Phorest FM Episode 126: Billy Rickman On The Mindset Of The New Age Salonpreneur

You have two salon owners. One who works 40 hrs/week in the salon, servicing clients, trying to look after the team as well as all the other internal operations. She's tired, stressed & frustrated by the slow growth and always running flat out just to stay ahead. The other salon owner works 40 hrs/week on the business, but away from the salon. She is motivated each day by the results she is seeing from driving people into the business and having happy and motivated staff.

Fundamentally, why are their results so different? And more importantly, which one of the two types of owners are you? Featuring Australia-based business coach Billy Rickman, also the franchisor of XY Skin and Body Specialists and founder of SalonGrowthCon, this week’s episode explores the future of salon ownership. Be ready for a pinch of tough love and a shift in mindset.


Billy Rickman

Billy Rickman is the Franchisor of XY Skin and Body Specialists, creator of the XY Buying Group and a National Sales and Marketing Trainer.

For the past 12 years, Billy has been helping beauty salon and skin clinic owners open, operate and build businesses within the beauty industry. Billy has helped clinic owners across nearly all states of Australia and has been awarded for training excellence by the Australian Beauty Industry Awards.

Billy is followed by business owners throughout Australia and many of his training and business support has been implemented in clinics within XY and externally through his business coaching and sales programs.
And, because he is so passionate about seeing fellow Salon Owners realise their business dreams, he has written a blog & several books, plus created courses that designed to help business owners succeed, no matter what their size or budget.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 126. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle Springer. This week on the show, we’re joined by Billy Rickman, coach and founder of the Salon Growth Conference, to discuss the mindset and business methodology of salonpreneurs, and how it can best prepare you for the future.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and join us weekly for all your salons, business, and marketing needs. Good morning Zoe!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian. So at the Salon Owners Summit this past January, someone recommended I read the book “Mindset,” the new psychology of success. It’s written by Carol S Dweck. It was written in 2007.

Killian Vigna: Like, it’s funny because in the last two weeks from listening to different podcasts and stuff like that, I keep hearing this book recommendation, but also our executive in the education department has his book currently sitting on a table.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Maybe she should pass it on to me after! No seriously, like since then many of my conversations with industry people, I’ve heard the word mindset thrown around almost as often as we used to hear the word hustle. Now obviously, it’s a good thing because mindset I think can actually change quite a few things. But we already know this, right? So yeah. I’m just really curious about this episode because this is all going to be essentially about mindsets.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. Well, it’s the mindset of the new age salon salonpreneur, like mindset is… We’ve three values here at Phorest. We’ve Seirbhís Go Hiontach, can-do attitude and growth mindset, and that is the biggest one that we’ve… Well, with in Seirbhís Go Hiontach, which in Irish means excellent service, providing excellent service. But, the growth mindset is probably the one that we play a lot of focus on internally. I had a meeting with my team lead only this week. And again, it came up about growth mindset and developing that and kind of basically what can you use around you to help you grow but also help the people around you grow.

Introducing Billy Rickman [02:02]

Killian Vigna: So I suppose there’s no better person to talk about this, the mindset of the new age salonpreneur than Billy Rickman. Welcome to the show, Billy!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Welcome to the show!

Billy Rickman: Thank you! Thank you so much for having me.

Killian Vigna: No worries. So Billy, today’s episode as we’ve already mentioned, and we’d probably say it a few times, the mindset of the salonpreneur or the new age salonpreneur, it comes from a recent eBook that you released, which I actually really recommend everyone read as I was going through at a title was great. You went through it just a few weeks ago, which is kind of where we decided, let’s get Billy on to talk about this. But, it’s interesting because at the start at eBook, your mindset wasn’t always focused on the salon industry. Was it? Like you had a whole different approach to life like 12 years ago?

Billy Rickman: Yeah. I left school, not knowing what I wanted to do, and everyone said, “Oh, you should probably go to university.” And so I went to university and I was doing tourism management, which I still don’t know to this day what that was about. I lasted about six months and a couple of my friends said, hey why don’t we join the Navy? And so I honestly was just a bit lost at that stage. I was 18 and thought why not? Let’s just go join the Navy. The four of us went down to recruitment. Three of us didn’t end up signing up. So those three didn’t and I did. And I ended up joining the Navy and spent eight years in the Royal Australian Navy.

Killian Vigna: So you got drafted into the Navy.

Billy Rickman: Yeah. Everybody else thought it was a good idea, but nobody else did it. And I literally got drafted by my friends, not even the government, but my friends into the Navy. I think they wanted to get rid of me.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So how do you come into the salon industry? I know you talked about this in your eBook, but I think it’s such a good story that we should definitely talk about this on the show today.

