To all you babes out there hustling in beauty school, putting in hours of studying and practice, and preparing for your state board exams; there is a little secret that no one has shared with you yet. Just because you have your cosmetology license, you’re not guaranteed to make money. This goes for pretty much any service based industry, but many hairstylists struggle with this coming out of school, including myself! I feel that a lot of cosmetologists become overwhelmed while trying to build a clientele, causing them to throw away all their hard work and going to school for another career. To help save you from feeling lost and defeated like I did, I’m going to be sharing the 3 top strategies I used to build my clientele in less than a YEAR!
First of all, you may be licensed now, but let’s throw that “know it all” attitude right out the window. You can NEVER stop learning in an industry that is continuously changing, and practicing like hell is how you’re going to perfect your craft.
One of the first things I did was get into a salon as an assist prior to obtaining my license (even if it wasn’t my ideal salon). You must find a mentor who can help you build your confidence behind the chair. Do not wait to get into a salon and find a mentor, this step is crucial to your success as a cosmetologist. As with any career, in beauty school you basically just learn the basics. That means it’s up to you to advance in your skills and knowledge. Having a mentor who can help support you when you fail, answer questions for you when you’re unsure, and cheer you on when you succeed will be a huge game changer.
You probably could have guessed this one! Social Media is how I built my entire clientele in less than one year. I went from doing 3-4 colors a week, to doing 5-6 colors in a day! Building a clientele through walk-ins and word of mouth is great, but isn’t as effective in this day and age. Clients want instant connection with you; they want to see the work you produce, and have the option to book with you in seconds. Here’s how I used social media to turn followers into paying clients!
Building a brand can be difficult… take it from someone who’s done it twice. You must create a “look” for your business and social media that attracts your ideal clientele, and reflects your personality as a stylist and/or business owner. For example, I created my business Wild Hearted Beauty around my preppy, chic, boho style with splashes of watercolor, florals, and and lots of warm colors! I style my instagram with lots of white space, and occasional pops of warm colors. You need to brand yourself, and design all your social media to reflect your brand. This will make you look professional so your business is appealing to your ideal clientele.
Social media can make or break you when I comes to building a clientele. You must have a game plan when it comes to the content you post so that you aren’t putting out random, unnecessary posts that don’t flow with your brand. You want to post at least 1-2 times a day. Share things about you, your business, and the product you offer. Write compelling captions, talk about how your life’s been going, and try to create engagement from your followers. The more engagement you have from followers, the more likely you are to pop up on their news feed.
Yup, I said it. You’re probably thinking “psh this girl does NOT know what she’s talking about”, but seriously… hashtags are a game changer when used correctly. Instagram allows you to have up to 30 hashtags on each post, and I say use them ALL. Hashtags allow you to target certain groups of potential clients. For example, if I hashtag “#platinum blonde hair”, anyone looking through instagram for platinum blonde hair will most likely come across my image. This hashtag could potentially turn into a follow, and that follow could potentially turn into a paying client. Also, to make your posts look clean and less tacky, place your hashtags in the comment section below your post rather than in the post description.
Believe it or not, one of my clients moved from Georgia to Maryland. She was searching for a hairstylist when she found me through hashtags on Insatgram! She liked my work, so she booked with me! This goes to show that you should never doubt the power of social media; use it correctly and it will build your business faster than ever.
One valuable lesson you will learn in any service based industry is that you will NEVER be able to please some clients, and that is okay. Those clients aren’t for you, and you need to let them go. When building a clientele, you need to be firm from the very beginning about your creative style, policies, and pricing.
Some client’s may try to get you to lower your pricing, or give them a discount. Do not give in to this, be firm in your pricing, as well as confident in your work. You may lose them as a potential client, but someone who does not see the value of your services the way you do is not a client you want. Client’s who want you for your work will book with you. Client’s who are looking for the cheapest option, will move on to someone else.
Do not lower you’re pricing just because you’re right out of beauty school or new in the industry! Being new does not differ the value of your work. Price your work by the area you’re in, the amount of time/continuing education you’ve done, and your experience providing said service. Remember that you are the professional, and you have creative control. ‘The Client is always right’ does not apply in this case. Use your professional judgement when deciding if a client is the right fit for you or not.
Whether you are fresh out of school starting up your business, or a seasoned business owner looking for some new social media strategies, hope that you took something away from this post! Entrepreneurship is not always a walk in the park, especially when you’re trying to get your name established.
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