Serving the Underserved: A Conversation with Kedma Ough

‘I found a love in helping people through the struggle.’

Kedma Ough is an inventor, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a champion for small businesses, helping them find grants and funding resources.

‘Adversity leads to character, but it doesn’t have to lead to suffering.’

Kedma talks about how she found her purpose in helping the underprivileged and why she decided to serve the underserved. We touch on her major challenges and the strategies she’s used to overcome them to be successful in serving the underprivileged communities.

– Letting go of your pride and ego

– How to bypass innovation-stifling processes at institutions

– Creating tribes

– Choosing confidence over arrogance

– How vulnerability builds trust

Get in touch with Kedma here:

Personal website: https://kedmaough.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kedmaough/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kedmaough

John: Thank you for listening to Local SEO Today. Don’t forget to subscribe and share this episode. Joining me today is Kedma Ough, she is an inventor, author, speaker and entrepreneur. On top of that she’s a champion for small businesses, helping them find grants and funding resources. Thanks for being on the show today to Kedma. 

Kedma: Thank you so much. It’s always an honor. Thank you. 

John: Well, I’m excited to learn a little bit about your journey, how you started and what you’re doing today. So, maybe take a step back and maybe share with the listeners how you got going with this venture of yours.

Kedma: Well, I have two origin stories. I have the difficult one, and I have the one I share from how I came from my career. My Why, is really related to when I was younger. I always wear a superhero cape. So, if you’re ever out and about or you keep me in, you’re gonna see me as the crazy speaker who wears a cape but I wear that cape for two reasons, one to represent that I escaped a very difficult situation. I was actually in hiding for five years. So, my villain was real. It’s not pretend, and it’s not in the movies. And the second reason I wear the cape is so that I can represent and be an advocate for people who are going through struggle. It doesn’t have to be the kind of struggle I did but to know that someone is out there that has your back, sometimes it’s all you need. From my career perspective, I’m a fifth generation entrepreneur. So really, when we think about funding, because I spend my life in funding. The reason I am so passionate is because in 2001, I had to file bankruptcy and I didn’t file bankruptcy because I wasn’t prudent with finances. I filed bankruptcy because I had to leave a difficult relationship. I say…I like to say that if you don’t learn your lessons, they repeat themselves. So, I had a repeated lesson and I found myself sitting in Tucson, Arizona, literally on a curb. It was raining and I just filed bankruptcy and I was sobbing my eyes out. And I thought to myself, “Why me. I have a master’s in business. I know financing.” And I said, “Why me? Why me?” And that moment was very humbling. I went back to my apartment two weeks later. I got a little credit card from Capital One for $200, and I thought why would the credit card companies give me $200?. I just filed bankruptcy. This doesn’t make sense to me. But it was at that moment that I had an epiphany because when I was a little girl, I would play the game monopoly. I’m sure you’ve played Monopoly so, you know, when you play Monopoly, you could be totally broke, no money, everything has been mortgaged. But if you can just get past go, the bank is gonna give you $200. And that was the moment I said, “Oh my god, the universe just played me back in the game.” And that’s how I reverse engineered funding. I went on a 15 year journey to uncover every fund and every grant and every resource to people who had gone through my trauma and reverse engineered how to find funds. And now I spend my life helping others. 

John: That’s amazing. I love that story. Can you…I know it’s difficult. Can you share with us what you meant by like, five years of being locked up? 