Billy Rickman: Yeah, I was talking actually to somebody the other day about entrepreneurship and about how I didn’t really know that I had an entrepreneurial mindset until I got into business because one of the things I used to get in trouble for in the Navy is, the Australia Navy comes from the English Navy or the British Navy. And so it’s steeped in hundreds of years of tradition. And so everything they do is always got a reason for doing it because that’s just what they used to do when every time I would see them doing activities, or exercises where it would take 10 men and take an hour.

And I would casually say to my superiors, you could probably do this with two people in 15 minutes if you did it this way. And I used to get in trouble for it all the time because I’d question it right… Like this is the way we’ve always done it, this is how you do it. But as an entrepreneur, I think you’re always looking for innovative ways, and ways to make things better and easier. I think that’s what pushes entrepreneurs along. Like it’s that constant drive to want to make things better for society or whatever you’re trying to create. But I never quite understood that when I was there, I just thought I was maybe like, a bit naughty. But, so I actually spend eight years and then, when I went away to Iraq a couple of times, then I’d saved up some money.

We got paid, what they call danger money, which looks really cool on your payslip. It actually says danger money. And so we got paid all these benefits and tax allowances and that, and so I saved up a bit of money and when I came back, I bought some properties and houses, and I was with a girl at the time, and she was also in the Navy and do to get out of the Navy. And I said, what are we going to do? And she said, “Well, I saw this beauty salon I’d like to buy.” And I was like, “Okay, what is it?” And she said, “It’s a franchise, and I think it’d be really interesting.” And I was like, “Okay, cool. Let’s have a look into it.” I was so naive to it. I was just caught up in my military career, and I was going away all the time and I trusted her, I loved her.

So, I said, “Okay, cool let’s do it.” I bought it for her, and then I got deployed again to Iraq for the second time. And when I came back, I sort of said to her, how’s the business going? And she said, it’s going really well. And I had a look in the bank and there was no money in the bank. And, I didn’t really understand business at the time. And so I started asking questions to some people, and it turns out that she was using all the money to have a pretty cool party lifestyle with her and her friends. She would fly her friends all over Australia, and get some penthouses, and have a pretty luxurious lifestyle on the business’ expense. But it wasn’t just that the business was paying for it, it was also accruing debt.
So she also wasn’t paying creditors, she wasn’t paying the expenses of the business. So when I came back, I found this out and I said to her, “Look, we’re going to have a separate.” And I said, “What are we going to do with the business?” She said, “I don’t care. It’s in your name and your properties are attached to it, so you figure it out.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Wow.

Billy Rickman: So it was super nice. A teally good part of my life! I had to leave the Navy. Normally it takes 12 months to have a military discharge, but you can put in like an emergency discharge. So I got out in three months, and I went into the beauty industry, and my first day in the beauty salon, I remember just sitting there, you know, “What the hell am I doing?”

And women would come in and asking [inaudible] and I was standing at the front counter and it was so awkward. But I found it… And then when we went through this whole separation thing and the way because we were de-facto, she ended up getting the houses, and I end up getting the business, and the business wasn’t good. So I was kind of in a situation where was like sink or swim, you either figure this out and make it work or you’re just going lose everything you’ve worked for eight years. And so I’ve got a business coach, and he was a specialist in systemizing businesses. And I found out through him that I wasn’t just naughty in the Navy, and questioning things. I found out that I actually really enjoyed business and actually enjoyed creating new things. And so yeah, that’s kind of how my whole journey started. And in 12 months, I managed to rebalance the business and sold it and then, started my own franchise. And that was it.

Killian Vigna: Sounds like one hell of a 12 months. And I have to ask, what was more stressful? Doing a few tours in Iraq? Or that 12-month period of running the salon?

Billy Rickman: The salon, not even the 12 years. I often talk about this story because in the Navy it’s predominantly male. It’s probably 90% male, 10% female. And then so when… I remember the story so clear, and as I rise, got through the ranks in the Navy, I ended up like, you could tell people what to do with your subordinates. And so I would be in charge of like cleaning what have you, and said to one of the sailors, “Hey, can you go and empty the bin?” And away they go and empty the bin. But when I was in the salon, and it was predominantly females, I remember this like I would ask one of the females to empty the bin, and then one of the other females in the salon came up to me and said, are you angry at…
I forget her name, Sarah or something. I said, “What do you mean?” She was like because you have asked her to empty the bin. Like she wants to know did she do something wrong and you annoyed at her. And it was just such a flip to what I was used to because I was around other males, and they all around are females. I really had to adapt. But I think that was the hardest thing in the first 12 months is just males and females are different, and it was just trying to understand how to manage myself in a totally different environment.

Killian Vigna: That alone is a serious mind shift, just like dealing with different genders.

