“What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us Are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us.” Day 5 of Female Founders Accelerator
I mean seriously can these workshops get any better?! Each workshop seems to coincide PERFECTLY with the stage of my business I'm at in that particular week. I hate to say it... but it's like ... it was just meant to be! It was A LOT of information as usual but I've broken it down so sit back and enjoy reading some useful information on how to grow your business which can also be applied to how to grow as a person!
We started off with our usual 'check-in' session to check up on how everybody is doing since the last workshop. A few of us in the group have had it tough recently with personal issues going on including me. It reminded me that learning how to stay completely focused on our business goals through the good times should be made into a such a strong habit, it's easier to do it through the tough times also. The session also highlighted the fact that we never really know what anybody is really going through and what struggles they face so be nice to everyone!
Oh how I needed this information right here! Since the start of Bella Lash Brow, I've been constantly battling back and forth with the person I know I truly am vs. who I think I should be in order to run my business. But I'm glad to have confirmed that battle is NOT how it should be done.
Talent Dynamics is an extension of the infamous Wealth Dynamics used by entrepreneurs around the world to determine their personality profile. The central idea behind Talent Dynamics is "the experience you, your colleagues, your customers and your stakeholders have of your enterprise – and your collective efforts to grow the success of your organisation – is determined by one guiding principle - FLOW" (Hamilton, 2003). The level of FLOW can only be determined by how happy and fulfilled employees and business owners are. The more happy and 'in flow' employees are, the easier it will be to retain your staff and ultimately this will attract more clients. According to this theory, when each individual is in FLOW and the whole team is working in a balanced dynamic, innovation, creativity and positive action will SOAR.
Of course this is not something that we need to completely follow but talent profiling is profound and is based on scientific research. Having lived and worked as an English teacher in China for a year, my Chinese colleagues were always keen to explain talent profiling within them teams of teachers as it's based on a 5,000 year-old Chinese system called I-Ching. This system is explained in 'Book Of Changes' one of the oldest books in history translated by many around the world which can be "read as a book of wisdom revealing the laws of life to which we must all attune ourselves if we are to live in peace and harmony" (Wilhelm, 1989). For this reason, it simply cannot be ignored.
Seeing as I'm now in the process of sorting out a contract to employ my first ever P.A/ lash tech, this could not have come at a better time! :)
Marianne talked us through the Talent Dynamics square:
Introverts incline more towards the left and Extroverts incline more towards the right. If you are highest in intuitive thinking, you will float up to one of the high-frequency profiles: Mechanic, Creator or Star. If you are strongest in sensory thinking, you will gravitate to one of the low-frequency profiles: . If you are strongest in sensory thinking, you will gravitate to one of the low-frequency profiles: Accumulator, Trader or Deal Maker.
Marianne and I had a chance to discuss my talent profile and she quickly predicted that she thinks I'm a STAR and boy was she right! I honestly feel like I've just met myself all over again and can definitely see how best to run Bella Lash Brow whilst minimising risk of procrastination, disagreements etc within my team.
I will sum up characteristics of each dynamic starting with mine. Each profile has two other, secondary profiles but for the purpose of this blog, I will leave them out.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan
Great! I know exactly what type of natural characteristics I possess. But what now? How can I ensure that knowing this will help me scale my business and get my team (hopes of 14 staff members by 2020!) in FLOW?
Well, STAR's need to be at the forefront of their business and experts advise even doing a mini showreel video speaking to camera etc and professional head shots which I've actually just very recently done! :) Exciting! But what I found the most interesting and also somewhat of a relief is that STAR's work best when they are left to be creative and work but have a professional team behind them to manage the business professionally.
Do you know how long I've been battling with this idea?? I would make jokes sometimes and say I wish I had a manager and friends and family would laugh too because of course I am the OWNER and of course I should be the director of everything right? Wrong! My weaknesses show that this is certainly not the case for me if I ever want to take Bella Lash Brow to unimaginable heights.
I've got to be honest! Every single weakness above applies. But instead of beating myself up over something I can't really change, why no focus ALL my energy on my strengths? My talent profile is my natural path and the most successful entrepreneurs stick to their path and hire others who can execute the stuff better than they can. Simple. There are millions of people in London and I'm sure I can find Mechanics to create my systems or Lords to sort my finances. Marina advises that a well balanced team makes for the best productivity and when people try and be everything mentioned above, things simply don't work.
"I know what to do so why don't I do it?" - 30min Hack (by me!)
So after lunch it was time for my 30min Hack Session! The organisers encouraged me to do one of the hack sessions we have at every workshop in which Sarah or Helen summarises a useful book in 30mins. Due to the amount of self development books I read, we thought it could be useful to the rest of the group. I agreed because STARs of course love to talk and when we have an engaged audience listening to something we're passionate about? Ah we're in our element! :)
So what was it all about? Well... this book simply changed my life when it comes to 'getting things done'. Most people already associate me with being "Miss Get Stuff Done" as I rarely ever don't do something I want to do. This is in life and in business. However, now that I am running a business and getting into the 'Autumn' stage of my business, getting everything done on time without losing sleep, sacrificing my social life or risking my sanity... is proving difficult!
So this book is based on scientific research written by Dr Nick Hall who has helped Fortune 500 businesses get the best out of their employees through activities and team building tasks. I will list the top 3 tips I found the most useful in this book:
1. Never say 'I don't have time!'
Dr Hall makes a point that when people ask something like 'So how are you getting on with those projects you said you would do?", we must never say 'I don't have time' as we immediately fall victim to something we cannot control. Everybody has the same 24hrs in a day, 7 days a week and so rather we should say something like "I've taken on too much for the time I DO have". This way, subconsciously, we have acknowledged the control we do actually have which is how much work we want to commit ourselves to. He also makes a point that we should never commit to something without checking our schedule first. The next time someone ask you for a favour, say something like "I will need (some time) to consider if I can fit it into my schedule and I will get back to you". This is something I've actually tried and although I felt really bad the first time I did it, considering it was a small favour for my MUM when she does so much for me, I had to be honest and she did actually appreciate the honesty! Now it's almost an automatic response.
2. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes?
Dr Hall completely disagrees! He does not agree with the common quote "seeing is believing" at all but rather "believing is seeing!". Realty is simply an image in our minds. Our culture, childhood, life experiences etc all shape our values and beliefs and so when two people look at exactly the same thing in front of them, the image will be totally different in their minds because no two people have exactly the same beliefs and values.
Here, I performed a task that Dr Hall performs at one of his live talks when talking about this subject. I asked the group to simply listen to a list of words: Rest, Awake, Tired, Dream, Night, Eat, Comfort, Sound, Slumber, Snore. I then asked everyone to write down as many words as they could remember. After about 30seconds, I asked who had written down Night which was right, Eat which was right and then I asked if anybody had written down Sleep? This is of course not in the list but guess what? Nearly everybody did! I even went as far as checking who wrote this down close to the top of their list and again most had done! Everyone was shocked and felt so sure, they asked questions like 'are you sure you never said sleep?' or 'did you say a work that rhymed with sleep?'.
This just shows how powerful the effect of external influences which stimulate our senses can have on our activities. Because the words I read created an IMAGE of sleep in their minds, everybody was confident that they had heard the word sleep. I truly believe it's things like this that can really stop people achieving their true potential in life because external factors can really be powerful if we choose to let them overtake an unbiased reality.
