The Sweet Smell of Success!
Over the years, I’ve read many business books and articles full of aromatherapy business tips. I’ve listened to advice from other business owners, engaged in classes online, read business blogs, subscribed to magazines, and watched videos. I’ve sought advice on marketing and advertising approaches, managing employees, and setting up a QuickBooks account. Through my educational journey, I have learned extremely valuable skills.
Having owned several successful businesses over the past 20 years, I have learned that the path to a successful business begins with passion, creativity and self-expression.
I would like to share the resources that have been supportive to the growth of our aromatherapy businesses. I’ve founded three successful aromatherapy-related businesses: Aromahead Institute of Essential Oil Studies, Aromatics International, and the International Directory of Essential Oil Distillers.
Aromahead Institute offers aromatherapy certification and advanced graduate level aromatherapy training, as well as intensive essential oil seminars for health care practitioners and business owners.
Aromatics International is an online essential oil retail store. They import and sell therapeutic-grade essential oils, as well as a variety of organic and wild-crafted carrier oils and butters. On the Aromatics International website, you'll find personal blending recipes, and batch-specific GC/MS reports on the essential oils.
The International Directory of Essential Oil Distillers allows subscribers to access a database of distillers and distributors from around the world. For those who import large quantities of essential oils, it’s a simple way to locate hundreds of high quality oils from over 50 distillers in more than 20 countries.
A Passionate Foundation
Prior to launching our aromatherapy businesses, my partner and I owned and operated the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY. During our ten years of running the school, we learned that being ourselves (radical, passionate, driven, irritable, unconventional, motivated, fun and filled with boundless energy!) was our true path to success.
At 29 years old, we launched headlong into the endeavor. We created the massage school and hired a bunch of incredible people to work with us. Off we went!
Most of you probably have at least one business idea that you've dismissed. Maybe you’re hesitant because we're in a “challenging economy,” your husband/wife/partner/dog doesn’t think it's a practical idea, or you don’t have any money to invest. After all, everyone says you need money to start a business. I don’t believe that.
My advice to you? Have the courage to follow and trust your own ideals.
A business adventure begins with your personal passion. These are the questions I ask myself:
What kind of business do I want start?
Here are some potential ideas: Your own product line, business consulting, blending for individuals, working in a spa, owning a spa, massage practice with product sales, researcher, lecture circuit, writing books, blogging, writing e-books or articles for journals, owning a retail store, running an online retail store, teaching on your own, teaching at massage schools, or teaching at aromatherapy schools.
What kind of lifestyle do I want?
Be specific about the kind of atmosphere you want to spend your time in, and the kind of contact you want with others (customers/employees/students).
What are my personal goals? How do I want to feel each day?
How can my business support my personal goals?
What shape does my business need to take in order to support my personal goals and lifestyle needs?
Who are my potential customers? How do I intend to sell, distribute and promote my product or service?
Do I have a genuine and authentic place inside myself that is comfortable and excited about my success?
We are asking ourselves these very questions once again as we work on creating an aromatherapy website template business. We are developing website templates for people who want beautiful, affordable and easy-to-manage websites.
Are there other big businesses out there who make website templates? Sure. Do they have big marketing and advertising campaigns? Yes.
Are we sure we can make excellent website templates for people? Absolutely. Are we excited beyond belief to get this business started? Yes we are.
Sound like a good idea to you? It does to us, so we are taking a calculated risk. We are partnering with our web designer, a woman who we respect and really enjoy working with. We are investing our time and energy. Off we go once more!
Once you’ve launched your business, you need to share it with the world! Don’t stress out about big budget ad campaigns and public relations right off the bat. A lot of marketing can be done right from your computer.
We have an organic process of casual marketing. Once we generate a new idea and organize ourselves, we utilize all the amazing web tools out there to let people know what we are doing. I have found that if I have a business I love and operate it with integrity and dedication, people will see and feel that. However, people can only see and feel that if they know the business exists!
