Holy September, Batman, this month has been nothing short of hectic. An impromptu flight to Seattle, two weddings in two states, and the busiest month since I began leasing my own station. September 2017 is much better than what I ever expected it to be in September 2015.
Let's take a step back, shall we?
September 2015, I was about 6 weeks from graduation. I had a five-year plan that involved me gaining experience and knowledge from different parts of the industry before opening my shop. At this point, I had a vague idea of what I wanted, but no real-world understanding of how to build it. My bank account was always empty because I was only able to work part-time while I went to school.
September 2016, I was once again in my final weeks. I had been working as the second barber in a downtown barbershop that had just opened up in a location with decent walk-in traffic. I learned a lot in my first year, had an opportunity to get comfortable with working with the public. I was able to hone in on my ability to market and began learning how to use social media to promote the shop. The Barber Story covered our trip to the governor's ball, created a retail promotion to promote web traffic, planned the shop's first-anniversary party, completely redesigned the shop website from the ground up so clients could have a better experience with the shop. I was learning a lot, but for the first part of the year I wasn't getting paid by the shop owner consistently, so it was a constant struggle to be able to get groceries and bills aligned. It hadn't been until July that I could rely on a payroll program to help me budget my income. That first year taught me a lot about what I would need to do, what I should avoid, and helped me figure out who I wanted to be as a barber.
September 2017. The month started out with a call between Hailie & her girlfriend in Seattle. They had been planning a girl's weekend while the husbands (minus me) went to PAX. This would have been my 3rd year missing it. 2014 I was making great money at my old job and just took the time off work with PTO, but in 2015 I was in school and couldn't afford it. 2016, I was still building my clientele so I still couldn't afford to take time away from work. My schedule was clear for a short window and we were able to find a stand-by flight, so I worked my full Saturday, and surprised everyone at dinner.
Most of us stayed up until 3 that night laughing and getting caught up, but the next morning came early when I woke up at 6:30 and prepared for the next 10 hours on my feet.
After a day on our feet, Josh & Christian went to the Destiny 2 launch party, and I parted ways with the ladies to Have a Heart before the bus trip back to the apartment. I was exhausted and looking for sleep, because the next day was going to be a long one in the back seat of a borrowed BMW coupe. We had our coffee, went and got some top-notch breakfast sandwiches, and then off we went.
After a few pit stops to stretch our legs from the 8-hour road trip home, we got back into town late in the evening on the 4th. Not even a week later, Hailie and I were on another 3-hour road trip to Stanley, ID.
I had been hired to style all of the groomsmen for a wedding. The client provided me a room at Redfish Lake Lodge where the wedding was at and told me to bring Hailie along, so I couldn't say no. Plus, the wedding was over my personal weekend, so I didn't need to block any additional time off. Now, I've lived in Boise for 15 years, and I can't count how many times people have told me that I needed to take a trip up to Stanley. One of my best friends used to work there every summer and would always say that it was the best part of his year. Hailie and I had never taken that specific trip, and after the hectic weekend prior in a convention center, it was nice to drive out to the middle of nowhere and just be in nature. Driving through the canyon, it was apparent that there were fires happening throughout Idaho's forrests, but once we arrived into Stanley, the skies cleared up into beautiful views. And on top of that, I found out that everyone was right. It is stunningly beautiful at redfish lake, and staying at the lodge allowed us to wake up and 6:30 and walk to the lake's shore to watch the sunrise over the sawtooths.
Drive home on the 12th, and now I have 10 days to prepare for the next road trip, Salt Lake City. Keep in mind, that with all of this travel, I am still managing the busiest month I have ever had. This time last year I was only cutting 2-4 clients a day, but recently I've been averaging between 7-9 services a day. I've put much more effort into my Google and Yelp presence, and it has been paying off. I had a slow start to September because of PAX, and even with all 3 trips and the time away from my normal clientele considered, my growth as a business is still constantly creeping upwards month after month. I must be doing something right.
Now the real challenge, taking an actual week off of work. We had been planning this for months, so I had already blocked out the days we needed to, and moved around what I could. Thursday the 21st was a full day, but we needed to leave Friday so Hailie could be in town for the girl's night her sister had planned the evening before the wedding. We showed up in town around 7 and met everyone at the park where the family BBQ was. This will henceforth be known as the BBQ we missed because that morning we were waiting for our new phones to get delivered, and we waited until 1:30 to leave because we simply couldn't wait any longer. We almost didn't get them, but on our way out of town, the UPS driver happened to be on the side of the road and he let us get our package off the back of the truck.
I had a few hours to myself Friday night while the girls were doing their thing, so I was able to go out and have some beers with Jimbo, another barber from Boise who was in town for Comic Con. After Saturday's breakfast with Hailie, she needed to go off and get her hair done and I found myself with a few more hours wandering around downtown before the wedding. It was the best time to test out what my new iPhone 8+ could do, and I couldn't be happier.
And then it was time for the wedding.
I spent the 5-hour road trip back home editing the wedding video I made for Rickey and Jason. I'm learning that it's amazing what you can accomplish with just a phone and some good ideas. 3 road trips in 3 states within 3 weeks, and I am exhausted. The final week of the month is shaping up to be a strong finish for The Barber Story's September and I'm already booked out into next month.
I'm so glad I walk to work, I don't want to be in another car for weeks.