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From Chair Renter to Salon Suite Owner: Lessons in Growth and Resilience

Updated: Apr 4

Meet our client, Khalee Gayle, owner of The Beautisserie, a salon that takes clients through a Healthy Hair Journey. She started her business while working full-time and renting a chair in a salon in early 2020. In mid-2021 she took the bold step of getting a loan from the Community Fund of North Miami Dade (CFNMD) to expand and open her own hair salon. However, Khalee opted for a more organic growth path; instead of a salon, she chose to open her own salon suite. It turned out to be a brilliant move and her clients loved the one-on-one experience they got in this private space.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Khalee has worked tirelessly to maintain the quality of her service within the limited space she has, which has posed its own set of challenges. Her clients have been patient and supportive throughout this journey, prioritizing the experience over her expansion plans.

How She Handled The Curveballs

Since moving to the salon suite Khalee has faced unexpected challenges like the pandemic, health issues, and life obstacles. Through these trials, Khalee came to realize the importance of having savings for emergencies, and the need to create multiple income streams.

Reading Profit First by Mike Michalowicz while working with CFNMD inspired her to start building her savings, which gave her a financial cushion that allowed her to navigate the challenges that came her way.

After having to take time away from the business affected her income, Khalee is now exploring new avenues to generate income while not behind the chair, such as hiring additional staff and developing her retail line. Initially hesitant to embrace these opportunities, she's now strategizing because she has learned that “I need to take time to step back to plan. And I can't plan it when I'm in it.”

As her business has continued to grow, she is booked ahead of time, and she's learning to manage her time and set boundaries. Khalee understands that she must assert control over her business and not let it be driven solely by client demands. Looking ahead, Khalee is hiring an assistant to help manage her schedule and expand her retail business.

Trust the Process for Funding Success

The first time Khalee ever applied for a loan was with CFNMD. The process was unlike anything she expected, and it was intimidating because “I felt like I was being torn apart, like ripped in my privacy” says Khalee, “but this is typical, they were [asking] just simple questions that I should have had the answers to if I was running my business”. They were not trying to embarrass her; it was about helping her understand her finances better.

She is happy she stuck with the process, even though she wanted to back out. “When I found out I got approved, I thought to myself: that was easy. All I needed to do was just pay attention to the details. You know, just understand. Take the help.”

Actually, “my biggest takeaway from this experience is to trust the process,” says Khalee. For example, her partnership with the accountant introduced by CFNMD has proven invaluable. The accountant maintains regular communication with Khalee, keeps her books up-to-date, and provides guidance on financial decisions. “My accountant ended up meaning more than the loan, more than a relationship. More than anything, she's my biggest bonus out of all of this because I probably would have never gotten a bookkeeper had I not gotten the loan. Had CFNMD not initiated that, I'm almost sure I would not have a bookkeeper today.”

“Just follow the instructions. If they say if I'm required to have XY&Z, figure out how I can have XY&Z, produce it, and hope for the best, stay positive. In doing that I was able to comfortably get all the things that I needed to start building a business and I think I'm comfortable with any loan process after that. Anything that required me to show just even just my taxes became so easy for me. I don’t worry about anything with numbers anymore. I am not afraid of it anymore.”

Reaching the end of the loan and paying it off filled her with pride. She often brags about her loan journey as a testament to her decision to go through the process, while an intimidating one, led both Khalee and The Beautisserie to grow.

Based on her experience over the past two years, Khalee encourages other entrepreneurs to:

Write It Down: She’s found that having a planner to jot down her ideas and plans is essential. “Writing things down makes me more intentional, helps me remember, and holds me accountable. It's motivating to see what I've accomplished and what still needs to be done” Khalee says.

Seek Education: Invest in yourself and your business by seeking knowledge. There's an abundance of free educational resources out there, and even paid courses, they have value. I've discovered invaluable gems that improved my business through education. Investing in your business isn't just about money; it's also about investing in yourself.

Persistence Pays Off: “It might sound cliché, but it's true. I started my journey while working a full-time job with a hectic schedule. I'd rush home, change quickly, and work with evening clients. Even though it began small with clients, they became loyal weekly customers. Those five clients alone provided a steady monthly income. But eventually replaced my monthly paycheck. So, never give up; keep pushing towards your goals. When you persist and position yourself for success, everything falls into place.”

Khalee Gayle’s journey from chair renter to a salon suite owner is a testament to the power of determination, coachability, and bravery in facing uncomfortable experiences that led to personal growth.

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