What do Madonna, Steve Jobs, and Vicki Peters all have in common? They continue to be at the top of their field and the top of their game by constantly reinventing themselves. What could you have in common with these movers and shakers? More than you might think!
Janet McCormick: Salon Owner-Turned-Writer and Consultant
“One day I realized I was doing the same thing I had been doing since 1980 — and didn’t like it any more!” recalls Janet McCormick. “That scared me to death, as did the fact that I was in my early 50s and had no plan.” These realizations were enough to spark the reinvention process for McCormick. She was burned out as a salon owner and had to make some plans quickly to get where she wanted to be from where she was. “I sat down and very deliberately wrote out a five-year plan to be able to make a living working from my lounge chair with only my laptop and fax machine.” McCormick went back to school and got her esthetics license in 1993, her CIDESCO diploma in 1999, and finished her graduate work in Allied Health Management at Ohio State University in 2001. On her way to being an independent consultant, McCormick was the esthetic education and spa director at a major spa, and consulted for several skin care companies and medi-spas. She encourages technicians to get as much education as they can from different resources. “But most of all, decide what you ultimately want to do, and do something every day or every week that gets you just a little bit closer to it,” she says. She is now a much sought-after writer and consultant and, yes, she works from her lounge chair at home.
Did you have a long-term career plan when you began in the beauty industry?
JM: No. I had no plan. I just didn’t want to scrape teeth anymore!
What was your first job in the beauty industry and what was your educational background up until then?
JM: I was a dental hygienist, and had a bachelor’s degree in education. I had looked around for two years to find a business I could go into, and this business came up as the closest to what I knew as a hygienist: appointment system, recall system, inventory, educating the client. I opened in 1980.
How long did you work at that job in the same capacity?
JM: I spent seven years owning salons in Columbus, then one in Cleveland, and a lease station in Lima, Ohio.
How did you transition into your next career and what education did you take to get there?
JM: I had been training, writing, and consulting while having salons and loved it. So I went into it seriously when I left Cleveland and stopped owning for forever. I had to move back to Lima, my hometown, due to an illness in my family. So I worked there just a few days a week in a lease station, then wrote, telephone consulted and worked from home the rest of the time. I did this from 1994 to 2001.
What inspired the next transition and what was it?
JM: I knew that I needed more substance to my resume to consult and write with the “big boys” so I moved to Columbus and went back to the university to get my master’s degree in allied health management. I wrote and consulted while in the master’s program at Ohio State, and took a position at a large spa system as their esthetic education and spa director while I was going to the university. I left Ohio two months after graduating, moving to Florida.
Did you deliberately set out to change and grow your career path or did it just evolve?
JM: It was pretty much evolution until I was in Cleveland and one day I realized I was doing the same thing I had been doing since 1980 — and didn’t like it anymore! That scared me to death, as did the fact that I was in my early 50s and had no plan. I finally made a plan, and everything from 1992 until now has been pretty much in that plan, with some additions and a few changes. I went back to school in 1993 and got my esthetics license. I got my CIDESCO diploma in 1999. In 1999 I had a book published by Milady Publishing. I got my M.S. in 2001. I worked as a spa director and educator for a large spa system. Finally, I moved to Florida and began totally working from home. That was my ultimate goal, and here I am! Sitting at my computer writing this while looking outside into a lovely sunny day instead of going to work every day, sometimes through piles of snow, and having the hassles of employees and the clients. I knew that someday I would not be able to stand doing all that and I made a plan and did something almost every day towards achieving it! I did it in seven years and I am proud of that.
Did you work with mentors or coaches?
JM: There were no mentors and no coaches in this industry in 1980!
What is your advice for newcomers in the industry?
JM: Get a lot of education in your skills. But I will also add that you need to go outside your industry and get other training, such as taking a speech course at the local community college, business courses, and much more. But most of all, decide what you ultimately want to do, and do something every day or every week. Everyone can achieve their goals, but to do that, they have to get off their nail chair and do something!