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take a peek at my 2022 diary

As 2022 comes to an end I want to reflect and look back to see everything that has happened this year in my business and try to help YOU in the process. Learn from the mistakes and successes I’ve had over the past 12 months. Maybe this will help you feel not so alone in your entrepreneurial journey and allow you to find some comfort in the fact that no one is absolutely perfect all the time.


This is not JUST a list of all the physical things I’ve done or accomplished over the past 12 months, but an inside look at my mental health and how it pertains to my career, and how it affected my life.. I polled all of you on my Instagram page and YOU voted to hear the emotional side of my entrepreneurial journey as well. After a long thought about whether I should include my personal mental health issues in this career log, I decided I wanted to. And here’s why:

  1. I wanted to include these personal emotions and thoughts to help break down the over-glorification our industry has put on hustle culture. We are not slaves to our careers, there is a lot more to life than trying to persuade people that you have the most successful career.

  2. I want to help break down the thought process that you are more than your job, income, and success.

P.S. It’s clear I’m not a writer; ya girl didn’t even finish college so let’s not critique my writing abilities right now – and is it even called “p.s.” if it’s at the beginning of the blog?


Strap in because this is going to be a long read, people!


January 2022:


This was the month that my Instagram TOOK OFF! I was starting to get more consistent with making reels and was growing close to 1,000 followers per month. I was SO not prepared for the chaos that is “IG famous”. To be clear I don’t think I am but that’s how it felt at the time. I was getting so many messages asking for my advice; my phone was going off with likes, comments, and shares.


This kind of validation was insanely addictive- I thought I was the best thing since sliced bread and no one could tell me any different.


I began really emphasizing corrective eye styling on my page because no one was talking about it- and it really seemed to connect with my new followers. This sparked an idea:to create an online mini-course talking all about corrective eye styling. The process began by creating a live online zoom class! I was super pumped and excited to make some extra money from this course and obviously I was excited that people were ACTUALLY interested in what I had to teach them. I put it out into the IG world that this live online course would take place on feb 5th. I had only given myself roughly 30 days to design this course. I thought: “Hey, this will be easy” since I was already teaching this in my in-person training class. But in typical me fashion, I felt I needed to go above and beyond and take this online class thing way much more in-depth than it already was.


I commissioned Lizzy (my web designer) to create graphics for me that were just for this course and were on brand for me. They turned out fucking amazing btw because Lizzy never produces anything short of fantastic.


I was then frantically researching and doing zoom tests for this big group training because I’m just a lash tech- my inner monologue was going haywire:

  • I’ve never been on a zoom call before in my life.

  • I don’t know how to record this thing;

  • I don’t know how to add multiple people to a call;

  • What happens if my call drops?!?

  • I just kept thinking “Why am I so stupid?! I can’t even figure out Zoom.”


During this whole live Zoom class thing, I was also on the hunt for a SALON! I had decided that I wanted to have my own salon with EMPLOYEES. So I was calling all the banks to try to get an SBA loan; I was viewing spaces, and I was talking to my accountant and running numbers. I wanted to have my salon up and running by March! (I’m literally laughing so hard right now writing this).


Lessons Learned:

  • Zoom is not that complicated

  • It costs a shit ton of money to have employees.

Achievements:

  • Learned Zoom. (Its giving Girl scouts patch vibes)


February 2022:


My live eye styling course went amazing, and I had 7 people Live with me! I wrote down that my goal was to have 20 people attend the live course….can someone serve me a plate of realistic expectations? Because old me didn’t know what that was. Making $2,450 in a single day stroked my ego HARD – like boss bitch WHO?!?! I’m the QUEEN of all boss bitches and all you peasants can bow to me. At the same time, I was also thinking “I could have gotten 20 people to attend the Live, ughhh why didn’t I work just a little harder to make $7,000”. There were a lot of opposing internal thoughts I was wrestling with.


On top of that inner dialogue, I was also learning as much as I could about E-commerce from an online course. This was the start of Xalura (my lash brand). I began testing lots of products from different manufacturers to see what I wanted to sell for lash extensions, tweezers, and eye pads! Seriously I have storage bins FULL of all the samples I tried. It probably cost $2k just in testing alone!


To add in another layer to this complicated entrepreneurial cake, I was also talking to “brand designers” to help me create what is now Xalura. Turns out this service is fucking borderline robbery! (We’re talking $10-25,000)!


I hired my very first virtual assistant, Hannah. She also started managing my Instagram which made my life so much easier! It wasn’t cheap ($1,300 a month) but so worth it to not have to stress about what I’m going to post every day. I had never done Instagram in a strategic way; I would just wake up and be like “oh yeah I should post about that today”. Adding Hannah to my team added so much more structure to my life.


