Salon Expansion: 4 things I’ve learned Since Expanding with Employees
Hello…. it’s me! ( every time I say “hello”, I can’t help but follow it with “it’s me”)
It’s been a little over a year since Viv and I expanded our salon Peachy Keen Studio and it’s been quite a journey. An amazing and rewarding one.
When I first decided to start my business, I knew nothing about business. I didn’t get a business degree and all I had was my high school diploma and cosmetology license. I knew a couple of things
1.) I was going to have my own business one day.
2.) That I believed in myself even if it didn’t seem possible (I didn’t always believe in myself before. It was life experiences that taught me I had to if I want to succeed in life).
If I allowed what was in my bank account then, the people that said “it’s really hard to start a business, most businesses fail within the first 5 years… ” dictate what I wanted, and my fear to get in the way, I would have never started. It starts with making a decision and running with it. A lot of times we get stuck and don’t make the decision. We talk about something for days, months, years… and all of a sudden we never start. If not now, then when?? Making a decision is profound and will help you execute. You have to put your blinders on, you have to see it so you can believe it and then get straight to work. As long as you have that, you’ll start seeing random coincidences fall in your lap. Or I like to say miracles. I totally believe in miracles.
What does this have to do with my post? Well it’s important to have this kind of mindset when you start but it’s even more important to have this mindset when the challenges get thrown your way. Believe me, there are always going to be struggles. The struggle has been and is real. But……. it’s also very rewarding when you get through them. Nobody really shares the struggles. But the struggles are what I’m most grateful for. Without them, I wouldn’t be better at this boss thing. To be honest, I’m still not perfect but I like to focus on improvement and enjoying the journey. This is why I wanted to reflect a little with y’all from my personal experiences and give you some tidbits as well.
You can read my story of ” How I got into the Beauty Industry and when Peachy Keen Studio was born” here! it’s broken up into two parts but I’d love for y’all to watch it so you can see how I started and really follow my journey from the beginning.
Here are four things I’ve learned since expanding to having employees and some advice :
1.) You and your business need to be ready– I’m not going to lie, when I first started my business at 23, I thought I knew it all. Even though I would say I was very mature for my age, there are certain parts of me that still weren’t ready. Although I had to start over so many times and it wasn’t fun, I’m so glad I did. Being a boss is not “being a boss (insert ebonics voice)”. To be a boss really means you have to sacrifice more so you can give more. When I was 23, I was still really selfish. I honestly don’t think I would have realized this it if it wasn’t for my husband. I’m actually quite grateful for our fights about me being selfish because it has allowed me to open my eyes and see that I was actually pretty selfish with my business as well.
When you hire your first employee, it’s important that you’re even ready to give them business. Is your business even ready for that? Are you even ready for any of the new responsibility? Are you fully booked that you can now give your employee business? You are creating an opportunity for someone and it’s not one if you don’t even have clients for them or you’re taking them all to yourself.
My first time hiring an employee was in 2013. My studio was in Allen (which is a suburb of Dallas). We had just moved to DT Dallas and I strongly disliked the commute so I thought “hey I’ll move my studio 35 min south of where I was” (not the best idea). I had just hired my first employee while I was working in Allen and didn’t realize the move could affect us. *Something to know and always remember* any time you move salons (especially more than 5 miles) expect to lose on average 30% of your clientele. You bet I did.
When we were in Allen, I had the clientele to give her but when we moved the studio to Dallas, we lost a lot of clients. Which hurt financially. I’m so glad I had my other stream of income with Rodan and Fields because I don’t know how we were even going to pay all of our bills. Chris and I just moved to a high rise downtown and had all these new expenses and then all of a sudden my income was slowly dropping. Clients were realizing that driving to Dallas was inconvenient. At this point, I was just trying to rebuild for myself that I wasn’t really building for my employee. Because of my focus just being on myself, I was not the best leader. I can’t believe I’m even admitting this but I want to be as transparent as possible. There would be several times that I would forget to give her her check and she would have to remind me. It wasn’t even because I didn’t have the money. I had the money I would just forget. That right there is a sign that I wasn’t ready. It was all about me. If I were working for a boss that I’d have to remind to give me my paycheck, I would think “damn do they have their shit together?!” That is just one example of many. My priorities were not straight. Looking back now, I was not ready for the additional responsibility. It’s a lot of responsibility at first but once you get used to it and are all in, you do it and it’s rewarding.
2.) It’s not about you anymore- this goes back to the being selfless part … As easy as this sounds, it was actually pretty difficult for me at first. I had been used to working for myself as just me an individual business woman for 6 years (to be exact). I know this seems like something that is easy but when you change the roles after operating a certain way for 6 years, it’s hard to get used to making the changes. It’s difficult when you’re an owner operating your business too. I still work on clients and I still have to learn how to balance managing and operating. It’s about making the work environment great for not just you but your employees as well.
It’s important that you look out for the success of your employees. If an employee is not happy where they’re working, why would they want to continue being there. Or even if they decide to stay, they probably aren’t going to give off the best energy to your clients if they’re not happy. You want your clients to have a pleasant experience so they can continue to tell their friends and family about your business. This is what will help you continue to grow. Word of mouth is the biggest form of advertisement. Most people trust opinions of friends and family over reviews. You’ve worked so hard to give it the reputation it has so it’s important that your employees help you maintain that and keep the referrals coming.
