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Sept. 20, 2022

All Up In: Great Hair & Even Better Businesses with Susan Flaga of Sparrow Salon

All Up In: Great Hair & Even Better Businesses with Susan Flaga of Sparrow Salon

This week, we’re welcoming Susan Flaga to the podcast! Susan is a hairstylist, co-owner of Sparrow Salon in Chicago, and owner of Sparrow for Everyone- Haircare for Sensitive People.

Together, Susan & Mary talk about:

  • Getting the entrepreneur bug
  • Servant leadership and the ever-growing process of learning to be a good leader
  • Thinking of your employees as bosses and caring about their wellbeing while maintaining a well-structured and profitable business with clear expectations
  • How a medium named Cinnamon helped Susan accept that she needed to use what she already knows to get to her next business (crystal ball)
  • Motherhood as a small business owner in the entrepreneur space and the struggle of being talked down to by “high functioning” men (eye roll)
  • The beauty in a mission statement

Tune in then smash that subscribe button so you never miss an episode, and come hang with us on Instagram & Twitter!

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Music. Welcome to all up in my lady business I am your host Mary nisi on this podcast all explore the fine line between having it together I'm losing your shit. Here I share my journey as an entrepreneur a mom a wife a DJ and randomly a beekeeper I have no shame and no filter except the ones I use on Instagram my stories of resilience a little structure and a lot of resource Wellness can show you how to take those same things and live your life with your. Music. I'm sitting here with Susan Flaga who is a hair stylist the co-owner of sparrow Salon here in Chicago and the owner of sparrow for everyone hair care for sensitive people she is a mother she is a wife she's got an incredible skin and amazing rack that I'm just staring at Susan welcome to all up in my lady business I'm so happy to have you here so Susan I wanted to have her on because she has I mean not only she just everything that comes out of your mouth is usually like nugget of gold if I may say so myself but you run a successful hair salon here in Chicago you pivoted to start other businesses you are one of I feel like this like the statement was actually created for someone to give you are one of the most authentically you people I just feel like you know exactly who you are in a way that is enviable and I think your. Your shoes your needs to make it into the universe and if I can facilitate that in a small way I can't hear this but I'm just sitting her beaming at her. It's a really lovely smile so Susan why don't you can you give us like a little Reader's Digest version of your backstory how did you where you from how did you get into hair styling what is your, are we will notice that you bring into the world all about gladly I grew up in the Midwest, and like a suburb of Chicago and then when I was in like sixth grade we moved to Michigan and then I went to high school and it was. You know rough experience for me. Was it a rough experience because high schools rough for everybody or do you think it was particularly rough on you school was really bad for me starting at Square One aye really was like painfully shy and I really struggled with bullying and I was not only like. Bullied but I also took it upon myself to like rescue other children and I was a weirdo yeah you know the whatever genuine person yeah you were referencing like earlier that's that I was also bullied deeply when I was younger so I understand that you can't hide it. So and kids are like vampires they just sniff out whatever insecurity they can exploit yeah and then it just you know drove it deeper I found myself kind of like aimless I had a sense that I needed that I was going to achieve things are that I was meant to pull some stuff off but that was not remotely connected to any direction or drive to achieve. Anything is that is that because you weren't given that push from like your family or you just didn't you were just aimless and didn't know what you want to do after graduation. I can tell you with certainty that going to college. Was a conversation that never came up both in school and in my house me too really mine was partially like. You come from a long line of hard workers so like you're gonna you'll be fine but like you know like and there was it mean there was a little bit of sexism in there to where it's like women don't necessarily have to go to college it was like you know you might get married but like that wasn't that wasn't necessarily I was not given the message a man's going to save you yeah I was given a men aren't going to save you so you need to fucking. Get a job and cover your own ass and if you want to go to school to try to do something. Great maybe you'll make more money than me but you you just have to go to make that bait whatever it needs to take just to basically survive I'm giving you the work ethic for that it wasn't like do you want to go to Brown or do you want to go to a state school or do you want to you know like it was no it was like I think it was a financial thing for for my family like yeah like like if you want to go to college we're not paying for it right so like conversation didn't even occur but yes. That would have been the thing until you're 18 you're in Michigan yeah I'm eating I'm in Michigan I got some like cool piercings it was the 90s yeah well DIY haircuts so I had always cut everyone's hair I was that kid. And my own and I was like living in Royal Oak after I graduated from high school living in this apartment with my best friend Nick and my younger sister just like chain-smoking and. Like you just moved out of your house at 18 with no College you're just like had a job yeah okay just like got jobs the kind of take away from my family was like. My mom had this fight my dad did not but she was like you're amazing you can do whatever you want what are you going to do. It was like that like you got Wings yeah fly anywhere I just can't help you on and I will have nothing to do with it and yeah that's you know both good hmm. And presents complications for a young individual with no drive and no money so I. Realize that I was living very close to a cosmetology school at that time and I couldn't have fathomed myself becoming. Hair stylist everything intimidated me I would say but after like some Community College that I paid for that was. Miss a miserable extension of my RT like rough School experience and painting a bad picture but it'll brighten up. I started going to cosmetology school and I think it's fair to say that I almost flunked out of beauty school I mean you were almost a Beauty School Dropout your house oh no graduation day for you legit of almost a Beauty School Dropout but for truancy not because you were tending spending to him smoking basements cigarettes in the basement of your apartment yeah. Yeah it was like so pathetic I felt like I was destined for better