. It was Christmas time. We couldn’t afford to drive home to see my family. We definitely couldn’t afford flights, so we were having to drive, but we couldn’t afford the gas to get us there. And so, when we launched that program, it literally gave us the gas money to be able to drive and see my family, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, is what that launch did. And then after that, when we were doing like, actually, we hadn’t got married because we didn’t have money for a wedding.


And so, after we launched, we started, we made our first 20k or whatever. We’re like, we’re going to get married on a beach in Puerto Rico in 90 days. And so, we went and got married there. As we’re leaving our wedding, I’m like, “Babe, we should go look at a condo on the beach here. We just got married.” And this is when he was a newlywed, he just wanted to make his wife happy. And he was like, “Sure, let’s do it.”


So, we go look at it. And I’m like, “Maybe we should move here. We don’t have kids yet. We have laptop lifestyle. We should just move here.” And so, we did. We went home, we sold everything that we owned, our cars, everything, like gave it away or sold it. And we had two suitcases each and our dog and moved to Puerto Rico. This is before the whole tax thing with Puerto Rico was the thing, so we didn’t even know. We lived there for almost a year and had no idea about the tax thing, like we were just doing it for fun.


And then there was a day that we were sitting there and we’re on our laptop and then go into the beach. When we come back, we’re like, “Do you want more than this?” Like, that was the question that we asked. Like, do we want more than this? It feels good to be retired at 25, but do I want more than this? Do you want more than this? Do you want to say yes to something bigger, more responsibility, more risks? But do you want to say yes to it? And that’s when we decided like, “Yeah, let’s move back. Let’s hire a team,” because it’s just the two of us and assistant that work as like customer support at the time. And so, we’re like, “Let’s move back. Let’s get an office. Let’s hire a team. Let’s do this thing.”


And I’ll never forget, like after we did, after we moved back and we started hiring people and we were getting an office and we were about to sign a lease on an office and I had a breakdown in the car because I was like, “What if it doesn’t work? What if we take on all this risk? What if we sign this lease, and then, it doesn’t work out and we end up right back where we were, not being able to afford our rent, our car payments, our grocery bill? What’s going to happen?” I literally just have this God thought, this download in that moment, like literally while sobbing my eyes out. That was like, what happens if you don’t do it? What happens to all these women if you don’t do it because you want to stay in your safe zone of security? What happens if you don’t do it? Who doesn’t get reached? And so, that was the moment that we were like, “Let’s sign it, let’s do it, and let’s build this thing.” And then, from there, like all of the scaling mistakes, that’s when the mistakes really started, Justin, was right then.


Justin Donald: Wow, that is an incredible story. I love that. And by the way, there’s a season of your life that I think is really important to share with people. You had us over for dinner one night. And by the way, you’re a great cook. In fact, I can’t figure out what you don’t do well, so you cooked this incredible meal.


Kaelin Poulin: Spreadsheets.


Justin Donald: Yeah, spreadsheets, there it is. You grilled, you had, like it was super healthy or super delicious, and you were telling us about– Brandon had brought it up, but he’s like, “Yeah, you guys don’t know how awesome my wife is, but she is a beast in the gym.” And you won this fitness, like weightlifting competition, right? Tell us more about that.


Kaelin Poulin: It wasn’t weightlifting, it was a figure competition. But back in the day, before…


Justin Donald: Bodybuilding, that’s what it was.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, yeah, bodybuilding. And I was 65 pounds, overweight. I was like all the things, like tired all the time, didn’t want to go out of bed, sad all the time, hated the way I looked and everything. And I had this experience with my grandma where my grandma makes the best snickerdoodle cookies in the world. And she makes 20 dozen at Christmas time every year. Legit, like she starts in November and then makes them all and starts freezing them and putting in the freezer in November and cooks as many as she can all the way up until Christmas. And that’s literally what we get at, like, that’s all I want as a gift from her every year.


And so, she made all these cookies and I was even like my 10th cookie. And my grandma reaches out, like smacks my hand and she’s like, “Do you really think that you need another cookie?” And I was like, “Oh,” Like I can not, like that was the moment for me that just like was the mindset shift because at first, I was super hurt and I was mad, I was angry, and I was like, all the things at her. And a couple of hours go by and I’m like, you know what? She’s right. I’ve been wanting to do, I’ve been trying, I’ve been wanting to do it, but this is the moment.


