Real Business Owner: Julie Dewhirst, Bloom Skincare
We interviewed Julie Dewhirst, owner of Bloom Skincare in Los Altos California on starting a small business. She offers her perspective on starting your own business.
What’s the name of your business?
What business/industry are you in?
Personal Service/Skin Care/Spa
What made you want to launch your own company?
I had been working in a completely different industry for 15 years when I decided that I no longer liked what I was doing. I went back to school and worked part-time at a spa before deciding that I could offer a better service to clients at a better price. Which translated to more value for them and more money for me.
What was your biggest hurdle you discovered when launching your business?
Coming to terms that your own business is 24/7. There are no days off. No leaving at 5 and leaving it all behind. Just like a child, it needed attention all the time in order to be successful.
What was easier than you expected?
Getting customers to come back. The old beliefs really are true: treat customers like family, give them a good value, and show appreciation for their business and they will be loyal.
Did you write a business plan? Why or why not?
No, because I didn’t need any capital money I decided not to bother. Plus I was leaving a writing career and couldn’t stand to have to write anything ever again at that time. I felt like I had it all in my head, and I liked the idea of letting the business change organically. But it probably would have saved me a bunch of headaches to have a written plan to refer to.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your business?
That the cost of running a business is 10 times what you think it is. You can do all the calculations over and over again in the beginning, but the profit is never as great as you think it will be. But there are other rewards!
What services would you highly recommend outsourcing?
Payroll. Marketing. Web and collateral design. Copywriting. There are people who specialize in these things and trust me, they are 100 times better than you think you are at them.
What tasks do you think every business owner should do for themselves?
Do the basic accounting. Track revenues and expenses carefully. Also do your own hiring and develop relationships with your employees so they work for you and not just the company.
What online resources did you find helpful?
What piece of advice would you like share with someone looking to start a business today?
Make sure everyone close to you is on board because you will need their support when you are working 7 days a week , off hours, etc. And work in the trenches. Talk to your customers. Don’t be “behind the scenes.” You can work toward all of this, but don’t start off this way. You really need to live and breathe the everyday business activities in order to understand what parts are working and what needs to change.
Help small businesses like yours! Share your start-up experiences with the readers of 321Launch.biz.Written by Melissa Shimmin
Melissa Shimmin is an award-winning designer who has been helping companies both big and small create, evolve and strengthen their identities, branding and marketing collateral for more than 15 years. And yet, Melissa is more than just a designer: she takes a big picture perspective, combining marketing strategy and copywriting with design to create stronger, more impactful branding and identity for the companies she partners with. Check out her work at Shimmin Design.