25 Lessons In 25 Years: Tips for Success from a Self-Made Beauty Entrepreneur

Renée Rouleau, an  EO member in Austin, is the founder and CEO of Renée Rouleau Skin Care, whose merchandise and customized skincare are revered by celebrities, bloggers, and skincare obsessives. As she marks 25 years in enterprise, Renée shared what she’s realized alongside her entrepreneurial journey.

I minimize the crimson ribbon at 4:10pm on August 17, 1996. It was my 26th birthday, and I used to be formally beginning my firm, Renée Rouleau Pores and skin Care, in Dallas, Texas (although I might ultimately relocate the corporate headquarters to Austin).

Why did I select this precise date and time? They might by no means educate this in enterprise faculty (not that I went to enterprise faculty!), however I needed all of the luck I might get, so I consulted an astrologist named Iris. She selected this particular date and time to make sure success. Quick ahead to at present—a full 25 years later—and I’m proud to say my firm is flourishing and higher than ever.

Do I owe all my success to the astrologer? No, not fully. Over the course of a quarter-century, I’ve realized lots of classes about the best way to efficiently run an organization. These classes are what made the most important influence on my enterprise. Right here they’re, simply in time for the 25th anniversary of Renée Rouleau Pores and skin Care.

1. Deal with Your Distributors as Companions (and With Kindness)

Anybody with whom you do enterprise and who supplies you with what it’s worthwhile to function needs to be handled as a valued accomplice. You want them, and so they want you. It’s that easy. I’ve all the time cultivated respectful working relationships with my factors of contact, and relying on the seller, I might even fly to fulfill them in particular person to ascertain a connection. The significance of treating distributors as companions was confirmed by the Covid pandemic when so many distributors shut down and the provision chain floor to a halt. It was a stark reminder that we don’t have a enterprise with out them. As soon as they opened again up, they put their “favourite” clients on the entrance of the road to get their items, which works to point out that it pays to be good!

2. Handle All of Your Loopy Concepts and Evaluation Them Every Quarter

Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve no scarcity of concepts. With so many swirling in my head, paired with my naturally excessive sense of urgency, I tend to be all over, creating pointless chaos for my group. I handle this by preserving an “thought financial institution” the place I write down each thought I give you. As soon as 1 / 4, I evaluate the checklist with my group to find out which levers are the subsequent ones to drag. Over time, this has taught me that simply because an thought is nice doesn’t imply it’s value pursuing now (or ever). Timing is every part, and it’s extremely helpful to decelerate and contemplate all choices as an alternative of appearing instantly.

3. You Can’t Foresee the Sudden, However You Can Belief You’ll Discover a Method By It

In enterprise and in life, you by no means know what’s across the nook. My COO (who was additionally my husband and accomplice for 22 years) handed in 2018 after a brief battle with most cancers. The day his physician stated, “You may have six months to dwell” is actually one which I’ll always remember. The race was on to get his affairs so as each personally and professionally—which included me discovering his alternative within the firm.

Nobody can put together for a disaster of that magnitude, however I realized that by counting on others for assist and help, together with good problem-solving abilities, I can get by something. In these darkish days, I might remind myself to easily put one foot in entrance of the opposite and belief that, as exhausting because it appeared, I might discover the sunshine to get by it.

4. Establish Three Distinctive Qualities of Your Firm

You have to set your self other than the group. It’s irritating once I see entrepreneurs leap on the identical outdated enterprise bandwagon with no actual positioning as to how their firm is totally different from the remainder.

In my firm, we concentrate on three “uniques”:

  1. Training and experience
  2. 9 totally different pores and skin varieties
  3. Influencer-endorsed

We play to our strengths in all we do, and we persistently make this a part of our communication.

Market analysis and preserving your finger on the heart beat of your business may also help establish these for you. Merely ask your self, “How can I make individuals’s lives higher or simpler in a means nobody else has?”

5. Larger Isn’t All the time Higher

I all the time knew I needed to construct an important firm and never an enormous firm. I’ve a deep want to place individuals over earnings and create a wholesome and supportive work surroundings for my staff. This contains having a strategic development plan whereas being conscious of how each resolution will have an effect on my group. As a result of I’ve chosen to personal 100% of my firm, I’ve full management of each transfer, which is all the time guided by my coronary heart and my values.  

My beliefs are validated by different entrepreneurs who’ve grown their corporations quickly and have taken lots of exterior funding, solely to expertise whole chaos and frustration. They usually say to me, “Renée, if I might do it yet again, I might do it identical to how you’re.” Develop sluggish and stay in command of your journey.

6. When Alternative Knocks, Scrutinize It

Everybody loves alternative. When one thing good comes alongside, it may be thrilling. Nonetheless, I’ve seen too many individuals say sure with out weighing the professionals and cons. Consequently, issues don’t all the time work out like they hoped. That’s why each time a possibility arises, I ask myself a listing of particular questions as a way to totally suppose by it. This checklist has served me effectively. It ensures I’m being strategic and remaining in command of my future. Right here’s my checklist:

  • Is it a “Hell, yes!”? 
  • What downside are we attempting to unravel?
  • Is it in alignment with our core values?
  • Does this align with our 1-year targets, 3-year targets, and 10-year goal?
  • Is it on-brand, in order to not confuse our model messaging and choices?
  • How will it have an effect on our core enterprise and focus?
  • Will this chance make us higher?
  • Is that this the place it is smart to place time and vitality?
  • How will this have an effect on our group and tradition?
  • What’s the worst-case situation?
  • What’s the jump-ship plan if it isn’t profitable?
  • When will we all know if it’s not profitable?
  • Lastly, WHY?

7. Be Grateful for Your Horrible Bosses

I solely had two jobs, and subsequently two bosses, earlier than beginning my first enterprise on the age of 21. One boss was nice. The opposite was not-so-great. I’m most grateful for the time I spent with the not-so-great one, as a result of it confirmed me how I don’t need to be handled (effectively, that, and watching The Workplace. Michael Scott isn’t precisely an excellent function mannequin, however Dwight alternatively…LOL).

I keep in mind when the not-so-great boss introduced that nobody can be getting a vacation bonus. The enterprise was struggling, so bonuses merely weren’t possible, and that was that. I understood that instances have been robust, however I keep in mind feeling like she might have proven her appreciation in one other, non-monetary means (even a pleasant card might have completed the trick!).

The very last thing you need to do is skip the chance to point out appreciation for the folks that performed an element in your success. My philosophy is that I work for my staff, not the opposite means round. It’s about serving them, treating them with respect, and offering them with a wholesome work surroundings that comes with development alternatives. We have been deemed a “Greatest Place to Work” by Austin Enterprise Journal in 2020, and I owe it to preserving my ego in examine and by no means shedding sight of what has been constructed—collectively.

8. There may be No Blueprint on Learn how to Run a Enterprise

In enterprise, you dive in and both sink or swim. When you occur to remain afloat, you continue to have a lot to study the best way to swim extra effectively. Enterprise requires lots of pivoting, in addition to super communication. The reality is that there’s no step-by-step information or how-to guide that exhibits you the best way to run and develop an organization. The closest factor I’ve discovered is the Entrepreneurial Working System (EOS). It’s a confirmed course of that I introduced into my firm after its 17th yr. Regardless of if you happen to’re working a start-up or a longtime firm like I used to be, it supplies super worth, serving to you navigate with readability and focus.

9. Be an Infinite, Open-Minded Learner 

Entrepreneurship forces you to be an infinite learner. You’re consistently breaking new floor, innovating, and constructing upon your concepts to remain related. Nonetheless, you have to all the time be prepared to adapt to new data. By no means get caught considering you already know all of it.

To maintain my thoughts open, I faucet into my group for brainstorming classes. Everybody has totally different views and their very own distinctive experiences. I acknowledge that others have lots to show me. That’s why “study and develop” is one among my firm’s core values.

10. Entrepreneurship Can Be a Lonely Highway

I began my entrepreneurial journey at 21years outdated. My pals have been partying in school, and I had the accountability of proudly owning a enterprise that required 24/7 focus. After they got here again for summer season, they’d all the liberty on the earth, and that simply wasn’t my life anymore. I knew I wanted to discover a new tribe.

A few years later, I discovered “my individuals” by the Entrepreneurs’ Group (EO). I’ve been a proud member for 12 years. These individuals get me, and I get them. We don’t clock out at 5 pm, we are able to’t go on trip and be out of workplace, and we are able to’t all the time be current with the individuals we love, as a result of enterprise pulls us away. All the things falls again on us. Whereas we wouldn’t have it every other means, it’s nonetheless lots to handle and tough for different individuals to know. Life is less complicated while you encompass your self with like-minded individuals. They’re on the market, and so they can supply super help.

11. Ask Your self, “What Downside Are We Making an attempt to Clear up?”

That is my go-to query in enterprise and in life. Concepts and choices can grow to be convoluted, and this straightforward query will get them proper again on monitor. If there’s no clear reply, you then is perhaps attempting to repair an issue that doesn’t exist. That’s once I flip to my different favourite, “if it’s not damaged, don’t repair it.”

12. Take Resumes with a Grain of Salt—Rent for Angle and Prepare for Abilities

Any firm can supply the best services or products on the earth, however it could actually solely be executed by having the precise individuals on board. When hiring, I take resumes with a grain of salt, as I do references, too. I can’t inform you how many individuals didn’t have something essentially spectacular on their resumes, however they introduced the precise perspective to help our firm’s core values. A few of our greatest hires didn’t stand out on paper. That’s why I’m all the time looking for the “diamond within the tough.”

13. Outline Your Firm’s Core Values and Dwell by Them

I used to be first launched to the concept of core values as a 20-year-old. I took a private improvement class through which I used to be tasked to establish my private core values. These have been basically guiding ideas for the way I needed to dwell my life and present as much as the world. It made such an influence on me that I’ve continued to ascertain core values ever since. Each couple of years, I re-do the train. Typically my core values change, generally they don’t. All of it will depend on my expertise and my view of the world.

As a result of core values are so vital to me personally, I made a decision to introduce them to my enterprise. My group and I established 5 that finest signify the corporate, each as it’s now and as it’s in our imaginative and prescient for the longer term. We dwell and work by these values, and we use them as guiding ideas in all our decision-making.

14. You Can Be Wealthy or King, However You Can’t Be Each

I as soon as noticed Noam Wasserman, a Harvard Enterprise Faculty Professor and start-up researcher, converse at a convention. He teaches the concept entrepreneurs should make a deliberate option to both optimize for monetary returns (be “wealthy”) or maintain management of their corporations (be a “king”). Each requires totally different decision-making, which is why it’s so vital to know which one you want.

15. Concepts Are Simple, Execution Is Exhausting

For entrepreneurs, a scarcity of concepts is rarely the issue. Discovering the bandwidth to execute all of them is the issue. I’ve actually been accused of being a workaholic, however the important thing to my success is just that I put my head down and get to it. Much less, discuss, extra motion.

16. To Hell with a Work-Life Stability

Think about spending your working hours doing one thing you’re keen on a lot that it doesn’t really feel like work. That’s my life. So, relating to a work-life stability, effectively, I haven’t actually had that (particularly within the early years of my firm). I like what I do, so I by no means really feel the necessity to cease doing it. With that being stated, I perceive that, in life, something that doesn’t get your consideration will endure. It’s all about selecting what to dedicate your time to.

17. Hiring Mates or Household Is a Gamble

Early on in my firm, I wanted assist wherever I might get it, so oftentimes I might depend on pals. I rapidly realized that it’s awkward to be your pal’s boss. The dynamics of the connection change. If issues don’t work out, and it’s important to half methods, it’s no enjoyable (belief me, I do know). Nonetheless, my husband was our COO for 12 years, and that was an important working partnership. So, finally, hiring pals or household is a bet, which is why it’s so vital to weigh all of the outcomes earlier than bringing on somebody who’s near you.

18. Relying on The Enterprise, PR Is Essential

For the primary 21 years of my firm, we by no means did paid promoting. As a substitute, we targeted on public relations earned by editorial mentions. Promoting = telling individuals how good you’re. Editorial options = another person telling individuals how good you’re. The latter offers you far more credibility. For years I did my very own PR, pitching my services and products to editors of magazines and producers of TV exhibits. Now I’ve a publicist who handles it for me, however it’s nonetheless intrinsic to the enterprise.
19. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Dangers

Entrepreneurs are born risk-takers. It’s a confidence that permits you to stick your neck out, and if you happen to get knocked down, you don’t retreat. You retain going. I’ve realized that it’s vital to take calculated dangers and block out the opinions of people that inform you you’re incorrect. My intuition has all the time been my guiding mild, and it’s hardly ever led me astray.

For instance, I knew early on that e-commerce and content material have been going to be the wave of the longer term in enterprise. So, in 1999, I devoted my sources in the direction of constructing an e-commerce web site. In 2000, I began writing instructional skincare content material, which led to the creation of my in style skincare weblog in 2005. It’s been going robust ever since.
20. It’s Simpler to Repair the Leaks within the Hose Than It Is to Get Extra Water

It’s simple to concentrate on getting new clients, however don’t overlook to concentrate to your day-to-day operations which are vital for retaining them. Is the particular person answering the cellphone pleasant and saying the precise issues? Are you asking present clients for referrals and giving them incentives to unfold the phrase? Are you lacking out on alternatives to extend your common order worth (AOV)?  There are lots of issues you are able to do to run your enterprise extra effectively and successfully, so be certain that to carefully analyze all of them.

21. Develop and Preserve Enterprise Friendships

Individuals like to assist individuals they like. Mates like to assist pals succeed. For thus a few years I went alone to advertise and construct my enterprise, however there is just one of me and solely a lot I can do. Mates can help your success and assist unfold the phrase. You simply must ask them for assist. Make it a precedence to community, attend occasions, and attend lunches. It should repay.

22. Deal with Your Strengths and Delegate Your Weaknesses

Entrepreneurs are required to put on many hats. We’re the handymen when issues break down, the invoice payer, the provision getter, the marketer, the promoter, the coach, the supervisor, and the checklist goes on. Nobody is hardwired to be good in any respect this stuff. I’ve realized how vital it’s to delegate the areas I lack effectivity in. I do that by itemizing all of the issues I have to do in any given interval. I separate them into two columns and rank them from one to 5. I give a one to issues I detest, and I’m not good at. I give a 5 to issues I like and am good at. The objective is to solely do the fives and delegate every part beneath that. Certain, generally I have to do threes and fours, however it’s a great way to handle a full plate.

23. Settle for Individuals for Who They Are and Who They’re Not

There’ll by no means be somebody identical to you. The earlier you settle for this, the higher off you’ll be. We do character assessments at our firm to pinpoint everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s higher to spend time enhancing an worker’s strengths than specializing in their weaknesses and making them into one thing they’ll by no means be. Don’t overlook to present plenty of reward and recognition. They’ll love you for it, and so they’ll be loyal in the event that they’re blissful.

24. Reinvent Your Model Each Seven Years to Keep Related

So many companies begin out robust however die on the vine. How is it that after 25 years my firm remains to be going robust? Effectively, time makes issues stale. Manufacturers lose their edge after some time—that particular high quality that made clients find it irresistible within the first place. That’s why, about each seven years, I alter issues up with a brand new brand, new packaging, and a brand new web site. It offers clients one thing to be enthusiastic about past new product launches. In my business, issues are all the time altering with new know-how and findings, so staying present retains our clients loyal. They know we maintain our finger on the heart beat.

25. Development Is Saying Sure to Issues That Scare You

Over the previous 25 years, I’ve realized that beginning a enterprise is lots like having a child. You nurture it for thus lengthy solely to set it free when it turns into mature. For thus a few years, I held on tight for worry of shedding management. When my husband (and COO) bought sick, he stated, “Renée, you’ve been a tiger in a cage, and I’ve stored you trapped. It’s time to allow you to out.” What he meant was that he wasn’t encouraging me to rent and take issues off my plate. If I needed the corporate to succeed in its true potential, it was time for me to be the visionary, focusing extra on huge concepts and fewer on the day-to-day.

Letting go of sure obligations and trusting others has been scary, as has navigating a world with out my accomplice in life and enterprise, however I can actually say the expansion—each in my firm and my private life—has opened my world in a means that I by no means imagined. It might have solely occurred by getting out of my consolation zone.

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