things so I slapped but the funny thing was at that point I just hadn't realized that the way to get somewhere is to do the best with what you have. Anyway I muscled through. Cosmetology school and finally got your license get my license and I had like natural abilities so I moved back to Chicago. And I started working for a salon here and I did that for seven years until my partner Sheba and I. Decided that it was time to go out on her own so we open Sparrow Sparrow is now. 13 and a half 14 and a half so what year was that 2009 and it was amazing and. I felt like at home for the first time not necessarily because I was like. Owning a salon and that was my my end goal but because I did my own thing and I wasn't working for someone else. And I got the bug and I was like. Crazy excited and driven and really every other day was like what's next. And okay so I think that what you're kind of touching on is that when. I think we're all trying to be good little capitalists and get joined the work market and you're the the economy or whatever and for most people that's just getting a job we're not given entrepreneur lessons when we're in high school like this is an option for you. Your everything is just like learning the math and the science and the social studies and other things to kind of like give you the base might be able to think critically as then you can go become go to college and focus it down or whatever but you're not there's no there's no like. By starting your own business isn't part of the curriculum I think that we all just have to move to work for somebody else and then it's the weirdos who are like like you don't know what it is until you start the business and then you're like oh I just wasn't meant. To work for other people I am a leader you know I'm also not a team player like I'm like I am I am much better at bossing people around and telling them what to do and seeing big pictures would you say that that sort of similar to you. Like you got your own job you want your own business you like oh wait a minute this is what I meant it like it yeah it's interesting though because for years. It was just my partner and I. Doing here just enjoying the freedom of being our own bosses and we kind of thought that we would never really. Expand we were just like yeah we did it we have this beautiful space we can live by our own principles we can care given the way that we think is great. And then it evolved we always had receptionist's but I didn't learn to be a leader. It's an ever-growing process I think. For everyone but learn to be a leader until like years into owning my own business did that leadership knowledge come after leading people or did it come how long into the into the business did you start bringing out other stylist. I would say it was your six or seven it was a while so wow so just the two of you on the back of the two of you is bringing all the income and yeah. Because I decided to retire in order to replace that was about that's when you brought your first other stylist on was when I think it was like maybe 2014 2015 when we brought up her stylist on, it wasn't even necessarily deliberate we were kind of she was just kind of working at the place that we used to work and we're like yeah just come over here you're having a hard time we brought her on board and then. When I say that like leadership is an Ever evolving skill for me. I kind of don't think I'll ever be done I consider myself to be a servant leader it was really funny for me to wake up one day and realize that like I didn't have, hey boss I had, that was a really weird realization as well like and it took a bunch of people saying to me like it must be great to Be Your Own Boss must be greater they call me the middle of the day to try to talk and I'm like I'm working you're your own boss of me yeah and if I don't work nothing happens and also I have like 40 buses like my employees are my bosses and I don't think they realize I mean I think that's what happens, when you care things that you have however many employees. You have as bosses when you care about them and it matters to you how they how they're you know treated at work but. I think the first thing I did when I had multiple employees was make the mistake of kind of shadowing the only thing I have ever been exposed to. Which was you know here's what we expect. And probably not even doing a wonderful job of sharing like clear expectations. And I just don't think that I was as understanding or open to the big picture of how great work could be you can't live for free there's no. I mean you can go live off the fat of the land I suppose but it's. Harder to do now than it used to be I would imagine it's like if we're going to exist within this capitalist structure this and right now we are clearly in some late-stage capitalism. We're private equity and corporations and all these things are going to sucking all of the like Humanity out of work to just make more money and like. And as I feel like you and I we both have services that our in-person services you can't do these things remotely and there's not a lot of jobs like that anymore were you mean a little retail but even retail can be online like. I feel like service operations where you actually have where you actually see people you have to look them in their eyes and you have to like ask the things of them and they have to put themselves in situations where they active undercover officer uncomfortable conversations or do things like clean a toilet when it's not necessarily in their job description or whatever and I think that there's this like. When you care about the person I do care I don't just see them as like money making dollar signs out there like I care about this yeah, the messaging out there right now is so bad about work the quiet quitting and the don't do anything you know and it's like well we're all there's bosses in here to that actually do care and actually want to like. Provide and we can only solve problems we know they're there yeah I guess kind of what I'm reflecting on as I think that. You know there was a point when I dug in and really started to like on Earth every little. Part of our business including exploring myself as an individual and as a boss and. I responded to things and I think in the beginning I kind of just like what from what I was. Taught I don't really think I've totally thought this way but I think I behaved in this way like. I have the certain parameters you can't come in late and you can't do XY and Z and. I don't know I think like my sort of the structure that we had created was creating kind of like. Not ideal environment it wasn't Toxic by any means but. I'm just speaking of this from the perspective of someone that's really put a lot of work into evolving as a leader. And it's hard to put my finger on but I think for my I think if I experienced an element of that and I think part of it was I had so many shitty bosses in my life that I was like trying to like I'm going to be the cool boss I'm gonna like give them a you know a huge