It has been almost 6 months now since I closed the door on my business for good, so I thought I would do an update on how I feel about it. It took me a year to come to the decision to close my salon. A year of agonising and fretting whether I really did just want to walk away from something I had worked to the point of exhaustion to build. I was terrified of regretting the decision, knowing it was irreversible. Well, 6 months of distance have given me a clearer head and this is what I feel now.
1 – I never realised how all consumed I was in my work. It literally occupied every moment of my time, and even when the place was closed, or I was on holiday, I still had work to do on it. I never realised quite how much I “was on duty” until I stepped away. Iv always tried to be mindful of being present when Im with my friends/family and not having one eye on my phone etc, but I think at times I probably failed a bit with that. I feel like Im much more attentive to those around me and my loved ones. Im not checking my emails/facebook page/ online diary constantly. Its a beautiful thing!
2 – I do not feel like I gave up. I was terrified of feeling like I’d just given up on my business, but I don’t feel like that one little bit. I feel a massive sense of achievement. I had a vision, I pursued my dream, I succeeded in building a fabulous, multi award winning business. I feel proud. I walked away from it to regain some balance back in my life and it was absolute best thing for me and my family.
3 – Having balance in your life makes you happier. I feel like Im slowly regaining my spark, my mojo. I was exhausted with my business, more so mentally than physically. I worked 60 hours a week in salon, plus all the work I did at home with advertising, staff admin, campaign launches, research, you get the picture! I constantly beat myself up as I felt I wasn’t giving enough of myself to my family, my home, my friends. No one got the best of me as I was spread too thin. Its different now. I have balance. I work 2 and a half days with clients in my little salon in my garden. When I finish work my work phone goes off. I am enjoying my hobbies again. I am writing (and loving) my blog again. Im writing in general again. My husband and I are having lovely days out together (see my ongoing exploring England mini series here) My kids see me more and we all have dinner together most nights again. I feel happier, I feel more fulfilled and I feel clearer headed about whats important. Its bloody marvellous!
4- I was a rubbish boss. This is a realisation that I will take with me, but Im ok with it. I was good at building a business, but I wasn’t great at managing people. I always saw myself as one of the workers, not the boss. The difficulty here was that your staff also struggle to see you as the boss! You then get the problem of either not being taken seriously when you discipline someone, or the opposite problem of being seen as too harsh (as they saw you as their colleague, not the boss). I never got the balance right with that, but thats ok. It made me see that I never want to employ people ever again hahahaha!
5 – I am good at building a business. The above point leads me onto this one really. I can suffer with a crippling lack of self confidence, (which probably added to me being a rubbish boss) but I know with certainty that I can build a business. I have a tenacity in my make up that drives me and pushes me. Even though I no longer have the desire to build my empire in the beauty industry, I know that should I ever decide to pursue another business idea (which I am currently toying with), I will have a degree of success. The difference now is that I measure success differently. Its not only about turnover, its about enjoying and having passion for my work and also having a fulfilled, balanced, laughter and adventure filled life. Reaching and keeping that balance is the biggest success of them all and I will never lose sight of that again.
6 – If the door dosent open, it just isn’t your door. I know this is a cliche quote, but Iv realised how true it is. I realised that sometimes, things just wont turn out the way you thought they should, but almost always lead to something better. In the early days of my salon, I thought that I would be hands on for a couple of years, then have a manager running the clinic, with me going into salon a couple of days a week, and running the paperwork/business side from home, (or a bar, or beach, or a cafe). I could have taken that route, but I discovered that it meant the part of my job I loved, the customer treatments and contact, would become a very, very small part of my job. That wasn’t for me. I LOVE the client side. So I carried on, trying to do it all, until reaching the point I reached in December, which led to me closing. It wasn’t my path to stay a salon owner, I see that now, but the closure has led to me feeling the most fulfilled, content and excited by the future that I have felt in a long time. That is my door that opened, and it was a great big, double swinging, all welcoming door!
7 – I was so blessed by the people I met. A lot of people say working with the public is challenging and awful. I blooming loved it! I met so many wonderful people, shared moments of their life, was part of their wedding/baby/party prep. It was an honour, and we had so many times that we roared with laughter with clients. I am lucky to still have some of these people in my life as our relationships developed into friendship. In the weeks leading up to the business closure, I was inundated with gifts, flowers and well wishes from the salons clients. It was overwhelming and so humbling. I kept it together the week I closed, until the very last day. We had finished the client treatments, I had said an emotional goodbye to the girls, I was alone in the salon. I walked round each room, stroking the walls (weird) saying my goodbyes to it, then I went to the main light switch and as I turned off the lights, my legs completely gave way and I literally slid down the wall to the floor. Great big, wracking, wrenching sobs came up and out of me like a woman possessed. I was sat like that for about 10 minutes, then I heard the front door open and one of the salons long standing clients came in, bottle of wine in hand. Without saying a word, she came and sat with me on the floor, held my hand and let me carry on bawling. I have never been so grateful of someones silent presence, and she has remained in my life as a cherished friend.
8 – You should never have regrets. I am going to use another cliche here, sorry about that. This one is that people and things come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I 100% believe that to be true. I have been asked many times if I regret opening a business, and if I regret all the time, energy and money I put into it. The answer is a big fat no. I have no regrets. I am like a dog with a bone when I get an idea in my head, and can be a bit, shall we say, spontaneous. I wanted to put my dreams, vision and ideas into practice, and I did. It was a success in all areas, but I fell out of love with it. I fell out of love with being exhausted, being so restricted and being away from my family/home so much. (I also cant tell you how excited I am for a Christmas that wont see me literally on my knees with exhaustion) I also hated how hard it is to make a good living as, trust me when I say this, small businesses have a hell of a lot of overheads and costs to find before a penny goes into the owners pocket! I have learnt so much about myself from owning the salon, and I have learnt so much about running a business. My sons and I were discussing a business idea that they have the other day, and I was giving sound, solid business advice and I stopped for a minute and thought, blimey Kerry, you actually sound like you know what your talking about! It was the moment I realised that in my case, business ownership was a lesson, perhaps meant to help me guide my boys in their future endeavours.
In conclusion, I have no regrets. Yes, there things that I may have done differently with hindsight, but it was a crazy, fulfilling, frustrating, stressful, amazing adventure, and I loved my 6.5 years, (plus 11 years before I went into highstreet premises) nurturing my business baby, but I do not miss it. Not. One. Little. Bit!
Iv linked up with Not Dressed as Lamb SaturdayShareLinkUp join in here