#15: From Milking Cows To Millionaire - A True Life Success Story
Play • 27 min

Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast

Host: Brian Webb

Guest: Theresa Roemer

Episode 15: From Milking Cows To Millionaire - A True Life Success Story

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TRANSCRIPT: 

Brian Webb:

Hey there everyone. Welcome to the Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Webb. This podcast is your premier place to learn the frameworks, secrets, and growth hacks to grow and scale your business and revenue faster. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or a thriving business owner, this podcast is designed and produced just for you so you can learn from the best industry experts in the world. I'll bring you exclusive interviews with authors, thought leaders, and successful business titans who share their stories and business journeys so we can draw insights and learn from their successes and struggles together. As you're working on growing your business and pursuing your dreams, I'll be here to help you make better decisions and avoid costly pitfalls and expensive mistakes along the way.

And we'll have some fun in the process. So let's go ahead and jump into today's episode. Let me introduce my guest today and a good friend of mine Theresa Roemer. Theresa and I actually met through an organization called Karma International and we actually served on the board together for the Houston chapter, but her story is phenomenal. And I really think you're going to draw a lot from it today. Theresa actually grew up on a farm in Nebraska and when she was a kid when other friends of hers were actually just being kids, she was being a little entrepreneur, whether it was delivering newspapers or mowing lawns, she just had a work ethic early on in life. She opened her own chain of fitness centers, Body By Design in Wyoming in 1991 and ran about five facilities while also actually providing personal training services through her company, Phenomenal Physiques during the same time.

She took the US Open title in bodybuilding at the age of 40, and she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for child legacy international. And if I still don't have your curiosity peaked, Theresa actually works frequently with major motion pictures, television studios, corporations, and high profile brands really to expand their own philanthropic reach, to raise millions of dollars through business charity events. And on top of all that, she's just a lot of fun to hang out with. So let's jump into the interview today, my interview with Theresa Roemer. Hey, Theresa. Welcome to the show. It's awesome to have you here today.

Theresa Roemer:

Well, thank you for having me here, Brian.

Brian Webb:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've already told the audience how we met, how we knew each other with Karma International. And I've shared a little bit of your story, but one of the things I wanted to have you share today is to talk about early on in life. I know that when you were younger, you were diagnosed with rheumatic fever multiple times, and I know that caused you to have even a heart murmur. How did you work through overcoming that level of adversity so early on in life?

Theresa Roemer:

I don't know if it was because I was born a fighter because I definitely was not taught to be a fighter. No one in my family was as aggressive as I am. And when I say aggressive, I don't mean that in a bad way, but like I said, I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever four different times. And I remember being in the children's hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, and them telling me basically I was never going to be a normal child. That I would always have to stay inside and watch out the window as other kids played and had fun because my heart wasn't going to be strong enough for me to be a normal child. And somehow, I just thought, "Oh no, you can't tell me that, no." And I just started running and playing and doing things totally against my parents' will.

And in junior high in high school got into every sport imaginable, lettered in every sport. And by the time I was 18, they were able to take me off my daily dose of penicillin and said, "You have strengthened your hearts so well, we can hardly call you a heart patient anymore because we can only hear your heart murmur when it's at 180 beats or more. So don't ever let someone give you a horrible view on what your future life is going to be like because you can definitely change it if you want to.

Brian Webb:

Theresa, you said you have accomplished so many things in life. You've achieved so much. Simon Sinek is probably best known for his book, Start With Why. And tell our audience, where do you think your drive comes from? What is your why?

Theresa Roemer:

I don't know if we ever figure out what our why is.

Brian Webb:

Yeah?

Theresa Roemer:

I think every day we learn more about what our why is on this earth. I think it's ever-evolving and ever-changing. Just when you think you've got it figured out, things change in life and you have to be able to change too, or you get left in the dust. So I do believe my why is to inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be through all of the hardships and all the ups and downs I've gone through in my life because I've probably been through more than most people will ever go through in their entire lifetime. And a lot of mine came in the first 40 years of my life. So I truly believe my why is God-driven and I want to make sure I fulfill that before I leave this earth.

