Put passion over money if you want to be happy. You need both, but when you pursue a business thinking you will get rich, or worse, get rich quick, it is the wrong intention, and even if you succeed in business, you will never be happy. Let your passion be your guiding force and create value for people and care about them and how you can serve, and the money will come. Never be greedy, and don’t take too much for yourself as you try to grow. Everything I made, I reinvested in developing the company. I was last in line to get paid, and it made me incredibly responsible.
Aspart of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Holly Cutler. Holly rebuilt her skin disfigured from cystic acne almost two decades ago, and has since created FACE Skincare~Medical~Wellness . Her clinic offers over 40 laser and facial technologies, injectables, non-surgical facelifts, body makeovers, and wellness treatments by husband, and renowned naturopathic physician, Dr. Doug Cutler. Holly is a featured speaker and expert for the medical aesthetic and laser industry, and has appeared on FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, The Doctors Show, and regularly in several national publications, as a featured speaker for the medical aesthetics and laser industry. She launched her own innovative skincare product line, The Skin Saint™, as well as the first national virtual skincare consulting company to help people all over the country who may not be able to access the services at her clinic.
Thank you so much for joining us Holly! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ihad cystic acne, which lead to severe facial scarring, and at the time, the dermatologists didn’t help me, and it was an esthetician that cleared my skin. After my skin was clear, seeing how disfigured it was left, I was determined to take things into my own hands and find ways to rebuild it, which lead me into the medical aesthetics and laser industry. I not only cleared my scarring but could now help others with their skin challenges.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
I had no money. I borrowed $3,000 from a friend and started a facial room in the basement closet and storage of an athletic club. I didn’t advertise, and just built word of mouth, and within six months, I was fully booked.
I also had to refer people out to doctors and medical spas for laser work as I only did the clinical peels and facial equipment. After clients kept coming back with burns, or pigmentation issues, or other side effects, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get nationally certified in laser and energy-based devices. Eventually, when trying to get equipment, the first three banks refused to finance me. I remember sitting in my car in a parking lot in tears, feeling backed in a corner, and feeling I wouldn’t be able to compete as medical spas were the trend. Therein, a fire started in me to keep pushing through until I succeeded in finding a way to finance the equipment. The fourth bank finally approved me, and today we have over 40 different energy and laser devices, as one of only 1% in the nation to achieve this.
Looking back, being determined was a great asset. Starting small, building, and facing the smaller challenges, eventually helped me overcome the more significant challenges now running a multimillion-dollar operation.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Always challenging myself to be better, not following what others were doing but carving my own path. I always told people it was a big mistake to say to me I couldn’t do something, as it just ensured I would accomplish it. Not listening to the naysayers and those who would give bad advice — in addition, not letting the economy impact my company and always innovating to meet the needs of people and come up with unparalleled services that provided people the best possible result.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- You will be working ALL the time and not get time off as you think. People think being their own boss means never answering to anybody and working whatever hours you want. On the contrary, you will work harder than anyone and answering to your clients who become like your bosses giving you feedback on your performance daily.
- Delegate early on. Eventually, as you grow and delegate, you can be more precise about your hours. However, you still need to drive the ship and continually set the vision and implement it through the execution of your great team. Without a team I couldn’t grow, as I hired one then grew to over 20 employees, this was invaluable in reaching the vision and company we are today.
- Have capital as now things are so much more competitive than 15 years ago.Have a solid business plan and carve out to the public how you are different. Never compete to be the lowest-priced company on the market, as your work should be top-notch while being competitive in price without compromised quality.
- You will make many sacrifices. It is common to need to sacrifice family obligations, and other dreams to achieve in business. I sacrificed my physical and mental health, never going on vacation, seldom spent time with friends, skipped time with my husband and kids, living in family or friend’s homes to save money, and wearing the same few clothes all the time to reach where we are today. If I knew how hard it was going to be, I might not have pursued a company, as the blood, sweat, and tears, many times, almost broke me. Nothing is more important than family. Now I have three children and over 20 staff, and I am doing better today with pacing myself than I was then.
- Put passion over money if you want to be happy. You need both, but when you pursue a business thinking you will get rich, or worse, get rich quick, it is the wrong intention, and even if you succeed in business, you will never be happy. Let your passion be your guiding force and create value for people and care about them and how you can serve, and the money will come. Never be greedy, and don’t take too much for yourself as you try to grow. Everything I made, I reinvested in developing the company. I was last in line to get paid, and it made me incredibly responsible.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Find people who are smarter than you in certain areas and hire them. Put the right people in the right positions, and train them in duties that are easy to delegate and keep the more challenging tasks that keep the core vision of the company becoming a reality. I used to pull 12-hour days, and it took a toll before I learned this business principle.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There were so many people and forces behind the scenes, and at the forefront, that helped us achieve where we are today, rather than just one person. There was God’s inspiration and strength to help me fulfill my dreams. There was the woman who gave me the $3,000 loan to start my humble beginnings and the many loans I have been grateful to have to help grow our company into the state-of-the-art building and brand it is today. There was the athletic club that allowed me to start my one-woman show out of their storage room and my sister, who got awards in design for building out our new facility. There is my husband, who is the Naturopathic physician for the wellness side of the company, the “rock” for the team, the support at home, and who always has kept me grounded in what is most important. There is an incredible and talented team that we could have never achieved what we have without. In my opinion, it is always a team that gets you to the Olympic championships.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
Personally, it’s about my family, marriage, and children. To be a better wife, mother, and manage my time while taking better care of myself.
Professionally, it is to keep innovating, growing, and serving others. There is no passion that I can imagine other than what I do. In addition, it is to streamline our training to keep everyone on the same page as we grow.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
That you can do anything if you are persistent and pick yourself up after getting knocked down.
That dreams have a cost, but they are so worth it because you are making the world a better place by providing people more confidence in themselves and a better quality of life. That you can have it all, the home life, and the business life, and be passionate about both.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Self-worth is beyond just skincare. We are all children of a heavenly father and have infinite worth and potential. Confidence is ultimately an inside job, but the outside can also make us feel more confident with ourselves, which affects how we interact in the world. Confidence is everything!
How can our readers follow you on social media?