And so, I started Googling weight loss transformations. And after looking, I was like, “Man, if these women with four kids can do this, surely I can do this.” And so, I really just doubted and had to go to Dr. Google and figure everything out that I wanted to do, actually, like committed to doing it. And so, I literally took away things for myself, like I used to binge watch TV and I’d sit there and eat a whole tub of cookie dough. And I was like, I can only watch TV, I can only watch my show if I’m walking on the treadmill. And I’m not allowed to turn on the TV unless I’m walking on the treadmill. And then after that, I can watch whatever shows I want. But the first show to turn on the TV, the switch is the treadmill that turns on the TV.


And so, I just started doing things like that. I ended up losing 55 pounds in seven months, 50 pounds, something like that. And then after that, I was like, okay, I’d lost the weight, but I felt like I was skinny fat, you know what I mean? I just was a smaller version of myself but still the same, like lumps and bumps and muffin top. And I was like, “What’s the next thing I can do that challenges me?”


And so, I had this crazy idea, like, I’m going to do a bigger competition in 90 days. And if you guys know what that is, it’s like the muscular girls, not bodybuilding. It’s like a step down from bodybuilding, was not so masculine. Like you still look cute, you got full makeup, your bikini, whatever, but still muscle tone. And I was like, “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to push myself to do that.” Because if I could just step on stage, if I could have built enough confidence in myself and challenge myself that much, and I just step on stage with those girls, that would be a win. That would be a huge win after this transformation.


And so, I worked my frickin butt off for 90 days and went to my first show. I won my class and overall, the first show, which gave me a bid to Nationals, where you go to win your International Federation of Bodybuilding pro card, like the winner of that show, you become a professional figure competitor, right? And so, I win the class and the overall, and they’re like, “Okay, you won the bid to Nationals from the show.” Everyone’s like, “Don’t go, don’t do. It’ll be a waste of your time. It’s so political, like you’ll never win. I’ve been competing for 10 years and I’ve never won it and blah, blah, blah.” And I was like, “Well, somebody’s got to win. Might as well be me.” That was my mentality. Someone is going to win, it might as well be me. As someone who just lost 65 pounds, there’s no reason it should have been me, right? But that’s the belief that I had at that point because I just built that confidence.


And so, I go to that show, I end up winning my class there. Won the world record for the fastest IFBB pro card ever won. And then after that, I was like, “Ah, this is lame. I want to go help the woman that I used to be. I want to go help women get off the couch.” So, I literally just won it and basically retired all in the same day.


Justin Donald: Wow. Well, and it just is such a great testament to the powerful creator that you are, that you can show up wherever you need to show up. And your mindset is so strong that you can will into existence what you want to have happen. So, you’re seeing it in all these different areas of life. You see it in your will and desire on the sales side with direct sales. You see it in fitness, not just losing weight, but also gaining the muscle, winning this competition in the world record of time. And you see it with LadyBoss, you see it with your desire to build a life. And you know what, the family that you and Brandon have created, it’s really inspiring. And at such a young age, too. It’s so cool.


So, what happened with LadyBoss? What was it that made you want to sell this business? You ran it as like a lifestyle business, and then you built it up and you built a team. And you had huge ad spend and you had huge revenue. And you guys did, from what I understand, really well on the margins. So, what was next? What did you grow it to? And why sell it?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. So, from those beginning days with the $20 whiteboards I’m talking about, we grew it to over 750,000 customers. We did $200 million in totality. And I think when people ask me all the time, like what happened with LadyBoss, right? And so, I would say probably a year and a half before we exited the company, me and Brandon, we really just felt like that was pressing upon us that there was going to be a new season.


And we had one kid at the time. I was pregnant with our second. And I was really starting to see, and we talk about time with entrepreneurs, right? We had 150 employees. We have this huge business, and I was like about to have a second baby. And I was like, “What do I want in this?” It’s like hard enough with one. And it was like during COVID. So, I was stay-at-home mom and full time at LadyBoss at the same time with a one-and-a-half-year-old in my house.


Justin Donald: Oh, my goodness.


Kaelin Poulin: And I’m running meeting, she’s like on me in meetings, crawling all over me, and all this stuff. It was wild in my house. Meanwhile, Brandon’s locked up in his office in perfect silence. You know what I mean? And one day, I got frustrated with her over something. And after I did, I literally sat there and thought, like, is this what I want life to look like? Yes, it’s a different scenario and situation at that time. But I was like, is this what I want life to look like, where the meetings and the business are causing me to be frustrated with my children? Like, no.


And then after that kind of, like COVID ended stuff, I was just like, man, what are we building this business for if I can’t be present for my kids? If Brandon’s working 80 hours a week in the business at the time, he’s stressed to the max, all his responsibility, all his employees. I’m over here, like, I don’t get any time with you. Like, your business is number one. It’s a priority.


