KARMAjack logo

The Face Behind KARMA jack: Whose Big Idea Was This Anyway?

KARMA jack offers digital marketing jobs that make a difference.

With that said, join our team who takes pride in hustling harder for our clients. 

The Face Behind KARMA jack: Whose Big Idea Was This Anyway?

What makes a good business leader? Some people seem to just be born with it. “It” being that inherent charisma that could entice people off the edge of a cliff. And once you’ve got “it,” how do you run a company without becoming soullessly corporate?

Meet Joel Sellentine. There is more to the CEO of KARMA jack than just business savvy. He is someone you can trust irrevocably–and we’re not just saying that because we have to. His story is one any business owner, struggling or successful, can relate to. In this mini profile, we touch on his rocky road to digital marketing, what makes the CEO tick, and a little bit about why Detroit is the best city ever.

“I’m sure it’s taken a toll on my psyche, but it’s also made me who I am. Understanding different perspectives goes a long way.”

About Joel

Sellentine was naturally athletic and talented at sports, which helped when it came to making friends in school (I mean, no one wants to be picked last for kickball). Running became an outlet for his relentless energy and hyperactivity, something that drove his parents crazy when he was younger.

In high school, Sellentine fell in love with running and cross country, winning the half mile race as a junior. (He was basically The Flash.) This constant motion helped him learn how to channel his energy in positive ways, and later on, his natural drive for achievement would power a rocketship career. But first, it would launch him into academia. 

His athletic ability gained him attention from college recruiters, leading to a full ride scholarship to University of Detroit Mercy. Initially, he embarked on the path to becoming a teacher and volunteered for AmeriCorps, working with disadvantaged children on reading, writing and math. Spending time in schools made him realize that he didn’t want to be boxed into a classroom for the rest of his life, and he pivoted to a degree in English.

“My mom and dad didn’t know what to do with me, they’d make me run laps around the house. We were on this road trip one time, and my dad made me get out of the car. He drove a couple miles down the freeway and made me run to the minivan. But I calmed down after that.”

The Beginning Of KARMA jack

“I graduated and had no idea what I wanted to do. I was bartending, I was totally lost. I was applying for jobs but not getting anywhere. My fiance at the time and I got pregnant with Jaclyn.”

For Sellentine, this was an “oh-sh*it moment” that propelled him into a job as a Field Service Rep for a coupon book company called Entertainment Promotions. He reconnected with his affinity for education and working with kids by helping out with school fundraising. While climbing his way up the corporate ladder, he learned from the ground up how to run a business and developed his leadership skills. He took on a VP role in his early thirties, while all of his peers were in their fifties. 

“I was so motivated to grow in my career because the only way to make more money was to advance. I had kids and was stupid with my money. I was loaded with credit card debt. I had no other choice but to keep climbing.”

After a ten year post-college sabbatical from reading, Sellentine delved into personal finance books to learn how to manage money. In 2008, he launched an online fundraising platform with his father called Fundraiser Pal, which would allow schools to raise money online. Things went sideways and they had to shut it down. However, in that process Sellentine learned everything about running a business, from SEO to who not to hire.

Sellentine realized not only that he had a knack for digital marketing, but that he was passionate about it. He saw old forms of advertising dying away–the future was digital. After quitting his job at a travel agency, Sellentine began doing consulting and commission-only work. He learned social media content, website design, SEO blogging, and other aspects of digital marketing all on his own. As time progressed, he slowly built a small team of eclectic and skilled people that became KARMA jack.

“Even though it was one of my biggest failures, it was also one of my biggest successes. Because I did all that, years later I was able to create a marketing agency that is successful. At the time it was awful and embarrassing and expensive. Now, it’s turned into one of the most fruitful negative situations that I went through.”

Giving back to the community is at the heart of Sellentine’s ideology, which is why each month the staff picks a charitable cause or nonprofit to donate to–it’s our Good KARMA. It’s important to the CEO that his employees have purpose and fulfillment in their own lives, and are able to feel empowered in their own ability to make an impact. Additionally, the CEO and his wife have started an internship program for students in need. 

Sellentine admits that this mindset is counterintuitive to how most businesses operate. But he believes that for KARMA jack, it’s about more than just being profitable. It’s about taking a business that has maybe plateaued and move them from not getting results, feeling stressed and frustrated, to seeing their business grow and thrive.

“I have this thing I do every day, which is to create a legacy of success, health, prosperity and goodwill in perpetuity. Giving back and helping other people is fulfilling part of that. It’s not some sales pitch. If we don’t make a difference in another business, we fire ourselves.”

KARMA jack Gets Detroit

The company is nestled in Detroit, a city Sellentine expresses an unwavering love for. 

One of his favorite things to do is to ride his bike around the city with no music. It clears his head, and it’s where he comes up with his best ideas. For Sellentine, problem-solving is a creative process in its own right. He intuitively understands the right formula that will solve a business’ challenges and lead to its success. This is his unique secret weapon as a visionary and an entrepreneur. That–and his incredible wife, Kara Sellentine, who’s been in his corner since day one.

“Detroit is experiencing a renaissance, the city is thriving. Detroit gets a lot of bad press, but I realized that KARMA jack can be a positive voice in the community. If I can bring my business into the city and we can make a positive impact, maybe we can be a magnet for others to do the same.”

Joel's Inspiration

Like Sellentine, his wife is highly driven and a marathon runner. She has had her own skyrocketing career as both a brand manager and standup comedian. The two push each other and love to take on new challenges.

“She was the reason I was able to start KARMA jack. She gave me the confidence to walk away from something that no one else would. She has been a light of encouragement and support.”

As for other people Sellentine looks up to in his life, he’s found himself in the surreal situation of being lonely at the top.

Sellentine has turned to the work of authors like Tim Ferris and Gary Keller for inspiration. Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek transformed the way he thought about work–at a time before the world had adapted to remote work. Recently, Sellentine has had the opportunity to connect with other business leaders he admires, even if it was a little scary to put himself out there at first.

“Every person on our team I look up to for their individual skill sets. I’ve had good leaders in the past. It’s a little weird because now those people have reached out to me looking for advice. I’m not better than anyone else–I’m just another human… It’s a lonely feeling because, who do I go to?”

KARMA jack Gets You

“KARMA jack has turned into this beautiful situation where we have extraordinary talent. We give as much as we can and make a difference. It’s an achievable thing for a small or midsize business to work for us. You can have an entire marketing department for less than the cost of an employee.”

We Get You. We understand the daily challenges your business faces, and we have the power and resources to creatively solve those problems. We get you more leads, we get you more customers, we help grow your business. Why? Because we actually care about you, and we love making a difference in every way that we can. Give us a call. We can’t wait to meet you.

Skip to content