Billy Rickman: Yeah. But it’s served me so well in my married life. It was totally different. Honestly. I felt like I had just walked into another world. But I really enjoyed it, and it makes it sound like it was a really terrible time. But it wasn’t… It was during that time that I discovered that I loved customer service. I loved helping people; I loved the challenge of business. I loved the challenge of working with different people because I’ve just done the same thing for so long. And so that first 12 months was probably the hardest 12 months in my life, but also probably the most rewarding 12 months, yeah.

The differences between old and new age salonpreneurs [09:30]

Killian Vigna: Like you said, it’s sink or swim. That’s when you’re going to learn. It’s like when your dad throws you into the deep end of the pool without your arm bands, which also came up in conversation this week for as well already. So look, Billy, since then you’ve been really kind of focused on education and mentoring. I suppose as someone who didn’t come from the salon industry by choice more kind of like by accident, what makes your coaching style different to someone who made that decision to go into the salon industry?

Billy Rickman: Yeah, so I actually, I started a franchise, ended up getting 12 locations, in about six years, seven years. And it was through that process that I learned a lot and mainly about what not to do. That was probably the biggest takeaway about what not to do in business. You hear people talk about it all the time, but it’s the experience of making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. The last couple of years in the franchise system, it became hyper-competitive. And there was a lot of… Whereas it used to be, beauty salon owners or hair salon owners used to own the business. All of a sudden in Australia there seemed to be a shift, and it was corporate entities with venture capital backing, we’ll find it out, private equity backing.

They were coming in, and they were coming with $40, $50 million budgets and then opened 40 or 50 locations, in 18 months. And so it all changed really, really quickly over here. And so one of the things we had to do again is sink or swim. You go: “What am I going to do? Do I just fold? Or do I find a different way?” And so one of the things that we do in our coaching is, our mission of other coaching is we always want to be on the leading edge of technology. We always want to be on the leading edge of new ideas and new strategies. And I think I talked about this in a lot in the book that, the old strategies of just word of mouth, having good quality service, word of mouth and repeat business is… I mean, I can’t say for Ireland, or I can’t say for different countries, but certainly over here it’s just not the case anymore. If you’re not making noise, if you don’t have the attention of your customers, then there will be a competitor who is making more noise, and have more and get more attention and they will eventually take your clients.

Killian Vigna: So never having that experience of being behind the chair as they say, that’s kind of benefited you because you got to just purely focused on the business side?

Billy Rickman: Yeah, definitely. I 100% think that that’s a huge advantage and I don’t want to tempt people when they come to my coaching where they talk to me about business or consulting whatever we’re doing. One of the first things I want to do is create a path about how they can get out from behind the chair or get out from – if it’s a beauty salon – about getting out of the room because ultimately… If you compare a business owner A and business owner B. If business owner A is working 40 hours behind the chair, and they’re serving clients all the time, they’re cutting, and styling and colouring. And then the only time they have to work on the business is between six o’clock in the morning and seven o’clock in the morning, and then six-thirty at night and seven-thirty at night.

If they aren’t looking after their children, if they aren’t managing the family, if they don’t have the errands to run, and the house to maintain. If they don’t have all the social things they want to do as well. You know that window get smaller and smaller and smaller. If you compare that to somebody who has trained, mentored and developed a team that’s in a salon that’s doing all of the cutting, colouring, styling or doing all the beauty services, and they’re spending 40 hours, 50 hours, 60 hours doing nothing but solely focusing on building a brand, building a culture, training the team, doing good mentoring programs, putting career paths in place, looking at the marketing, going to networking sessions and meeting new people in business, surrounding themselves with people in the industry, in the area or from different industries in the area who are supporting the business.

If they’re doing that full-time, then person A has no chance at all competing against person B. They just don’t. I see it. We’ve got a couple of hundred salon clients that we work with, and I see it all the time, and I can see the shift in the business and how the business fundamentally changes when they start to work on the business.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So like you talk about the new age salonpreneur in the eBook quite a bit. What was the biggest disruptor for you? Was it like the whole technology aspect? Like what made you coin this term? And then second, what differentiates a salon owner as we know it, and a new age salonpreneur? Is that kind of that business shift?

Killian Vigna: I love the term salonpreneur.

Billy Rickman: It’s funny when I was coining it. Some people just rolled their eyes at me and said, “That’s lame.” And I was like, I’m just going to go with it. So we’re here with it.

Killian Vigna: It’s catchy!

Billy Rickman: Yeah. I guess, the difference is exactly what we just spoke about. The old salon owner and not old in age, but old in strategy, the old salon owner still believes that the old model works. With if I can cut a really good haircut; if I can do a really good skin treatment, and those people go and tell somebody, then I can have a surviving and thriving business. It’s hard for me to say internationally or even across the world, but certainly over here, it’s just not the case. And so salonpreneurs are people who fundamentally see their business as a business first, and they see the technical side of it second.

