Overcoming adversity and scaling your wedding business with Kerry Curl.

Show notes:

Today I am chatting with Kerry Curl – former hair and makeup artist turned business coach. We talk openly about Kerry’s wedding business success journey and how her business has evolved. We talk about overcoming adversity and scaling your wedding business for success. If you want an inspiring wedding business story – this is it!

Visit Kerry’s website

Find Kerry on Instagram

Work with us at the Wedding Pro Agency

Time stamps:

The Start of Kerry’s Journey [00:01:18] Kerry talks about how she got started in the wedding hair and makeup industry and her initial doubts and fears.

Transition to Full-Time [00:03:47] Kerry discusses how she transitioned from doing hair and makeup as a side hustle to making it her full-time career.

Mistakes in the Early Days [00:06:26] Kerry reflects on the mistakes she made in the early days of her business, including not having a website and approaching photographers without any authority or positioning.

The importance of cultivating relationships with venue managers and coordinators [00:09:41] Kerry discusses how she noticed that most of her leads were coming from recommendations and how she started building relationships with venue managers and coordinators to expand her reach.

The experience of hiring a mentor and the challenges faced [00:10:11] Kerry talks about her decision to hire a mentor, the initial skepticism in the industry, and her disappointing experience with her first mentor.

Learning from a bad mentoring experience and finding the right fit [00:13:20] Kerry shares how she didn’t let her bad experience deter her from seeking the right mentor, the importance of finding the right person to work with, and how it made her a better mentor for her own clients.

The mindset shift [00:19:38] Kerry discusses the importance of shifting her mindset from being an individual artist to being a team leader.

Choosing the right team [00:20:15] Kerry talks about the process of selecting the right people for her team and the importance of building strong relationships with them.

Marketing mistakes and business growth [00:23:54] Kerry reflects on the highs and lows of her business journey, including the mistake of marketing her business to everyone and the importance of hiring a mentor for guidance.

The importance of personal branding [00:29:30] Tips on how to separate yourself from the competition and grow a personal brand in the wedding industry.

Acquiring business skills [00:30:40] The need for hair and makeup artists to acquire business skills in order to be successful.

Getting first clients without appearing desperate [00:31:34] Tips on how to attract clients without resorting to low prices or giving away services for free.

The highs and lows of entrepreneurship [00:39:41] Kerry discusses the challenges and rewards of being a female entrepreneur and the ups and downs of running a business.

The importance of getting help [00:40:48] Kerry shares her realization that getting help and outsourcing tasks can greatly contribute to scaling a business.

Wrapping up the conversation with Kerry [00:42:13] Becca expresses her enjoyment of the conversation with Kerry and looks forward to the next episode.

Transcript:

Kerry: So if you look at your profile or even your competitor’s profile, think as if it is a Tinder profile. Crazy, but it’s true. So if you’re saying, why book me? It’s almost like saying, why date me? So you’re leading with that kind of keen guy that just wants to, you know, have that one night stand or maybe that woman when you need to start leading with desire.

Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business, marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you’re listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with Kerry Curl. I’ve known Kerry for years having watched her journey as a client of mine when she was building her incredibly successful wedding hair and makeup business through to now where she inspires and teaches other people and other hair and makeup artists how to follow in her success.

I can’t wait for her to share her whole story with all of you today. Kerry, welcome to the podcast.

Kerry: Oh, thank you, Becca, for inviting me.

Becca: It’s such a pleasure, and I’m so excited to have you on because, as I said, I’ve been watching your journey for years, from where you were to where you are now, and I know that it’s really going to inspire people who are listening.

So, right, At the beginning, let’s go back to the start of your journey. So how did you even end up doing wedding hair and makeup in the first place?

Kerry: Oh my goodness. So my previous career to that was sales and marketing. So yeah, I mean, it’s completely different. Actually, a friend of mine pretty much dragged me to a professional beauty show and She was like, I think you’d be really good at doing beauty or hair or makeup.

And I just kind of laughed and thought, no, I’m never going to do that. Like that. That’s, that’s not me. I’m business, but actually I completely fell in love with makeup. So I, enrolled in a couple of courses and when I left school, I did do hairdressing for a couple of years. So I already had that kind of background and it really did just start off with, you know, as a hobby.

So yeah, it didn’t. I, now looking back, it was a side hustle from my marketing role and. It’s a bit like when, you know, when you’re on maternity leave and you’re kind of like, oh, I might take up knitting or something like that. It was, it was that vibe. I genuinely never saw it being anything other than that at the time.

Becca: So you had it as a side hustle. You decided that you were quite good at it. Did you go straight into doing it for weddings or were you doing it for friends? Parties? What were you doing at the start?