percentage of the money because I don't want to I don't want them to think that I'm taking them grabbing their money or I don't want to ask too much of them are like or I assumed that they understood things you know like being late. I assume you know you're not supposed to be late but there are some people that are just always late right so therefore you were mediocre and expectation yeah. And you lost money yeah we did that I was our first employee we were like we don't think that it is fair that people should be making only forty percent commission. But so we did 50 and realized that we literally lost money having employees so what was the point of you and please understand the cost there's so much cost to having them. And they don't see that and that's fine that's not their job is there but they also can't get mad about either that we have to take money and then you know there was a holy we're taking on the risk we're doing like were the ones laying in bed at night worrying about things we deserve to get. Chunk of that to justify the. Stress that were under as well I mean I honestly always say I want to create a safe environment for my employees where they know exactly what's expected of them and where they can leave work where it is, I will take it home because I started the business yeah so you did your hair yourself but then you did you were tired from doing hair. So we open Sparrow in 2009 and I Incorporated Sparrow for everyone in 2012 okay. It's 10 years ago oh yeah so I clearly, after starting one business was ready and motivated to do more new and exciting things and. The first thing I did was launched a beautiful skin oil that could be used in your hair but the thought was there for me already that professional styling products work could just do better they didn't need to be filled with xanthum gum and yellow number 50 Phantom comes great but to be filled with synthetic fragrance and stuff like that and this was like far before I was even becoming sick from that stuff so I designed this skin oil and it's the most amazing education that I've ever received I spent Years Learning the hard way how to do contract manufacturing how to make your own products how to sell and distribute a cosmetic product but also like learning like aromatherapy and figuring out how crystals working like all of that other stuff that you also had to take into consideration starting your own non-toxic oil while your own a salon or not they're not the that not a logical progression. No and here's here's the Crux of the whole that was the thing I was that was nervous that's like really interesting you know in the back of my head for years I was like. I want out I want to. Make this thing I want it to be amazing and I want to sky rocket and Blast away from the salon business I wanted to make this thing that, took me to like on to the next level. And you be able to like abandon the hair salon and I like be done with that business and then I could have this other business that like really was very exciting to me and. Through much trial and error I realized. Again that I needed to do the best with what I had and what better platform. To sell a product like a very successful career as a hairdresser and salon owner so if you want me to just bare it all I will. Share with you how I got there and it's kind of hilarious and involves a medium I want everything about that and that and actually I want to hear all that because that's the thing it's like it's funny has so many my conversations they all kind of come back to this woo like it's really weird like I mean even the conversations I've had in the podcast the conversations I'm having in my life it's all just kind of going towards this more like. Mystical Universal like I think a lot of successful. People women are in tuned with the bigger picture and one of the things that just now you're just saying is that like I've got this song on working what you've got that was a thing you had said to me I kind of reference tip of when we were in Pre when we were talking about you said to me once it was basically the same thing but kind of just more concise you were like. I kept trying to get out of the salon when it was the place that was the most like it was me like I don't know why I was trying to get away from this place I built the successful thing it made money and it seems like it was it was successful from the jump like it doesn't seem like you really had to circle too much to get it was profitable immediately and then we hired people in it was not and then we had to correct that but. But that's the thing that was not you you weren't you didn't you weren't not making money because the business wasn't successful you weren't making his you were allocating your expect your your cash flow accurately you know I've had toast and jam for 17 years like that's a long-ass time to be doing most people don't stay in the same job for that long and so I'm kind of like well this is my time to get a new job I'm going to keep toast and jam and I'm going to try other things and it's like no no no, like. Other things unless you really understand and have a passion for them like you're going to keep and I do I keep getting pulled back in a toast and jam and it's like I just love it I just need to just love toasted and quit trying to make fetch happen yeah well it's your anchor. But it doesn't mean that you can't do other things yeah so let's go back to the medium and how you figured out so because I mean again I think that being in a salon intrinsically puts you around chemicals. And I mean is there something about that that kind of. Flake Drew towards this less toxic like oh yeah well the whole background on that well let me talk about how I got to Hair Care first so I was doing skincare because I was not seeing it I wasn't, getting it yet when you were a kid when you were in cosmetology school no no I'm saying I was making a skincare product as a hairstylist okay and I laugh at that now but I needed to find my way to the most more logical answer so I had no platform to sell skincare what was I doing yeah hair so anyway I was working with a mentor and she was this amazing woman. In England she was actually living in the south of France and we would just do like Zoom calls, and she specifically helps cosmetic or like soap making companies she helped bring them to market and just console people through so I applied for her to Mentor me and she was like a really interesting person to know. But I watched one of these Zoom. Meetings that she had with one of her previous students that had found great success selling natural horse care products and so the process for the woman to get from doing skincare like I was doing. To designing course care products with just one meeting with my mentor Melinda so this is on a video that I'm watching and I was, watching Melinda convince this woman to start doing or a scare because she's passionate about horses it's where her Love Lies it's her whole life is horses and she's like do what you know and the woman did it she pivoted