Photography by Alexis Marie Photography + Designs.
The entrepreneurial brain is a busy place that rarely stops stirring, and sometimes, it needs external feedback to ground its bright ideas and bring them to life. In an Entrepreneurs Forever (eforever) peer group where business owners share their business goals and take in new perspectives, they’re able to distinguish the good idea from their millions of other thoughts and stay accountable to pursuing it.
Nicole Perullo, the owner of the skincare company Nolia Mable, recently launched her first skincare product, the Cucumber Elixir, and rebranded Nolia Mabel’s at-home facial kit. In the months leading up to the release of the rebranded facial kit, Nicole set timely goals that brought her incrementally closer to being ready for the release date. By sharing her goals with her peers, Nicole had a stronger sense of accountability and felt more motivated to work towards them. At each meeting during the ramp up to the rebrand release, Harold Behar, the peer group facilitator kept the conversation flowing and encouraged other members to share their own business-specific goals the way Nicole did.
“I work really well with accountability groups…If I just wrote it [my goal] down and only shared it with Harold, my facilitator, I probably wouldn’t be as motivated. Sharing it with a lot of different people who are also trying to accomplish things is what is most motivating for me — it’s having others hear the things that I’m going to be accountable for,” says Nicole.
In the Entrepreneurs Forever program, business owners set commitments to work on specific aspects of their business in 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day time frames. Every commitment is specific to each business owner—one person may commit to updating their business website while another vows to organize their Quick Books. Whatever their goal, everyone walks away from each meeting with their individual homework. After learning how to set strategic and realistic goals in the EforAll business accelerator program, Nicole considers how much time and space she has in her business and personal life to work toward her goals. She also breaks down her larger goals into smaller steps that are conceptually and tangibly more manageable. Recently, Nicole shared some of her tips and extended support to one of her peers who set a goal to write a company handbook.
“She mentioned that one of her goals was to write up a handbook, but she just kept putting it off and wasn’t getting it done. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hear Make a handbook and that makes me overwhelmed. I don’t blame you for never wanting to start it because it’s such a big thing.’ So I made the suggestion that she break it down into smaller chunks, first writing an outline of the things that she wants inside the handbook. And then each month, she does one of those things because there’s so many layers to that one goal,” says Nicole.
Since 2014, Nicole has been the sole steward of Nolia Mabel, and with a creative entrepreneurial mind, she is constantly generating new ideas for its growth. In a vacuum, it is easy for any business owner to fixate and expand on certain ideas without limit (and sometimes, realize later that their idea was not so great). When Nicole has the opportunity to share the ideas that she’s ruminating on, her fellow peers can chime in and give feedback based on their own wealth of experience. Recently, Nicole’s peer group helped her rethink her idea to plan a launch party celebrating Nolia Mabel’s newly branded facial kit and Cucumber Elixir.
“I had the idea to have a launch party for my two products because I wanted to put them in front of a lot of people at one time. We talked about it, and the group was like, ‘Look, you’re going to spend a lot of money on this. And if people don’t have to pay to get in or they are not going to get anything for free, you could spend $3,000 on this one party and hardly get anybody to show up.’ So they actually guided me away from that idea with very valid reasons. They probably saved me quite a bit of money because I let that idea grow into something that probably would not have been realistic. So they were really good at bringing me back down to earth and helping me realize that my money would probably be better spent in other ways.”
Afterward, Nicole felt inspired to have more conversations with people in her own business network about the best way to utilize her money and time to promote her products.
“I’m talking to a management company about what is going to be the best strategy for me to move forward, marketing wise, whether it’s a sales rep or an aggressive marketing campaign. So even if my issue doesn’t get resolved in the group, it encourages me to throw out ideas to other people and see what I get out of it,” says Nicole.
While Nicole promotes Nolia Mabel’s skincare products, she continues connecting with clients in her studio for consultations, waxes, and facials. Nicole’s clients range from teenagers struggling with acne to ninety-year-old women, and in each relationship, Nicole cares deeply about fostering a trusting and caring connection. Nicole’s clients sometimes see her more often than they see their families and personally open up to her. Nicole treasures the close bonds she has with her clients, but sometimes the relationships make it difficult to implement changes in her business (like eliminating services, raising prices, or changing her business hours).
“I think that you have to learn how to balance the professional relationships that you have with clients. It’s very, very difficult. I used to hate raising my prices because I felt like I’m really close to my clients and I see them almost every two weeks or once a month. It felt kind of icky,” says Nicole.
Over her years in business, Nicole has worked on growing her confidence in making changes in her business and holding a professional boundary with her clients. Recently, she was able to raise the prices for her studio services and feel great about it. When she shared this news with her peers who also understand how tricky client relationships can be, they cheered her on.
“I made it pretty clear that it was something that was difficult for me. And I think everyone was really excited and happy. There was definitely some hand-clapping and lots of smiles. It’s just nice because I surrounded myself all day with people that don’t know what I’m going through, and to be able to say that stuff and have them support it is really great. It makes me feel good,” says Nicole.
In Nicole’s peer group in Cape Cod, MA, business owners in the hospitality and food industries, business consultants, realtors, soap makers, and architects all gather once a month to help each other stabilize and grow their businesses. For Nicole, the diversity in industry creates more opportunities to solve problems in different ways and allows her to be honest about the unique struggles she faces as an esthetician.
“I think it is better to have diversity in a group like this. For myself, it would be harder to share my feelings of hardship and failure with others in my direct industry. I would hold back to avoid judgement, so having a group of non-competing industries is very helpful for me to be open, honest, and get the most out of the experience!” says Nicole.
You can visit noliamabel.com to schedule an appointment with Nicole, order an at-home facial kit, or purchase the Cucumber Elixir serum.