Renee Norman & Jenna Smith – Building a business with your best friend that gives women permission to be the best they can be.

Interview with
Renee Norman & Jenna Smith
Renee Norman & Jenna Smith – Building a business with your best friend that gives women permission to be the best they can be.

“How do two really good friends do business together and do it so well?”

Renee Norman and Jenna Smith,

It’s serendipity when two women from different backgrounds meet up and click so well that they decide to take a highly competitive industry by the horns and do something incredible with it.

A risky manoeuvre p’raps, but when two personalities are so in sync the happy catalyst is there to realise shared frustrations, see doable solutions and follow mutual passions. This is how it happened for Renee Norman and Jenna Smith (was it kismet?) who have joined forces to challenge the ‘perfect body now’ concept created by the world of Instagram.

What kind of image do you think that world presents to women? Have a Google at any digital health and fitness platform. Images of honed and sculpted bodies might inspire some but for others, trying to achieve that look is more demoralising than motivating.

It bugged Renee Norman and Jenna Smith so much that they devised a mission. They wanted to do something positive for a hard-working sector of the community who are hamstrung by duty, occasionally isolated and often unacknowledged.

Embarking on an endeavour aimed at helping women “Be the best they can be” propelled the launch of an online health and wellness business Renee and Jenna dubbed Real Health NZ

Some women just can't fit a wellness programme in their lives. But the option to subscribe to an online course provides a realistic alternative, particularly for mums and pregnant women who literally don’t have time to think. New mums themselves, Renee and Jenna saw how hard it is to fit healthy me-time around a baby’s needs, and they were sure that offering “bite-sized, easy-to-digest workouts that women could soak up straightaway and in their own time and space” was the answer.

But don’t think that they embraced the opportunity unprepared or in haste. After the initial voila moment at a champagne breakfast three years ago, Renee and Jenna have spent judicious time planning, forecasting and figuring out how to create good digital content right into the wee small hours, all the while nursing their babies, running a household and trying to keep healthy.

It wasn’t a walk in the park, rather more blood, sweat and tears; as the two have often said, “It’s not all about smoothies and workouts!” But making this logical – and perhaps inevitable decision – was easy, because seeing time-poor women insecure about being in a gym space and pushed into believing that hard-out routines were the only way to get results … well, that was enough to spur the creation of Real Health NZ.

“At that time, we were in the space of thinking about women who have no time in their lives; those who are trying to build their careers or have babies. We wanted to strip wellness back to the basics and share the realities of what it’s like to have a healthy lifestyle and fit it around a busy lifestyle.”

Jen and Ren,

As part of the setup process for Real Health NZ, Jenna and Renee considered the following as crucial to their modus operandi: 

  • Being clear on your business DNA (seek help in defining this if necessary)
  • Using professional qualifications to add credence and substance to your core offering
  • Regularly connecting with your target market face to face so that clients get to know, trust and like you
  • Creating a profile of your avatar (the user of your product)
  • Doing the hard yards early on; “Learn first, outsource second.”
  • Listen to customer feedback and be prepared to redesign your ever-evolving ‘why’; “The more you get to know your customers the more you realise where you need to fine-tune things.”
  • Continually ask the question: “How is this giving value to our audience?”
  • Taking some form of learning from each experience
  • Being OK about being vulnerable; it makes you relatable
  • Embracing automation to save time and allow more big-picture work
  • Being authentic, then going above and beyond.

But working with your best bud in business? How did that pan out?  

There’s power in teamwork and in this instance, friendship has moved the business forward. It may sound cliché, but it works because the two women harmonise like yin and yang; Jenna follows her strengths and Renee hers: “Jenna would be like, Oh I don’t wanna do that! And I’d be like, Oh I really wanna do that!” but both are accountable, and all major decisions are made together.

Jenna and Renee have a Monday morning debrief where they:

  1. Set the intentions for the week
  2. Make the decisions for the following week
  3. Share the wins
  4. Discuss task expectations
  5. Discuss task achievements
  6. Are accountable.

Ultimately: “We’re equal CEOs; if one of us isn’t on board then it’s a no go” and each supports the other 100%. (In fact at the end of this interview when I asked if the two could describe each other's superpowers, well, we could have done with longer audio …)

They both possess determination to drive the business onwards and upwards, “When it’s your own business, the dynamics are there to go hard – the sky’s the limit and nothing can stand in your way.”

They’re also inspired by their belief that encouraging women to take time to focus on wellness actually “gives you more time, because when you’re feeling great you have more energy, you’re more productive, you get things done quicker and it sets you up for an awesome day.” 

And for mums with a partner who isn’t prepared to take a load off her to allow that time, then the message is: that partner needs “a swift kick up the jacksy!”

With currently around 28,000 social media followers, the “Real Health NZ Ripple Effect” with real New Zealand women at the vortex is set to continue expanding - even globally - day by day.

Contact Jenna and Renee via their website: or via Facebook and Instagram.   

And by the way, if you need more help in moving your business from ordinary to extraordinary visit me, Craig Oliver at 

Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at

So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just look back, listen and learn.


Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and move your business from Ordinary to Extraordinary.



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