By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — She’s an influential powerhouse these days, but Candace Holyfield-Parker, widely known as the “Six-Figure Spa Chick,” had the same beginnings so many do—She started out in the service industry as a waitress, a job she’d held since age 17.
Throughout college and while running her own cleaning business, waitressing gave her a guaranteed nightly income she desperately needed to continue providing for herself and her kids.
She tried the traditional route of getting a college education to enter the workforce, but found it just wasn’t a fit, though she did get her associate’s degree. She knew she had it in her to succeed, and she pushed forward.
A resilient, hard-working mom of three with solid determination and an eye for opportunity, Holyfield-Parker attributes at least some of her success to having an open mind about her future.
The path to financial prosperity is different for everyone. For Holyfield-Parker, it started on Instagram.
“When I got on Instagram my whole life changed,” she recalled. “It just opened me up to so many people all around the world and the things they were doing that I didn’t even know were possible because nobody I knew was talking about them.”
Her income suffered a devastating blow when the restaurant she’d worked at for 13 years underwent changes, causing her tips to plummet. She had no money saved and needed a change, fast.
So she went to a trade school where she’d studied as a medical assistant, hoping to pick up where she’d left off, but was told it would take years to graduate.
Holyfield-Parker said that was when the receptionist told her about their massage therapy program—She could graduate in nine months and possibly own her own business.
She enrolled, and when she got her first massage table she began establishing her brand at events, working for tips until she could get her license and practice.
“When I saw I could make money from it and people wanted it, I put my all into my massage business,” she said.
With time and persistence she went from working at a chain spa company to earning six figures.
Now, she’s the proud owner of the largest African American spa community in the world, is host/founder of the only Black Spa Expo in the world and the only Black Spa Awards (blackspaawards.com) in the world, as well as founder of the only Black Spa Hall of Fame.
The Expo will be held in Atlanta, GA, on Sep. 16 and 17.
Holyfield-Parker doesn’t believe in keeping success a secret; she’s cultivated a community celebrating the Black diaspora in the spa industry and describes herself as an advocate for service-based providers worldwide. She’s helped more than 500 women spa owners boost their visibility, hone professional skills and generate ongoing client bases and offers opportunities in the form of helping them create digital and physical products and events.
She’s also created and had others implement an extensive masterplan in profiting six figures or more in a wildly competitive market in one year. Companies Meta and Groupon have shown interest in her methods of e-commerce and social media marketing.
Having a talent for marketing is just one of Holyfield-Parker’s keys to success. Much more important is a disciplined work ethic. “I believe that’s why I’m so successful in my business, because I’ve got a good work ethic. A lot of people go out and open a business but they were never a good worker, so their business don’t be good.”
For budding entrepreneurs, Holyfield-Parker has advice: “Rule number one: If you don’t have the money to get you a coach, get you a book … Don’t try to do it on your own.”
She recommends “Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business” by Pat Flynn, “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz, and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Find her on YouTube, where she offers a free business credit webinar, and on Facebook and Instagram (@sixfigurespachick) or at candaceholyfield.com.