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How I Gave Myself a $20k Raise

How I Gave Myself a $20k Raise

The caption says enough, but in all honesty I gave myself a $20,000 raise. I know what you're thinking, how in the hell can you give yourself a raise? I used to think the same way. That's before I experienced the joy of being an entrepreneur! So truth be told, I got a $20k raise after quitting my full time job in corporate America. For 7 years prior, I was worked in human resources (HR) managing recruitment and employee relations. I loved working with people yet I HATED the corporate politics. Not to mention the salary caps and corporate ladder I wasn't interested in climbing. 

Combine that with life's turmoils and you got yourself a gumbo soup of bullshit. For years I endured a strenuous child custody battle regarding my youngest son. There was constant changes in visitation arrangements. The custody order created so many demands that the company I worked for was no longer able to compromise and be flexible with my schedule. I completely understood but was also fully aware that my son's well being was priority. Luckily they gave me some time to decide how I wanted to proceed. I ultimately made the decision to focus on growing my lash clientele to the point I would be able to quit FT my job. I needed the freedom to create my own schedule to accommodate the ridiculous visitation arrangements.

Just a year prior to all this madness I invested in great training program to become certified to administer lash extensions. Initially it was just a side hustle to supplement my income. Little did I know it would later change my life.  


I hustled 7 days a week. Monday through Friday I worked my full time corporate job 8am-5pm and lashed clients 6-10pm during the week and ALL day on the weekends. After juggling this insane schedule, being a mother to 4 children, wife to hubby... I didn't have any time to myself. Yet I NEVER complained. Once I set my intentions and make a decision to accomplish something, I AM RELENTLESS. Needless to say, within 3 months I was able to grow my clientele to the point I could quit my job. My goal was to make just enough money to cover my living expenses and NOTHING else. So that meant no shopping, no ladies night out, postponed date nights with hubby and getting my nails done. Hell yes I made the exception of maintaining my pedicures. I had to be realistic and keep something for myself. Can you blame me? Plus I can't walk around with busted feet! It's a pet peeve of mine. LOL So yes, in many cases you have to be willing to take one step back to gain a few steps forward. 


My strong faith system is one of the most contributing factors to my success. Though I knew I was taking a risk walking away from the comfort of health insurance, PTO and guaranteed salary, I had faith that God would bless me with much more. My heart was pure in the reasoning behind my career change and lashing truly became a passion of mine. I went from lashing clients out of my home and was able to transition into my own cozy private lash studio after 4.5 months! This decision to move into a commercial space tripled my clientele almost over night. Or so it felt! I literally tripled my clientele from simply taking the financial risk to provide my services in a professional setting. Let's not skip over the fact I was just making enough money to cover basic living expenses. Yet, my husband encouraged me to take a leap in faith. At the time I applied for this small studio space, I couldn't afford it. It was literally taking on more monthly expenses than what I was bringing in. Long behold I got accepted (after initially being denied) and NEVER LOOKED BACK. Yes, you may have to set up some payment arrangements or pay a bill late, but once you see the connection between risk and reward you'll do some crazy things. 


Even after my clientele sky rocketed, I quickly learned that in the beauty industry you will have seasonal peaks and pits. Not to mention if you don't work you don't get paid. I no longer had the cushion of PTO. If I needed to take time off or God forbid I got sick, I lose out on money and potentially clients. It took time to accept these circumstances. What I will say is that it is all WORTH it. Initially I took a huge pay cut. Making not even a fraction of what I was making in HR.

After dedicating my efforts for a year strong I was able to reach my former corporate salary at $75,000. In just my 2nd year of being a full time entrepreneur I brought in $95,000. So ya girl used a relentless work ethic, unwavering love for her children, supportive husband and artistry talent to reach a level of financial success. It would have took me another 7+ years to obtain a salary increase of that nature in HR. 


Don't get confused, lashing doesn't bring in revenue. Skill, hard work and a plan does. I invested time and money into reputable education, licensing and equipment. I quickly learned that the the quality of your lash products will make or break your work. So I spent countless days and nights researching products and manufacturers to create my own lash collection. My goal was to improve the efficiency of lash products to ultimately offer the best client results. So now I was offering lash products and services. (I'll have more details on how to start your own product line in the near future).

The wonderful thing about the beauty industry is the room for growth. I began receiving numerous requests from women via Instagram asking me to train them to do lashes. I was flattered but couldn't imagine I had the bandwidth to create a training program. Yet after receiving so many requests I changed my perception. It went from "I can't do that" to "why can't I?". I had 10 years of experience in training and development. I changed my mind set from viewing the task as a burden to a blessing! I spent weeks creating a comprehensive curriculum, training manuals, thorough lash academy outline for my website and a price point for each class. Can you say TIRED!?! Oh but there is so much reward when you're tired from investing in your own company!


I turned tragedy into triumph. By simply changing my perception and taking a solution approach to life's ups and downs, I created a beauty empire! SheLuvsLashes Beauty Bar & Retail is a gorgeous salon that now offers a certified training academy, remarkable lash products and an array of beauty services ranging from facial treatments, lash extensions and brow services. Never let your current circumstance define who you are, where you can go and what you can become. Take it from me a mother of four, I walked away from a JOB that appeared to provide security for a CAREER that opened a door to personal, professional and financial freedom. 




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Gaylene Te Tauawhi Apihai

Omg you don’t know how happy I am to have come across your website and read your blog. I have been searching on google for lash businesses who provide products and services. Thank you for sharing and most importantly inspiring me to reach my goals and that it is possible.

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