Have you ever dreamed about going solo with your esthetics practice? Sounds like the perfect gig, right? Being your own boss, developing your own brand, creating your own schedule . . . But before you take that first big plunge into the solo practicing world, you should be aware of and prepared for some serious challenges that will put your boss babe skills to the test. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, we chat with Crystal Ochemba-Powell, who has been there and done it all (directly out of esthetics school, no less!). Learn about some of the obstacles she faced, how she overcame them, and take note of some expert tips to help you best prepare to take on your dream career as a solo esthetician!
About Crystal Ochemba-Powell:
Crystal is an experienced licensed esthetician, makeup artist, business coach, and licensed continuing education provider with a combined 10 years of experience in both business marketing and the beauty industry. In addition to her esthetics license, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in advertising and marketing.
During her career, Crystal has used her knowledge and experience to successfully build her own beauty business as well as the beauty businesses of other creative entrepreneurs, including barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, and more.
When she is not servicing her own clients, Crystal enjoys training and coaching other beauty professionals on how to use proven marketing techniques to increase customer acquisition and conversions. She feels that her biggest asset is her ability to intersect her passion for both marketing and beauty with her signature training courses.
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01:05 Emily Morgan: Hello everyone, and welcome to ASCP Esty talk. I'm your host today, Emily Morgan, I'm a licensed esthetician in the states of both Massachusetts and Colorado, and I'm also the Membership Program Manager here at Associated Skin Care Professionals. We share all kinds of great information on this podcast, from insider expert tips to resources on all the topics you can't get enough of, from ingredient deep dives to business tactics, and sometimes we're just here for some Esty real talk from one esthetician to another.
01:40 EM: Today, we are joined by Crystal Ochemba Powell, she is a experienced license esthetician, makeup artist, business coach and license continuing education provider with a combined 10 years of experience in both business marketing and the beauty industry. In addition to her esthetics license, she holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in advertising and marketing. During her career, she used her knowledge and experience to successfully build her own beauty business, as well as the beauty businesses of other creative entrepreneurs, including barbers, cosmologists, estheticians, all sorts of folks.
02:18 EM: When she is not servicing her own clients, she really enjoys training and coaching other beauty professionals on how to use proven marketing techniques to increase customer acquisition and conversions, she feels out her biggest asset is her ability to intersect her passion for both marketing and beauty with her signature training courses. So with all of that being said, please welcome Crystal to the podcast. Hello, Crystal.
02:45 Crystal Ochemba Powell: Hello.
02:47 EM: How are you doing today?
02:48 CP: I'm good, I'm good. Thank you so much for having me.
02:51 EM: Well, of course, we are so excited to have you on here, so Crystal, how we really first connected, we are planning to do some webinars for ASCP members, which are coming soon, and we can't wait to chat about that a little bit towards the end of this podcast. But you started to talk about something really interesting, how you got into coaching, and in learning more about you, I just thought, what an interesting journey you have been on. We have to share this with the world. So first, before we get into everything, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background, because you originally came from the marketing field, is that correct?
03:29 CP: Yes. So marketing was actually my first love, so I worked for a lot of well-known brands in their marketing departments and a lot of brand ambassador sort of positions, and then I accidentally fell into the beauty industry because I needed a part-time job.
03:46 EM: Gotcha. So, how did... Is that how you made that career change into esthetics?
03:52 CP: So crazy thing, working full-time in the marketing world, and then part-time as a part-time makeup artist, I worked for a few agencies, just a few one-off wedding gigs, things of that sort and as I was helping a lot of my makeup clients, they noticed that my skin was clear or if they knew me from a long time ago, they knew that I suffered from adult acne, and I became completely obsessed with learning about skin care products and how to clear my skin. So they started asking me how I can assist them in bettering their skin, which gave me... I guess the... The fire to go and research some more, so I was giving skin care advice here and there, and then I decided, You know what? I can actually make this a career. And when I did that research and realized, Hey, if you go and you get your esthetics licence, you could practice skin care, makeup, tons of other modalities, so I went back to school very reluctant because as a second career professional, I'd been there done that. I already had my degrees, I promised myself I would never go back to school again.
