New Year's Resolutions: Rethinking work-life balance
From the challenges of working at home to the challenges of child care, 2020 eroded the border between our labour and leisure time.
Maybe it’s time your took control of your own life-work balance.
Let me tell you my story.
"At 17, I was working at a weight loss centre to pay for my Business and Marketing degree at University. A friend of mine who happened to be in the same industry was going through a personal crisis. She was getting divorced and wanted to sell her weight loss business and she was willing to sell it to me on a payment plan for $160,000. Yes, that's right, a 17 year old with $160,000 debt!
But I was actually very lucky. My friend mentored me in how to run my first business and I was able to pay off that loan within 3 months. Starting with the existing 20 clients that came with the business purchase and building it to more than 120 customers within that short 3-month period of time (That means on average my clients spent approximately $400/mth).
Then my clients began asking about laser treatments and I invested $200,000 in - what today is a competitors laser device for my business and as they say…
…the rest is history " - Amanda Hall, owner Nubody Equipment / Dermalase IPL
Taking the leap to start my own first spa business at 17 was the scariest thing I had ever done. Now, after more than 15 years of helping new entrepreneurs start their own spas and clinics, taking the leap is still the single most common fear I hear from them.
Common general questions entrepreneur hopefuls usually ask me, revolve around things like; taxes, insurance, suppliers and so on. But the questions that really keep new entrepreneurs up at night – and prevent them from taking the first step in starting their own business – revolve around the big picture;
Do I have what it takes to turn my dream into a reality?
Will I be able to find customers?
Will I have able to make enough money to make ends meet?
And ultimately… will I fail?
If you're thinking of starting your own aesthetic's business, then you've likely worried about one or all of the above questions – and here's the good news; Everyone who starts their own business and has become successful, also had exactly the same fears.
So, lets talk about our biggest challenge, the fear of failure – and examine some common questions that may be keeping you from starting your dream business.
1.) Not knowing when or where to start
Most new entrepreneurs don't know where to start when first setting their ideas in motion. One of the easiest ways is to model your business after someone that is already successful. Study what they are doing to create their winning business and reach out to see if they will offer some advice or information. Even if they are too busy to share their insights with you, it's still possible to understand what they are doing from an outside view.
Secondly, set a date. I know each of us have personal or professional responsibilities that seem to steal all our time and energy – but, if you are unable to set a reasonable start date – you will never get started. Also, by having a start date, you can systematically work backwards to identify and schedule all the mini-tasks that will need to be accomplished prior to opening your business; everything from having your location, insurance, licenses and marketing, etc in place so that your first day
is smooth and stress free.
Remember, one of the biggest enemies of successfully starting is to believe that everything must be perfect. Don't. Every business is a learning experience and if you remember that bringing customers in the door is your first priority, followed by performing the best service you can – you will succeed – all the rest just supports these first two priorities.
The first step you take is the most important in your journey and your business path will unfold as you continue forward.
2.) Not finding funding (no funding, no faith)
What Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and thousands of other successful entrepreneurs often had in common – was that no one believed in them. But another thing they also had in common - was that they believed in themselves and each of them didn't give up – which is why they became successful.
Being a business owner would be easy, if every one of us with a dream could walk into a bank and get a loan or attract an angel investor. But, that's just not always realistic and we entrepreneurs without investors have to find a way to jump-start our business anyway.
Sometimes the best way to start is slow and steady. I have had many Dermalase IPL customers that bought their device with my 90-day-no-payments Lease-to-Own program and used that time to build their customer base and revenue stream – which paid off their downpayment and more importantly, gave them a steady income stream which allowed them to reinvest in their business.
3.) Not attracting customers (If I build it, will they come?)
Many new entrepreneurs in the beauty industry know enough about their products and services to answer almost any question or issue that may arise. On the other hand, many are unsure of how to market and sell their services or focus too much on details that – in the big picture - aren't as important.
As I mentioned earlier, winning your first clients is priority number one.
Your first 5 to 20 clients will likely come from your family, friends, ex-colleagues, etc if you make them aware of your business and offer them something of value to spread the word and refer new clients to you.
Here are a few tips to remember when growing the number of customers you have;
ONE – be sure to have signage that tells traffic who you are, what you do, where you are located, when you are open and how to contact you.
TWO – initially concentrate on advertising to customers located within less than a 15 minute drive of your location. These clients will make up the bulk of your customer base and show the highest return on your advertising initiatives which may take the form of; Flyers in every home mailbox, apartment mailbox and car windshield, or posters in highly visible traffic areas, or even business co-promotional ideas, just to name a few. The key is to never stop advertising because your potential clients will have to see your message many times before becoming customers.
THREE – build at least one referral program so that your customers (and employees) become your sales people.
FOUR – network with locals and business within walking distance of your location to be sure they are aware of the first three tips
After getting your first customers, remember that each of them is much more valuable than the price of a single treatment – during the lifetime of each client you should earn many treatments and referrals leading to even more customers and profits.
4.) Show me the money
If you quit before you are profitable, you will never earn a profit. I won't lie, starting up a business isn't easy, but it isn't difficult either. There is just one rule here; Hustle. Work every day at selling your services and performing them well and you will succeed. That's it.
Ultimately, our biggest regrets in life weren't our failures, but our failure to act. The secret to success is the same secret you knew as a child; just don't be afraid to take that first step…