#WCW Paula Quigley: From Employee to Employer
Hello Boss Ladies,
Welcome to our #WomenCrushWednesday #BossLadies series where we introduce and share inspirational figures within our local community. Throughout this series, our goal is to draw valuable insights for you ladies that may provide help and direction in your daily life and entrepreneurial journey. We love learning the stories about people around us, and we hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed preparing it for you!
If you have been following our Instagram page over the past couple of weeks, you might have already guessed who our first Boss Lady for the #WCW series is. Well, without further ado, we are pleased to introduce the lovely Paula Quigley, Founder & Owner of MeBeauty Vancouver. Read on to learn more about Paula and her journey in the beauty industry as a successful Esthetician 😍
Q1: Can you tell us a bit about your background and what got you to where you are today?
Paula: My background has always been in the beauty industry. I studied beauty therapy in 2003 back home in Ireland, and worked in the industry since then within different beauty salons located in both Ireland and Canada. Working long hours in a spa eventually took its toll on me and I had to quit due to carpal tunnel.
I was devastated at the thought of not being able to do what I love. I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to go back to working with clients. Yet, soon after, I fell pregnant - which looking at it now the timing worked out quite well. During my maternity leave, I saw a post one day about lash lifting. I was so intrigued with the service that I wanted to learn how to do it.
I wanted to experience how it’s like first and so scheduled an appointment to have the procedure done on myself. I loved the results so much that I decided to take a course. At first, I just started off by practicing on some of my friends out of my bedroom. Following that, I took a part-time job at a salon. However, I really wasn't happy there. I didn’t like how they conducted business. I guess it was because I was comparing them to the high end spa where I worked and was an Assistant Manager for years before I got carpal tunnel.
I learnt a lot at that spa, for example, the standard of customer service that everyone should receive, importance and process of maintaining the highest level of sanitation, and the skills needed to provide the best service possible. It was hard to find somewhere to work that shared the same level of standards that I was accustomed to. That was when I decided to make a go of working for myself.
For the first couple of years, I provided keratin infused lash lifting sessions alone. Today, I train and educate people on how to lift lashes, as well as distribute high quality lash lifting products to other salons. Now that I don't have issues with carpal tunnel any longer, I’m back doing oxygen lift facials along with some other services which include brow lamination and dermaplaning, with more services to come so stay tuned! 😉
Q2: Where does your interest in entrepreneurship stem from?
Paula: There were a number of reasons that interested me to become an entrepreneur. I guess I like to have control - I get to call the shots and run my business how I want. I'm also very fussy about what products I use on clients. I will only use the highest quality that I can find. I search for products with the least amount of chemicals but yet yield excellent results. I wouldn’t use anything on a client that I wouldn’t use on myself.
Another interest for me is the flexibility and freedom that comes with being my own boss. That's not to say I work any less. In fact, I actually work way more hours than if I was employed by someone. However, I get to work my schedule around my kids and that is very important to me!
Q3: What motivates you to keep going on a daily basis? What habits have you built that helps keep you on track?
Paula: Being continually recognized for the quality of service I provide, through articles written about me, awards I have been nominated for and most importantly the positive feedback I get from my clients. I am proud of what I have achieved so far and it definitely motivates me to keep on going. I've built some really amazing relationships throughout this journey. I’ve had the same clients for years who follow me wherever I go and it really means the world to me. I also love training. When I see my students produce excellent work it makes me want to keep on educating future aspiring Estheticians!
Some habits that help keep me on track are:
- Putting pen to paper. Lists, lists, lists! I love to write lists. When I have so much going on in my head I need to get them out on paper. Once I do that, I can see what needs to take priority and I go from there. Writing is also great for goal setting and brainstorming.
- Sleep. Sleep is very important. Every night when I go to bed, I play meditation music and fall asleep to it. If I don’t get enough sleep I can’t function!
- Eat healthy and exercise. This is something I have been trying to improve on for 2020. Although I have always been driven to eat healthy, I was falling short when it came to exercise as I often ended up putting work first. I would have an ongoing battle in my head thinking I need to get some work done so I don’t have time to work out. Since making more time for exercise, I began to notice how energetic, productive and clearer my head has become when it comes to dealing with the administration side of the business. This has been so beneficial for me especially since the admin side of the business is the area I tend to procrastinate on, as I rather focus my attention on what I enjoy most, which is being in the treatment room and making my clients happy.
- Reading. I like to read books but only if I'm going to learn something from them! You’ll never catch me reading fiction.
Q4: Has there ever been a point in time where you were uncertain about starting your own business? If so, how did you surpass those doubts?
Paula: Yes. I procrastinated for a long time before I built up the courage to actually just go and do it. There were so many fears for me including the typical fear of failure and fear of ending up with a large amount of debt. All the "what ifs" plagued my mind, but when I reflected on the amount of experience and knowledge I had gained over the years through working for so many different beauty salons, it gave me the confidence to go out on my own. The amount of encouragement and support from my partner and friends also helped me surpass all those doubts. I am very grateful that I took the plunge and overcame those initial fears.
Q5: What advice would you give to the ladies out there who are interested in starting their own business?
Paula: Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs, ask questions and get advice. There are lots of networking and support groups for women in business within the city. Utilize them.
Start off small, work on it as a side business first if you just want to test the water. If you are struggling with certain aspects of the business don’t be afraid to outsource these to freelancers that specialize in those areas. For example, I hired someone to help design my website.
Last of all, don’t let fear get in your way. If you have a dream, follow it. Life is too short to have any regrets! 😇💖
Thank you Paula for sharing your story as well as providing our fellow boss ladies with such great insights! What you said really resonate with us, especially the need for work/life balance and that it’s okay to start off small. We absolutely agree that it's better to start with something that’s still in-progress than waiting until it’s perfect or when you are finally ready. The reason is because no matter how much time and planning you put into it, entrepreneurship is not something you can be 100% ready for. So as the Nike slogan goes, just do it!
And a thank you to our lovely boss ladies for reading the first blog post of our #WomenCrushWednesday #BossLadies series. Paula Quigley is a great example of an ambitious woman who has worked hard to have a successful career while maintaining her personal life.
We would love to hear your thoughts on what work/life balance means to you and what you do on the daily to ensure that you are taking a breather every now and then from the hustle and bustle lifestyle. In addition, if there’s any side hustle you are considering starting but not sure if you should take the leap yet, drop a comment below and let us know what's currently preventing you from doing it 👇🏻
Until next time, stay fabulous! ❤️
Annie & Sav