Kedma: Oh, God, well…So, what I tell people is, you know, sometimes when we step into life, you know, we always want that fairy tale, right? But I’d like to say I stepped into a horror film. And when you’re in the horror film, you don’t really have much to escape. And so, that’s where my journey began, you know, as young as age seven I would begin praying to God for help, to remove myself from a situation. And as a young child, you can’t just step away, you don’t have that power, you don’t have that knowledge, you don’t have that intellect. So, you do what a seven year old does, you just start praying for someone to come save you, right? And so I would pray every week and I would pray month after month, and then I would switch it from God to Prince and sometimes I’d go from Prince to Princess. And then, I realized one day that nobody was coming and that’s a very hard place to be as a kid. So, I began to use my imagination, and I began to imagine what the world was like, on the inside. And it’s probably why I’m so imaginative now. It’s why I worked so well with inventors. And so I stayed in that experience till 18 and at the age of 18, I entered into a community college and my life changed forever. It was and I’ll tell you…It was an evening class and I was sitting there trying to better my life and I received a 911 page from my therapist, Judy. And she never pages me and I remember literally grabbing my books and running out of the college into this freezing cold air. It was in New York, it was wintertime, it was pitch black and I’m at a parking lot and I run to a payphone. So, for anyone listening, you know, we had payphones back then, right? So, we didn’t have a cell phone. I didn’t have a cell phone and I put the change in there and I called her and I said, “Judy, why did you page me? And she said these words that to this day haunt me she said, “He is on the way to this college and if he finds you he’s going to kill you.” And that was my villain, that was the person who was constantly, you know, in the back of my mind, I was in fear of. And I hung up the phone, I went back to the parking lot and I was too late. He was already there pacing back and forth, and I went into shock and if you don’t know what shock feels like, it feels like you can’t do anything. You are literally…You can’t move, right? And my legs were stuck and I tried to scream. Nothing. And the only thing that saved me is…I remember the feeling of this voice in the back of my head that said, “Kedma, you have to run.” And I can’t run. It was…If I did it, he would have seen me so here I am in the parking lot ducking and I’m going from car to car to car. Went to my car, opened the car door, took my books, retraced my step, went back to the payphone to call for help and literally that would be the last time I would see him so I went homeless overnight. A group of friends found me my first haven which was a basement apartment. You had to go down 15 stairs. It was an illegal apartment infested with cockroaches and ants, and I would live there for five years and when I say five years in hiding that means five years that people did not know where I was. When I applied for my first job, my employer Patricia said, “We know you’re in hiding. We’re gonna keep your identity a secret.” And the thing that changed my life forever was I went back to that school, and I wrote a letter about what happened and two weeks later they asked me to come and meet with the financial committee. And I remember standing there with about 15 strangers saying, “Listen, I’ve lost everything, my home, my family, my identity and the only thing I have left to live for was an opportunity for an education. So, this is a moment I’m about to tell you that changed my life. They asked me to go to the secretary’s office, and there I asked for a piece of paper and pen and on that piece of paper and pen I wrote a letter to God, the same God that had never shown up every day, every week, every month and I said to God, “I have nothing left now. You have taken everything away. Everything. However, if you give me an opportunity to get an education, I will spend the rest of my life using my knowledge to open doors to every single person I meet.” And two hours later I was summoned back in. This woman stood up and said, “ Kedma, I’d love to shake your hand for the woman you are and tell you that this college is gonna give you a full scholarship.” And that sealed my fate. So, for the last 30 years I have been honoring that contract every single day and in 2019 my book came out Target Funding. If you ever get my book you will see on the front page, my dedication to the college for believing in a girl with nothing that she could become someone. So, that’s my story. 

John: That’s amazing. I love the fact that you’re so vulnerable and able to open up, right? Having gone through what you’ve gone through. I don’t think a lot of people understand when faced with adversity. You can either, you know, fold, you can give up, or you figure out a way to, you know, pick yourself up, surround yourself with good people and move forward, stay positive, right? And I love that story, and I look at my parents because I am a fourth child of an immigrant family from Vietnam, and my parents left the war, and when you’re in a war and you sacrifice everything that you have, livelihood. And they come to a new country, new culture, new language, with absolutely zero. That’s exactly how, you know, a lot of these people in different parts of the world are going through and until you live it, or you know someone that lives it, you have no idea how their perspective is, and so I’ve learned so much from my parents, right? Struggles that they’ve gone through and I’ve kind of gone through it in a small little way but I lived in Canada. What more can I ask for? You live in the US. You’re in a culture and of, you know, dream. People are dreaming to be in a Western society for you to then make something out of it, to make an impact, to help others. I admire people like you. Thank you for sharing that story. Thank you. 

Kedma: Yeah. And it’s not easy. I will tell you, for anyone who’s gone through trauma, it’s never easy, but every time you share your story, you may be helping someone listening. And so, that’s why I say it. It’s really to be a conduit and say, “Okay, you know what? Whatever you’re going through, there’s someone out there that can maybe help.” 

