I know, I know, not all people born in August are Leo’s, but doesn’t it kind of feel like it? And that’s the way they would want it. (That’s a joke for the astrology crowd.) I’ve got a lot of Leo’s in my life and we tend to get along well, so I’ve got nothin’ but love for my lions. In tribute to them, I am calling this August recap “The Leo Month Recap.”
In August, Allison Barbera Beauty celebrated 11 years in business. I have a pre-teen! That’s crazy. We had 15 weddings, a bunch of trials and some corporate shoots. All of the brides I personally worked with this month were awesome awesome awesome. Jamie, Caroline, Taylor, Victoria and Kate–you rock! Thank you for being so great to work with.
We also booked a lot of 2020 weddings, which I’m psyched about. Next year is going to be BANANAS busy, y’all. We ready.
I tried the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation (which Sam from Pixiwoos raves about), but I got a lighter shade that I needed so I’ve just been using that on the center of my face with my regular MAC Face & Body that matches me on the rest of my face. I need to get the right shade of Light Wonder to use on my whole face so I can really review it. I also tried her Legendary Lashes Volume 2, which I liked a lot.
On the personal front, I had some fun times with friends old and new. I had a party with several friends and relatives to celebrate 11 years in business and we had a blast. I dragged my mom to a bunch of stores to help me find more furniture and decor for my apartment, and we were successful even though she pointed out the SAME EXACT CHAIR I told her I didn’t want, thrice. I took my father to Animal Adventures in Bolton, MA for a private guided tour (his Father’s Day present) and he had the best damn time.
I started physical therapy for this (the doctors think) vestibular disorder I’ve had since last October. It messes with my balance and I’ve tried a lot of things to fix it, but PT is the first thing that seems to be helping. I’m still not totally out of the woods, but I can’t tell you how much of a relief is it have found something that is helping.
August was overall a good month. It maybe didn’t feel as balanced as July, but it didn’t bury me as much as June did. Now we are in September, the second busiest month of the year for AB Beauty. It’s September 5th, and we’ve already done four weddings with two more happening tomorrow and four more on Saturday. That’s 10 in seven days, if you’re counting.
And that means I should probably go to bed. I’ve got two great brides this weekend, and they deserve a well-rested makeup artist.
We’ve had a fantastic, busy, fun, record-breaking wedding season this year! And it’s not over yet–we’ve got two more this month.
In honor of our lovely clients and the stellar work my team has done this wedding season, I’d like to share a few great photos. I am still in the process of getting professional photos from this season so we have a lot more to come, but since this year is just about over, it seemed fitting to do this now.
Thank you to every bride, bridesmaid, Jr. Bridesmaid, mother, grandmother, aunt and Flower Girl we worked with this year. Thank you to the wedding planners, venues, past clients, friends and relatives who have referred us. Thank you to the photographers who have let us share their photos. And as always, thanks to my rockstar team. For the 2018 season, that was hair stylists Alex, Ana, Ann, Candie, Emily, Jen G., Kerri and Liza and makeup artists Ainslie, Alexis, Candie (pulling double duty), Chantal, Emma, Jen S., Katie and Kristin.
By now, I’m sure you have read my Wedding Hair & Makeup Help blog post and narrowed down your top picks for your beauty services team. Your next step is to contact those companies to see if they are available on your date. The best way to do that is to send them an email with the information they’ll need to check availability and give you the appropriate rates and information. If they have all of the info they need from you, a good company will get back to you quickly with their availability, so you can then proceed with the process.
My company’s website has required fields for the necessary info, and wedding websites like WeddingWire and The Knot have some of the same required fields. But if you are contacting a company on Instagram, Facebook or via an email address you have, you might not know where to start.
Need help drafting that email? I got you, girl. Here’s how to do it.
Hello, My Name Is. If you don’t have an email signature and your name is not clearly in your email address, you’ll want to let the company know who you are. (Guacamolefreak612@gmail.com may be who you feel you are as a person, but it doesn’t give a company any clue as to what your name is.)
Here’s When It Goes Down. I recommend giving your full wedding date, as established companies are often always booking the current year as well as the following year. And especially if your wedding is not on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you should also provide the day of the week. “Saturday, 7/7/18” eliminates the need for any followup questions regarding the date.
Tell ‘Em What You Need. Do you need hair services, makeup services or both? This will allow the company to know whether to contact/assign hair stylists, makeup artists or both.
Where’s The Party At? If you are using an on-location beauty team, provide the location of where you will be getting ready that day. If you don’t have an exact address yet (maybe because you are deciding between two hotels or a hotel and Airbnb), then at least provide the city/town. It’s important that you tell the company where the hair and/or makeup services will be taking place, not where your wedding ceremony or reception is. They likely need this info to figure out a) who on their team is available and b) if there will be a travel fee. If you tell them your wedding is in Boston but you are actually getting ready at a hotel 30 minutes away, that could affect their pricing and availability.
How Deep Do You Roll? You may not know the exact number of people who will be getting hair and makeup done, but it’s helpful if you can provide an estimate. The reason for this is that many companies who travel have a service minimum, so if you don’t meet that, they should let you know that upon inquiry in case you can find other people who will want their hair and/or makeup done or have to look for another company. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a big group, the company will probably find it helpful to know that, as they may want to make sure they have enough people to potentially accommodate your group size.
Time It Right. I suggest mentioning your ceremony time in your inquiry. This may also affect the company’s availability. (For example, if you have a 10:00am ceremony–they exist–and the company has other weddings booked on your date but those groups don’t need to be ready until later in the day, they may still be able to accommodate your group.) Bonus points if you also mention whether or not you are doing a First Look, as that affects timing too.
Who’s Your Connect? I always ask clients this anyway, but I (and I would think most business owners) appreciate knowing how someone heard about their company. At AB Beauty, we have a Referral Rewards Program for people who refer brides who book. Those people get a $25 Sephora eGift card after the wedding as a thank you, so it’s helpful to know if someone was a referral. And unless an email came directly from WeddingWire or The Knot, I don’t really know how someone found AB Beauty. So this is not going to affect pricing or availability, but worth a mention.
Still not sure how to craft your inquiry masterpiece? Here’s a sample.
My cousin, Joan Holloway, recommended your company, as she hired you for her wedding last spring. I am looking for hair and makeup services for my Saturday, 7/7/18 wedding. We will be getting ready at the Marriott in Newport, RI. Our ceremony is at 5:00pm, but we are probably doing a First Look. I have seven bridesmaids and two mothers who will likely want hair and/or makeup, plus three Flower Girls.
Are you available on my date? If so, can you please send me your rates* and any other important info?
