For people just starting out in the natural skin care market, running a successful beauty business can sometimes feel like an all-or-nothing equation. And it’s true that there is a lot to think about! In addition to studying ingredients, formulation, and specific skin care needs, throughout our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation, our students also learn how to start a skin care line, and how to develop a brand identity. We feel like our courses help prepare people for everything they need to know to successfully launch a beauty business.
People with big ideas have big goals, and they envision big results!
As exciting as it is to see this amazing potential in running your own beauty business, and know that you have the tools to actualize it, all of this can seem… pretty overwhelming—especially if you feel like you have to go from zero to one hundred in a week.
The good news is—you don’t have to do it overnight. You don’t have to go from product development to world domination in the next ten minutes, and you don’t have to quit your current job or abandon your current commitments to start to build your brand. And you absolutely can run a successful, thriving, amazing beauty business on the side, without feeling like you need to clone yourself, or invent a time machine.
How do we know? Well, not only do our students do it, but we did it successfully as well. Our own business was initially established alongside working at our regular day jobs. We dedicated our evenings and weekends to running workshops, building a website, and marketing—an investment of time and energy that really paid off in the long term. By the time running the School of Natural Skincare was our sole job, we had our baby daughter to look after and shortly after, two more when our twin boys were born! It’s not easy, but in our experience having constraints on our time has made us amazingly focused and productive. Coffee certainly helps too, especially after sleep-deprived nights!
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We had the chance to glean some valuable advice from our students and wider community about how to balance your emerging beauty business with the rest of your life—including your current job, your family, or your other commitments. Here are the top bits of advice on how to run a successful beauty business on the side, from students, business owners, and skin care professionals.
Number One: Be Kind to Yourself
Thinking about proper skin care immediately brings to mind the idea of pampering, nourishing, and healing—and this can be true even outside of formulations and ingredients. You absolutely must take care of yourself. And sometimes, the best way to take excellent care of yourself is by setting healthy boundaries, knowing your own limits, and not overextending yourself.
Amazing changes can be made with incremental improvements over time. Just like the marvelous benefits of a nightly cleansing and hydrating routine, setting aside even a few minutes a day for your business can make a huge difference. Knowing how to structure those minutes, and being specific about your time for each individual thing, can help you stay focused and not feel like you’re being pulled in twenty-seven directions at once. Time-management is a solid way to set yourself up for success and do it in a peaceful, mindful way.
As one of our students puts it:
What I have learned so far is small realistic steps. Set yourself a realistic timeframe, and break that down into small chunks at a time, otherwise you will be overwhelmed with it all. This will help towards your business plan.
— Natalie Bell, Aura, Flora & Fern
One person’s ideal daily, weekly, or monthly structure will be very different from another’s, so it’s important to know and be clear about what works for you. For student Ify Ada-Emeka Okafor Aniedobe, founder of Ancient Landmark Botanicals, balancing being a full-time parent to her five children as well as nurturing her relationship with her husband means her ideal work schedule takes place when the children are at school, and ends at 7:00 pm. “…Instead of a stretch of time,” she says, “I work in short bursts… I have to keep reminding myself not to bite off more than I can chew.”
We hear this over and over from our students, whether they’re just beginning to launch their brands, or have been out there for a while, but it’s true. If you set yourself up for success by carefully structuring your time, and making the most of each moment, you can keep your life in balance without having to compromise on the things which are most important to you, and the people who depend on you to be there.
Number Two: Get a Good Team
On top of structuring your time wisely, it’s also a very useful thing to have a team in place that can step in to support you. Whether it’s making more hours in the day, or filling in with an essential role, it’s a great idea to delegate tasks when you can.
For me, time management is very important. …most importantly, be kind to yourself and stay balanced. If you are balanced, life runs more smoothly. Also, if you delegate some tasks that takes the pressure off as well. If I can do it anyone can!
— Katrina Louise
The idea of developing your team can work on multiple levels.
For some, it means bringing on people who can support your everyday tasks, the responsibilities of home, family, and even pets. Investing in a sitter to give you just an hour of extra work time, or hiring a dog-walker, adjusting your hours at a current job, even friends and family can become your team in small but effective ways as you work to make your beauty business a reality. Even exchanging your products for their valuable support is one way to make things mutually beneficial.
Further along in the process, building a team can mean bringing on people who can support your business in specific ways. This could mean simple, time-saving things like having someone else putting labels on bottles and jars, assembling packaging, or updating a sales website with new products. If branding and website design isn’t your strongest area, or you’d prefer to focus on formulation, you can always hire someone to support you with that, too.
Or, it could also mean looking for ways to simplify easily-automated, repetitive tasks that keep your business process going. Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you have to do it all by hand, the hard way. Why not lighten the load?
One of our students, Catalina Cazan, of In Green Beauty, says that it has been important for her to “prioritize, and establish priorities among priorities… If you can invest a bit to get help […] do it: pay for a logo, labels, website, etc. Maybe a business coach. It will save you a lot of time and headache later.”
Number Three: Keep Everything in Perspective
As we mentioned before, running a business and getting it off the ground is a long and often challenging process. It can be hard to keep things in perspective when you’re planning for a business launch, or even running a brand-new business, even in the very best of circumstances. Add on a full life and a busy work schedule outside of that, and it gets even more hazy.
Be sure to define your goals, and check in with them periodically, to make sure that you’re still heading in the direction you’ve planned for and prepared for. Take the long view; this isn’t an overnight process, and though it may seem like you’re not going anywhere, every little step gets you that much closer to where you want to be.
No matter what the day holds, I always put in 40 minutes. Sometimes it is snatched work on my commute, often it is late late nights after my kids have gone to bed, however I do something every single day for my business. At the start, if felt like I was moving nowhere fast. Sometimes it was like I was standing still. 12 months later, after inching a small step everyday, I am looking at launching my business in a few weeks. It has been prepped and planned, and now I need to see how the next stage goes, I expect very slowly, but it is okay! if this business was a baby, it hasn’t started crawling yet, however it is starting to try! I love the indie beauty community as I have felt there are some many people that understand this journey.
— Zaffrin O’Sullivan, Five Dot Botanics
Keeping things in perspective helps remind you that yes, even the little things you are doing really are making a difference, and they are taking you where you want to go.
One key way to do this is to take your bigger goals and break them down into smaller, more manageable mini-goals. This can be challenging work! Don’t hesitate to tick off the boxes when you accomplish even something that might seem small.
Number Four: Keep Showing Up
Another key piece of advice that we have found useful, as well as our students, is to keep showing up for your work. This can mean setting a steady rhythm of work, not pushing so hard you burn out and lose steam and focus. Stay determined, and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Student Tanya Joslin, founder of Indagare Beauty, echoes these sentiments as well. While she juggles a full-time job and school fees for her children, she keeps her long-term beauty business in focus in preparation for when she can go full-time. She says “It is darned hard juggling a guaranteed income, launching and running a skincare business, and being a hands on mum! No tips from me except stay determined, take the long view and just keep showing up!”
We think those are pretty solid tips!
Number Five: Focus on the Important Things
The key to launching and running a business on the side is becoming good at the important things in your business. That might mean you need to learn what those important things are, where you should direct your energy, before you can work on those important things properly. All too often, we see passionate people and budding beauty entrepreneurs either do the wrong things, or do the right things incorrectly or poorly. Sometimes we see both of these things happening at the same time!
If you’re going to run your own business, you need to get the basics right, and know how to do them well; if you’ve not invested in these areas, and confident that you know what you are doing, it might be tricky.
There are three things you absolutely need to get right.
- Product formulation: The first thing you absolutely need is a winning product that you absolutely know is safe, stable and effective. If you follow a professional formula, you’ll also be able to make products that are unique to you, that conform to your values, beliefs and ethics. You’ll be able to draw your own personal story into your creation in a way that gives you a strong narrative that will help you attract people to buy from you. There is a skill and an art to this which comes from the right training, and from practice. You’ll save a HUGE amount of time, energy and money by knowing how to do it properly. Invest in learning how to formulate professionally.
- Branding: Do not scrimp here. We see too many great products fall flat because the branding is poorly done, substandard, or just not quite right. This is often because the investment has not been put into branding, and likely that an expert has not been consulted. If a product doesn’t look good and if a brand image is not top-notch, it doesn’t matter how good the product is, people probably won’t try it. Here’s the truth: Whether we like it or not, if your branding is bad, people will not be attracted to it. If your branding is good, they will. Your branding is like your shop front—it tells the people who don’t know you (almost everyone btw!) what to think before they’ve actually tried it. Based on that image, will they want to pick up your product and try it, knowing nothing but what they see?
- Marketing: This is the thing that gets you known… and if people don’t know you, haven’t heard about you, they’ll have difficulty finding you! Nail your marketing, and you’ll be helping people find you. If your branding is good and your products also good, they’ll want to spend money. And guess what? If you follow a professional formulating model, you’ll gather a lot of information during that process that will help you in marketing—defining your values, ethics and beliefs, identifying your target audience and niche, deciding on the problems you want to solve and coming up with solution you want to provide—all important in your marketing! You’ll also find this helps when you work with a professional designer!
You could outsource some of these focus areas to experts or you could do them yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure you learn how to do it properly from the start. This will save you huge amounts of time in long run and ensure the greatest chance of success.
Our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation is perfect for you if you are going to be creating or growing a beauty business on the side. It features
- Bite-sized lessons and self-paced learning that you can fit around a busy schedule
- Formulation templates and guides that take away the guesswork and save you time
- Branding and business essentials to give you a headstart in creating an awesome brand
- A supportive community of other beauty entrepreneurs, brand owners and formulation experts
How to Launch a Natural Beauty Brand - on a budget!
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