You hear this statement all the time in the business world, ‘Take it to the next level.’
When you take it to the next level, it’s assumed you’ll be blowing up. Stepping up. Expanding. Going global.
What does ‘taking it to the next level’ really mean?
For a lot of people? It’s more money.
It’s thinking about taking that $47 product and putting a $247 price tag on it.
Or dreaming up a $10,000 package of some kind, and having 50 people buy it – just like that – without doing any extra work.
I’m the last person to argue with money aspirations. As you know – I LOVE money. But I don’t think the price tag is what ‘taking it to the next level’ should be about.
‘Taking it to the next level,’ should be about raising the stakes on yourself.
Because the truth is – anything you love to do, you can do better. A lot better!
: So what do you want to do better?
: What will challenge YOU?
: What have you been putting on the back burner until it feels safe to pursue?
You’ll get to them when you have enough time. Or enough money. Or enough clients.
But really, you’re waiting until you have enough guts.
‘Taking it to the next level’ means taking risks.
And that can be VERY scary. And also super FUN!
But here’s the other thing about risks – they represent EXACTLY what you think you’re capable of.
So when you take a risk to push your business ‘to the next level,’ it’s not about switching up your price tags.
It’s about taking what you LOVE to do – and doing it even better than you ever thought possible.
To see how ‘taking it to the next level’ can look, check out my current crush, Ellis Faas – the woman Vogue Paris called “one of the most influential makeup artists working today”.
Faas has been in the beauty industry since the ‘80s, starting out as a makeup artist, and creating editorial work with some of the biggest names in fashion and photography: Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Vincent Peters, Karl Lagerfeld, Paolo Roversi, Terry Richardson and Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
Trained as a photographer, she fell in love with makeup for it’s ability to transform. Her work is known for being bold, colorful, and sometimes even shocking.
Here’s how she describes her own style:
“Fluid. Not very precise. I’ll do a big streak of color and energy and not focus on the small detail. Ellis Faas. They call me Ellis Fast. I do quick makeup. I don’t keep fooling around. It can become flat with too much time. Makeup lives. It’s alive. It moves and has energy. I love it to be instant.”
After 2 decades of working in the fashion world and 5 years creating colors for the luxury skincare line Biotherm, Faas made the choice not to renew her lucrative contract.
Why? She was ready to ‘take her career to a new level.’ She wanted to challenge herself to create the kind of cosmetics she herself would want to use.
She wanted to risk everything that she had built up to that point on realizing her dream.
“The fashion world can be ruthless and news travels very fast. If you make a poor product or fail to create at a high level, you can become a joke from which it is very hard to recover.”
Risky, yes. Scary, you betcha. Exciting, challenging, and rewarding – yeah, baby!
Faas spent almost 2 years in product development and was close to launching her line when she realized there was one more detail that had to come to life.
Her extraordinary packaging.
During her years as a makeup artist, Faas meticulously arranged all of her products in a custom case, but her own makeup bag was, as she termed it, “a disaster area”.
Like many woman, she would toss whatever products she wanted for the day into her handbag, and then would spend wwwaaaaayyy too much time trying to drag them out later. She wanted to design something that would have every product you needed for the day in a simple and easy to use – and find – container.
Even if it meant putting her launch on hold for 6 months. Which it did.
Faas based her design on a revolver cylinder, and simplified her packaging so that everything – lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation – was in the exact same ‘bullet’ shape. Sexy!
Everything you want for the day gets loaded into the cylinder, which is then easily found in your handbag, no matter how large it is.
Faas took a huge risk. Her cosmetics are incredibly formulated, intensely pigment rich, and definitely not cheap.
($90 for her Skin Veil foundation. I own it. And it’s worth it!)
Faas wanted to take on the challenge to create the perfect line of cosmetics – even though she had already experienced considerable success. She knew she was making great things at Biotherm, but she also knew – somewhere in the back of her head – that she could do better.
She didn’t wait to get backing.
She didn’t wait for the circumstances to be perfect.
Faas went for it – and became designer, makeup artist, photographer, and marketer to create exactly the look she wanted for every aspect of her line.
She launched exclusively at Liberty of London, and went international in 5 years.
And that’s what ‘taking it to a whole next level’ can look like.
TRUTH TIME: If you were to put aside the notion – just for a second! – that taking it to the next level isn’t about making more money, or trying to have a bigger business, but that it’s about taking your craft, your art, your business and making it better, what would you do?
: Bake your organic chocolate cookies with even more love & attention?
: Write your articles with a higher attention to detail & language?
: Design from your heart, instead of your head?
So again I say, anything you love to do, you can do better. A lot better!