A thorough inquiry means you don’t have to go back and forth with a company, giving them the info they so they can tell you if they are available on your date. It’s the most efficient way to potentially move forward with your wedding beauty services and cross that task off your planning To Do list.
If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so feel free to holla at me in the comments.
Have a beautiful day 🙂
*Even if rates are listed on a website, I recommend asking for them in case they change after you book and the company increases their pricing. It’s best to have your quoted rates in writing to prevent any confusion.
Allison Barbera Beauty Honored for Excellence in 10th Annual WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardsⓇ
NEWPORT, RI — January 10, 2018 — Allison Barbera Beauty recently announced its recognition as a winner of the esteemed 2018 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardⓇ for beauty services in Rhode Island. This is the company’s eighth consecutive Couples’ Choice Award.
WeddingWire Inc., the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and events industry, annually recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The top local wedding professionals in more than 20 service categories from venues to florists are awarded the prestigious accolade.
Allison Barbera Beauty was recognized as a recipient solely based on reviews from newlyweds and their experiences working with them. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.
“This is the tenth year we’ve celebrated our top-rated vendors who have helped millions of couples celebrate one of the most important days of their lives,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “This group of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals, such as enter your business name, not only make wedding planning simpler for engaged couples, but also serve as a trusted partner in helping to make WeddingWire the go-to place for wedding planning. We congratulate all of this year’s winners on their achievement.”
Allison Barbera Beauty is thrilled to be one of the top beauty service providers in Rhode Island on WeddingWire.com.
For more information about Allison Barbera Beauty, please visit us on WeddingWire.
WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers are able to read over 3 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses. Globally, it provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including Bodas.net, Casamentos.com.br, Matrimonio.com and more. The company employs more than 900 and maintains global headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.
Hello, gorgeous! Are you a bride-to-be? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time and even though I don’t know you, I’m happy for you.
But let’s be real–wedding planning can be overwhelming. There are SO MANY VENDORS to choose from, and unless you work in the industry or have been involved with planning a wedding before, it’s hard to know where to start. Websites like WeddingWire and The Knot can help with the process, as can a good wedding planner. But when it comes to choosing a beauty services company, it can be tricky figuring out which ones are good and which ones will make your planning harder than it needs to be.
The first thing I recommend is to check out vendor listings on WeddingWire. Pour yourself a glass of wine/cup of coffee/shot of tequila, because this might take a while. You’ll see some basic info and a few pictures from each company and if you like their work, look at their website. (If they don’t have a website, you’re likely not dealing with a very professional or established company.) If their website looks legit and their pricing is in your budget (hopefully it’s on their website), then read through their reviews.
There will probably be more positive than negative reviews, so I suggest sorting the reviews by lowest rating. If you see a theme of the same bad vendor behavior in the reviews, that can be a warning sign. I’m not talking a couple reviews or ones that don’t say anything but just give a low rating. But if you consistently see the same negative comments or low ratings in the same area, be careful.
A few things to watch for in the reviews.
Punctuality. Many of the bad reviews I’ve read start with “They showed up 15/30/45 minutes late.” If you see several reviews that mention artists/stylists being late the day of, bustle your gown so you can run. Wedding hair and makeup professionals are usually the first vendor of the day, so if they don’t start on time, that can have a domino effect and make your whole day run late. There’s enough to worry about with the day-of timeline, so why put the start to your day in the hands of a vendor who dismisses the importance of that?
Responsiveness. Wedding planning is a time sensitive thing, and sometimes you can’t make your next move with one vendor until another vendor answers you. And that should not take days. If you see multiple reviews that say a hair and makeup company was slow to respond or brides often had to chase them down for responses, do not book them. They are guaranteed to add stress to your wedding planning, and that’s the last thing you need! WeddingWire has a specific “Responsiveness” category, so I strongly recommend looking at that in the overall rating for a vendor.
Running on Schedule. An experienced wedding hair and makeup team should run on schedule, so buyer beware if you see a lot of reviews stating a particular company ran late. As long as the people in your group show up on time, know what they want, and don’t get up from the chair during their services, the hair stylists and makeup artists should be able to complete all services in the allotted time.
One Contact Person. Multiple points of contact for any wedding vendor transaction can add a lot of confusion to the process. If you come across reviews that mention this issue, tread carefully. A company with constant turnover or lack of internal structure is likely to add some unnecessary frustration to your planning process.
No Excuses. Most wedding review websites will allow vendors to respond to reviews. If you read negative-review responses that are full of excuses from a beauty services company, I strongly suggestion you move on. Excuses and defensiveness are signs that a company lacks professionalism, and is that really who you want to deal with?
After you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’ll want to ask some questions once you establish that the company has your date available. If they can’t answer some of these questions or seem to be evading certain ones, proceed with caution.
How long have you been in business? Not just the hair stylists and makeup artists on the team, but how long has the company been around? Experience doesn’t guarantee that a more established company will always be better, but being in business for at least five years means there is a good chance the company has come across (and hopefully smoothed out) all the normal issues on the operational side and has learned how to make the entire hair and makeup process smooth and easy for their clients. A brand new business may not be aware of how to handle everything because it’s hard to know how to address issues you haven’t encountered yet. If you have a question they haven’t heard or a situation they haven’t come across yet, that may cause delays and confusion that will negatively affect your experience.
Do you do this full time or part-time? Ideally whoever your main point of contact is (the owner, your hair stylist or makeup artist, a bridal coordinator, etc.) will work full-time. Wedding questions are sometimes time sensitive and having to wait several days for a response because your point of contact only works three days a week can be frustrating and cause delays with your wedding planning process.
Are there any hidden fees? At AB Beauty, all of our charges are covered in the rates list and/or FAQs we send upon inquiries. There are no surprise charges and your rates are locked in once you book, regardless of company rate increases. If a company can’t provide you with all of their rates and charges in writing, don’t trust them. That’s not tinnitus you’re hearing–it’s warning bells.
Do you use a contract? Steer clear of a company that doesn’t use a contract. I’ve gotten several calls from panicked brides over the years whose hair and/or makeup team last minute cancelled on them, and in those situations, the services were always “booked” without a written contract. A good contract will protect both parties, and is also a testament to the level of professionalism that company has.
How much is the deposit? Amounts can vary depending on the services you book, but you should be able to get a definitive answer on how much your’s is. If a company can’t provide that answer for you, or seems like they are just saying a number, that’s suspect.
Do you travel? Let’s face it–it’s way more convenient and comfortable to have your beauty team go to you. It eliminates the level of stress that accompanies having to get to a salon and back, nevermind the chunk of time that takes out of your day. If this isn’t important to you, that’s cool. But it’s something worth asking about if you are even slightly considering having a team go to you.