Kerry: Yeah, I was definitely just putting the feelers out there. It was so brand new. It felt so raw. I’m not going to lie.

It felt so raw just to try and pitch hair and makeup to clients. So I definitely was doing all the proms. And advertising on Facebook, all those kind of places at the time, this is a long time ago, you go back 12 years, we didn’t even have, you know that Becca, we didn’t even have Instagram, it was Facebook, so it was that kind of vibe, and there was the few brides that would come through, and I used to be terrified.

I was absolutely terrified, but they used to inspire me. They used to go, come on, let’s do it. Like, I think you’d be really good. I really like your work. And, you know, it sort of went from there really. And I just thought, actually, I find that I get better money doing the weddings than I do the occasional stuff.

And I genuinely. I fell in love with it really fast.

Becca: So you fell in love with it, you started getting some clients. Was all of this happening whilst working in your other job as well? And when did the transition from doing both happen?

Kerry: Yeah, so I was on maternity leave and that’s when I trained to do makeup.

And then I have to say, Very fast. So within, I’m going to say like nine months, I then decided that I no longer wanted to be doing the 15 hour travel up and down the country with baby in tow and trying to get childcare. And very quickly, this little side hustle became a focus where I could just see it working around my child.

It meant that my hubby could stay back at weekends and look after. Our new baby. And it also meant that I could go out and be an adult again. So that was that transition. I would say from just the very early stages of having a baby and getting on top of the night fees and getting on top of, you know, what comes next in my life, because it was a completely new chapter.

Becca: And was that an easy decision to make, because I know that a lot of people struggle with this idea of leaving a secure job to going self employed, it feels very scary.

It feels like a big risk. It feels like a big jump. So mindset wise, how did you come to that place?

Kerry: Yeah, that’s such a good question. It was mindset that took me out of that role. I have to say, if I hadn’t done that in a work of thinking, right, you know, I, I need something different that fits in with the family.

How can I make this work? You know, looking at the money that I was making at the time, how could I see this working as an actual career and really plotting it out. So I think really. My background in sales and marketing was very helpful and very useful to me because I very quickly was able to map that out, but I can see how others would struggle with that and just think, no, this is not the right time.

And they will perhaps be stuck like that for some time. You know, it wasn’t easy. It was scary. I genuinely felt like a small chicken nugget in the industry, but I just thought I’m going to do it. Like that’s me all over though. You know, I’m, I’m very much, I’m going to jump. I’m going to do it. You know, get my husband to hold my hand.

Becca: Well, sometimes we have to, I always say to people, it’s the chicken and egg, because if you wait to get your business big enough until you leave your job, you don’t have the time to make your business big enough. And you just keep going round and round in circles. So at some point you do have to take that leap.

Now you took the leap. It obviously paid off. You started building your business, which became very successful. But one thing I love to talk about is the mistakes people made in the early days, because all of us, when we look back and I did a whole podcast episode about my own mistakes, when we look back at those early days, we think, why did I do that?

How was I even functioning successfully when I was doing those things? So for you, when you look back at those early days, are there anything that stands out mistakes? You’re making things you think, why Kerry, did I do that?

Kerry: Oh God, absolutely loads, not just in business, but on the creative craft side of things, you know, not not thinking ahead and thinking to myself, Oh, that’s fine.

I can just ring up a photographer and they’ll want to do a shoot with me. It’s fine. Like, no, I didn’t even have a website. So why, what, what’s in it for them? Do you see what I mean? So I, I talked about this in one of my masterclasses called dream bride attraction secrets, which was how I started to grow that business.

Yeah. Because I’d made so many mistakes and yeah, I did. I picked up the phone and I started to call around suppliers. That’s my background, sales marketing. And I thought that’s what you did. And I actually genuinely thought this is crazy. I genuinely thought that that’s what you did. You just rung people and said like, I want to either work with you or can you recommend me how naive?

Like I had no authority positioning. I had no, no website. I had nothing to my name, but just, you know, a Facebook account. So of course I got a lot of people, you know. Pretty much like saying you’re wasting my time, go away. So it was quite uncomfortable to begin with. And then I ended up using a different strategy actually, all together.

 It worked out perfectly and, got me more friends in the industry. And eventually I did get that visibility piece.

Becca: So what was that strategy then? Give us your secret sauce what did you do differently? That’s what people want to know.

Kerry: Yeah, I’m fine. I’m not in that industry anymore, you know, doing it.

So it’s fine to do that now. So what I did was I created a network. So I know you’re very big on there. So I, there was, I looked in my area and there was nothing for wedding suppliers in the Cambridgeshire area. And I was just like, but how do they all meet up? Cause Coming from a sales background, marketing background, that’s what you did.