and she found great success so I finish watching that and I'm like oh shit Melinda is gonna make me. Do hair care I don't want to do I remember you saying that to me too I remember back then yeah you remember when you had that conversation you said that to me so I was freaking out and I was like having this crisis because I was spent all this time. Learning but running away from the platform that I had so. I had this conversation with Hillary a receptionist that used to work as marrow and Hillary it'll everyone loves she really is she's a human. She's an angel goddess, she visited for a little bit and she during this time when I was like in total conflict with myself and I was like I just feel like I'm missing something. I was just really feel like I'm missing something and Hillary's like you know what you need to do. And I was like what she said we'll go to this mind body and spirit convention I went one time yada yada yada. So I did what at the time I consider to be the weirdest ass thing I've ever done in my life I signed up for a 2-day. Mind body and spirit convention where was it went there by myself it was in like a convention center and that's some suburb I don't know what was here yeah it was in it was like you flew to Boise or something Italy so I was able to like keep it a secret from everyone that would like think I was in with me and I drove up there two days in a row. But the first person that I and I trust my gut on everything so it was just leading me astray at that time but I walked in and I was like I'm just gonna see who calls to me. And there was like medium set up all around and like all sorts of other weird shit and I sit down at a table with this woman named Cinnamon. Bless her I love it already and I just had a 15-minute conversation and she said. What do you want talk about and I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about it was business is all I ever want to talk and I said I don't know and she was like well look at it like this. I'm in a library and I just filled with books full of it with information I just need to know what booked pick. And I was like okay business she had to pull it out of me because I was like too nervous and didn't understand how mediums work and so she says okay. Um as I bring my awareness into spirit world I can see like all this stuff. She's like you have two businesses one is a product. And one is a service she said that she didn't know anything about you. Yeah no I said business I was we didn't tell her like Ayana Salon like you just lit okay wow I have all recording if you would like to listen but it's amazing so she says that and I like yeah that's true here we go. And she starts explaining some just general things about how to find success things need to be intertwined, and then I specifically asked I said hey I'm about to start talking to this mentor and I have this really strong feeling that she is going to tell me that I have to do hair care and I really don't want to do hair care, and she said well I can just say this you're not going to find success in less. Your two existing businesses are intertwined and then she just went to Great Lengths to explain that so I walked away and I was like. Shit I guess I'm doing hair care and while I was doing the skincare were you disappointed by that or did it feel freeing. False but shortly thereafter. Everything flowed out of me it was everything that was always supposed to be there but bonus. I had games like years of information. Learning how to actually go about creating a product and doing it right I think. It was exactly how it was supposed to happen but I always would say in my like branding of my my skin care line I'm like I want it to be like. Quirky and I wanted to be fun and I wanted to be kind of weird and dark and I basically like would you just describe your own personality but there wasn't coming across in The Branding and it's things virtually impossible if you're not, well I signing with your soul right but I think also we get taken by the people who try to dull our shine or make you fall in with what it's supposed to be quote unquote when you hear clean product and non-toxic and sensitive people and all these other things I think people would probably try to push you towards like it's not all going to be Democrats buying your stuff you got to make sure that you're making it more kind of like removing the you from it to make it more masks because it's like this whole endgame capitalism where you're trying to sell to everybody and try to get dollars out of everyone and so, I think because you were removing you from the equation the quirky Darkness. But it's with with sunshine to it's like I mean you've got like a you've got a great a lot of great dualities within you and I would actually describe myself a little bit along those same lines as well and I feel like whenever I try to make my marketing a little too like. Mass Appeal like I'm trying to appeal to both men and women or whatever that's when it kind of gets dulled you know in like I'm always on the verge of swearing and I feel like that's what I kind of want like yeah. And so I just it was almost instantaneous I woke up and not only did I wake up to. What I knew that I wanted to and needed to do but I woke up to my salon business which I'm going to dig into in a minute so. The hair cream was born and it was The Branding and the design just like, but you knew it but you side you can see the colors you can see the I was like I know this is exactly what's always needed this product always needed to exist I know exactly what it needs to feel like smell like look like sounds like and hair care for sensitive people was just my like slightly tongue-in-cheek way of. You know making fun of myself for being a sensitive baby but also like giving room for people to like be sensitive not want. Gallon of perfume with each styling product that they put on so the product is. Vegan it's gluten-free it's clinically tested to be safe for people with sensitive skin because I know that when you put a styling product in your hair you roll around on your pillow all night like you're wearing it and after. You know 17 years of chemical exposure and perfume exposure like I literally your the end of my career I couldn't use styling products on people half of them I would use and walk away or turn the blow dryer on to get it away from me like I really. Had excess chemical exposure and am extremely sensitive to any of that stuff. So you know there's tons of ways to be sensitive and this was just with so exciting for me because I was like oh. You know you could be sensitive about the environment animal testing you be intuitive. You could break out every time you you could actually technically just have sensitive skin. And I think everybody is or wants to be sensitive right I know I just did a trade show recently and I was passing out these pins that said, sensitive just like and people just like love them so much and if they didn't identify with being sensitive they were like can I take one for my friend