Do you use a schedule? At AB Beauty, we do an average of ten hair and ten makeup services at each wedding (but have done as many as 22). Without a schedule for hair and makeup, things can get very chaotic very quickly. And do you know what chaos leads to? Things not running on time. We are sometimes booked for just hair services or just makeup services and work with another company for whatever we aren’t doing, and when they don’t have a schedule, it always causes the day to run less smoothly than it would with a schedule.
How do your trials work? If you are going to do a trial–and I strongly recommend you do–you’ll want to find out where the company does their trials, how much a trial costs, if they have certain days or hours they do trials, etc., as some of these factors may influence whether or not you want to book with them. Your point of contact should be able to give you clear answers to these questions without hesitation.
What kind of makeup do you use? There are lot of great product lines out there, and maybe you like specific ones. An experienced makeup artist should be able to name two or three of the lines they use most. I personally wouldn’t recommend booking a makeup artist who has a kit full of drugstore makeup, as it those products overall (with a few exceptions) don’t tend to stay on as long or blend as well as higher end makeup products.
Are false lashes included? If you are interested in false lashes, you’ll want to ask if they are included in the makeup service (they are at AB Beauty!) or are a separate cost.
Will I have the same makeup artist and hair stylist the day-of as I would at my trial? If you are doing a hair and makeup trial, you’ll of course want specific hair and makeup looks, but you’ll also want to make sure you like and trust your artist and stylist. Some companies will put you with different people the day of your wedding and while they may be able to duplicate your trial looks, you may not have the same rapport as you did with your original team. I strongly suggest working with a company who does not switch artists and stylists from your trial.
How many weddings do you normally do each year? If you are unclear as to whether or not you are dealing with an established company, hit ’em with this question. If they tell you they only do five or ten weddings a year, it’s either a part-time or new business and they probably don’t have the type of experience a company who does 50+ a year does. That will likely translate into a less of a smooth process, so I’d keep that in mind.
Do you have any references? If a company doesn’t have many reviews but you like everything else you have seen or read, there’s no reason you can’t ask for references from past brides. If a company can’t or won’t honor your request for this, something is up.
One more thing that’s worth a mention: As you comb through websites and Instagram, you may see some people who call themselves “celebrity” hair stylists and makeup artists. True celebrity hair and stylists and makeup artists don’t usually promote themselves as such, and if they are full-time celebrity makeup artists, they are likely not doing weddings. I have noticed that some people in my industry refer to themselves as celebrity artists/stylists, and they are people who have worked with maybe a couple “celebrities” (and I use that term loosely). I’ve worked with a few celebrities too, but that doesn’t make me a celebrity makeup artist. It’s one thing if someone refers to an artist or stylist that way in an article, but if you see the person promote themselves as one, check out their IMDB page and website portfolio and make your own judgement.
I hope this post is helpful to anyone trying to figure out how to book a professional, experienced and talented hair and makeup team. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.
If you are a licensed esthetician or cosmetologist (or will be after completing school and passing your exams) and you are looking for a job doing wedding hair and/or makeup in RI or MA, have I got the blog post for you!
I own Allison Barbera Beauty, a beauty services company based out of Newport, RI. I have been in business since 2008 and currently have 11 regular Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists on my team, primarily for wedding and event services. Thanks to my talented team, the fantastic people who refer us and our stellar reputation, we have more business than we can handle. I am always hiring for Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists and I have a strong need for at least two more makeup artists and one hair stylist at this time. Like I have work for you right now. Seriously!
Because the wedding industry is seasonal in New England, this is a part-time job. But it can be a very lucrative gig that requires little of your time. If you love doing wedding hair and/or makeup and want to make money on some of the weekend days during the spring, summer and fall, this could be the right fit for you.
I realize there are a ton of companies in the area who hire Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists. I don’t know the inner workings of these companies and really, it’s none of my business. What I do know is what I can offer you as an Independent Contractor for AB Beauty. From what I can see and what I’ve been told, this combination of things is not available at other companies. Interested in what AB Beauty brings to the table? Read on.
I’ve Got It Covered. I get all of the jobs and handle all of the client communication from initial inquiry to photo posting and the million things in between. I do all of the scheduling, trial coordination, invoicing, follow up, etc. I am organized and detail oriented to a fault. I will tell you where you are going for a job and make sure you have contact numbers, know where to park, which hotel room to go to, if there is a certain elevator to use, etc. If you work for AB Beauty, my goal is to make sure you get to do what you love without stressing about locations, schedules and other details.
I Will Bust My Ass For You. I work seven days a week. I have no kids, no husband, no pets, not even a houseplant that I need to water. My energy is put into making AB Beauty run smoothly and grow exponentially. I want to get my artists and stylists as much work as possible and I want them to enjoy working for me. I am always open to feedback and doing whatever I can to make the job easy for each artist and stylist. When someone on the team contacts me, I respond as soon as I see the call, email or text. I refuse to hold up people’s lives by making them wait a couple days for an answer or information they need. This is not a side project or hobby. This company is my life and I take it very seriously.
I Mean Business. My favorite game as a child was a little something I made up called “Small Business Owner.” No joke. I come from a business background. I opened my father’s real estate business with him when I was 15, and went on to be an Office Manager at other small businesses. I graduated with a degree in American Studies and a concentration in Business. I take business webinars, frequently consult with other business owners and am always reading at least one business book. I have great relationships with my accountant and attorney, so everything at AB Beauty is run as it is supposed to be. I constantly network, promote and make valuable business connections. You might not think this matters, but trust me, it does. And you may not realize that until you work for someone who has no business background. They could be the nicest person ever with an impressive makeup kit and an jealously-inducing hair portfolio, but if they do not know how to run a business, they will inevitably crash and burn. If you are working for them when that happens, your income is immediately reduced. Someone can be an insanely talented hair stylist or makeup artist, but that doesn’t mean they can run a business. And do you want to work for a business that is not run effectively or efficiently? I’m going to bet that you don’t.
Do Your Thing. As an Independent Contractor, you are legally allowed to work for other companies. I have had people who work at salons, spas, makeup counters and beauty supply stores as well outside of the beauty industry at office jobs, restaurants and even as a dental hygienist. I understand that as an Independent Contractor, you have to piece together your work. I hope to someday have full-time employee positions with benefits and trust me, I have plans in the works. But until then, you can work other jobs and work for AB Beauty, building the schedule that you want.
