Each month, Laure, founder of HO KARAN, speaks here on a subject that is close to her heart, and without filter. Today, she tells behind the scenes of everyday life as an entrepreneur, and more particularly in cosmetics.
Business in cosmetics
I realized over the years - especially because I founded HO KARAN alone - thatdoing business in cosmetics required having a very complete and versatile profile. Today I consider myself excellent in no particular field, but competent on many subjects, which allows me to play the role of conductor proper to the entrepreneur.
Cosmetics require skills in branding (design, communication, editorial), in industrialization (purchasing, production, logistics), in research and development for formulation and sometimes in packaging, in sales to manage distributors, in e-commerce. and webmarketing, and obviously in finance and management because this industry requires a lot of investment. On top of that, decide to do cannabis cosmetics, and you will also need to become proficient in lobbying and regulatory affairs!
Initially alone on these subjects, I quickly had to surround myself and create a team. Surrounding yourself with people who are better than yourself and embedding them in a vision is what is commonly called management. There are apparently schools to train there, but above all I believe in experimenting and learning in the field - from mistakes more than from successes - and from peers. Managing women and men seems to me to be the most difficult task of entrepreneurship today!
Undertake in 2021
I have had a very different daily life for the past few months. Before the Covid crisis, we had an office in Nantes and an office in Paris and I made almost weekly trips between the 2 cities and teams. We now work entirely remotely. The first confinement - which obviously required a drastic slimming cure for our fixed charges - also made me realize that I needed to live by the sea, because it is an environment that soothes me enormously. . I like being underwater as much (freediving, diving) as on the water (especially by sailing). So I made the choice to leave Nantes, the city where I started HO KARAN, to explore other countries and in particular Portugal which attracted me a lot. I live in colivings, airbnbs or with friends sometimes, and I come back once a month to Paris and Nantes for meetings and to see the team. We work very well remotely with points in video, by phone, by email or slack.
The organization of our weeks at HO KARAN
We have two important monthly points. A main point every first Monday of the month called the “steering committee”. Each manager of his division presents the figures for the past month in relation to the objectives established for the quarter and the year. Now is the time to understand what works, what does not work and to reorient the strategy if necessary. Then another monthly point dedicated to commercial and marketing operations where the marketing plan that I write annually is operationalized. Finally, weekly points to start the week, then one to one with each member of the team to help them move forward on their subjects.
Last year I realized that I had let my personal life let go completely by my professional agenda. I was extremely flexible, I adapted to everyone's constraints, to the detriment of my own organization. I found myself doing substantive topics like presentations or my emails after dinner until very late or on weekends because I didn't give myself any dedicated time during the week. American entrepreneur Jim Rohn said “Either you run the day or the day runs you”. So as not to let myself get on board and exhaust myself, this year I adopted a Stakhanovist division of my agenda, which may scare some people, but which now allows me to have real time for breaks, and for working background.
For example, this is what a typical week looks like:
- in blue the visio / calls with the team
- in yellow the slots to respond to emails and slacks 3 times a day. These are the niches that I can move if there is an emergency or an appointment to be made. I try not to spend my time watching emails and slacks, for real emergencies - which are obviously all relative - people call me.
- in purple my break times (lunch, nap, sport). I now forbid myself to eat in front of my emails, to have a better awareness of how I eat.
- in green my niches to respond to social networks, because I respond personally to all DMs and Instagram comments @hokaran, and niches to write (blog articles, answers to interviews, a book that I have been ordered etc…).
- in white these are the remaining free slots to set up appointments and the unforeseen.
Find your balance
In the morning, I wake up around 8am because I often go to bed after midnight. I've never been an early riser, however I feel very creative in the evening, when the flow of the day has passed and I know I'm not going to be disturbed.
My work schedule template nevertheless stops at 19 p.m. because I would like to achieve this ideal in the long term of no longer working in the evening, and to keep these moments for personal projects. In fact, I often go back to work a little after 21 p.m., but I rarely see it as a chore. I usually respond to DMs and Instagram comments around 22-23 p.m. once all the other tasks of the day are done. Instagram has a particularly vicious functioning based on the FOMO (fear of missing out, that is to say the fear of missing something) because the stories in which we are mentioned disappear after 24 hours if we have not consulted them. . If I do not answer it within that time, I know that I will therefore no longer be able to access it. After a year of logging into Instagram every day to reply to everyone on time, I have agreed to let go a bit now and cut the weekends.
However, I still work a little on weekends if necessary or if I want to, according to my schedule. I don't make a clear line between professional and personal life because I am lucky to have a very intuiti personae company, in which I can realize my projects and dreams, where many working relationships have become friends, and where I'm having a lot of fun. This fuzzy border is for me a luxury and not a constraint because I also obviously allow myself to do very personal things on schedules that could be perceived as working time in a more traditional setting.
The interviews with entrepreneurs that I read or the podcasts that I listen to often echo an unhealthy competition for who will work the most, with men claiming that they work between 70 and 90 hours a week. Personally, when I work 70 hours a week it is a failure, because I now know that beyond 60 hours a week I am over-revving and that I put my sleep, my physical and mental health at risk. My cruising speed is rather at 50h, which gives me time to advance the main topics of HO KARAN with clairvoyance and efficiency, while having a social life, playing sports, and sleeping properly. Obviously, I sometimes work more. And it is very complicated, moreover, when you constantly think about your project to know if an hour of reflection is work or not. But I know that it is very important for me to have time to pause and step back, to be able to remain creative and lucid.
My next challenge is to succeed in cutting completely during the holidays, because I admit that I still have a lot of trouble not responding to slack or email requests! I would be curious to know how you organize yourself on your side, entrepreneur or not! Do not hesitate to share your tips with me in the comments;)