Meet Tina Hollis, aka The Lonely Boss Lady, our new straight talking business columnist with tons of practical advice born out of first-hand experience. A passionate and experienced colourist, Tina Hollis holds the Wella Master Colour Expert qualification and a giant waiting list – it’s a 6-month wait for a weekday appointment while those wanting to see Tina on a Saturday are currently booking for 2023! Here, she lifts the lid on why being the boss can be a lonely place, and what you can do about it…
Have you ever found yourself sitting in your bustling salon but felt lonely? Or even just sat in your office or home and wondered who would understand how you’re feeling?
That was me! And that’s what being a “boss” made me feel……. Lonely! OK, not all the time – there’s amazing things about having your own business but with great highs there’s also some hard times that we business owners face, and it’s during those hard times that I definitely felt alone, like no one understood what was going on in my head. If I’m honest, I’d never prepared myself to feel that way when I decided to open my salon 16yrs ago.
Yes, I’d thought about how I’d feel if I walked into the staffroom and it went quiet, I mean that’s a given isn’t it?! But to feel lonely just never even crossed my mind. Talking it through with my partner, family and friends helped a bit but unless you’re the one living and breathing that business, no one will get it. And no one will treat your business the way you do, they won’t have the same dreams or ambitions because it’s not theirs.
So why can being the boss be lonely?
Well, most salon owners, be that hair/beauty or both, open their salon because they have a good clientele, it’s always been a dream and it’s the next step for them. But because that’s how it happens we aren’t really prepared for what it takes to own and run not just the salon but the team too! It’s easy to sit in a team meeting as a member of staff and think “I’d do this or I’d buy that” but when you’re the person making sure all the bills get paid and ensuring everyone’s happy it’s a very different scenario.
We don’t outwardly admit that all of this is scary because “the boss” is meant to have all the answers! And we wouldn’t want to be seen as unprofessional or under-skilled by our team. But most of us have minimal management experience let alone a real idea of:
•Pricing…..the list goes on!
Unless we’ve worked in salons or franchises that have a structure within it, I’d think that most of us are winging it to start with, with many continuing to do so for years. I speak to other salon owners that go by other salons’ prices in their area because they don’t know how to work out what they should be charging, they offer the same offers and just stumble along, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
And on top of this, lots of salon owners are usually still running their own columns too, basically we wear lots of different hats under one job title.
So, what can we do to stop being lonely in this “boss” world?
First of all, and most importantly, we need to learn how to be a boss in the way we want to be. (I believe there’s 2 types of bosses – A Boss and A Leader – but more on that another time!) We need to understand our business down to the simplest things and be open and honest with not just ourselves but the people around us. Get everyone in your salon involved and working together towards goals, give them responsibilities – being open with my team was a major turning point, and a big relief!
For me, getting a business coach was such a big thing. I was scared they’d come in and say “what are you doing here? You can’t do that, or this is wrong!” But finding the right coach can be a real game changer. Having someone to talk things through that understood the industry, even if that was on the phone at times for me, well, it can make all the difference.
It’s your business so the buck stops with you, you make the final decisions on things. But having someone to discuss it with that’s not emotionally attached to the business is a leveller and something I found I greatly needed and that worked for me!
A business coach can help you see the wood through the trees, put an action plan together and make you accountable, think of it like a slimming club, they give you ideas and support but the work put in is down to you.
Business courses and networking events are great too, meeting likeminded people to bounce ideas off and learn from, sharing stories and supporting each other is key! And salon owners should support each other because we’re all going through the same things, just some more privately than others. With recession all over the headlines, those feeling lonely will feel that more now than ever, so now is the time to act.
Practical Steps To Take Now
Get an action plan together.
Invest in your business education and even think about a mentor. It doesn’t have to break the bank and actually the point is to increase profit, not decrease it.
Get systems in place that work and a team that’s happy – find a balance that works for you too because as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”
Fill your cup with knowledge, confidence and support, watch how things can change. Not overnight but over time…..
I’ve learnt so much I’m now sharing that knowledge with others via The Lonely Boss Lady, and yes I still have moments but I know I’m not alone anymore!
Visit www.thelonelybosslady.co.uk to book business and colour courses from £200, and one-to-one coaching from £50 a week.