The Importance of Communicating Team Expectations


Our special guest on this week’s episode of the Vibrant Leadership Podcast is Holly Byrd Miller, a Brand and Beauty Expert with over 25 years of experience. She is the CEO and Founder of Makeup by Holly, an International Makeup Artist and a Certified Makeup Instructor traveling globally, educating makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts on the fundamentals of makeup artistry, beauty, branding, and consulting.

Holly says, “I bring 25 plus years of corporate experience into my beauty business. When I sit down with the team, we’re talking about strategic plans, we’re talking about business plans, and how we’re aligning ourselves accordingly to make sure we can execute those. The expectation is that we’re going to execute them in a specific manner, so we all discuss what that looks like. And, I make sure that not only am I talking about it, but I’m talking to them and I’m listening to them. It’s a two-sided conversation.”

We chat about measurable steps to take to be at the top of any industry, as well as:

  • Holly’s beginnings— makeup as a side hustle

  • Leading with high energy and enthusiasm

  • SMART goals to ensure success

  • Her most frequently used business tools

  • And  more…

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Call Holly at 804-266-4564\


Voiceover: You’re listening to the Vibrant Leadership podcast with leadership speaker and consultant, Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Welcome to the Vibrant Leadership Podcast. My name is Nicole Greer and today I am delighted to have a good new friend from Glen Allen, Virginia join me. I’ve got Holly with me. Say hello, Holly Miller. How are you?

Holly Byrd Miller: Hello, hello. Good afternoon, everyone.

Nicole: Are you doing great? How’s How’s the weather up in Glen Allen? I mean, you’re kind of in that hubbub of Washington DC is everything calm, cool and collected up there?


Yeah, fortunately, we’re about an hour and a half south of DC. So things are kind of calm right now knock on wood. Hopefully that will continue. But everything is beautiful. It’s a beautiful 73 degrees here in Richmond, Virginia today. So I’m loving this weather.

Nicole: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, listen, I found Holly on this thing called the internet. And I was blown away. I have a client who is wanting to grow herself into an entrepreneur in terms of becoming an established makeup artist. And so one of the pieces of advice I always give my clients is go out and find the human who is living the life you want to lead and is doing the work that you want to do. And odds are, they’re a great person, and they will want to help you. And so I found Holly Miller. And so Holly is a brand and beauty expert. And that’s no joke. 

So I’m going to ask her about her expertise. But she manages, don’t miss this, a global team of artists who specialize in creating signature looks for CEOs, entrepreneurs, brands, and professionals. So she says she can even do something with this. And Holly has over 25 years of experience in the beauty industry, although she does not look like it. And she works with corporate sales, marketing, business development. And she travels all around the world helping clients curate their signature style. So if you want to get a signature style, she’s your gal. And you can look camera ready. Holly is also a certified makeup instructor, beauty consultant and beauty coach. And so Holly, tell us about how you got where you are. I’m so I’m so curious about how you got where you are.

Holly: So it started out with just a passion, a passion for helping young girls and women to look like the best version of themselves and allow their inner beauty to radiate outwards. So I started doing that very thing for myself at the age of about 14. My mom allowed me to just play and be creative. And so that passion then turned into a profession as I started having friends and family who would hire me for weddings and proms. And just word of mouth marketing, as we know is the best form of marketing. So thankfully, the word kind of got out that I kind of knew what I was doing. And and then I was also working in the corporate tracks. So it was something that I was kind of doing as my side hustle. for about eight years, I was working my corporate track and sales, marketing, business development leadership, and did them both in parallel for about eight years. And I decided that in order for me to really be the best beauty and brand expert I could be I needed to go to school to become certified. So I became a certified instructor. And now I teach other people around the globe how to become a professional makeup artist. 

I also was really fortunate to freelance for some amazing luxury brands like Giorgio Armani, and Chanel, some really great brands out of Saks Fifth Avenue. So that’s where I learned like my customer service. And I built this amazing team of global partners, beauty professionals from hair stylists, makeup artists, wardrobe stylist, who helped me to make sure that we’re always helping people who are the face of their business. So CEOs, entrepreneurs, corporations, if you’re the face of your business, we want to help you to make sure that you look like the best version of yourself you always polished and professional and attracting your target audience if you will. So that’s kind of how we got started how this brand kind of just grew into what it has become some very fortunate but a journey that I’ve been I’ve been on.

Nicole: That is amazing. So Holly, I love a gal who has a lot of energy in a side hustle. So in terms of being a leader, you know, how much does energy matter and you know, that output you put into the world I’m getting the vibe from you that you’ve got a lot of natural energy and you’ve been using it to build your business. How important is that?

Holly: It’s vitally important when you are a leader and you have people who are looking up to you and you have to be the model for what you expect your your your you know, your partners or your employees. You have to make sure that you are excited you have to make sure that you know they can buy into what you’re trying to get them to buy into. And that requires a certain level of energy and effort and excitement because if you’re not excited about it, they’re not going to be excited about it everything we say everything we do there pretty much mirroring that or you know and emulating that. So I make sure that I’m a naturally excited person anyway, I love what I’m doing. 

I’m so fortunate to be able to work in an industry that I absolutely love, I eat, breathe, sleep, beauty, it’s my passion, my purpose. So it’s not hard for me to be excited about it. And so to get my beauty partners excited and charged up, doesn’t take a lot of effort. But I realized that even on a bad day, where maybe things aren’t quite going right in terms of business, I still have to put on a, you know, a smiling face, I still have to make sure that they know that, you know, even though we had a hiccup, it’s still good overall, I’m still excited about what we’re doing in the journey and the path that we’re on. So it’s vitally important to make sure you lead with energy and excitement for your teams.

Nicole: Yeah, and I love what you just said. So you said purpose is essential. And I also kind of reading between the lines Tell me if I’m correct, but I think you said even if the leader is having a bad day, they have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. That’s kind of like what my dad would say. And they have to like, say, the show must go on. So I think that’s absolutely essential. And the other thing she said was the old adage, lead by example, that I get that right, Holly?

Holly: You got it. Spot on.

Nicole: Well, how would you define leadership? You know, I’ve got a kind of bookshelf here. And there are a bazillion leadership books on this bookshelf. And I’ve read pretty much all of them. So what would if you wrote the leadership book, how would you define leadership,

Holly: I would define leadership as someone who has vision, to be able to then execute that vision to their team. And so I think that you absolutely have to have the vision of where your company is going or where your department is going. You need to know what the goals are, what the initiatives are. And then you need to be able to then encourage your team to follow suit. And so that requires you to have conversations with your team, you have to be a great communicator. But you also have to be a good listener, because your team, your team, your your employees, they’re going to communicate back to you what the expectations are. But they’re also going to want to know that you’re hearing them on how you can even meet those expectations. So it’s, it’s again, the key words I would choose are vision goals. You know, support communication, those are some of the key words I would use to to define a good leader.

Nicole: Oh, that’s fantastic. And I can’t agree more. And I love a word you threw in there, but you didn’t extract it. So I’ll do it for you. I heard the word expectations. All right. And so, you know, it’s great to throw out a vision and essential, you’re correct. But then like, everybody’s sitting around, well, that’s nice. Well, how do we get there, and I think the expectations piece is the piece that is like, Okay, this is how we’re going to get there. This is how we’re going to have to behave the way we’re going to communicate the way we’re gonna have to treat customers, all of that. And so you work with like, some, you know, pretty prestigious folks, and from what I could gather from your website, so go check it out real quick. Tell them your website.

Holly: It’s

Nicole: Okay, so go there and look at the people that she is, you know, doing work on and making them look fabulous. So, you know, how do you set expectations with your team? How do you do that?

Holly: Expectations, I set them based on like I said, our goals. And so what we do is we’ll meet court, we meet monthly to have business meetings. So I brought I bring 25 plus years of corporate experience into my beauty business. And so when I sit down with the team, we’re talking about strategic plans, we’re talking about business plans, and how we’re aligning ourselves accordingly to make sure we can execute those. So it’s really important to be able to sit down with them and say, these are our goals. And these are our visions that we’ve you know, their shared goals. Now, the expectation is that we’re going to execute them in a specific manner. 

And so we all discuss on what that looks like. And I make sure that not only am I talking about it, but I’m, I’m talking to them, I’m listening to them. It’s a conversation. It’s a two sided conversation. And so the expectations are laid out once we have had those conversations, and making sure that we’re all on the same page. And so the expectations I also equate to goals, like what are our goals? You know, how are we going to get there, and then you have to measure them. You have to, you know, have smart goals that you know, that you can, they’re very specific and they’re measurable, and you have to make sure that you’re reaching them so we make sure that we check in monthly to get to those goals. And so yeah, I’m really fortunate that we have those, those corporate that business acumen that I brought from corporate into this business to make sure that we are measuring those things and making sure that we are reaching our goals. And that’s how we ultimately attain success.

Nicole: Oh my gosh, you’re making me so happy over here because I think you totally nailed it when you set SMART goals. So we’re gonna put that when she went through the SMART goal, and we’re gonna put it on the screen, so that we see it, you know, right. And so smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, right there. So they’re not just this idea. They’re like, actually measured out so we know that we can hit it, right. So something achievable. So I absolutely adore that. And then I love the other thing you said is this phrase, business acumen. So, you know, Holly’s like, I’ve got 25 years of corporate and I brought it to my business, which is fantastic. 

So let’s go to my second question. You know, when you think about business acumen, what skills does a leader have to have? You know, in terms of business, and then maybe like, personal skills, you know, they call them the soft skills, Holly, but they’re not very soft. In fact, people struggle, they’re on the struggle bus with it. What? What do you think the skills are of a great leader?

Holly: I think the skills of a great leader is someone who’s a visionary. So you have to understand how to write a business plan, how to write a strategic plan, you have to be the business development piece of it is like, how do you even bring in new business? Like, how are we you want to retain the clients that you already have? But how do you bring in new business? So there’s the business development piece of it? That’s right. Yeah, it’s the it’s having an understanding of sales and marketing. And especially when you have a micro business similar to mine, like I have a micro business, I still have other people who support that business, but I’m still a micro business owner. So you have to wear a lot of different hats. 

But in order to lead, you have to understand how all of those things work, so the sales, the marketing, the communications, all of it’s vitally important. And another skill, you know, a softer skill, like I mentioned before, is being a good listener. It’s so vitally important. If you want to lead people, you have to be able to, to listen to what they have to share with you. Because they’re invested, they want to do at what I found that most people want to do a good job. I don’t know, very, I don’t know, a lot of people who go to work and don’t want to be there, like they really want to do a good job. They have a strong work ethic. But you have to listen to them and give them the opportunity to know that they’re being heard, in order to lead effectively. And so I think listening is vitally important. 

But then the follow up, like how do you actually execute on what they’re communicating to you is vitally important. I meet with my beauty partners, one on one, to find out what are your goals? What are you trying to go? What do you want to achieve? Let’s make sure that I’m fully aware of those things so that I can incorporate those things into our plan, our strategic plan, and then make sure that you’re getting something out of this too. It’s not just about you know, me, it’s like, how can I make sure that you are working towards your goals, your personal and professional goals as well. So I think all those things are vitally important.

Nicole: Okay so she just laid it down for y’all. Okay, so the first thing she’s talking about, is listening. So it’s not listening to placate, but I heard her say listening so that you as the leader can take action on what they’re telling you. salutely. So that is so different than I’m listening, because I need to listen, I’m the leader. And when you’re done listening, I’ll tell you what I want to say. It’s more like, you know, we hired these people to be geniuses inside of our business. So you need to glean the genius. 

