Motherhood and Entrepreneurship
Starting a business can be scary, and when I started down this road, I was terrified. Most people who consider venturing out on their own can relate to this, so I wanted to take a minute this month and change up my typical beauty blog to get a little personal. I want to share how I got the courage to take the leap and start Joli’ of Saugatuck in the hopes that something I have to say might give you the push you need to take the next step in your own journey.
For me, the dream of running my own business hit close to home. My husband and I both come from entrepreneurial families. My dad has owned real estate companies for years, and my mom runs a healthcare consulting firm while my husband’s family manages a trucking company. You could actually say we come from generations of entrepreneurs as both of our grandparents were, as well. Maybe it was in my blood to become a businesswoman, but even so, the bloodline did not negate the fear.
In the beginning, I was content to stay at home during the week and snag a few bridal make-up appointments here and there. But in the afternoon, when the kids went down for naps and the house was quiet, I would sit and think, “I want more. How do I get more? What does more even mean?”
I love my kids with every ounce of me, but my passion for the beauty industry existed long before they were even a twinkle in my eye. I knew that drive was not going away, and that’s when an opportunity surfaced to work for a spa. One catch: I needed my esthetician license. I was a stay-at-home mom who was already working part-time on the weekends. Could I really fit one more thing into my life? With the support of my husband, I decided to take the leap.
I completed the training and started working in a salon close to home. It wasn’t for me! I then met with a few salons in Grand Rapids, it was a 45-minute drive (in good weather which West Michigan rarely sees November through March). It was taking much more time away from my young family than I had anticipated, and I came to the hard truth that wouldn’t work either. The kids were so little, and I needed to be closer to home. I had just spent a ton of money on my license and I wasn’t going to give up.
Back to the drawing board I went. My sister, an entrepreneur herself, convinced me to rent a space in her building and step out on my own. I was scared beyond belief. Saugatuck/Douglas is a small town, and anyone who lives in a small town understands how they work. Word travels quickly, and I was afraid the words might not always be positive. Would I be criticized? What if I failed? Could I stand the thought of everyone laughing at my expense when my big idea went bust?
But there was a larger question in the back of my mind. Could I stand the thought of never trying? I could not, and I am so glad to say that creating Joli’ of Saugatuck has been the best decision I’ve ever made, for both my family and myself. Slowly but surely, I have built my business, and while I started with only a few appointments a week, I now work five days nearly every week. Not only have I watched my vision become my reality, but it has turned into more than I had even dreamed of. I am lucky that now there are two soon to be three other supportive women and business owners in the same space I share. They bring so much support!
I know I’m not the only one with big aspirations, so if your dreams are still sitting there, waiting for you to make the first move, here are some steps that helped me along the way:
1. Hire a Business Coach within your Industry
It is expensive, but let me tell you, it is much cheaper than making huge mistakes. Entrepreneur or not, having a mentor is grossly important as they help you focus on the big picture and get past the road blocks. For anyone in the spa industry, I encourage you to check out Lori Crete and the Beauty Biz Club. This was life-changing for me.
2. Surround Yourself with Cheerleaders
I am so fortunate to have incredibly supportive friends and family. When you take a risk as big as starting a new business, you will find that not everyone wants you to succeed. Sometimes the people you thought would be your biggest supporters end up bringing you down. Don’t be afraid to weed your garden! Surround yourself with people that help you grow – not steal your sunlight. The more positivity and encouragement you have around, the more successful you will be. My girlfriends have been amazing!
3. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
My best advice is to grow slowly. Any new business has a few hiccups, and by taking your time, those issues are much more manageable. Be patient with yourself and your client list that seems all but stagnant that first year. It will feel like it is taking forever to build, but consistency pays off, and you will be grateful you ironed out the kinks before the boom hits.
4. Find Your New Rhythm
Be sure to set time aside each day to plan ahead and brain dump. I do this in the early morning hours and listen to a book on audible while attacking my marketing plan. Here are my personal favs:
I keep work time as work time, so that my family time can then truly be family time. By setting aside a portion of my morning for business, I feel like the rest of my non-work days can truly focus on my children. I’m at my best in the mornings, but this might be nap time or the hour after bedtime for someone else. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Again, consistency is key!
5. It’s Cliché For a Reason: Just Do It!
Don't sit around waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along because timing is never perfect. Put your dreams into action - even if it is just a little bit right now. Start by giving your big dream a mere 30 minutes a day and see where that takes you. I promise you that you will be surprised how quickly the ball can start rolling once you let it go. Doubters got you down? Rethink who you surround yourself with and seek out those who encourage you to be your best self. There is no reason to waste your time being anything less.