05:12 CP: I was just over it. So reluctantly, I decided to go back to school because I realized that having my license, I can actually... Or my license could actually take me so many other places and just makeup, so that really just spurred my excitement to go ahead and go back to school for my license.
05:33 EM: I love it. So now, when you did decide to go back to school, did you just... 'Cause you had been in the marketing field for 10 plus years, right? I mean, did you just drop your full-time job and go straight into full-time esthetics or... 'cause that's a leap.
05:51 CP: No, it was... The thing is, is that I started small and I started slow, so I went back to school while working, and it was crazy, and one of my mentors said when you go back to school, you're going to... In the middle of it, you're going to stress out and you're going to say, "I can't do this." Ignore that, and keep going. Take a breath and keep going, and that was one of the things that she said to me, so I was like, "Oh no, I'll be fine. I'm used to work into the jobs." But two jobs and going back to school was a different thing, and I got in to the middle of esthetics school, and it was the stress out because now you're balancing life in school and work and everything together, and I remembered what she said, You know what, this is going to happen. Acknowledge it and keep moving. So I just kept moving. So it wasn't easy now, especially as a second career professional, you still have your first career going on while you're trying to transition, so, was it challenging? Yes. But was it possible? Yes.
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07:31 EM: Even though as crazy as it is to be balancing school and work and your life, there is some kind of stability that comes with knowing I've still got this going on in the background while I'm going to school, you're not just... I mean, that's what I did, I was in the insurance field for several years, I've actually gone to school for criminal justice, if you can believe it, and I just decided that this was not the field for me, it just didn't feel right. And I left cold turkey, I quit my full-time job completely and went full-time into esthetics, which I could totally dive into completely and immerse myself, but there's something...
08:15 EM: There is a sense of stability knowing that you still got your full-time job or maybe you drop down a part-time, but there is some ability there and almost kind of like a safe place. But in some of our conversations, what I thought was crazy was what you did after school, so tell us a little bit about after you graduated and what your journey was like there.
08:38 CP: Yeah, so I knew that the entrepreneurship route was the way I wanted to go, especially because while working full-time, I was running my own little business anyway with a freelance makeup. So I didn't want to necessarily quit my corporate job just to go back to work for someone else in the esthetics world, so I knew that I had to start my business, so, yeah. I went solo and my instructor in my esthetics school, she pushed us to do... To go solo right after school, if we were set up for that, so I have one other classmate of mine, she also worked full-time, and we both actually went solo right after school. It's not for everyone, and that's okay. Some people would like to work under someone for a little while and then break off on their own, but I just knew it personally for my own journey that starting my own business immediately after school would be what I wanted to do, so the key for myself was that I actually started while in school, I actually started part-time working under someone as an apprentice, and so in the State of Georgia is...
09:57 CP: I'm sure it's different than anywhere else, but in the state of Georgia, you can be in school and work under someone under apprenticeship ship, and then you kind of gain your experience from there. Of course, there's some things you can and can't do, but at least being able to shadow and just being in that space and learning the environment was definitely instrumental to me in being able to break off on my own after college or after esthetics school. One of the things that I did, instead of... A lot of times when we think about starting our own businesses, we're like, "I'm going to offer facials and waxing and this and that and this." Instead of just focusing on maybe one or two focus areas first, and you find your niche and then that's what you focus on. And then of course, later you can grow into other things, but I knew that in order for me to start now and start fast, I had to choose maybe one or two and just jump out there and go, so I decided to focus on brows, and I also decided to focus on facial, specifically acne skin care.
