Whether you’re busy trying to build a new business or working to keep growth steady for your existing business, whether you’re a veteran or a newbie—everyone can benefit from having a “bestie esthy” in their professional life.
Just as you may turn to a good friend for support when something happens in your life, a bestie esthy is like having a best friend in the skin care industry. It’s a friend or mentor who also practices professional skin care and agrees to offer support, advice and camaraderie in exchange for the same in their business.
Support from family and friends is important, and there’s a definite need for them—they can be sounding boards, cheerleaders and good listeners—but they won’t truly understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.
Who else, other than another esthetician, would understand the frustration of a mask not removing easily or a client who has done 40 years of sun damage to her skin but somehow wants it repaired after one treatment? Gone are the days of esthetics school where you could solicit a class discussion on contraindications for clients of rosacea or borrow your classmate’s cleanser because yours ran out. The trouble is, the questions still come up, and the need for support is everlasting.
That’s why it is so important to develop relationships with people you can relate to in your industry. As solopreneurs, we are responsible for our own success. Successful estheticians need other successful estheticians who can contribute to the conversation of growing your business.
Competition or Camaraderie?
If you’re the type of person who hears someone talk about another successful esthetician or a spa that’s growing rapidly, and you think of them as competition, it’s time to shift your thinking. There are more faces in this world than there are estheticians, so there’s plenty of clients for everyone. Start seeing them as an opportunity. There are things we can learn from everyone, especially those who are doing well in the same business.
Like Attracts Like
Experts say the people we surround ourselves with most significantly impact our way of thinking. If you’re around successful people who are smart, business-minded and motivated, the likelihood that you develop those traits increase. Why? Because by seeing the habits and behaviors of successful estheticians who are already experiencing what you want, you will learn what it takes to get to where you want to be.
Friendship is a Two-way Street
When you’re seeking out someone to help you with your business concerns, you must remember that it is a two-way street. You both must be willing to help each other for the relationship to work. Paying a business coach may be the route for you if you’re interested in having someone help you without reciprocating.
Extending the Friendship Bracelet
The one-on-one nature of our services leaves little time for collaboration, discussion or mentoring with others, let alone other estheticians who are high achievers and working from a full appointment book. Instead of contacting a person at a time when they’re busy at their spa with clients, attend networking events to chat with potential besties.
If you sit next to someone particularly interesting at a product knowledge class, or find your views similar to another esthetician on an online forum, let them know you’re looking for a friend in the industry with whom you can have open conversations and get feedback on whatever it is you’re seeking to improve. Do not let the fear of rejection stop you from reaching out, or think that looking for a business bestie means you aren’t doing a good job on your own. Most estheticians would love the opportunity to collaborate.
Ideally, it would be a fantastic match to find someone who also carries the same line of the retail and back bar so you can compare strategies on marketing, protocols, retail displays and more. The author C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” The more we have in common, the more we can relate to people. Focus on letting the relationship grow organically, but understand it requires effort from both parties.
Perspective is Everything
As a sole proprietor, it’s easy to become attached to your protocols and policies—because you created them. But having tunnel vision limits your growth opportunities. It is essential to analyze our business operations periodically and question whether there’s an opportunity to do something better or smarter.
Just as there is no one single right way to give a facial, there is no right way to operate your business. There are many ways to accomplish the same task. By having a friend who understands your industry and your unique business model, you can share your strengths and struggles to compare notes. Hearing how another esthetician handles no-shows or how they approach a complicated case of acne is only going to help you work through your challenges by seeing new opportunities to tackle the same task.
Are you a fan of keeping an appointment book with pencil and paper? Maybe the thought of online scheduling seems daunting and overwhelming. Having a friend who can share why she chose to make a move to digital and how it’s working for her could give you the confidence to take a leap and step outside your comfort zone. Maybe you’ll find your clients appreciate booking when it’s convenient for them—not just when you’re available to answer your phone. Or, adversely, their experience could be the reason why you continue to keep your pencil and calendar near the phone.
Alone and Unknown
One of the toughest parts of being an esthetician is being closed off in a room with clients who come to you to not only improve their faces but to improve their moods. You’re responsible for providing both, in little light and little discussion. At the same time, you’re expected to deliver top-notch customer service, a clean spa, stocked inventory, folded laundry and more. It can feel overwhelming and isolating being solely responsible for the success of your business if you don’t have a pal who understands what it’s like. Choose a friend who can add a little sunshine to your life.
As humans, we are good at making excuses or explanations why we should or shouldn’t do something we don’t want to do, know how to do, or are afraid to do. However, research shows when we have someone we must answer to, we perform better and do more to achieve our goals. This can be challenging if you’re your own boss, so find an accountability partner. If your bestie esthy knows your goals and business aspirations, the check-ins on progress and brainstorming to reach those benchmarks is great motivation for reaching your desired achievements.
Feedback on Your Work
Wouldn’t it be nice to give a facial to someone who understands how a facial is supposed to go? Feedback on sensory experience, the client-favorite massage, product application and overall atmosphere would be super helpful to improving the experience for your clients. Maybe you’ve had your wax pot caddy-corner to your table for years, and having another skin care professional in your spa to show you that moving it a few feet to the right would be more ergonomically correct and wouldn’t require you to reach as far when you’re doing a body wax. The best part? This advice is free because you’re friends.
Expand Your Network
When you’re brainstorming with your bestie, you’ll learn their preferences on all types of service providers. You can cross refer your favorite vendors such as dermatologists, accountants, printers, software solutions, product and supply manufacturers, investors, contractors and more.
Do you often worry about what your clients will do if you go on maternity leave? Do you avoid taking an extended vacation because you’re afraid to lose your clients? With full confidence, your bestie esthy could be the perfect person to see your clients while you’re out and vice versa. This person could also be your teammate for community events or charity functions where you both could get exposure and serve more people collectively.
A Good Decision
Finding your bestie esthy could be the best business choice you ever make. Not only does it allow you companionship and camaraderie, but it also offers you the opportunity to work smarter, think differently and develop new skills. Surround yourself with people who support you, challenge you, push you, catch you and convince you to do it all over again. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone, but that’s really where the magic happens.