Here’s a brief case study:
At Aromahead Institute, we have an online Aromatherapy Certification Program. We want to let people know about it in the USA and internationally. This is what we have done to get the word out without making a financial investment:
Writing a blog is a great way to establish yourself as a professional. It offers you an opportunity to share your knowledge, and it lets people know about your skills and expertise. When I'm considering using a new service or a new product, I often read the company’s blog first. Through a blog, I can quickly get a sense of whether or not a company is a good match for what I'm looking for.
Blogs are easy to use and inexpensive (or free). They're excellent platforms for sharing your knowledge with your customers and clients, and a great way to bring new clients to your business. When you blog about your business, you’re investing your time.
I love writing on my blog, and it has slowly become an easy and creative place for me to express myself and offer information to people who are interested in all aspects of aromatherapy. At first, I was concerned over the number of aromatherapy blogs on the web. Then I learned that we all have our own unique understanding and experience with essential oils. Personally, I read as many aromatherapy blogs as I can. I always have more to learn! You can read the Aromatics International Blog I began at www.aromaticsinternational.com/blog.
Wordpress.com and Blogger.com offer easy and free ways to get started blogging. As you grow a blog, you can look into investing in hosting it on your own server, which gives you more control over the layout and other options. Don’t forget to do your homework. I read Copyblogger.com regularly. I also enjoyed reading Problogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett.
- Article Syndication
If you're looking for more exposure online, consider online article syndication. Article syndication websites distribute articles you’ve written. You aren't paid for them, but you do get the opportunity to position yourself as an authority on your subject. Your articles are published by other websites looking for well-written articles on specific topics. By being published in this manner, you can also direct readers back to your business’s website through the short author’s bio published with your pieces.
For maximum exposure, focus on evergreen topics. Evergreen content is continually meaningful, useful and informative. Focus on content that will remain useful for years to come, as opposed to newsworthy items that are only relevant for a brief time.
The more useful the information, the more likely it will be selected by other blogs and websites to publish.
Remember, you’re not getting paid. But you’re investing your time in benefits, like:
- Attracting like-minded people (traffic) to your business, website or blog.
- Improving the search engine optimization for your website or blog by establishing links.
- Establishing your professional credibility and positioning yourself as an expert.
Check out websites like Buzzle.com and Ezinearticles.com to get started. Click through to categories related to your area of expertise or business to see what others are writing.
- Online Newsletter
Writing a newsletter can be an easy way to stay in touch with your customers or clients on a regular basis. A newsletter reminds them that you're out there doing your work. Give them an update on what’s happening in your business.
Your newsletter can also offer discounts or specials to your readers, or point them towards a new product you have developed.
For example, in my newsletters I’ve given suggestions for effective essential oil recipes and focused on specific aspects of essential oils—such as the chemistry, botany, plant parts and medicinal use.
I've used two different services for managing email lists and distributing newsletters. Check out Createsend.com and Verticalresponse.com. Remember, it’s important to use an official service when sending out a mass email. Laws regarding spam dictate that readers must be given the option to “opt out” of an email list. Establish trust with your readers by giving them this option.
- Web Video
We recently bought a Flip Mini video camera. It is my favorite new toy! The Flip is a small (about four inches high) hand-held video camera that we use to easily shoot videos for the web. We share videos by uploading them to Youtube.com, Vimeo.com, our blog, and our website. Flip has recently created Flipshare software that makes it simple to upload videos, edit them, and share them.
If certain aspects of your business would translate well to video, look into investing in a Flip, or use your computer’s built-in camera or webcam to shoot short lectures. Video can be a great way for your customers to get to know you or your business better.
Now Get Started!
You can do anything with the right mindset and foundation. I hope that these resources help you on your journey.
Be patient. All these resources take a while to learn. They require your time and attention. When business is slow, it is the perfect time to get online and look around at blogs, videos, articles, and inexpensive advertising opportunities. Search for what you find exciting and interesting.
Remember to be yourself, whoever that may be. Trust that there are many people out there who will appreciate your work!
1. Aromatics International
2. Aromahead Institute of Essential Oil Studies
3. International Directory of Essential Oil Distillers
8. EZine Articles
9. Flip Camera