According to Dr Hall, 'belief driven' people are those that are simply driven by their beliefs and struggle or sometimes never do take into account other people's beliefs (religion, culture) etc and 'reality driven' people are those that can even slightly alter their own beliefs when they learn of another 'point of view' in order to be more in line with an unbiased reality. The most successful people in life fall into one of these categories. I'll let you decide which one that is :)
3. It's not what you're doing, it's how you're doing it!
The most useful tip for me was definitely the tips on how to get through tasks productively. The whole point of me getting this book was because I found that I would sit at my desk/ in a cafe for up to 10hours sometimes on 'admin day' and get through very little! I knew what I had to do, nothing on my to-do-list is ever too challenging, yet I would struggle to get everything done on time. I've read a lot on time management and so would always put the most important things at the top of my list and work through but this may not always be the best way to manage such precious time.
According to Dr Hall, we must pay attention to what parts of our brains are active at the time of wanting to do a task. As you may know, the left side of our brain is used for language based tasks and the right side of our brains is used for creative tasks. In order for us to do our best at a particular task, the side we need must be active.For example, if the left side of our brain is active, it's the perfect time to write a report as opposed to designing marketing material.
But how do we know which part of our brain we're in at any particular moment? Well it's really quite simple. You simply breathe slowly up through your nose and the nostril which is allowing you to breathe in more air better than the other is the side you're in! But of course sometimes we need to write an important email when we're in our creative side so you simply hold the nostril that is allowing more air in and breathe slowly through the other nostril for a few minutes to activate that side of the brain you need to stay focused and be productive!
The type of tasks you do should also alternate! We should always aim to do opposite tasks whenever possible. If you have 'write a blog' as a task, you're next task should be something like 'create email signature graphic' in order to 'mind blocks' or procrastination. Dr Hall also reminds us to always stick to the time we have dedicated to this . To ensure max productivity, 90mins max should be dedicated on any given task.
I still am definitely struggling to keep on top of everything but have definitely improved and things can only get better!
How do you Become Irresistible? - By Nerea Carryon
What better way to end this great workshop than with a fun, energetic 'Life Changing Coach, Inspirational Speaker and CEO' Nerea Carryon!
Nerea was actually part of our female founder panel at our first workshop so we knew a bit about her background and what she does now. Nerea worked for one of the biggest financial companies in the world and so had a stable, secure career earning great money. However Nerea simply got so fed up with feeling like she wasn't living up to her true purpose and left it all behind to become the founder of www.thehappyworldcompany.com after seeing how frustrated and unhappy some of her colleagues were despite the fact that they had everything one could ask for! "I had two options, change the whole financial world or do my best to help change people's attitude."
Luckily for us, Nerea chose the latter and she started off the session simply asking what we think the word 'irresistible' means. We all shouted out answers and then had to decide how many of the qualities mentioned we thought we possessed. I could pick out about 5 on the board which wasn't bad but being aware of what other qualities 'irresistible' people possess is extremely useful if we're ever going to develop as successful entrepreuneurs.
After completing an activity in which we discussed our qualities and also our weaknesses we aim to improve, Nerea got us up and we each had to make a dance move which went with our greatest skill/ quality we think we posses. Mine was 'SPEAKER' (I honestly just love to talk and inspire people!) and we each had to go into the middle of the circle shouting out the words several times before the others repeated and followed our moves. The music was on and the energy was amazing! This really helped us be proud of our quality as all too often, we shy away from telling others what we are great at in fear of coming across too cocky.
Being irresistible for me means that people cannot get enough of you and want more of what you have to offer. This of course is crucial in the service industry because no matter how great my lash and brow work is, I will not have the regular client base I do now if I was someone they didn't want to be around. I have seen so many great beauticians out there who are amazingly skilled but have this unapproachable personality that clients simply won't hang on in there no matter how fantastic the end result is or how great the prices are. I truly believe as a lash/ brow technician, my personality is part of the services and my reviews are evidence on how much importance is given on the technician. Most of my feedback starts with "Debbie is.... lovely, friendly, knowledgable etc" before mentioning anything about that their lashes and brows looking great, comfortable space, perfect location etc.
Now that I am introducing training courses in order to give other women a chance to be an entrepreneur and provide for their loved ones through doing something they love, I am working on all my qualities as much as I possibly can as well as trying to gain some more!
I am so grateful to be in a position where I can truly make a positive difference in other people's lives and will always continue to share my inspiration and knowledge with others.
After all, "true leaders don't create followers. They create leaders".
Create a Kick-Ass Brand
What a fantastic workshop yet again! So last week, it was time for the 4th workshop of this amazing course which helps female entrepreneurs scale their business to new heights. The day began as usual with a 'check-in' session for us all to see how everyone has been since the last session on self-care. I was excited to share that I had been much more active than I'd ever been before with my morning workouts 5 times a week, eating healthy and ultimately learning how to manage my time better which is my main focus at the moment. The programme organisers have actually asked me to share what I have learned in some of the self-development books I've been reading and will be doing one of the '30min Hack Session' that we have on the course to sum up the main points of the books with evidence of how they have directly helped me. Can't wait for that! I'll do a blog about it soon as even my clients have seen all of my notes on the wall and admit they ned a technique to help them GET THINGS DONE :)
Back to last week's workshop. After everybody checked in, we brought back some of the stuff we learned last session on brand values to get a better understanding of which of our values are clear, which ones need to shine more and also which values do shine but which we are not aware of. We did this by standing up and speaking for 1 minute about why we started our business in the most normal and honest way possible. We then checked to see if the rest of the group could guess what our values were. I spoke about how I started BLB due to the frustration of not finding anyone that could give me a great set of lashes without the damage and knowledgable aftercare advice so set out to be the best lash tech I could be ensuring that I'm constantly training and learning the best skills possible for my clients. I was pleased to see some of values were clear (quality, passionate, personal growth) and super happy to see some new ones emerge (recognition, empowerment).
It was time for Brand and Marketing expert Julia Homayounnejad to take over and help us understand more about how to create a kick-ass brand, specifically how digital has impacted the way consumers buy. Julia focused on how we can master the customer decision journey to choosing a brand as the level of transparency is now high and marketers can advertise on a multi-channel platform. Long gone are the days where a consumer would watch a TV advert making them aware of let's say a new McVitie's biscuit range, before popping out and speaking to the neighbour who says they love the new biscuits as they dunk it in their tea, then notices a billboard which shows you can get 2 for 1, before then going into the supermarket and buying that brand of biscuits at Tesco collecting points using their Tesco Clubcard. It's just not that linear anymore!
The difference now with the average consumer is that after one touch point, they will usually research everywhere else online before purchase and using various devices. In fact, it is now normal to watch TV whilst having a smartphone in your hand, the desktop nearby and the iPad on your lap all being used simultaneously.
"Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points" - Jonah Sachs
Luckily, the subject of consumer decision making processes is something I've been aware of when I started my business and from the start, I ensured I was on as many online platforms as possible. My MSc in Marketing's Branding Module taught me how important 'touchpoints' are. A great book I remember reading for this module is 'Build a Brand in 30 Days' by Simon Middleton and is the best book I've read on branding so far. The smallest stimulus can ignite a desire/ want for a product or service in a matter of seconds and now that we are overloaded with so much information and potential stimulus, it is extremely important for us to understand how and where to advertise. Julia reminded me that the new journey begins where the proposition is relevant and this is proving to be true with potential clients for lashes and brows. Really understanding WHEN my clients decide they want lashes and brows is crucial and I do understand better now that I've been in business for over a year. Holidays, weddings and birthdays are currently the top 3 reasons why my clients have booked a service. I ask the reason why they want the service booked on a form and ask them to specify the occasion if they ticked 'special occasion' as opposed to or in addition to 'daily wear'.