And so people always say, “Oh, what so you don’t believe in training for the business?” Yeah, I totally believe in training for the business, but let your team do the training. Hire a team of hairdressers, hire a team of beauty therapists, or skin technicians or aestheticians, and give them the training and the mentoring and put them on the development courses for the skin and the hair. But as a business owner, as a salonpreneur, you should be focusing all of your time firstly on the business, and the business development. And then secondly, if you have time, then keep up to date with the technical side. And with technical advancements now it’s getting crazy. Some people like… There’s a famous saying; I forget who said it. It was Steve jobs or maybe even Henry Ford. He said, “The horse and carriage aren’t coming back.”

And it’s true, like as much as some people might like riding a horse, and they wish that they could go back to riding a horse up and down the street, it’s not coming back. And then, in 10 years time like Uber at the moment, are developing the new age Uber, which is drones. So a drone will come and pick you up and then, take you out. So in 10 years, people will probably go, “I wish there were cars.” But unfortunately, you don’t have control over the way culture goes, and the way that industry is going, and the way business is going, in general, is technology is speeding up. It’s not slowing down. And so if you’re sitting there now going… “I’m just getting the hang of Facebook;” you’re probably in a bit of trouble because now there are so many different things becoming available.

New age salonpreneurs and social media [16:01]

Billy Rickman: One of the things that I didn’t touch on in the book, but one of the things I’m working on a moment, I’m speaking to a guy in Germany. We’re collaborating at the moment, and he specializes in artificial intelligence. So at the moment… I talk about Messenger bots. I don’t know if you guys have touched on Messenger bots before. But essentially for people we are now [inaudible 00:16:18].

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, recently enough.

Billy Rickman: Yeah, awesome. So, the ability to be able to program a bot to be able to talk on your behalf, the next step of that is artificial intelligence where the bot on either your Facebook or Instagram will learn over a month, two months, three months, exactly how I talk, what emojis I use, what gifts I use, how I will respond, what jokes I would say.

And so in three months, the client would have no distinguishing difference between whether or not they’re talking to me, or whether or not they’re talking to the bot because they would be identical because the artificial intelligence side has been programmed and has learned how to behave exactly like me. And so can you imagine that if I own a business and someone else owns a business, how much of an advantage it is? Maybe I could go away for four weeks on a holiday. I can come see you guys in Ireland, and my bot would take care of the business. That’d be sweet, and no one would be aware!

Killian Vigna: Well, the beauty of that is like you’d said, it could take three months for that AI or the ChatBot to get to that level. But that means you need to start now. So in three months, you’ve built that time, you’ve gotten yourself ahead. You’ve already said if you’re only getting to groups with Facebook now you’re way behind. So, it is a case of starting now. We’ve heard about it, just do it. What else have you seen as the biggest disruptors in that case?

Billy Rickman: Yeah, definitely Messenger bots are huge. And Facebook… They just had their Summit, which is always their main conference. And Mark Zuckerberg came out and said “If I could have started Facebook again, I would’ve started with Messenger.” And from internally the reports are that Facebook is putting more money into Messenger than any other single department in Facebook. So there’s a big shift towards Messenger. And the fact they bought WhatsApp means that Facebook is looking heavily on or investing heavily into the direct messaging, sort of features and functions. And so sometimes you’ve just got to put the pieces together and go, what are they doing, and how is it working? And I think … So Messenger marketing is going to be huge. When I said before, “If you’re just getting the hang of Facebook, you’re in trouble.” I don’t mean to panic anyone.

Like, don’t stop now learning Facebook, throw your hands in the air and go, “I’m done! I can’t figure it out.” Like still go on that path. Now, of course, like keep going on that path, and there are people who can help expedite that for you. But at the same time like Messenger marketing is going to be huge. It’s going to continue to get big. They make this a big change on July 31st and said it was going to have new features, but just get onboard with Messenger marketing, do a couple of short courses. Instagram is developing really, really quickly as well. And some of the features on Instagram are getting really, really popular. Instagram stories and IGTV, would be two of the biggest things I would invest in. I mean, my story, for example, I can see now… Hashtags used to be big on Instagram.

You can post on Instagram, and as long as you put a couple of good hashtags, you would get a fair reach out of it. Now you’ve put out a few hashtags, and you can already see that Instagram is pulling back on hashtags, and they are going to make you pay for those as a business. But things like my Instagram stories, I will get 30, 40, 50% of my total following see my Instagram story, which is crazy. And because you’ve got those things like, the GIFs, and the stickers, and things like that, you can interact on stories, and you can build that sort of personality with Instagram stories. So definitely for people listening on now, Messenger marketing, Instagram stories, IGTV, would be three I would look out for and start to really focus my time and attention on. And I guess the other thing as well is trying to develop yourself as a personality online.
I talked about this in the book, but I guess one of the examples I use in the book is with Dr Oz, right? I think everybody is familiar with Dr Oz. The US doctor who on TV shows, part of the Oprah for a while and became famous that way. And the jury is out. I’m not a surgeon; I’m not a doctor. So I can’t say whether or not Dr Oz is the best doctor in the world. But I know that if you wanted to get a clinical treatment by Dr Oz, you’d be paying through the teeth. Why is that? Well, because Dr Oz has positioned himself as the expert, as the leader, as the go-to person in the industry. So that if he said something, it’s overcharging $1,000 he could charge $10,000 because he’s Dr Oz.