You network. And it was just a missing piece in the industry. So I decided to create a Facebook community where bi weekly or monthly wedding suppliers got to hook up. And I kind of just pitched it as, look, you’re, you’re fantastic. We really want to see more of the, higher level or higher caliber industry colleagues inside this community come and join us.

And. Luckily, out of, I think it was 20 19 said yes, and they added, and I added them as Facebook friends. So all of a sudden it looked like I’d got that great connect, do you see what I mean? And they joined in, and before I knew it, it was just a great community, it’s still going. I think actually there’s well over a hundred in there, and I’m still an admin with the lovely Lee Allison Photography.

So. We, so it, you know, years later, that’s how I cultivated that authority positioning. One of the things I did anyway, that worked really well.

Becca: I absolutely love that. And as you know, I’m a big fan of doing that. And I think if you’re a nobody, as exactly as you said you were, you have to make yourself a somebody, and that’s a really great way of doing that.

So you grew your business and you were going out and you were. at weddings and you were doing hair and makeup. Now what happens particularly for hair and makeup artists, but it does happen across the industry, is you reach an income ceiling. So you get to a point where actually there’s not enough Saturdays and Sundays for you to go out and do makeup and hair at all of these different weddings.

So just tell us what you did, how you overcame that and what came next.

Kerry: Yes, there’s two things I did. So the first thing I noticed was that the level of leads was only coming. from maybe one or two sources. And actually it was, I was really reliant on the, you know, the methods of recommendation. And of course that is a hope and praise strategy.

You know, you can’t live on that. And so what I did was I started to look at venue. Managers and coordinators and how I could, you know, cultivate those relationships so that I could start getting listed with, you know, more venues. And so when that started to take off, and I think within two years I’d secured seven of them.

So in the area that was really, really key. They were all handpicked luxury weddings, wedding venues. And, you know, I, I worked really hard for those. The next thing I did was I hired a mentor and I know at the time that, I mean, we’re going back quite a few years now, maybe two six, 2016 to 17, and it’s. Still was like an icky sticky feeling in the industry.

Like, why would you need a mentor? Like, do we even need one? And I used to see them pop up online. I’d be like, no, it’s like when I had my branding done. No, I don’t need that yet. But I did do that and I did pay somebody. Quite substantial amount of money back then. It was about 600 pounds for a couple of hours, sit down session with them. See, I did do that.

Becca: And so they advised you to grow bigger. Did they advise, like, what did they advise you to do?

Kerry: Yeah. So this is really key. That first mentor, it was not a good partnership and this is really, really important and it wasn’t that I didn’t, you know, I think that she was going to be able to help me because I’d seen that she’d got really good results with somebody, whole.

The whole conversation just didn’t work. She hadn’t researched my business. I felt that she had a lot to say about my colleagues in the industry. It. It seems to go on and on and on where it was a general conversation and not enough depth to my business and how I could take it forward. And this is the biggest piece for me.

And it absolutely killed me at the time was that she said that I would never, your business is okay, but you’ll never make money. You’ll never make good money as a hair and makeup artist in this industry. And I walked away crying, Becca. I was like, what have I done? Like. And I remember talking to my industry colleagues and they were all so excited.

I was the first one that ever had a mentor out of our group. And they’re like, what was it like? What was it like? And I said, I wish that I could actually sit here and say, yeah, she’s 10 X my business in literally two hours, but that did not happen. And then the worst thing happened was that I would then on a wedding the following day, after having a really bad night’s sleep.

And I’m going to share something really personal and I ended up crashing into the mother of the bride’s, car because, I got a request, I got a notification to say that she’d unfriended me on Facebook as well. And the night before she’d asked me for a testimonial and I felt really compelled to leave for a really good one, even though it was terrible.

And so it really shocked me. So I had a really big. crash after spending that kind of money. And I was like, hell, I’m never hiring a mentor ever again.

Becca: That is hard. That is difficult. And thank you for sharing that. So let’s stick with this for a minute then, because this is obviously more of a, we’ve talked about, we were going on the up and the up, and then this is, you’ve hit a bit of a down.

We know, and I’m sure you now advocate that business mentoring can be a really good thing, but it is about finding the right fit. So what lessons have you learned from that experience in terms of Finding the right people to work with.

Kerry: Yeah. So when I got over the shock of that, I had to quickly have a word with myself and say, you know what?

Not everybody is going to be like this. And I’ve seen other mentors out there. So I’d been to a couple of other wedding industry mentor, like events, free events and things. And I thought I can’t let this one person make me believe that mentoring can’t work for my business because. You know, it’s, it’s proven that if you have a mentor or a coach, that you will propel yourself forward.

