While I am hardly an expert on balancing work and personal life, I know that since I've begun seeking a balance and creating time for family and friends, my life is richer.
Wisdom, knowledge, balanced living? News flash folks: I am not a “balanced-life guru.” I am a nail industry expert who has grown from being a nail artist and owner with the daily gig of operating a nail salon to now coaching beauty industry professionals on creating better businesses and having a life that they love.
Over the past year I’ve focused on cultivating my inner self and creating abundant real personal power. Before I tell you how the search for life balance occurred, let me give you a little bit of history so you can know and relate to who I am and where I came from.
I owned a Florida-based nail salon for 15 years with my mother. My typical workday started at 9 a.m. with my first and second clients. You all know the routine. You delegate one client to your assistant, while you apply your expert touch on the other client and then you shift at the precise moment. We’ve all made a science out of how to be the most productive with our day and our clients. My assistants and I were booked solid all week. My day ended at 9 p.m. — that is, if no desperate working woman had to squeeze in a late appointment. I got to the point where eating dinner was all I could handle after my workday before I hit the sack (make that dinner and lunch because somewhere along the way, lunch was quickly forgotten. Heck, I would have delegated that to my assistant as well, if that were at all possible!)
A typical workweek ran from Tuesday to Saturday. Mondays were spent on banking and bookkeeping, replenishing supplies, and other business upkeep. That left Sunday as my only day off. During this time I was also a consultant for a manufacturer, so once a month, off I went to catch a flight on Saturday evening to make it to a seminar or a trade show on Sunday and Monday. Then I’d be back in Miami on Tuesday just in time to start the “normal” workweek all over again. This left three Sundays a month to divide my waking hours between family, friends, and my significant other. Oh, yes, and time to myself. Did I forget time to myself? I knew I didn’t live a balanced life, but the nail salon had been in my family ever since I was old enough to work. I grew up in the business, and that was my only focus.
Toward the end of my salon-owning career, I absolutely loved the nail industry. I had a great business, but I had lost a sense of self and time for the people in my life who mattered most to me. My goal of being a salon owner and nail artist had been fulfilled. I had maximized my service ticket to $115 per client, and I had duplicated myself with two assistants who went on to become my full-time employees. Together, we grew the salon from two employees to 12 nail artists over a period of five years. Our average service ticket ranged from $65-$95, with a retail ticket average matching the top 10% of the industry. I went from being the manicurist to a successful nail artist and business owner making a six-figure income.
I had a burning passion for consulting and training. I wanted to take my salon experience and make a difference in the lives of others. I kept my ear to the ground and knew that it was just a matter of time before a new opportunity would come my way.
Life After the Salon
And, here I am. It’s been two years since we’ve sold the salon. I packed my bags and moved cross country to San Diego. I currently work with Salon Training International, a consulting firm committed to globally revolutionizing the beauty industry. Our commitment is to deliver world-class business education to salon professionals. I’ve taken on what has out to be the biggest commitment of my life and landed the job of my dreams. Focusing on the industry I love, I work with a company that creates extraordinary business results and supports my journey to achieve a balanced life.
My typical day still starts at 9 a.m. I just have different to-dos (i.e. meetings, profit and loss analyses, consulting phone calls, training sessions with my mentors, and providing business support to beauty professionals). Normally my day ends at 6 p.m. Some days I decide to stay late to catch up on work, which allows me to leave the office early on other days.
I’ve taken on new challenges. For example, once a week I am enrolled in a computer class at night. This is not my favorite thing to do, but increasing my technical knowledge increases my ability to help others.
Three weekends out of four in a month, I’m off on a plane to teach a seminar or work a trade show. I usually return to San Diego by Tuesday evening, only to start the cycle again.