Jess Wahlstrom is the founding director and brains of the operation here at Money Empire, along with her husband Kayne.
We chatted to her about her experience starting and running Money Empire, being a mum and how she manages to juggle the two jobs so damn well.
Jess is an Australian, but we can forgive her for that because she’s definitely one of the good ones. She was born in Melbourne and lived on the Gold Coast, where she studied dance full time in Brisbane after leaving school.
She started her working career as an administrator at a Gold Coast accounting firm before spending some time at a Family Law Firm and Financial Services Firm. It was here that Jess learnt many of the skills that helped build Money Empire:
“My legal role was great. It taught me how to manage clients and relationships, and when I went into finance, I learned so much about superannuation, insurance and other financial products,” said Jess.
Everything was going smoothly until, she met a certain cheeky Kiwi with a penchant for dad jokes – Kayne Wahlstrom. They got married and the rest is history.
Kayne was in a financial advisor role at the time and the pair cooked up plans to return to NZ, to start a financial advisory firm. Those early conversations back on the beach on the Gold Coast were the start of the idea that transformed into what Money Empire is today.
Money Empire grew fast and is now in swish offices in Ponsonby with four awesome employees and a popular podcast.
Day-to-day, Jess stays busy overseeing company compliance for insurance, developing internal processes, managing the Money Empire social media, producing the podcast and much more. She loves a well thought out process and is the reason the Money Empire machine runs so smoothly:
“I did a lot of the day-to-day operations at a young age and had great mentors who instilled the importance of solid processes and guidelines. Since then it’s always been a priority for me,” Jess said.
One of the unique things about Money Empire has always been that it’s run by a husband and wife team for seven years. Jess says this has been a challenge at times but one that’s ultimately been great for the business and brought her and Kayne closer together:
“It was definitely hard at first, and there were a few disagreements as we are both really passionate about what we do, but pretty quickly we stopped bringing our work home and developed different responsibilities within the business. We now work really well together, partly because Kayne’s an ideas man and I’m an implementer. It has aligned our goals and allowed us to spend lots of time together” Jess said.
Three and a half years ago, Kayne and Jess had a child – Evie. Jess is in the office three days a week so that she can spend time with her:
“I’m so lucky to be able to split my time between work and Evie and I didn’t realise how important work was to me until I stopped. Being in the office three days a week makes me a more invested mother and professional and it’s a great feeling being able to have both a family and a career,” says Jess.
Jess also says that while she sometimes feels pulled in two ways – as both a mother and a professional – she loves what she does:
“The team at Money Empire are awesome; they’re like my extended family. And I’m at an age where I’m really confident in what I do and I know I have the skills to do them well.”