Mikey Moran had only a single advantage when he started his hair and beauty business: his idea was different from anything hed seen in the industry. Seven years later, Mikey has expanded his original idea into 10 different brands, five retail locations, and one partnership with global e-commerce giant, Shopify.

In his new book Fearless Beauty:The Hair Business Blueprint, Mikey provides you with a roadmap to achieve success easier, faster, and more efficiently than you ever thought possible. He shows you how to think like an entrepreneur by introducing you to practical theories that should guide every decision, and then presents a step-by-step plan for taking action and getting started. Youll learn core marketing techniques that yield the biggest impact, how to select the best web platform for your business and why consistency—or a lack of it—can make or break you.

No matter your industry or where you are in the process of becoming an entrepreneur, youll get insightful strategies for maximizing returns and enjoying every step of the journey of your business.

Drew Appelbaum: Hey Listeners, my name is Drew Appelbaum and I’m excited to be here today with Mikey Moran, author of Fearless Beauty: The Hair Business Blueprint. Mikey, thank you for joining, welcome to the Author Hour podcast.

Mikey Moran: Thank you, I’m obviously very excited to be here.

Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off, can you give us a rundown of your professional background?

Mikey Moran: Yeah, its been filled with failure until recently, with some things that just happened to work out. In my earlier years, I started out doing the normal entrepreneurship of lemonade stands, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and sports card collecting. Then I had a dry period for probably over a decade trying to find that big idea that everybody is looking for.

I actually found something that was pretty big, it was called Curry Simple. It was the first packaged Thai Curry sauce ever to be sold in the US, and it was mildly successful. And then, like many businesses, I got absolutely crushed by the economic issues we had in 2009 going into 2010.

I tried a bunch of other things in the middle and then got into the hair industry. I came up with the idea in 2013 and launched in 2014, and weve been pushing hard ever since.

Drew Appelbaum: Why was now the time to share the stories in the book?

Mikey Moran: Yeah, Ive really wanted to reach a certain level of success where I felt very comfortable sharing my story. I think in the social media world, theres too many times we see the highlight reel of peoples lives on Instagram and you really wonder, what have they really accomplished?

I wanted to get to the point where Ive reached a certain level of success, and plenty of failure, so I can give that type of experience on paper. Hopefully, it guides people through the journey a little bit easier and lets them know its okay to fail forward, make mistakes. Thats really how you learn and then get to the point where you can reach a certain level of success and be pretty happy.

Drew Appelbaum: Did you have any of breakthroughs or learnings during your writing journey?

Mikey Moran: Its interesting because the writing process and going through all the chapters, and everything else was way more rewarding that I thought it was going to be. I feel like, over the last eight years since Ive been doing my business, Ive just been pushing morning, day, and night, every single day. So, it was more of a reflection of how far weve actually come in such a short period of time.

It made me learn that its good sometimes to hit the pause button for a minute and really think about how you made this journey, focus on what has made this journey great, and how to continue this journey being great.

Who Needs to Read This Book?

Drew Appelbaum: When you were writing the book, who were you writing it for? Is it people thinking of starting a business now? Or can established business owners read the book and have takeaways as well?

Mikey Moran: A little bit of both. I would say, really, the target is people in the hair industry. Educating over the years, Ive realized, especially in the hair industry, that is a really creative group of people.The business side is something that is not really taught as much. Its really to those people.

Now, pretty much any entrepreneur that wants to get started in any industry, I think the first four chapters of the book, where its more mindset-based, it is phenomenal. The story is really good for a lot of other entrepreneurs that have been in business for a while to really appreciate and connect with it.

Then the last four chapters are really about getting it started and getting it going. Thats why its called The Hair Business Blueprint. You could really put about any business just starting out into the blueprint, and get started that way. Really, I feel like for the book is really for my client base, for my industry.

When youre talking about hair and beauty, its a lot easier for people to relate and learn what exactly youre saying. I wanted to focus on the hair and beauty industry to make it easier for me to guide them through the process of getting their mindset right and then the business started.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, as a forewarning, do you want to tell listeners/readers whats not in the book?

Mikey Moran: Its just a book. Theres probably tons not in the book, to be honest. But I really opened up about personal experiences and the mindset. I even have a portion that my long-time girlfriend and partner has in the book that I think is really special, because its not always about you, the entrepreneur. Its the people that youre affecting around you, right? Your friends and family are going to go through this with you.

