Posted on April 17, 2019
Sola Salon Studios
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who came out of the womb knowing exactly what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. Grew up with a brush in your hand, cutting the hair of your dolls or putting nail polish or makeup on your little sister (or your tortured brother). Or maybe you’re more like Nelly Weeks, esthetician and owner of Voyage de Splendeur in Brookfield, WI, who found herself on a path that ended up not being her true calling.
Nelly’s career in the technical training department for mining equipment in Chile. “At the time the culture in the company was very male-driven. Women were supposed to be secretaries and that's it. But I was able to work my way up and even though I didn't have a college degree, I worked hard, learned everything I could, and my work was recognized,” she shared.
Then things took a turn. “I eventually hit my breaking point. I consider myself a pretty tough cookie. But, when my migraines were lasting five days long and I'd come home crying almost every night because, at that point, I had lost passion for what I was doing. In fact, I hated my job and everything about it, that's when I decided enough, is enough. I can't do this any longer. I then started researching the beauty industry and how I could make the switch.”
Nelly always had a love for doing makeup. When she discovered estheticians do makeup, she figured it would be perfect to learn more about skin and provide makeup services. Nelly went to school part-time at night, graduated, got her license, and started working for a salon/spa all the while knowing that one day she would work for herself. Fast-forward to today, she has found passion in her career and is living a life she loves.
“When I decided to switch careers the plan from the beginning was to eventually own my own spa. I went to work somewhere right after school just to get experience and more knowledge.”
If you are like Nelly and finding yourself on a passionless path, Nelly suggests, “Take a step back and ask yourself why you got into this profession to begin with and what made you love it. Ask yourself why you think you've lost passion. There are so many things one can do as a business owner to not get to that point.” Take control of your journey. Feeling stuck is an opportunity to try something new, for you to grow and evolve. “Learn new techniques, add new services, add new products, expand, hire more people, the possibilities are endless.”
Ready to take a leap?
It’s helpful to have some sort of plan in place before you make a big career change. A few questions you should ask are:
Can you or your family stay afloat if there’s a gap in your income?
Do you have a support system set in place?
Are you excited about the idea of working for yourself or do you work better under the direction of a boss?
Are you passionate enough to enjoy doing this new career every day?
Do you believe you can do it?
Switching careers is never an easy choice, especially when you are confident and comfortable in your job. But for Nelly, the risk came with a huge reward. “For sure it was terrifying, but I was so excited and I found something I was passionate about. In my previous career, I was supposed to go back to school and get a business degree. I hated the idea of having to go back to school. I didn’t want to go through that. But when I was in school to be an esthetician, I wasn’t scared. I was excited. It felt like a weight had been lifted.”
Nelly knew that once she took the leap of faith to become an esthetician, that eventually she would work for herself at some point. After a year and a half working for a large salon and spa, she moved into her own Sola studio. “My studio is very cozy and homey and just very comfortable. I want my guests to feel comfortable to open up to me and tell me what their concerns are so that I can help them with not just their skin and makeup, but with any other personal issues as well.”
When Nelly first opened her studio, she offered facials to her Sola community so that they could experience her services. From there, the referrals started pouring in! And after a year and a half at Sola, Nelly upgraded to a larger suite due to a booming business. “At our Sola, all of the girls and guys are very, very close. We truly feel like a family.”
Nelly shared with us that she learned from her mother that in life, “if you want something, and if you truly believe in it, and you work hard for it, you will get it.” As someone who faced the fear and has been benefitting from her choice ever since, Nelly leaves us with some parting words of wisdom. “Believe in yourself - work hard and be kind. If you truly believe you can do it, you will.”