Woman sitting in her own esthetician business

“I can honestly say that choosing IMAj Institute was the best choice I could have possibly made. They truly prepare you so that in the end, you walk out feeling like you can be on your own.” -Courtney Short

Courtney graduated from IMAj Institute in 2019 and now runs her own Aesthetics spa called Desert Glow Aesthetics. Her mother is an RN, and Courtney gravitated naturally towards the medical field, becoming a Medical Assistant and Phlebotomist at just 18. While she enjoyed her Medical Assistant position, she wanted more. While Courtney wanted a career change, she looked for a field that could use her back round experience towards her new one, that would help utilize her knowledge and experience from the medical field, working in dermatology offices and plastic surgery offices and even trauma, er and urgent care and finding a new passion in aesthetics by helping people fighting with all grades of acne.

Not only did Courtney change careers, but she also changed locations, moving from California to Arizona is when she also started looking into aesthtics schools. “That’s when I realized that IMAj Institute was for me. They focused more on problem-solving. I wanted to pursue the corrective solutions side of things, be results-driven, and become an acne specialist.”

What Attracted You to IMAj?

“IMAj attracted me for training for two reasons: First, it is a family-owned business, and I knew I would be cared for as a person, instead of just a student or number. Second, they focus more on advanced treatments. While other schools focus more on the relaxing, spa setting, IMAj showed more of the medical side of things – being a Medical Aesthetician, which has greater possibilities for their graduates.”

What was the Most Important Thing You Learned in School?

“The most important thing I learned in school was understanding ingredients. It’s what you must accomplish when treating a persons’ face if you want to get or maintain results. Learning different product lines is also particularly important, and I liked that IMAj offered two different skincare lines to learn with. It was extremely beneficial to have guest speakers discuss different skincare lines; they are so different.”

What Keeps You Grounded?

“Owning a business is a constant hustle. There is always work to be done, even after business hours, but it constantly makes you grow, and you will always succeed if you never give up. It is extremely important to sometimes, put your phone and computer away and take time for yourself, to clear your mind, to rejuvenate your energy and mental health, so you can continue to work hard, do and be the best that you can be for your business. I am guilty to say, that is the hardest thing for me to do, because I am always trying to learn the improved software, aesthetics procedures, marketing tools, and new products. I am always trying to come up with new ideas to make my business better than it was yesterday. Although I may be a work a-holic, live and breath to continue to grow my business, it helps to always take a day off and go to the lake, and take out the jet skis or the boat and explore. My favorite things to do on my days off is visiting the local lakes, lake powell, lake havasu. I always make sure to get myself a massage every month! Because giving yourself a facial, just isn't the same relaxation time as someone pampering you.”

“I make sure to get a massage once a month to relieve any bad energy, stress, and toxins. My favorite thing to do is have a lake day. Taking the jet skis or boat out and going for a ride. My favorite lakes to go to are Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, and local lakes around Arizona.”

What did You do After You Graduated from IMAj?

“I interviewed for jobs, but after a couple of interviews, I knew if I was going to put all my energy, time, dedication, and motivation in, it was going to be starting my own business. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I knew there was a chance that I could sink or swim, but I knew, more than anyone, that I could do it.”

What Challenges did You face?

“I think the most challenging thing I faced when I first opened my business, was finding out all of the licensing you need. You need a Business License, Salon License, TPT, EIN #, Trade Name, and Aesthetic Liability insurance. You need to understand what they are, why you need them, and where to apply for everything. The costs add up quickly, too.”

Tell Us About Your Business

“My Business, Desert Glow Aesthetics, is located inside Palette Collective, where about 50 small businesses rent rooms. Located there are Hair Stylists, Nail Tech’s, Chiropractors, a Macaroon Shop, Coffee Shop, Nurse Injectors, and more. My specialty is Advanced Acne, but I treat all grades of acne. I also offer help with Anti-Aging. I struggled to find an Aesthetician when I was suffering through uncontrolled acne, and I can honestly say, I never once found one who amazed me.”

“Now, when I meet my clients, I make sure I go above and beyond and give them the utmost care. I pride myself in being detail-oriented and thorough - so my clients feel the connection I am making with them - by relating experiences and offering suggestions and recommendations.”

Woman sitting in her own esthetician business

What Advice Can You Give to New Students?

“My advice for future graduate medical aestheticians is to create a business plan. Research everything before starting a business, so you can visualize and understand what you are walking into. I think most of us want to go on our own right out of school, but it’s not as easy as it looks.”

“Co-renting a suite/room, at an established business versus a storefront, might be the best learning experience for new graduates. Places like Palette Collective, Salon Boutique, L’mage studios, will help guide you in the right direction.”

“My other advice would be to always put yourself out there, and never stop learning. Always stay up to date on the new and improved services. Don’t stop taking education classes, and connect with other Aestheticians.”

“While you are building a clientele, you will experience your schedule being inconstant for awhile until you can set a schedule on your time, you will cater to those who walk in the door. For example you may have 2 clients for the day, 1 at 10 am, and one at 5pm. During the time's of business hours, that you do not have clients, act like you do. Keep yourself busy by marketing yourself on social media platforms, stay at your suite as clients may walk by, be constant as if you had a full day. While you may be waiting around, continue to work as if you had a full day of clients by posting content on Instagram and Facebook, updated and create business content, learn software, learn billing, taxes, freshen up on ingredients, and stay connected within aesthetic and other aestheticians through algorithm groups that you can discuss experiences, problems, questions and concerns. People are always watching, and you want to stay organized and in a routine.”

To Whom or What Do You Owe Your Success?

“My Boyfriend, Anthony Lapaglia. While I was in school full time, making a drastic career change, he saw my vision and believed in me. He supported me while I was in class during the week, and needed the weekends to study and do homework, as well as rejuvenating my mental health. He stood right by my side, all the way.”

“While a lot of people thought it would be best to get a job first, I wanted to prove them wrong and prove to myself that I could build an empire. Often I stayed up all night, over-worked myself, and there were many sacrifices I had to make. There were vacations I missed and money I wish I could have used for shopping, but I knew the sacrifices would be worth it in the end. If it were easy everybody would do it right?”