“Honey, we need to sell the salon…”
Those words were incredibly hard to hear, yet alone accept, as together my husband and I had owned and operated a seven chair full service salon which employed 14 young women at one time. It was never my dream to own a business and I certainly wasn’t trained to do the job well.
This journey begun when my husband came home and told me I needed my own salon, only after being a stylist for two years, and said it was time that we buy one. In less than a month, we became business owners of a dated building, desperately in need of a remodel. The renovations began right away and continued for over a year as we increased the capabilities of our salon by adding massage spaces, tanning beds, new paint, refreshed flooring, a face lift for the stations along with outside updates. This kept us busy every night and every weekend. Let’s just say we did a lot of eating out and requesting, “Table for two, please!”
The space was filled with laughter as most of the hairstylists were young and single with no kids. Those first two years were bliss as many of us shared the same beliefs and values, which is always a priority, but we also used those beliefs and values as a topic of conversation with most customers that came through the doors. Friendships were created and memories were made with our stylists and clients.
At the same time the salon was becoming established, my husbands career was advancing in a new path and promotions were presenting themselves. Our first baby was born and my hours decreased by a few per week. There were hobbies that were taking time away from home and our careers, along with selling our first home and moving into a rental.
Life was busy.
After our son was born, I felt a heavy depression settle in for about three months. Little did I know the sinful lifestyle my husband was choosing to live, which ultimately led to us selling the business, had a subconscious roll in my battle of the mind. I felt immense personal failure in those moments when the ink was drying on the salon sale agreement. I cried many tears saying goodbye to my stylists, my friends, and felt I had let them down as I handed over the duties to a stranger. I struggled to even drive by without looking or wanting to stop in to see how things were going.
Shortly after the decision to sell the business Tim built a one chair salon at home, giving me space to continue disguising the unwanted grays my clients brought to me. It was a change of pace compared to the busy chatter of many women under one roof. I now had a Pack ‘N’ Play set up, appointments scheduled during nap time and was learning how to juggle the transition of working from home while doing the dishes and laundry.
It can take years to obtain full perspective on past experiences. God had reasons for my husband and I to sell the salon. I didn’t understand at the time, but looking back now, I see that if we had not sold the business, the stressful times in our marriage would have weaned heavily on my staff and family. God knew I needed the devoted time at home to become the mommy I am today. A year after we signed papers, my husband confessed to infidelity within our marriage. I needed the freedom to focus on my healing, forgiving and repairing our broken marriage.
“A failed business has no reflection on you as a person. It does not mean you are incapable of success.”
It takes a bigger person to admit that it didn’t work out then to pretend it did. Use the failure not as a road block, but as an opportunity to propel you to something greater.
Three Action Steps To Overcome Failure:
1.) Reflect on the good times! How did the time in operation build your character, friendships and life experiences? Years later I still keep in touch with the gals from the salon. I can drive by the old place and don’t feel guilt for seeing it run down. I know that my kids will look back and see Mommy was resilient to the business failure because she didn’t let it define her success later in life. What new opportunities have you been able to embark on because of previously closed doors?
2.) Glean from the closure and seek advice on how to become better. Much of what we learn in life is through our mistakes. I wish I had taken some business classes regardless of the business knowledge my husband had. I was successful at engaging people, encouraging people and creating a welcoming space, along with working my magic with a pair of sheers and hair color. However, I was not fantastic in the administrative aspects of owning a business. Utilize your strengths well, but don’t hesitate to ask for help in the areas you are unfamiliar with in regards to your success as a business owner. Set new goals for yourself personally and professionally. Persevere through the trial and allow the perseverance to shine brighter than the failure itself.
”Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 (NIV)
3.) Don’t be afraid to try again! How many times did it take to you to learn to ride a bike? My oldest daughter has been practicing her new found love for cartwheels daily and has now conquered with a beautifully, toe pointed pristine cartwheel. This took months to achieve, but her success came with bruised knees, sore muscles and calloused hands. We live in a society that easily quits. A “quick to delete” mentality that has left many not able to have long-term success. This can become a stumbling block for some, but with accountability, determination and the self perspective to look at the bigger picture, you can be back on your feet again! Seek a business mentor that can give you advice from an outside perspective. Don’t hesitate to look for new opportunities, even if they lead to new careers and life experiences. And if you fail at something new…get back up again. The true success comes when you stand back up again!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 (NASB)