Alli Webb is the founder of the blowout empire, Drybar, a multimillion-dollar company employing over 3,000 people in more than 100 salons across the country. She has experienced some big changes to her personal and professional life in the last year — getting a divorce, learning how to co-parent, launching her new app-based massage chain Squeeze, and adding TV personality to her resume as the newest Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank.“
In her Thrive Diary, Webb reveals her approach to her new life. “The old quote, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ is very true for me this year. It’s been rough, but also like a tremendous year of growth,” she says. “I’m in a bit of a rediscovery mode and figuring out what’s next for me personally. I’m really inspired by my next phase, the second act,” she says. Read on for Webb’s advice on what it takes to be a strong leader, how to practice compassionate directness, and why taking time for yourself is the key to success.
Thrive Global: Has there been a time where you felt burned out?
Allie Webb: Burnout is real. I think I’ve gone through many phases in my career where I have felt burned out because I was not making time for myself. When we first started Drybar, I was working crazy hours and I didn’t allow time for anything except for my kids, and my family, and work. There was no time for me, and I think that’s what causes burnout.
TG: What strategies work for you in terms of avoiding burnout?
AW: I learned the hard way that I have to make time — whether it’s getting up super early in the morning so I can work out or get my meditation in or finding a time during the day. Plus, everybody needs to set up their days the way that makes them feel the most refreshed and not underestimate the value of sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I am so cranky. It’s a joke with my friends; they know that I’m more emotional, and just nothing really works when I don’t get enough sleep. I need at least seven hours to be the most efficient and to feel really good. If I don’t, I’m just not as productive on so many levels.
One of the things that I recently started doing was transcendental meditation, which is a great way for me to calm my mind. When you’re operating from a place of calmness and not this harried, “have to get it all done” mindset, the result is better.
TG: How do you stay organized?
AW: It is about prioritizing the things that need immediate attention, and being able to say “no.” I think this year has become the year of me being like, “You know what, I can’t say yes to everything.” I’ve been guilty of overextending myself and then I’m exhausted and tired, which causes anxiety and depression. The trick is figuring out that the world is not going to fall apart because I didn’t do this one thing that I could have done.
TG: As an entrepreneur and the newest “shark” on “Shark Tank,” you have great insight into what makes a successful business idea. Can you share some tips to get started?
AW: You can dream up anything, but it’s really about execution and surrounding yourself with people who know things that you don’t. For me with building Drybar, I had all this expertise in hair and I knew how to run a salon, but my ex-husband Cameron, he really understood branding, and my brother, Michael, understood marketing and business, and that was a huge part of our success. Without all three of those things coming together, not to mention our amazing architect Josh Heitler, Drybar would never been successful. When you’re thinking about starting a business you have to really consider the execution value and in order to make it actually work, you might need to bring in other people to help you. Look outside of yourself.
Once you have your idea, the first step is talking to people around you who you trust to give you their honest feedback. Not everybody thought Drybar was a great idea, however, most women I spoke to did, and because it was a service for them — they got it. So talking to people who would be your potential customers or clients is a great first step and seeing if there’s they respond with, “Yeah this is a good idea and I could see this.”
Also, there are many potential entrepreneurs who have this great idea, but they also have a job that they can’t quit for financial reasons. Try taking a year and really pulling back your expenses — save up as much as you can. Then you can take that leap a year from now and be able to pursue the business because, financially, you don’t make money when you’re starting a business and you’re a new entrepreneur.
TG: You shared that you are going through a transition now personally and learning what works best for your family now. How are you handling the change?
AW: Anybody who is a single parent knows that co-parenting and being a single parent is hard. For me, the hardest part has been not having that person that’s always been there to help you make decisions, and to bounce ideas off of, and you’re kind of on your own. It’s been a tough transition to get used to that. I found myself kind of testing different parenting philosophies that I’d never really thought about when I was married because we just always figured it out together. I went through a phase where I got very strict with my kids, where I’ve always been very laid back and easygoing, and realized the pendulum had swung too far, and then it swung back too far the other way. It’s about finding the perfect balance with my kids.I wish I could say I had all the answers, but I don’t, and it’s kind of like a daily work in progress figuring it all out.
TG: What brings you optimism?
AW: Contentedness, which is kind of tough to get to. When I feel like my kids are happy, when the business is running well, and my employees are happy — that’s when I feel the most optimistic. Life does feel like a constant roller coaster, but then there are those moments of, “Yeah, it’s all okay.” I’m mostly working on letting go of not knowing — what will my kids futures be, what’s next for me, will I ever get married again? It’s all this big jumble of uncertainty and I don’t sit well with uncertainty. I need to have everything planned out and figured out, but I’m in this perpetual limbo right now, which isn’t super comfortable. I think I need to let it go, and just enjoy the moment.
TG: What is a quote or mantra that inspires you to thrive?
AW: It’s a Maya Angelou quote: “People won’t remember what you said or what you did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” It’s how you make people feel when you talk to them, looking in their eyes, and getting a real sense of them. That is something that’s really important to me, and something I strive for in my daily life.