5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Skincare Business

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’ll be honest–I could not answer that question until I was in my very early 30s, when I was beginning to plan what I wanted to do when my kids were old enough to attend school full time. For many moms, the choice is to be a stay-at-home mom (which I did for 7 years, though I did some freelance writing and editing on the side), or go back to work in whatever job or career they had before having kids. But for me, neither of those choices were ideal.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a really hard thing for so many reasons.

For me, the monotony, feeling really isolated because most family and friends lived in another state, and making “mommy friends” was really hard. I never remembered it being that hard to make “regular” friends! But I still felt really strongly that I wanted to be home with my kids, and I don’t regret it at all. For a time, I did get a part-time job (at the Body Shop), but that didn’t last long because I missed my kids terribly, and finding childcare was hard since my mom and husband both work, and I was not at the point where I trusted babysitters. I also REALLY did not like not being in control of my schedule. It turns out that after being out of the workforce as an employee, I did not take well to being told when to do what tasks, when to eat, when to come and go, etc. So I went back to full-time mommying, but not for long–because it was always the plan that I would go back to work when my kids were in school.

Going “back to work” in a former job wasn’t a possibility for me.

I never found a job or career that resonated enough for me to stick with it and call it my own. It all comes back to the fact that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself. In college, I changed my major three times before I finally settled on “Architectural Studies with a minor in Humanities focusing on Gender Studies,” which I knew I really couldn’t do much with, but by that point I was so DONE with school (or so I thought at the time), and changing it again would have added years onto my bachelor’s degree.
So after graduation, I looked for jobs in sales–because before and throughout college I primarily worked retail–and was fortunate to get an advertising sales job for a healthcare magazine. But, I quickly changed my mind again, and switched to a copywriting position in the company’s advertising department. I really loved that job (and I still love copywriting and do my own), but alas it was not meant to be, so I moved on again. I had several other jobs after that trying to find my thing–the thing that would not only make me a good income, but also make me feel valued and fulfilled, and like I was doing something meaningful. Long story short, I did not find that, because I really didn’t like working for someone else, selling or promoting someone else’s product, and having a “department” or someone else take credit for my hard work.
No judgment towards anyone who works for someone else–there are many instances in life where that is the best choice–but it was clearly not for me. But I had still had no idea what my “thing” was so my husband and I shifted into family mode, and decided that I would be a stay-at-home mommy for awhile, then figure out the work thing later on. I’m not going to share the rest of the story of how I became a holistic skincare author, educator, and entrepreneur here (I actually share a lot about that in my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself), because we’d be here for awhile.

But what I do want you to know is that having a skincare business–or owning any business, really–is hard.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable–but it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s hard for a lot of reasons because let’s face it–you can be really good at something (for me, it was skincare) but unless you also know how what’s necessary to actually run a business and be both a good boss and a good employee, it won’t work out. I am blessed to have two amazing skincare businesses now–Holistically Haute which covers my private skincare coaching practice and my online course, Create Your Skincare–and I’m also one of the co-owners and co-founders of the Nutritional Aesthetics? Alliance.
Holistic skincare is my “thing” and the work I do not only helps to support my family, but it also sets an example to my daughters that women can lead, and that they can have families and a fulfilling career at the same time. It also genuinely helps people look and feel their best, and start their own skincare businesses if that’s their thing. I love my work with clients, I love writing blog posts like this, I love making custom products, and I LOVE teaching my students (that has become my favorite!). I also love having the time flexibility that a stay-at-home mom might have while still fulfilling my desire to work.
Business is thriving now, but it took me a long time to get here. There are a lot of things I wish I knew before I started, because it definitely would have shortened my learning curve. I recently surveyed my email community, asking what they most want to learn from me, and the majority of who responded said they wanted to learn about how to have a skincare business.

So I figured I’d start by sharing 5 of the things someone had told me before I started my skincare business:

1. You’ve got to be clear on your “why”–and that why can’t just be about money.

You may have seen the now cult online business classic Ted Talk from Simon Sinek, “Start with Why” (and if you haven’t, do take the time to watch it here). And though there’s more to a successful business than just knowing your own why, you do need to know it, because if you’re only going into business to make money, chances are you’ll wind up disappointed–because truly, if money’s what you’re after, it’s much easier to get a job with a steady paycheck and benefits than it is to start and grow your own business.

2. You’ve got to spend money to make money.

This was something I had to learn the hard way because here I was thinking I could just start a blog, then get “discovered” and get a book deal, maybe a movie written about me like what happened to the girl who had the cooking blog about Julia Childs, have sponsors throwing money at me so I’d have funding to start my skincare line so I wouldn’t have to invest a dime. Pardon me while I laugh at my former self for a moment. Starting a business costs money. Developing products and services costs money. Paying for things like websites, social media advertising, shopping carts, email lists (yes, you have to pay every month to send people emails once your list grows over a certain number and if you want to do it in a non-spammy way) all cost money. Then there’s this crazy thing called taxes that the government gets mad if you don’t pay! But not just income taxes–sales tax, use tax, and other taxes do apply. Depending on where you live, you might need to pay annually just to HAVE your business. Even if you run it from your house. And all those things you need to learn to do in your business that you don’t know how to do yet? Yeah, you either have to pay someone to do it for you, pay for the education to learn how to do it yourself, or pay with time spent trying to figure it all out yourself. Is it possible to do it in the cheap? Sure–but not if you’re in it for the long haul.

3.Time is more valuable than money.

