Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur“ we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Felix Palafox.
Felix Palafox is the Founder of Adonis Arcana, a Men’s Cosmetics brand from Boston, MA. Born and raised in Mexico, He comes to the world of Personal Care with a unique vision and insight. Through makeup and skincare, he is taking up the challenge of breaking down the traditional understanding of masculinity: evolving it into a more inclusive and healthy vision for a new age. To see what the brand is about, visit www.adonisarcana.com.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Felix Palafox: We know the struggles that our customers face when entering the beauty space. We know this not just from research or insights on an app, but from personal exposure to the field — having gone through the journey ourselves. It’s this reason why I personally make myself available as much as I can. My favorite moments have been guiding clients on how to best use the products through video calls, answering their questions, and receiving constant live insights. That personal connection being readily available is something I am immensely proud of.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Felix Palafox: Authenticity is key. Keeping your message consistent is incredibly important if you are to build credibility in the industry. Getting your name out there regularly can be a self-perpetuating habit once it gets going, but it is the consistency of your message and personality that people can truly connect with. Holding back parts of your personality or message that may disturb the status quo can be tempting, but it is these are the differences that will keep you memorable to your audience. Neither trust nor credibility can happen unless those in the industry remember and understand who you are.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Felix Palafox: The need for Authenticity goes beyond industry and business relationships. In fact, it is a factor that weighs heavily on the consumer and their choices. They are extremely tuned in and aware. Constantly exposed to brand partnerships on social media, ads in the videos they watch, ads where they scroll, ads where they buy food… They are blessed with the gift of choice, and will immediately dismiss anything they feel to be artificial. Inconsistency in message and vision leads to confusion in the audience, making them think you are not being genuine. Consumers have come to value authenticity more and more as time goes by. The best way to ensure consistency is to simply be yourself.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Felix Palafox: Creating a business is an emotionally charged journey. As founders, we put countless hours into shaping a perfect vision in our minds and do everything possible to build exactly that. Once The business is exposed to the world, however, we must realize that the company will now have a life of its own. We may have given the initial spark, but we do not always choose how the fire moves. The experiences the company will have, the customers that you reach, and the way times may change will shape the company in unpredictable ways. Resisting these natural changes in favor of what we want is a sure way to stunt growth and harm the business.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Felix Palafox: The first time I saw someone I did not personally know rave about our products and recommend it to their friends. It was an intense feeling! It is easy to explain away when close connections give you a compliment. Easy to think: “well, he is a friend, maybe he’s just being kind.” But when I saw that first review from someone I had never met, sharing on their Instagram stories how amazing the products were and giving all this love… you cannot explain that away. That is someone connecting with our vision and being inspired by something we created.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Felix Palafox: This is an interesting one. Doing something like men’s makeup, you come to expect certain things. A narrow-minded comment, the hateful defensiveness that comes when masculinity is threatened, and all the ways that can show up. I knew to prepare for that, so when it happened, I was ready. What I was not ready for was the responsibility I would feel being a spokesperson for the men’s makeup movement. I remember a talk I was in a few months back, joining other speakers whom I have admired for years. It went well overall, but I had not prepared for a particular question that was thrown at me, implying I was being too limited and too conservative. I was so thrown that I just could not come up with a coherent response, that was the opposite of what I had prepared for! Of course, as it always happens, the perfect words come right after the session ended. I mulled it over every free moment I had for a solid week.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Felix Palafox: Honestly, it was my partner that knocked the sense back into me there. Using my own words against me no less! He reminded me that it makes no sense to dwell for the sake of dwelling. To analyze the experience, learn, and act. So, I formed a plan: Reach out to the speakers and maintain that relationship; now that I had the perfect words, to use them and make my stance clear.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Felix Palafox: We moved a fair amount when I was younger. The first 6 years of my life happened in Mexico: important years where we learn how the world works. That all changed when my father got a promotion that sent us to live in Florida. Overall, it was a great move but moving to another country as a kid can really shake you. Not only did I have to deal with new friends, new teachers, and a new school, but an entirely different language and culture! That move was an early test of resilience. Moving back a few years later was the next… I had gotten everything in order and even had secured a rare spot at a prestigious school. I was on the way to becoming an Astronaut! Giving that up was difficult not just for me but for my parents as well. Going back was rough, not just for having to start over yet again, but for having to give up such a huge dream. By the time the opportunity came to move to Boston though, I was ready. I knew what to expect. In contrast to the previous moves, I found myself excited and ready to make what I knew to be a great move. It was the safety and consistency of home that was able to get me through it all. That’s the secret to resiliency really, having a sacred space to retreat to that will promote your own healing and set you up to start again.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
Felix Palafox: I have to say that I do. That is one piece of my personality that I am proud of. I see every difficulty as a learning experience, as a challenge to overcome. If I’m being honest, there have been times when things felt hopeless, but allowing myself to experience the feeling instead of repressing it, riding that wave for a day is sometimes necessary. It sounds a bit backward but, going through the difficulties and processing the feelings that they bring up, shows you that there is another side at the end of that low feeling. Going through it enough times, I learned to see the world as a collection of cycles, where every low will inevitably be followed by a high. It is exactly this view of the universe that keeps my attitude positive in the face of difficulty.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
How can our readers further follow you online?
Felix Palafox: I am always a DM away on most social media platforms @Adonis_Arcana or through the support portal on our website www.adonisarcana.com. To learn more about our products and our vision of masculinity, tune in to our Instagram on Thursdays at 6 pm EST, where I talk live about everything from cosmetic ingredients to application techniques, or have chats with interesting people reshaping the way we view masculinity. It is always an interesting time.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!