While working three jobs as a teenager, Kristina Centnere was always looking, understanding, and learning the processes of how businesses run. While she didn’t know it yet, this was the gateway to her success in the business world running her own companies and building financial freedom as she used her attention to detail to become an expert in the world of entrepreneurship.
“When I was working at jobs like Panera Bread, I paid attention to the processes, customer service and marketing that made the business run.
I quickly realized that I was much more productive when I could make my own schedule and work from my choice of venue. And most importantly, I had something unique to offer to the world,” Kristina recounts.
Prior to the jobs we chose because they seemed safe and stable, each one of us had a dream to be something that was inspired by more than just affording our bills. Something that was instead, inspired by passion. For Kristina, that was the world of business. She grew up watching her mom save lives, but knew that her calling was someplace else.
“I emigrated from Latvia to the United States at the age of 9 to live with my mom, who married my stepfather. Both were in the medical profession, which naturally made me want to follow their footsteps. Between my mom’s independent nature and the Soviet upbringing she was dedicated to providing me with, my work ethic was always on hyperdrive. I graduated from high school at the age of 16, when I started to get hints that my professional life was going to be quite different from the plan I originally devised. I didn’t finish college, I didn’t go to medical school and I didn’t become a doctor,” Kristina remarks.
Despite knowing that her future was in another business, Kristina had to work incredibly hard and overcome numerous obstacles to get to where she is now. Fiercely independent, she found a way to support herself and her ambitions without finishing college.
“At one point, I was working 3 jobs in Miami, a thousand miles away from my family or anything I really knew in New York. There was a week where I slept in my car and ate Sweet n’ Sour sauce from McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The life I chose was at times so unstable that my mom offered to buy me a car if I were to just come back home,” Kristina details.
At the time, Kristina didn’t know that her twenties would be spent growing her digital and neuromarketing agency, SocialCow. But at the ripe age of 18, she started in a multi-level-marketing (MLM) business, where she was in the trenches of learning business skills that she continues to use and refine today.
“I wasn’t very good at it.” Kristina laughs. “But I quickly picked up on people skills, sales skills and the importance of processes… I also noticed that I was naturally good at something most people were not – marketing. While I wasn’t making millions, it did allow me to quit my 9 to 5 and most importantly, it made more sense of this ‘fire’ I felt inside. I wanted to create. Entrepreneurs create.”
Kristina has created success beyond what she ever thought possible. She has gained financial freedom by combining her interests and the power of science and technology to create the perfect business.
“Using eye tracking and emotional recognition software allows us to better know which creative, copy and even packaging our clients’ audience is most drawn to in a positive way. This greatly reduces cost and increases sales as well as overall perception of the brand by its customers,” Kristina says.
After making her way through as an entrepreneur against the mightiest of odds, Kristina’s advice to those hoping to do the same is simple: “It is worth it!”