Fast forward a little, and I decided I wanted my live zoom course to be available for anyone to buy at any time. This created a whole other project which included researching what online course platform fit my needs best– I decided to go with Teachable.com since it was the cheapest option. My Virtual Assistant and I started building the website and online course which took about a month to perfect.


What I realized during this process is this: Trying to sell lash extensions as a service is completely different from selling online training. And this meant even more research on how to sell the shit outta my online class. Queue research rabbit hole. Next things I know I’m going down sales funnels and evergreen funnels and click funnels… oh dear god the fuckin funnels were endless. Please make it stop!


So, I made a freebie: “How to attract the RIGHT clientele for your lash business”. This is Step One in any funnel, the purpose of which is to collect emails from interested people, then send them lots of emails telling them how much they need my online eye styling course- but in, like, a sales psychology type of way. (This is the world’s shortest description of how funnels work).


I really felt like I was on top of the world! I could do ANYTHING I put my mind to, and I was a money-making machine! I was so productive and crushed all my goals, and I was going out drinking with all my friends because I deserved it. I even bought a car because I deserved it- maybe it was a little spontaneous but hey, I can justify it… right?


It was also in February that I completely stopped all searches for a salon. It was proving not to be worth the return on investment, financially or mentally.


Lessons Learned:

  • DIYing part of my business saves me lots of money.

  • Funnels are extremely complicated and overwhelming, and no one will help you build them unless you have an insanely high email list.

  • Lower your expectations when it comes to sales.

  • Multiple streams of income are WHERE IT’S AT (chaaa chingg babay!!)


Achievements:

  • Made my first freebie.

  • Made $2,450 extra in one month from my online eye styling class.

  • Found my manufacturers for lashes!

  • Is there a prize for doing the most research in one month?!? Because I think I deserve it!


March 2022:

March was a fucking shit show.


I had a Costochondritis flare-up. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but it felt like someone was stabbing me in the heart and I literally couldn’t breathe, walk, or lay down flat without severe pain in my chest. That lasted 3 days and it completely shut me down for an entire week of lashing. The pain never fully went away even to this day; it just got a little bit less…stabby feeling. This threw me into a major depressive episode.


It was then that I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, major depression, and major anxiety. Yay-fuckin-me! Well, at least the god-complex, impulse buying, and new outgoing personality made sense now.


Well, back to business. I ordered all my initial inventory for Xalura (about $10k) and commissioned Lizzy to build out my Shopify website ($2,500 – this was cheap because I was her first e-commerce website).


I then began working on creating another freebie called “8 day challenge” in hopes of increasing sales and making my funnel better for my online course. Sales were not doing as great as I hoped so I was trying everything that I knew - which, admittedly, was not much.


I also had this grand idea in my head to create a part 2 to my online eye styling course- “Trending Styles”. I started taking a ton of models to prepare for this course and get lots of pictures for marketing, but I actually HATED how all my model sets turned out. Enter inner monologue:

  • UGHHH why does my work look so terrible;

  • how do I even have clients right now???

  • Like, these lashes look like absolute shit!

The depression told me I wasn’t good enough to charge for that sort of training because I wasn’t qualified, and anxiety confirmed it for me when I compared myself to other trainers and artists on Instagram. I crumpled up “Trending Styles” and threw it right in the trash where it belonged.

Then I started reading the book “Profits First”. I learned so much about how to manage/build my money as a small business owner; HIGHLY recommend this book to any small business owner.


Oh look, something new: made an extremely spontaneous decision to move out of the salon I had been renting from for 5 years and start lashing from home. I was only lashing 3 days a week due to my chest pain, depression, and all the other projects I was working on, so paying $900 a month in rent was getting to be too expensive. I was overwhelmed with guilt about whether that was the right decision or not.


All the girls at the salon hated me and were so buddy-buddy with each other and then there’s just me, who never gets invited to anything and not to mention the owner got everyone a Christmas gift at the annual salon party, besides me- yeah, leaving was a good idea! Nobody even really liked me, and I cried in my car every day before I got to work just from the anxiety of stepping into the salon.


Lessons learned:

  • Lower your expectations

  • Business profits are different from your salary as a CEO

Achievements:

  • Ordered my first batch of lashes for Xalura

  • Organized my business finances


April 2022:


I started working with my business coach, Helena again. I was getting way too stressed trying to figure things out on my own for Xalura. There were just so many things that I didn’t know how to do, and I needed help.