11:02 EM: So that's really... I feel like that is phenomenal advice, if you are gonna start your own business, if you're gonna go solo, whether that is right out of school, if that's right for you and you're set up for that, or you work for a little bit and then... This is your goal to go solo, I feel like that's such great advice, is to find your niche, find a couple of things that you really know you excel in, really build those up and then maybe branch out after that. I think that's great advice. One of the things that I would think is probably the most challenging thing about going solo, particularly for somebody that's right outside of school, is what products do you get into? How do you set up your menu? I feel like there are so many challenges that really come with going solo for the first time by yourself. What were some of the other challenges that you faced and how did you overcome those?
12:00 CP: Yeah, so one of my main challenges was what they call imposter syndrome, and that's our AKA self-doubt, so it's, "Can I do this? Are my dreams even valid?" And once you get over that and you get your mindset together, you can pretty much overcome anything else, so one of the things I would say one of my other major challenges was building my menu and what kind of skin care products. So it's all about preparation, and yeah, I started right after school, but if you think about it, esthetics school depends on where you are, it's about a year and a half to two years, so you literally have all that time to get everything together. So I joined a lot of esthetics groups on Facebook and did tons of research asking around, if you want to try skin care line, you go out and you buy the cleaner, the toner, the moisturizer, and you try it out on yourself first and you really delve deep into those ingredients. So a lot of... I would say a lot of my success came from what I did outside of school, so yeah, you go to school, you listen to lecture, you take your test, you do your practical, things of that sort, but what are you doing outside? What other...
13:09 CP: I took a lot of courses outside of school while in school, I played no games, and I knew that that was my focus, so everything that I did even outside of school, even my leisure reading had a lot to do with either business or specifically esthetics.
13:27 EM: Yeah, so you just totally immersed yourself and you were living breathing, doing all things esthetics, I love that.
13:36 CP: Just ask my family members.
13:37 EM: Well, I'm sure if they were getting some free facials or brow waxing or things on the side, they can't complain too much.
13:45 CP: Yeah, you're right.
13:45 EM: And now, how did you deal with increasing your clientele because clearly, you can have the perfect menu, the perfect services and skin care line and everything, but when you're starting brand new out of school, typically you don't have too high of a clientele. I know that you had... Kinda had your make-up clients and you had sort of built this a little bit while you were in school, but did that change or was that challenging once you were in your own space for the first time?
14:19 CP: So, Gaining clients, I wouldn't necessarily call it challenging, but it's always... It's a constant thing, it's something that you always focus on, especially as a business owner, but building my clientele, when I first... Starting out, one of the things that I did was that... And one of the things that I teach in a lot of my classes is start your email list now, while you're in school. There's a way that you can build your email list and collect emails from your current clients, from everyone that you know, from people that you meet, you collect those emails, even on social media, build up your social media following, so then that way when you do go out on your own, the first thing that you do is say, "Hey, this is where I am, come follow me, come check me out. Here's my open house. Here's the specials that I'm running." So one of the things that I did was I started building my email list for sure, even while working under other brands in apprenticing, and things of that sort. People knew me personally. Follow me on Instagram. You don't necessarily have to solicit business from people when they're following you, if they're already following you and you're building that presence when it's time for you to open up, they'll get the memo, they'll get it, and if they want to follow you to where you are then they'll do that as well.
15:37 CP: So I think one of the instrumental things that I did was just making sure that everyone knew what I did and everyone was following me or keeping in touch with me some kind of way, whether that was via email list or social media.
15:51 EM: And it's so interesting because I feel like there are so many beauty professionals in general that are so hyper-focused on their social media, they're so focused on getting those followers getting likes and engagement in comments, and we dive much deeper into this... You rather dive much deeper into this. In a webinar or a workshop that you're doing, that is coming out for ASCP members very shortly, about how to go from followers to clients, you take that deep dive and you've got some great advice and some great key points to take away in that webinar, so, for all you listening, that is coming soon, so you should definitely check it out. Crystal, do you have any other advice for either esthetics students or newly licensed estheticians or even estheticians that are looking to go solo for the first time, do you have any other lasting tidbits or advice for them?