And I wasn’t going to give up, even though it costs me time and money and my self esteem at the time. So. It taught me that finding the right person, that your person in the industry that can just walk shoulder to shoulder with you, they are out there. And sometimes we do have to make mistakes in business to find that right person.

And I’m so glad Becca that I got back on the, on the horse. And I, you know, I’ve had several mentors now and she’s a minority. Like, when I think now to all the great mentors I’ve had, I’m actually, it makes me become a better mentor when I have people that are not delivering and being that kind of cloak in, you know, like emperor’s cloak feeling, you know, where you get inside and it’s not what you thought.

I’m so now hyper conscious that people don’t walk away from any of my sessions feeling that way. And so I, I go all out for my clients.

Becca: That’s a great way to look at it as well, because we always talk about how everything that happens in life happens for a reason. And sometimes at the time we don’t know what that reason is, but we can turn things into good.

And so your bad experience has made you a better mentor for your clients. Now let’s go back because I know that you had. going out and doing hair and makeup, and then you grew to be more of an agency. So talk to me about how that happened, how that came about.

Kerry: Yeah. So what was happening at that point was that I was having, coming through the business, I had like seven pipelines.

So there was a huge amount of venue leads coming through. And then of course we were top on Google. So I’d invested in a great, professional, website designer who got us the top spot. And with all the testimonials and, you know, recommendations from other suppliers in the industry, predominantly from that networking group, I have to say it was more than I could handle.

And at the time I actually didn’t kind of think too hard about it because I’d already had this small gathering of females around me that were happy to take work on. And happy for me to take a cut. And they just turn up with a timesheet. And they were like, Please just do more of that. Because I can’t be bothered with all the behind the scenes stuff.

And of course, I love all of that. So it quickly kind of scaled. Into something bigger. And I thought, right, okay, now I need a team. Right? I can’t be, there’s just this, cuz at the time I was still working on weddings, I was still doing like over a hundred weddings myself and charging out this team. And it would just become a crazy world of entrepreneurship, of not sleeping, you know, and being very, very hands-on with all the touch points that you have to do, all the social media, all of the emails, invoicing.

And I just thought, I can’t wear all of the hats for any longer just, you know, and, and that was the next phase in my business. So I decided to hire two VAs. Which then grew more. I think by the end I had four or five and they were all doing moneymaking activities. So it was like a hive. CMA was like a hive of, you know, female entrepreneurs working really, really hard.

And I have to say, like, I was super proud of that business, you know, and how, and how that went, those ladies were killing it for me. They were doing great looks, getting great reviews and, and boosting the visibility all the time. So. Yeah.

Becca: So all of a sudden you proved that mental wrong that you had the bad experience with because you showed, actually I can do this business and I can make money from it and I can grow a team.

But I know that this is something people really worry about. So I quite often have conversations with people where I say, yeah, you absolutely can grow and you can grow a team and all of those things. And they have some objections initially. So I’m going to. Throw some of those objections at you to see how you handled them in your own business.

So the first thing is people really worry about finding the right freelancers that they can trust to work under their brand. How did you do that? And did you have any problems with that? Or did it all, was it all smooth sailing?

Kerry: That’s such a good question. I actually, I’m going to be covering this in a signature course coming up called six steps to six figures, but I will tell you one of the routes that I use, which was so super helpful, which was that I started to educate others.

So I was bringing in people that were either kind of just starting out or maybe semi established in hair or makeup. And I was teaching them, I was training them and I was offering courses. So I was getting knee deep in. They’re, you know, the way that they worked and I was able to find out quite quickly what their dreams and goals were and how confident they felt they were and how well we got on and I, and I nurtured those relationships.

And then I would quite simply. proposition them at the end of the training and be like, right, your first wedding’s next week. How’d you feel?

Becca: I love that. And the great thing about that process as well, as you’re teaching them in your way, you’re teaching them in the way that you want people to work. And so then therefore they are the perfect fit for your business.

The other thing I think people worry about with this idea of growing their empire, as I wrote down when I was talking, planning the questions about how you grew your empire. Is that people worry about the trust thing? Because obviously when you go out as your business, Cambridge Makeup Artist, you are representing that at the highest level.

It means everything to you. It’s your business. It’s your baby. You’ve created it. When other people are going out under that brand, they’re never going to have the same level of commitment to the brand that you have as the brand owner. So how did you overcome that? How did you? build trust in those people and get them to go out and represent you in the right way.

Kerry: Yeah. So first off, it was really a mindset piece of thinking, well, hold on, you know, now I’m a team. It’s not about me anymore. And actually I wanted people in the business that were actually creatively better than me. Or we’re really good with people. And I never lost sight of the fact that my business was now about people and not me.

