They say that motherhood is the hardest job, but I’m sure small business owner is a close second.

This month Celtic Complexion will be celebrating turning 13 years old!! I can hardly believe it myself and I am so happy you’ve been along for the ride. Anytime a milestone approaches, it’s easy to get nostalgic about the journey it took to get where you’re at, after all hindsight is 20/20.

The hardships, sacrifices, tears, and relationships that have changed as a result of being in business for yourself all seem to beg the question, was it all worth it?

You see how much you’ve changed, how much your view of the world has changed, and how (and if) your products have made a difference in the lives of the people you serve (that question will be answered below).

Hopefully, you ask yourself “Do I still want to be here? Am I making a difference in the lives of the people I serve? Am I still having fun?”

The idealistic brand new business owner in year one is replaced with the practical and pragmatic business owner over a decade later – that is, if she makes it that long.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of all companies will fail in their first year, 30% won’t make it past their second year, 50% will suffer failure within five years, and more than 70% won’t make it past 10 years.

I look around me and see that’s true. Many very good people that started with me are no longer in business (and those are small beauty start-ups). Many huge retailers are also gone.

I have never before in my life felt such a connection to others. When their business closes, I am deeply saddened because I know how hard the struggle is.

If you’ve been around a while, you know how it all began. If you don’t know the story, you can read about it here. 

I remember when I was a teenager there was a movie starring Michael J. Fox, called The Secret of My Success. I thought of it again as I sat down to write this newsletter.

If someone were to ask me the secret to my success, the answers might surprise you. 

1. Have small nuts.

I run a very small operation and I can do pretty much anything myself. What I don’t know I either learn or outsource. I don’t rent office space and I don’t have a lot of employees – in fact all of the extra work is handled either by family or virtual assistants. This means that no matter what the economy does, I don’t have to worry about rent or paying employees.

Big nuts = Big stress. Small nuts = Less Stress.

2. Keep it small and keep it all.

The more chefs in the kitchen, the harder it is to make big changes (fast). The bigger a company gets the more investors it takes on, the less your opinion matters. Think of a huge cruise ship that holds 5k passengers.

In an emergency, it takes a while to turn that ship around. Compare that to a small craft boat, which can turn very quickly and get back to shore quickly.

When you’re small, you try something and if it doesn’t work, you change it immediately and you keep changing it until it does work. The buck really does start and stop here.

I don’t generate seven figures a year in sales (which has to support a lot of people), but what I do generate, I keep it all.

3. Be hungry. Having started Celtic Complexion with just 10k, I can tell you that although it was very hard to make that money stretch, it did and it was perhaps my most creative time period because I had no other choice.

It’s very easy to blow through thousands of dollars when it’s there for you to play with and take chances, but it’s an entirely different game when you know that you either make something work or you don’t eat. Being hungry = being successful.

 4.Take the road less traveled.

I would like to tell you I learned this secret right at the start, but I didn’t. In fact I didn’t really embrace this concept and fully embody it until year nine of business. Not surprising, that’s when I became the most successful.

Most start-up companies aspire to be in the fast lane; be national known, be in magazines, be famous. So, you look around you and think you have to do the same. I was no different in the beginning. 

When social media became a thing, as in not just an option but mandatory, suddenly you had to be So Much More.

You had to be a star, baby!

It took me over a decade to just learn how to do the thing I was selling, but now on top of that, I had to be a video production expert, photographer, influencer, full time marketer and oh yeah, political commentator and social justice warrior (which changes almost daily depending on the news cycle and whims of the media).

It was also expected that you had to unlearn proper English in favor of 133 bit click-bait headlines, hashtags and study Google algorithms like you were preparing for the bar exams. You couldn’t just be on one social media platform, you had to be on ALL media platforms.

You are expected to be available 24/7 and reply instantly. 

We went from zero to 100 miles per hour almost overnight, and for what? More stress and less time.

Does that even make sense? 

In 2020 I discovered that the slow lane is the new fast lane. I rewrote my mission statement, re-evaluated my financial goals for the company and prioritized the things that mattered to me most: my health, my family and my freedom (time).

I went back to basics and started to connect with you in a way that was meaningful and not superficial. I may not connect a lot, but when I do it’s because I have something to say. I hope you have come to view these monthly emails as a letter from a friend, which is my intention.

It was a huge gamble that paid off. You have become the invisible salesforce, referring new business to us and remaining extremely loyal.

Our total monthly marketing budget is less than $100 (the cost of this newsletter service that sends these out to you).

At the end of the day, it’s not the skincare that changes your life, it’s the humanity. There are many good skincare products out there, but what makes us different is the human touch.

5.Live simply.

I have designed my life in a way that my lifestyle doesn’t overspend my earnings. I am happy doing simple things; reading, gardening, creating art, writing and enjoying the company of friends and family.

I don’t compare myself to others (personally or professionally) and I don’t suffer from FOMO.

Because I don’t compete in that way, I never feel like I am not enough or that I have to be something else in order to fit in or be accepted.

This makes me very happy and a happy person makes great products (and that’s my way of spreading happiness to you).

If you’re a business owner, I would love to hear the secrets to your success too. Are you doing things the same, or changing it up a bit?

If being in business for yourself had a theme song, this would be it. It articulates the experience more than anything.  So thank you Stealers Wheel for penning this gem. It actually can be applied to just about everything these days.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am stuck in the middle with you

I have included three videos below that have had such an impact on me, both professionally and personally that I wanted to share them with you. I believe you’ll get some value out of them too, even I you aren’t a business owner.

Stop Filming Everything You Do:

I quit a seven figure a year business:

Facing Failure After Years of Being Self-Employed: