By Elyse Delano |

Starting your own business can be intimidating, expensive and time-consuming, something Hannah Gore, who started her first business before she had even graduated college, knows all too well.

At 16-years-old, Gore joined the cosmetology program at her high school. Two years later, she had earned her certification and fallen in love with styling hair. Later, as an entrepreneurship major at Baylor University, Gore decided she wanted to be her own boss and open her own business instead of joining a large corporation in a big city.

“I went to a career fair my first semester as a senior and decided I didn’t want to apply for jobs,” she said, “Waco was the perfect place to start a business.”

Gore knew exactly what business she would start. During her first semester at Baylor, she was hired at a salon in town with her certification from high school. Her love of doing hair and helping people feel great about themselves suddenly turned into a dream to open her own salon.

Getting the business off the ground took time and Gore worked two jobs to keep money flowing in, waiting tables and working at another salon in town.

People often ask Gore about her first job out of college.

“I’m like—I waited tables for ten months,” she said with a laugh.

Gore needed the money for the extensive remodel of the building she chose, which was “completely gutted” when she signed the lease. She and her team, which included her father who works as a general contractor, had to do a full-finish renovation before the salon would be fit to open.

The months-long renovations and extra jobs weren’t the worst part of the process. The hardest part about starting her own business, Gore said, was gaining people’s trust.

“It’s really hard to convince people that you know what you’re doing when you’re 22 years old,” she said.

But Gore can now confidently show off her successful business to anyone who doubted her. Her salon boasts a five out of five star rating on Google and today is debt-free.

Thinking back on all she went through to get her business off the ground, Gore doesn’t regret a thing.

“I never would have thought I would have stuck with [cosmetology] this long, but I still love it,” she said, smiling.  “I feel like I have the ultimate job security. Nobody can fire me, whereas if I were to go somewhere [to work], at any given point that could disappear.”

Gore encourages students who are longing to start their own company to learn how taxes work and become personally financially responsible before they get off the ground. This includes knowing how to stick to a budget and focusing on the important aspects of starting a business before pouring money out on small details. Gore explained that, whatever a new business owner thinks the start-up will cost, to “double it”.

Gore knows how difficult it is for newly graduated students to find the money to begin a business, but she stressed how important money management is, even when there’s only a little to manage.

“If you’re a broke entrepreneur, yes that’s OK—a lot of entrepreneurs are going to be broke for several years, but recognizing how important being financially responsible is is super important,” Gore said.   

The most vital thing to have when starting a new business isn’t loads of money, Gore noted. She emphasized how important passion is to an entrepreneur.  

“Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that you really love, and you really could see yourself doing for a long time,” she said. “I still to this day love doing hair. It feeds me and makes me feel good about my life. If I didn’t have that, I probably wouldn’t have been able to be as successful as I am.”