So, you know, even if I’m the visionary, I’m, I’m overseeing. So I have to take that approach of, you know, that I, they trust me, I trust them. But I think that that respect grew mutually and it is about how you treat people and how they feel about you and business and dating are so linked. I can’t even tell you, not that I dated my, my team or anything like that, but.

We were friends, you know, we respected each other. We, you know, we were very complimentary to each other. And I was very careful about the, I mean, in a former life, yes, I was a recruitment consultant, right? There’s no two ways about that. So I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for, you know, the pitfalls in people’s character.

Are they getting back to me on text message regularly? Are they showing up late to jobs? And actually, one of the things I did do was I took quite a few of them out as an assistant first, just literally cleaning brushes. Or just curling hair and that I knew that that wouldn’t impact my job because if they didn’t turn up, I could just, I could rescue that job.

It wasn’t a big deal. So, you know, I was giving, giving, giving and giving them like almost like a tailored vision. So, you know, if you can come on this many weddings, if we get to this point, if you can prove this, this is where your money will be. This is where we’ll get to. And it got to the point where.

That, that system worked really, really well, and I can categorically tell you this, Becca, and I’m probably the only person that I know, I’ve never had an artist let me down, never, through using those systems. They all presented perfectly. They were all amazing people. And maybe I just got lucky or it’s maybe the way I was cultivating those relationships.

I don’t know. You decide.

Becca: I love that. And I think you’re right. You are, that is a very unusual story to tell, but it shows, I think the hard work that you put into educating people, picking the right people. And working alongside them and making them want to work for you and want to do the best because actually they were getting a good deal out of it.

And I think for anyone listening and thinking about going down this route, it absolutely is possible for you to do that. It’s possible for you to grow an empire, but you do have to choose the right people and really think carefully about how you’re going to do that. So looking back over all of those years as Cambridge makeup artist doing the hair, doing the makeup, having the agency, what were some of the highs and what were some of the lows of that season of your life?

Kerry: Yeah. So some of the highs were things like the industry events, wedding industry events and awards where you all got, you know, when you’re, you’re literally dancing on the dance floor with your venue team and people around you and, you know, doing slut drops with them, you know, that is like, right. Okay. You know, we get in somewhere now, Kerry

right. So yeah, you’ve, you’ve got all of those lovely juicy goodness pieces as well and Just being asked, like having the power of choice, do I want to do that wedding? Do I not want to do that wedding? Do I want to do that shoot? Do I not want to do that shoe? So that was a gorgeous feeling, you know, upping my, my prices and not feeling guilty about that.

Upping our value and not feeling like we’re going to price ourselves out of the marketplace. Of course, there’s many lows. Of course there is, you know, and, and one of the biggest mistakes I made was marketing my business to everybody. And thinking I could do all the looks. And actually one of my competitors at the time said, yeah, I, why would you not want to do all the work looks like it shows that you’ve got this vast portfolio.

And it was the, I put a post up about this recently, which was not all advice is good advice in the industry. And that is absolutely a thing, right? Because I was told that, and I kept doing that. And. So even before I had this salon, what I’m sitting in today, I would have people come to me with all the styles I hated to do.

And it was firefighting on price on how I did it. And I just thought I’m done. So I’m glad I hired a mentor. I’m glad they showed me how to separate us out from the competition. And, you know, being what I would consider market leader for the area was a massive, massive high for us.

Becca: I think one of the things you did really cleverly was naming your business in a way that got you to the top of Google.

So being Cambridge makeup artist, Cambridge makeup artist, that must have. been a massive win. Was that your idea? How did that come about?

Kerry: That’s such a good question. And this comes up in our programs quite a lot. You know, should I, should I change my name to something geographical? Should I keep it myself?

Now you have to remember I’m very entrepreneurial. So when I first started out and I actually had my web designer sit down with me, I was still a newbie. I would say like 12 to 18 months. And you know, I put a sum of money on the table and said, look, get me to the number one spot. You know, how do I do this?

And he said, look, talk, think about the vision of your business in two to five years time. Does this want to be just solopreneur, Kerry curl, or do you see this ever getting bigger? And I ha I sat there and at that point I said, no, I want this to be a big entity. I never wanted it to be just me. And he said, well, think about those, you know, the responsibilities of having your name on the door.

It’s a little bit like Eastenders, you know, with Barbara Windsor on the door, like Peggy Mitchell is like your, all the complaints, everything always comes down to you, you know, and you can scale this much bigger if you have that geographical dominance. So that was a great decision that I took to go to the professionals to help me with the website designing.

