Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christine MacDonald, owner of ChicMed Laser & Esthetic Center, located in Waltham, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
ChicMed Laser & Esthetic Center is a boutique med spa located just outside of Boston on Waltham's up-and-coming Moody Street. ChicMed offers a wide variety of skin rejuvenation, body contouring, and laser hair removal services. Our team is built up of knowledgeable, passionate people who enjoy what they do. We've intentionally created a fun yet professional environment where clients are treated like friends, all while receiving advanced, results-oriented treatments.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Christine MacDonald; I am co-owner of ChicMed. My business partner, Mireille Balian, and I are licensed medical estheticians who have been practicing since 2004. We met while working for a large med spa chain early on in our careers and have since become close friends. After ten years of managing and successfully growing several locations for the corporation, we decided it was time to do it for ourselves. Working for an established company provides security, but it also has its limitations. There's little control over key decision-making; we needed the freedom to build our own brand to choose industry-leading equipment and product lines and create a company that employees want to work for and clients tell their friends about. We were sick of succumbing to a corporate culture where every client is viewed as a dollar sign instead of an individual. Our goal was to create a financially thriving business that also values employee and client relationships. It's still our primary focus to this day and what continues to motivate us.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment to date was reaching one million dollars in revenue in 2021. I think every entrepreneur dreams of the day their business hits that milestone; it's surreal. Having accomplished that despite the COVID-19 pandemic was unbelievable. There's a natural connection small business owners have with one another, so watching so many small businesses close while we were experiencing record numbers was bittersweet.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most challenging part of owning a business has been balancing work and family life. ChicMed is like a second home and family to me; it's an extension of both of us. At home, there's always someone or something in need of attention. As a small business owner, you have that double-time. You can't just clock out at the end of the day and go home. You're constantly on call. Having the ability and discipline to decide what needs immediate attention and what can wait is difficult. I still struggle after all these years to maintain a work-life balance, but I'm getting better.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
To truly build and maintain a successful small business, you need more than a well-researched business plan. You have to know everything about it from as many angles as possible. Work in your industry, for different companies, in different positions (if possible). Visit competing businesses as a client, and note what you liked and what could have been better. Use that knowledge to learn what works and what doesn't. Don't use your business as a test platform and risk losing it before you break even. Gaining employee and customer perspective is also key to achieving retention when you're ready to build your own brand. Stay current with trends and advances in technology, and attend conferences and seminars related to your field. Today's world changes so rapidly that if you aren't up to date, you'll be left behind. Create a solid business network; we all need support and can't do it alone.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It's hard, but it gets easier. Building a small business from start to finish requires non-stop dedication and self-motivation. As long as you love what you do, it never feels like work, and the rewards are limitless.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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