Launched the “8-day challenge” and started advertising for it on FB. It was really successful, and I had about 5 downloads per day! But I still hadn’t seen an increase in sales… so that was super disappointing. Something was obviously broken in my funnel. Geez, That’s a problem for another day.


I set up a photoshoot for Xalura which was the most fun project ever! There were 3 models for the photoshoot. I lashed 2 models the day prior and then the 3rd, I lashed the day of the shoot- we did hair and makeup, then had a 3-hour photoshoot! It was so freaking fun and the pictures turned out amazing! It finally felt like this was all coming together and was REAL.


Then I hired a lawyer to get Xalura trademarked for me. This was a really big expense (Around $2k). And in the process I maxed out a credit card so I could further fund my Xalura brand ($5k). Neat.


Time to rethink some things. I ditched my Instagram manager because I was spending a lot of money on Xalura and private coaching. Which of course meant I had to take over posting again. Great; more stress added to my plate. At least now I knew how to strategically post, so it was easier than before, but still took up at least 3 hours every month to batch and then about 30 min a day to interact on the app after I posted. Ughhh can we just all admit that Instagram is a soul-sucking bitch!


Found a therapist- Thank God for Kathryn! I think she’s the only person in the world that has seen me cry so much.


Back to the funnel: I had to write a 6 series email flow for my funnel and create a whole sales landing page for my online course. (you can find my landing page here - Eye Styling Course (mykajabi.com) ) I know - slightly techy but I promise I’ll explain. Email flows are basically a series of emails you get when you download your 8-day challenge, and they are supposed to encourage you to buy my online eye styling course. Ughhhhh did I mention I fucking hate funnels!!!!


I found an amazing template to use, so if you’re in the market for email templates then here is the link I used Reveal Studio Co. Resource Shop (shoprevealstudioco.com). She also has templates to write ads and get great reviews from past students and templates to write an amazing sales landing page- another thing I highly recommend!


Lessons Learned:

  • Lawyers are so goddamn expensive

  • Starting a lash brand is way more expensive than I thought

  • I love working from home- no going back now

Achievements:

  • Started the trademark process

  • Xalura’s first photo shoot

  • Wrote and designed an entire sales page and email flows


May 2022:


During May I was getting frustrated that my online course wasn’t selling as well as I anticipated ( I sold 6 that month which in retrospect was a pretty solid month). So, I started doing ads to boost sales and asking around for ways I could boost sales. Everyone told me to switch to Kajabi because they have better analytics so I could see where my problem was coming from. Then began this whole process of switching EVERYTHING over from Teachable to Kajabi- thank God I had my assistant Hannah helping me!


Tweezers came in for Xalura- I was hand-testing 300 tweezers! Talk about tedious work.


I started to plan out my Launch strategy for Xalura. I hadn’t yet announced that I was starting a lash brand for two reasons: I wanted everything to be very strategic and I also wanted to leverage all the hype I could get. This consisted of planning TWO IG feeds for the 3 months prior to my Launch date and my bi-weekly emails for 2 months in advance. This was absolutely insane to do by myself! It equaled about 120 posts between the 2 channels- so that’s filming, editing, photographing, and then captioning 120 different posts per week!


Then came the onslaught of panic. The pictures from the Xalura photoshoot weren’t back yet from the photographer, and I realized I didn’t get ANY product photos taken. SHITTTT! How did I let this slip past me??


So here I am, 2 months away from launch and I didn’t even have product photos! I needed these taken and edited so that I could plan my launch sequence on social media and get them up on my website. The stress was piling on like shit at a zoo and I couldn’t stop the approaching deadline. My perfectionist mentality was eating me alive. How could I launch my lash brand at a mediocre level?!?! IT HAD TO BE PERFECT! There’s no way I would let anyone see me produce a subpar product or launch a below-average line. I would crumble; literally die and become irrelevant and cease to be acknowledged in the lash industry. FUCKKKKKKK!!! Why didn’t I just get the goddamn product photos taken on the same day as the model shoot?! (Can you picture my nearly-manic meltdown?)


The burnout was getting real, and the stress was too much to handle. I was going insane and this bitch in my head wasn’t making it any easier.


Lessons Learned:

  • Plan more efficiently. Plan more efficiently. PLAN MORE EFFICIENTLY!

  • Stick to one big project at a time. Don’t try to half-ass 2 things – whole-ass one thing. Might have been a good idea to be on my meds…oops.