I Respect Your Time. When you work for AB Beauty, you will always know your schedule for a wedding one month in advance. If any change requests are made by a client after a wedding schedule has been finalized, I first ask you if you can accommodate the change–even if it is only by ten minutes–before committing to it. I know that as an Independent Contractor, you may have other clients scheduled before or after a wedding, and the jobs for those clients are also part of your livelihood. I also recognize that people have personal commitments and childcare arrangements to consider. I would never want you to lose out on one of your own clients or be late picking up your son because I didn’t confirm a schedule or forgot to tell you it changed. I am also an Independent Contractor (for corporate and commercial work) and I often don’t know get schedule until the night before a shoot. That makes it hard to plan anything, but that’s part of that world. However, I can prevent that from happening with jobs you do for me not only because of the nature of weddings and events, but because of the policies I have for AB Beauty clients.
Experience Is The Best Teacher. There is nothing like experience and I’ve got over eight years of it in the wedding beauty industry. (Eight years of weddings also means we have a huge and steady referral base from past clients.) I also have almost 20 years of overall business experience, as I mentioned above. How does that benefit you? The client interacts with me and is always responded to quickly and clearly. There is no confusion that spills over when you are doing their hair or makeup. That means you walk in to work with a happy client, not one who is mad that I neglected to tell her about hair extensions pricing until that day or never sent her invoice. I frequently get asked about Bridezillas, but I’ve never encountered one. I think that’s partly because angry, high maintenance clients can be created when they consistently get confusing answers or a lack of information from their vendors. I long ago figured out what clients want and need from their wedding beauty service provider and I built my company around those wants and needs. That knowledge and experience is invaluable and impossible to find in a company who hasn’t experienced it yet. AB Beauty has done hair and makeup for hundreds of weddings and events. I don’t remember the last time I got a question that I had never heard before. There are some things that no matter how a good a new company is, they just have not experienced yet. Do you want to work for a company that has already been through it all and worked out the kinks, or one who is still figuring things out?
I Got The Dream Team. My current artists and stylists are the best. Everyone gets along, helps each other out and has fun. We don’t do that gossipy, catty thing the beauty industry is unfortunately known for. Everyone looks out for the other people on the team, and that’s not something I have ever asked them to do. But when you have a group of good people working together, it happens naturally. I have seen AB Beauty artists and stylists exchange tips and techniques, and I do that with them as well. Everyone on the team is friendly, welcoming and happy to help each other out.
Our Reputation Is Killer. Check out our WeddingWire and TheKnot reviews as well as the testimonials on the Allison Barbera Beauty Weddings Facebook page. We currently have the highest number of reviews in RI on WeddingWire with an average 5 star rating. We have fantastic SEO–we are within the first few organic results for several relevant wedding hair and makeup Google searches. We also get tons of referrals from clients, vendors and venues we have worked with before. Along with the artists and stylists on my team, I have worked hard to create an experience that exceeds clients’ expectations. Doing that has given us the kind of solid reputation that ensures success not only for the business, but for the artists and stylists who work for AB Beauty.
As owner, my goal is to get my artists and stylists as much work as possible while making that work as easy as possible. I see myself as an agent. I basically get the jobs, offer them to you, and work out every detail so you can work with happy, informed clients. You do what you are passionate about then bill me for it. I take care of everything else.
If you love doing hair and/or makeup but do not love the business side or the responsibility and years it takes to build a profitable business–something that is becoming much more difficult as the market becomes saturated with beauty companies–we could work really well together.
If you are interested in joining the AB Beauty team, please email me at Info@AllisonBarbera.com. I look forward to adding more rockstars to the team.
It’s the finale! I’m going to miss writing these. If you’ve enjoyed reading these half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them, then this series has been a success. If you haven’t enjoyed reading them, then what are you doing back? I’m sure there are some Buzzfeed “articles” out there waiting for you.
So let’s finish out this Pros and Cons of entrepreneurship list. After reading these four posts, you should know exactly what you want to do with your life. I’m playin’! But if something I say kicks your ass into gear, then I can and will take the credit. 😉
Pros: You get to do something you enjoy. If you start a business, you hopefully choose a career that involves something you enjoy. Being passionate about something–or at least being very interested in it–is way better than working in a field you have zero interest in. There may come a point when you stop doing what the popular business book The E-Myth Revisited calls the “technician” work–in my case, doing makeup–but as the entrepreneur, you are still in the industry you want to be in. In my experience, working in a field you love makes everything considerably easier. I’ve had my company for 8+ years and I still love opening a new mascara, knowing it could become my new favorite. I still love watching YouTube makeup tutorials and learning different techniques. I still love discovering a new use for a product. And I really still love the feeling I get when someone looks in a mirror after their makeup is done and genuinely smiles. I didn’t have that kind of passion about real estate, air quality testing, the administrative side of education, food service or any other industry I previously worked in. But the beauty industry? That’s my jam.
Cons: It can take away some of your passion. As an entrepreneur, particularly if you are doing a lot of “technician” work, you may find that after a while, you like that part of your job less than you did when you started. It’s probably not that you really like it less though. It’s more likely that you feel weighed down by the business side of entrepreneurship, which requires a lot of energy. I think particularly in creative fields, having enough energy to both create and to manage, market and grow your brand can be very challenging. Speaking for the hair and makeup industries (and I think this example can be adjusted and applied to any creative job), it takes a lot of energy to listen and understand the ideas a client has and successfully execute those ideas so they are happy with their look. A lot can be lost in translation, but a good makeup artist or hair stylist can sort through it. When you give your all to creating what the client wants and then repeat that several times a day, you’re likely drained when you’re finished. But as a business owner, you probably have emails and calls to answer, invoices to send, products to order and a million other things to do after you finish with clients. For some people, that takes the joy out of doing their creative work. Everyone has their own balance they can handle, and the key is to figure that out. In the creative field, you can sometimes find a way to do more technician work than “business” work by working for an agency or as an Independent Contractor for a company. In those situations, you still have to build your brand and do some business work, but the agency or company you work for will offer you the jobs and coordinate the details in varying degrees. (If you hire others though, you immediately step into a managerial role unless you hire a manager.) If you want your business to grow, you will eventually have to find people to do most of the technician and managerial work, but eventually, you’ll have to spend more of your time on being the big picture entrepreneur. (I’m again referencing The E-Myth Revisted. Anyone who owns a business or is thinking about opening one should read this.)
Pros: You don’t have to answer to anyone. If you have a great idea, you can implement it without being impeded by policies or waiting for approval from your supervisor. No one is going to ruin your day by giving you a shitty yearly review or declining your request for one telecommuting day a week. You set your dress code, you do any hiring and firing and you decide how to handle every situation. You don’t have to worry about your boss’s micromanaging or hot and cold personality. When you own a business, you (hopefully) learn from your mistakes–because you will make plenty–instead of worrying those mistakes will get you fired. No more heart-dropping-into-your-stomach feeling when your boss says they need to talk to you. I’ve had some great bosses and some horrible ones, but the one in the mirror–even with her shiny t-zone and thin upper lip–is hands down my favorite. She lets me do what I want and blasts DMX when she’s angry, so I know we understand each other.