Although almost all clients (90% client retention) then continue coming back for regular additional services after this holiday, birthday or wedding, it is important for me to target potential clients during these specific moments in their lives to get them through the door! I am now definitely looking into being a little more specific with this question on the form as those who tick 'daily wear' might still have had a 'aha! I need lashes/brows' moment. But what Julia highlighted was how likely it will happen at a time the consumer actually needs what you're offering which I've managed to gain an understanding from in some consultations e.g. "So I cried at work one time after a stressful day and had mascara running all down my face and I thought that's it! I need lash extensions!' or 'I accidentally wiped one of my brows off on a date and wondered why he was staring at me funny the whole time and thought that's it! I NEED semi permanent brows". I think it will be extremely useful to add something like 'What is your main reason for booking this treatment today?'. Of course once your consumer realise they need you, they will Google whatever it is you're offering so Julia then showed as this amazing Google advert to show more about how these 'micro moments' play out in real life situations.
So... how the hell do I know when people's birthdays are or when they're planning a holiday or when they are looking to tie the knot eh? Well I'm now looking into partnering up with other relevant companies. For example, in the hunt for brides-to-be, bridal shops will have brides coming in at a time when they have started planning their wedding. From my basic research, brides usually buy their dress an average of 9 months before wedding date. This is also usually around the time they start looking for a beautician and hair stylist to 'trial' different looks so it's at this precise moment that I need to jump in and say "HELLO! I can make you look beautiful for your big day :)" But of course stalking brides to be as they leave the shop wouldn't really be the best idea so the idea is to go in with some business cards and perhaps offering a special 'bridal' experience (not discounts as this is the one time in their life they are NOT looking to cut costs) and this way, the staff at the shop would sell them the service a little more as they want their clients to be looked after.
I'm still thinking about ways to target the birthday and holiday crew but I'll get there and this workshop has definitely confirmed my thoughts on this! :)
The moment this not-so-linear journey starts however is the moment they book or the first contact made whether through email, text, call etc. I always try to ensure that the first ever contact right through to the end of the service goes as smoothly as possible and especially the aftercare as so many beauticians after they have finished their service leave you 'hanging'. I sometimes send a quick text to see how lashes or brows are doing or how the holiday, birthday was etc or a courtesy call to say 'thank you for the lovely review'. This is because I genuinely care and want them to look their best for special occasions and although I don't have much time now to do it as much as I'd like, I try my best to look after my clients before, during and after a Bella Lash Brow experience!
Target Audience - Be specific!
Consumers nowadays scroll through social media and browse online a lot and although as marketers "we cannot create a need" rather we can highlight their 'wants', it is important we are constantly marketing on these platforms as much as possible. Hashtags are also important as many of my clients had admitted to searching a specific hashtag e.g. 'eyelash extensions' as they knew at that point they wanted their lashes done. Some however say they stumbled across a photo of my work on their Facebook or Instagram timeline and never even thought about getting lash extensions done but because the photo looked so good, they looked into it further. Both of these consumers will go onto further investigation of Bella Lash Brow usually the website first which acts as the anchor to the brand and then wherever else especially my online reviews (which in itself is marketing as Google ranks liked business higher).
The following shows the importance of understanding your product or service's propositions so you can better target your target consumers:
Julia then explained how each of these consumers's decision jouney looks and by understanding this, we can better target them in the relevant times they need the product service, via the right mediums and partner up with the right brands they are exposed to!
Bella Lash Brow
Service Propositions -
Bella Lash Brow offers the ultimate eyelash and eyebrow experience with Individual Eyelash Extensions in either MINK or SILK fibres in either CLASSIC or VOLUME styles as well as offering the hottest new semi permanent eyebrow trend, MICROBLADING!
Now of course this is just a snippet of what I know about my ideal client and 'Emma' is who I target everyday. The fact that I actually fit into my target audience I don't think is a coincidence as I am keen to give women what I felt was missing for me as a consumer and I believe I know what these women want. Needless to say, every single person that may be outside of their target is still treated with the same level of high respect but this workshop reinforced the importance of being clear about your target audience so you can better tailor your marketing. Brands that try and target EVERYONE fail or eventually go bust due to extremely high marketing budget for something that is simply not possible. Now that I will be branching off to Bella Lash Brow ACADEMY (more on this soon) I will have to decide on who my target audience is and market differently.
Head, Heart, Hands and Feet
It was then time for Sarah to go through a fun and interesting activity before we shared our skills and created a 'Skill Swap Shop'. The activity was to help us understand more about our qualities and what we can offer others as well as ourselves for our business. Sarah started by getting us to close our eyes and rate by a show of hands out of 10 how much we think we are good at helping others but also also how good we are at asking for help. I was surprised to learn that I showed 8 out of 10 for asking for help. When I come to think of it, I ask people for help all the time! I reach out to friends, family and even strangers which is how I get so much useful business advice from very knowledgable people. However when thinking about how much I help others, I don't do it enough! I showed a 5 for this as over the last year or so I never have time and definitely need to MAKE time as it's not fair to expect help and never give back.
We then were asked to think of qualities we posses from our heads, hearts, hands and feet. Each body part represented a category in which the qualities are relevant to which was so actually so useful to ensure your business values align with the person you actually are! I remember really trying to separate me as a person to the company when I first started but I'm now realising that it's simply not possible. I drive my business and my business drives me! (crazy at times)! We're a good team :)
Our work was then passed around to each other to see what points people find interesting as these are the qualities people are drawn to so must be highlighted through brand story telling/ marketing. It was interesting to find out it was my heritage, my future goals of motivating young women and my love of partying that most were drawn to! Apart from my future goals, I need to definitely speak more of where I'm from and that I'm fluent in Italian and show off my party animal side! Haha! All within reason of course :)
So then we moved over to the other side of the room and sat in groups of 3 to begin skill/advise swapping! One person had a question, one person would answer and one person was the mediator. I sat in the group with Helen the mediator and Rose who asked her question first in the allocated 1 minute who spoke about her struggle with creating a great logo. I then had 1 minute to press further and be clear about what she needed. I then had 2 minutes to advise on what I thought in which I was excited to tell her about 99designs.com and showed her my logo and shared my great experience. We then swapped groups and I was given some great advise by Niela who helped me with my question about how much time to dedicate to client work vs. creating workshops for young teens. It was so helpful to understand that I first need to decide what an ideal week looks like for me and how many days I'd be happy to dedicate to each! Funnily enough, I never actually thought of it this way and focused on what time and finances would allow me to do. It was a great reminder that I am in fact in control and once I decide what it is I actually want, I will work towards that!
We then put two of our skills we could offer up on the wall and each of us picked two skills we would find useful. I picked up a 1hr session with organiser Helen and Rose's session on how to sleep better which I'm looking forward to! Natalie picked up my skill of helping with website design and looking forward to that also. We have gone on to create a Google Spreadsheet to enter all our skills and decide on dates/times etc to meet through our Whatsapp group we created which is truly so helpful!
The 4-Hour Workweek
The lovely Helen then gathered us around to listen to her 30-min Hack, a section of each workshop dedicated to summing up a great business book. This week is was all about 'The 4-Hour Workweek' by Tim Ferriss who also has other self-help books e.g. 'The 4-Hour Body' and 'The 4-Hour Chef'. His main point in this book is that we should work 10x harder in each hour to achieve the best possible results in all that we do. Tim wrote the book after working 14hour shifts at his sports nutrition company and was frustrated with the overwork and lack of free time.
