Like so many others, Renee Amaral-Katz found herself in a career that she didn’t love. “I didn’t like desk work. I wanted to work with my hands.” She followed her passion for skincare, and today is a licensed esthetician running her own business, Renee Amaral-Katz Professional Skincare. “I had always enjoyed skincare, so it was a natural transition for me.” Here’s her story:
How did you get into the business?
“I started a desk job after college and found out that it was something that would not support me, and it was something that I had no interest in. Skincare was something that I had always enjoyed, so I decided I would pursue something I had a passion for. I left my boring job, and I started working at an esthetician’s office. I also put myself on a wait list for esthetician school, and within twelve months of the idea I had my esthetician’s license.”
Did you start out working for an esthetician to learn the fundamentals of business?
“Yes, I started out as the receptionist. I was learning the skills of the trade at school, and at work I was learning the front-end of the business. You need to know everything about the industry before you start. This means the skills, the products, and managing the front and back-end of the business.”
Did you break out on your own afterwards?
“I started out with my friend. She left the esthetician’s office to go out on her own. After a few months, she asked me to take her clientele for her while she was pregnant. She was my mentor. If you see an opportunity, and you have at least one person that believes in you, and that can even be yourself, you have everything you need to start your own business. Just start. It’s a leap of faith.”
What was it like to begin?
“I asked everyone with a business, even an accountant that I did work for. Everyone helped me — most people want to help. There were lots of resources on Google. Small business websites were helpful. They list steps and have forms that you need to start your business.”
Did you rent out a location, or did you both just work at clients’ homes?
“We rented out a small office. I asked my husband for some of his savings. I also used some credit cards to start up.”
What is the most difficult thing about running a business?
“Taxes. I am still learning. Tax accountants are expensive. Unless you study hard, it costs to have taxes prepared for you. I would definitely recommend for someone to take a Quick Books course.”
How do you advertise?
“Word of mouth is the best. The website is just a resource. It is minimal, but functional. I do not use Yelp. I hate Yelp. You have to consider your workload, too. Adding more clients could be bad.”
What are the advantages to owning your own business?
“The most rewarding thing about having your own business is freedom. There are two types in this industry, independent contractors and employees. If you want the freedom, you pay the rent and work as an independent contractor. Employees either have a set schedule, or are on-call, which is stressful.”
How have you learned from your business mistakes?
“I’ve learned to not hold on to clients that aren’t worth your time. Some clients can be difficult, schedule-wise. I also learned to call clients back in a timely manner.”
Do you have any advice for prospective business owners?
“Have faith in yourself. I would have done it sooner if I could have. Do not be afraid to fail.”
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