Cons: You have a bunch of mini bosses. Each client/customer is your boss in a way. (This may be more applicable if you offer a service.) If they book services or buy products from your company, they are essentially hiring you. And if they decide to no longer use your company’s services or buy your products, they are essentially firing you. You could have several mini bosses at a time and it’s literally your job to please all of them. You need to be disciplined. It’s easy to slack off when no one is over your shoulder. If you are not self-motivated, your business will crumble. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You may find it’s easier to be self-motivated when you are interested in your job, but if you still think you would need a constant push or the threat of someone who could fire you, stay away from entrepreneurship. This rarely happens now that I’m in my mid-30s, but in my 20s, I caught some crap from friends when I declined invites to go out on weekend nights. I very much wanted to be with them, but I also owed it to my clients to show up to their wedding awake, not hungover and sans shaky hands (never a good thing when applying eyeliner). If you are the type of person who will not only consistently go out the night before an early job but will stay for “just one more drink” each time, your business will feel like a 5 star hangover. Except instead of killing your Sunday with its headache and nausea, it will kill your whole company.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. And that’s okay! There is no shame in being an employee. You can be fulfilled and happy with your career whether you work for yourself or someone else. If what I describe as benefits don’t sound that great to you, or the bad seems to outweigh the good, then this probably isn’t your path. If you hate your current job, it doesn’t mean you should quit and open your own business. You may just need to be in a different industry. If your heart is in music but you work in banking and are miserable, see what steps you need to take to break into the music industry. It might take a while, but so what? Here’s where I insert one of my favorite quotes: “Don’t give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Personally, my worst day working for myself is still better than my best day working for someone else. In the years I spent as an employee before I knew what I wanted to do for a career, I felt a great sense of despair. I knew what I was doing was so far from what I enjoyed, but until my friend Caroline suggested Esthetics school, I didn’t know how to take something I loved and turn it into a job. In the two years I spent working for other people after I had opened my company, I felt frustrated. I so badly wanted to be out on my own but couldn’t do it yet financially. Now that my company is established and I’m financially stable, I feel hopeful, excited and determined. There is a lot of opportunity and I have big plans. I have days that I’m angry that my website is down or annoyed that I can’t get an answer that I need from someone, but it’s rare that I stay like that for the entire day. I think the difference is that I don’t dread my job now. I don’t wish away days. Sure, there are some jobs or clients I know will be more challenging, but nothing is ever so bad that it makes re-think my whole career.
I love that I can basically do what I want. To get to that point, I did have to do a lot of what I didn’t want–doing unpaid shoots early in my career to build my portfolio, working 14 hours on set then four hours running my business when I got home, fighting with my accounting software–but the longer I am in business, the more I can turn down work I don’t need or want and hire other people to do the things I don’t like. (In fact, I have stopped doing or outsourced all of those examples.) And that’s not a hedonistic tactic. Freeing my time of the things other people can do–just as well if not better than me–is smart. It allows me to focus on expanding and growing the company, coming up with the big ideas and then making them happen.
I think it comes down to what you value. An important value for me–which you may have picked up on–is freedom. I need to be able to create a life I want without being held back, and entrepreneurship is the only way I could see to make that happen. Things might have been easier if I loved my previous jobs or not felt this deep need for freedom, but that’s not how it worked out. I know without a doubt that I’m happier as an entrepreneur than I could have ever been as an employee.
In the Usher/Lil Kim collabo “Just Like Me,” Kim raps “If I had one wish in the world, I swear to God, it would be for girls to rock pearls, straight out the oyster.” I don’t feel that strongly about pearls, but I do feel strongly about career satisfaction. Work takes up such a huge chunk of time for most of us, so I truly hope that you have found or will find what makes that time the most enjoyable, lucrative and flexible for you, whether it’s as an employee or entrepreneur.
Psst, come here. I have to tell you a secret. Closer, closer. Whoa, not that close! I don’t know you like that. But your pores look very clean. Ready for it? There is no perfect job. I hit you with some mind-blowing shit on this blog, so tell your friends. I’ll let you compose yourself before I continue.
Are you doing okay? Yeah? Then it’s time for some real talk. The truth is, you would be hard pressed to find a job doing something you love that provides benefits and as many days off as you want along with a stable, high income, no liability or responsibility for the company plus complete control of your schedule and location. I’m sorry if I just shattered your dreams like Big Pun. (If you got that reference, please leave a comment with your favorite cocktail so I can take my new best friend out for a drink.) But let me make you feel better. I do think you can check off many of those things if you have success and several years in business as an entrepreneur. However–here’s where I knock you back down–even if you form a corporation and the legal liability is still personally off of you, you are ultimately responsible for the reputation and success of your business. My point is that leaving a company you work for to open your own won’t solve all of your problems, nor will closing the doors of your own company to work for anyone else. As someone who has been an employee and a business owner, I can speak to both sides.
That paragraph was an emotional roller coaster ride, wasn’t it? Get ready for more of that. Also, be warned that this might be a 10 minute read. But the best 10 minute read you’ve ever had, baby.
I am approaching this post from my perspective and particular experience, seeing as though I can’t get inside anyone else’s head. (Once they develop that technology though, my first stop is inside Lil’ Kim’s head to find out whyyyyyyy?) I currently run my business as a sole proprietor, soon to be an LLC. I have no administrative assistant or office manager. I do this job full time, which I believe means 70+ hours a week. My company provides services, not products. I require specific talent and professionalism in my service providers, so it’s not something I can cheaply outsource like you can do with some product-based businesses. I am not part of a franchise, so I can’t speak on that. I have Independent Contractors–not employees–which is not necessary or appropriate for all industries. So a two person partnership running an S-corp that sells products and has employees, including an administrative assistant, may have a completely different view on things. (If you are that person, I’d love to hear your views on entrepreneur life. Hit me up.)
I’m going to address some of the big factors in a Pros and Cons fashion. Because who doesn’t like that format? Probably only sinners and people who read magazines back to front. I will be heavily generalizing employee jobs here. I realize they are all different and depending on the position and company may have some of the entrepreneur Pros or Cons I discuss. My knowledge of employee jobs comes from the seven jobs I had before I opened my company and the things I have heard from family, friends and clients about their jobs.
Aight. Let’s do this. I have to break Part 3 into two posts because although I’m aware of the benefits of long form blogging, I’m not sure it’s what my readers want. You’re welcome.