John: So, this 30 year journey of…Let’s talk a little bit about that. So, you went to school…

Kedma: Went to school, I got my…I did my community college. And then I did my undergrad with Hofstra and then I did my graduate work, I got my MBA, Troy State and fell in love with serving small businesses. And so my 30…If you look at my resume, my 30 year journey has very clear threads, one consistently serving underserved populations. I have served the African- American community, the Native American community, the Asian community, the disabled, the LGBTQ. You can pick any culture that has been underserved and I will show you exactly where I was there to support them. And the second is really small businesses, which is classified in the US as 500 employees or less. And I have just found a love in helping people through the struggle but not in the mental health perspective but in the finance. I feel like, if I can help them through the finance, they can get the other stuff. So, a lot of times they’ll come to me, and they’ll start talking to me about their prompts. I say, “You know, I’m a terrible therapist. Terrible. I’ll give you five minutes to tell me about what’s going on and then I’ll transfer you to someone who’s qualified. But we’re gonna talk about money.” And I don’t say that for lack of empathy. But I say that because I want to resolve the problem they’re going through. 

John: And I think the root cause is typically money, right? Because people own a business for different reasons. Yes, there’s that why, purpose. You’re trying to serve a community but if they cannot even serve themselves, they can’t support themselves, they can’t even take the bare necessity of shelter and food. They have to uncover like, why are they doing this? First, you gotta take care of your home base. Once that’s taken care of, then you can do other things to amplify your message. I love the fact that you’re talking about this because that’s why you’re on the show. We resonate. 

Kedma: Yes, we resonate and, you know, the reality is that you and I have both had, you know, different but struggle. And I don’t get joy by watching someone struggle, I don’t get joy about that. Now we should, you know, adversity leads to character but it doesn’t have to lead to suffering. Especially, if I’m watching someone suffer. So, that’s my joy, you know, I do it because I love it. And I happen to be good at what I do. 

John: Amazing. So, I know you have been doing this for many, many years. You’ve now written a book, you have your own company and you speak. Out of all those different aspects, what do you find joy, the most out of it all?

Kedma: I’m just reading something that I keep here. It says, “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to achieve it.” So, I keep that here so I can be very grounded as I respond here. If I had…I mean, I love all of it, or else I wouldn’t do it. But when I’m on stage, I always say I’ve never found a stage I didn’t fall in love with. When I’m on stage, I can move people to reset how they see the world and in fact, I just hired my TEDx coach. So, in 2022 I’ll do my first TEDx. Yeah. So, that really allows me to have a broad connection with people and to have a voice and to communicate in a different way. So, I do a lot of speaking there. The other thing I do a lot of is education. So, when someone says I want to get money, I want to get grants, I want to get funds. I said, “Listen, you could hire me, but for 25 bucks, buy my book. There’s 15 years of knowledge there. Just buy my book for 25 bucks and then if you want to work with me. Work with me.” I kind of tried to get them out being paying like, you don’t have to pay me. Here’s 25, I’m giving you my secrets, right? What usually happens though, is they buy the 25 but they go, “Oh my God, I still need to talk to her.” Right? So, I love education. I love education. And the third thing I love is I love solving people’s problems so…And to me I do choose financing and the biggest problem is I’ve never met someone who’s come into my office and says, “I have $5 million, and I need more money in the next 10 years.” You know what they say? “I have no money, and I need you to solve it in 24 hours.” Right? So, I get a dopamine hit from saying, “Okay, we’re back in the war because that’s what it is. We’re back in the game and can I help step in and support them and solve the problem? Sometimes, I can. Sometimes, I can’t but I fight to the, you know, to the end, to try to support them. 

John: That’s amazing. I love hearing that there are advocates. There are people that want to help. The challenge is a lot of these people who are in business think they can solve everything themselves and they don’t reach out. That’s the hardest thing because they’re so close to dire needs and yet they don’t reach out for support. No one knows what they’re going through, right? But there is a group, there’s communities, there’s people that are willing to help yet they don’t even know if they want to support them, right? Like, my biggest, you know, thing about business ownership is, “Yes, it’s lonely.” A lot of people do it on their own thinking. They can cure the world and solve the problems of everyone else but there’s a lot of learning to be had to be a business owner like, there’s a lot of struggle, a lot of frustration, a lot of failures and it’s how you overcome it, really. How do you pick yourself up to move ahead? And there are support systems that are people that have gone through your same exact struggles but you as a business owner, you feel like you’re stuck, right? Well, how do you uncover that and let people know because I know you’re speaking but speaking only gets you go so far like, not…