yeah yeah like it's a very, compelling and you don't know that what's interesting about that is wouldn't you love to be like have a tracking device on that sensitive pin with it has a camera on it has an audio capture of microphone so you can because I feel like that would start a conversation like I was at the show I saw this pin you're sensitive and then the sense of hers like we're sensitive to and I'm not sensitive then you don't know like what kind of like yeah. Okay so anyway sorry you have the pen sensitive pins they're going out into the world yeah but I'm just saying like a lot of people have like really strong feelings about that and and exploring that has been. Really fun and there's a lot of people that don't want they want efficacious styling products that don't smell. But it actually does have a smell it does have a subtle sweet smell that I actually made in my kitchen because my cosmetic chemist didn't do smells. And I was like well I know exactly what I want. And you know the background that I got studying essential oils allowed me to just like Source what I needed and make the smell what is this smell there's some Bergamot some vetiver there's a resin called benzoin resin that gives it that like sweet vanilla you smell a little bit of lavender pepper it's like sweet. But Moody and dark and light it's literally all of the things which is scribe that I wanted my products to be so now that you've Okay so. Okay so the salon so you're you don't do here at all anymore you're a noite urine haircare Central you launched the hair products like a year ago exactly a year ago yeah and. How's it going it's good it's in like. You know 50 Salon but that's crazy bunch of booty that's crazy all Instagram really all your marketing is through Instagram yeah so it's free. Or you pay are you doing paid ads no I did have I occasionally dabble in paid ads but you know what I have an affiliate program and the word of mouth is really just what does it like stylus are like this is rad the tube is aluminum the cap is 100% post-consumer plastic everyone has like a little cluster of clients that can't handle synthetic fragrance there like boom this is for you and it's just the most flexible thing ever you know and that's what I wanted it to be I actually know better in terms of marketing than to try to design a product that's for everyone so it was. Not on purpose I swear but what was it on purpose that it's for everyone oh. Like my next product is going to be much more Niche down Niche but but, I can't say the product is like for everyone accidentally, but it's a game changer for people with fine hair like myself it's like adds moisture and definition but it doesn't weigh your hair down either doesn't wear your hair down I mean it is a miracle product I'm not gonna lie, it really is I mean I mean yeah sometimes I'm using it and I'm like what how did this happen it's so good and that's good to have self-esteem about the whole thing as well love it but I, I own it because it's been a 10-year journey I won't stop but I can't stop. You should write a song about that I should I think I maybe have but yeah like I said earlier. I went from being an almost Beauty School Dropout sorry David Presley Academy to being the most driven Relentless we excited about life and everyday person yeah I'm out of control and do you think so so wait what parts of what do you think what was this duel was the turning point where you became the crazy person like the driven human that was was it the medium was it the I think I think honestly it was just. Gaining power I just think I gained so much strength from taking that leap and opening my. Own business just step one opening Sparrow it takes a lot of guts I was like whoa. I'm free I can do anything I mean owning a small business is sometimes horrifying my partnership and I spent like. We luckily have had like a really long lasting partnership which is rare and it's gotten better over the years which is that's where your to yeah usually it's like you started thing together and then they start having differing ideas of the directions and one person has to buy the other person out or they secretly loathe each other and that's not that's not your situation like each other more now than we ever did and you know we just like give each other space to be Who We Are I love digging into the numbers at Sparrow now I love making sure that everything's working properly and she loves that I love that she loves just like honing her craft and being a Workhorse and it works perfectly and I am also like, going over here and starting this company and she's just like yeah well and it only can feed into makes make the salon better yeah but she's not involved in Sparrow for everyone but she's just like, and awesome just like yeah cool from going from like 0 to waking up every day feeling like. I think small business owners have the exceptional gift of endless potential hmm you could look at it like it is, the burden of having to do everything on your own but even though half the time it's really scary like I look at it it's the gift of endless potential my life doesn't ever have to be what it is today tomorrow like I can just watch myself. Evolved and I think that yeah it's very fucking exciting and I think that that's like we're ideas people you know like you have like a lot of ideas yeah and I have a lot of ideas that I wish could see the light of day and I just sometimes feel like I don't know how to do that I feel like they're like dying, you know like I'm starving so, which is amazing I would love to touch on being a woman in this industry I mean you know the beauty industry is largely women and just like for me the wedding industry is largely women but my my division within it is mostly men so I've had to deal with a whole different like a weird. Place of like being the only deep woman DJ and. But that's a different conversation what it's been like for you to try to be a woman in this world and we kind of what kind of different things have you dealt with trying to. Create a salon or create a hold old business starting another business like how do you think that being a mom has affected these things. There's so many things to say on this well one thing that I mentioned to you before was that, I'll say it differently one thing I was thinking of recently was that some of my friends that are men that are in like Corporate America. Or whatever just high-functioning men yeah this is men that doing whatever they want because everyone believes in them and even told since they were young they can do anything they want they like look at what I'm doing and trying to achieve. With kind of like oh wow like surprised and like. Like it's I don't know I think anyone feels like it's cute but it's like wow you're so driven I'm proud of you and I'm like. It's like first of all I didn't do this for you to be proud of me yeah and it comes from like a lovely place but that sentiment is there because the world expects men know what they're doing and it supports them and well I mean from