Pros: You can make your own hours. Dentist appointment next Monday? You don’t need to use sick time. Want to leave for a trip on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday night after work? Go for it. Your cousin wants to meet for breakfast? Tell her to name the time. Schedule flexibility is one of the huge entrepreneur benefits in my book. Even when it comes to simple things like going for a run at 12:00pm in the winter instead of after work at 6:00pm when it’s dark out, or going to the grocery store during “off hours” to avoid the crowds of people who don’t understand how to move their cart of the way, I am grateful. But the best part is being able to see my family and friends when I want (as long as I’m not booked, anyway.) I live in the same town where I went to college, so I have college friends who will make a quick trip here if they are in the area. Sometimes they can only meet for lunch or for a coffee before they get on the road. When I worked at other companies, I couldn’t dip out for a 2:00pm Stoli Doli* date with my friend who I otherwise might not see for another year. I also couldn’t do things like going to my parents’ house a few days early to help with our giant Italian family Thanksgiving prep. (A table for 40 doesn’t set itself.) I couldn’t have left work to bring my father to doctor’s appointments an hour and a half away. But now? I don’t have to ask anyone or pretend I’m meeting a client. I just fucking go. This control of my hours–essentially control of my life–is one of the greatest advantages to me. This is the only Pro for this category because it’s such a big one and encompasses a lot.
Cons: You’ll work crazy hours. I work more now than I ever did as an employee. Most of this is related to the business owner part of my job. I have a very particular way that I approach my business with policies, same day responses and regular followup, which is time consuming. I have a strong dedication to my business, which is reflected in my hours and what I prioritize. So the amount of hours I work–which I think falls under the “schedule” umbrella–is often double what I put in when I worked for other companies. I don’t take full days off because I don’t have anyone else who can answer my emails or calls, but this will change as soon as I can hire a full-time, rockstar admin assistant who I can trust with this important part of the business. You don’t necessarily get to choose all of your exact hours. When I’m doing makeup, I get to choose whether or not I take a job but I don’t get to choose the start time for a wedding (I started one at 5:15am last weekend) or a film shoot (4:42am is not my favorite call time, but I have had to report at that time before). Those early wakeups can feel brutal, but still better than having to wake up at 6:00am Monday through Friday for the rest of my working years. There is no clocking out. I remember practically jumping up from my desk and cartwheeling out the door (psych, I can’t cartwheel) at 5:00pm or whatever time my work day ended when I was an employee. I never had the type of job that required me to do work after business hours and this was also before people had email access on their phones. Those hours from 5:00pm until whenever I went to sleep were mine and work did not follow me home. If you are someone who likes a definite end to their work day and a complete separation of work and personal life, run the hell away from any thoughts of entrepreneurship. The first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed is see if there are any work emails or texts to address. If they are urgent or time sensitive, I have to respond. Again, this will change once I have an admin assistant, but I think it’s something that every entrepreneur will experience to some degree.
Pros: You run the show. When you own a business, you call the shots. You decide how to market your company, what service(s) or product(s) you will offer, which clients or customers you take, who (if anyone) you hire, where your location will be (if you own a brick and mortar business) and a million other things. I am someone who generally likes and does well with responsibility. Some may call that “having control issues,” but this is my blog, so I get to decide what to call it. (See how I worked that example in?) I have always been the planner for family and friends–I have a group of friends who would still be waiting to see The Fast and the Furious in 2001 if I didn’t coordinate it–so that part of my personality lends itself well to the responsibility involved with planning, coordinating jobs and running a business. You earned it. I feel a great sense of pride in my company. It has by no means done well solely because of me–I wouldn’t be where I am with my awesome Independent Contractors, my supportive family and friends, my clients and those who have referred me–but I can give myself some of the credit. I am proud of what my company has become and it’s a really good feeling knowing I had a part in building it.
Cons: You’re accountable for everything. Your specific legal liability will depend on the business entity you form and insurance you carry, but unless you are in a partnership, your business is all you. Someone who works for you angers a client? You take the fall. Water damage at your business location? You may have some help from your insurance company (and landlord if you rent), but you’re dealing with the cleanup, the phone calls, rescheduling appointments, replacing any damaged items, etc. If you go away on vacation, you have to either arrange coverage or be available for anything that comes up. If you’re an employee and someone sues your company, you might be out of a job if it causes the company to close–which is recognize is a risk–but I think that is pretty rare. If you are a business owner and someone sues your company, even if you’re an S-corp, you’ve got many sleepless nights ahead thinking of ways to recover your business (if possible), what you will do if you can’t, how to pay for the legal costs and some added anxiety if you have people working for you who depend on you for their livelihood.
Pros: You have unlimited income potential. Like Biggie said, sky’s the limit. When you own a company, your next raise is only one killer idea away. That idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. It could have to do with bringing on more people, improving or creating a new product/service, going after a different market, etc. Unless you are an employee who works on commission, you probably won’t have the same opportunity to increase your salary. You may be able to get promotions or raises, but in many cases, you can only get so far as an employee. Entrepreneurship allows you to potentially make as much money as you want. I am not rich–yet–but I am considerably better off financially than I ever was as an employee. I’m not a big status or “things” person, but having a good income and no debt a) Eliminates the stress I used to feel about being able to pay for things and b) Allows me to have certain experiences I couldn’t have before. I had to turn down a lot of invites from friends–a Chelsea Handler standup show, a girls’ trip to Vegas, several birthday night out celebrations–in my early years as a business owner. It was a sacrifice, but I knew I had to invest my “extra” income into advertising, marketing and better beauty products. Those things were necessary to grow my business and bring in the income needed to never have to say no to an invite because of my bank account.
Cons: You’re going to go through broke stages. No one opens a business on a Monday and is rich by Friday. It normally takes a while to turn a profit. There are variables–whether you have a brick and mortar versus an online business, how you obtained your startup funds, which industry you are in, how saturated the market is, etc.–but the average amount of time needed that I have heard and found in my research is two years. Even when your business becomes profitable, you are probably “ramen profitable” at first. That means you make enough money to cover your business and living costs with just enough money left for ramen noodle-level meals. (To my gluten-free peeps: Consider this “Larabars profitable.”) Again, the amount of time you are financially limited will depend on your living costs and business expenses, but it’s safe to expect you will be struggling at some point. If you are a freelance boss, you’re going to have slow months where you get few (or no) job calls until you build up your business and reputation. If you offer a product/service people want and know how to run a business–unless you are putting in minimal effort and spending your money foolishly–this is likely a temporary stage.
I’ll leave you there, in anticipation of Part 3b. I’m sure you can barely stand it.
Have a beautiful day 🙂
*A Stoli Doli is pineapple infused vodka. Drink it on the rocks if you’re gangsta like me.