Sometimes not easy because, you really need to put the business first for it to reach a certain level of success. Everyones going to have their own journey and their own way. Its really for the beginning portion of getting started in an industry, whatever that industry may be.

You never know, there could be a second book one day down the line about the experiences over the next five years about everything else were doing to grow and expand our business.

Resilient Entrepreneurship

Drew Appelbaum: You had started a few businesses before you got into the hair business. Can you talk about those and what lessons they imparted on you?

Mikey Moran: Getting started with the food business is a highly competitive industry. My product was pretty revolutionary because it was the first of its kind. People in America love Thai food, they love sauces, so it made sense. I would have to say I was probably a little bit early with that. I mean, I was selling Thai food online in 2006! I was making YouTube videos on how to make a Thai ice tea with my product in 2006! It was pretty much unheard of at the time. If I wanted to do that now, I could probably make it much more successful.

I think there is a lot that I learned during that time about really being prepared and the things that arent always going to be so wonderful every single day and how to really plan for that.

After the food business, I got into food trucks and I got into music in the cloud, and some other pretty exciting stuff. Honestly, a lot of those failed because I didnt really have the right partnerships. I learned a lot about partnerships and making sure that, when youre getting into a business, make sure you have pretty clear definitions about what everyones doing, making sure that all your paperwork is all together.

I was just having lunch with one of my best friends this weekend and he was telling me about a new business hes getting into, and hes talking about a couple of different partners and what they do.

And I said, Hey, look. You really need to button down. Friendships aside, you really need to make sure that this is very clear, you have a partnership agreement, the legal structures all good, you have to do all this stuff even if they are your friends and say ‘worry about it later’. No, no, no, you need to worry about it now!”

I pretty much made every mistake in the book and learned from it. And I would have to say, Ive been pretty resilient in entrepreneurship over the last fifteen years. Thats really got me to where I am today.

Mindset Comes First

Drew Appelbaum: What does the mindset need to be for folks who really have a great idea or a lot of knowledge on a subject and they want to make the leap to business owner?

Mikey Moran: Well, I think we all have great ideas. I mean, I find myself saying I have a great idea about every day. Its really about the execution.

Its really about the speed of execution, meaning, if you have this idea and youre really going to do it and you really want to go for it, how fast can you get everything done? Because a lot of times, once this business starts, the clock starts ticking, you have expenses, you have competition, you have everything else.

Its highly, highly crucial that as soon as you start doing this, that you really put in your all and youre really sure youre going to do this. And you know what? If it doesnt work out, dont worry, just take it as a life lesson. I promise you, the second time you do a business, its going to be way easier.

Think about that, really: the clock starts ticking as soon as you get it started and expenses build up. Its just really important to move quickly in entrepreneurship.

Get Focused

Drew Appelbaum: Can you really prepare someone to become a small business owner and everything that comes with it?

Mikey Moran: I think its about being really focused. I think a lot of us get unfocused by social media and shiny objects. I see people in my industry, they started a hair brand and the next thing you know, theyre like, Oh next week Im going to start this clothing line too.” And I said, Woah-Woah-Woah, you havent even made this successful yet!”

People just have to focus on whats important.

I think a to-do list, as simple as it sounds, is absolutely crucial. At the beginning of the day, you have to focus on getting those most important or hard-to-do items done first and then start working your way down the list.

Every time I get a small thing that I need to do, I always put it on my phone. I use a program called Todoist, Im absolutely in love with it. It syncs in with my Google Chrome browser. When I click a new tab, it has my to-do list right there. That time that I think Im going to be playing around on Facebook for 10 or 15 minutes, Im like, Yeah, lets get back on this to-do list.”

It really zones you into focusing on whats important and then it also will help clear your head of, I have to do this, this, that,” and forgetting items.

Focus on how to focus and learn what that means for you.

What Keeps You Going?

Drew Appelbaum: Can a small business owner survive without that burning “why?” without thinking that theyre almost not allowed to fail?

Mikey Moran: Yeah, its tough, you know? I think everyone has their own journey, right? The way they approach things. Really, you have to think of it this way: if you have two businesses and you have like-minded people, and one person is just not going to be as serious and die-hard about it as the other, its really going to come down to your skillsets and finances, right?

When I started, I had no money. I basically borrowed the money from my mom and eventually paid her back to get this business started. I always like to tell people that there are a few things that you have to take into consideration when starting your business. You can either do all the work yourself, or you can hire great people to do it for you.

