Paula Floyd of Headkount on trusting your gut, and what inspired her to take the leap and launch her own business
Describe your business in a few words?
Headkount is a team of outsourced beauty professionals, we provide retail services to beauty brands that include everything from in-store education, brand relationship building with the retailer, consumer engagement activities, retail strategy and everything in-between.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I had an epic failure late in my career, which led me to my own business. After much personal discovery I realized three things: I have retail knowledge and experience that would be of tremendous value to beauty organizations, I’ve spent my entire career getting ready to start my own business, and I believed in myself.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I spent twenty-five years helping brands create a retail strategy and achieve their sales goals. I worked with them during their start-up phase and helped them eventually become household brand names.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, but I didn’t think I would ever really do it!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Since I’m self-funded my marketing budget was minimal, but I knew I had to do something. I called my now head of sales and asked her if she thought spending $6000 on a sponsorship at a Glossy event was a good idea, she thought it was and so we did it. It was worth it, we learned so much and met so many people who have become friends and clients.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
The biggest mistake for me was accepting a job offer solely for money, it clouded my ability to evaluate whether the company and the people were aligned with my values.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Hands down, starting Headkount. I’m proud of the team we put together, I’m proud of our clients and I’m proud that we are a caring community.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
“Describe what changes you’d like your current/most recent employer to make and why…” You learn a lot about someone’s character.
Always trust you gut, even if you can’t explain why. Hiring someone is a huge investment, if there are any red flags, pass, until you meet someone with none.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
It devastated our industry, our business, we had to pause.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We will continue to grow our client base, and evolve. How we evolve will be up to our clients, our employees and their needs.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
How to be patient.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
The first employees are key, they are your founding members. A startup is very different from a corporate job, the employees you hire must possess experience, but just as important they need to be versatile and adapt well to change.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
So many people to thank, but mostly the love and support from my husband Tim, my daughter Sally, my head of sales, Chelsea and the entire Headkount Beauty Educator team.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
100% Yes! Schedule your play time like you do your work meetings.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
People who know me won’t be surprised, but I hated school.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Get outside in the morning.
- At the end of the day, write down tomorrow’s to-do’s.
- Limit social media, allow myself and schedule 2x a day – works for me.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It’s a tremendous privilege, it means to be responsible beyond myself, to be responsible to my team, to my clients, to my community and to my family.