5 crazy business lessons I learned from my $38,000 launch
If you haven’t been following along with my blog, my Facebook page/group, or my emails, you might not know that I sell online courses to teach marketing to salon owners.
Ever since I started my first internship in university, I’ve been OBSESSED with using fun, effective marketing to grow businesses. But what seemed like a natural thing to me, I realized is a struggle for a lot of business owners.
That’s why I started teaching marketing. Specifically, I’ve been teaching how to use Facebook Ads to get more appointments and grow your clientele for beauty businesses.
This July and August, I launched my course, The Facebook Formula For Salons, for the second time. I was nervous about how the launch would go, and uncertain about what the outcome would be.
I had sold the course before to a small group of students and had some amazing testimonials from students. And I had a larger ad budget to work with this time.
But you know, selling things is always nerve-wracking, right?
In the end, I ended up adding almost 100 beauty business owners to the program, and making $38,000 CAD in sales during my 3-week launch period.
I was floored by my results, and I wanted to step back for a minute and think about the lessons I learned while I was launching and afterwards. I hope that this huge learning experience I just went through will give you some inspiration for your own beauty business!
Lesson #1: You don’t have to be “the expert” - just soak up knowledge from someone who is
Back in the day, if you wanted to start your own business, you had to either struggle every day to figure out things from scratch - with no experience - or go to an expensive business school.
But now, with the internet, everything has changed. You can start any sort of business and learn from experts who have already done it and found success. And you can learn from them at a distance through online programs!
Although I’m a firm believer in “figuring things out”, I also know when it’s time to let someone else’s experience do the heavy lifting.
I had tried launching an online course, Beauty Branding Bootcamp last year. But I honestly had NO idea what I was doing and I made less than $1,000. I was feeling pretty defeated for a while, and stopped promoting it altogether because I felt like a failure.
But then I found Amy Porterfield’s course, Digital Course Academy, where she teaches you how to launch profitable online programs.
It was a bit of an investment, but I knew it would be worth the money. Everything I learned about launching a great course I learned from her. She truly is the expert as she makes about $10 MILLION per year selling programs.
Hell yes I’ll pay top dollar to learn from her!
What this means for your business
There are so many moving parts to running a successful beauty business, but you really don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
Look online to find programs that teach you the skills you need, from people who have been there and done that. They may be expensive, but think about the time you’ll save and also the potential revenue you’ll be making when you do things right!
And if you’re looking for some killer online programs, here are just a few from industry experts:
Adam Chatterly - Salon Business Growth Coaching
Britt Seva - Online marketing for hairstylists
Stephanie Harber - Pricing for mobile stylists
Jamie Dana - Instagram for hairstylists
Brigitte Benge - Business coaching for salon owners
Daniela Woerner - Retail sales for spas
Pam Stellema - Salon and spa copywriting and business growth
Tina Alberino - Salon contracts, pricing, and more
Lesson #2: Facebook ads are a customer conversion machine
Yes, of course this is something I already knew, since I’m obsessed with Facebook ads, and I also teach a course about how to grow your client list with them!
However, I think what blew my mind this time was just how much of a predictable “machine” Facebook ads can be.
Once you know more or less what your return on investment is - for example I spent $3 to get 1 new client - it’s literally just a question of spending more money to make more money.
I don’t want to exaggerate and say “printing money”… but pretty much!
Here’s what I mean:
In my last launch, because I was advertising something new, I was shy about investing too much money into Facebook ads. I ended up spending about $1,000 - but I hesitated quite a bit.
At the end of the launch, I made $9,000, which was okay but nowhere near my goal (more on that lower down).
However, one golden piece of knowledge I learned from this launch, was how much it cost me to acquire a new customer (student) through Facebook ads.
Once I knew that, I knew how much next launch was going to go. I knew that for every dollar I spent in ads, I would make much more than that back in revenue.
This launch, I invested $6,000 in ads and I made $38,000 in sales. That’s a 6x return on investment, which is HUGE!
That means that if I want to have a $100,000 launch in January, I know how much I’ll need to spend on ads. It’s simple and predictable, and numbers don’t lie!
What this means for your business
Wherever you’re spending money to advertise your salon, it’s so so important to calculate how much money you’re actually getting back from that investment.
If you’re not getting anything back except “exposure and branding”… you might want to consider stopping.
But if you’re getting good results, keep going, and look at increasing your investment!
Facebook ads are a fantastic way to get new customers, and if you do them right you can tell exactly which bookings are coming from which ads, and what your “return on investment” is from them.
If you want to learn how to do them A-Z my course, The Facebook Formula For Salons is relaunching in January 2020. But of course you want to learn how to do them NOW, right?
Go ahead and download my eBook below about setting up profitable Facebook ads. It’s a good “getting started” guide that will help you figure out the basics:
Lesson #3: Live video gets people to pay attention… and pay
Remember when I said I did a disappointing $1,000 launch last year?
Do you want to know why it failed in my eyes? Because I was absolutely terrified to get on camera to do live video, so I pre-recorded everything.
All of my webinars were recorded. I never did a live broadcast talking about the course, I never answered questions live.
I felt like a coward, but I just couldn’t bear to get on camera live.
And my launch suffered.
Instead, this time, I embraced live video like my life depended on it. I did 5 1-hour live trainings. I went on Facebook live to remind people to sign up for the trainings. I did live Q&As so people could ask their questions about the program before investing.
And that’s a huge part of why my launch was a success.
