Hi lovely blog readers,
I hope that you’re staying healthy, sane and positive in this time of uncertainty and challenges that we’d never have imagined that we’d ever have to face. Our feathers have been ruffled beyond belief!
I feel it’s time for an honest insight into what’s been happening behind the scenes of the Academy.
Firstly, I still can’t believe that Kasia and I were away for 3 weeks teaching makeup and hairstyling courses in the USA and New Zealand, and we made it back just before we would have been struggling to get flights home! We got back on 10th Feb, just catching the tail-end of storm Ciara, and soon after this global virus situation started happening.
We still managed to squeeze in trips to Ireland and Scotland to run a Bridal Hairstyling Bootcamp and a couple of Bridal Updo Masterclasses, swiftly followed by a 2-Day Bridal Makeup Group Course on 9th and 10th March – and that was the last face-to-face event that we did. We had so many Masterclasses and Bootcamps lined up for the spring, which we were going to run at our new studio but of course, that’s all had to be postponed for now.
It’s crazy how we’ve gone from a full diary of courses and events to online teaching only! Right now we couldn’t be more grateful that back in September we started the Online Academy. Keeping our community thriving, engaged and motivated during this challenging time has kept us sane so far! Both of us are total workaholics, we’d be climbing the walls if we didn’t have such a big, ongoing and all-encompassing project, which has such a big purpose to work towards. Now seeing the incredibly positive feedback we’re getting from nearly 800 members all over the world, and how they’re soldiering on through this time, leaning on each other for support in our tight-knit members Facebook group, is absolutely amazing and heart-warming.
So many of our members are now spending much more time in group discussions, reading the business guides and also in the video tutorials section. As people generally have more time to catch up on the content, we felt that we needed to produce even more to keep everyone focused, positive and motivated. To be able to use this time to grow their skills and businesses, even if it’s tempting to just sit back. Also, MUAs don’t really have dolly heads to practice makeup on, so besides working on our business, social media, websites and so on, I thought what else could we all benefit from? I then remembered that at some point I wanted to try my hand at bridal hairstyling, but never had the time. Then Kasia and I thought that maybe more MUAs who don’t have any hairstyling experience, would enjoy learning this skill on a dolly and to no surprise, sooo many came forward saying yes!
MUA’s are always more in demand if they can offer bridal hairstyling too. So far we’ve done 3 sessions for beginners, streamed LIVE to our members Facebook group and the excitement is palpable! Every time Kasia recommends a dolly head to buy, they get sold out, so she recommends another one, and they get sold out… Finally I think all of the participants have managed to get hold of dollies and are happily learning alongside her, including myself. I’m enjoying it so much, and it’s further proof that talent is only part of mastering something new – you also need to learn the basics really well and have enough discipline to put in the practice hours.
We’re also now doing weekly LIVE sessions for experienced hairstylists who are members of the Online Academy – we’re not forgetting anyone!
Academy tutor Aušra, who’s a super-talented MUA and runs the fab Bridal Perfection Makeup Masterclass will be producing some really useful mini-lesson videos too. These will include her kit review, eyebrow lesson, complexion enhancements and loads more. As MUAs, we need our daily fix of makeup too. I still have makeup video tutorials to edit and am going through them as fast as I can – I definitely don’t feel that I have more free time, even though I’m more in control of it in terms of when I work, when I workout, when I cook. Not sure how I ever managed to find time to tour with the Academy, teach Masterclasses, one-to-one courses and also squeeze in weddings, as well as individual makeup lessons with all the admin, social media updates, content production and running of the Online Academy. Goodness knows! I definitely agree with the wisdom that we will manage through our workload no matter how much time we are given. More time, we work slower; less time and we make better decisions, prioritise better and work more focused hence achieve more.
Also recently a big thing for us is that my husband joined the business full-time at the end of October. He’s helping manage things behind the scenes, doing stuff like looking after the techy part of the Online Academy, keeping the websites updated, doing the book-keeping (it’s so complicated – I never ever touch it); he single-handedly project managed the studio renovations, and so much more! He’s making sure that both our Academy and wedding businesses run smoothly, usually working more than full time, and I still have an endless to-do list for him. How I managed without him before, I really don’t know.
Before the corona-nastiness happened, we were looking at a really lovely future ahead and never anticipated that suddenly all that would change so dramatically. For the last five months we’ve had to pay double rent (on the old and new studios), cover my PA’s and husband’s salaries, as well as paying for our studio renovations. We literally freaked out for a bit when we thought about all of that. Then after being stressed for the best part of the first week, we calmed down, worked out a plan and settled into a new way of life.
We worked out our finances, how to cover the most important bills for the next 3-6 months, where we could make savings (like not buying expensive furniture for the new studio, changing electricity suppliers, stopping random online purchases, postponing VAT payments, etc) and then we felt we had clarity and a plan on how to survive – paying the bills and ensuring that we keep our PA, who has been a godsend (never, ever letting her go). I’m confident that with our positive outlook and work ethic, we can pull through this. On a daily basis Kasia is endlessly churning out bridal hair creations on her dolly head, hanging out in the Online Academy – dishing out advice, answering students’ questions, running live sessions 3 times a week. Her home time is dedicated to looking after her 3-year-old daughter and spending time with her husband.
My daily to-do list is going to be the basis of a separate blog post, which is coming soon. There’s a lot of important stuff on there every day and I’ll share how I prioritise my workload. When life is back to normal again and there are no viruses flying around stalling things, running successful wedding/special occasion and academy businesses, as well as putting together great content for the Online Academy takes up a LOT of time and effort. Then there’s the work on growing an Insta presence across 2 accounts! Prioritising and focused working becomes the only way.
Hoping that you can all look at this time as a resource to focus on self-growth, business improvement and the discovery of new exciting hobbies, as well as guilt-free enjoyment of extra free time – doing whatever lights up your day! We’ll all get busy soon again, so why not squeeze the most out of each and every day, addressing the things we’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. May you stay well and healthy until we are free to hug each other again!