And then the other thing I heard you say is that, you know, you have to have the marketing plan, the communication plan, the customer service strategy, all of those things need to be laid out. So absolutely huge. I can’t agree more. All right, so what makes you successful versus like somebody else who might want to get into the business, I’m pretty sure you’re like me, and people call and they’re wanting to get a proposal or a pricing structure, you know, and all that stuff. We that’s also business acumen. We’re gonna have all that stuff ready to go right. But why would Why do people pick you? Why have you been successful over like maybe another leader that does what you do? What do you think, you know, sets leader apart? What are you doing?

Holly: I think a few things that kind of set me apart from other beauty professionals, is again, that business acumen like I am the person who when they call, I’m going to return that call in 24 hours or less. Yes. 24 hours. I’m returning that call or someone on my team is returning that call in 24 hours or less. We make sure that every call gets answered. Every email gets responded to in a timely manner. So that’s really, really important. We also make sure that we have contracts in place like every opportunity, we have a contract in place, we have a CRM, which is a customer relationship management tool where we can we don’t drop any balls, we make sure that everyone gets plugged into the CRM, Salesforce is a really great one. They didn’t pay me to say that, but it’s a really great CRM. And it’s great for tracking all of your leads and your opportunity so that they don’t get lost. So that’s one of the business tools that I actually use to keep all the balls in the air. 

I also make sure that I am networking. So that’s something that’s vitally important to as a good leader is you have to constantly be in your community, you have to go where your target audience resides, and make sure that they know you exist, like word of mouth marketing is a great form of marketing, but not everyone knows, you know who you are. So you have to put yourself in the places where you know your target audience reside. So I go to networking meetings. I’m a member of a number of associations in Richmond, the Metropolitan business league is one of them. Great organization, I network with Liske I network with Sona bank has done power program here in Richmond and in Maryland. 

So find out what your local associations are, where your target audience resides, and then go their network and make sure they know who you are. Those are the things that I’m doing. I also market I do some paid marketing and things like that. But I think networking is vitally important, a lot of people don’t take advantage of networking and doing it effectively. And one of the most effective ways to network is building relationships. It’s not about walking into a room and handing out business cards to every person that you meet. It’s fostering a relationship, people do work with business, people do business with people they trust, and that they start to build that relationship on. So I think I, one of the things I’m most proud of is that I build relationships with my clients. That’s why they continuously come back in their repeat clients. I know what their initiatives are, I know what events they have coming up, and I stay in front of them, not behind them. 

I’m constantly following up with them just checking in asking how they’re doing, especially in this current climate where there’s COVID, and their social unrest. I want to know genuinely, how are you doing? And if you just take a few minutes out of your day to follow up with your clients, or at least once a week, just how are you? I’m not trying to sell anything I’m not trying to promote. I just want to know how you’re doing handwritten note, how are you thinking about you? Those things are vitally important. So I think the relationships I that’s the thing that I’ll come back to is one of the things that I think kind of sets me apart from a lot of others.

Nicole: So she dropped a bunch of crazy things on us just now. So here’s what I got from that last little bit of genius from Miss Holly is that she said, You’ve got to have a CRM, that’s what’s going to set you apart as a leader of your organization. And it’s a customer relations manager, you use sales, Salesforce, I use one called high rise, but there’s a bunch of them out there. Depending on your business, there might even be one that’s specially made just for your particular business. If you’re a plumber, makeup artist, or a coach and speaker, you can find the one that works best for you. So that was one thing that she said. And the other thing was networking. Number two, networking is essential. So she is in all sorts of organizations. And I bet that you are involved as well. Are you involved in your organizations that you’re a part of?

Holly: Yes, I’m active. I’m like, I’m not a loud mouth, but I do contribute.

Nicole: Right, right. If you’re gonna join an organization, get in there and do stuff, because that’s how you really get given if you work alongside somebody inside of an organization. Then they’re like, Man, you know, that Nicola Holly, they work so hard. They’re great people, it’s very easy to give that word of mouth referral that you keep referring to. And then the third thing that you talked about, was the idea of following up with your customers and writing the thank you note calling, not trying to sell them anything and building those powerful relationships.

