Jenna Liu is the captain of a modern-day ship, sailing through the stormy seas of motherhood. With Sixx Cool Moms as her crew, she’s on a mission to create a safe harbor for moms across the country, where they can anchor down, connect with other like-minded moms, and ride out the waves of child-rearing.
As Jenna takes the helm, she shares with us her tale of how Sixx Cool Moms came to be, from her initial discovery that most of her mom friends were too far away to provide real support, to her lightbulb moment that turned her Facebook group into a profitable space.
Now, with 48 chapters in 18 states and over 110,000 members, Sixx Cool Moms has become a beacon of hope for moms everywhere, offering in-person events, retreats, workshops, and business development opportunities.
Her vision for the future is to eradicate the stigma associated with mental health and burnout in the workplace, and provide real solutions for employees to reset and recharge.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Jenna Liu: My name is Jenna Levine Liu, and I am the founder of Sixx Cool Moms: The National Network of Social Groups for Moms. I had a full-time career as a political advertising specialist when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Poppy.
During my second trimester, I realized that most of my friends were 45 minutes away from me. While traveling 45 minutes for brunch or happy hour works when you are kid-free, once that 7-pound bundle of joy shows up the distance becomes too much to build a real support network.
So I did what any other basic suburban mom does: I joined some Facebook groups in my area. Once I got into the world of Moms’ Facebook Groups, I realized that I was not a good fit for them, and they were not a good fit for me; so I started my own.
I had no intention of turning my group into a profitable space, but that initial chapter grew quickly. The messaging came across as authentic, funny, and relatable. It was and still is a true judgment-free zone for moms to talk about the reality of child-rearing while also sharing their interests, hobbies, and life stories.
After a certain point in my growth chapter, members were reaching out about advertising. Since I had 12 years of advertising experience, I offered to help. I wrote copy and promoted members for free, but that became time-consuming. I still had a full-time job and was entering the 2020 political cycle. I decided to start charging a small fee for advertising, and businesses were paying! So, I charged a bit more, and they were still paying.
That was my lightbulb moment. One chapter is one thing, but multiple chapters across the country? Well, now we were talking real advertising dollars. I believed in my idea of elevating motherhood to the 21st century, and now it was time to implement it.
I launched my LLC in March 2020, right before the start of the pandemic. My intention was always to be an in-person events platform, but I quickly pivoted once the shutdown took place.
During the pandemic, moms all over the country were coming to Sixx Cool Moms to join chapters or to start their own. They were trapped at home with their family, working full-time jobs, handling virtual learning for kindergarteners, and having no space to relax and decompress, except on the internet.
It was complicated to be a mom in 2020 and 2021. We offered a safe space to connect and foster life-changing friendships. What started as one 500-member chapter, has turned into 47 chapters in 18 states with 110,000 Cool Moms.
In addition to our Facebook communities, Sixx Cool Moms offers in-person events, retreats, workshops, and business development opportunities to moms across the county.
For advertisers, we take the traditional influencer marketing model and transform it into a community approach. We start word-of-mouth and our members pick it up. We support local businesses, and they support our members with deals and discounts.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Jenna Liu: We all know it takes a village to raise a child, but modern mothers lack their tribe. The goal of Sixx Cool Moms is to create that modern village by blending concepts of the past with current resources.
We do this by connecting local moms across the country with our online chapters, events, support groups, retreat opportunities, networking, local businesses, and each other.
Sixx Cool Moms is designed for moms who love their children, but also love having time away from them to explore outside interests, laugh, and have fun! We currently operate 48 Chapters in 18 states with over 110,000 members. Our revenue comes exclusively from advertising and event revenue.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Jenna Liu: I was part of the great resignation. After my daughter was born, I asked the general sales manager of my company for 9-5 hours as opposed to 8:30-5:30. This small shift in time would have given me the availability to drop off or pick up my daughter from daycare.
I got a firm no, and his exact words were, “We aren’t going to give you those hours, but I don’t believe the hours are your problem. Now that you have a family, it’s time to think about your career, the future, and what that looks like.” I knew it was time to make an exit plan.
I would like to see the stigma associated with mental health and burnout eradicated from businesses in 2023. The corporate workforce expects a lot out of employees but offers no real solutions to deal with this. Employees do not need a pool table or draft beer at the office. They need time away to reset and recharge.
This rings especially true for working parents. We need to move away from the two-week vacation model and embrace a ‘take a week off when you need to reset’ policy. Companies could even enforce this rule and make their employees take time off to decompress.
If employees feel that their company respects their mental health and well-being, they will perform better and stay longer. If an employee needs to attend a therapy appointment at 2 pm, we should not only let them but encourage them to attend that appointment.
Americans are burning out, and unless companies start to acknowledge that a 60-hour workweek is no longer reasonable, talented applicants will continue to leave the corporate world for entrepreneurial endeavors.
Sixx Cool Moms is a remote company and will remain a remote company. I want my team to have as much time with their family as possible, so I respect their boundaries. In turn, I ask that they respect mine. No emails on the weekends, please!
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Jenna Liu: While I believe virtual meetings and online shopping is the new normal, in my experience people are virtually fatigued and would prefer in-person interactions as opposed to virtual Zoom get-togethers.
My entire company runs on social media, but the purpose of the online interaction is to get people comfortable enough to meet in person. Once friendships are formed ‘in real life’ they take that energy back to the online forums. Community building needs to take place within the community, but the digital landscape can solidify that connection.
I plan to continue to push my members to attend in-person events, but will also utilize the power of digital connection to introduce moms from all areas of the country. Additionally, with a system like Square Space, I am able to set up easy-to-purchase advertising options that save both time and resources.
If someone is interested in a simple plug-and-play advertising campaign, there is no need for a lengthy phone call and proposal. Advertisers want easy, so we have to make purchasing advertising space from Sixx Cool Moms easy and actionable.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Jenna Liu: The biggest challenge I see right now is the rising cost of living across the country, without the rising paychecks to offset this. A large portion of our advertisers are small businesses.
Everyone wants to support small or local businesses, but if the price of a shirt is $25 from a local merchant versus $10 at Target, people are going to support their wallet over their community during lean times.
Although our costs have gone up as well, Sixx Cool Moms has the advantage of being an entirely remote organization. We may not feel the effects of a recession the same way a company that needs physical space might.
This remote working environment allows us to keep our advertising rates low. There is also the added benefit of using local brick-and-mortar establishments for event space. We help drive traffic to their location and save on the costs of leasing space for events.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Jenna Liu: The most underestimated part of running a company is being able to create constantly. I am a right-brained person who has 80 ideas a day. If one idea really strikes my fancy, and I think I can make that idea come to fruition, then the only one to tell me no is me!
About a year ago, I had an idea for a Sixx Cool Moms Approved Business sponsorship program. This program allowed for our advertisers to pay a low yearly fee, and in return, they received monthly marketing in their local Cool Moms chapter.
I tasked our VP of Marketing, Rebecca Butler, to perfect this program and push it out to our best-performing chapters. The idea was embraced and wildly successful in our initial push.
It also opened up an entire network of business moms who are excited to support one another. Watching one of my ideas actually help local moms in business succeed has been rewarding beyond words.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Jenna Liu: If I could pick a business superpower, it would be for me to snap my fingers and have all my paperwork done without actually having to do it! I’m a creative thinker!
There are so many spreadsheets in the confines of running a business, and spreadsheets are my least favorite business activity. While it’s not my favorite, paperwork is important. If your books are a mess, your company cannot succeed.
It would be nice to have all my monthly paperwork magically done so I can focus on growth, both professionally and personally.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jenna Liu for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jenna Liu or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.