Written by expert esthetician, Francisca Hamilton.
Deciding to leave the comfort and safety of a salon was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make — the salon was already established, regularly busy, and gave me lots of new clients to work with. And, if I did decide to leave, I wasn’t allowed to come back.
But, no matter how comfortable it was, there was no room for me to grow. The rules were strict, I was tired of the politics and drama, and I was tired of making money for someone else. I decided it was time to take on the challenge of working for myself, on my own terms, towards my own goals.
Now, a few years later, I run my own successful business, I control my own schedule, and I have creative freedom. When my friends ask me how I did it, I tell them: confidence, positivity, and StyleSeat got me through three years and counting of being my own business owner. But, before taking the leap, there are a few things everyone should prepare in order to set themselves up for success.
- I was at my previous salon for three years and during that time I worked hard to be the best esthetician at the salon. I gave (and still do give) my clients 100%, I earned many 5 star reviews and I took every new client I could.
- My old salon had twenty estheticians on staff and I volunteered to take clients who were unhappy with my co-workers’ work. I’d redo the service free of charge and made sure that they were satisfied — 100% of the time, that client would return to me and only me.
- I gave my personal cell phone number to my best clients. I took an interest in my clients’ lives and jobs. I ask for business cards and even added them on social media to make sure we could always keep in touch.
- I knew I would want to attract brand new clients as well, so I got professional flyers and cards to hand out.
- I made sure to save a good amount of money. I needed the first and last month’s rent and a security deposit for my own space. I needed enough money to buy all the supplies and equipment and I needed extra money in case it took a while to get my business up and running.
THE PERFECT WORKSPACE
- I wanted a space I didn’t have to share, I wanted to decorate freely, and most importantly, I wanted it to be nearby my current salon. That way, when I left, my clients wouldn’t have to go out of their way to continue to see me.
- I took strolls through the neighbourhood, noted potential studios, and checked craigslist regularly. When something became available near my old salon, I ran over with a check in hand and I quit my job that day.
AN EXIT PLAN
- I got the StyleSeat app and set up my online booking page. Styleseat was basically the perfect front desk person and it made scheduling and managing my clients the least of my many small business worries. It worked for me tirelessly 24/7 and it kept me notified about everything. It was easy to use and my clients loved it too. It had everything an independent esthetician needs to be successful.
- I personally texted, called, or emailed my existing clientele with the exciting news that I started my own business. I thanked them for coming to see me on a regular basis at my old salon and I invited them to join me at my new studio. I also offered to give them a referral to someone at my old salon should they choose not to follow me, but if they did choose to follow me, I would just be down the street.
- I met with my current salon owner. When I gave her my two weeks notice, she didn’t respond — she was pretty upset. She had the manager cancel my existing shifts and mailed me my last check. It was hurtful, but I kept my head up and would not let it bother me. Legally, I did nothing wrong. I had to do what was best for me, so I did.
- In the beginning, some days I’d only have one client scheduled. It was terrifying and stressful. I was literally sick with anxiety, but I never let my clients see me sweat. I pretended everything was smooth and easy and I beamed confidence. The more confident I was, the more confident my clients were in me. The more confidence my clients had in me, the more they referred me to their friends. Whatever I was going through: stress, relationships, life — I checked my attitude at the door. If you have a crap attitude, no matter how amazing your work is, people won’t want to come back to you.
- I did a lot of up-selling in the beginning as well. I made sure each upsell was complement based. For example: “OMG you look awesome have you been working out? I’d love to give you a spray tan, it’ll look amazing with your toned arms.” Either they went for it or not. It’s better to try than not.
- I kept a very professional image with every aspect of my business: my space, my personal appearance, my attitude and my services were on point no matter what. I made sure to clean every day before and after all my appointments and I kept all personal items out of sight. I did not get lazy with cleanliness and I abided by all state board regulations. I stood by my work and always made sure my clients were happy before they left. Clients will never forget how beautiful you make them feel over how good you made them look. If you can do both, success will follow you anywhere you go.
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