Power Players

Kris Jenner: 'If somebody says no, you're talking to the wrong person'

Christopher Polk | Getty

If you've been keeping up with the Kardashians, you know matriarch Kris Jenner is the mastermind behind the family's money-making machine, including the empire of her youngest daughter, Kylie Jenner, who recently became the world's youngest self-made billionaire at 21. And Jenner herself raked in $37.5 million in 2018, according to Forbes.

So what does it take to be a boss like Kris? The so-called "momager" talked about being a business woman with daughter Kourtney Kardashian on her new lifestyle site, Poosh.

"My general motto in my life for years has been, 'if somebody says no, you're talking to the wrong person,'" Kris tells Kourtney. "And I think that there's so many times in life that I have taken no for an answer, and have regretted it later."

That may be hard to imagine: Kris skipped college to become a flight attendant and married wealthy lawyer Robert Kardashian when she was 22. The pair lived a luxurious life in Beverly Hills but divorced in 1991. Kris married former Olympian Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, the same year and hustled hard to help build her then-spouse's business as a motivational speaker.

"It was a mix of blood, sweat and tears, enthusiasm, determination and just never sleeping and getting the word out there," Kris told The New York Times Magazine in a 2015 interview.

After building a successful business and brand with Bruce, in 2007 Kris Jenner pitched Ryan Seacrest her idea of a reality show based on her family. "Keeping up with the Kardashians" was picked up, attracted massive viewership and skyrocketed the family to stardom. Jenner worked hard to get her kids deals ranging from diet pills to laser hair removal to branded prepaid credit cards, the New York Times reported.

"It doesn't mean that we're always looking for more or that we're greedy," Jenner told the Times. "There's a lot of people that have great ideas and dreams and whatnot, but unless you're willing to work really, really hard, and work for what you want, it's never going to happen. And that's what's so great about the girls. It's all about their work ethic."

Jenner's knack for monetizing celebrity influence has even resulted in a class called "Keeping Up with Keeping Up" at Brown University. As the New York Times notes in a March profile of the famous family, "even when bad things happen to the Kardashians, they still make money."

With her roles as CEO of Jenner Communications, creator and executive producer of E's "Keeping Up the Kardashians," author and businesswoman, Refinery29 reports Jenner is independently worth $60 million. Her clients/kids — Kourtney, Kim Kardashian West, Khloe Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie — have a rough total net worth of $1.56 billion, reports Refinery29.

"Being a boss, and being in charge is a very brave thing to do," Kris tells Poosh. "Some days I wake up and I think about the meetings I'm going to have or the experience I'm about to have or what I need to do that day, whether it's firing someone or hiring someone, guiding someone, creating something new…"

"So I think that just doing some of the things that I have to do during the day, I get up in the morning and I think, 'this is going to be a really long-a-- day,'" she says.

But Jenner has a morning routine that helps prepare her for those long days. She says she wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m., has coffee, checks her e-mails, jumps on the treadmill and turns on the news.

"I'm prepared mentally and emotionally and physically to go tackle a day," she says. "Be informed about what's going on in the world, be informed with what's going on with my kids."

Don't miss: Oprah Winfrey: This is the moment my 'job ended' and my 'calling began'

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

VIDEO1:0701:07
Kylie Jenner spent $10,000 on Postmates last year

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Caitlyn Jenner. 

make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM