Talent Won’t Make You A Successful Beauty Founder

What The Secret Sauce To Success Really Contains

The number one question I get asked from people who want to be beauty founders, is “What course should I study to start my own beauty brand?”
This is followed by “____”

It amazes me as well that the majority of people who ask me those questions are women, but that is for another discussion. When I get asked those two questions, the potential entrepreneur is always surprised when I say that they don’t have to go to a university or do a short course. Are there courses that I recommend? Most definitely, but doing those courses does not automatically mean success as a beauty founder. Just look at all the ‘successful’ brands – which one was founded by someone who had a chemistry degree? None. When I studied beauty founders, what I did find was that many learnt on the spot. They pushed themselves regardless of their incompetence in biochemistry and surface chemistry. This is because a chemistry degree will not increase your sales. Yea, I said it.

A chemistry degree will not increase sales.
Knowledge of ingredients does not increase sales.

You know what increases sales? Marketing increases sales. People knowing your brand and delivering quality service is what increases sales.

Meeting a need or solving a pain is what increases sales.

So if you have a brand that meets these characteristics, you don’t need a chemistry degree. The other side to this is, you don’t need a business degree or a master’s degree in management to have a successful brand. These degrees teach you how to manage a brand, they don’t teach you how to be a founder, to start from scratch. There is the difference. The scenarios they give you are perfect - a business already founded and it needs new management, marketing strategy or a rebranding. What those degrees don't teach you is the hustle. 

What makes a founder create a successful brand is a mind shift. Identify your strengths and build on them. Sharpen them. We spend so much time looking at our weaknesses when our strengths is what makes us stand out of the crowd. Our strengths gives us the ability to work so much easier.

But talent is not what will make you a successful founder. Well, not talent alone.

Nor will education make you successful on it's own. 

Here are two quotes on talent:
Talent is cheaper than table salt. what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. 
Stephen King

The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. Talent is only a starting point in business. You’ve got to keep working that talent.
Irving Berlin

So, you know what will make you a successful beauty founder? Going out there and doing the work. Working on your PR. Making sure that your Instagram is popping. Getting involved in Twitter chats. Responding to Facebook comments. Writing your blog posts. Getting your formulation safety tested and your claims approved. Making sure that your website is looking great. Reading up about newsletter campaigns. And on and on it goes.

Is there a learning curve here? Most definitely, and it is very steep. I am not discrediting further education at all, but I recommend looking at courses critically – how will they benefit your business now? Do they have people who started their own business? What percentage of the cohort went on to launch their idea. Can the course be done for cheaper (you would be surprised)? And how? Beauty startups have a high cost, the last thing you need to do is spend more money on a course. 

The founders who got their brand into Boots and have a counter at Selfridges, didn't get there by tertiary education.  

To you potentially successful beauty founder, you will need to do the work. I will say it again - I am not against further education or getting a master’s degree. What I am saying is to capitalise on your strengths and learn as you go do the work. 

Working is what brings you success.
Working is what will bring your products in front of who it needs to be.
Working hard and smart will always be rewarded. And to work smart, one must work hard and then review their system to see just how efficient they can be. And to get to this point, one must work.

So, to you beauty founders
And to you who want to be successful,
Go do that work.

This post was inspired by John C. Maxwell's book 'Talent Is Never Enough' and I highly recommend this book. This book also reminds me of Winners by Alistair Campbell (a book on the Recommended Reading list).