Our clients and our employees are what make our businesses grow. So it’s so important you take care of them. It’s not even just the employees that have to be on their best but you do too. For them. All of your actions can hurt not just the business for yourself but for
them too. If you get a bad review, it’s not just hurting you, it’s hurting them.
3.) You have to be organized– I’ll be honest I’m not the most organized person. I’ve always just winged everything when it was just me working for myself. I would write down my goals and to do’s but it wasn’t something that I was always consistent with. With employees it’s important for you to reflect, goal set, and write things out because it holds you and them accountable to staying on the course. You have to do this for them because how will you even hold them accountable? When it’s just you working for yourself, it’s easy to take the pause button and do everything at your own pace. But when you have employees, you can’t do that anymore or you’re only hurting yourself.
When it was me on my own, there would be a few months of “grind mode” and then another couple of months of not so much lol. I would go on a vacation, get bumped off my routine and it would take me a while to get back on track. I can’t just do that anymore. When I go out of town now, there’s so much more planning involved right before I leave. Now more than ever it’s important to stay consistent when you have employees. How do you expect them to grow if you’re not growing?
This is where all those years of my leadership training a few years ago actually paid off ( another reason why I believe everything happens for a reason). It’s important that you lead by example and are not just dictating. If you’re comfortable, they’re going to be comfortable. When you’re not organized, they’re not organized. It’s so easy to get comfortable because of feeling overwhelmed with all of your thoughts and “to do’s” that you end up not getting much done. Then it becomes this vicous cycle. Trust me! I know. I do it still but luckily I’m aware when I get into this cycle and go back to the drawing board to reorganize. When you have your thoughts organized and written down, it’s easy to cross off the most imporant things that make the biggest difference in your business. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. And while I’m not perfect at being organized, I see when I put in
the effort to be, I see change. I use the Ultimate Mindset Planner and it’s the only planner that I have consistently written in for the last 10 months and it has helped me so much!!!!
One of the biggest learning curves this last year for me was my lack of organization with inventory. When it was just me, I would just order products when I saw I was running a little low. When I hired my first employee it was also pretty easy to manage. Then as we grew and I got more employees and more clients, I couldn’t keep up. I would be on vacation and get texts from my employees that we ran out of certain supplies. It happened a couple of times where I would just keep dropping the ball and not order products in time or order when we were out. At the rate that we were growing, I knew I had to change. I’m sure it’s frustrating as an employee to even have to tell a client they can’t do a specific look they’re wanting because they don’t have the supplies in stock. It looks bad on them and they weren’t the ones that created the problem (again going back to the “it’s not about you anymore”). This should have never been an issue but I’m glad it happened so I could learn from my mistakes. It would be different if a company just didn’t have the means to buy the supplies but this wasn’t our problem. The problem was me. I chose to not be organized. I realized that in order for things to change, I had to change. So I now have a system and schedule. I have a spreadsheet and do it weekly. hehe
I have sooo much to learn and organization is a big one for me. I have to remind myself (I hope it’s a reminder for you too) that I’m not perfect and to not be hard on myself. Just be aware, reflect on it so you can do better, and move forward with the best intentions.
4.) Take care of you and enjoy the climb- As cliche as this sounds, it’s true. I literally had anxiety attacks last year when I was first starting. I wasn’t taking care of me. I knew I had to get back on track and do me. Since then, I’ve also started meditating and that’s been really helpful. Why is any of this even worth it if you’re not happy.
First, let me say happiness is a choice. Right now be happy exactly where you are because it’s still better than most people. I know we can get so stressed out in the journey and we forget to enjoy the moment that we never feel happy. I’ll be the first to tell you that achieving the goals on your list especially material ones are not going to bring happiness. You have to be happy in this moment right now. Even if your situation isn’t ideal at the moment, remember everything is temporary. When you choose to be happy just because, you’ll actually attract more of that happiness.
Find. An. Outlet. Working out with my girlfiends and traveling with my husband (check out our last trip here)are what rejuvenates my soul and are my outlets. I don’t workout just to be “fit”, I work out because it makes me mentally be better. I’m more positive. When I’m more positive, I perform better and with the best intentions. That is so important for me to have not just for my clients but my work environment for my employees. I want to be able to lead by example. I want that example to come from love and positivity. Just like negativity is contagious, positivity is too. The world needs more of that.
When you’re working a lot like me sometimes 7 days a week, it’s good to have a change of scenery. Sometimes going on vacation is what I need to be reinspired, regrouped, and refreshed. When I go on vacation, I can’t wait to go back to work after a few days.
Why am I sharing any of this? Because when I first started this entrepreneurship thing and still to this day when I’m trying to learn new things, I wish I had found a blog I could relate to and get more information and advice. I also need your help, there’s going to be times where I’m questioning what I’m even writing about because I think ” Will this even help anyone?”. Or “is this too long of a post?” If I’m helping at least one person, that already makes it worth it. I need your help with questions though. If there is something you’d like to know more about or need advice ( this goes for my entire blog), please ask and I can see where I can help or hopefully guide you to other helpful sites. Maybe it will even help me learn more about something and maybe you can even help me. This is what community means to me and that’s something I would love to build here. A blog where we are a community of likeminded women that want to share and receive helpful advice.
Until next time,
shop the look: it’s on clearance now #endofsummer