I think it also depends on the stage at where you are in your life. If you have a bunch of money in the bank, you know what? You can probably get a lot of things done and get people hyped up, and pay them well to get these things done to move the business forward quickly. If you dont have that advantage, then youre going to have to put in a lot of hard work. If youre not really excited and dont really have a ‘why’ behind your business, that hard work is not going to be fun.

I put in a lot of hard work every single day, but I love what I do. I honestly feel like I havent worked in years. When people see me, they say, Okay, this guy works all the time.” Thats fine, but I love what I do so much that it doesnt feel like work, which makes it a lot easier. Its definitely helpful to be passionate and have a “why” behind it, otherwise, you better have a lot of money! Most people I know, they just dont necessarily have all of that money just to throw at an idea and just hope it works and piece it together that way.

Pro Tips from Mikey Moran

Drew Appelbaum: There are certain stopping points in the book where you offer a lot of pro-tips. Can you talk about what sort of wisdom they offer?

Mikey Moran: Yeah, I thought it was a good way to break up the book. I was thinking about how I read specific books like this, and then theres kind of like a more call-to-action kind of a pause that allows you to think about the ‘pro-tips’, whatever it may be in the book.

Youre going to have to read the book to see the pro-tips. You know, its just kind of like a break, a pause, with some real clear concise actionable information that you can either do or put in your mindset to really think about. I thought it could be really helpful for a lot of people, and it is really from my personal experiences, really from my heart.

Drew Appelbaum: Do the chapters build off of one another, or can you pop in and just have a deep dive on one subject in one chapter?

Mikey Moran: The first four chapters are really focused on mindset, and I really wanted that part first because I feel like you have to be prepared mentally to get into entrepreneurship. I mean, its a real battle!

I look at other people in the beauty space and its highly competitive, and guess what? All great industries are highly competitive. That doesnt mean you shouldnt get into it, but you have to realize that.

For the mindset part, I think its best if you start with chapter one and go through those four chapters. Then the actual doing it part, the blueprint of getting started, is definitely best to start at chapter five and then go through chapter eight. It is kind of a two-part section there, split up at the book. I would definitely kind of keep in sync.

Tim Ferriss has some books that I love that you can kind of just open up anywhere and just say, Hey look, Im just going to learn something new here today!” Its not really like that.

From Mindset to Action

Drew Appelbaum: Speaking of that second half of the book, you call that half where it contains ‘doing it’ tasks. What exactly are the tasks that youre asking readers to do?

Mikey Moran: You know, it starts off pretty simple, and its really worded so its more of the idea. Its not necessarily, Hey, do this, this, this.” The book is not long enough to be able to do something like that, and things change so often.

Really, it focuses on getting the legal structure right, making sure you have the right people, getting into the technology and the website, and how important it is to get on the platform, the email system, starting to get into Facebook and Instagram ads, the importance of customer service, and really building your brand. And how all of these really come full circle together.

Ill post sometimes just to get people hyped up. I post some of my results for Facebook or Instagram advertising, and I have some pretty amazing results on some of these. People are like, Oh, I want you to teach me how to do Facebook ads.” Really, its not about learning just how to do Facebook ads. Thats really 5 or 10% of the success that I show people.

Its really all the other parts of really building the brand, the customer service, and making sure everything is running smoothly that makes these results look so phenomenal. You could be the greatest Facebook/Instagram ad person in the world, but if youre doing it for a business and a brand that is not set up to succeed, its going to fail.

Does It Get Easier?

Drew Appelbaum: How long before someone can expect to have a moment when they can actually breathe after everythings started? Maybe even take a vacation?

Mikey Moran: Wow, thats a good one. I would say a minimum of two years. The first two years are absolutely crucial for getting your business started. I really talk about in the book about reinvesting and the importance of doing so to grow your business, right?

Your business is like a baby, you just have to keep feeding it.

If you just start taking out profits, your baby is going to starve. Its really that simple. The longer that you can go without the gratification of buying fancy stuff and everything else in growing your business, it will be better.

You know, to be honest with you, my first business failed, and I really, really was wiped out in the early 2010-2011 period. Starting this beauty business, I really wanted to make sure that things were solid before I jumped in fully. To get started, I was working a full-time job, 50 hours a week, full-time plus.

I would do the work on that beauty business from 5 AM to 8 AM, and then I would work all day, and then I would work on it late until late at night. That allowed me to build up the business.

