You made it! You graduated from beauty school and now you’re ready to go out there and conquer the beauty world. Except, there’s more to beauty than meets the eye…
Beauty school prepared and trained you for a lot —hair styling, the latest techniques, how to do pedicures—and now you’re going out to practice your newfound skills. Chances are there are still a few jots and tittles, like business know-how and liability insurance protection, left unchecked. Here are nine things that beauty school probably didn’t teach you.
You’ll need good liability insurance to protect your business
For worst case scenarios be prepared to protect yourself against claims that may be filed. It can take a while to recover from those costs, so investing in professional liability insurance will be worth your while.
A salon’s insurance won’t cover any work you do outside their doors
If you work at a spa or salon, they may offer you insurance, but if you provide any service outside of the salon and something goes awry, you may be not be protected by their policy. BBI offers affordable liability insurance that gives you coverage wherever you go.
Networking can unlock new opportunities
Networking allows you to meet new people who then introduce you to new clients and potential employers. Here’s a secret, your colleagues and instructors from school are your first contacts! Also, don’t overlook the people right under your nose such as your friends or family members. You never know who might hold the key to a golden opportunity.
Being an independent contractor takes some business know-how
At some point in your career you may want to break off and be your own independent contractor. If you do, you are responsible for the taxes, licensing, registration fees, marketing, and accounting of your business.
To start, check out your state’s Division of Licensing Services to learn about the licensing laws in your area and how to acquire and maintain your license. Be sure to keep up with renewals and any continuing education requirements.
However, if you’re not sure where to start, or don’t know the first thing about numbers, marketing, or accounting, tap into your network. Ask your contacts for the number of a good accountant or tax adviser, for example. See if other beauty professionals are willing to share their snippets of wisdom and tell you about the marketing initiatives that drove business through their doors.
Targeted marketing can save you time and money
When building your clientele, a shotgun approach to marketing is less effective than a highly focused laser. Know who your ideal client is and create a marketing campaign that speaks to their needs.
Where you market is just as important as defining your clientele. It does no good to spend thousands of dollars on a billboard half-way out of town that your clients may never drive by. However, if you know your clients use Facebook, build a business page and advertise your services to the people in your area. If you specialize in providing beauty and bodywork care to senior citizens, Facebook might not be the way to go, but contacting senior centers and placing fliers there may be your best strategy.
Dealing with negative feedback can mean the difference between a loyal client or a one-time snip
Mistakes happen. Nobody’s perfect, and some people will be quick to make those shortcomings public, particularly if they feel their issue hasn’t been resolved to their satisfaction.
Social media and online reviews can hurt your business and damage your reputation. Make customer service a high priority and do your best to calm an angry client. Apologies go a long way to soothe ruffled feelings, as do refunds, or coupons for a future visit.
If you do receive a negative review on Facebook or Yelp, be responsive. Let people know that you care about their business. You may be able to retain that client, and potential clients reading your reviews will be reassured when they see you actively resolving any problems. Having liability insurance to respond to third-party claims is also an essential part of your customer service, particularly if an irate or injured customer files for damages.
Your education earned you a valuable skill and your prices should reflect that
You’ve done the hours and developed a functional skill that benefits others. Those hours weren’t free, right? Then neither is your service. Distribute your “family discount” to a healthy handful of individuals, but the majority of your time should be billed at price that speaks to the quality you offer and gives you a livable wage.
Don’t know what to charge? Look at your competitors. What do they charge? Ask how you should position yourself in the marketplace. Remember, cheap isn’t always a bargain, and expensive doesn’t always mean quality. Finding the balance between the two extremes can make you the shiny new penny in a pocketful of change.
You need to make your work stand out
With the dozens, if not hundreds, of professionals there are in your field it is in your best interest to make yourself stand out. Having a portfolio of your work is a beginning, but honing in on your specialty can really help your work stand out from the crowd. Are you fantastic with hair colors? Or are your perms so spectacular they create a following for themselves? Delivering your most excellent skill to your target market can be the difference between a walk-in and long-term client.
In the world of business, time equals money
Building and nourishing healthy relationships with clients is a vital part of a successful business, but time management skills are also an important skill set. Be careful of letting a Chatty Cathy corner you without an appointment and taking up scheduled time. Not only could this make you late for an appointment and possibly lose a client, it reduces your revenue. Find a way to gently, but firmly, usher your talkative clients out the door when you are finished.
Whether you’ve been told these nuggets of wisdom before or not, it does you well to prepare yourself for your worst day possible. Purchasing professional liability insurance is one way to protect your new career. BBI offers cosmetologists, makeup artists, estheticians, and other professionals like you, quality insurance licensed in all 50 states. To learn more, visit our website to purchase “A+ rated” coverage for as low as $96 a year.
Are there other lessons you wished you had learned in beauty school? Do you have any useful advice for beauty workers just starting out in their career? Please comment below.
All insurance policies have conditions, limitations and exclusions. Please refer to the policy for exact coverages.