Brian Webb:

You want to have an impact legacy. I love to hear that.

Theresa Roemer:

Yes, yes.

Brian Webb:

Let me ask you this, out of all the accomplishments, what do you feel like is your biggest achievement that you're the most proud of? I'm curious.

Theresa Roemer:

That's kind of a trick question because I was actually asked that question in 2015 in New York city sitting in Daymond John's office.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

I was in a meeting with him and he looked at me and he said, "Can you tell me what your greatest life achievement is?" And I said, "Ooh, this is a trick question because if I tell you that being a mother is the greatest achievement of my life, you're going to be like, "Oh, she's not much of a businesswoman. All she can think about is her kids." But then if I tell you something that's related to business, then you're going to say, "Oh, my God, you don't even care about being a mother." So I said, "This is kind of a trick question, but I said, "This is going to be my answer. I believe that we are allowed to have many, many great life achievements and I have had many, and I plan on having many more, and I don't think anyone should ever be defined by just having one great life achievement. And he said, "Oh, my God, you answered that perfectly."

Brian Webb:

Yeah. Let me ask you this. So for those in the audience that don't necessarily know you the way that I do, what are maybe two or three of them. Obviously, your children. Andy Stanley once said, "Our greatest legacy in life isn't what we do, but in who we raise." So anyone who's a parent is just going to instinctively understand that, but outside of your family, your legacy, what are some other things that you're especially proud of, you're just glad to have that as part of your life history?

Theresa Roemer:

Well, as a single mother raising two children, I was able to put myself through college. I was able to start a health club and grow that into a health club chain. And then later sell it and become a multimillionaire. I was able to become a miss US open and bodybuilding at the age of 40 when most of my competitors were in their 20s.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

I became Mrs. Houston and Mrs. Texas in the beauty world in 2010, when I was turning the age of 50. I was actually the oldest woman to ever get those titles as a beauty queen.

Brian Webb:

Yeah, uh-huh (affirmative).

Theresa Roemer:

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011.

Brian Webb:

Okay. Let's stop right there for a second. Tell me about that experience. I'm dying to hear about that. I'm sure the audience would love to hear it. Take a minute or two, tell us about that experience, how you prepared for that, about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. That's just incredible to me.

Theresa Roemer:

Yes. And I was studying on the board of directors for Child Legacy International and they decided they were going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser for that charity. And so they asked me to do it and I said, "Oh, please, no, I'm not a mountain climber. I don't have any desire to do that." And they said, "Wow, you're such a fitness buff. We thought this would be right up your alley." [crosstalk 00:08:10]-

Brian Webb:

They were using reverse psychology on you a little bit there, right?

Theresa Roemer:

Oh, yeah. Because anytime somebody says they don't think I can do something, I'm going to be right there to prove them differently. So I jumped in headfirst and trained for six months. I knew cardiovascular-wise, I was going to be fine because I was just training my butt off for it. But the sad story is, is that before we went climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I actually went over to Malawi and helped them drill fresh water Wells for the remote villages of Malawi.

Brian Webb:

Wow.

Theresa Roemer:

And I came down with a parasite and did not even know it. So when I, a week later, got ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, we were about 12,000 feet when that parasite kicked in. And I knew if I told them I was sick, they would make me go down. So I just kept fighting through it, fighting through it. And the night we summited, I got super sick, high fever, diarrhea like crazy. Sorry to say that.

Brian Webb:

That's okay.

Theresa Roemer:

But it was just horrible. And literally, we were about halfway up on our descent to the top when my girlfriend said, "Theresa, something's wrong. You have blood coming out of every orifice of your body. Your eyes, your ears, everything." And so they had the main guide come over and he said, "Oh, you're fine. You just got sick." And I'm like, "No, you don't understand. I've been sick for days."