Kedma: Exactly. So, I’m gonna give you the best advice I give my clients and here’s what I tell everyone. To become an expert in most fields. They say on average you should have 10,000 hours under your belt to become an expert, right? I’ve worked with 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners so, I took 10,000 hours to a whole different level and what I will tell you having worked with over 10,000 business owners…This is the toughest thing I’m about to tell you that that anyone listening should pay attention, your pride and your ego does not serve you in business. We often think that what we’re thinking is right. It’s not. It’s sometimes not right. It’s sometimes wrong and sometimes it’s coming from our ego like, we shouldn’t ask for help. We should know the answer, what else are they gonna know that I don’t know. That is ego and pride speaking. So, what I try to do is I always come into an environment and say, “I know nothing.” That’s what I say when I need help. I go to help and I say, “I know nothing, now teach me what I need to know because I am so clear that I don’t want ego to lead me.” Right? And part of that is culture, part of that is our upbringing, part of that is our gender but what it does is it stifles us to being stuck. Being stuck is in our brain, right? So, this is what I tell everyone. I want them to have the three minute rule. Whenever you feel stuck, you got three minutes to make a decision. I don’t care what the decision is. I’m gonna give you three minutes that could be a text to me, that could be a note on a blog, that could be a phone call to you but they have three minutes because that’s going to get their brain unstuck.

John: That’s amazing. I look at what you have accomplished and the amount of people that you reached out to and work with and that’s what experience is about, right? People can read it and watch it and actually think they know it but until you actually live it. You’ve actually helped make an impact with x amount of people. Experience supersedes everything and I’m in a different stage of my life as well. Like, I’ve worked for 15 plus years but I’ve worked with thousands of business owners so working with x amount of people and business owners and gone through all their challenges, their different profiles, their niches and understanding customers. I mean, we get bombarded with different situations and you’re trying to solve everyone’s problem. We’re like counselors.

Kedma: We are. 

John: But as long as you take a step back and have to really look at their current state, their situation. Really understand what they’re ultimately going through and usually it’s a mental state, right? It’s the mindset shift and they have to be clear in intent, focus and not be so in the grind. People are so in it, not knowing all you have to do is take a step back a little. 

Kedma: Exactly! 

John: Right? Yeah. And, you know, this is why mentors, coaches and all these other great, you know, people if you actually take a look at why they made such a huge impact was…They weren’t knowing as much as you do as an expert. They just took a different perspective, looking at the bigger picture, right? Looking at forecasting on the next 5, 10, 20 years as opposed to the micro level of the hour, minute that you look at. The more you actually take a step back and, you know, for me I’ve been very, very fortunate to work with great business owners that were generationally more…Has much more wisdom than I’ve ever had, right? Sixty, seventy years old and they just teach me life lessons that I would be, you know, paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars but that’s what wisdom is all about. You get so much from talking to people way more experienced living life than you’ve ever lived. 

Kedma: I love it. Yeah. One of the things that I heard you say was this idea of advocacy and people always say, what does that mean? You know, how does one resume? I just want to tell you a quick story. Of course, all my stories are my life, but it’s a story. So, about 15 years ago, I’m a consultant for a lot of agencies, including the Veterans Administration. So, anybody who has served, a lot of times they are going to look at maybe self employment, especially if they are service disabled, a disability, you know, PTSD is very prominent. So, I was given this case for this amazing veteran who wanted to start his own business and I did what I normally do. I did a feasibility, I did a business plan and I recommended that the agency move forward with funding because there are actual grants set aside. In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I can count on one hand twice that this has happened, the agency denied him. Now, in cases like this, when an agency denies, typically a consultant is going to say, “Listen, I did my best. I was hired for this time. We did this time and the agency denied you, especially the Veterans Administration and we’re gonna part ways. The moment that happened, I called up the client and I said, “Hi, I’m going to represent you pro bono as your new consultant and we are gonna win this case. I worked that case for seven years, I gave birth to two kids. And seven years later, we won the case and he received a $70,000 grant. He said to me seven years later, “Why did you do this?” Why did you wait so long? I mean, I can’t even believe you’re still here.” And I said, “Look, there’s two ways to see the world. One is, you either are part of the problem, or you are not going to be part of the problem. But therefore, you’re part of the problem.” Had I not stepped in, had I stepped away, I was no better than the Veterans Administration. And sometimes you have to do the right thing even if there’s no money around. That to me is the true essence of an advocate, someone who’s willing to step in and do whatever it takes for the purpose of the situation, to make things right. 

