Beauty Truth-Teller Paula Begoun on Being an Entrepreneur, Hiring and Handling Stress

By Bryan Barron, for Paula’s Choice Skincare  

Work for Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare and Beautypedia.com, and you will laugh a lot. You’ll also become used to her straight-shooting ways. “I’m blatantly honest to a fault,” she says. 

Indeed, her truth-telling is her commodity and specialty. Combined with a passion for beauty products, it has resulted in 21 bestselling books on beauty and regular appearances on CNN, “The Today Show,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The View”, to name a few places—as well as her product review site Beautypedia.com and her global skincare company PaulasChoice.com.

It all began 35 years ago, when Paula was struggling with acne and eczema. She resolved to find a solution and began studying product labels, formulations and skin physiology. She discovered why everything she had been using on her skin either made it worse or didn’t help at all—and felt that her information could help so many other people, too.

Now Paula travels the globe speaking to women about truths and myths in beauty. “I love my job,” she says. Here, she shares more about entrepreneurship, work regrets, stress —and yes, her favorite products.

BEST CAREER ADVICE

“First, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Second, don’t go into debt—it’s the #1 killer of small businesses.

“Also, know that being a struggling entrepreneur is better than worrying if your job is secure in a company you don’t own. Don’t worry about leading a balanced life; it’s not possible. Life can never be in balance—all you can do is to try and wisely choose priorities.” 

BIGGEST CAREER REGRET

“I was never very good at hiring people to run my company, but I kept trying so I could concentrate on what I loved most—product development and research. I hired some terrible execs in my time. Thankfully I finally learned how to make some very good decisions and I have a brilliant team around me now!” 

TOP QUALITIES SHE LOOKS FOR IN JOB CANDIDATES

“Integrity; flexibility; appreciation of a woman’s desire to look beautiful; belief in work being 50 percent serious business and 50 percent fun; being able to have intelligent, respectful debates where agreement is not the goal; and belief in a flat management structure where no one is more important than anyone else, the CEO is NOT god and the warehouse worker is not the low person on the totem pole.”

MOST COMMON MISTAKE SHE SEES ENTRY-LEVEL EMPLOYEES MAKE

“Not taking the time to learn what we value as a company and embrace what we are really trying to do for women all over the world.”

STRESS JIUJITSU

“Life is just stressful from the moment I get up in the morning, to brushing my teeth, making dinner, relationships and on and on. I think people get too stressed over the fact that they are stressed and that they aren’t doing enough to de-stress. What a waste of time. I use my stress to give me energy to thrive and I deal with the details of life with any emotion that comes with it.”

HER GO-TO WORK RESOURCES FOR KEEPING UP-TO-DATE

“I couldn’t live without pubmed.com and downloading relevant studies and working with cosmetic chemists that are far smarter than I am.”

THE PRODUCTS SHE’S MOST EXCITED ABOUT

“I just finished formulating a new skin care system for all skin types called DEFENSE. Each of the products in this three step/twice a day routine uses remarkable new technology and ingredients for preventing aging and fighting skin damaging pollution. I’m very proud of it!”

HER FAVORITE PRODUCTS

“I’ve made so many products in my career that I am very proud of and that have helped so many women around the world, but my personal favorite and our global best-seller is my Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. This works for all skin types and dramatically (literally overnight) improves uneven skin tone, texture, dehydrated skin and clogged pores. You’ll be amazed!” 

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