And when we first started… When I first started in business, I always got told like, never make yourself the centre of the business because you’ll never sell the business and all that sort of stuff. But people have been so beaten down by businesses these days. They’re just sick and tired of being over-promised and under-delivered. They’re sick and tired of the lies. They’re sick and tired of the discounts. They’re sick and tired of like you promising one thing and delivering another. And so then it went to, well get some testimonials. But now people are aware that you can just rig the testimonials. You can get 10 of your friends to go online and give you a five-star Google review, or you can go on Facebook.

Killian Vigna: All your family giving you a review, yeah.

Billy Rickman: Yeah, right?! Is that all the same surname? That’s really weird! But people can see through that. And so what is it that people are lacking in 2019? What is it that people are missing in their life? And the answer is connection. And we live in an era where we’re connecting more to more devices, and more platforms than any other time in human history. Yet we feel more disconnected and disenfranchised with society than ever before in history. And so how do you bridge that gap? Well, you have to be vulnerable. You have to show that you are a human being. You have to show that you’re not perfect. You have to show that you do things wrong. And so having a personal brand that people can connect to will allow people to want to do business with you more. And so Instagram stories is a good way of doing that. And I said to one of the junior marketing girls the other day, she’s like, “What’s the difference between a Business page and a Facebook group?”

Like what do you put on your Facebook group? And what do you put on your business page? And I said, your Facebook business page is like the final cut of a movie. So it’s like if you’re making Titanic, it’s like you put Titanic on your Facebook page. Your Facebook group or your Instagram story, whichever one you want to look at, what platform, that’s like your behind the scenes. It’s your bloopers; it’s your outtakes. It’s the things you’re not doing overly well, but they’re still part of your business, and it makes you who you are, and it makes the business who you are. And by in large, we get more business from our Instagram stories and more business from our Facebook groups where we show our vulnerabilities and that we are human beings and not just perfect beast. We get more business from that by tenfold than we do the perfect presentation on our Facebook page.

Killian Vigna: That’s a really good way of putting it with the groups and the pages.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Just like Facebook has said, they want to build more communities. They’re putting a heavy focus on building those groups and communities. So yeah, it’s something that people should be looking into anyways. Even just to help out other people with questions.

Billy Rickman: I was listening to Gary V the other day, and he said he was talking to a motor shop dealer, and he’s like traditionally salespeople in motor car dealerships. If there’s no one on the lot, then they sit there and browse Facebook, and they do something in that in their office waiting for someone to come onto the parking lot. He’s like… Now, they’ve got the community managers who will sit on Twitter all day and just search for the hashtag broken down, or search for the hashtag flat tire or search for these hashtags. And then when someone comments on, they’re like, “Oh, I’m stuck on the side of the road, a flat tire.” They jump in and go, “Hey, we’ve got a spare car at the dealership. Let me come pick you up, and we’ll organize a tow truck for you.” And it’s just like there’s such as chip now.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s so smart.

Billy Rickman: It’s so smart, right? You go, of course, why didn’t I think about it, and it’s not obvious until someone says it, but I think it’s probably where that community shift is huge. Can you imagine what that person would be like when the business reaches out to them and says, “Yeah, I’ll just come to pick you up. Don’t worry, I’ll come to pick you up for free.”

Killian Vigna: You’d be so shocked though because you wouldn’t expect that. Like no one’s doing it.

Billy Rickman: But there would still be that part of you go. Is this a set up? Is there a ruse?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: “Am I being on Punk’d?!”

Billy Rickman: Three hours later, you’re still on the side the road. But, yeah, I think it’s the case of [inaudible] because everything is shifting.

Going from working in the salon to working on the salon [24:06]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You alluded to this earlier, and you said when people come to you for coaching and stuff, the first thing you kind of look into is helping them get on the path to get out of the chair or get out of the treatment room. Changing habits is not exactly the easiest thing, and a lot of people from the industry who’ve grown up in the industry actually really enjoy being behind the chair or doing treatments.

So like what are quick tips for people looking into shifting their mindset into becoming more business focused but having a hard time letting go?