And so, we got real and had a real conversation. And I just said, like, “What are we? We built a business. We became entrepreneurs because we wanted time freedom, we wanted to make money so we could change our family tree, have a legacy, like all these. We want to be able to vacation and travel and do all the stuff.” And I’m like, “Yet we’ve done none of these things. We’ve done none of these things.” Like, yes, we made the money, right? So, we’ve done one.


But all the other things that we actually became, entrepreneurs do, like we don’t have those things. We don’t have it. I don’t have time with you. I don’t have time freedom. We’re basically employees to the business and it runs us. We don’t run the business. And so, this is like we’ll be coach all of our clients that we have in through strategy days and stuff, like, I’m always talking to him like, is your business running you or are you running the business?


And so, we had a real conversation around it and just said, like, “Well, then what do we want it to look like? What do we want life to look like?” And for us, it was like, “Okay, we’re in the season now. We are having two kids.” I want like two more, Justin. I want four. Brandon wants three. I’m like, I can just sneak it in. And on the fourth one, just sneak it, sneak past it. He won’t even notice, that type of thing. But I’m like…


Justin Donald: Why do I have a funny feeling that you are going to will it into existence, like everything else you’ve done in life?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. I just feel like that’s the magic number for me. I don’t know, maybe I want to get to three on the side. But I’m like, I want more out of family and more with my kids, and I want them to know me. I don’t want someone picking up my kid and taking them to school because I can’t. It’s different to say, like, “Okay, I’m choosing to do this.” Like, I legit can’t.


And we’re like, man, if we built it all to have these things and we’re not getting this from that, and also, in this season, I really felt like we are called to do something else, we’re called to transition from it. There’s just constant nagging of like, well, we got the Holy Spirit telling us it’s time for something new. There’s gonna be a season of change. There’s going to be a transition, like all of this. And I ignored and fought it for a long time until I was just like, I feel like I want a season of time freedom with my kids, and maybe this business is better off ran by someone else that wants to give it this type of full attention that I feel like I’m not the person for that anymore.


Justin Donald: Well, I commend you for making the move and making the decision where you really could move away from the thing that you’d worked so hard for. I mean, I think your reality, your experience is what happens to most entrepreneurs where they start a business because they want freedom, they want autonomy. And what ends up happening is the business that they think they own really owns them, and it owns their time and it owns their thoughts when they’re even not in the business. And so, it’s so refreshing to see that you guys were able to walk away. And it was kind of a special sale for you guys, too, because you sold it to Russell Brunson, who is the guy who you looked up to and learned from and got involved in his mastermind and…


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, it came full circle.


Justin Donald: His community. Yeah. So, I would love to hear any details that you’re willing to share on the exit, on like what that was like, how it unfolded. I mean, for most people, expectations don’t meet reality. They think it’s going to be a certain price, it ends up being a different price. Often there’s a renegotiation in the 11th hour. It doesn’t always happen. Nine times out of ten, it happens. Yours might be a little different because you’re dealing with it friendly, right? You’re not dealing with a true strategic or with a VC or private equity.


Kaelin Poulin: Well, I think, to start this off, you have to understand to get to this point, a lot of crap happened and along the way. That’s why it’s really important to have someone advising you through the exit process or I mean, it’s insane. And a year before or two years before we actually exited, we started the process of getting the CRM, getting all the things, everything lined up and buttoned up, and like all of it, right?


In maybe May, a year before we actually exited, we basically took the business to market, May or June. And then we get to the table. We have, I think it was something like 70 LOIs. Don’t call me on that, I’m terrible with numbers. I think it’s 70 LOIs signed, but I’m talking like the biggest brands in weight loss. I can’t say their names, but I’m talking like think of you’re in the shelf, the weight loss section of Walmart, every company that’s on those shelves, on this list. All right. Like big players looking at us, we have LOIs signed, like go through the whole process, the presentings, the meeting them, getting on Zooms, meeting them personally to see who’s the best fit to buy this business.


And in the middle of this happening, after all these LOIs are signed, all this is going on, the iOS 14 update happens. So, we literally go from spending 70k a day in ad spend to 14 grand a day overnight. Overnight. And so, obviously as any, like just as we would, if we’re looking out of business, everybody pulls the reins. It’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is a huge change. We have to see how this shakes out. We have to see what happens here. And we’re like, “Oh, my God.” Like, literally, I’m still sick thinking about it because timing, right? We talk about timing all the time. It’s like we’re just taking the market. A year earlier, this wouldn’t have been a problem. But it’s not that way, like you got to be two years in advance for a good exit.