John: That’s amazing. I love that story. And this is what life is about, right? Like, if you’re able to give support, help in any way, it can be financial or non-financial, but you’re there for people is what matters. That’s what relationships are built upon. That’s what life is built upon. That’s what people want, in every aspect in every world, right? Every place in the world. It’s the connection, it’s the happiness, the joy, right? And if you’re able to just make a small difference, or a dent in someone’s life, that’s impacted in such a huge way that they’re gonna remember you no matter where they’re at. It’s like, “Yes, I helped.” And that’s all you can do, right? I love that. So, over the last couple years…I’m just going to pivot a little bit and ask you some of the challenges, or some of the mistakes that you kind of have endured while this journey of yours unfolded. Can you share with some of the listeners about like, how you overcame them? What were some of the biggest barriers? 

Kedma: You know, so much of my challenges happened at such an early age. I’ve learned to sort of master through things that I made, maybe a challenge for others but not for myself. I think one of the challenges is just disciplining your mind, being very clear on what your direction is and not swaying from that. I would say, if I think about my career because you know, I spent 15 years working for the Small Business Administration. So, I worked for the government. I spent time working at the University. In both cases, those are government bodies, so to speak, that are very hard to move. You think about the idea of innovation, small businesses want innovation, entrepreneurs want innovation and a lot of times these institutions stifle innovation, right? They keep you and it’s not to say that it’s all bodies of government or universities but the trajectory to get to innovation like, “Hey, I have this great idea.” Oh, did you know there’s seven committees you have to go through before that idea’s actually seen? And by the time you get to the seventh committee, the idea you thought of no longer is there, the trend is gone, right? So, here’s what I had to do. I had to ask for forgiveness, not permission. It’s a very hard position to be because what that tells anyone who’s right now listening, is I had to do a lot of ballsy things and then hope that they weren’t going to fire me, or let me go, or there was not going to be a contract but I had to be so solid at what I was doing. And that’s what I would do. I would create programs, or projects or step into trends that they have not thought about yet. That’s the problem with visionaries. With a visionary, you have this vision, and you have to wait for someone to realize it. Which may be two years, three years, four years. So, I would say that that was one of the challenges was to give myself permission to step into situations where people didn’t see it yet, and maybe take a risk of it, you know, going against me. That was a big challenge. And then the other challenge is ensuring that I was surrounded with the right people. There’s a saying that you are the five people you surround yourself with. I actually do not agree with that. I believe you’re the five tribes you surround yourself with because if there’s only five people, one passes on. That’s not good numbers for you, you’re now down to four people. But if you have five tribes and something happens, you still have those tribes. So, the challenge was aligning myself with the right tribes that had my values, that were doing the right thing. And that could help cultivate what I want, which ultimately is to solve problems in the universe. 

John: That’s amazing. And I think as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, it’s a lot easier to find tribes versus when you’re maybe starting a business, or starting a job. Let’s say you’re finished with college, university, you only hang out with your people, which is the right group of people that are maybe your, you know, resident dorm room people or, you know, classmates or whatever. When you grow, evolve, live life a little bit longer, right? Where you have experience,  real life experience. And you worked in multiple jobs, you join a couple hobby groups and different, you know, maybe you’re religious and you go to church. You go to different things. That’s what Kedma is talking about. She’s talking about, like communities, which is large groups and it’s a lot easier to be a part of communities today because of technology, right? And there’s a lot of people that resonate with some of the values that you partake in, right? Like, if you have very strong interests, if you are a thought leader or you are wanting to be a part of a mastermind group or you want to look for grants or you want to stay with a lot of small business owners. There are groups out there that will support you and there are people that are going through what you’re going through and they’re great people. But the challenge is you need to actually own up to it and take action and do something And a lot of people don’t do that. And that’s the biggest, you know, I would say the challenge for business owners are…They feel a need to do everything themselves, and they don’t know how to reach out, where to reach out. 