1. "Scared? Get over it!"
Helen explained that the first point to understand for Tim was to 'define fear' and ask yourself "What's the worst that can happen?". So many people fear change and only a few actually implement their dreams into reality but we must first get over this fear and weigh the pros and cons. Tim feels it's likely we might even find a few cons but these cons shouldn't stop us at least trialling our idea. Helen showed us an example of somebody really pushing fear out of the way in the form of a book called "Cycling home from Siberia" by Rob Lilwall who travelled 30,000 miles over 3 and a half years with few belongings and his trusted bike. Wow! Now what was that thing that I was so scared about doing...?
2. "Make your money work for you"
Tim's next point is all about automating your income. One easy example given was to 'create a product', 'licence a product', 'resell a product'. A great example of this is in action can be seen on printfull.com who buy a t-shirt from Ali Express for £3, can customise it for you for £15 in which you then sell as merchandise for £30. 'Automate' is actually one of the headings on my wall of 'things to do' right now and part of the categories which my tasks are checked against (more on this next week as part of my very own 30min hack session). Anything we can automate, we really should and now that I'm looking into selling my own branded products online, the process explained above is definitely something I'll be putting to the test :)
This is also up on the wall and I try so hard to put tasks under this heading asking myself 'Does this really need to be done at all?". After all, "effectiveness is doing the tasks that get you closer to your goals!". Yes there are tasks that we do not want to do but still have to but I'm really trying to focus on the 'effective' tasks. This task here of writing a blog I've procrastinated on sometimes due to other tasks being more effective to get me to where I want to be but important all the same as it's allowing me to process everything I learned in this great course and ensuring I'm not just going to let my notes collect dust. Whilst also helping others get a better understanding of their business of course :)
It was a useful reminder that 80% of outputs come from 20% of inputs and to be able to focus on this important 20%, "you need to adopt a low information diet and Cultivate Selective Ignorance"! This is proving to be so true for me! Booking clients in is something I do not have time for and so have made it extremely easy for clients to do this themselves by having a booking widget on my website, a booking widget on my Facebook page and a branded Bella Lash Brow FREE app. I have also taken the time to write as many FAQ's as I can think of on my website in a clear, detailed fashion so clients can research what they are interested in, look at my work across al social media platforms (embedded in website) and select a service and time/date. This 20% of input a month- booking next appointment in before client leaves, updating website info, posting a photo/video of every client regularly on social media produces the majority of the outcome.
Although, in rare cases, clients may have a question very specific to them in which I am happy to answer, questions such as "What's the difference between a half or full set" or "When's your next availability?" must be ignored by sending them the link to the relevant website page. It would mean all my hard work was for no reason and is something I simply do not struggle with anymore as these clients free up space for the self-sufficient clients who end up fitting right into my target audience and are fantastic to serve at each and every appointment long term :)
4. "If you don't have the time for it, someone else does!"
This is also up on my wall as 'Delegate'. By far, this is the one thing that has made it MUCH easier and infact possible to have productive recent weeks. I am the typical entrepreuneur and think I can do everything and amazing at it too! However, I tried delegating a task to my mum the other day and am on such a roll with this, I want a whole team! The task was simple in that she had to cut paper straw and fit them on to the top of 200-300 spoolie brushes. It turned out she was way quicker than me, completed it in an hour (usually takes me 2), didn't mind doing it for £10ph and simultaneously did it alongside me as I lashed away. The feeling was incredible and now have delegated a few other tasks:
- Design customised email signature- Designer in China who designed my logo is working on this now
- Promo video and photo shoot- The model I'm using referred her photographer/videographer boyfriend and both have agreed to team up with me and date has been set in the next few weeks! Exciting!
- Flyering/ Promo- My foster sister and her best friend now have a weekend job and handing put flyers/business cards locally
- Checking hundreds paper invoices against entries in Xero accounting software for the last year - My amazing accountant has found a freelance bookkeeper who is currently working on this
- House front refurbishment- The outside doesn't look as good as the inside of the studio so I have had two guys from my mechanic's garage come and replace the old wooden frame around the window and paint the ledge. A guy from my local car wash will clean and wash down everything once complete :)
Anybody else want some work for some extra cash, I'm sure I can find more jobs! Please apply haha!
4. Go for £50k working 10 hours pw at £100ph (not £100k working 80 hours pw at £25ph!)
Relative income is also something I've been thinking about heavily. At the moment I know working 50+ hours a week is too much for my ideal work week and I am lucky enough to be able to cut it down if I want to and still earn the same income. It's about pusing my Microblading service (£300 per 2hr treatment) which is of course more than my highest priced lash set at £110 for 2hr treatment). Ideally I'd like 10 microblading clients a week, a few of my regular lash clients and work no more than 24hrs a week on practical work. Instead I'd use the rest of the time to focus on my upcoming training/ skill building projects! It WILL happen once I get a lash tech in to help me with the lash client work load :)
5. Retire. Now.
Ok so maybe we can't retire completely but mini-retirements is a great idea! Tim doesn't believe in working all your life and retiring when your knees don't work properly and you can't really appreciate seeing the world as you would in your 20's or 30's. I didn't take a holiday at all in the first 12months of my business and not even a day off but recently visited Iceland and have Budapest booked for my birthday in May. I've also promised myself I'll be taking a weekend off every month to go and have an adventure somewhere in the UK, phone/computer off and do some 'soul searching' in the middle of nature. After all, what's the point of working so damn hard if you can't enjoy the benefits of it NOW?!
She Says Panel
As usual, we had our 'She Says' panel which included 3 full time business women currently running their business successfully and eager to share tips and advice. We had Maz Cohen, Natasha Tiwari and Kristina Naruseviciute. It was so interesting to hear that they had gone trough similar situations as us and comforting to hear that we can slow down a little when we feel like we just want it all and want to get to the top fast. Businesses who plan to make money quickly will eventually collapse just as building a weak foundation for a house will not hold up it up for too long. Maz reminded us that this plan usually means not sticking to your values and beliefs and she believes that this is way more important. I agree!
The subject of investment then came up and Maz explained how she actually drew her ideal investor on paper. He was fat with a bald head and a cigar hanging from his mouth. She posted this picture on LinkedIn and attended as many networking events as she could. And would you believe? This manifestation worked as an investor liked the homour and offered to invest in her company who was indeed fat, bald and smoked cigars! Someone pass me a pen and paper! Not but honestly when I feel I want an investor on board, I will 100% try this.
Natasha spoke about why she started another business whilst already running Elevare, a successful business on it's own. She was frustrated with not being able to find good Indian designs online when looking for a nice, modern dress to be delivered straight to your door so decided to offer what she felt was missing in the industry. She also highlighted the importance of being aware how much time an online company needs as well as service company as people often thing it doesn't need much effort at all.
The main thing I took away from this panel discussion and workshop in general was the reassurance that the pace I'm going at now is just right and I am more are of how to manage my time which is the key to having a successful business whilst still being happy and sociable. I now realise that being a millionaire before 30 (27 now) might not happen BUT I would rather have a sustainable business which will live longer than my existence and I will have sleep amazingly at night for the rest of days knowing that I did it all with my all my values intact and stepping on nobody's toes along the way....
For those that are asking, the next course is in August and I strongly advise all female entrepreneurs to apply right now!
