What does it mean to be a CEO?
We sat down with SalonScale Founder and CEO, Alicia Soulier to discuss what it means to be a CEO. Sometimes we see the pressures of becoming a business owner, but you’re not in this alone.
What is an entrepreneur?
I’ve always had a lot of pride in being a female entrepreneur, even though at first I didn’t consider myself one. I wrongly believed an entrepreneur had to pioneer something. This is when my imposter syndrome kicked in. The true understanding of entrepreneurship didn’t fully click until I felt the impact and the start of big conversations that SalonScale brought into my life. And that’s when I finally saw myself as the entrepreneur I am.
An entrepreneur is an individual who takes the risk to start their own business. They are seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services and business. You, whether you’re a salon owner, a booth renter or suite owner, are an entrepreneur. Take pride in being an entrepreneur!
How did you become a CEO?
I never meant to become a CEO of a tech company. The tech world was a different place than the salon industry. It was one of those surprising life events, which at the moment seemed so out of the blue, but as time passed, I realized that it was exactly where I was supposed to be.
This doesn’t mean my journey to becoming CEO had zero bumps in the road. I found myself doubting myself more often, and comparing myself to others. Even to the point of losing faith in my visions.
What lessons did you learn along the way to becoming a CEO?
One of the biggest lessons I learned was around emotions. There were many times at the beginning of my CEO journey, when I would take failing extremely personally or a “NO” at a pitch I made would be about my abilities. Rather than the fact the company just wasn’t where it needed to be yet. I had to learn fast that moments like these were never personal. You must keep your head high and use it as a point to push back on.
I know from first hand experience that as an entrepreneur you’re always going to be on the entrepreneur rollercoaster, and you are going to fail. Get used to failing. I have failed lots of times. Failing is how you learn. Learn from it, erase it and move on.
Failing is the ideal chance to learn because by applying your new learning you can continue to develop and push your limitations. Although it’s good to fail, it’s also important to have a team that helps you fail less. But, if you do fail, make sure you have a team to catch you, the same way you catch them.
How do you balance your emotions and analytical side?
For years, I was a chief emotional officer. From when I owned my own salon to even the first couple years with SalonScale. I ran my business off emotions because I knew I could make revenue off emotions. I wanted to help hairstylists and I knew I could make a difference. So I lived in this place where I was emotional which made me act impulsively. I would make decisions very quickly and move to a solution way too fast.
Sometimes we chase revenue. The top line earnings and income. Hairstylists are the best revenue generators that this planet has ever seen. Salon owners and independent stylists know how to upsell but what about the bottom line. The income will only come when you truly understand the holistic approach of your business. Digging into your numbers and understanding your salons financial model will be the only way to increase your bottom line.
I needed to balance my emotions and take a moment to analyze and breathe in the problem. My biggest takeaway is that you don’t need to come up with everything yourself. I surround myself with a supportive team to break the problem down into small pieces in order to find a solution together. Having a supportive, collaborative group is how you’ll get long term success.