So, this all happens. We’re like, “Okay, we’ll line everything up. We’ll get it all fixed. We’ll figure it all out and we’ll take it back to market in the spring.” And so, as we do that, we go back to market in the spring, things really, just until about now, things still aren’t the same that they were. So, you got to know when you’re in great timing and how something can change overnight, like sell it when it’s way up. Don’t wait for the market to change on you. If you’re thinking about it, start the process, okay, because I’m a testament that timing matters and…


Justin Donald: And this is happening to a lot of people who, like in 2022 is a banner year. 2021 was a banner year until 2022. And so, now, we’re in 2023. And I’ll tell you what, it is a whole different layout of what people are willing to pay, what businesses are worth if people even buy them. I mean, I was getting some– I mean, I’ve had mentors tell me if you start getting crazy numbers, you just sell your business. Whatever, it just gets so ridiculous that you just have to walk away, then you do it. And you can make the argument that maybe I could have or should have done so last year because the numbers were outrageous. I would have never even paid close to what I was getting in offers for a bunch of different assets that we own. But now, reality has set in. We’re in a new season and life is different, right?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. If you find yourself going like, whoa, like that, like, that’s the moment.


Justin Donald: Yep. That’s right.


Kaelin Poulin: Because it goes downhill from there. Or I mean, it could continue to grow, but man, it’s like that small pin on the target and you got to know when you’re getting close to that pin because, man, the things, they don’t stay the same, especially in growth like that. So, we take it back to market in the spring. We’re back with LOIs. We’re on these meetings. We’re going through the sale process, like we’re getting close to the table with, I think, three of them and all A players again.


And the thing was, like, I knew I was being called to do something more and I wanted to keep my following. And all these people wanted me for five years. You guys, I’m like, if I’m going to stay and do this for five years, I would keep it myself. I would keep it. Like I could see a year, I even offered like, I’ll replace me as the attractive character. I will help you guys hire the person, I will train the person, I will do all the things. But five years of me, I’m not doing that. That’s now past this window of my vision of like having two more kids. Now, I’m doing this with four kids and I’m still the face of the brand.


And so, that’s where we are, like missing with all of these people. And Russell had found out. Brandon had a conversation with him in the side or whatever, that we were in the sale process. And I guess, he started mulling on that, and one day, hit up Brandon, was like, “Hey, can we talk about this? You guys on the business? I might be interested.” And we’re just like, “What?”


And so, through talks with him, I was like, “Listen, I don’t want to be in for five years. I’ll consult, I’ll help you guys, I’ll advise, I’ll help train the person. I’ll do whatever it takes, like whatever you want to do in this business.” Because at the time, I did not know. I thought it was talks about it being a coaching certification program for like health coaches, right? And I’m like, “I’ll do whatever you want, but I don’t want to have a job for the next five years and have a new boss. And plus, I’m the worst employee ever, you don’t want me.”


And so, in talks for that, he was like, “Oh no, that’s fine. I don’t want that either.” And I’m like, “I want to keep my social pages.” And he’s like, “That’s fine. Do that. If you want to keep them, sure, but we get the email list and we get all this other stuff in YouTube.” And I’m like, “Yeah, perfect.”


So, it literally was just like a divine alignment of a vision he saw for LadyBoss and me wanting to move in a different direction and not have to be on for five years. And so, that’s why it was like when things weren’t lining up, we literally sat down, had the conversation, like, “What would you walk away from the business for? Would you walk away? If all these people are not willing to not have you for five years, what would you do?” And I was just like, I think I would just walk away and let it be what it is because I’m not willing to do that. It’s a boundary that I set for myself of like I’m not willing to do that. And if that’s the criteria for it happening, I’m not willing to do that.


And of course, Brandon, who you know his brain very well, he’s very much like, “What do you mean? You’re not willing to do that?” I’m like, “There’s not a check you could hand me for five years of my life. I don’t care what it is. It could be $500 million, I would say no, because I don’t need it.” Our passive income at the time is paying for all of our lifestyle expense. I’m like, I am not economically motivated. I don’t need a check to make me feel good. Like that’s not it. I’m willing to walk away from it because I’m not willing to give up the things that I want from life in this transition. So, what’s the exit for if you don’t like what you see on the other side? So, that’s basically how it happened.


Justin Donald: That’s awesome. Well, it’s the classic earnout, right, where they want to buy your company, but they want you to keep running that company and you’ll see it anywhere from two to five years. It’s pretty standard. So, nice job recognizing what you did and didn’t want and being able to move towards that. And you guys still did great. You had an eight-figure exit and you didn’t have any burnout.


Kaelin Poulin: I guess you could say I willed it into existence, Justin.