You might not think it by looking at me, but I get giddy. And when that happens, it’s best that I am by myself because it’s a ridiculous reaction. When a thought about something I’m really happy about first comes into my mind (or an old school jam I haven’t heard in a while is on the radio), I get so overwhelmed with how good it is that I break out into a giant smile and I squeal. Yes, squeal. Picture a 6 year old on Christmas morning, but make them a few inches taller and wearing a Biggie shirt and red lipstick.
This giddy feeling hit me on the daily mid-winter of 2011 when I became a full-time business owner. I felt a freedom that I had never felt before and I was elated. But I was also terrified, because my entire income came from my business and I had to actively bring it in. I had always put my all into every job I ever had, but part of me knew I could have put in less effort and I still would have gotten a paycheck. That’s not the way I do–my genetic code won’t allow me to half-ass anything–but I think I would have had to really mess up or consistently do small, crappy things to get fired. I knew that when I opened my business, I would have to work hard to earn every penny someone paid me. That was a less scary thought when I had a regular source of income from a day job, as I did for my first two and a half years in business. But in winter of 2011, shit got real.
When I left you last, I jumped from my decision to open my own business to the fact that it took 2+ years to do it full time. That gap of time, although somewhat financially stable, was tough for me because I knew what I wanted to do full time but couldn’t do it yet. That’s a frustrating feeling for someone with an ambition addiction. I had opened my business without taking out loans, receiving seed money or grants and I as mentioned in Part 1, no sugar daddy (or sugar mama, unless you count my friend Julie who used to cook me delicious meals and let me use her washer and dryer because I couldn’t afford the laundromat). I had no savings because the “extra” income I made went towards college and Esthetics school loans and the credit card debt I wracked up as I built my business. I had no roommates because I don’t play well with others, so no one to split living costs with. I also had no business partner with whom I could divide responsibilities and startup costs. I was running my business nights and weekends when I was not at my day job, but I was making only a supplemental income from it. It would have been financially foolish to quit my day job and go full time with my business during the first 2.5 years. So I (impatiently, and with much bitching to my family and close friends) waited until the time was right.
In 2011, I started hiring Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists because my company was growing too much to be a one woman show. This was a huge turning point for me. I actually didn’t start out intending to build a company. I wanted to work in film and do wedding makeup on the weekends (which I now realize is an absurd plan). I thought 5 or 6 years into it, I could bring on another makeup artist and maybe a hair stylist. I now have 11 rockstar artists and stylists and am hiring. The Weddings component of my business grew so quickly that it demanded too much of my time to be on a film set for 12+ hours a day. Without purposely intending to, I pulled away from building a career in film (something I only did on a small level) and went full force into running my company. Around 2013, I stopped feeling like a freelancer and starting feeling like a business owner (both are boss status in my book though, as I mentioned in Part 1).
When I got enough work that I could go full time in 2011, I was beyond excited to be out on my own. But it was a struggle to exist financially. I never defaulted on my bills or paid my rent two months late, but I lived what Oregon Trail would call a barebones lifestyle. I rarely went out to eat, never bought clothes, didn’t go on any trips (unless I had miles and a free place to stay) and freaked out when it came to Christmas gift buying time. There were times when money was so tight that I felt paralyzed. I remember once getting towards the end of a tube of toothpaste, looking at my bank account and thinking, Shit. If I had lived with someone or didn’t have even half of the debt I had, it would have been a completely different story. But I made choices that put me in that situation, so I dealt with it the best I could. Sometimes that meant getting in my bed and crying, but it mostly meant working harder to bring in more business. By 2014, I started pulling in the income I needed to make me feel like a real adult. Fast forward to current day, where I am completely debt-free and will be living in a warmer location for the winter because I can. And I can buy as many tubes of toothpaste as I want without even glancing at my bank account. Straight out ballin’. Although I struggled hard for a few years, I am now in the best financial position of my life. I’m no millionaire–that was never my goal–but I don’t have the financial stress that weighed heavily on me for so long. It’s an amazing feeling.
But yo, the workload! To this day, some people assume I have the day off if I don’t have a wedding or a shoot. WRONG. The majority of my time is spent running my company. Emails, contracts, schedules, invoices, advertising, accounting, managing my team–that’s me. From the smallest errand to the biggest decision, it’s all my responsibility. Out of printer ink? Staples run. Need a new logo designed? I have to find the right person, hire them, come up with ideas, look through proofs, approve and then pay for the work. A bridal trial with one of my hair stylists and makeup artists? I coordinate everything. That’s a location, date and time that works for all three parties. I now coordinate 100+ trials per wedding season. Plus the logistics of every wedding, photoshoot, corporate shoot and event we do. As the owner, I’m also responsible for coming up with the big ideas, which I’m not even going to hint at because I’ve got so many things in the infancy/prep work stage. I am growing a beauty empire here, my friends. If all of that is your version of taking a day off, then you’re a weirdo.
Luckily, my passion for makeup and my desire for the type of life I personally can only get through entrepreneurship keeps me going. I still love the transformative power of makeup. When someone looks in the mirror after I do their makeup and says “I love it!,” I have to keep my giddyness under control. And the lifestyle entrepreneurship has given me–control over my schedule, which allows me more time to see my family and friends and financial freedom, which makes everything a little bit easier–is something I wouldn’t change for the world.
When I started my company, I knew my freedom and business success would bring me the confidence I needed in life. Confidence was not something I had in my teens or most of my 20s, but my intuition told me my business would change that for me. And it did. I realize part of that could be just growing up, getting infinitely wiser by the day. But I believe the confidence and self awareness I have now comes from opening and successfully running a company. I have learned a lot about myself–both good and bad things–since opening AB Beauty.
I am a goal-oriented person. You know what tastes as good as a Three Olives Cherry Vodka, club soda and a splash of cran on a hot summer day? Accomplishment. I love reaching–nah, crushing–goals. I revel in it, I celebrate, then I move on to attack the next one. There is always a next one (or 50) and they are on my To Do list, waiting for the sweet sound of pen hitting paper, crossing a line through something I slayed. I’m guessing most successful entrepreneurs feel the same way. (And by “successful,” I mean an established business that grows each year. I don’t think you have to own a Fortune 500 Company to be considered successful.)
I didn’t start my company to be well-known or filthy rich. Those things don’t motivate me. What motivates me is efficiently running, constantly improving and growing a company. I strive to provide my team with as much work as they want and give my clients the kind of service that makes them hug me. My goal has been to create a career that I not only enjoy, but one that allows me to spend time with the people I love. I’m not the perfect business owner by any stretch, but I do my best and I’m happy with what I have. I am very thankful for my team, my clients, people who refer my company and my family and friends who have supported me. I recognize that I have something really good here and for that, I am immensely grateful.
