Published in HairBiz Magazine – Year 12 Issue
Let’s cut straight to the chase, I’ve hit pretty much every snag that my business ownership journey could throw at me; I’ve been hospitalised a few times, I’ve had my staff walk out, I’ve experienced nineteen robberies (yes, really), I’ve even had my power cut off, I’ve had a landlord change the locks, I’ve had ex-staff slander me, and their families, the list goes on. Whatever you’re dealing with, like most experienced salon owners, I’VE BEEN THERE. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it fucking sucks! As much as I’d love to sit here and say being an employer and small business owner is sunshine and rainbows every day, I couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Nine days out of ten, salon life’s good, great even. But what happens when things don’t go to plan? What happens when that perfect space you call home for majority of your week gets flipped on its head? I wish I could tell you that there’s one magic formula, or that the salon fairy could come in deliver a bottle of wine and everything would be ay-okay again. But that’s not how this works. This is life. So, let’s get real and talk “getting back on the horse”. Here’s how…
First things first, FACE YOUR SHIT. You know that old saying about an emu burying their head in the sand? Yeah, it’s kinda true. Throwing the unopened bills in the bin won’t make them go away. Something bothering you? Something you’re scared of? Something you’re avoiding? Yeah, you need to attack it head on. The only way forward is through, and sometimes that pathway is yucky and sticky and like walking around on a rainy day at Falls Festival, but ignoring it isn’t going to make it piss off, in fact, the exact opposite. Feel the fear and confront it face to face.
Next up, WILL YOURSELF THROUGH IT. Look, sometimes this one is about as useful as me telling my dog not to sleep on the bed. You say no, but he does it anyway, so you kinda just let it happen. It’s the same when you’re feeling less than average (or you just got a savage one-star review that’s cut a hole in your heart) you say to yourself “you got this”, “keep going”, “don’t give up”, but still the negative beliefs seep in. The most powerful thing to do here is GROUND YOURSELF. Literally put your feet on the ground, get comfy, think about the things that make you happy, the awesome stuff you’ve achieved, that you’re alive, well, have a roof over your head, whatever it is that gets your mind back to the real world and out of that negative shit your ego keeps stacking on your shoulders.
The keyword here: gratitude. It’s downright powerful, and so is reflection, not necessarily about the situation at hand, but when I get stuck in the “I wanna burn my salon down and never go back” mindset, I think back to that time in 2010 when I did $8,200 for the month, and that now that’s an average day. Or, I look back at a selfie from fifteen years ago and realise that my eyebrow game is now stronnnng and thank GOD I got out of that awkward stage of my life. Reflection is gold baby, solid gold.
TAKE “YOU” TIME. You? Time? HA! Sometimes you don’t have time to count to six, right? Wrong! MAKE TIME! Everyone needs self-time. Time to chill, recharge the batteries, indulge in some trashy TV and not get out of their PJs all day. But really, everyone’s idea of me-time is different, mine is to turn off my phone for a weekend, head to the beach with my boys and eat lotsa good food. I love food. But for you, what do you love? What’s going to get you out of the mind and body numbing flagellation that is day-to-day salon life that’s burning you out? Going to the movies? Watching an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy and bawling hysterically into your cat? A Slipknot-fuelled gym session? YOU. TIME. Can I say it again? And book it in, you have 24 hours in every day, you choose how you spend them, make them count.
Next, cleanse. I am that weirdo that’s into witchcraft and crystals, and you’ll often see me saging everything in sight, but when I say “cleanse” it can be a few things. Cutting off toxic friend, changing your bed sheets, even cleaning out your linen cupboard or your laptop. Decluttering your life in a physical aspect can be so unbelievably cleansing for the soul. You know the 16 Redbull cans, shoes, receipts and random rubbish you have strewn all over the floor of your car? Don’t ignore it, get rid of it. Cleaner environments, relationships and salons generally mean a clearer headspace.
Last but not least, ASK FOR HELP. You are not alone! Like, seriously! If you don’t have a mentor, get one, I’m lucky enough to have two, who I swear see me at my absolute worst, but they’re also there as a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand to pull you out of the black hole of emotion you’re feeling, and they’re job is to keep you accountable and help you pick up the pieces of whatever situation you have at hand and flip it into something awesome. A coach or mentor is the best investment you can make if you’re struggling with anything at all in your business.
As a business owner, and in the hair and beauty industry, only a few of us can really grasp what we mean when we say ‘hair splinter’, or can genuinely offer useful advice. If you have “no one” to unload to, get down off your unicorn and find someone, there are so many incredible forums, groups, even hair and beauty specific associations available to us today, there are plenty of professionals less arm’s length away, so find them. YOU ARE NOT BATMAN so stop pretending like you are.
And my final words of wisdom, surround yourself with people that make you happy and only serve you in a positive way. It’s okay to outgrow people, let yourself. You won’t look back.