Justin Donald: There it is. I love it. And so, what’s cool is you guys didn’t even take that much time. You took some time, you bought time back. I know you have your time back, which is cool. And I know Brandon is hungry and eager, but you guys have now started another business. And I’d love for you to, as we’re wrapping things up here, just share a little bit about that because you’re doing great things in the world of helping entrepreneurs grow and scale and exit because you’ve been through it all now, So, you’re great at being able to guide and help and coach.


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah, well, it’s funny because Brandon, I always knew, like he was going to advise businesses or consult or something like that, like coach businesses and entrepreneurs. And I always knew he’s going to be investing in all the stuff, like that is very simple. If you know my husband at all, like I just knew that’s what he was going to do, probably before he knew he was going to do it. But I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.


And what’s funny is over the eight years that we had LadyBoss, like I was the face of the weight loss brand, like I was teaching weight loss, talking about weight loss, all those things. That’s not what I’m gifted at. That’s not my actual gifts of like, I remember being four years old seeing a McDonald’s billboard, like marketing lens in my brain all the time, being like, I see why they said that, I see why that’s the offer, I see how that’s how people get to McDonald’s, I see why they asked Supersize Me. Like my brain has always worked in marketing and sales.


And so, LadyBoss was great because I’m a great marketer and I’m a great salesperson. And so, I always felt like I love what I do and I love the transformations and I love changing women’s lives. But I was never actually able to operate in my own gift of like teaching what I love and what my gifting actually is.


So, when Brandon decided like, “Yeah, that’s all I’m going to do.” I’m like, “I knew you were, like, I already knew.” I was like, I could see this being awesome for me, for us to do together because it’s like now I can coach and teach and help people understand. Like, here’s how I think about sales, here’s how I think about this offer, here’s how I position this thing. Like actually get to use my gifting, it’s my favorite thing.


So, right now, we work with seven or eight-figure founder-led companies and we advise them and invest them. We do strategy days. We have annual clients. It’s been so much fun because it’s like me and Brandon, you know us very well, but I am like marketing and sales, Brandon is like operations and optimization and numbers and data. And we’re so totally different that it really brings a cool experience of what we get to do now where I get to bring my skill set in on a business, he gets to bring his skill set in on a business at the same time and literally do like what we did at LadyBoss, that dynamic that made us so powerful and helped another business.


So, be above the business for someone else and be able to say, oh, don’t do that. Like we did that, that we destroyed everything. Oh, like you don’t need to make it that complex. We need to simplify these things, or oh, this is how I did this or this is how I would write this webinar and this is how I would sell it. And Brandon could say, “Well, this is how you hire, this is how you recruit, this is way the operating system that you need to put into the business and the scorecards and everything you need.” So, it’s really cool we get to bring that same dynamic to other businesses and it’s been like the most fun I’ve ever had.


Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. Well, you guys are the perfect complement to each other. You’re the best one-two punch out there. So, I hope anyone that is an entrepreneur that is looking to learn more and figure out how to do all the things you did, but do it easier, faster, better with less headaches and heartaches along the way, to reach out. I’ve just so thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Where can our audience learn more about you and about your new business for anyone that is in the world of entrepreneurship that just needs a little bit of a helping hand?


Kaelin Poulin: Yeah. So, we have a podcast called Big Business Mistakes. It’s awesome. I had Justin on there. He gave us all his big mistakes. So, if you want to listen to his, it’s a great one with full of gold nuggets. So, we love doing that podcast. And our goal is just to highlight like what are mistakes that we’ve made as you, Justin, as a super successful entrepreneur and us and our scaling to $200 million total revenue business, like learn from our mistakes so you don’t have to make them. So, you don’t have to fall in the same trap so you can literally collapse time. And then,, that’s where if you’re interested in strategy days and stuff like that, so we do it, but those are so fun. But I love doing the podcast. It’s amazing to dig in on what is it that you messed up so no one else has to mess it up.


Justin Donald: I love it. Well, you are a great podcast host. And I love the show. I love what you’re doing, I love the people you’re bringing on, and I love just the mentorship and guidance you’ve given so many entrepreneurs. You’ve got the perfect resume and perfect background for it.


Kaelin Poulin: Thank you, Justin.


Justin Donald: So, just incredible. Yeah. And I love ending every episode asking my audience a question. And that question is always geared around financial freedom. So, the question is, what is the one thing that’s holding you back from financial freedom that you learned in this episode today from Kaelin that you can use to conquer this milestone in your life? I’d love to hear about it. Send us an email so we can help support you. Thanks for tuning in to the Lifestyle Investor and we will catch you next week.


Kaelin Poulin: Bye.

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