Kedma: And one other challenge that just came up and it’s so clear for me. I want everyone to know this. I had to make a concerted effort to not compete with the Jones of the world or the Cohens of the world, in my case. And you hear all this hype. “Oh, so and so you know, they got into a business and now they’re making 7 million. Oh, so and so…” And you know, what  if you really study millionaires, if you really study people who have wealth, you know, they are methodical, they are conservative. I don’t have…I don’t go out and buy the best car. I have a XC90 Volvo, which I love. It’s probably six years old. I don’t need to buy the fancy car. I have a beautiful home. It’s not the best home in the community but it’s in the best community, right? I don’t need to show off and I make this…You’re gonna laugh. I wear gorgeous dresses. They’re all from Amazon. I make a goal. I don’t spend more than 20 bucks on a dress. People laugh at me. They’re like you can afford. You can afford to buy a dress for $50. I don’t want to. I don’t need to. And so we have to, you know, the challenge is when we’re in a society that’s about buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. Can you stay stringent and say I am good with what I have. Because I have no debt. I have wealth. I have an office. I own…I have two homes I own and I don’t need to get the fancy watch. So, I just want to make sure we’re cool, you know, that I communicate that that’s a challenge because society pushes us in that direction. And you have to ask, “Do you want to stay grounded?” 

John: And I think different cultures, different countries and the people that you surround yourself with as well, right? Will make a big difference. And if you are grounded and we have different perspectives. We have similar perspectives but business owners, they may be chasing a lot. As much as it would be nice to be the thought leader and be, you know, dominating and be the best expert and, you know, having everyone flock at you. It’s okay to not be that and be happy and it’s okay to run a great business and not just focus on, you know, hitting all these targets, sales targeted revenue and making millions of dollars if you’re content with a hundred thousand dollars, that’s fine. Everyone’s different and you just need to figure out what’s good for you and don’t chase what other people have or what they want and what they say is great and makes them happy. Maybe they live in a great home and they drive a nice car but they’re miserable, they’re in debt and they have stress outside like, there’s so much going on that you have no idea what is going on in their lives. So, stop comparing, right? I look at…Because I am always in perspective and I talk to so many people that I love the fact that just being grounded and being okay with where you are in your situation and everyone takes their time. You take your own time. It’s not a race, slow down, live presently, enjoy life.

Kedma: It’s so true. Yeah. Every year my mother says to me, “What do you want for your birthday?” I say, “I have everything. She says, “How do you have everything? Nobody has everything.” I said, “But I do. I don’t need anything.” And it’s coming from that place of grounding that whatever I need, I have already. 

John: I always say, “I think I want to spend more time with more people that I love and resonate with.” That’s exactly all I asked for. I got my food, I got my shelter and I got my people. That’s it, that’s all you need because at the end of the day my 80 year old business owner friends they’re the ones who give me so much wisdom. It’s like life. What do you want and dictate in terms of how you position yourself in terms of your life will resonate with others, right? And I see how happy they are. That’s what you want in life. You don’t care about the nice car, the nice dress,  the nice watch. No one will remember that. I would talk about trips, I would talk about…

Kedma: I love trips.

John: Right? Experiences and relationships are what drives me.

Kedma: Right! I love trips  and we’ve been through Asia, Cambodia, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines. I mean I travel. I’m a travel addict. I love traveling.

John: So, during this pandemic I bought four books on bucket list top 500 places and for me it’s like, my five year goals are, you know, every year I do one or two months. I just gotta enjoy life, right? And why are you working so hard? To enjoy.

Kedma: Exactly.

John: So, running a business I know you… How long has it been since you left your corporate to start your own kind of business? 

Kedma: I do it in hybrid so ironically seven…About five, six, seven years ago I was working for the government and this gentleman Brandon came in. Brandon Bond and he had two employees. He had just bought his business from his dad, a window washing business and we started working together. In five years, he went from two employees to over 30 employees and I sold his business for millions and then he turned around and recruited me to be the VP of coaching for his new company but the government wasn’t happy so they negotiated and kept me 18 months. He could not take me for 18 months. Think about that guys, 18 months they’re like, “Nope. No, oh yeah, if you want someone else that’s six months. Oh, Kedma? Yeah, it’s gonna be 18 months for her.” So, 18 months later I finally onboarded so, I have been with them for a year and eight months and it’s like a disney experience so I get  to work anywhere I want in the world and I am the coaches coach so I coach all the coaches and all the coaches have to have scaled a seven to nine figure company in the home service industry. So, I have that and then Brandon and I also are in partnership with Target Funding. So, I helped to do funding, financial brokerage. So, there’s an amazing synergy. So, I live in both worlds and I actually like it that way. 