Brian Webb:

Oh, you're kidding.

Theresa Roemer:

So he went ahead and made the rest of the group go with all the other guides. He stayed with me. Everyone else summited at basically 7:00 AM. I didn't summit until 9:35 in the morning, which then caused me to have height altitude sickness. Basically, I got to the top, but as we were coming down, he knew I was dying when I was getting colder as I got down when I should have been getting warmer. And so by the time I got to base camp, which now I'm completely out of it, pretty much, they slapped me on a wheelbarrow looking thing with, I guess, like six Kenyan runners, and they literally ran with me for eight straight hours to get me off that mountain.

Brian Webb:

Wow.

Theresa Roemer:

And by the time they got me to the gate, I had 104 fever.

Brian Webb:

Goodness.

Theresa Roemer:

I was severely dehydrated, I'd lost 13 pounds. High altitude sickness, parasite kicking my butt. The next day, the doctor said, "There's really no reason why you're alive." And I said, "Yes, there is. I prayed at the top that my son would help me with every single step because I knew I was doing something good in life, and I'd raised a lot of money and I needed to make it to the top." So I believe my son was the angel on my shoulder during that whole trip.

Brian Webb:

Wow. That's phenomenal. Thanks for sharing that today. In my experience, anyone who is my age or older, maybe even younger than me, I'll be 52 next month. I can't believe that's happening. But anyway, I've had to pivot several times in my life and something that you seem to be really good at is reinventing yourself over and over again. So tell us a little bit, how do you manage that? How did you get so good at that? We'll get back to the show in just a moment, but first, a quick word from our sponsor, Whatbox Digital.

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I've had to pivot several times in my life and something that you seem to be really good at is reinventing yourself over and over again. So tell us a little bit how do you manage that? How did you get so good at that?

Theresa Roemer:

I think it started back when I was in junior high in high school, where I was in every sport imaginable. I was the cheerleader. I had part-time jobs. I drove my parents crazy because I was involved in everything. I'm one of those multitaskers. I can handle multiple things at any given time. And so throughout my entire life, I've never relied on just having one job. I've always been someone that's worked two or three jobs at one time.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

Even when I was in the fitness industry, I dabbled in other things. I became a real estate agent also. So to this day, even though I still dabble in fitness, I'm also a real estate agent, have been for 20 years. I flip houses. I'm a lifestyle entrepreneur. Of course, I had my own clothing lines. I've got my own candle line, pillow line, skincare line. I really believe that you have to constantly reinvent yourself because if you stay the same, life will pass you by because life in itself does not stay the same. Look at technology. It changes on a dime. Every time you turn around-

Brian Webb:

Absolutely.

Theresa Roemer:

... there's a new phone, a new computer, a new something, and you have to really stay up with things or you get left in the dust. And so one of my favorite books is, Who Moved My Cheese.

Brian Webb:

Yeah, great book.

Theresa Roemer:

And it's all about change. And I'm constantly telling people, you have to be able to adapt to change. If you get stuck in the mud, you're just going to be left behind.

Brian Webb:

You're going to be irrelevant, right?

Theresa Roemer:

Exactly. And you see that all the time with people as they get older, they're not so good with technology, they don't know how to do a Zoom. And the great thing about Corona Virus is thank God everybody learned something about technology because we have to rely on technology to be able to communicate.

Brian Webb:

Very true.

Theresa Roemer:

There's grandma and grandpas out there that actually learned how to do Zoom calls and FaceTime, and they didn't know how before then, but it put them in a corner where they had to learn it or they weren't going to stay in communication with their loved ones.

Brian Webb:

Let me ask you this. If you could go back and talk to your 25-year-old self, what advice, that could be business, health, relationships, whatever, what advice would you give your 25-year-old self today?

Theresa Roemer:

Don't be afraid to grow.

