When the Going Gets Tough


It's Saturday, and you have another crazy day ahead of you at your salon. You're booked solid, one of your staffers has called in sick and another one is running late, your accountant has informed you that your cash flow is in the negative, and your family is whining that you're neglecting them with your 18-hour days. Are you heading for a nervous breakdown? Stop! No one understands the highs and lows of salon ownership more than Jon Gonzales, a longtime salon owner and founder and president of Hairdresser Career Development Systems. "No one ever said owning a hair salon would be easy," says Gonzales. "Business costs continue to escalate, and it's getting increasingly difficult to find and keep committed hairdressers, who truly want to maximize their full learning and earning potential." But despite these gloomy trends, Gonzales stresses, you can take positive steps to help make both your business and your personal life more fulfilling and rewarding. Here, he offers the following tips for meeting your everyday challenges with confidence.

LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE Just as there will always be peaks and valleys in your personal life, recognize that the same is true with your business. Making mistakes is part of the growing process; learn from them and move on. Consider them an opportunity to start over, wiser than you were before. As long as you maintain your competitive spirit and persevere when the going gets tough, you'll succeed. To do nothing for fear of making a mistake could be the greatest mistake of all.

LAUGH A LITTLE Don't ever let your business compromise the quality of life for yourself and your family. Be thankful for your good health and everything else you have in your favor. Tomorrow is another day, another challenge and another opportunity.

DON'T OVERREACT Carefully analyze a problem before acting on it, especially when it involves a member of your staff. Stay calm and think about it, so that you can make your decision rationally, not emotionally. Keep in mind that you want to create a positive, professional salon environment, and the only way to do this is to foster an atmosphere of trust, even when a situation isn't going as planned. For every moment you are angry or fearful, you lose a minute of happiness and well-being.

LEARN TO WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER When dealing with issues of business management, be sure to seek out help from experienced sources, who have likely been in your situation many times and have amassed a wealth of knowledge from it. A trial-and-error approach to problem solving is just too costly; instead, know the power of education.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF If you're going to be successful creating a happy life for yourself, you have to believe that you're capable of making it a reality. The best investment you can make is developing a positive self-image. Your mind controls everything, so cultivate it: throw out negative thoughts and develop a persistent, positive mindset that will give you the power to meet the challenges of your life and your business with great self-confidence. If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

DELEGATE, DELEGATE, DELEGATE Get yourself organized, take a time-management course, let other people help you. Work with your best employees to help you ease the heavy burdens and responsibilities of salon ownership. For instance, develop your receptionist into your salon coordinator; promote your top stylist as your education director. Don't try to do everything yourself.

TAKE A BREAK When you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, take a couple of days off and do something with your family, or for yourself. Get away from the work environment, read a good book, plan a weekend escape, or just call a friend you haven't spoken with in a while. This can help you regain your passion and fighting spirit—and believe it or not, your business will still be there when you get back! Life is either what you make of it, or what it makes of you. It's your choice.

For more information and tips from Jon Gonzales, visit
or call 800-390-4237.