John: That’s good and you’re not like, stuck in one, right? And you’re not and that’s the free…

Kedma: Does it feel like it? Does it feel like I’m stuck? 

John: No, the thing is freedom of entrepreneurship, right? And understanding that with your experience, with your expertise people will pay you for your time and learn from you, right? And they want to experience things from you not others. So, I love that. So,what drives you today? Like, I know there’s a lot of purpose behind what you do. There’s people that are looking to work with you or alongside you. So, what really motivates you today to do what you do? 

Kedma: Well, I mean for me it’s, you know, it’s…Everyone is different, right? Some people, their motivation is different. My drive is obviously the contract. It lives and breathes inside of me every day. Honestly, this is why I wake up every day, and I say, “Okay what do I need to do to serve on that contract?” It is so clear in my mind because I feel like I was given a second life, you know, I would have probably taken my own life at that point and it was just that. Okay, now I know that this is what my journey is and so my day-to-day motivation is really getting up and saying, “I gamify it. How many more people can I serve?” That’s all. I do these podcasts because how many people can I touch, how many people don’t know yet, that there’s, you know, that there’s an opportunity. So, you know, I mean I’m motivated by the opportunity to create a domino effect. 

John: That’s awesome. Over the years you’ve probably met a lot of entrepreneurs…

Kedma: Oh, gosh. Yeah.

John: What do you see that they are missing that would take people to the next level like, there are usually subtle traits I would say. What would you see that would be the biggest one or a couple of them that would help them take it to the next level?

Kedma:  That’s a tough question. That’s a tough question. The first thing that comes to mind is confidence not arrogance. Confidence. Honestly, being grounded in who we are. There’s a lot of insecurity, there’s a lot of impostor syndrome and honestly I’ve been doing this for so long. If someone comes to me in 15 minutes I can call out if they…If it’s BS and I will…I’ll say, “You’re BS. This is not…No, this is no way. No way.” I can just ask the right questions and know exactly and I’m not saying that from, you know, I’m arrogant but just because I’m very grounded. So,  this level of confidence, feeling like, “Hey, I wanna be able to do this business but am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Are people gonna believe in me?” And they have to work through that because if they don’t…If they don’t build that, it’s going to come out in everything they do, they’re gonna question themselves, they’re gonna be asking other people. So, I’d say a level of confidence. The second which we talked about is pride. Pride will destroy people. This level of, “I don’t want to ask for help. I don’t want to show vulnerability.” You notice how quickly I went into vulnerability. Why? Because vulnerability builds trust, vulnerability builds transparency and I don’t want to do business with someone that I don’t know who they are, right? I give this example where, you know, years and years ago a friend of mine invited me for dinner and appetizer hasn’t happened yet and he starts telling me about a deal he wants me to fund. I said, “Whoa…Whoa…Whoa in my country because I’m from Israel, you know, we have drinks. We talk about family. Maybe you come see mine. I was teaching him that you don’t, you know,  you can’t do this. There has to be that level of connection. So, pride. The third is not having this ongoing tenacity. I like to tell people I’m gonna show you something. If you can visually see this…This is a turtle and I have turtles all over my desk because my nickname is turtle and the reason I’m nicknamed turtle is because I can be working on a project for three years, five years. It took me 15 years to do my book deal but I’m tenacious. I will be persistent. I don’t care how slow I go. I’m gonna keep going and most people give up too early. So, I’d say those are the top three is, do you have what it takes to do the marathon? Are you just in for the sprint? Are you a marathon runner? Are you a marathon entrepreneur? Because you’re going to be on a roller coaster and if you start acting like a cry baby the first time the roller coaster goes down, I’m gonna have to take you off and go into the carousel because that’s where jobs are. Okay, jobs are in the carousel section. Okay? And do you have the pride and then obviously the confidence?

John: That’s amazing and I love the fact that you’re mentioning about like, marathon this is the reason why I’m in SEO, right? Like, people wanted to pay ads. Go ahead, you’re not real. Like, when you’re serious that’s when we take you on. As a business owner you understand when you’re positioning as an expert in google’s eyes but ultimately your customers because those are the people I want to work with, right? So, it’s awesome that you’re mentioning that so regarding…Aside from…Business aside from, you know, what you’re doing in terms of the book and speaking…What modes you? What are the major pillars in your life, you know, in terms of what puts you…

Kedma: Who I am? 