my perspective like I get I mean to this day I still get asked I'll run into someone haven't seen and a couple of years which is a lot of people at this point cause I haven't seen anybody in a real long time but it's a lot of like I still doing that DJ company and it's like yeah my little dj yeah like it is not said like, did you sell that job in marketing it's more like that little D Jake like that let it's like, you mean the DJ company that employs 25 people and does 700 weddings a year yeah that I still I am still doing that so have that lady business yeah it's kind of like that yeah. Yeah wait I was thinking about this just last night the mom thing to but it applies to anything that involves women I believe anything that you put like Mom in front of like Mommy blog mompreneur or Mom guilt those things I mean mom go for some reason is really like not triggering but makes me really annoyed because it's like I think we could just actually call that love because we're mothers and we love our children but we also have drive to do other things and Society doesn't really want to high-five us on that your if you don't work your bad and if you do work your bad but good thing there's no winning and in that light I I had this realization and they asked my husband last year hey really in bed, I was like Hey do you ever and I already knew the answer I was like do you ever feel like you're either a good father, or a good worker and he was like No And I was like yeah I didn't think so yeah but I think that many of us would. I refuse to have like quote-unquote. Mom guilt how do you how can you refuse to and just choose not to because it's just love mmm well it's like they I mean it's like that thing you heard when you were pregnant that like when you have a child it's like having your heart outside your body yeah like what and it's true though it's like wow there's like a thing that's just I can't protect all the time but my boys like. They don't want me to this Beast just like stay home with them now the time no I'm fact my wants me away from you a lot of the time like they I just mean like doing badass stuff amazing for them between my husband and I are little boys think that we have keys to bit every business like Abel was like can you just like if something's close I'll be like can you just open it up they grew up like going into the salon yeah whatever but yeah. I don't know maybe I just don't like want to accept that. Mom guilt term so I don't let myself sure you feeling something but you just are calling it something else I mean I feel pulled so like you know there are occasions when I'm like oh I. Should be dedicating more time to them today or something like that. But preaching my new weird gospel about how life is filled with endless possibilities and it's exciting as shit like watch this I know what you mean and it's immune is particularly hard right now I think just with just the state of the world like there's so much negativity and it's like there's a lot of so much gross in this going on in like politics is this Battleground where yeah it comes up all the time and like if you can't not have an opinion on it yeah and it doesn't feel good to just be a general human in the world right now between pandemics and inflation and blah blah blah and so and you know and then we can do all this you know work where. Looking at energy fields and you know looking for patterns and being okay with saying like the world is this Limitless place with filled with possibility and awesomeness and it's really hard to say that to somebody who's you know stringing together three gig economy jobs and well my old accountant had this this this statement on his wall that said suffering is optional. And it used to drive me crazy oh yeah that would piss me off it was like every time I saw it I would be like what about like tell that to the, kids on the Bantam Death March and you know during Vietnam or tell that to like remember like the Syrian War had just started and there was all these atrocities that were coming out about what was happening there and but and I know this sounds so trite. But it's like when I when I finally got it it was an Frank that kind of got me to like. I understand it and it's that quote at the end of you know I mean I'm not I'm paraphrasing I'm not going to get where she basically says like I really think that everybody is ultimately is good and it's like. You're hiding in an attic. You're about to get sold out to your dentist by your dentist or whatever and you still think that Nazis are ultimately good people and it was like okay so that's that's what the suffering is optional thing is even if you are in a terrible situation understanding that like you can either succumb to it you can either be miserable and. You know or you just sort of exist within it and understand and kind of you know like you're making a product it's not making money now but it will. You're planting all the seeds right now for it I think that so much of this is like manifesting I always go into every situation feeling like it's going to work it's going to work I don't start anything thinking like well it could fail or like I might not get funding or there might be somebody who wants it or something that seems bad out on the internet which a lot of people do and they say it to me I live with someone who does that to me like and it's and it's good because John kind of he's able to kind of, feed into my desire for catastrophizing and understanding like my anxiety because I have a lot of anxiety and I'm able to kind of see the like how this can all fail and he kind of reinforces that but when he does that it actually gives me okay Mike I need to create another defense against that because almost it's almost like. It's good training for like the ways in which the thing is going to get shot down well like this is a great example like my skin oil in the most technical sense failed right I stopped doing it, and there are still people that are like where's that skin oil do you have insecurities about that no. I was like I had to Pivot I might bring it back in like some secret backdoor like you can buy 100 at a time so you know like do you think yeah but do you think that you spent mint like did you spend a lot of money making that happen oh yeah. Yeah yeah I invested so much time and so much money. It was the great I mean all the money that I saved on College went right there and it was the best education ever. Sure like I mean what I'm saying was like you can you could look at that like oh that was a failure but it absolutely was not because I never stopped I never stop learning I never stop working on it and one day it just turned into the hair cream which is exactly what it was always supposed to be I just wasn't ready and it's fucking awesome how could that lesson become Universal like what would be something you would say to somebody I don't know that like like. All like alternate universe Susan Flaga or it's hard to give advice from the platform of someone that the business hasn't like. I mean