My students have heard me say this a lot, but I want you to know it too since it’s something that I REALLY wish I knew years ago when I was doing every single thing in my business myself. And that’s this:

Time and money are similar in that they’re what people most value. But they differ in that money comes and goes, and always comes back again. Time–well it just goes.?

So even though you CAN do certain things in your business yourself, it might actually cost you more in time than it would have been worth in money. Did you know that I actually built the first Create Your Skincare website myself from scratch, with the help of YouTube tutorials and For Dummies books? Membership platform included. No joke. And I was all proud of myself until something broke. Or someone couldn’t access something. And I had no one to call. I could submit a support ticket to the website theme or whatever plugin was giving me trouble–or ask in DIY WordPress Facebook groups or look through support forums. But sometimes I’d have to wait for more than a day for the answer, and then it turned out the answer wasn’t something I knew how to implement. So I’d have to hire someone for a one-time fix, which cost about three times more than it would have cost had I had someone helping me with the site regularly. For everything that takes you forever to do or that you procrastinate doing, there are people who love to do that stuff and will do it fast and happy. That’s better for you and for your customers.

4. Don’t accept free help.

When you start a new business–especially if it’s something that helps other people–people will offer to help you for free or maybe on a barter basis. In the beginning–or even not so much in the beginning, this might seem like a godsend. Like the Universe is paving your way. Don’t do it. Free is never free, and trade rarely works because the value of one person’s contribution will always be higher to the person on the giving end than it is to the person on the receiving end. Plus, value is subjective. Also, just because someone offers to help you for free doesn’t mean that person can actually deliver the quality you need in the timeframe in which you need it. Do yourself–and the other person–a favor and let the exchange have a monetary value. Even if you are bartering services–pay each other for the services when they are rendered. It’s good money karma, and might save a friendship.

Women supporting women5. Don’t go it alone.

Let’s be honest–most people who want to own businesses are control freaks. I certainly am, and most of my entrepreneurial colleagues are too. A huge reason to go into business is to be your own boss and not be at the mercy of someone else. Right? This is why many of us do what I did early on, and attempt to do every single thing in the business themselves. Whether they know how to do it or not. As mentioned above, this is not sustainable, and I really think it’s one of the main reasons business owners burn out and throw in the towel. It’s imperative to delegate the right tasks to the right people. But that’s not all I ?mean when I say “don’t go it alone.” Being a business owner can be very isolating. A lot of people just don’t get why you’d ever want to forego things like job security, benefits, company happy hours, evenings, weekends (as I write this at 7:40pm on a Friday night) for something as uncertain as starting a small business. You must have a sounding board of people who get it. People who have been there, have come through some of the hard times already, and can offer you support. It’s also so important to have solid mentors. Mentorship used to be a thing that you could get for free, when someone more seasoned than you would get inspired by you and want to take you under their wings and teach you everything they know. Well, unfortunately, that’s not easy to find for free anymore. Possible, yes–but likely? No. That’s why we have business coaches and masterminds. I work with a business coach and have been for years, and I’m also part of a mastermind group, and I can tell you that giving myself that level of support and accountability is what changed everything in my business. It took this from an expensive hobby to an actual revenue-producing business that in a couple of years, will allow my husband to retire early. It was that important.

That’s why I created the Create Your Skincare Professional Edition.

Because of the huge upswing I experienced from being part of a mastermind, I decided to offer the mastermind model to my Create Your Skincare students in the form of?Create Your Skincare Professional Edition. I ran the first round of this version of the course in Spring 2017, and the students who committed to fully to the process all finished with a solid skincare business plan, concrete action steps, their Boutique Skincare Designer certification, and solid knowledge of what it will actually take to have a real and sustainable business. They received instruction on topics like business setup, legal compliance, branding, website optimization, time management and planning, money management, and more. They also formed meaningful relationships with their fellow masterminders, that have turned into friendships. They have their sounding board of people who “get it” anytime they need it, and they continue to enjoy support and accountability within the group format.

You might be wondering, why be in a mastermind with potential competitors?

I come from the “a rising tide floats all boats” mentality. I was taught this way not only in business courses I’ve taken, mastermind groups I’ve participated in, and coaches I’ve hired–but also during my master’s degree research on the Divine Feminine aspects of metaphysics and spirituality.
What I’ve learned is that historically, men compete. But herstorically (see what I did there?) women collaborate. Women only become competitive and judgmental as a reaction to feeling oppressed by a patriarchal society. And they usually aren’t aware that that’s what’s going on. In a time when there was more value placed on the feminine, women gathered together. They prepared food together, they birthed together, they healed together. Regardless of age, women respected each other as equals, and they believed in helping each other.
We are in a time where the world is shifting back to a more collaborative, feminine way of thinking. It might not seem like it now, with all the war, oppression, and uncertainty happening. But it is happening, and the resurgence of feminism, herbalism and natural healing tradition, cooking and gardening, women’s spirituality, and the business model of collaboration over competition is evidence that this is true. I truly feel that women supporting and uplifting other women is the way back to a more peaceful and accepting humanity.
The beautiful thing about skincare is that it is a truly individual thing. What works for one won’t work for others, and one skincare business owner’s story might resonate more with a potential customer more than business with a similar product line with a different story. In Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, I teach you how to design your business for yourself AND for your customers. There is more than enough to go around, and quite frankly, there are more people who need help from good skincare than there are existing skincare brands, so competition amongst each other is really not something my students worry about.

Does that sound good to you?

Click HERE to learn more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition and either schedule a complimentary Skincare Business Consultation today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your business goals, or enroll to join us in our nest semester!

*”Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May image by John William Waterhouse.
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