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Monday, July 3, 2017

Success Along the Way feature: Donna of Younique

Tell us a little about yourself.  

Donna Steely Arnold from Boston, MA.  I was a Navy brat and lived kind of all over the world – the most exotic place being Bahrain Island, Saudi Arabia. I never saw myself doing an office job (even though I excelled at typing) when I got my Associate’s Degree in Social Work Service, but that’s where I ended up!  I’ve worked at a medical malpractice defense law firm in Boston for the past 35 years.  Yes, I said 35 years.  Talk about secretary’s spread!!  I’m married to a mechanic and we have two sons – and the youngest is off to college in the fall!

What made you decide to start your own business?  

So after 35 years you pretty much know your job inside and out, so I thought it might be interesting to dabble in something I could do when I retire (IF I ever get to retire!).  My cousin was selling Younique makeup and I bought some and loved it.  She was the one who suggested this would be an easy thing for me to do because I loved the product and believed in it. I wasn’t sure I could do well at sales since I had never, ever held any kind of a sales job before and had no clue how to go about it.  But she convinced me and I jumped in with both feet, guns blazing. 

Tell us about your business 

Younique makeup and skin care are American made and mineral based. They follow strict manufacturing guidelines and I really feel much better knowing what I’m putting on my skin since it ends up IN my body!  The best part is that this business is almost 100% Facebook-based – I don’t have to go door to door or hold house parties, although I can if I want to.  I’m able to reach a much broader audience.  I love helping women feel more confident in themselves – through the make-up and by having control of their own destiny with this type of a work-at-home business.  We all know many working mothers can’t get a job outside of the home until their kids are in school – and even then it’s hard.  So this type of work gives them more options.

How did it feel when you got your first client?  

I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to make a go of it, but I was determined to give it my all. When I made my first sale, you would think I sold the Taj Mahal!! And once I saw the commissions building up from selling products that I loved to my friends, I was really hooked.  This type of work was so different from what I’ve been doing for my whole life and it was honestly fun!  But it was hard work, too.  

What is the hardest part about owning your own business and what is the most rewarding? Any surprises?

That’s the scary part.  Not knowing if you can sustain a job – and that was particularly scary to me because I’ve never quit or been fired before.  The hardest part is knowing it’s all on me.  I have to be motivated every day to get on FB and talk about the products and show people why they are so awesome.  And when no one responds or orders anything for a while, I try not to feel like it’s something I’m doing wrong.  I just have fun with it and keep building those relationships.  That has been the greatest part – the friends I’ve made along the way.

What materials helped you prepare for being a small business owner? 

I’ve watched a bazillion videos on sales and presentation and how to build relationships and get things done.  Younique corporate is awesome and they have an extensive website available for their presenters, so that helped immensely.  Having a network of people working toward the same goals as you helps beyond belief. I also have a mentor and her guidance has been invaluable. 

What do you want for the future of your business?  What would you say to other women who have business plans in their head that want to turn a "what if" into an "I am?"

The thing that made me realize this would be something I could definitely do was when I got my business cards and catalogs with my picture on them….seeing it all in print it hit me.  This is MY business!  This can be as great as I can make it. I can work it at the times that are convenient for me (especially good since I still hold down that 9-5!) and it makes me feel like I’m really helping someone when they write me and say “thank you – I’ve never felt more beautiful”!  I’m so glad I took that plunge and now feel more confident about other decisions I make in my daily life.  I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage someone to take control of her own destiny and do something she’s always wanted to do – the results are so rewarding when you do it for you!!

To go to Donna's business page, click here.

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  1. What a great story. I love that she just wanted to change things up a bit and started a business. Owning a business can fill you with pride and accomplishment while you get to work hard for yourself. Best of luck Donna!

  2. Fantastic story and I love the "realness" of her answers. I hope she has much success and joy as she continues to grow her business.


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