it's definitely had many successes but it's a baby and it's not like I'm like do this and you could be like me yeah like oh you work yeah. I will be in that position and the advice that I will probably still give them as just like. Don't stop but you can't relentlessly like drive towards something if you're not passionate about it like if you're not just stopped change do something else but like so it's not a universal thing but like you. I think people have to understand that like there's literally. No such thing as overnight success and one day and if there is overnight success is not going to be sustained right right yeah like one day you're going to see this product. Everywhere and people will think that it just popped up, and I think people want to think that they want to think that that's the thing they want to thank you got lucky they want to think that like you know it was all luck that got you there like no one wants to really think about the amount of work that goes into things and or the way the things that you had to the failures and things like that and I think that I think I'm from my perspective and I think other people kind of get mired down this and walks I have to think that is that, you get so pot committed like you get so far along on a project or you spent so much money that you're like I have to figure out a way to make this thing work yeah when and not considering the education that they got along the way you know like when I close down a saint like I had like a you know we were selling the building and I wasn't have a place for it anymore and it's like I don't have a passion for moving this somewhere else and I had a lot of insecurities and anxieties around man I respect that so much like I think I also am a huge advocate. It may seem like contradictory but quitting. Like I'm not know when to fold them oh I don't first of all I'm a completist like I need to see the end of something and if I don't do it I it haunts me when I came face-to-face with the idea of closing a sand I was like people are going to think. That I did a bad job people are going to think those who cares yeah. Okay but I started another business I it was successful with fine I could but it didn't make a ton of money but like people liked it like it filled a hole that this neighborhood needed. And I learned how to run a completely different business in that process and so now I've got a different, business perspective to bring to this and John at my husband actually pointed that out to me it was like you learned so much during that it wasn't, a waste of your time so then and failures and I was like oh okay so I can quit I can close this business up with a with a you know with patting myself on the back that I had a thing and then I stopped it then I started a podcast the next week literally calm down there yeah exactly so when you ask like, do I like feel bad about that not working like hell no it was exactly what I needed but I think this is the universal kernel that I would share with anyone because this is the thing that helped me, Diggin to the business that I've had for 13 years like on your eight or nine it doesn't matter where you want to be just doing the best where you are is. Gonna do wow do the most for you when I say that again well it's really the premise like do the best with what you have because no matter where you want to end up. You can't just be like what I tried to do when I was like 29 take your salon open a skincare line Skyrocket chick rocket to success, and then just leave what you've already built behind like no oh and then once I realized that I was like oh I have to do hair care this is going to be amazing this is literally. Everything I ever. Knew and believed in and this product has just been waiting inside me forever that I dug into Systems Operations standard operating procedures setting like clear and healthy expectations for the people that work for me like liberating. Mm staff by letting them know what was completely in and out what was expected of them and then like letting them. Do their thing like sharing with them. Our belief system in our mission and our vision and our goals we had none of them we just had the most businesses don't it's amazing. And once you like kind of dig into that and and realize like most small businesses. They don't have a mission they don't have something that they explain to people on day one about like this heart and soul of their company and it was such a freaking awesome opportunity for me to like take for to sit down with my partner Shiba be like okay we're going to do this and we sat together on year like seven of our business and wrote Our mission and it. Made us sick so excited to this day we give like the most elaborate. Training a salon has ever like a for day-long training session and a lot of it is like esoteric like. What's the what what is it what do you do well I just is it a PowerPoint presentation oh but like our whole the whole elaborate process of writing standard operating procedures we condensed into a training manual like that's literally what Sops are you use them to create a training manual give graphic detail about every single, operation in your business right from like how to fold a towel with images to like. How to navigate a client situation the client situation like they don't like their hair sounds like or you know who knows anything it's we cover it. And then it goes into training but day one of training like it's all written out so that whoever comes you know starting a new job is scary so day one when they come in they already know exactly and like 30 minute blocks like what we're doing for the next like four hours and we go over the mission we talked about the vision The Guiding principles they meet their co-workers we hang out we have lunch and then we start just general onboarding stuff and then the next day it'll be like etiquette surrounding consultations when a guest comes in sit in front of them at eye level don't touch them without asking permission like all these just like really. Important caregiving things that things you think are like oh this is like obvious but it's not totally I mean it's really interesting because like. A lot of it is just taking what you already do you do naturally and writing it down Sheba and I had a lot in common, which I think was why we were so successful right out of the gate is like the way that we take care of people is really similar we make our services about them we don't talk about ourselves too much just they just I mean I don't know we're both Virgos I don't know if that's why or like what but we both just had all of these things in common and when we started hiring people are like Whoa We got to write all this stuff down don't tell people that you had a cold last week the service is about that you know so now we have like all this information on how to provide good care giving because you know it's a great learning experience for other people that don't just naturally get that some people think they need to provide caregiving by