Brian Webb:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Theresa Roemer:

And I think a lot of times people are afraid to grow. And so a lot of times, they're just like, "Well, but if I do that, I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know the outcome." And so a lot of people, that fear gets instilled and that fear will keep them from actually getting out there and trying it. And I always try to tell people, "So what if you try something and you fail? At least failure shows that you're at least trying. And nobody in life has ever achieved something on the first go around. Most of the time, anybody that's been successful or a multi-millionaire billionaire, they've had multiple tries at trying to make something happen and make it happen and come true and be right. So failure at least shows me that you're trying." And like I said, most people I just try to tell them, "Get out of your own way. You're the person that's standing in the way of your success.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

Just get out of your way, just jump in, don't do it stupidly, but take a calculated risk, figure everything out, but just get out of your own way, and don't be afraid of success.

Brian Webb:

Absolutely. A couple of thoughts on that. I'd love for you to chime in on this. We have a part of our brain, it's in our limbic system and it's referred to as the lizard brain or our reptilian brain. And it's the part of our brain that controls three parts of us, fear, anger, and sex or reproduction. And when that small part of your brain, the lizard brain kicks in, then it dominates the entire rest of your brain, the entire frontal cortex. So you can think of times, for example, where you were really afraid, scared of something, literally, maybe you thought someone was in the house and think of how people panic, or think of how people might behave whenever anger overcomes them. They would do something that completely violates their moral code and what they believe is right and wrong. And you're absolutely right. Failure or I should say fear of failure keeps people from moving forward. And so I think that's a great word of advice.

Theresa Roemer:

All the time. I can remember back in the early '90s, I was a personal trainer and I was wanting to buy my first gym. And I was trained [inaudible 00:19:52] very successful home builder. And every day that he would come to train with me, he'd say, "Okay, so have you put an offer in on it yet?" And I'd be like, "No, I'm kind of scared because what if I buy it and it doesn't... I'm not successful at it and I have to... I fail?" But he said, "So what? You at least tried. And if it doesn't work out, you file bankruptcy, you start over. It's not the end of the world.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

But he said, "Here what's going to happen. You're going to stand here on this fence post and you're going to keep going, "No, maybe, maybe not, maybe, maybe." Uh-uh (negative). And he said, "What's going to happen to somebody else is going buy the gym and then you're going to be working for them."

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

And I said, "Oh, God, no." And he said, "Okay." And here I applied for my small business administration loan, and a few months later I got it. And I was just like, "See? It was my own fear that was keeping me from progressing forward." It was like, "Okay. So what if you fail? You file bankruptcy. You start over." Nobody wants to file bankruptcy, but it's not the end of life. It's not the end of the world.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

You can start over again. And many people, many successful people have had to do that.

Brian Webb:

I don't know if the story is actually true or if a storyteller just made it up because it sounds good. But I think it took Thomas Edison around 10,000 attempts before the [inaudible 00:21:07] worked.

Theresa Roemer:

Yes.

Brian Webb:

And people said to him, again unverified, but basically said, "Wow, so you failed 9,999 times?" And Edison said, "No, I learned 9,999 ways that the light bulb will not work."

Theresa Roemer:

Right. Exactly, exactly.

Brian Webb:

Jack Welch, who was arguably one of the best CEOs of our age GE for, I forget how many years, tons of years. I read his book, Winning. And he was once asked the question, which is an impossible question, right? But he was asked the question, "What is the single number one skill as a leader, a manager, a business operator that you think someone has to have?" And I thought his answer was really interesting because I think it caught most people off guard. He said, "Discrimination." And what he meant by that was, he said, "There are so many good things that need your attention," he said that, "You've got to be able to discriminate what is the best place to apply your attention and your efforts." Other than discrimination, what would you say, as a very successful entrepreneur and businesswoman, would be maybe another one top skill that you would say that if you possess this, you're probably going to go really far as a business owner and an entrepreneur?

Theresa Roemer:

Know your people.

