Here is a quick look back. I just gave my manager notice that I was leaving the firm. I was a few months shy of my 10 year anniversary on Wall Street. As I walked out of my manager’s office that overlooked the Hudson River, I contemplated what I had just done. I gave up a stable salary that came with many benefits, a reputation that took years to build and an environment where I was surrounded by interesting and dynamic people. I was venturing into the unknown with a pit in my stomach… but it didn’t last long. This queasy feeling quickly waned because I realized I was investing in myself and in my future.
Twelve months later, I launched Romer Skincare – an entirely different path from my previous career. What I didn’t anticipate is how much growth and discovery would happen along the way and it’s still only the beginning. I know I’m bound to learn more but I wanted to share a few of my reflections from starting a business:
First, success is not built overnight – it takes hard work and a lot of determination. For all the challenging days, there are also plenty of rewarding ones too. Patience is crucial especially over those first six months. In order to stay level, I often remind myself of my WHY. Why did I want to craft my own skincare line in the first place? Why did I want to share my clean routine with others? That passion drives me to remember that it is about the journey and not just the destination.
The second lesson. Don’t be afraid to take risks – I have always been a social person but telling my story to strangers can be intimidating. I’ve learned to share my vulnerabilities with people I don’t know. I haven’t always had great skin and it’s important for me to admit that. Opening up by sharing my skincare journey has helped me build a strong community around those who understand my mission and vision – to create a simplified skincare routine that can be shared regardless of gender, skin type, or background.
This next one… rejection is healthy. It is through the tough conversations that I have learned the most about how to grow the business. At first the criticism is difficult to hear no matter who it comes from (a customer, a vendor, a mentor, or even my husband), but ultimately those insights and feedback have enabled me to explore new ideas and pivot.
And finally, select your partners carefully – I cannot stress the importance of finding partners you can trust. These may not be your best friends, but having strong relationships, both internal and external, is vital! Keep the good ones close by figuring out their motivations – praise, monetary, gifts, etc. And get rid of the bad eggs – a bad relationship has the potential to damage your business.
I enjoy reflecting on what I’ve learned. Let me say on the record, it’s definitely not easy to change career paths and reinvent yourself. Sometimes I do miss my old life, but I have found fulfillment, growth, and new challenges. I’ve been able to experience freedom – freedom to be more creative, make my own decisions, and give myself permission to be who I am – instead of striving for some external goal.
The idea of needing to feel good is really only part of the equation. There are times I’m disappointed or frustrated and times I feel excited or energized – but all of those emotions are necessary and provide balance. Since I’m not as focused on the outcome, I’m not as hard on myself. Each day I wake up and put one foot in front of the other because that’s all we can really control.
Lastly, we all know life is short. Over the past year, I’ve realized that we cannot take anything in life for granted. Why spend our time on this planet doing something you don’t love. What are you doing to follow your dreams?