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Does Fear Prevent Salon Growth?

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“Always do what you are afraid to do.” While Ralph Waldo Emerson wasn’t necessarily referring to salon owners, this quote is a powerful sentiment that can, and should, be applied to your aspirations of growing your business. 

What is Fear?

Fear is one of the seven universal emotions that’s experienced by everyone. It surfaces when a threat of harm has arisen, whether physical or emotional, real or imagined. Typically, fears are rooted in an initial feeling of worry that subconsciously spirals out of control. 

“Worry is a future forecasted thought,” says Jamie Sea, owner and founder of SALT Society hair salon, in her podcast “Hair Goals.” “It’s not a present moment thought.” When these thoughts of worry begin to invade and spiral out of control, that’s when fear becomes a debilitating emotion that often forces you to retreat to your comfort zone. 

This vicious cycle is a result of our primal instinct to avoid any sign of danger. Although making a risky career move isn’t comparable to being chased by a lion, those same feelings surface and manifest in similar ways. 

“You're not really in danger,” Jamie Sea says in her podcast episode on how to overcome fear. “You're just doing something different and it just feels different. So when you step outside your self created comfort zone, the brain's gonna get really loud and it's going to signal anxiety, overthinking, and procrastination. Maybe you’ll even feel it in your body where your throat starts to tighten up or your heartbeat starts to get a little bit faster.”

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What Fears Can Hold Salon Owners Back?

For salon owners, there’s a potential fear of failure, disappointment, or personal let down. However, many of these worries are based on a projected “need” of something. “The word ‘need’ is rooted in fear,” Jamie Sea assures. There is this constant internal narrative of “I need more clients. I need more money. I need, need, need.”

Here are 3 fears that salon owners and stylists struggle with in their careers. 

1. Not Making Enough Money

Everyone wants to be financially independent, but the actionable steps to get there aren't always clear. On top of that, the earning potential of a salon is not as predictable as other kinds of business. Stylists often need an established, loyal clientele base and a desirable location to interest new customers. And since money is an important element of growing a business, this fear holds many salon owners back from fulfilling their full potential.

2. Lack of Client/Quality Clients

Clients are the foundation of a thriving salon business. Stylists can harbor a lot of anxiety about not having enough clients to sustain their business. On top of that, clients aren’t always pleasant or friendly. Therefore stylists may feel anxious about interacting with difficult or demanding clients.

3. New Location/Surroundings

We are all creatures of habit. Drastic changes can make anyone anxious, especially when it comes to our work. When a major change happens, like a new salon location or staff, your brain automatically sees it as negative. This often influences the decision-making process and increases anxiety. Learning the right techniques to deal with new or unexpected situations will benefit your mental health and help your business succeed.

Learn to Embrace Fear in Your Business

The key to any kind of success is embracing both the good and the bad. While fear can be a debilitating emotion that can hold you back in your success, it can also push you outside of your comfort zone. 

“Don’t get caught up in the chase,” says Jamie Sea. “Be patient and kind and try to avoid that “toxic hustle mentality” that many feel when they are scared of failure or inadequacy. “It’s never going to feel like fulfillment.”

It’s important to remember that fear doesn’t have to be the enemy. It can push us, challenge us, and show us what we’re really made of!

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