Achievements:

  • Switched everything over to kajabi

  • Hand-tested all my tweezers

  • All my products were organized and ready for launch


June 2022:


June was my launch announcement month. I was about to tell the whole world that I had created this awesome lash line.I was attempting to convince them to buy my product meanwhile trying my hardest to claw my way out of a major depressive episode so I could have the energy and false confidence of a hypomanic episode. I had the worst imposter syndrome and the burnout was threatening my sanity.


I couldn’t tell you what I did for work in the month of June because my calendar is literally empty.


I was having panic attacks regularly because I couldn’t keep my head straight. I had this constant sinking feeling like something just wasn’t right; I didn’t feel right; I didn’t feel like me.

I got so frustrated one night because I couldn’t concentrate for more than 30 minutes on a task.. I cried to my husband about it and his reply scared the shit outta me- he said I had been working for 3 hours…. I thought I was only in my office for 30 minutes, how was that even possible?!?


The next day came and I opened my laptop to find my old trending styles course opened up. I hadn’t worked on that in forever, and I thought I ditched that idea. But the course was done- like someone had completed it for me… what the actual fuck is happening right now? Did someone break into my laptop and finish the course?


Turns out there’s this really scary phenomenon that happens when your body has been in stress mode for way too long, and it’s called depersonalization. It can cause memory loss, time distortion, and a feeling like you’re living in a dream, or a video game and life isn’t actually happening to you.


I experienced this for about 2.5 months until it started to go away. It was one of the scariest things to go through. I felt like I wasn’t in charge of my body or mind- like I was watching someone else control all of my movements and thoughts. Like I had been murdered and was a ghost watching as someone took over my body- someone I didn’t recognize, someone I really didn’t like.


While Lizzie was working to finish my Shopify website (which is insanely beautiful and linked here if you haven’t seen it yet —> Xalura Lash - Professional Eyelash Extension Supplies), I was still stressed about the product photos. So I called my photographer bestie and we took the product photos in her kitchen with no professional lighting, just a window and a white piece of paper as the backdrop. I was not convinced they would look good, but you seriously can’t even tell the difference.


Lessons learned:

  • Stay in therapy

  • Track the hours you work so you don’t go insane

  • Photography is all smoke and mirrors

Achievements:

  • The website is complete

  • Product photos are done


July 2022:


This is the month I launched Xalura on the 28th, happy birthday me.

I was exhausted, defeated, and completely consumed by depression and anxiety. I didn’t care anymore about what my website looked like, how much I sold, or what people thought. I didn’t have the energy to care. I was at the point where I wanted to quit everything and just be done with it ALL. I was looking at jobs online and getting ready to quit. I didn’t even want to lash anymore.


My mom came and helped me pack all my orders on launch day, July 28th and I was so thankful. I had been throwing up the day before because my anxiety was so high and I was so overwhelmed. The launch didn’t go as great as I planned. I had hoped to sell $9k but clearly, I haven’t learned how to lower my expectations this year. So when I sold about $3k of inventory, the disappointment was pretty consuming. Now don’t get me wrong; I do want to emphasize how very grateful I am to everyone that bought from Xalura. I’m not trying to come across as ungrateful, I’m simply trying to convey my toxic relationship with perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of myself.


During July I also added Klaviyo email and text marketing to my website. To this day email/sms marketing is still an ongoing project (I’m rolling my eyes SO HARD right now). These are the little emails you get after you buy something or abandon your cart. There are about 9 total emails and you literally have to code this into your website. It’s not like creating a cute graphic on Canva, you literally must code the back end of your website. So, there I was learning how to fucking code.


I found my first Brand Ambassador for Xalura and drove 2 hours down to Oregon to hand her the brand box and film some content. We had such an amazing time and I absolutely love her!

Celebrated my 26th birthday by floating the river with friends and family after Xalura’s launch and. I finally felt like I could let go and relax a bit. The stress was starting to come down after all the anticipation of the launch. There were finally no deadlines or anything I had to do.


Lessons learned:

  • Lower your expectations- I think I see a theme forming

  • Launching a brand is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I would not have done it if I knew it was this hard. FOR REAL! Keep me in my comfort circle- it’s warm and they have cookies.

Achievements:

  • Launched Xalura

  • Turned 26


August 2022:


This month I was figuring out my flow with packing orders and running 2 social media accounts.

I was really, and still am, struggling with my Xalura Instagram account. It is really difficult to talk to an audience that knows me and I can cuss and say personal things and then switch to a super professional account where I’m selling products. It’s all very foreign to me. But if there’s one quality I’ve learned this year, it’s how to adapt. I may not be great at it yet, but I will adapt and learn how to switch on (and off) the professionalism.