But also they gave me that insight and that thought process of how big do you want this to go? So that’s what I did. And that’s what worked really, really well for us.

Becca: Yeah, it absolutely did. It was genius. And I think, yeah, lots of people can learn from that because I think it was incredibly successful.

So let’s get up to date then. Now, here we are in 2023 and things have changed again. So now you’re working with hair and makeup artists as a mentor, as a coach running programs. So what happened in that interim period? How did you shift out of being at weddings and being a mentor?

Kerry: Yeah, let’s go there. So first off, I want to say before the pandemic even came my way, I was already edging out of the business as, you know, doing all of the things, all of the weddings, because it was just quite overwhelming.

And actually, I’ve been doing that for almost a decade. So, you know, I was moving into the significance of the stage of my working life with what I was doing. And I was actually now going out and Into salons, teaching salons and groups of hair stylists, how to do hair up, how to do the wedding stuff. And so I was already doing that, like I was positioning myself around the community with one of my, like, I want to say like, Co team because, you know, Katrina was with me and I would, we would both go out and, and start training hair for lots of salons locally.

And what I found was happening was they didn’t want to just know the practical skills. They wanted to know how to grow their business. And I was like, I kept getting asked this and I was like, this has got to be a sign. So what I then started to do was bolt on mentoring sessions with the salon owner way after the, the training had taken place, like maybe like a couple of days later, once they’ve descaled from everything and I’d sit down with them and we’d talk about how they’re attracting brides.

And Suddenly it was really obvious actually, when I was going into some of the salons and they’d chosen mentoring as part of their package, that they just wanted to get that knowledge on the day. They were like, so I do with this, like, is this the best way to do Instagram? Is this? And I thought they can’t wait.

They want to get to the mentoring fast. And I think that that’s, that was the biggest, eye opener for me. So as soon as the pandemic here, I have to say, I was already at that level where I’d, you know, excelled and accelerated through the business and, and the profit ladders. So the pandemic arrived and myself, my team navigated that we ended up, this is very honest.

We ended up giving back 6, 000 pounds worth of deposits. It was, you know, quite uncomfortable. We were only open for six weeks out of like something like 12 months, not even that, like it was difficult. And then, and I had this kind of epiphany, like. I need to have a proportion of my business online, even if I stay in this agency, because I can’t guarantee that we won’t get another pandemic.

I can’t guarantee. And that impacted everything, not being able to earn. So I started to look at how I could transition that way, which is when I found The lovely Kelly Mortimer.

Becca: Yes. And I, as you know, I’m a big fan of Kelly. Me and Kelly worked together a lot and we run our wedding business retreat a lot.

And I know you’ve been working or have worked with her to grow your business to where you are now in the online space, which is fabulous. And another example of finding the right mentor and a good person that’s going to push your business forward rather than pull it backwards. So now, Kerry, you’re working with loads of people in the industry.

You’re working with hair and makeup artists. People starting out in their business. I’d love you to share some of the pitfalls that you see those people falling into all of the time, because I know that will be helpful for people listening.

Kerry: This is such a good question because I’ve literally just come off a three day virtual treat where I was talking about that.

So this is fresh in my mind, but what I see happening the most, and this is what I feel is very typical in the market is at the moment with hair and makeup artists, everything is either natural or luxury. Like it’s very vanilla and you know, that is the problem. And then everybody’s copying each other in terms of their copy or their layout or how they create their posts or what they do behind the scenes in business.

And of course, that’s an issue because. If I’m a bride and I see 10 different profiles, but they’re not looking that different, it’s going to come down to price. So that’s the, one of the biggest things I taught in that virtual retreat was how to start thinking about your account as a lead generator and start separating yourself from your competition, how you can do that, and start to grow yourself a personal brand rather than a clone of your neighbor.

So that’s the biggest thing. Aside from that is actually just. Growing slow and not thinking, well, what do I need to do for it? People outsource everything in their lives. Like you don’t go and cut your own hair, right? You get someone to cut that for you. And actually sometimes that is, you know, couple of hundred quid these days.

And yet, you know, they, this, the last thing they think about is mentoring or courses. They think a lot about. Their skill set and how they can buy more courses and more products and they think that will rescue them What actually does is it just costs them a lot of time and money and they’re still stuck.

So you do need to acquire more business skills and You know, I’ve not stopped, doing that. I have then since been on my journey with Laurie Joy and other, other, coaches out there as well. So, you know, I just, you’ve got to keep learning in business. This does not come natural to hair and makeup artists.

And I totally get that, but. You know, this is how we grow. We have to know more about business.

Becca: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s the same across the industry because it’s okay not to know, but you just need to work out how you’re going to learn. So I say all of the time, you know, I can’t cut hair. I can’t do makeup.

I can’t take a good photo, but I do know about business. And therefore it’s okay that you can cut hair. You can take a good photo, but you don’t know about business. It’s just about finding the right people to help you. So I totally agree with that. Now, one thing I know people struggle with, especially when they’re starting out.

And I’d love to to get your perspective on this is how to go out there and get their first work without coming across as desperate. So one pitfall I see people making is, you know, going out for some bargain basement price or giving it away free or going in low cost. So have you got any tips for people, either hair and makeup or just across the industry about how they go about getting those first clients without looking like they’re just desperate?

Kerry: Yeah, it’s a mindset piece here, Becca, as well, because, you know, like you said, I’m going to give you a really big tip. So if you look at your profile, or even your competitor’s profile, think as if it is a Tinder profile, crazy, but it’s true. So if you’re saying, why book me? It’s almost like saying, why date me?

So you’re leading with that kind of keen guy that just wants to, you know, have that one night stand or maybe that woman when you need to start leading with desire. So it’s thinking about the marketing, around your brand and how you can position yourself from a place of how do I get into your world rather than how do I push you into my world?

So it’s kind of like. More pull marketing than push marketing, I think is the way to say that.

Becca: Absolutely love that. I love the idea of thinking about your profile and your website as a dating website. I love, I’m loving all of your dating analogies. It’s been a long time since I did any dating, but I am loving the dating analogies.

It’s brilliant. Now, Kerry, people listen to this conversation and they’ll think, Great. Kerry’s got it all together. She’s got the perfect life. She’s run this successful business. She’s brought in loads of money. That’s really great for her, but my life isn’t perfect. I’ve got struggles at home. I’ve got stuff going on with my kids.

I’ve got a juggling difficult situations. I know that your life isn’t picture perfect all the time. None of our lives are. So just share, you know, the reality behind, you know, the picture, perfect life and how you have navigated some of those challenges and overcome them and still been as successful as you are.

Kerry: Yeah, that’s such a good question. And a lot of our community members some of my clients, they don’t, nobody has a perfect life, right? Nobody. Okay. It’s all for show. A lot of it is for show. So I, you know, I, I will share with the audience. So I do, I do have two children with special needs. I have two boys, one’s got autism, one’s got severe ADHD.

So I’ve had to navigate system for them, which is a full time job in itself, you know, from birth. So, you know, if I haven’t got a full time job, I can hold a lot. I’m not going to lie. Like as a person, I can hold a lot. I’ve come from a strong sales and marketing background, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not, you know, hard at times.

And sometimes you feel like giving up and it’s just about picking yourself back up again and going. It’s a blip and actually now I found the more times I just get back up that the smaller amount of time I spend worrying about the blips and I had a huge blip last December when my son became paralyzed from the chest down with an autoimmune disorder.

So he’s, he’s still in hospital now. So I had to take a couple of months out. Okay. And that was really tough. And, but my clients really appreciated it. We kept the community going. I still. The biggest thing I had at that time as well was, was team. I had people that could take over, and I think people still think, oh, I can do this all on my own.

I’m She Ra, like give me my She Ra cape. But you can’t, you need to have other people helping you. And adversity is everywhere. And actually, A lot of the clients that come into my working world, we don’t, they don’t come in just because they want to make money. A lot of it is like, Oh, I didn’t know you had a child with special needs.

I didn’t know that you had this going on, all that going on. And wow, that’s amazing. You’re still doing all of this. Yeah. If I can do it, you know, we talk about this in our power hours, but how you can, you know, still run businesses and simplify things, you know? And I think that’s another thing to mention is.

If you’re struggling now and you’re struggling because of time Wouldn’t it make sense to work out how better to spend your time on your business than struggle with your children? And try and make this work. So we have people in our community that also have children with additional needs or have adversities and bereavements and yet they still can Take money and take booking some of them when they’re in bed with COVID, you know, it’s, it’s about just simplifying everything so that, you know, and that’s why mentors and coaches can help you.

It’s, you know, yes. Okay. Money is the, the, the thing that you want, but actually it’s how you get to that stage, how you get that, how you need to think the decisions you need to make that then become that piece at the end that you really, really want those dreams and goals.

Becca: And I think it’s really inspiring.

And thank you for opening up and being so honest with everyone. I think it’s really inspiring to hear you sharing that there are these difficult situations that is life. And some of the situations you’ve been through are things that none of us can even understand, but yet here you are still pushing forward, still with a smile on your face, still keeping going, still trying to hold it all together.

