10 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Business
This week wraps up the first year of Meraki Salon. It's been one hell of a roller coaster ride, but I can without a doubt say this year has taught me more about life than any other year. Its strengthened relationships, taught me how to get through challenges when think you have no more energy to give, and to sit back and be so damn proud of myself. I share a lot of my life with my clients. I'm a pretty tell-it-like-it-is, open book kinda girl. So, you guys have listened to some of the stories while you were in my chair, I'm writing this to share some of the most important lessons I've learned as we got through this first year together.
Find your mantra
Meraki The soul creativity, or love put into something. The essence of yourself you leave in your work. Every morning when I unlock my door I see my studio name written on it. I use to just walk by and not pay attention, but I realized it's a daily reminder of why I decided to open. To some it’s just a saying, to me it’s a lifestyle. Now every morning when I walk in I take a second before opening the door to remember everything that walks out of my room is my art. It’s what i share with the world.
Don't make work so personal
"When you walk through the salon doors, you leave what's happened in your personal life at home". It doesn't matter what happens in my personal life when i walk through this door I’m coming here to do what i love. It’s My creative outlet, so no matter how crazy life gets I refuse to let it show in my work, this room is my outlet to be free of my personal stress.
There’s no such thing as competition if you're an original.
People always ask me how I compete with competition, “There are a million hair salons on every corner why would you want to open one as well?”. I’ve heard it over and over. I quit looking at other stylist as competitors. I offer services and experiences that are unique, so no I don’t have competition, I have people that share my passion.
Don’t set out to make millions, set out to help millions
Volunteering is something me and a good friend started when we BOTH opened our own businesses. We do it together, it humbles us. You can ask me a million questions about my first year but the most touching moments were when chose to give back to people that have been through a lot in life. I have a talent i can offer for free, why not share the love to those who have been through hell and back. THOSE smiles, hugs and thank yous... those are what keep me going. Not money.
Mistakes are inevitable.
Well damn have I made them. Luckily I’ve been able to bounce back from them but when I realized mistakes and bound to happen I quit beating myself up over things that happened weeks prior. Learn from it and keep progressing.
Your vibe attracts your tribe
friends / family / clients / support system
A lot would say you lose a lot of friends when you open a business. I wouldn’t necessarily blame it on my business. I changed my mindset when I went into business for myself. I realized what mattered in life (money is nice but it’s not everything). I quit spending my energy on negativity and focused it all on setting goals for myself. I surrounded my self with people who constantly reminded me of my goals and pushed me to be the best version of me. I didn’t lose friends, I created unbreakable bonds with the ones that believe in me.
Set time lines & goals.
Keep things realistic, but not average. Set goals high enough that people are like “there’s no way” and sit back and think “just watch”. Giving myself time lines holds me accountable. I told you guys i wouldn’t be in my little studio for forever, I have dreams of expanding. I gave myself 2 years to reach this goal, I stayed on top of everything and took my first ‘expanding’ step in 9 months. So like i said, just watch.
Embracing slow periods
Woooow was this the one i struggled with the most. Things slowed down when i came here in the beginning. Looking back I think, "Duh Ashley, its a new business. You have to earn your clientele all over again. They aren't just going to fall into your chair". I would stress myself to no end, until I learned to embrace it. I use my slow time to do the things in the background people don’t see. I started treating myself to little things, even if its sleeping in one morning. I mean I'm literally running an entire business solo. It’s the least I could do.
Pat yourself on the back / Realizes how far you’ve came.
Remembering where I started, with literally nothing. I didn't do this the 'smart' way. I didn't have a clientele anymore when I opened. I put all of my clients in my friends chair and moved over an hour away for months. Then i had this crazy ass idea that I'd move back and open a business. Like i said, I set crazy goals for myself, but that's the one person I refuse to let down. I had no idea how in the hell I was going to pull this off, but I was determined. Realizing where I started has made me take a step back on days I feel like I'm not quite as far as I should be and pat myself on the back.
It’s okay to take vacations.
Other people get them, and you damn sure deserve it. If you know me in person you know my second biggest passion is to travel the world. When I opened MEraki it was a little bit of a set back, how could i ever afford a vacation? I don’t get PTO, my bills are still due, how can i ever take time off. MAKE THE TIME, SAVE THE MONEY AND FRIGGIN GO! What’s the point of being your own boss if you don’t use the perks of it?
Wrapping up this blog, and my first year in business i cant help but say THANK YOU over and over again to every single client that has ever sat in my chair. I do everything I can to keep myself in business but I wouldn't be here without you guys. So once again THANK YOU!
With love & Meraki,