Billy Rickman: Yeah, such a good question, and it’s something that comes up a lot. I just think you can’t have a finger in both pies, and you can’t stand on both sides of the fence. You either commit to being what we discussed here, like a salonpreneur, and you go right: “I’m all in as a business owner now and I work on the business” or you say, “No, I love cutting hair. I don’t want to get out from behind the chair. I’m going to go all-in and stay as a hairdresser.” But either way, you have to have someone who fills the other role, and you have to have someone there full-time who is filling the other role. And so if your decision is, “I’ve been here for 20 years, or I’ve been a beauty technician of the skin therapist for 20 years, I love what I do. It’s what gets me up out of bed. It’s what drives my passion and what makes me happy. And I’d never want to give that up. So Billy, you can jam all about your salonpreneur, I don’t want to do it.”

For people listening to this and would say that, then that’s okay. And I understand that people should always do what they’re passionate about, but if you want to survive over the next five, ten years in business and certainly longer, then you have to have someone who fills that void. So you need to hire an operator who is going to do the business development side, who’s going to be full-time on the marketing, who’s going to be full-time on the mentoring and the training and the creative element. Who’s going to do all of those things. From a business perspective, you just can’t do half and half.

Otherwise, that’s usually when it all falls down because as a human, we always navigate and migrate towards the things that we love. And so you might have great intentions and go, “No, I still want to cut hair, but I’m still going to do some of that business stuff.” But if you really love cutting hair eventually, you’ll end up just cutting hair, and doing 10% of business stuff because you love it. So, you’ve got to make a commitment to one way or the other and whatever way you saw it, then have someone else who’s going to fill that void.

Killian Vigna: Otherwise, you’re just going to spread yourself then like you said, if you’ve got a family, if you’ve got responsibilities… like you’ve got your salon business, but you also still have a life outside of that too. So where do you get to do that education, that growing, that self-development? If you’ve got a family, you’re probably quite limited in your time. It’s great when you’re young, but as you get older, this stuff is harder to do. So you, you will kind of need to make that decision.

Billy Rickman: Exactly. We’ve young people in my team at work, and when they come to work, and they go, “Oh, I’m just so tired, I had a bad night’s sleep, or I don’t know when to fit it in on my time.” And like you’re 22, how much more time do you need?

Killian Vigna: It was like me this morning, I stayed up watching Stranger Things last night, and then it just lost all my sleep, and I’m tired today. Yeah, it’s a tough life.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: At least you have to excuse of not being 22.

Billy Rickman: It’s really cool. Yeah. Someone’s got to [inaudible].

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So quick question, if someone who had to make that switch came to you and decided, “Right, I’m switching over, I’m becoming this business owner focusing on the business.” How long does it usually take to go through that process? Because obviously, you have to make many changes, you have to get your staff on board and all of that. Like is it like a six-month kind of thing? Three-month kind of thing, maybe a year. Typically when people come to you, how long does that process kind of take?

Billy Rickman: Yeah, look on average maybe let’s call it six months, but it really does, it is dependent on the business and the position of the business. Now, if someone comes to me and goes, “We’re sitting with $150,000 in our working capital account. We’ve got heaps of money, heaps of clients. The business is good,” then cool. You could probably make that decision sooner rather than later and go, okay, cool. Well, let’s start with make some pretty swift actions and you can pull out pretty quickly and we can start to develop that. If someone says, “I’ve be running the business for three years and the reason I want to step off the floor is because I’ve been running for three years and we’re not making money. In fact, we’re making a loss,” then that’s a very precarious situation because if you step out of the business and you don’t have the skills to immediately get results in marketing or in the development of the business, then all you’ve done, all you’ve done is taken away usually the highest money earner, which is usually yourself from the business and you’ve had to replace that with an extra wage.

And so now your expenses have risen, and your revenue has dropped. And so that’s even worse situation. So usually what I would recommend to people is… I always recommended this with most business strategies is to reverse engineer used to say, “Okay, let’s work at six months and now say in six months we’re going to have you completely out of business. So what does that look like in four months? Okay, well maybe you’re only working three days a week in the business of four months? Okay, well, but it’s going to take you two months to really start to get some momentum. So let’s keep you in the business full-time for the first two months. But in any downtime instead of cleaning or instead of like going to that, hair course that you’ve done four times before, in the last three years, we’re going to start to build some of the strategies and structure around the business.”

And then it’s just a little by little like we would go into… The macro is really reverse engineering, but then the micro is what happens in between those months. And it is, it’s like, creating a policy manual where every single time a staff member or something happens in the business, or they phone you up as a business owner, like your team calls you up and says, “Hey, where do I find this?” If that happens, then you want to write that down and write an answer for it in the policy manual, and every single time, when the question is asked you can then say to them, “Go to the policy manual, and it will give you the answer.” If the policy manual doesn’t have that in, then you add it in. And so all of these questions keep adding up and adding up, and adding up, and eventually you’ll get to the point where the team phones you up and says, “Hey, what’s this?”

