Aimee Connolly: 9 of My Biggest Learnings From Running A Business…7 years in!

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24 May 2024

Aimee Connolly: 9 of My Biggest Learnings From Running A Business

My journey with Sculpted by Aimee, since I established the brand at age 23 in 2016, has been incredible. What started as a one-woman operation selling a contouring palette and brush, has grown into something beyond my wildest dreams. Today we have a wide range of products, a team of over 80 people, a presence in stockists in Ireland, the UK and the Middle East as well as bricks and mortar stores in Dublin, Kildare, Belfast and London.

My focus has always been on making makeup simpler and more accessible for people and we have built an incredible community of loyal customers both online and in real life. There have been many challenges along the way but what has kept me going, and continuing to build momentum, has been my commitment to pushing boundaries and exceeding my own expectations for myself.

I am proud that I have maintained 100% ownership of the brand since I started the business. Having sold over 8 million units to date, each product represents a win for me and I’m so grateful for the support I have received from my team, the business community and from customers. It still feels like I’m at the beginning of the journey with Sculpted by Aimee and my ultimate ambition is to become one of the top 10 beauty brands globally.

One thing is for sure, throughout the 7 years running my business, there have been MANY learnings. I've found it hard to narrow down the most important to share, but here are my top nine.

1. It’s An Unpredictable Ride

Launching a business is undoubtedly exhilarating and the best decision I’ve ever made, but it's also a wild rollercoaster and a whirlwind of constant change. Despite the best advice, nothing fully prepares you for the ups and downs. Things can change every couple of months and before you know it, you’re onto the next phase or challenge, so adaptability is key.

2. Resilience In the Face Of Rejection

Behind every success story, there’s a trail of rejections and setbacks – don’t be fooled by what you see online! The reality is that for every win, there may have been ten failures, and these can become steppingstones to success. When it comes to business, not everyone will love you or your brand, and that’s okay, but you have to be resilient and power through the disappointment. Often it’s just one yes that you need!

3. You Know More Than You Think

It's very easy to experience imposter syndrome, and it's something that still affects me. As a founder, be sure to acknowledge the expertise you have when it comes to your business. These unique insights are the superpower that will propel you forward!

4. You’re Always Learning

The entrepreneurial journey is an ongoing education, and every day is a school day presenting new opportunities to learn! Whether it’s a new hire, process, system, task sheet, or market, there is always an opportunity to grow. Embrace it, through these experiences you’re not only developing new skills, you’re becoming a much stronger leader without even realising it.

5. Prioritise People

People are the backbone of Sculpted by Aimee for so many reasons. I learn from the people I work with, enjoy the relationships I make, and they are the reason I smile going into work. It’s important to cultivate a team of individuals who are not only amazing at what they do but also contribute to a great company culture. Business would be nothing without your people so make sure you recruit wisely, hire better than you, and nurture your superstars.

6. Passion is Paramount

This is one of the most crucial elements in business for me. We spend so much of our lives at work that it would be foolish to not be working on something that you genuinely care about!

As an entrepreneur, you will be tested time and time again on your journey and in the face of adversity, genuine passion keeps you going. Whether starting your own venture or working for others, following your passion is non-negotiable.

7. Champion Change

The first rule of business for me is that change is inevitable, and flexibility is key for startups. Embrace change as it signifies that you’re growing, innovating, and evolving. Change should be constant, and it’s important to remain agile. Outside your own bubble, the world is always changing, and you have no control over this. Remaining open to change is an essential trait to survive in an ever-moving landscape.

8. Planning is Key

Forward planning is not something that comes naturally to me, and it’s an area that I’m constantly working on. I do, however, realize the importance of it and what a tool it can be to unlock efficiencies and growth as your team and business scale. Write it down, plan it out and plot the small steps. Break down goals into actionable steps and watch them materialise.

9. Embrace The Experience

One thing that I don’t think is talked about enough when it comes to having a business is the actual experience. Building a business is a transformative journey filled with accomplishments, challenges, and personal growth. You’ll meet the most amazing people, learn about yourself, visit places you may never have dreamed of, or gain insight into topics that you might otherwise have never come across. Enjoy the journey with all its twists and turns and the incredible experiences that you will be able to look back on in years to come.

If you are a business owner, or know someone who is, check out our free one-to-one digital advisory call with our V-Hub experts. As Aimee mentions 'there is always an opportunity to grow' and our V-Hub experts can help you with the digital challenges your business faces.

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