So I couldn’t agree more. What other people struggle with is the fact that they don’t do those three things that Holly does inside of her business. So, you know, the world is a crazy place right now. And I don’t know, it’s probably always been certain degree of crazy going on all the all the while, but we’ve got a pandemic, we just got through a huge, crazy election. So you know, looking into 2021 I think things can only get better. That’s what I’m thinking. They have a better with great clarity I see from my 2020 but we really need to get focused. We need to get that business plan in place that you were talking about. But what do you think the biggest challenges people are going to face in 2021 And and what are you thinking about that you really need to be strategic about in 2021, so that you can really blow it out of the water next year?

Holly: Yeah, I think some of the biggest challenges that people will still be facing and recovering from is, you know, loss of revenue. Like I know, people have had to resort like our line of business, for example, where beauty professionals where we, you know, 85% of our business, like, we need to touch our clients, we need to be in the same physical space. And so we’ve been able to navigate that this year by increasing our technology. So there’s a huge, huge dependency on having the right technology to be able to, to, to actually execute on our one on one consultations are virtual services that we’ve been providing education in virtual education and training around branding and beauty. So there’s a huge dependency on technology. 

So people are going to need to increase very likely their, their budgets to to be able to account for a stronger technology, which technology is not cheap. So we’re going to have to be able to be able to navigate that space, and just recovering like from this year, right. So making sure that we ramp up our marketing efforts doing that digitally. And because there’s much more dependency on digital marketing, these days, I know Facebook ads and Instagram, they make that a little bit easier. But even Google AdWords, you know, putting more financial dollars more marketing dollars into your digital marketing, as well as the technology. I think those are going to be the biggest challenges, honestly.

Nicole: Yeah, I totally agree. We got to make up for lost time, lost revenue, and we have to get it’s like not, it’s not even optional, you have to learn to Zoom, right? You know, learn Zoom, yeah, learn how to, you know, hook up your microphone, you got to learn how to do all this stuff. So learning curves around the technology, I think you’re absolutely right. And I mentioned earlier that I had a client who does, wants to do what you do. And I told her, you know, you need to go out and Google to find the gal you want to emulate. And so I found you and sent your website to her. And I said, Hey, check out every single page on this website. So again, tell us the website address again, one more time, we’ll flash it up on the screen. What is it?


Nicole: Okay, so she goes there, she looks at your website, and she says to me, oh, my gosh, she is rocking it. I’m like, that’s what you need to be doing. So anyways, I’m going to hook it up with what I’ll call s s. Right. But here’s how I’d like you to do for me right now. If you are mentoring ss, and you had one piece of leadership advice, I mean, she’s just getting started. What does she need to do like in the next year? What does she need to do?

Holly: I would say she needs to do her research. So she needs to know I mean, part of writing effective business plan is doing market research. So you have to know who’s your target audience, okay, who clearly define who the individuals are that you want to work with? and define every characteristic about them? Are they male? Are they female, are they professional, what’s their age range, what’s their income bracket, their education, level, all of that. So putting together an effective business plan, but doing the market research in order to be able to support that it’s vitally important. researching your competition, hugely important, you need to know what the others are doing. 

And align yourself if you can, like me, for example, I have my beauty partners. It’s all about like aligning with other beauty professionals to make sure we’re stronger together. So I don’t mind sharing information and resources, because I want to make sure that the beauty industry as a whole is a more professional industry, and that we are all making sure we’re upholding proper safety and sanitation, as well as customer service and bringing that business acumen into it. And so doing the research, aligning with other individuals who are where you aspire to be perfectly great sound business advice, I’ve done it myself. 