16:48 CP: Yeah, for sure. The first thing to have, regardless if you're going solo or going to work for someone, is to have a plan, and the best plan to have as a business plan, and it's very daunting is drawn out, sometimes it's boring to write, but when I tell you that I still have my business plan in my Google Docs, and it's a living and breathing document, and it helps you to really focus on what your goals are, and it really helps you to put in place the things that need to happen before you can even go solo. I would say have a plan. And also, one of the things that I did also was I had what I call a Jump number, and that was... Or your Leap number, and so you need the start-up cost in your savings before you can even go and jump out to be solo or to start your business. So I had that number in my head, and then once that number hit in my savings, I knew, Okay, now it's time to jump, this time to go, so have your jump number is what I like to call it.
17:54 EM: I Like that, I like the jump numbers, and that just makes me think how important the financial part of this really comes into play, one of actually ASCPs benefits of membership. We have these career tool kits, and as part of these career tool kits, whether you're an employee or whether you're a business owner or you're looking to be your own boss, just working solo your own little practice, we have these really cool interactive calculators that will help you plan out your finances. So, whether you're an employee and you're like, Okay, I need to make X amount to hit my goals, we have a calculate that will help you do that. If you are looking to go solo for the first time, we've got start-up calculators to help you get a mind for where you need to go and how to prepare for that. But I love that, I love the term jump number, that's cute. Well, this was so fun getting to chat with you just a little bit, Crystal, this was amazing. So thank you so much for sharing your expertise with all of us. Before we start to kind of close out this episode, I want to see or prompt you to talk about some of the exciting projects or events coming up that we can hear from you, so I know that you have two interesting fun videos coming up that you have done for ASCP members.
19:18 CP: Yes, so one of the videos that I did was called Now What? Life after Beauty School. And it talks about my journey that I had, and a little bit of what I shared with you guys today, about how to go solo and how to prepare yourself to go solo, so I talk a lot about that, and it's kind of a quick little, How to prepare yourself, and then the other one is what we talked about before, is the From Followers to Clients, it's basically a guide to getting your followers off of social media and specifically into your chair or esthetics bed, whatever you wanna call it. I really, really focus on that particular webinar, talking about, it's great to build your social media following, but even though you have 10000 followers, you don't have 10000 clients, and if you do, kudos to you, however, a lot of us don't, a lot of us have tons of followers, but we don't have the clients to match, and it's about quality and not about quantity, so I share strategies on how to strategically get those followers to literally follow you offline and get into your chair, so I walk you through the steps to doing that, it's about six steps.
20:31 EM: And it comes with resources, so there are these downloadable workbooks that you get to keep, which are beautiful and so helpful, and all of the information in these videos is just so valuable, so those are coming very, very soon so keep an eye out. Once they are out, we'll probably update the show notes here of this episode to link so that anyone here who wants to tune in and learn more from our dear Crystal can absolutely do that. And now, Crystal, can you tell us where our listeners can find you learn more about all the amazing things you are doing.
21:11 CP: Most definitely. So my website is crystalngozibeauty.com/coaching. So I actually have other tons of webinars, downloads, templates, workshops, listed all on there as well, on social media, you can follow me at crystalngozicoaching, and that's for Facebook and Instagram.
21:32 EM: Wonderful. Well, so definitely check out Crystal. She's amazing, she posts great stuff and has such a wealth of information. Thank you so much for joining me, Crystal today.
21:44 CP: Thank you.
21:46 EM: And thank you to everyone listening in, I hope you all have a great day and we will talk to you next time.
21:53 S1: Thanks for joining us today if you like what you hear and you want more subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all inclusive Association for estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights and an opportunity to spotlight your six skills join at ascpskincare.com only 259 per year for all this goodness ASCP knows it's all about you.