Sales for my online course were dwindling, so naturally, I freaked out and tried to do everything to get them back up.At this point I was finding it hard to juggle so many different streams of income (lash services, in-person training, online training, Xalura). I’m only one person and there’s only so much I can do. My head was constantly split into 5 different places all the time. Talk about compartmentalizing.


I had so many meetings with my accountant and lawyer to make sure my business was legally waterproof, and my taxes were on the right track. Ugh so boring but, I’ll admit, completely necessary!


I bought another online course that helped me to optimize my Shopify website and grow Xalura. I’m still working on it to this day and LOVE IT. AND I took a necessary break from everything and tried to find balance in my life again.


Lessons learned:

  • I have no work-life balance and I need to do some self-discovery on what’s important to me, and what my priorities are in life.

  • Slow the fuck down girl!


Achievements:

  • Relaxed


September 2022:


I got 5 more brand ambassadors for Xalura! Essentially brand ambassadors are lash artists that have a great influence over other lash artists and can create killer content. They promote Xalura in exchange for monetary discounts on my product.


I added single-length trays to my website. This was only possible because of my amazing parents. I got a fat loan through them so I could purchase more inventory.

I updated some packaging for my Hydrogel Eye Pads. If I wasn’t obsessed with them before, I definitely am now!


Lashcon was finally just around the corner, so I started booking flights and hotels. The 2 people that were supposed to go with me completely bailed so it was just me going. Luckily, I was able to snag a room with my favorite person, Helena (who is also my business coach- I’ll leave her IG @helenameansbusiness ).


I got a DBA for Xalura. This is a fancy word that stands for “Doing Business As”. It basically means that I don't have to open up another LLC; I can have a second business that's directly under Pacific Beauty Cove LLC and I don't have to file 2 different tax returns or have my accountant monitor two different businesses. Yay me! I get to save a shitton of money $$$.

So that online course I bought back in August was really turning out to be a lifesaver. This month, I continued to optimize my Shopify website using some of the things I was learning in that online course. Basically, I was analyzing competitors and learning sales psychology, which is actually really cool when you learn how to do it well. I certainly wish I would have taken some college courses on marketing.


This next part is fun: I participated in a lash competition from The Lash Ritual, Lash Luva, and Lash Reality called “The Wonka Challenge”. It took me a good 20 days to conceptualize the look, but I finally decided on bubbles! For the Wonka Challenge, competitors had to choose a scene from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie to base their look on. I chose the scene in the movie where Charlie and his grandpa drink that stuff that makes them float to the ceiling and they must burp to get down. Honestly, kinda gross. I must have used 10 different colors of lashes for this set, but they turned out wonderful and the makeup I had my bestie, Mars do. We took the photos in my living room while sipping on some cocktails, giggling, and blowing bubbles. It was a blast but in the back of my head, I felt like I was not going to win.


Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t plan Lashcon out a year in advance. It’s better to just go with the flow on this one.

  • Marketing is a tricky bitch

  • Bubbles are hard to photograph

Achievements:

  • DBA for Xalura

  • Single-length trays for Xalura


October 2022:


I attended my very first lash bash in Oregon. It was a Halloween-themed lash party, so I went as a pirate wench with Cynthias; she does my lashes. I met so many amazing people there and it got me really excited for the upcoming Lashcon event in California.


This month was also super busy with multiple things (per usual). I spent the month getting holiday promos set up for Xalura AND my online eye styling course. The main hurdle I had to figure out was what kind of sales and discounts to give out. This was my first year doing Black Friday so I had to do a lot of research on…you guessed it: sales psychology and marketing. (I’ve lost track of the total number of hours I’ve spent researching for my trade.) Then I had to plan out a Black Friday Sales sequence on both of my Instagram accounts to promote. While I spent much of October doing research, I still felt like I could have prepared better for the upcoming Black Friday sale. Note to self for next year, I suppose.


I commissioned out my Klaviyo email flows because the coding was getting way too much for me. I had already spent about 40 hours on this project, and I was kind of irritated I couldn’t do it on my own. Needless to say, I was so glad to be getting one more thing taken off my plate. I ended up paying about $200 to have someone else do this for me only to have them ghost me!!! Don’t worry, I got my money back because I went through UpWork.


I also found out that I won the Willy Wonka challenge! Honestly, I was so surprised because there were so many amazing entries. There were so many great prizes for winning, but my favorite is that I get to go down to Texas next year to lash with my idols like Dana and Mo (owners of Lash Ritual and creator of LashBash) for the next lash competition. This opportunity is seriously a dream.