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Ep. 08: Startup Reflections: 6 Triumphs and 6 Mistakes of Launching Vacay Beauty

Welcome back to another episode of Daring Made! Today, I am excited to go a little bit personal with you. I’m going to be sharing the real-life entrepreneurial journey of myself, the highs, the lows, and everything in between when I started my first official business called Vacay Beauty, a spray tan business. This experience taught me so much about what to do and what not to do in the world of startups. Reflecting back on this journey has shaped how I approach everything else, from running a branding agency to launching digital products. Buckle up as I share six mistakes and six wins from starting Vacay Beauty.

The Wins

Win #1: Unique Positioning and Branding

From day one, I knew I didn’t want Vacay Beauty to be like every other spray tan business in the city. I wanted to offer an experience, not just a service. I chose the name Vacay Beauty to evoke the feeling of being on vacation, even in freezing cold Philadelphia. The focus was on creating a luxurious and educational experience for clients. I spent time honing the brand message and ensuring it stood out among the competition. By differentiating myself, I attracted clients looking for something more than just a spray tan.

Win #2: Strong Web Presence

Having a professional website played a significant role in the success of Vacay Beauty. While many competitors lacked an online presence or had outdated websites, I invested time and effort into creating a visually appealing and informative website. Automating the booking process from the beginning allowed me to attract clients through online searches and establish a convenient and efficient customer experience. Investing in SEO paid off as people consistently found me through online searches.

Win #3: Influencer Outreach

One strategy that had a significant impact on the growth of Vacay Beauty was influencer outreach. Before officially launching, I connected with local micro-influencers and built relationships with photographers and other professionals in the industry. Hosting a “Bronze and Bubbles” event allowed me to showcase my services to the public. By treating influencers to a luxurious experience and providing them with tan services, I gained valuable exposure through their social media posts. This event put Vacay Beauty on the map and attracted new clients.

Win #4: Local Networking

While online strategies are essential, I also recognized the importance of networking within the local community. Attending business groups and events allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals and potential clients. Building relationships face-to-face helped establish trust and credibility. It even led to a feature in Philly Magazine, providing valuable exposure for Vacay Beauty. Networking locally can have a powerful impact on business growth.

Win #5: Diversification of Income

To ensure stability and cash flow, I diversified the services offered by Vacay Beauty. Alongside spray tans, I sold retail items such as clothing and face sprays that complemented the brand and the vacation experience. By exploring different revenue streams, I kept the cash flowing, especially during uncertain times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers appreciated the variety of options available and continued to support Vacay Beauty.

Win #6: Community Building

One of the most significant wins of my entrepreneurial journey was the emphasis I placed on community building. Engaging with clients and establishing strong connections went beyond simple business transactions. The relationships I built during the Vacay Beauty days were instrumental in the success of my subsequent ventures, such as Daring Creative. The community I cultivated became a valuable network, providing referrals and support. Building a strong community is essential for long-term success.

The Mistakes

Mistake #1: Overspending on Unnecessary Costs

In the excitement of running my own business, I made the mistake of overspending on printing and marketing costs. From continuously redesigning materials to buying expensive prints that weren’t fully utilized, I neglected to evaluate the value of these expenses. Being more mindful of spending on smaller costs would have saved thousands of dollars and contributed to the overall profitability of the business.

Mistake #2: Poorly Planned Expo Participation

Participating in an expensive wedding expo without proper research turned into a blunder. I failed to consider the competition and ended up with a booth positioned at the end of the event. By the time attendees reached my booth, they had already encountered other spray tan businesses. The investment of over a thousand dollars and the stress of the event did not yield the expected results. Lesson learned: thorough research and clear expectations are essential before committing to expensive expos.

Mistake #3: Personal Cell Phone Chaos

Using my personal cell phone number for business communication quickly became overwhelming. The lack of boundaries led to clients contacting me at all hours, blurring the line between personal and professional life. To rectify this, I eventually shifted to a dedicated business line to maintain a healthier work-life balance. Setting boundaries and using professional channels of communication are crucial for business success.

Mistake #4: Taking on Too Much and Getting Overwhelmed

My ambition and desire to do everything on my own led to burnout and strained personal relationships. I neglected self-care and failed to allocate time for personal life outside of the business. Balancing work and personal life is vital to avoid the detrimental effects of overwhelm and exhaustion. Delegate tasks when possible and prioritize self-care to achieve sustainable success.

Mistake #5: Missed Opportunity with Paid Advertising

Despite experiencing strong organic growth, I regret not exploring paid advertising sooner. In hindsight, a well-executed paid ad campaign would have further turbocharged the business’s growth. Since then, I have recognized the value of targeted advertising and its ability to reach a wider audience. Don’t underestimate the power of paid advertising, especially in the early stages of a startup.

Mistake 6: YouTube Burnout

Ambition met reality with my YouTube channel. I was juggling too many balls and dropped the video ball pretty quickly.


The journey of launching Vacay Beauty was a mix of triumphs and blunders, each contributing to valuable lessons learned. From positioning and branding to web presence and community building, these wins propelled the business forward. However, overspending, poorly planned expo participation, personal cell phone chaos, overwhelm, and missed advertising opportunities serve as reminders of the importance of balance, research, boundaries, and delegation. An entrepreneurial journey is bound to have its ups and downs, but by learning from these experiences, you can adjust your course and increase your chances of success. Remember, building a strong community, engaging in strategic marketing, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are all essential for long-term success in any business venture.

Thank you for joining me on this reflective journey. If you found this episode insightful, please subscribe, share, and leave a review. I hope these entrepreneurial lessons become part of your success playlist.

See you next time on Daring Made!

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