And you then just go to “The policy manual, it’s in there.” And you then are not the only resource in the business for information. You’re not depended on and when you’re not depended on, when you’re not the sole person in the business west to make the decisions, and provide the solutions and the answers, then all of a sudden your time is freed up and then you can drop two days a week and just do three days a week at work. And then over time you developed that a little bit more, and you can see that your two days a week at home is starting to develop better results for your business. And so then you can obviously pull back a little bit more. And so you can just do that incrementally. You don’t have to do it go, “Oh, hey I listened to Billy on Phorest FM, and so tomorrow I’m out. Like I’m out, I’m not going back!” We definitely not recommend that. But certainly like having a plan, but usually starting with an end date and then working way backwards and figuring out what you need to do to get there.

Killian Vigna: I like the building your knowledge base idea because that is probably one of the hardest breakaways; is being the source of kind of knowledge. The person that everyone goes to. So if you can replace yourself with a book or I like an online wiki or something.

Billy Rickman: And your staff will get used to it where they ask you questions, and eventually you keep going, “Go to the book, go to the resource,” and there [inaudible]. They’ll know the only time they can come to you, it’s like, “Yeah, I’ve checked everything and you don’t have this information, so what do I do?” And then that’s just a flag. Then if you go, “Oh, shit I need…” I don’t know if you’re allowed to swear on your podcast, but then you can add it into the book!

The “New Age of the Salonpreneur” eBook [31:30]

Killian Vigna: So Billy, just to kind of like recap what we’ve talked about here today, if I’ve listened to this episode and I’m still not sure if I’m stuck in the kind of old mindset or if I am progressing towards the new mindset. Do you have any… I suppose quick little list of things to say, right: old mindset, here’s what you should be doing. Do you have any kinds of comparisons for someone to identify which stage of the salonpreneur they’re at?

Billy Rickman: I do. It’s in my book, which I don’t have handy at the moment. But, if you do download the book at the back of the book, there’s a list of old and new and I guess with the old and new, it’s not necessarily like you’re stuck there. It’s like, “Ah, look, I fit the old category. That’s me now. That’s what I am.” It’s interesting… There’s a lady, I won’t mention her name on here, but she’s been in the industry… She comes from the UK, and she’s been in the industry for I think about 30 years. And everything she’s ever done has been all about hair education, and it’s the old school, and she’s built business, after business, after business on reputation and quality service.

But recently she’s been to Australia, and recently I asked her to read my book when I first launched it, probably about 12 months ago when it was in its draft phase. And she goes, “Yeah, interesting.” And there was no real review but we’ce worked together over the past 12 months here, and we’ve developed a relationship, and we’ve had a pretty frank conversation about now it’s like, “You’re totally right, these old things just aren’t working for my business anymore.” And she is someone who has been in the industry for 30 years, and she is now starting to do Facebook Live.

She’s starting to Instagram stories, and again, we’ve had conversations where it’s just like, “I can already see my businesses turning around, and so you don’t have to look at it and go, I’m old. I use all strategies on stuff there.” There’s always a place for you to move and to transition. It might take you a little while longer, but I don’t want people to stay where they are because there’s a quote, I think I say it in the book about resisting change; it’s like holding your breath. You can do it, but eventually, you’ll die. And it’s so true. If you want to resist change, you can resist it, but it’s not going to play out well for you.

Killian Vigna: Well, if anything, not sharing that list of the mindset changes is probably a good call-to-action because now we have to mention that you can get that list in the “Dawn of the New Age Salonpreneur” eBook, which you can find by searching Google!

Getting in touch with Billy Rickman [33:49]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s also going to be in the episode’s show notes. Billy, if anyone wants to reach out to you and get advice or get some coaching or even just have a chat, how can people do that?

Billy Rickman: They can find me on Facebook, or search Billy Rickman on my Facebook. You can also have a look at on Instagram, which is @TheRealB_Rickman… which is a bit of a… Yeah, people always give me stick about the name or like really, “Who do you think you are the real B Rickman? Do you think there are other Billy Rickman’s out there?” And it was just a bit of a parody account and then all of a sudden I started getting some business traction from it. So now I’m stuck with it. So it’s @TheRealB_Rickman on Instagram, and you can reach out to me on Linkedin as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Perfect. And you also have a podcast of your own?

Billy Rickman: I do have a podcast of my own. Yeah. I need to do a new series, I haven’t done an episode in a while, but I think we’re up to about episode 107 or something like that. If you search the Billy Rickman show on any of the podcasts channels on iTunes or any of the Android platforms, you’ll find it on there.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff. Well, Billy, listen, thanks so much for joining us on the show today and I hope that gives some good insight in, I suppose helping our listeners identify where they’re at. Like maybe, you are already in the new age of salonpreneurs, but that’s kind of like the best thing about this stuff. It’s just; it’s putting yourself into check. Seeing where you are, identifying if I need to learn new things, then I’m developing. If I already know what’s been discussed, then you’re on the right track. Like it’s a good start!