And I think that is kudos to you for having that mindset. And I know that since the moment I’ve met you, so much of what you’ve done is to provide for your children, to be there for your kids, to love them and be a great mom. And actually you can do that whilst also having a really successful business.

Kerry: Yeah. And, and that sometimes that does come at a cost, you know, that you are maybe just a little bit more tired at times or, but like you said, it’s all for them. You know, I’m doing this for, in fact, now I’m at this hot point in my career. It’s really, really critical to say this is that I am at that point of significance.

I’m no longer like going beam the spotlight on me. It’s all about me. It’s not, it’s about helping people. It’s about helping people get a leg up. It’s about helping my children get better. It’s about, you know, it’s always about giving. And I think some of the mistakes I see is people just taking, thinking it’s okay to just take, jump into that inbox.

Tell me how you did that. It’s like. Well, you know, it doesn’t work that way. You have to give first, you have to pay in first to get back. And, you know, the clients that are doing really, really well with me now, I found that they’re paying in a huge amount. They’re banking a lot of, you know, the actions they’re doing out there.

And that’s why they’re harvesting now and doing really, really well.

Becca: Yeah, 100%. Having an attitude of service is such an important thing to me in my world. And again, it’s what I teach too, which is, you know, give more than you expect to receive. And it will always come back in spades at some point. And also knowing your why it’s very clear that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, because you want to make a difference to these people.

And we learn from those mistakes that we talked about earlier, those bad experiences, and you’re just like me. You want to show people that they can do more and achieve more. You don’t want them to go into the bad areas of the industry. You want to showcase to them that actually it is possible to overcome all of these things and do more.

So you should be incredibly proud of all you’ve achieved. And the journey that I’ve watched you on Kerry, as you look back, I’d love to know if you could speak to, you know, 18 year old Kerry, all those years ago. What would you tell her about where she’s going to get to today?

Kerry: Yeah, oh gosh. That 18 year old Kerry was poor, broke, broken hearted, still living at home by the way, so I’m just going to put that out there.

 Is that, you know, you can do anything you want to do in your life and don’t let other people Tell you that you can’t. And this is so true, but the five people that you surround yourself with is critical throughout your whole entire life, your whole entire life. So if you’ve got somebody that’s telling you, you can’t do something or you’re no good, They need to be cut loose.

I know that’s horrible, but you need to either see less of them, hear less of them, because who you hang out with, who you plug into is critical. And I didn’t have, you know, good conversations with good people at that time, but I grew and I really, you know, learned quite quickly that I, you know, Those people needed to be moved out of my life to make way for the good So yeah, I hope that answers the question and thanks for the compliment becca, you know, it’s hard work Of course, it’s hard work what you do is hard work as well but it’s so rewarding when you see people doing really really well and I just also want to say this.

I hope this time it’s, there’s, yes, it looks like, you know, my clients are doing really, really well, but we also have just as many lows as we do highs. It’s not that perfect picture. This is female. Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship, right? You’re going to have those peaks and troughs. It’s kind of like, you know, looking at the marketplace when we have our ups and our downs, our peaks and the troughs.

You’re going to go through that and we go through that too, but we grow through that. And it’s, you know, what we do in those lows that propels us forward. So nothing is perfect.

Becca: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. I totally agree with you. Now, Kerry, I always end these interviews with the same question. So I’m going to pose that to you now, which is what’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your business?

Kerry: Yes. And that is to get people in sooner. I’m not like a jack of all trades. And I, I literally, I literally got approached by someone. I think it was 2019. And she just said, can I help you? Can I take anything off your plate? And. I was a little bit defensive, like, no, I can do this. I can handle it. Or why do I need any more help in my biz?

Like I’m used to that. And actually I let her in gently. And before I knew it, I didn’t realize how much of a difference that made to you scaling by taking more off your plate and actually saying no to more stuff. So when you are in your scaling stage, it’s about saying no as well to a lot more stuff. So yeah, I hope that’ll.

Absolutely.

Becca: Absolutely. It does. Outsourcing is huge and it’s great to see how that helped you scale to the place that you did. Kerry, it’s been such a pleasure having a conversation with you. I could chat to you all day. If people want to find out more about you, about your agency, about what you’re doing, like where do people find you?

Kerry: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. So I’m on Instagram at kerrycurlcoaching or you can find me on kerrycurlcoaching. com.

Becca: Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you. I love that conversation with Kerry. I hope you enjoyed it too. It’s always inspiring for me to talk to people that I’ve known for a number of years and watch their businesses grow and evolve to see where they’ve come from and where they are now.

I hope it’s inspiring for you as well. I’ll see you next time.

Enjoyed this episode? Check out Claires story next…

Reigniting your passion

Becca xo

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