So I’m currently on a course called Female Founders Accelerator which helps women take their business to the next level. On Friday, we had the second workshop and we focused on some of the most important aspects I feel every entrepreneur needs to remember: your values, self care and running your business on your own terms.
So the day started off as we usually do in which we gather in a circle and catch up on what we’ve been getting up to since the last session. Most of us had attended the networking event hosted by AirBnb the night before as they are in partnership with Hatch Enterprise who run FFA and held a debate about the affects of disruption on businesses.
For me, the last session made a big impact. I know I love what I do and beauty will always be a great passion but I have always felt my best qualities lead me to teaching, inspiring and motivating others to live their dreams. Finding out I could actually make steps now towards fulfilling my PURPOSE and live my dreams felt so uplifting, A few days after the last session, I spoke to one of my clients Emma who is a teacher at a Pupil Referral Unit where those that have been excluded from mainstream schools attend. These teenage girls I believe are who my purpose of teaching, inspiring and mentoring is meant for. I spoke to Emma about my hopes of creating workshops for teenage girls not only to train them in the practical skills needed to be a lash and brow technician but more so to make them aware that they are actually the group of people that are more likely to be great entrepreneurs! After all, entrepreneurship is all about taking risks and going against the grain sometimes right? After briefly explaining my aim with the workshops, Emma got just as excited and advised that these extra curriculum activities is exactly what her girls need to keep them engaged and although nothing has been confirmed, Emma and the PRU are keen to discuss further! So I’m now using the social business canvas to plan the idea of Bella Lash Brow as a social enterprise as well as a profitable beauty business and currently drafting the workshop design with the help of my coach Sarah, the FFA organizer Karen and all the amazing women on the course. It was great to see others in the group doing well also. There was definitely a great energy I could feel and it felt good to be a part of it. It was time for Ella and Ruth to present their social media canvas to the rest of us and both did so well.
The Less You Own, The More You Have
It was then time for Sarah to talk to us about how to get rid of the unimportant stuff to allow room for things that add value to your life by sharing some of the self development books she has read. As a self proclaimed ‘sucker for education’, it’s so good to have somebody so willing to share their knowledge and who, as an entrepreneur herself, can give real life practical examples.
The first book recommended was ‘Essentialism- Greg McKeown’ which is about the importance of making time for only the things you really want to do. So many of us meet friends for drinks or sacrifice our time to do favours for others which is all good and well but when those friends are actually ‘acquaintances’ or the people asking for favours know only how to take and never give, never actually adding any value to your life and business, it’s a problem! Sarah went through some images and asked us to quickly shout ‘Hell Yeah!’ or ‘No’ depending on the activity in the picture e.g. Sipping cocktails on a beach – Hell Yeah! Vs. Filing your tax returns- No. We then looked at our own diaries for the next week and noted how many ‘Hell Yeah!’ activities we had coming up vs. how many ‘No’ activities. Although I haven’t read the book, what I got from this is that I need to be careful of how many of the ‘No’ activities I’m spending time on and how many of them can actually be avoided. Some of these activities of course cannot be avoided and some are commitments we have signed up to but it was clear to see that I was due to be spending a lot of time on activities that was bringing absolutely no value to my life. It’s these activities I’m now working on removing completely and in turn, replace with many more ‘Hell Yeah!’ activities.
The next book Sarah recommended was ‘The Power of Tidying- Marie Kondo' which was all about the importance of looking at everything we own and asking ‘Does It Spark Joy?’. Holding onto things that doesn’t spark some sort of joy is CLUTTER and of no use to you or your home. Some things such as gifts or expensive items can of course be hard to throw away but if you want to clear your mind, you MUST clear your clutter first. I totally agree with this and was so happy when this came up. Having recently moved out into a much smaller bedroom and setting up my business from my living room in this one bedroom flat, I knew I had to be smart and get rid a lot of stuff. However the last few weeks, I felt the need to go through everything stored under my bed and declutter PROPERLY. This simple question of ‘Does It Spark Joy’ really helped! After coming back home from the workshop, I blasted some music on and I immediately set out to get rid of everything that didn’t make me happy when I looked at it within the first 3 seconds. I gave myself an hour to do it all which I think helped with the decision making. It was mostly clothes and shoes that I wanted to get rid of. We all have that one top that we KNOW we’re just never going to wear but ‘oh you know maybe one day it will fit right and the colour will magically change and I’ll like it more’ or that jumper that you know has been completely worn out and hanging on it’s last thread but ‘oh you know I could wear it around the house sometimes’. Items like this that didn’t immediately make me go ‘ahhhh’ got tossed in bags and put outside my local charity shop. Apart from the tattered stuff which was too bad for even a charity shop to sell! I am left with things that I actually like and wanted in my house and felt much lighter.
Sarah ended the session with recommending Minimalism- A Documentary About the Important Things which although is at the extreme end of owning less was very insightful and made me very aware of the how dangerous it can be to constantly chase after material things to feel a void within your soul which all the most expensive things in the world cannot fill and understand just how powerful the media and marketing can be to tap into that and really make you feel that these are things you NEED if you're ever going to be someone with a life worth living for.
Your Values Guide Your Life and Business
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony - Mahatma Gandhi
It was then time for our guest speaker Nikki Levitan to talk to us about the next part of the workshop which focused on the importance of VALUES! As I’d recently read ’Build a Brand in 30 Days- Simon Middleton’, I had previously done some work on this but this allowed me to explore it in much more detail. Values guide our life and is essentially our moral compass. It is our ‘why’ and the reason we get out of bed in the morning. Personal values whether we like it or not influences our business greatly and long after the founder of a company has left, their values still remain which determines how the business runs. Values are the heart of the business!
Nikki referred to a great TED Talk 'How Great Leaders Inspire Action - Simon Sinek' who gives the example of Apple and how Apple was struggling to find it’s identity again after the passing of Steve Jobs. Consumers don’t just connect with a brand because of the product/service it offers but instead they connect with the brand story. This brand story is your personal story and the values you hold should be clear in not only what you say you believe but followed through in your behaviour. The best way to find out what your values are is to ask yourself ‘What am I driven by?’ and then constantly checking ‘How am I living in full alignment with them?’ Nikki made it clear that when values are tested, deflation occurs and that can be seriously damaging to a business.
We were asked to think of our top 5 driving values and mine were:
Some of the ladies talked about success as their reason to throw the duvet off every morning which I felt strongly about also. However Nikki explained the difference between conscious vs. fear-based values and understanding that if the thought of the value not being in place doesn’t ‘piss you off’, then it shouldn’t be in your value list . She gave her own example of when she had to decide if ‘inclusion’ should be one of her 5 values. When Nikki thinks of ‘exclusion', she automatically feels something isn’t right within her gut and so is absolutely sure that it’s one of her driving therefore conscious values. A fear-based value however could be ‘success’. Let’s say success means ‘to make £10k a month’ but the thought of ‘not succeeding’ doesn’t really evoke a strong negative emotion, then it’s likely the goal of succeeding is due to some external factor e.g. a pushy partner and therefore is a fear based value. What you really want is for your partner to be proud therefore by making ‘recognition’ a value, it is less likely to have you feeling deflated if you made £5k a month.
To ensure deflation doesn't occur, my values will be worked on and revised at various stages of my business to check if they are still in line with my future goals and there may be times which signals this revision e.g. if I feel I have lost sense of direction, when I procrastinate or when I have a significant decision to make.
One moment which really stood out is when Nikki set the task for one of us to tell us their 'why' when it came to starting up/running their business in 2 minutes. Mary went up and immediately grabbed all of our attention when she simply began with "So I was on benefits for a while...". Because of the time constraint, Mary knew she had to simply say it how it was and there wasn't time for anything other than the raw facts and expressed a sense of vulnerability yet determination and accomplishment. THIS was the proof that people buy into PEOPLE more than they do any product or service. Although I updated my 'About Debbie Cotti' section a few months ago to make it more personal. This has now inspired me to update it again and I'm also going to have my story printed and clearly visible in the studio for everyone to see! I understand that even within a saturated market, I am confident that Bella Lash Brow has a very bright future because there is only one ME and I'm proud of my unique story which I'm excited to share with the world :)
It was then time for Self-Care and a topic I had been looking forward to since enrolling on the course. Well-being and the prevention of burn out is one of the most important things for entrepreneurs to understand in order to maintain our physical, mental and emotional health so we can take on work and responsibilities. Since making the move at the start of the year, I haven’t looked after myself much at all. Working 7 days a week can of course be extremely tiring and one statement that really stood out for me was that I needed to ‘protect my passion’. Any human being who does anything they love for too long will eventually become disengaged and not as passionate as when they started so it was good to be reminded of this.
So as well as exercising, eating right and sleeping well, great practice of self care includes looking after the spiritual, the emotional, the mental and the physical YOU. We had 4 posters with these written on them and went around adding our ideas for activities which could help for each poster. We then we all went ‘shopping’ and picked 3 ideas from each poster that we were going to implement. I was really impressed with what we as a group came up with.
We were then asked to write down what ‘the best day’ looks like for us and what ‘the worst day’ looks like to see if we noticed any patterns emerging. These are some of the things I noticed:
Another piece of advice that really stood out for me during this session was that it was 'absolutely fine if not crucial to work ON your business not IN’. THIS perhaps was the most reassuring thing I’ve heard in a really long time. I have always known that although I love what I do, I would be so much more useful outside of my business! Somewhat tricky when you have no employees of course but this is definitely the aim. As important as it is for any business owner to be present and close to their team, the best practice of leadership is to allow others to lead. Nikki explained that the guilt of thinking ‘I can’t leave the salon/shop etc and I must be there for my team’ comes from not recognizing what you have achieved so far, the relentless hours you have put in and also the fact that you have more to offer the business which needs you to be physically out of the business first.
It was only right we ended the class with a Yoga session led by Yoga teacher/entrepreneur Meg Jackson. I had done Yoga regularly whist living in China but haven’t done much since being back. I often do a quick meditation in the morning with not much physical activity but which I now understand is all part of Yoga. Allowing your body to communicate with your brain is essential to finding that inner peace. Steady breathing and connecting with your inner self has been found to be one of the daily habits of many successful entrepreneurs and reminded me how important it is to make this a daily habit even if it's just taking 2 minutes in the middle of my day to just breathe!
This was the part of the workshop called She Says, a segment dedicated to entrepreneurs coming in and sharing their story just as we had the panel of inspiring women at the last workshop. Meg wore a top that read ‘Do Yoga. Eat Pizza. Be Happy’, had tattoos on her arms and was so funny and quirky. Of course, this is not what the stereotypical Yoga teacher looks like and was exactly what made me love her even more and she was ken to share her story with us after the Yoga session. Meg has a business called Real Life Yoga after realizing that Yoga wasn’t about being skinny and extremely flexible and waking up at the crack of dawn but it was about being compassionate and appreciating life. This ability to train your mind, body and soul to be calm and collected really does filter into how you live your life and more importantly how you run your business. I don't think I'll be signing up to any Yoga classes just yet but currently on Day 2 of 30 Days Of Yoga with Adriene and feeling great! I'm SO looking forward to the next few months and getting so much closer to truly living my dreams :)
*If anybody needs any help or advice with any of the topics in this blog or you simply want to have a chat and discuss some of these things further please don't hesitate to get in touch - 07852105241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been a hectic few weeks so apologies for the late post! Yet again, loving these workshops and so glad that each week correlates with the current events of my business :) This week was all about PITCHING! Seeing as I've challenged myself to do 50 pitches/live talks this year, this workshop was extremely useful. Every business related book I read or videos I watch have made it very clear that business owners will never scale their business if they cannot sell and pitching is basically selling! A pitch is basically delivering your business plan verbally. You sell yourself, your idea, your business in order to get people to believe in you so they can part with their investment as typically, this is what business pitches are for.
So we started off the workshop with our check in as we normally do so we can catch up with everybody. We then went on to start our 30-min Hack sessions with Helen who summed up Lean In and Girlboss for us. I found Helen's main points to be:
- Girls are discouraged from taking risks and advocating themselves - they do the work but then simply don't promote it!
This is very true. Helen even recalled a time where she had done this unknowingly. She was working for a company and eager to be promoted so started working really hard by going above and beyond what was expected of her only to realise that she hadn't been put forward for the role she wanted. Helen approached her managers confused but only to be told that they had no idea she had wanted to even be considered for a promotion as she never mentioned it! To be heard, we must talk louder ladies!
- By taking on the 'higher power' body pose, we can become more powerful
This was so good to hear as I do sometimes feel that I speak differently even on the phone depending on how I'm sitting or standing. As a telephone market research interviewer for many years, I remember practising different poses at my desk in order to sound different on the phone and when it came to B2B calling, it was so important that I too sounded important and professional on the phone in order to bypass the CEO's P.A!
Helen advised we watched Amy Cuddy's TED Talk on this which I had already seen and glad this was a reminder of the importance of physical postures before public speaking. By standing or sitting in a powerful position like one of the below poses, we lower the stress hormone Cortisol and so Helen advised doing one of these just before pitching to get us 'in the zone'!
- "Don't leave before you leave"
Often women without realising it, stop reaching for new opportunities or offer the hesitant 'yes' when being promoted or assigned to a new project which is then just given to someone else. Again, this is a very fair point and as I've now turned 28, I'm even thinking about which next steps to take and often wonder, "Will this fit into my hopes of getting married and starting a family?". With the pressure from family and friends and even clients, I do sometimes consider slowing down a little and making my huge plans smaller. I mean even as I say it, it sounds ridiculous! The feelings never last more than a minute or two before I shake myself out of the silly thinking but the thoughts are definitely happening more regularly. I mean how can I already think about something that hasn't even happened?! I can only imagine the amount of opportunities women miss out on everyday because of these similar feelings when really we should just reach for the stars whole heartedly and think about future events when they come!
3 Steps to a Perfect Pitch
So then it was time for Mina Mustappa to guide us to creating the perfect pitch. We were advised to have a draft for a pitch ready and as I was getting ready to do a pitch at Beyond Good Business in about 2 weeks, I had one ready. However I completely changed the whole thing by the time Mina was done!
Mina started off by explaining the importance of physiology for an audience listening to a live presentation of any sort. If you just listen, you will remember about 10% of what was said, if you write it down, you will remember about 50% of what was said but if you use your physiology, you will remember at least 80% of what was said.
Mina then went on to explain who her coaches/mentors are which was reassuring and gave me the idea to include this in my upcoming training programmes and post more about this on social media as the credibility of a person increases when you know who is behind them. Mina is a concious business owner (Caulizza) and believes we should all extend our business success to benefit our community! Yes Mina I agree!