Brian Webb:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Theresa Roemer:

Know your people around you because it takes something different to motivate each and every person in life.

Brian Webb:

True.

Theresa Roemer:

So what may motivate Johnny over there, it might be money, okay? But then you'll go and look at Susie, and Susie doesn't care about the money. She wants time off to be with her family.

Brian Webb:

Freedom, yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

So you have to really know the people around you and know what motivates them because once you figure out what motivates each and every person on your team because believe me, you can't do anything in life by yourself, you have to have people around you.

Brian Webb:

100%.

Theresa Roemer:

But once you figure out what motivates that person or those people, you're a winner because then that person will work their behind off for you because you have figured out what motivates that person to work so hard for you.

Brian Webb:

Absolutely. That's a great word. Well, one, thank you for being here today, Theresa. Let me ask you this, for those in our audience who just want to connect with you online, follow you, see what's going on in your life, what you have coming up that you're excited about, whatever's next, where's the best place for our audience to find you and connect with you online?

Theresa Roemer:

You can find me at theresaroemer.com. You'll find everything about me, my podcast conversations in the closet. You'll find all my goodies that I have brainwashed and thought up of and are currently selling. Anything that is happening in my world, it happens on my website. So you can definitely find me there. You can find me all over social media, on every social media platform, I'm there. Theresa Roemer.

Brian Webb:

Okay. And we'll put those links in the show notes too. And by the way, before we go, I kind of wish this was a video podcast because we've got to talk about your closet. The infamous Theresa Roemer closet. I could tell the audience about it, but I've got to see it. First of all, I'm going to have fun with you here for a second. I was there for the party. I was a Karma party, obviously. And we've hung out too. And I came over and I'm like, first of all, walking in is like walking into Macy's, audience. You've just got to understand this. Literally, there's a glass door. A commercial door like you're walking into a retail department store. And then I think, is it what? Three stories if I remember right.

Theresa Roemer:

Yes, yes.

Brian Webb:

I think I got vertigo on the third story when I looked down over the railing.

Theresa Roemer:

Yes, it's three stories, 3000 square feet.

Brian Webb:

Insane, insane. So many people could stick their home inside of your closet and you still have room to put your clothes. Well, some of them anyway, right?

Theresa Roemer:

Yes, but most people... The misconception is most people don't understand why that closet was built. They think, "Oh, it's just this rich lady showing off that she's got all this stuff." And it's really not. I actually wanted to build that closet as a venue for charity purposes.

Brian Webb:

Yeah.

Theresa Roemer:

And so I said, "All the women and men want to be in the pretty closet so why not build it big enough so that we can actually hold the charity events in the closet?"

Brian Webb:

Wow.

Theresa Roemer:

And so that's that was the whole meaning behind the closet. It was supposed to be the closet that continually gives back.

Brian Webb:

Wow. Well, I think you're a rock star. I'm so proud to call you my friend. Thanks for coming on the podcast today. It was just awesome talking to you today.

Theresa Roemer:

Thank you for having me, Brian. It was my pleasure.

Brian Webb:

Thanks for joining me today and listening to this episode of The Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast. We can be found on all the major platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, and even Amazon music. I genuinely hope you enjoyed today's episode. And if you did, I'd be honored if you subscribe to the show and leave us a rating and an honest review. I'd love to connect with you on Instagram. You can find me at @brianwebb, and the show sponsor, Whatbox Digital can be found at, as you might guess @whatboxdigital.

You can also find me in Whatbox Digital on Facebook and LinkedIn, with the links in the show notes. This will allow you to stay up to date and never miss out on exciting new announcements, events, special offers, and opportunities, and you'll be in the know when we drop a new episode of The Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast. And if you'd like to send me a DM on Instagram to say hello, or share your thoughts on how we can make this podcast even better for you, I'd love to hear from you. Again, thanks for listening. Let's go and grow together. I'll see you in the next episode.

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