Live video is an event. It’s a special, exclusive, face-to-face gathering of people (even from all around the world) that are together in that moment.
There’s magic there, and it’s very similar to the kind of magic that only an in-person event has. You can answer questions real time, create connections with people, share your personality in an off-the-cuff way.
Live video gets people to really understand your message and absorb it in a completely different way, and it gets people to pay attention, and ultimately to pay, because they trust you so much more after being at an event with you.
What this means for your business
If you feel like you’re struggling to get the engagement, reach, and conversions from your social media, you are not alone.
All business owners are starting to feel ignored on Facebook and Instagram. There is so much noise going on, so many people posting, so many businesses screaming “look at me!” that your followers are starting to tune it out.
If you want them to really pay attention, you have to grab hold of their emotions and get them to make a real, personal connection with you.
And one of the best ways to create that “online but real” connection is through live videos. Make an event out of it, get people to show up and participate. Answer their questions, welcome them.
Your video doesn’t need to be a one-hour webinar like mine, either. You can do a weekly 10 minute live broadcast that’s fun and educational, and teaches your followers something about skincare ingredients, healthy hair tips, makeup tutorials, etc.
Live video will change your business for good, trust me. And if you want more ideas for videos to do, read my blog post here.
Lesson #4: Don’t stop at 1 email - they need to hear your message 7 times to really listen
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but never really believed it as a fact: When you are communicating your message, the average person needs to hear it 7 times before buying.
Trust me… this is absolutely truth! Yes, a few people will be ready to spend money after hearing your pitch just once, but they are the minority.
In my launch, a huge amount of students bought my course on the very last day, even just an hour before I closed enrolment. In the previous two weeks, they’d received 6 emails from me promoting my course, been exposed to several of my 40 different ads, been invited to watch my videos promoting it at least twice, and seen countless other posts from me on Instagram and Facebook.
Some people might say: Stephanie, stop! You sound spammy! And that’s what I used to think, too. I was afraid of bothering people, so when I promoted something I sent out a single apologetic email asking if they would maybe check out what I’m offering, and then silence.
What a great way to get people to ignore you and forget all about you!
Instead, now, I promote at every chance and on every platform. I always change my message, my videos, my wording, etc so that they’re not getting bored of what I’m saying, but it’s still the same promotion.
By the time most people had bought the course, they’d seen my promotions at least 7 times, if not more! And it worked!
What this means for your business
When you have something to promote, whether that’s a new client special, a monthly promo, a referral campaign, a new service you’re offering… share your message strongly and often!
If you send one email and no one responds, don’t get discouraged! Change up your messaging, add in some more details, and then send it again a little while later.
And don’t just stop at email! Talk about your promotion in person, on Facebook, on Instagram, in your Stories, on your website…
I’ve learned to be less apologetic about my promotions and assume that people just don’t know enough yet, instead of assuming that they’re not interested. And guess what, if someone gets sick of hearing from you, they can always unsubscribe or scroll right past. It won’t kill you or them, you’ll survive.
And I think your sales and bookings will get much higher, too!
Lesson #5: If one of your projects doesn’t work at first, keep pushing
My first course launch ever was Beauty Brand Bootcamp and I made a measly $1000 from it. Cue womp womp womp music.
I quickly decided that the course sucked (it didn’t) and I needed to move onto something more profitable, because it wasn’t selling well.
This year in March, I launched The Facebook Formula For Salons for the first time and made $9,000. I was slightly disappointed, and again my first gut reaction was to move onto something different and more profitable.
But this time I stuck with it. Instead of completely switching products, I changed the way I promoted it. I made a plan, regrouped, and relaunched it this month to success.
It wasn’t my product that was the problem, it was how I was promoting it.
I’m so happy I decided to stick with it, and then do a bigger and better second launch, instead of spending more time and energy creating something new.
What this means for your business
The last time you had a promotion, new promotion, sales offer, or something else fail, your first reaction was probably to think “Wow, I suck. I’m terrible at this”. That’s actually completely normal, although definitely not true, especially when you’re first starting your business and you’re less secure in what you’re doing.
Your second reaction was probably to think “Well obviously people don’t want this, so let me think of something else, or do something else.”
Has that ever happened to you? If so, can I make a suggestion?
Instead of assuming that you’re the problem, or that what you’re offering is the problem, how about looking at how you’re marketing it, messaging it, and communicating to potential clients about it.
Do you need to explain your service better? Do you need to get different or better photos, or maybe even a video? Or maybe the problem is that not enough people are hearing about it and you should think about reaching more people with Advertising (might I suggest Facebook ads? 😉 )
When something doesn’t go well, and you’re disappointed, use it as a place to learn. Talk to the few clients who do buy that product or book that service, and understand why they did it and what they love about it. Then use that info, and apply it to your marketing campaign when you launch it again.
Use every falter as a step in the right direction, and a small step towards reaching some BIG goals.
Sometimes when things are going right, it’s easy to take things for granted, get numb to the feeling of achievement, and look at your next hurdle to climb.
Instead, I wanted to take some time to reflect on how this launch went for me, because the most important thing about it, more than the money I made, were the business lessons that stumbled across.
I’ll be using some of these lessons for my next launch, and hope to reach even more students that I can teach!
I hope that some of these ideas have inspired you in your own beauty business, even if you’re not selling courses or educating. Business lessons are essentially life lessons with a dollar sign attached, and I truly think they’re universal.