Jenn Uhen

Founder/Community Organizer, The Pledgettes

Jenn is a  powerhouse that is super passionate about financial empowerment! From the moment we met, I knew that this lady was living her mission.

When did you know you would be an entrepreneur?

Wait, I’m an entrepreneur? I’ve always struggled a bit with titles but I know I am an entrepreneur and need to own it. I feel like every experience we have, every skill we develop, and every connection we nurture has made us the perfect person to take on our current challenge.

Since starting my career, I couldn’t pick a linear path or focus on one type of role. I liked production (getting it done) and loved strategic thinking and client meetings (figuring out what to get done). I received some great advice from a mentor to better understand the landscape of my industry and he helped me pick a path that stretched my skills and network. It was a great move in my career and laid the groundwork to confidently leave full-time work and start my own thing.

Tell us all about your business.

The Pledgettes is a community of supportive women making money moves to achieve their personal financial goals. I was having great money conversations with different people in my circle and knew other women would benefit from being included in these conversations. I also saw there were some organizations that were focused on one aspect of money, like investing or increased income, and I wanted a more holistic approach to include several money topics: investing, banking, estate planning, budgeting, real estate, money mindset, spending, and more.

What was your ambition when you started?

I thought the Pledgettes would be another one of my side hustles (which adds up to a whole lot of hustle). I thought I could get a handful of women together each month to talk about money.

What is your ambition today?

To have Pledgettes chapters across the country (my Portland City Manager says world) which are unique to the women in those markets. I am on a mission to abolish the gender wealth gap by facilitating money conversations with women. I shouldn’t stop in Denver. This year we launched chapters in Chicago and Portland; with a number of other cities on the horizon for 2021.

What is the best advice you ever got about running a business?

This one might be super-specific: understand if you are running your business with cash or accrual-based accounting. Since most of my work is serviced based, I have run my business on an accrual basis which aligns the revenue to when the work is getting done. Understanding, and using, accrual-based accounting helps me better understand the health of my business.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a business owner so far, and how did you overcome them?

I often check-in with myself to see if I am spending time working IN my business or ON my business. It’s easy for me to get in the weeds (I’ll reorganize my asana boards) and feel productive because I did a lot of tasks. But I wasn’t working on my business: focusing on future revenue and growth strategies. If you fill your time up working in your business, your business will only grow to the number of hours you are giving it per day. If you can prioritize working on your business, you’ll have the ability to grow it further.

I feel like every experience we have, every skill we develop, and every connection we nurture has made us the perfect person to take on our current challenge.

How do you define "success" for you?

Am I getting good sleep? The older I get, this is a more important KPI for me. Not getting good sleep for me means:
– I am waking up in the middle of the night because I’m stressed about a task or project I’m avoiding. This is my body telling me I shouldn’t be on that project and it’s time to say “no” or outsource that work.
– I am not falling asleep easily because I am not living full, meaningful days. I’m stressed because I’m busy not doing the right work or I’m not seeing the right progress.
– I have to use an alarm to get up in the morning because I’m not excited about the work I get to do that day.

What is your "secret" to success?

Surrounding yourself with the right people. My husband/business partner/investor is incredible. He instinctively asks the questions that I’ve been grappling with and helps me through them. I have incredible mentors that inspire me through conversation, give me some tough love, and celebrate my success. I collaborate with people with complementary skills; I stopped hiring mini-me’s.

Now, tell us a fun "secret"!

As a kid, my favorite playground equipment was the rings and the trapeze; I loved dizzy stuff. As an adult, I took a trapeze class.

What great advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Get super specific: who do you serve and what do you do? A clear niche will help people in your network. You can ‘yes’ to different opportunities outside of your niche.

What is the best business or self-development book you recommend?

What pumps you up?

I have been rocking out to The Pledgettes Pump Up Playlist. One of our members curated it based on our members’ favorite pump up songs. HERE