I had employee number one, and employee number two, employee number three, two and a half years later, I came on as employee number four. I actually paid myself for the first time, and it was great. I really wanted to have that strong business. And thats not something I necessarily recommend everyone to do, its just something that I failed so bad and I was so wiped out after my first business that I really had to go a different path. The path actually worked out really well for me.

Success in the Beauty Industry

Drew Appelbaum: Whats your goal for people reading the book? What do you really hope theyll accomplish after reading it?

Mikey Moran: I think its a clear path to success in the beauty industry. I run the largest Facebook group for somebody wanting to get started in the hair extension industry, my starter hair extension business group. Ive posted in there every single day since 2014, and I have at this time, about 37,000 members. People are posting and ask questions, and I answer questions all the time in there and get a ton of feedback.

Really, this book was written because I get feedback from new business owners every single day about where they struggle, where theyre getting lost, what they need help with, and thats why I really created this book to help people.

I wanted to create something that will help people and businesses, let them understand that, at this point, yeah, things look really great, but what did I go through to get here? And let people have a real expectation of what it takes to run a successful business.

Going back to the social media highlight reel and Instagram, where people are on their laptop on the beach and theyre like, Oh, I only work a couple of hours a day and my business is going great, and all this stuff,” and they make it look so amazing. I have some of those photos too where it’s my laptop and Im in Greece—pre-COVID obviously—and Im like, Look, I worked an eight-hour day, now I can go explore the city.”

I try to make things more realistic. I just think over the last 10 years since Ive been in, you watch business owners grow and see where they struggle, they just get kind of too wrapped into, “Things are so easy” and “Its not going to be a challenge,” and “You just set-up this Shopify website and the sales come roaring in!” Thats not realistic.

This is a realistic expectation of what its going to take for your mindset, to get the business going, and to move forward for the future.

A Supportive Community 

Drew Appelbaum: I like that you brought up your private Facebook group, because you do offer readers entry into that private Facebook group. What can they expect to find there, and should they be going in if theyre in other industries and not the beauty industry?

Mikey Moran: Yeah, I mean, I welcome everyone, any entrepreneur to come to the group. The group is really focused on helping people answer questions. It is a highly moderated group. This group actually takes a lot of time for the team, but it is really a powerful marketing tool for our business.

People just post all sorts of questions, from all ends of the spectrum, all different types of experiences, some backgrounds, and thats why I love it so much. We get questions about e-commerce, how to do this, how to do marketing and, Hey, is my Facebook pixel set-up?” There are basic questions to more advanced questions. Its a really powerful, free group for anybody to join.

I try to do morning tips, and sometimes for the business we run different specials where I need to clear stuff out, so people are getting deals and I am helping them resell it to their clients. People message me, and say, Mikey, oh my God, I made so much! I made a thousand dollars this week because of these deals that you did,” or your help with this idea, or marketing. Its unbelievably rewarding.

I mean, just to get the feedback from our clients that were helping so many people be successful in the beauty and hair industry is just a way for me to stay in touch with them, because I am not giving out my phone number to everybody. But within the Facebook group, it’s a way for us to have conversations and chat about business and the industry.

The One Thing You Need to Know

Drew Appelbaum: I do have one question left, and it is the hot seat question: If readers could take away only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?

Mikey Moran: It is really important to figure out where your dedication is for your business life and understand how much youre willing to sacrifice to make a business successful. Because to get to a certain level of success—its going to vary for different people—but there are a lot of different sacrifices you make. Not seeing family enough, friends enough, your girlfriend or wife enough. Understand that there are a lot of other people that are making these sacrifices to create a successful business to help others, whether its in your industry or with different groups of people.

My book is dedicated to my mom who passed away, and this book really was for her, so that was my special person. The real reason for me to write this book is to help others.

Drew Appelbaum: Mikey, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?

Mikey Moran: They can find me on Instagram @moranmikey. The books page is Hair Business Blueprint on Instagram. Of course, youre welcome to join the Start a Hair Extension Business Facebook group, and that’s probably the best place to find me.

Drew Appelbaum: Thanks for joining us for this episode of Author Hour. You can get Mikey Morans new book, Fearless Beauty, on Amazon. Also, you can also find a transcript of this episode and all of our other episodes on our website at authorhour.co. For more Author Hour, subscribe to this podcast on your favorite subscription service. Well see you next time: same place, different author.