John: Who you are like, what mode you?

Kedma: Yeah, so I’m an introvert. So, I want to first disclose, “Hi, my name is Kedma. I’m an introvert and people don’t believe me but I do a lot of silence and a lot of solitude by myself because that’s where I get my energy outside of public speaking and doing this and interacting. I’m by myself and I love it. People saying, “How are you doing with the pandemic.” I’m doing fine with the pandemic. How are you doing? Because I have to see less people. I’m totally fine with that but short of that. I have an amazing family. I have a husband that I met online in 2001 before there was any of that dating sites that I don’t know how that works and I have three boys. I have a 15, a 12 and 10 year old and my eldest is on the autism spectrum so I am an advocate in the disability community. I manage all of his support. He’s doing exceedingly well but I’m a champion in that space because I’m also a mother who has to navigate through that and short of that I have very few friends. I have a rule just so you know I have one friend per state. I’ve had that rule for years. People will call me up and say, “I’d love for us to be friends.” I said, “What state are you in?” “I’m in New York.” “I’m sorry, that’s taken. You can either relocate to South Dakota or you can wait till they pass on.” But I see that in just…Because I don’t have a lot of friends on purpose I want  to keep my energy contained and because I’m very sensitive to energy and I’m a cyclist. I work out, I bicycle, I do boxing. I stay fit but that’s it. I live a simple life, you know, I don’t need a lot to be happy.

John: That’s why I resonate so much about you like, the thing is you’re passionate and you know what you want and who you are as a person and ultimately when you’re in a good state of knowing, how you are given this opportunity to be in where you are and making the most out of it and bringing joy to others and inspiring others and  impacting others. Then you’re ultimately living the life of that American dream or whatever that may be and it doesn’t have to be chasing the nicest home on the block or chasing the nicest car, the nicest coat. It’s like once you realize what  life is all about what you talk about. Family and travel and, you know, make an impact in terms of helping business owners and I love business owners. I mean, for me that’s what I do and that’s why we resonate but if you’re ever in Toronto feel free to reach out.

Kedma: Oh, I would love to. I would love to. And, you know, some people who may be listening to this may be saying, you know, she has it good, she doesn’t understand. She was given an opportunity. I haven’t. You know there’s this animosity and what I would say is probably, you know, if you know if we all came into a room and shared our life and what we’ve gone through, you will be the first to take your life back. I don’t think people wanna switch with what I went through, right? And I bring joy because what’s the alternative? Do you really want to have me on a podcast where I say, “You know what, my life is miserable. I want you to tell me…I’m gonna give you all 10 steps on how to have a miserable life.” You know, I mean there’s a space for that but that’s not what attracts people. What attracts people is the journey you went through and then did you overcome it or are you overcoming it and how did you overcome it, right? 

John: And the story definitely impacts a lot of people. So, how can some of the listeners get a hold of you, reach out to you, check you out? Is there a website or a social media?

Kedma: Absolutely. Well, they’re gonna find me through you that’s the first. So, I was honored you people found me. I always smile and say because you’re in SEO, if you key in Kedma in google and find another Kedma in the world, run. There should only be one Kedma in the world so you could literally google Kedma, you will find me and by the way Kedma means to move forward so at least I was blessed with that. You can find me on linkedin, Kedma Ough. You can find me on my website kedmaough.com. I write for entrepreneur magazine but, you know, I am someone that is available. If you send me a linkedin message, I’ll respond back. If you send me a facebook message, I’ll respond back. This is not a VA, this is me doing it and…Yeah, so I just try to, you know, my…The people I’m looking for are not just people who are in the take, take mode. I think there’s three people, three kinds of relationships you’ll come up in life. Give-give, give-take and take-take. I don’t like to subscribe to take-take because two parties then are constantly taking, it doesn’t serve. Give-take is a lot of times where I am. I’m giving and someone’s just taking but I prefer to be surrounded with give-give. If I give, they give, if I give, they give and that’s the best energy I wanna be around.

John: That’s amazing. I love that Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take. I just bought his Originals book as well.

Kedma: Awesome. 

John: But Adam Grant is someone I definitely want to meet. Well thanks a lot. It was a pleasure to get you and thank you for joining us today at Local SEO Today.

Kedma: Thank you so much.