Money Talk is a series of interviews with your favorite boss babes. These women are successfully running empires, checking off goals, and taking names. Read their stories and see how writing has transformed their lives as entrepreneurs.
Adrienne Small is a beauty industry tycoon. Adrienne followed her passion at a young age and never turned back. As a stylist and creator of @BTCSymposium, she inspires #TGCW to be the MASTERMINDS of our careers and push BEYOND the basics. Meet beauty curator & mompreneur, Adrienne Small.
When and how did you get into the beauty industry?
I’m THAT stylist that even as a little girl, ALWAYS wanted to do hair! At the age of 12, I literally had clients, young and old, coming to my parents’ house to get their hair braided. My parents didn’t want that to become a career for me, so from the beginning, I knew I would be college bound and hair would only be a hobby/ side hustle. But, in 2005 as I was entering my junior year of college, I became pregnant with my daughter and at that moment, I knew beauty school was my next step. I needed a career and honestly, college was just going to ensure me a “job”, not the “career” I knew I wanted for myself.
When did you realize you wanted to push your career beyond the chair?
I knew this from the very beginning! I NEVER wanted to be that stylist that was in the salon day in and day out slaying hair 20 hours a day. I’m not built for that. I purposely attended a predominantly white beauty school and sought out to work at one of THE MOST high-end day spas in the city of Memphis once I graduated. I knew that the environment that I was trained in would make or break my view of the industry. The school I attended and the salon I worked in from day 1 both showed me the potential and gave me a new found love of this industry.
How long did it take to see growth in your business?
It started off very slow. The makings of my clientele basically came from the salon I was working in. Maybe 2 years into working in this salon, I was able to start traveling for more education on their dime! They saw my drive and offered me a network educator position with a partnering company and the assignments I had with that company allowed me to be more creative. It also opened the doors for me to produce a hair and fashion show 4 years into working for them and the exposure from that grew my clientele tremendously! I realized quickly that you can be the absolute best at doing hair, but our clients WANT to see us thriving in other areas of the industry. They love being able to say, “MY stylist also does…..” It’s like our success is also theirs!
What changes did you make to become a full-time entrepreneur?
That was the biggest change I had to make PERIOD! Just breaking away and basically learning to be by myself and doing it all myself. I worked for that commissioned salon for 9 years before I decided I wanted to be on my own and that was HARD. When you are used to having a receptionist answering calls and booking your appointments for you, salon assistants handling small things like cleaning, making sure you had clean towels, a CORPORATE OFFICE to handle your taxes and any disgruntle or unsatisfied clients, you become spoiled. But, I knew my bigger picture and having control over my name and what I was known for was more important to me than any of that. But, I also worked as a receptionist for that same salon for a year and a half, as well as a salon assistant for 6 months so I knew the front of the house AND the back of the house, so the adjustment wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
What parts of your daily workday include planning and writing?
Mondays and Tuesdays are my official off days. Mondays are used for taking care of any business related things, running errands for salon supplies, etc, and Tuesdays are dedicated to content creation. If I need to film, edit videos, write any email marketing to send to my subscribers, that happens on Tuesdays. Being a mom and a wife, I “try” not to consume every single day with too much work, but depending on what I have coming up, it happens. Wednesday- Saturday I am in the salon so most of my posts are scheduled posts and happen automatically so I don’t have to think about it if I’m promoting something specific.
Do you have a writing routine?
I journal and “affirm” every day! I am a creative and my mind works even when I don’t want it to. So, although I don’t have a specific time that I say I’m going to sit down and write, which I should, it gets done at some point every single day.
How do you know what content will interest your clients?
I have an email list of people who subscribed to my website. Although my following on social media is greater than the subscription list, if a person has taken the time to subscribe to my list then I know for sure they are the ones that want to hear what I have to say and know what I have going on. I run surveys by them at least once a quarter to understand why they are there and what it is about Adrienne Small that keeps them there. I also made sure my social media pages are all set to business pages to follow my analytics. Watching what receives the most engagement (likes, saves, views, etc.) lets me know what they love seeing the most. That’s how I was able to see that my hair color before and after transformations were what my following loved the most.
If there is a post that doesn’t seem to capture your audience, how do you revamp?
I’m still figuring that out. I get asked tons of questions on my pictures or in my DM’s about how I did something, or my opinion on anything industry related, but the moment I post a “Let’s Talk” segment in my Instagram stories, it’s crickets. I’m not sure if it’s my delivery or if at that moment they just don’t care, but I’m working on figuring out how to make everything I post more appealing to my audience.
Tell us about your books.
I have 2 books! One is an E-Book called Hair Color Concepts. It is a 25-page manual for hair stylist in the beginning (as well as advanced) stages of being a colorist. It breaks down every aspect of hair color, formulations, and gives you a step-by-step “how to” on a few of my favorite color clients. It also allows you to formulate a few of my clients, then ends with a quiz on everything covered in the entire book. It can be purchased at www.AdrienneSmall.com.
My Journal is Sincerely A Boss. It is a 144-page softcover, quarterly journal designed to help you achieve all your boss goals! It gives you weekly boss affirmations that are set for you to sign to hold yourself accountable, it allows you to create your weekly vision statements and mini vision boards, set your weekly priorities and budgets, track your expenses and profits, map out what it will take to reach your revenue goals as well as create your own boss affirmations while you plan out next quarters projects! You can purchase the journal at www.SincerelyABoss.com.
Was the writing process difficult? How did you overcome obstacles with writing, editing, and/or publishing?
It wasn’t difficult at all. These books are basically everything I needed as a colorist and everything I needed to help me become MY version of a boss! I have AT LEAST 5 more versions of each book that I want to expand into more books as we speak! I learned to grab inspiration where I needed it and when the time was right, I used that plus what was in my head and threw it all in a notebook. When it came time to edit and publish it all, it helped that I am a part of a marketing membership that literally GIVES us the tools we need to help with the editing and publishing process. I self-published my journal and the only obstacle I am facing right now is finding a company that has more binding options (like a spiral bound journal) that is within my current budget without having to buy so many in bulk. Once I overcome that small obstacle, everything else is easy!
What tips do you have for the entrepreneur that feels writing is not her strength?
I love to write, so anytime I get stuck, I have to remember that people want to hear the authentic ME! Not the perfect version of me I THINK they want to hear. Meaning, to write as if you are talking to your best friend, write about things that you KNOW you know. When you write about the things that you are most passionate about and as if you are teaching some of your closest friends, it will just flow. When I journal, that is also the time I grab my topics. Later, I may expand on my topics, and by the time I’m done, I’ve written exactly what the people need! One of my best friends has to say to me OFTEN, “Get out of your OWN head and let it flow, sis!” From that I learned to not over think everything and once I’m out of my head, it becomes the best thing ever!
For more inspiration, follow Adrienne on IG @ByAdrienneSmall and @BTCSymposium or visit her website http://www.adriennesmall.com
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