Recently I wrote a piece for Associated Skincare Professionals. They have a national magazine publication called Skin Deep. My article was published in July, 2011. It’s called “Succeed Big by Thinking Small: How Focusing on Your Market Niche Can Yield Big Results.” The article is on page 24. It was my first foray into the world of professional writing. And although the process was laborious, I am so excited to have done it. In the article I talk about niche marketing in the field of esthetics, but I would like to tell you about my own personal niche story.
I was born to be an entrepreneur: Type A and all. I’ve had brief stints in the world of “being an employee,” and that never was a pleasant experience for me. Some who know me may say it’s because I have strong opinions – not usually great employee material. But, I’m convinced you need to face your weaknesses squarely in order to move to the next level. Or better yet, know where you fit in the work-a-day world. Of course, there are also gifts that go along with being like me, and that’s the true story.
I’ve written the magazine piece and this blog post in the hopes that they may inspire you to find your niche and be all you can be, too!
I was raised by a very successful entrepreneur. Everything my dad touched (business-wise) seemed to turn to gold. Sure, he made plenty of mistakes along the way, but he kept learning from them. He himself is a brand. His most recent endeavor, Robert Hall Winery, is amazing. I’m very proud of him. He never graduated high school and yet he recently won the most prestigious award in the wine industry, the California State Fair’s Golden Bear.
What did he teach me?
- Be a “Local Yokel.”
- Your community needs to know, like, and support you.
- Work harder and longer than the rest.
- Be a positive thinker.
- Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.
- Believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible.
- Anybody can spend money; it’s saving it that’s the trick.
- If you can dream it, you can do it.
If you clicked the true-story link above, you know that my mom, Sandy, also exerted a strong influence on my entrepreneurial drive, my belief that I could succeed as a female professional, and my lifelong love for the esthetics business. She was a spa-goer herself and many times took me along! She was involved in the Women’s Lib Movement when I was “coming of age.” At about the same time, she went back to school to get her law degree. But the real gift she gave was one of acceptance. She let me be and do what I thought was right. She never tried to control or put pressure on me to do what she wanted. I am both proud and grateful for this strong woman who helped groom me for success as an entrepreneur.
Both parents encouraged and supported my decision to start my own business at the age of 20. I had studied dance my entire life, so my first business was a “no brainer.” My parents owned a bowling alley, and it had a lower level (empty during the day) with a dance floor. In addition, there were lots of moms in bowling leagues who had their kids in onsite childcare while they bowled.
So, this was my first business, Miss Linda’s Dance Studio, with my first little customers ready and waiting right down the hall.
I went on for the next 20 years, changing locations, growing and expanding that business until I had two studio spaces called Roseville Performing Arts, four employees, and a professional dance company called The Har Mar Dancers.
When I was almost 40 years old, I wanted a change, so I sold my studio and went back to school to become a Massage Therapist. My first shop as a sole proprietor was called Body Rhythms Therapeutic Massage. I hired an esthetician to do facials and waxing and thought to myself, “I would love to do that.” So, I went back to get my Esthetics degree.
Over the next 15 years I gradually expanded, adding hair and nail services, and the business became a corporation called Body Rhythms Therapeutic Day Spa & Salon. I had hundreds of employees over the course of time. I was able to mentor so many women in the field, and I had a thriving personal practice doing facials, massage, and waxing.
It was during that time that I developed my signature eyebrow design technique called “Graphing,” which is based on the techniques that plastic surgeons use to do face lifts.
When I was around 50, my husband, our youngest daughter, and I moved to California. I was exhausted from running the day spa and salon in Minnesota and wanted a simpler life. My other daughter and son-in-law were marketing grads from Cal Poly and lived in California. They helped me discover my own market niche: Eyebrow Couture. Originally, I thought I would design the eyebrows of the stars, but what I realized is that every woman is a star and wants to look like one. I love my work! It’s an important part of my life. The women I meet are wonderful. They teach, inspire, and bless me daily.
Finding your niche in the work-a-day world is just like discovering who you are. I don’t believe we are meant to have our work separate from our lives. Our passion and life energy should infuse whatever we do.
I hope you dare to dream. I Hope You Dance.
See you at the spa!