Billy Rickman: Yeah, absolutely. And I don’t want people to listen to this and think he’s coming from his pompous platform over, and talking on a pedestal and trying to talk down to people saying, “You’re not progressing as you should be or anything like that.” It’s really is a call-to-action to people to say, look, things are changing, the industry is changing, and in Australia, we have a really high failure rate for hair and beauty. So a lot of businesses open in hair and beauty, but also we have an exceedingly high failure rate. And so businesses close at just as quick a rate. And I really want to change that, and that’s part of my mission over here as part of the culture we try to create in our programs is I want to change the industry in that way.

So the people who fell in love with hair and beauty, and then decided to open a hair and beauty business can stay in love with hair and beauty because the hair and beauty business is thriving. And so this comes from a place of empathy and compassion, and I hope that people will listen and be able to really, understand that if you want to keep your business and you want to have a thriving business, then maybe there’s a different way. Maybe there are new ways that can help improve my business and get me to where I want to be.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Lovely message to end that on. Thank you so much, Billy! It’s been a pleasure.

Billy Rickman: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [36:56]

Killian Vigna: So that was Billy Rickman, Australian-based coach and founder of the Salon Growth Conference. And for anyone who does want to check out that eBook, and you can find the link in our blurb. It’s called the “Dawn Of The New Salonpreneur.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And now for our Inside Phorest segment, we kick things off as usual, with Phorest Academy!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so the Phorest Academy is your one-stop education shop. It’s an online learning portal full of fun, interactive and bite-sized self-taught training courses covering every area of your Phorest system. So when you log into Phorest Academy, you can do learning paths, which are series of courses covering, like “Get Started with Phorest” or “Products and Inventory.” Or you can delve into just the small little bite-sized five-minute courses learning any area of the product that you want to find out about now, like the end of day cash up per booking appointments. Most importantly, there’s an achievements tab as well that you can download your first academy certificates every time you complete a course. So if you want to get involved in that, email, and say Phorest Academy or sign me up Killian. Otherwise, you can always email with the same thing too, and we’ll get you set right up.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And coming up soon, on August 18th, it’s a Sunday. Conscious Hair & Beauty by Phorest Salon Software: it’s taking place in London. Now we talked about this on the show last week with Professor Denise Baden, and we have a few more speakers announced. We have Jennie Lawson, founder of Mimosa Beauty, Anne Veck, Keith Mellen and Natalie C Morrison. So for all the information on the Conscious Hair & Beauty event taking place in London on August 18th, you can either head over to our Facebook page or click the link in the episode’s notes right here. The tickets are available, and we’re looking forward to seeing you! This should be a really, really cool event, the first of its type anyways for us, and the theme is sustainability in the salon industry and personal wellness.

Following that, we also have the Salon Owners Summit 2020, for which the first speaker has been announced and the tickets are on sale. The first speaker is Stefanie Fox Jackson. We’ve had her on the show before a couple of times, and she’s going to be talking about “Team Building 101.” So all of her research on millennials, Gen Z, how to recruit the top talent, how to retain them, why they’re coming up differently in the workplace compared to other previous generations. If you want to request a callback for the flagship Salon Owners Summit event in Dublin, January 2020, you can click the link in the episode’s notes, fill out your details, and we’ll give you a call back for that.

And then finally, as usual, we have the Salon Mentorship Hub. So it’s a place to connect with industry mentors, coaches, and consultants. So whether you’re a Phorest client or not, whatever you’re struggling with in the salon, you can book yourself in for a free consultation on a topic of your choosing. Just head over to and the mentors on the Hub a can help you see the challenge, whatever you’re struggling with from a new perspective.

One last note before we wrap up the show today. If the podcast, if Phorest FM has helped your business, and you want to pay it forward to someone else in the trade, you’ve got until July 31st, 2019 so a couple… Like a week now, to cast your votes for Phorest FM at the Podcast Awards 2019. As you know, obviously, the podcast’s purpose has always been to build a community, with you guys through educational and inspiring stories and conversations. Phorest FM has been nominated in the People’s Choice 2019 category, and in the Business category. If you want to cast your votes, you can sign up for a profile and get all the instructions. Just follow the link in the episode’s show notes, and once again we thank you so much for supporting Phorest FM. We wouldn’t be able to do it without your involvement.

And well that’s all we got for this week guys! As always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode or have any suggestions, please send us an email at or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show.

Otherwise, have a wonderful week, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best!

Related links

Download ‘The Dawn of the New Age Salonpreneur’ ebook (free)

Listen to the Billy Rickman Show: Success Sessions (Podcast)

Book a free 15-30 minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub 

Vote For Phorest FM At The Podcast Awards 2019


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

Leave a review

Think other people should hear about Phorest FM or this specific episode? Share your thoughts, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts!


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments