Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacquelyn Rodriguez, Owner of Clean Beauty Biz Coach & Enlightened Styles, located in Warrenton, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My first passion is to nurture my clients with green chemistry products and a salon dedicated to creating the most stylish looks using products, techniques, and packaging with the least impact on the environment. Not too many people were doing this 15 years ago when I was creating an eco-friendly salon, so without a mentor or guide, I began a journey that led me into coaching.
Today, while my salon business is growing, I am teaching other salon owners and beauty business professionals how to create profit and freedom with my clean beauty biz method.
Tell us about yourself
I always sensed that I was an entrepreneur at heart. At a very young age, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world, but I was not sure exactly how it would unfold. In my teens, I started styling my friends' hair for dances and events; that is when I knew what I wanted to do. My love of people and impacting the way they perceive themselves was something that I was passionate about, and I knew I wanted to be in the beauty industry. More than that, I wanted to change the industry.
As Beauty professionals, we have a very important role behind the chair. People trust us to cut and style their hair, but they also confide in us. They look to us for guidance, they trust us with a lot of sensitive information, and we build relationships that last decades. I take that responsibility very seriously. Unfortunately, the beauty industry can be very toxic, and I am determined to shift the way we engage as professionals in the beauty industry. I left the floor of a big-name salon to open my own salon. That is when I realized I could begin to implement real change as a business owner and entrepreneur. So I set out on the mission to create healthier environments for myself, my staff, and my clients.
Soon I realized that by shifting the way I thought about business, I could come up with innovative ways to reduce the toxicity in our salon. I took control by finding products that eliminated the toxins in the product lines we used. I focused on how my salon could reduce our carbon footprint. I reached out to collaborate with and support other small local businesses. People discouraged me from trying this new approach, but it was because I stayed true to my personal values and created a clear mission for the business that it grew quickly. Every decision that aligned with the mission brought more guests, business partners, and colleagues to me.
After realizing that the business growth was outpacing my projections, I knew I could make a bigger difference in the industry by supporting and teaching other beauty professionals. After all, I had spent years trying products, researching labels, and building a marketing plan focused on clean beauty. After learning from my own successes and failures, it is a blessing to be able to support other beauty professionals so that they can efficiently create successful, profitable, and impactful businesses of their own. I truly believe that this is the future of the beauty industry, and I am so proud to be on this journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is creating a unique, meaningful, and impactful business despite being told it would fail! My choices were not the most popular ways to open a hair salon at the time, and certainly, the gurus were telling me not to follow my path. But I knew deep in my heart that this was not only important for me but important for me to share with the industry.
By listening to my intuition, being willing to fail, and not following the crowd, I created a business that far exceeds what I hoped for personally. More importantly, I believe that setting this example will change the beauty industry on multiple levels. The road wasn't always easy to pave, and I hit a ton of potholes along the journey, but it has been the most rewarding journey.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. I truly believe that it takes a special type of person to be a business owner. One of the hardest things about being a business owner is that when you feel so passionately about your mission, it can feel like you're alone on that journey. When I first started, I would seek advice from my friends, family, or anyone else who would listen. They didn't always understand the struggles or the excitement of the little wins-and many times; they asked me why I would not take an easier path.
I quickly realized the value of surrounding yourself with like-minded people and other business owners. Having people to talk to who understands the struggle of owning their own business was a game changer. This is important: You do not have to go on your entrepreneurial journey alone. There are so many people out there who are looking to build relationships and friendships. Find a group of people who can mentor you, be mentored by you, and share your successes-even if they do not totally understand your path. When you surround yourself with like-minded people who are also pursuing big goals, it helps to hold you accountable to follow through on your goals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- My first tip is just to start. You do not have to be perfect. When we're making big decisions to start a business, add another business element, or make big changes, it's easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Or, we wait for the perfect timing or continue to look for outside validation. But the longer you wait, the longer you put it on hold, and the longer it will take you to see the benefits.
- Trust yourself. You have so much knowledge and if you have been given an idea or a passion that you want to see come to life, know that you are meant to do that. Trust that you know way more than you give yourself credit for. And anything you do not know, there is a class, a mentor, or a teacher out there who is 1000% willing to support you on that journey. Trust your gut or your intuition and take action. Don't second-guess yourself. Do NOT ask 50 people what they think before you make a decision.
- Be willing to fail. Your failures will teach you so many amazing lessons. And if you never start, what will you learn?
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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