The Susel Numa Interview,
– What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
It’s where I come from. My experiences throughout my life. When I was little in Cuba my parents use to make croquettes in our house and sell it to people around our neighborhood. When I became a little older, my dad won a lottery in Cuba that provided him with a one-way ticket to anywhere in the USA but my mom and I had to stay behind and sell croquettes while my father worked day and night in Georgia. He slept at bus stops so he could save money to bring us to the states. It was so difficult for me to understand at the time why we had to be so far away from each other but as I grew, I started to understand all of the hardships that my parents went through in order to provide and survive in this country.
My mother worked in restaurants, factories & numerous cleaning jobs just to make ends meet. I saw the struggle my parents had to go through working for others, being underpaid and unappreciated, as well as being replaceable. It gave me fuel to want more in my life than just a 9 to 5 job.
What did you find difficult about getting started?
What I found the most difficult about getting started was not knowing where I wanted to do at first. When I was in high school, I was in Drama activities and in choir so makeup was always needed when we had shows or competitions. I was in love with makeup at a very early age but my parents did not let me wear it till I turned 15.
By the time I turned 15 I had watched so many Youtube makeup tutorials that I knew every step to create a flawless face. I started doing my makeup every day for school and all the girls there wanted to get their makeup done by me. I also began to post on Instagram with the looks I would create for myself. Although I did not see it as a career choice at the time. I saw it as a hobby. I never thought I could make a career out of it.
When I graduated from high school, I took a year off before deciding if I wanted to go to college or not because I didn’t know What I wanted. All I knew was I really loved doing makeup. A lot of people didn’t believe in my dream and told me that being a makeup artist wasn’t a good career choice.
That year was the worst. I was working at Mcdonald’s and I became depressed because everyone was in college and I wasn’t.
Once the year ended, I started Beauty School that January. I took action and just went for what I wanted instead of doubting myself. When I enrolled I was told that I would need to obtain my skincare specialist license in order to attend makeup class. At first, I wasn’t happy about it but when I took the class I was surprised to find out that I had a bigger passion for it that I never knew I had.
Skincare opened up my eyes to a world of endless possibilities. I remember going to work from 9 AM – 5 PM and then going to beauty school from 5:30 PM – 11 PM every day and with no car, but deep in my heart I knew all my struggles would pay off and one day I would look back at those moments and be grateful. Without those experiences I wouldn’t be the person I am today and Divine Beauty SS wouldn’t exist.
There are 3 main stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs: funding, partnerships, and motivation. Which one was lacking or the most challenging for you?
The most challenging aspect for me were funding & motivation. When I graduated and obtained my license I was living without my parents for the first time at 18 years old with my spouse. I went through certain financial struggles that made the process of getting the equipment I needed and my overall plan harder to set in motion.
I still had to work in order to make ends meet. Sometimes life got in the way, making it hard to see the bigger picture. All of this played a major role in my lack of motivation to just create and put myself out there to gain clients. I felt like I did not have the potential and my doubts held me back. But I knew through my parent’s struggles that the more you create and put yourself out there the more partnerships and opportunities come your way.
Looking back, how much do you believe your success is owed to luck and how much is due to hard work, percentage-wise?
I believe in luck but definitely feel like my success is owed 100% to faith and hard work. You work hard when you are doing something that you really don’t want to do but you know it will fund your future business.
When you learn how to build websites, manage SEOs, and create content and ads for your social media platforms, you spend endless nights going hard planning every detail on how you are going to make your business thrive. I believe luck, faith and hard work will get you to where you want to be.
Aren’t you afraid of the competition in your field?
I always think outside of the box to differentiate myself from my competition. Even if my competition has something similar, it’s the details and quality as well as the experience you present to your clients that count more than anything else. I take my time in getting to know all my clients and create a custom experience for their specific needs.
Was there anything in your childhood that motivated you to do what you are doing now?
My mother used to do her makeup in front of me & always made skincare remedies at home. It was one of my favorite things to do with my mom. I loved it! That was our bonding time. Just that memory on its own makes me want to offer that to others so they can not only improve their skin but create a bond with me while getting a facial.
My Father also played a role in the career I have today he would always grow plants & use them for home remedies. This really opened up my eyes and made me realize that nature is something we all should take care of and learn to use for our health all around.
When did you realize you hit your stride? In other words, when did you become comfortable with what you were doing?
I realized that I could communicate effectively and provide skincare services that gave instant results. I started seeing before & after pictures of my work and it gave me an instant boost of confidence to go out there and work independently.
How long do you think you have in this business?
Do you feel comfortable with where you’re at now with your business?
I am happy where I am right now with my business but I am still working on expanding. I am always adding to my knowledge base so I can offer more in my business. Even if I am happy with where I am there is always room for growth.
What differences are you making in the business? Affordability, streamlining or legacy?
The difference I am making in my business is the quality, honesty, and time that is being provided to clients. At other spas, you will get treated very quickly and most of the times, you won’t get the best quality available now when it comes to skincare products and advanced machines. At my company, Divine Beauty SS, I provide top quality skincare products that have high-grade ingredients. All skincare machines are top quality and I always give my clients my undivided attention so that we can acknowledge all of their skin concerns and customize the best facial and at-home regimen for them to achieve their own skin goals.
If you don’t mind saying, who’s your main competition and what can you offer that they can’t?
I don’t want to say the name of my competition but what I can offer is real quality skincare and 100% relaxation that will keep clients coming back to learn more about their skin health. I guide my clients and teach them the importance of self care. I am not just in it for the money I am in it to teach that self-care is self-love.
Everyone feels like giving up at some point to find a “regular job”. What kept you going when you hit that wall and what did the wall look like?
I had plenty of times when I hit that wall and felt like I needed a regular job again. I even went back and got a job a few times. All I can say is when you feel that way, just think logically depending on your financial situation. If you don’t have enough money to start or build up your business and feel like you should go back to a regular job, always have an estimated time for being at that job. Estimate the amount of money you want to save in that time, that way, you will be able to leave on your own timeline and make your goals flourish. The last thing you want to do is go back to working a regular job with no goals in mind because then you become a slave to someone else’s routine. At that point, you are living to survive, not to live. It becomes so hard to leave a regular job when you don’t have a financial goal.
Some analysts say what you do as a business has a short lifespan. Do you agree?
I certainly agree. Keeping a business afloat, especially through difficult economic times is very challenging. Sometimes you do have to step back and create strategies that will keep the quality but cut out the waste in your business. Even if something was doing really well before, there might come a time when it might not do as well and as a business owner, you will have to figure out whether that particular service is worth providing. You may have to change things up a little bit to make it more sustainable.
If you can do anything else in business, what would it be?
I would like to have a business where I can teach others how to create a business plan and provide information on how to market their business through online resources. In the meantime I am currently working on an online course called Get Makeup Savy which will launch in December. This course will teach you how to create flawless looks as well as teach you all the ways that you can make money with makeup. So for anyone looking to start a side hustle, this is the course for you!
We love to ask this question to help others know what keeps other entrepreneurs organized. What’s your favorite organizing app?
My favorite organizing app is Vagaro Pro. Its great for booking clients, build your website and take payments all in one place.
Journalist and writer for NY Style and Millennial Entrepreneur Magazines covering music, modeling and the fashion industry.
Wow Susel this is so awesome and inspiring! I would love to sign up for your class when the time comes. Good luck in all of your endeavors!