I was recently asked by Beauty Independent, a digital publication for beauty entrepreneurs, to contribute to their No Stupid Questions column. They asked me “At this stage in your business, what advice would you give yourself if you could go back to your first day?” That question really got me thinking and before I knew it I had written way more than I needed to – the words were just flowing out of me! So I decided to use that prompt for this blog post and share with you the advice I would give myself at the start of my journey.
- Trust the journey- when I started TNB I was deep into a full-time career in Corporate America. Although I was good at what I did it did not provide me the personal fulfillment I craved. I desperately want to just jump into my business full time but also recognized that it was not time. I needed the salary from my full-time job to pay for the foundational things like website, packaging, photography, and product development. I also needed to make sure my personal finances were in place before operating without a regular salary. I created a plan...but honestly constantly doubted it. I found myself frustrated with my career and constantly in conflict between my heart that told me I was on the right track and my head that told me this crazy dream would never happen. During that 2.5 year period of time I was able to get all of the things in place that I needed and beyond that, learned so much about myself. I learned that I am stronger and smarter than I realized, that my determination is strong, that I can put a plan in place and see it through and that I need to spend less time worrying and questioning my every move and simply trust the journey.
- Fail often, pivot fast! I am a perfectionist and for many years in my corporate life, failure was not an option. Starting TNB has taught me the value of failing...and failing often. I have learned that my strong understanding of our brand values affords me to push the boundaries and try something that may actually fail. I have learned to be comfortable with failure and view it as a learning opportunity. I have also learned however if I'm going to allow myself the freedom to fail that I have to keenly recognize when something is not working, analyze the situation and decide to pivot fast or recognize it as a great learning opportunity and move on the next innovative idea!
- Hire great people before you need them. I started TNB while I was working a full-time career. I thought I needed to do everything myself and when I needed support with things like marketing and brand development I contracted with agencies. Because my budget was small I found myself spending a lot of my annual budget and making very little traction on the foundational things that really mattered to my brand, like newsletters, regular social posting, and blogs. I also discovered that my brand message was morphing a bit each time I engaged a new agency for help. My business was not at the right point in its development to utilize agencies like I was. It wasn't until I left my full-time career that I contracted with my first team member. Candidly I wish I had hired her on the first day I started the business! The collaboration was remarkable and in a short period of time, she understood the brand, had systems in place to manage the activities that took me forever to do, her willingness to push the boundaries and her passion to help me build True North Beauty has resulted in the launch of the Us Collection!
- Don't forget your why. My "why" for starting TNB has always been strong. I have a passion for helping women build and maintain confidence and I know healthy clear skin is one important aspect of the confidence formula. That said, building a business is really hard. Early on we are doing everything ourselves and in many cases operating well outside our knowledge base and comfort. We are unilaterally responsible for every decision, constantly calculating risk, and thinking about how our decisions impacts our team. There have been times I wanted to give up and go back to my corporate life. It is then that I think of the women I am doing this for and I realize that going back is not an option. I feel they need me (and I need them) and that my mission in life is to inspire their confident natural beauty. My "why" keeps me centered and gives me the confidence to continue on!