Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Heidi Cheung, founder of Makeup by Heidi C., located in Burnaby, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I’m a freelance makeup artist and home-based Hydrafacialist. My clients are everyday women who prefer to look like a more polished version of themselves on whatever type of occasion. At weddings, proms, on a book cover, company headshots. I also have commercial clients like Aritzia, Oak&Fort, Saxx, etc.
Tell us about yourself
I was six years into being a flight attendant when I went to school for makeup. With the chaotic scheduling, it took me two years to finish school. During that time, I juggled an unpredictable roster, makeup school, and photoshoots. It seemed impossible when I looked back, but I still did it. My motivation is that I have no other options. I don’t think I can ever do a 9-5 job, so freelancing is the only way. I don’t want to work a job I don’t love, so I’ll always be doing makeup or something beauty-related.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m not sure I have one. If I must say, it’s that somehow my website has always brought me surprises. I built it myself using templates and know nothing about SEO. But somehow, clients were able to find me. I once sold a photo (the photographer owns it, but the client found me) from a creative shoot to a decorator for a Michelin star restaurant.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
That it’s an authentic dialogue with yourself consistently. What do I want? It’s easy to know what you DON’T want, but most of the time, most people don’t know what they actually want. In business, every decision affects your income. You actually have to know yourself to make the right decisions for your business. Self-deception is sometimes comforting, but it’s bad for business. Owning a business makes you face yourself authentically.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Really, don’t. Get a part-time job.
- Ok. If you insist, put all your time and effort into it, and you will put in more hours than a full-time plus part-time job. Be number sensitive; everything is your own money. Never bs yourself; every lie you tell yourself, you are bleeding money. Don’t waste time fantasizing about what to do with the money you haven’t yet made. Don’t give up when you have hit the 30th problem. Give up when you have hit enough problems that can’t be solved.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have no business background, but a failed business was the best education I ever received. A year before the pandemic, I had planned a mobile aesthetics business. The majority of the details were sorted out, though many were still not. I was following news in Asia and had heard about the virus, but when my Hydrafacial rep called to check in with me on the virus situation, I knew I had to delay my plans. I did a lot of flip-flopping on ideas and plans due to the flip-flopping of restrictions and policies. After bleeding money monthly for over a year, I pulled the plug on the whole business. It’s the most valuable lesson I have ever learned about business.
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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