like giving their whole selves enter and that ends up sounding like that you just talked about yourself so it's helping guide people through that process guys can you give me a lot of things to think about that's exciting like what you know it's like I think we do a good job of onboarding but now I'm thinking that maybe we need to do a little bit more, in-depth version of it yeah it's weird it's the most backwards thing that I almost don't fully have my head around yet but it's like the more. Expectations you set the more liberating it like it is. Gift because what happens when when people don't know how to perform a task the way that you prefer you know any number of things could occur but. The the error that comes out first is like they don't feel good in their job which is like exactly what you want to avoid if you're a servant leader you want everybody to feel like when you see a servant leader is that coming from a specific methodology or a book you know what yeah oh that's another. Problem that I have is just like reading business books so I'm going to give references actually because sharing the stuff it would be. Generous but yeah the servant leader etiology comes from the anarchist guide yeah laughs Anarchist yeah the last Anarchist guide to being a good leader which is a really awesome book if you're someone that has a small business and is ready to, create your mission and vision and and share that and be like a great generous boss is it all the lapsed Anarchist books or just the leader one that you've read the first one I did with leader and then I've read other ones but I can't remember I mean the last anarchistic for those who are not aware of them there from Zingerman's Bakery which is a bakery in Ann Arbor Michigan and the they've been around forever and it's was run by a bunch of hippies and they wrote these books it just gives their entire and basically just how they run their businesses and it's like their incredible books I found that one by just Googling best business books yeah yeah it's funny but the other one that I kind of got the concept of. Doing the best with what you have from was a referral from the aforementioned Mentor Melinda, referred me to which I would have literally never ordered or picked up off of a Shelf at that time of my life, at all because although I am passionate about being intuitive and trust my gut no matter what like self-help or things that seem too close to that like offend me. So she told me to read leveraging the universe by Mike Dooley leveraging the universe. That is a title so that is where make Julie will tell you about how thoughts become things and any time if I ever let that like Concepts slip out you know my friends will be like Oh you mean like the secret and I'm like no it's not like the secret he actually would addresses it because there's a component but that's manifesting right yeah generally I mean it's having positive thoughts like yeah literally manifesting what you want in a particular way and doing the best with what you have you know it's funny my my bookkeeper Angie no who interview may come before our a and and also citizens we have the same bookkeeper when I got the offer from the company to buy the building I called her first because I'm like I don't know what to do with this information and the first thing out of her mouth was she's a you manifested this I'm like no I don't do you mean I manifested this, I had like said to her in February of last year Mike do I sell the building like you know like a sounds good it's fine it's working but like it's a lot of effort a lot of like. A lot of mental dream for something that I don't have any passion for and is doing fine but it's not like it's I mean I never took a draw from it like it just existed to exist and she had introduced me to some people found me some references to because what I want to do is sell a sand and then still have the building and then, I don't I didn't I had a couple of ideas and I just never they never went anywhere and then like out of the Blues I'm like can I buy your building and I'm like oh. She's like you manifested that I didn't know you can manifest it on accident but is that an accident I talked about wanted to get out of it and then it kind of happened like it I put in the universe well you should try to really do it you'll freak out. If I actually were to manifest things yeah like today I just like Envision people like congratulating me all you did say that to me I mean I don't want to go on here and be like talking about manifestation but it is a part of my life well but I mean I do remember I remember you talking to me when I was telling you I wanted to this podcast I couldn't figure how to do it and I just did not and you were like. Just imagine that it happened and it's in that it was great and that people like it you literally said those words to me and then I think I started the podcast like three weeks later yeah it works its great people like it see, I've been like exposed to that kind of idea since I was a little kid because my mom is, a very special person and I think she kind of Treads into different Realms of being somehow that's kind of intense to say but, she's always just kind of like Place importance on intuition and she's always having like. Prophetic dreams and you know as little kids we are always just like yeah my mind is powerful but I think that's because you had a mind a mom with a powerful mind that understood that totally like I mean it's exposure yeah, yeah for sure representation matters. Well Susan this is amazing yeah fun I feel like I could do this for like three more hours I should be maybe offline but I feel like. I need to have you on again okay let's let's give it update, is there anything you want to promote how do people find you how do they get this hair crazy while you can find the hair cream at Sparrow for and is the for spelled out or is it a number. It's spelled out the you know some. The sub brand name is s4e with a 4 but that's also at Sparrow for everyone on Instagram and then. Sparrow Logan Square is Pharaoh salons Instagram and that's it Sparrow you can book appointments online looking guys it's amazing it's all coming together. You guys Susan this was amazing yeah everywhere I mean. I don't want this to end they has to but if I wasn't recording that oh did I all right well thank you so much thank you. Thanks for listening to all up in my lady business it is written by me Mary nisi. It is produced by Christina sorum Williams and Amelia Ruby with softer sounds. It is recorded at the toast and jam offices in Logan Square in Chicago you can find resources and links from this episode in the show notes at all up in my lady if you enjoyed this episode and you did Smash that subscribe button and if you're the kind of person that reviews things on the internet please rate and review us wherever you listen to us it really does help people find us, follow us on all of your socials and don't forget whatever you do this week do it, with your whole ass thanks for listening. Music.