Interview with Paul Heslop, Owner and CEO at Salt of the Earth

Paul Heslop is the owner and CEO of Salt of the Earth which “is a home grown company that creates fresh, down-to-earth spa treatments and products for every occasion.”  So how did this 20-something year old, entrepreneur become associated with a company like this?  Let me tell you.  Growing up, Paul’s neighbor down the street originally started this company in 1998.  As a teenager Paul worked for her, mixing up lotions and other spa products.  When Paul was a senior in college he called his neighbor and asked if he could buy the company.  She was interested in selling but informed Paul that the business wasn’t something that she lived off of and would be tough to create his own living.  Nevertheless, Paul bought it anyway.  And BOOM! Paul became the owner and CEO of a company in an industry that he knew very little about.

Paul’s start is one reason why his story is so unique.  I want to thank Paul for spending time with me to share his story.  My hope is that everyone who reads this article will learn and be more determined and inspired to improve themselves, achieve their goals, and make the world a better place.

 

Build

Paul’s first goal was to get to know each client.  So, he forwarded every work phone to his cell phone and answered every single call, whenever they came, no matter if they came as early as 6:00 a.m. or as late as 11:00 p.m.  Paul was extremely hands-on with every part of the business and worked long hours, six days a week.  A usual work day consisted of arriving at the office between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and working until 6:00 p.m.  He would then go home, spend time with his family (wife and children), help put the kids to bed and start working again around 10:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Paul is a natural leader, so when it was time to hire employees he was successfully able to build a team.  Here is his advice about building a team and leading them.

Find people that have your same vision, are willing to follow, but are also willing to take responsibility and work hard.

Do not micro-manage. However, this only works if you get the right people to start with in the first place.

Give each employee a voice. Everyone has ideas worth hearing.

Motivate people and remember that you cannot always use money to do so.

Lead by example (work extremely hard).

 

Market, Design, Brand

If you visit Paul’s office you will find a slick, well-designed cabinet on wheels that houses all of the lotions, creams, and sense for a great spa treatment.  There is no doubt that this work of art fits perfectly into a 5-star spa anywhere around the world.  However, Paul made a clear point that it did not start that way.  The first prototype was pieced together by random IKEA products.  Paul would design only what he needed to (also known as a minimum viable product) and then sold constantly.  Overtime the design improved and the Salt of the Earth brand was born and molded into what it is today.  As an entrepreneur you can spend unlimited amounts of time making your product “perfect” but until you sell it the “perfect” product will do you no good.

 

Bootstrap

Salt of the Earth just received the 2014 Entrepreneur Excellence Award for the Best Bootstrapped Business from the Northfront Business Alliance.  In a time when raising millions of dollars from investors is “cool” and the thing to do, bootstrapping a successful business is an amazing accomplishment.  Paul doesn’t spend money on big time advertising.  Paul spends his money on making the most amazing product ever.  Why?  Because that is what creates fantastic word-of-mouth marketing.  He also leverages the ability to make frequent, entertaining videos on YouTube and social media.  Ultimately, Paul focuses on what he is good at and sells first and then puts his money where his product is.  Salt of the Earth has clients literally all over the world.  Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

 

Lessons Learned, Advice

Here is some simple but powerful and useful advice from Paul.

Building a business is extremely difficult and takes a lot longer than you think it will.

Building a business is all about working hard and hustling. You cannot put a ribbon and bow on everything.  In other words, you can’t make everything perfect before you sell it.

Be very unique. Stand out.  Focus on what you can do better than any other company in your industry.

Everything that you do and that your employees do tells a story about your brand. Be very deliberate in how you answer the phone, work with clients, present yourself, etc.  You constantly represent your brand.

Do things that people will talk about.

 

I hope you enjoyed the article.  Feel free to leave comments below and share the article.

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Check out Paul’s social media and website.  Links are below.

Salt of the Earth website

Paul’s LinkedIn

Paul’s Instagram