Editor’s Note: Salon owner Maisie Dunbar recently rebuilt her staff from scratch when she decided to let go three employees, while at the same time another three quit (two of them to return to school). After suffering a difficult year with several personal losses, Maisie decided to make staff changes in order to surround herself with technicians who embody his philosophies and contribute to the calm, tranquil environment she envisions for her salon.

As entrepreneurs, we needed courage to step out there and start our businesses, but we sometimes lack the courage to let go of those employees who drain our energy. (I call them emotional vampires.) Oftentimes, we hold on to them because of a lack of staff and or lack of time, when in actuality they can be more damaging for our business than helpful.

We try to weigh the good qualities and tell ourselves the good outweighs the bad, but it doesn’t always. If you have set high standards for your salon or spa, do not bend them because folks come and go. It is better to turn down business, referring business to another salon, than to keep employees that I cloud your space with their negative attitude. We are in business to make people feel great and exceed expectations, not satisfy them. Who wants to come to a facility that fosters negativity?

I know that letting them go is the hardest decision to make, especially if you are fully booked, but believe me, courage and a little faith will help you make decision that is right for the growth of your business. You may lose a client or two, but most likely they’re ones you do not want anyway. Growth is always a positive.

Remember we always have choices. I live by the following:

Choose to take care of your self

Choose to be optimistic and positive

Choose to take care of your financial matters

Choose to use strategic time management

Choose self-esteem

Choose action

Choose courage over fear

Choose fun

Choose to watch and listen

Choose to succeed

If you’ve built a solid foundation, no one can break it down unless you allow them.

After I let go of my staff, I worked eight or nine weeks alone tending to about 100 nail guest a week in addition to dealing with my personal life as a single parent of a 16-years-old boy. Finally, thanks to my very good friend Iris Baker (president of the Fame School of Nail Design in Hyattsville, Md.), I have a full nail therapist team and thanks to the relationship I have developed with other schools, I have a great team of skin and body therapist.

First, you must know what you want and don’t want. Second, do not negotiate your standards. Third, lead by example. And last, always remember, it is up to you to be who you want to be in this industry and in this life!

Maisie Dunbar is the owner of M&M Nails & Wellness Center in Silver Spring, Md.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.