What Is a “CEO” in the Beauty Industry?

These days, it isn’t uncommon to see the word CEO everywhere you look on social media. In fact, CEO is becoming a commonly used term in our industry, almost making you wonder – what does CEO even mean anymore?! How does one get defined as a “CEO” in our beauty industry?

More importantly… how do I know if I am a business owner, or a CEO, and how do I get to that level?!  

I’m going to shed some light on this gray area by explaining what’s the difference between a business owner and CEO, why you want to level up to CEO, and how to get there. 

Ready? Let’s break it down. 

Business Titles: Founder, Owner, & CEO  

What’s the difference between a founder, business owner, and a CEO? A few things actually. 

Founder: The individual who started a business or company.

Business Owner: A business owner is someone who is the top person in charge of a business. This person could have started the company, or acquired it from another. 

NOTE: You can be both a founder and owner if you started and are actively operating your business.

If you are still working in your business on a daily basis, seeing clients one-on-one, and your business’ success/profit relies on your income, then you are what is considered a business owner.  

CEO: As your company grows, and you start to scale by adding more and more team members, there will come a time when you realize – “WOW, my business is profitable on its own! I am finally able to breathe and take a step back.” Your business can turn profit without you working “in” your business. Congrats my friend, you have now acquired the title of CEO.  *cue the confetti*

If you’re not quite there yet, I want to put something into perspective for you. The E-Myth, a book written by Michael E. Gerber, states it perfectly:

“If you are still fully immersed in your business; you are the technician of the business, (the stylist, artist, esthetician*)… there is nothing wrong with being a technician, there’s only something wrong with being a technician that also owns a business!” 

OOF- ouch. But, I think you needed to really hear that. I know I did back when I was working 10 hour days, 5 days a week, because if I didn’t hear that, I could have been stuck in that same position forever. 

If you’re thinking, “But I love doing hair! I can’t see myself ever not doing hair!”… keep reading.

I’m about to explain why you want to ditch the technician status and level up to CEO plus give you the tools to become one! 

Why You Want to Become a CEO

So, why do we want to trade in our “technician” or “owner” title for “CEO”?

When you’re working as the technician in your business your focus is upside down. You see the world from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. While you are busy working with clients, there is much more important work that isn’t getting done. It’s the work you’re not doing, the strategic work, the entrepreneurial work of growing your business. 

In a business’ infancy stage, the owner must wear many hats. Technician, manager, financier, entrepreneur (the visionary who grows the business), the list goes on.  Wearing all of these hats at once is what makes a business owner feel completely burnt out and stressed out to the max. You simply cannot thrive as a technician and still wear all of these hats at the same time. You will continue to run around the hamster wheel with no end in sight. 

I want to help you get off the hamster wheel and understand that in order to get out of the infancy stage you need to take a step away and start moving your business to the adolescent phase. (You know that saying, “most businesses fail within the first 5 years”? I’m trying to get you onto the other side of that.) It seems daunting and overwhelming to think about taking a step back, but I promise you, it is absolutely imperative for the life of your business. 

It took me 5 years in business to be able to confidently say that my business could run itself. When I took a 5 month maternity leave from work for my first daughter, I was able to still completely support myself (without saving any extra money aside). Not only that, but I was amazed to see how my well-oiled machine of a business not only ran itself, but continued to profit higher and higher each month without my personal income from taking clients! WOW. It completely opened my eyes to a whole new world, a world I am absolutely thriving in! 

I get to:

  • Work when I want to with clients, because I LOVE it – not because I have to.
  • Charge my worth because I’m not stressed if I am not taking clients.
  • Schedule any type of trip or family plans I want without having to stress. 
  • Have another stress-free maternity leave? No problem! 
  • Develop my passion project. (Mentoring and educating other beauty bosses? Priceless.)
  • Have complete financial freedom? Major perk!

Sounds like something you want, too? Here’s how! 

My Six Pillars to Becoming a CEO

So, how do we get to the level of CEO? How was I able to do this in 5 years? I’m going to share with you how I achieved this goal because I want to see you all succeed, just like I have. 

Here are the top 6 pillars/factors that led to me being able to truly gain that CEO title. 

  1. Solid branding and messaging.
  2. Valuable clientele and pricing structure. 
  3. Well-defined systems and procedures for efficiency.
  4. Hiring and training the best of the best employees.
  5. Creating a workplace employees thrive in.
  6. Learning to define tasks, delegate, and watch my business work for itself. 

It’s all about scaling. Each of these components are key to the success of your business. If you lay the proper foundation that focuses on these 6 pillars/factors, you will set yourself and your business up for future success. 

It can seem overwhelming, but if you break down each pillar/factor and determine what your business needs to strengthen each, it will lead you down the path you need to go to achieve that CEO status. 

What’s one change you’re apprehensive to make? Need a little pep-talk? I’m happy to help! Shoot me a message on Instagram @thetiffanimitchell and let me know what’s going on.  I’ll get back to you ASAP!

xx – Tiffani

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Tiffani Mitchell is a US-based beauty business strategist empowering lash business owners worldwide through her signature educational programs, mentorship services, resources, and more.