Self-Starter Stories: From working as a Skin Therapist to starting her own Skin Clinic in Chelsea
This week's #SelfStarterStory features Simona Mazenyte. Founder and Skin Therapist of Skin Aspirations, a skin clinic based in Chelsea, London.
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Simona to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: After working for clinics in London, I recognised the skin care industry's one-size-fits-all approach was not in-sync with what a client needs in their desire for healthy skin. As a result, I had a burning desire to start my own skin clinic which provided customised, benefits-driven treatments that garner real results.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: The most challenging part was figuring out how to acquire customers. I had many a sleepless night thinking about how to cost-effectively get the word out about my skin clinic and get people to pay for my service. As I couldn’t pay for PR, SEO specialists or brand managers, I had to find a scalable and affordable customer acquisition strategy.
What was your last job?: My last job was working as a skin therapist at a clinic in Harley Street.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: When I realised that it was impossible to work in a skin clinic that cares for a client in the right way and uses products which I believe in.
What is your favourite business book and why?: The One Thing by Gary Keller. I’m already using the book’s philosophy in my life and work. Basically, research has shown that when people have too many “things” to focus on, they tend to do all of them poorly (or not as well as they could). So instead, we should aim to drill down to the one thing that will make a real difference, in that area, or at that time.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I am lucky that I have my husband to help with the business. He takes care of the accounts and SEO. It not outsourcing in the true sense but it certainly makes my life easier.
What is your productivity secret?: I prioritise my work as some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time. At the start of the day, sort your tasks and see what can be done swiftly and efficiently. Once these tasks are complete, you have more time to focus on what is more important.
How do you market your business?: I have multiple channels to market my business. In the beginning, I relied on referrals from friends, family and third-party sites such as Treatwell. My husband does the SEO (search engine optimization) for the website and we are starting to see an increase in organic traffic converting to leads.
Most recently, we have used Google paid advertising which has already generated paying clients. I have tried social media paid advertising but the results have been disappointing.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I got my first paying customers through referrals from family and friends.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: The first traffic to the website was through a combination of content and outreach. The content took the form of long-form blog posts discussing in-depth topics related to skin care.
Long-form content is vital as it helps search engines rank your website for keywords. I also initiated an outreach programme to have bloggers review our signature facial. This helped drive the first referral traffic to our website from both the blogger’s website and social media accounts.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: A common myth that I heard was that most successful entrepreneurs have a well-developed business plan and idea before taking action. I had a fairly basic business plan on the type and price of services that my skin clinic would offer.
My approach was to adjust the services and prices based on the success I was receiving. I learnt that the most important thing is developing the entrepreneurial mindset at the start rather than a well-developed business plan.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: It would be with Danné Montague-King. He founded the DMK Skincare system which has transformed many lives. Frustrated by the absence of a treatment for his own acne, he was inspired to create a solution with deep and long-lasting results.
Follow Simona's journey via her social media channels below:
Simona Mazenyte has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.