I believe life is too short to wish time away. We get a limited amount of time here and it’s a damn shame to hope all of the days until the weekend/a vacation/a move fly by. I mean, it’s natural to look forward to something you’re excited for, but I don’t like the idea of consistently living life like that. Yet that’s what I found myself doing before I owned my company. When I worked at other jobs–no matter how flexible my boss was or how awesome my coworkers were–I always found myself hating Mondays and living for the weekends. I wanted to hit fast forward on the hours between 9-5, Monday through Friday, and I wanted my nights and weekends (except for time spent at the gym or running) to slowwwwwly pass. Unfortunately, this is not how time works. I knew if I wanted to be happy, I had to find a way to take back my time, but also make an income because Daddy doesn’t fund my life and I’m not cut out to be a sugar baby. (I would rather wear rags that I paid for than a Versace dress that someone else bought for me.) So I opened my own business, which means not only do I no longer wish away days of the week, but I seldom even know what day it is. That’s the short story.
This is the longer story, which you’ll need to know to understand what I’m going to throw down in this series of posts. I moved from New England to south Florida solo after graduating college. I spent two years there, mostly getting tan and avoiding palmetto bugs. I worked as an office manager at two companies, something my 7 years working for the small business my father owns had prepared me for. While I made some fantastic lifelong friends in some of my coworkers, the jobs I was doing were not making me happy. I did, however, learn some valuable customer service skills and admin systems that I use now. I also saw examples of how to be a bad business owner–screaming at your employees, writing angry emails to clients, jetting off to Miami for three days and neglecting your business–which I subconsciously filed away and remembered when I opened my business.
The summer I moved back to New England was a tough one. I luckily found work as a full-time school secretary and a part-time admin at my father’s company, but neither job was what I wanted to do. The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I could only pinpoint the fact that if I was going to spend the majority of my hours working, it needed to be something I enjoyed. What did I enjoy? Writing always came to mind. I had harbored fantasies of being an author since I was young. That summer, I signed up for the equivalent of an online writing course (this was actually done via the mail, because I’m old), but it was more as a hobby than in preparation for a career. I knew making a living from writing was a rough path and I was still at the point where I needed stability and consistent income. So what should I do?????? This question was the cause of my daily freakouts. (Other causes: stupid boys, gaining one pound, having debt, stupid boys, thinking a friend was mad at me, bad hair days and stupid boys.)
This big question was eventually answered by my close friend and bombshell Italian actress lookalike, Caroline. You would think I would clearly remember this defining moment of my life, but what I have instead is a vague memory of what I think happened. I believe we were sitting in her driveway on lawn chairs, having a wine party. (She lives on a dead end and her husband is too nice to run us over, so we were safe.) I was hardcore venting to Ca–as I still do–gearing up for another freakout about what I was going to do with my 24 year old life. She reminded me how much I loved makeup– something I had been into since I was 5–and suggested becoming a makeup artist. We talked about Cosmetology school, but I wasn’t interested in doing hair. She then mentioned that our friend Lauren was looking into Esthetics school, something I had only first heard of earlier that summer when a psychic told me I would be going to Esthetics school. (Did you just get the chills?) I didn’t make a definitive decision then, but this is the first memory I have of thinking, I could do that and like it. I may be wrong about the details (Paesana, please correct me) but when I think of how this whole career of mine started, this is what I go back to. The moral is if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, have a driveway wine party and let one of your best friends figure it out for you.
So I jumped into action the next morning, right? Nope. Because first, I had some serious shit to address. I had been feeling sick and exhausted for a while and when it got to the point where walking from one desk to another in my father’s office was taxing, I knew I had to do something. But doing anything was so hard, because I had zero energy. Luckily my parents stepped in and got me an appointment with Dr. Qutab, a naturopath and MD who approaches health issues from an Eastern medicine and ayurvedic perspective. I had been to plenty of Western medicine doctors who would run a few tests and say that I was fine. After extensive testing with Dr. Qutab, it turned out I was in no way “fine.” I had several health problems–from hormonal to un-diagnosed allergies to pre-cancerous issues–and we immediately began to correct those with diet changes and supplements. To say that he changed my life is a giant understatement. I am telling this part of my story because I know that if I hadn’t gotten help with my health issues, I wouldn’t have had the energy to take the steps to start my career. I firmly believe that if you don’t physically feel well every day, you won’t have the emotional and mental energy and the motivation to make big changes in your life.
Even though I was feeling a million times better and shedding that weight I had been struggling with for years–turns out some of the issues I had were keeping that from happening–I wasn’t a complete Suzy Sunshine ball of energy. I had struggled with depression in college and I was, at this point of my life, much more of a pessimist than an optimist. Not feeling horrible every day certainly helped, but I still had intense worrying sessions. How would I pay for Esthetics school? (Sallie Mae.) Would I like it? (At times.) What if I failed the state licensing exams? (Oh, please. No math is involved.). What would I do after I got licensed? Work at a spa? Makeup counter? For a cosmetics company? (It’s going take you a bit to figure that out, but “no” to all of those.) I don’t know if it was that I was in my mid-20s and everything feels hard then, or if my Type A personality made it that way, but I certainly was not carefree and confident in my decision.
Because I had, at some point, made my decision. I would move back to Newport, RI–the town I had fallen in love with when I went to college there–and enroll in the closest Esthetics school. I would work an office day job and go to school on nights and Saturdays. I did move to Newport, but I ended up going to school 8:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday and waitressing nights and weekends. I graduated and got licensed in July of 2008 and embarked on my new career. A few years before, I had been adamant about never owning my own business, as I had worked in several and seen how hard it was and how much responsibility fell on the owner. But I realized that because of my stubborn, independent nature and my desire to not be stifled creatively if I wanted to enjoy my work–the whole reason I went down this road–I would have to go out on my own.
It would take me two years of working at full-time jobs not in the industry to do that, but I got there. That’s for Part 2, which I’m sure you are dying to read. That will explain my early years in business, because this post is already too long. Part 3 will be a comparison between entrepreneurship and working for someone, as I see it. So if you are considering making the jump into entrepreneurship and are more of the analytical type, you may want to wait for Part 3.
I want to be clear about one last thing before you leave me for Snapchat. When I use the word “boss,” I mean because I am my own boss. I am technically not the boss of anyone who works for me, as they are all independent contractors. I’m more of their agent, procuring work and setting it up so they can do the magic they do. In my view, one person doing freelance is as much of a boss as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you are making all of the decisions for your career–the jobs you take, the hours you work, the way you market, etc.–and the responsibility of it all ultimately falls on you, you’re a boss. So go on with your bad self.