We then went on to find out more about creating the perfect pitch. Mina says it's not about getting rid of our fears but rather it's about dancing with it instead! We must acknowledge the fear within us as fear will be felt by even the most confident of speakers before a pitch with the difference being how they handle the feeling. We were asked to write down our fears when it comes to pitching. We listed everything that we are afraid of when it comes to speaking to a live audience e.g. the audience won't believe I'm suitable for what I want to do, the audience will get bored or confused with my idea so won't see my vision, I will forget my planned lines and ramble on etc. This was a good way for me to acknowledge where these fears come from and I quickly realised that even the worst case scenario isn't even that bad!
Wherever focus goes, energy goes! Mina made it very clear that as important as it is to be clear on what my fears are, if I focus on them, my energy will go in the same direction and I simply cannot afford to focus on the negatives. Instead, we must replace our fears with empowerments! By fearing the idea of pitching, we lose out on so many opportunities and that's mot something I'm looking to do.
Tony Robbins - The Triad
I'm a huge fan of Tony Robbins and it seemed as though Mina was too as she explained Tony's idea of 'The Triad. Tony believes that Language-Focus-Physiology are the three patterns that create any emotion.
Emotion is created by motion. Whatever you’re feeling right now is related to how you’re using your body.
What you can do:
Stand up! Reach your arms up in a big swinging motion and breath in deeply.
March in place
Focus (and Beliefs)
Whatever you focus on you’re going to believe. Focus equals reality to the individual, even though it’s not reality in actuality.
What you can do:
Change your focus
Find reasons to be grateful
Picture your world as it would be
Thinking is nothing more than mentally asking and answering a series of questions. Certain words can change the way you feel.
What you can do:
Eliminate any habitual questions that do not serve you.
If you want to change your life, pay attention to the words you repeat to yourself
Incantation: When you repeat a phrase with enough emotional intensity, you start to believe it
Utilize the power of incantations by using the ones that support you the most.
E.g. ‘All I need is within me now.’
We must get into the habit of using this Triad so we can control what we feel by asking ourselves:
Mina's main point for me was that selling should never be a push push push! Sales is all about the discovery of a match so it should be quite easy. I believe in my idea so much that if ever pitching became difficult or too uncomfortable, I would seriously revaluate my beliefs and start from the beginning as something must be misaligned!
Your alter-ego is actually the real you!
After shaking our bums and wiggling our hips whilst high-fiving each other and shouting 'You ROCK!", we were all very upbeat and excited as working on our physiology was in fact working well. But then it was time to harness our power of being whoever we want so we can achieve whatever we want by being our alter-ego.
Now I'm very happy being Debbie but BELLA is the one who is confident, driven and ambitious! To hear Mina say that this alter-ego is actually who I really am and Debbie is just the one that overtakes sometimes was a good feeling :). I'm currently reading The Chimp Paradox which talks about how your mind works and how to control the 'inner chimp' to work in your favour which I guess is related to this idea of bringing out your alter-ego when pitching.
We were given an exercise in order to visualise ourselves as our alter-ego on the stage giving our pitch. We were also asked to come up with a pose to represent the alter-ego and every couple of mins of guided visulization, we were asked to break into the pose for a few seconds.
However Mina gave an example when a positive value or characteristic can sometimes get in the way of our goals. A tennis player who valued 'fairness' so highly started to play against another player and kept winning each round. Because they didn't see this as being aligned with his value of 'fairness', he started allowing the other player to win a few matches. This gave the other player so much confidence that he ended up winning the match. Sometimes it's best to leave some values aside!
Practice your 3-min Pitch!
So it was nearly time for us to practice our pitches and we were given the chance to write down our speeches following the syntax below which the greatest speaker of all time - Kane Minkus believes a pitch should follow.
After a very rushed 15mins, we were put to the test in-front of 3 judges who are all female founders and popped in to participate in the final stage of the workshop.
As much as I had felt confident that I had a good pitch, the nerves were strong as we sat down and heard the order of pitches. I was third up and the 3mins felt more like 30 secs! I rushed everything, moved quite a lot and said UM a lot! The judges gave the same feedback to what I felt was true and was pleased with the overall feedback.
Watch out for my upcoming blog about my first ever pitch at Beyond Good Business! :)
1. No Need for Mascara!
Of course this is the main reason for most and yes lash extensions mean long gone are the days of applying thick layers of mascara every morning, struggling to take it off at night (or morning after a night out and looking like a panda), mascara running down your face on a run or simply just forgetting to put it on and everybody at work asking if you're actually ok! We've all been there but we really don't have to live like this ladies.
2. Confidence Boost
The best thing for me about lashes is that great feeling you get after having them done! There is nothing like treating yourself to a beauty treatment when you're feeling low or when life just gets too much. I see clients walk out of here everyday with their head higher and their soul touched. You might be thinking 'Steady on there D, it's not that deep!' but you just have to try it to understand. Besides a nap always makes us feel reenergised.
2. Lasts 6-8 weeks... or forever
Lashes last up to when the natural growth cycle ends. But they are called 'semi-permanent' because with an infill every 2-4 weeks, lashes last forever! Yep that's right, you can wear lashes safely for as long as you wish with regular infills and following aftercare.
3. You don't look as tired and wake up FLAWLESS
Ok so yes eating healthy and exercising is the best way to look after yourself and look fresh but with lashes, it takes half the time to get ready in the morning! This is so important for me as my mornings are just literally a case of putting some lipstick on. You definitely don't look as tired and weirdly, dark bags/circles aren't as visible!
4. You will impress your friends!
Get ready for the endless compliments daily! Although the lashes will look totally natural, people can not help but notice how naturally beautiful, curly and long they are and my clients always talk about how many compliments they receive daily by friends, family and colleagues. Some of my clients' partners don't even notice they have been wearing lashes for months on end and are always so impressed with how natural they look. When they do find out, they even go as far as reminding them of their lash appointments sometimes! Haha!
5. They are versatile
Although lash extensions are best when suited to your natural lashes, face and eye shape, the choice is yours and clients sometimes play around with the style of lashes from time to time. Sometimes clashes want to transition from dolly eyed (longer in the middle) to cat eye (longer at the ends) for example. Or switch curl type or lengths depending on what occasions you have coming up or simply for a change!
6. There is absolutely no damage to your natural lashes
Unlike some of the lash options out there... dare I say it... CLUSTER lashes, individual eyelash extensions when applied correctly (by pros like me :) ) do not cause any damage to your natural lashes. Infact, individual eyelash extensions is the best way to deal with major previous damage as lashes can still grow and replenish with the extensions and means you won't be causing any further damage by trying to mask the damage with mascara or strip lashes which yes over time can also damage your natural lashes and irritate eyelids.
Still not convinced? Why not pop in for Express Lashes or a half set which gives you an idea of how lashes look and feel before having your full set? Book Now!
Believe in yourself, listen to your gut and do what you love - Dylan Lauren
I've just sat down at my desk after a full-on day at an amazing course I've enrolled on and it has made me EXTREMELY excited for what's in store over the next 4 months - and beyond. Might be worth explaining what the course is all about and why/how I enrolled? So very quickly...
A few months ago, a very lovely lady came in to get a shellac manicure after receiving a gift voucher from one of my regular clients. Also a fellow local entrepreneur, we began talking about some of the challenges we were facing as business owners and the feeling of loneliness and not knowing where or who to turn to seemed to be the main issue. Hannah advised me to look up Female Founders Accelerator programme which is a part of Hatch Enterprise and mentioned that there was a course coming up soon which would run for 4 months and help female entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level. Great! I thought. I must apply! I looked up the course and immediately felt like it would be beneficial for someone like me with so many business ideas and not much idea about how to execute them all.