I’ve hired business coaches, and mentors, and aligned with beauty partners to make sure that I’m doing the same thing. I’m also just education and training, make sure you get the appropriate education and training you need to be the best at your, in your industry. You have to make sure that you study at the highest level, you maybe take certification courses if you can, because that means that you’ve learned behind some level study from other people that you aspire to learn from. Those are some of the key pieces of advice that I would give her for the next year. And then once she’s done that written a business plan, taking the courses, the certifications aligned with the right people. Then I think she wants to make sure she has the technology in place. So making sure she has a website, have a website, if you don’t, I’ve been told if you don’t have a website, you don’t have a business, even if you just have a placeholder, but just put a website out there and start building on your portfolio, your electronic portfolio, and getting all of that information populated on the site. 

And there are plenty of great, you know, complimentary websites these days to make sure that you can build it, you know, and just get something uploaded until you can hire the right hire the who to support the business, if you can’t do it all yourself hiring the right people to to build it for you and put those like we call them kind of like back house systems in place to make sure you’re operating at at a professional level. So those are the key things I would recommend, at least in the next year.

Nicole: Wow, that’s fantastic. So she’s going to take all that and she’ll go, I have heard this before, but I’m hearing it from somebody who does exactly what I do. So that is beautiful. All right. So Holly, I know that you work with all sorts of kinds of people. And I know that we’re going to have great folks listening into this podcast. So who is your ideal client? I know you said you work with CEOs and entrepreneurs and people who are the face of their business. So let’s say Nicole Greer calls, which she did, and she calls in, I want you to help me, you know, work on the face of my business. What does that experience look like? So tell me a little bit about how you do business? And then we’ll we’ll wrap it up.

Holly: Great question. So my target audience, as you mentioned, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and when I say the face of the business, it’s not just the face, right? That’s only a part of it. But it’s anyone who is representing their business. So it’s typically micro business owners on small business owners, who want to be able to have a team hire a team of professionals to kind of help them with their branding and their beauty needs. So my team is comprised of hairstylist, licensed hairstylist, certified makeup artist, professional makeup artist, wardrobe, stylists, photographers, videographers, and we’re now offering podcasting services as well. And so we are one stop shop for any micro business owners, small business owners who want a comprehensive approach to branding and image. 

So we can help them with all of those services, whether they’re in Richmond, Virginia, where we reside, or if they’re Maryland, DC, throughout the globe, we provide like beauty partners all throughout the globe, even internationally, and Canada and Japan. So we can absolutely help anyone who’s trying to build their brand, and want to make sure that they have a comprehensive team who fully understands the fundamentals of branding and image and creating a signature look and style, whether it’s for their marketing materials, or for their their online presence. 

And so my team and I can help you do that. Even from strategy. We have a consulting piece where we can help you strategize on what are your brand colors, who is your target audience? How do you resonate with them visually, so that you can then get their attention and ultimately want them to know more about who you are and what you offer and essentially gain more clients and gain more revenue?

Nicole: Yeah, that is awesome. Well, I know a lot of people that could use your services, I’ll be passing out your business card virtually through email. So I appreciate it so much, Holly, for you being on the call with me today. I am so grateful. We’re going to ask you your phone number one more time, your web address and anything else you want to share before we sign off.

Holly: Sure, our phone number is 804-266-4564. Our website again is You can find us on social media under Makeup by Holly, we also have Makeup by Holly beauty partners all over social media. So you can find us there, we have a lot of exciting things that we’re we’re embarking upon. We have a brand summit that’s coming up on December 3. So check back on our website that’s going to be populated this week. And then all through social media. 

So we’re going to put on a brand summit where I’m bringing subject matter experts to teach you all about how to start and create a brand as well as how to execute and move your brand forward. So we’re very excited about that. We also have a product line that will be launching in the next several months, three to six months, as well as a community platform that we’re developing where it can be a one stop shop for all your branding needs.

Nicole: That is amazing. All right. Thank you, Holly. Have a great rest of your day. I’m so grateful for being on the Vibrant Leadership podcast.

Holly: Thank you for having me. It was an absolute pleasure.

Voiceover: Ready to up your leadership game? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with her unique SHINE method. To increase clarity, accountability, energy and results, email, and be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

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