Fast forward a few months and I received a call from one of the facilitators who said I was accepted on the course! As I applied quite late however, I had already booked my holiday to Iceland which clashed with the first day of the course which means that technically this Day 2 I will be speaking about is in fact my Day 1 but Day 2 of the course. Ok now that's all cleared up...
Today was simply amazing! It started with checking in on everybody and seeing how everybody was doing since the last session (workshop every other Friday). This was a chance for me to get to know the group also and hearing about everybody's business which was very impressive and geared me up for the rest of the day.
The second stage of the day was having guest speaker, founder of creative marketing consultancy company 'Make Happy' Jonathan Bannister getting us to really think about stress testing so many different aspects of our businesses by using a great business model first developed by Alexander Osterwalder which pretty much covers all the essential areas of business one needs to look at in order to see how the business flows and interlinks. Jonathan talked through one of the several adaptions of the 'Business Model Canvas' which was the 'Social Business Canvas' which at first I thought might not fit well with how Bella Lash Brow works at the moment but which 'Make Happy' believes can work with non-social businesses also.
Within about 45minutes of Jonathan talking and demonstrating the business model using a real life example of a company called We Walk the Line who "employ people who need a break, young people at risk of dropping out of education or the disadvantaged who need a second chance". They then "coach (our) employees and teach them on the job how to run their own coffee cart. Coaching them over one year to become self-sufficient business people, equipping them with both business and barista skills." No joke, something happened inside of me at this point. It was so similar to the feeling I got when it was time to quit my day job and throw myself into starting Bella Lash Brow. I simply cannot ignore this feeling which even as I think about it, am typing really fast and struggling to stay calm!
As some of my family, friends and even clients already know, starting a Training Academy has always been the dream after seeing first hand what it's like to work in the beauty industry and essentially 'earning my stripes'. However, the business plan has always said that this would be the 5 then 3 then 18month plan but now? Oh now it's looking likely to happen within the next year! I too want to give people the opportunity to learn some new skills and become self sufficient business people. I want to be able to coach and mentor them and give them the support I would have wanted when I started. Although originally trained in China, I have trained in various programmes here in the UK and have done some research on how most of these 'fast-track' lash or brow training courses work. The problem I have found is that many of these courses are offering practical training and nothing else! Women are being certified and congratulated for learning a new skill but then are simply left on their own with absolutely no idea on how to actually start their business.
Similar to 'We Walk the Line', my training academy would first teach students the practical lash/brow skills needed and within the same programme I would also coach them over a longer period of time so they can become confident in being great entrepreneurs on their own. As a female entrepreneur myself and a strong believer in the idea that more women need to be seen as equal to men in the workforce/ business world, I have always said that this course will be targeted to women (even if a man did want to learn the skills of lashes and brows!)
When I close my eyes and visualise me training others, I see young women. I see young women that may not have had the opportunity to start up their own business if it wasn't for my training academy. Whether this targeted group of women be ex-offenders, single mothers or ethnic minorities, I really want to target vulnerable groups of women mainly because I find myself naturally motivating women in similar groups on a daily basis anyway! I find it frustrating that so many women have given up on their dream and will often be stuck at a dead end job they hate or simply don't strive for employment at all because they've been made to feel like they do not/ cannot have the skills needed. I just want to scream "BE YOUR OWN GOD DAMN BOSS!" I have always tried to inspire others whether through my social media or simply when meeting people and I really believe I am someone young women can relate to as a determined and ambitious 27 year old entrepreneur. This obviously means funding is needed which I've now realised has been my biggest worry. Like how do I possibly dedicate the time and energy needed with no funding? Just not possible. But how and where do I start? Who do I talk to? What does a typical training programme look like? Is a year in business enough for me to even think about this yet?
All these questions are questions I've finally realised I can get answers to if I just dedicated some time to it. Going back to the class, we then were given the chance to close our eyes and visualise where it is we see ourselves in 1 year which then we had to draw on paper. The theme throughout the group was definitely us realising the need to take a step back and finding out how to offload tasks to other people so we can focus on doing what we love! This was definitely the most important insight for me. Although we all know that doing what you love is key for any business, it's about really focusing on understanding what aspects of my business I really love and always going back to why I started the business which in turn keeps me in touch with what I love and not losing sight of that is very important.
We then ended the day with a panel with 5 female founders joining us as guest speakers to speak about their journey and answered any questions we had. This was amazing for us to hear successful female founders echoing some of the issues we had highlighted during the course of the day and were so open and honest about how to run a successful business. The main points of advice were: "Look after yourself, don't worry about going against the grain, remembering why you started the business, trust your journey and be open to new outside adventures like walking through a forest!"
If this is how I feel after just one session, and there is still networking events, weekly coach/mentor sessions and more workshops coming up then bring on the future! I'm ready to venture on to a new idea and the steps towards it start now! - Actually no scratch that - I've already started walking.
To maximize time with your lash stylist, there are a few things you can do before treatment:
Choosing which style of lashes to go for can be confusing but it doesn't have to be once you understand the difference between the two main techniques and the pros and cons. Many for my clients' first question is "What's the difference between Classic and Volume lashes?" and quite rightly so as the two styles are priced differently so there must be a big difference right? Correct.
Firstly, CLASSIC and VOLUME lashes describes the technique of the application of the lashes. Volume lashes is officially called the Russian Volume technique as it started in Russia. The application involves adhering 2-4 lashes per single natural lash and you can even apply up to 10 safely! This application of 5+ lashes on one natural lash falls under MEGA VOLUME which has been popular recently due to the demand for fuller, thicker and more dramatic lash sets.
These special volume lashes are much finer in thickness so have less weight on the natural lashes. On the photo below which is a photo of my lash board I use for my consultations, we can see the different thicknesses lashes come in. Volume Lashes can ONLY be done using 0.03, 0.05, 0.07 or 0.10 which can be used for both Classic or Volume. How many lashes a lash tech decides to put on the natural lash comes with their knowledge and training of proper application of Volume lashes. My main value when it comes to my specialist skill of Eyelash Extensions is of course to not damage natural lashes. For this reason, I have made it my mission to go after the best training courses and keep in touch with some of the best lash techs out there for continuous feedback and advice.
If you're still not sure, don't panic! I'm sure we can come to a suitable choice for your lashes when you come in :)
It's the phone call or text we all dread as lash providers...
“Hi this is Emma. You did my lashes yesterday and now my eyes are itchy and swollen.”
Your heart sinks, your hands get clammy.
Did you get her to sign a waiver prior to treatment? Yes.
Was she aware that any beauty service (although rare) comes with a chance of a negative reaction? Yes.
You promptly book her in for a (hopefully free) removal ASAP, and wish her the best - possibly giving her a small credit towards a different service like Threading or Tinting… Crisis Averted. However, we all know we would do ANYTHING to minimize these types of situations which are uncomfortable for them, and let’s face it, the worst part of our job.
Full blown allergic reactions are rare, and there are usually warning signs for you and your client to be aware of. These symptoms signal that your client’s body is beginning to become intolerant to the service.
I hope this post helps you all, and inspires you to know that it is truly possible to have a lash business with NO large reactions. By paying attention to warning signs, and taking additional steps to minimize risk - your business will flourish, and your clientele will stay happy and healthy for years to come. Remember, when a reaction happens - it is nothing you or your client did wrong! Treat each instance as a priority, and learning experience.