I have learned far more from my failures than I have from my successes. There is nothing like falling on your ass that will make you realize it's time to make a change. I often find myself reaching way back into my mental files to pull out stories of failures to coach stylists to success. I want to share with you a few of those stories today.
Let's talk about the three common mistakes that have me constantly experiencing deja vu. I have come to learn that as hairstylists we often make poor choices out of fear, guilt or lack of self confidence. I hope that by acknowledging the mistakes you may be making in your business, you are able to grow and push past the pain.
Amy's story-Several years ago I had a stylist named Amy. She had everything going for her! Gorgeous, outgoing, talented and she could sell retail to anybody! Amy should have grown her clientele faster than anybody, but instead she came to me frustrated a year into her career feeling angry and burnt out. A less experienced stylist had just been promoted and given a price increase and Amy was still in the same place she had been for the past year. She told me she felt like I was "ripping her off" because her income hadn't grown at all in the past year even though she was working hard and getting referrals all the time. After we talked, I dug a little deeper and found the source of the issue. Everybody got a discount. Literally, everybody. There was family, friends, the woman with 3 kids who was on a tight budget, the girl who had had been seeing her for a year and recently lost her job, the girl from her tanning salon who let her tan for free, the waitress at her favorite restaurant who hooked it up with drinks on Saturday nights, the list goes on and on. Amy was giving everybody else a price break and she was the one who actually paid the price. She may have gotten free tans and drinks, but she couldn't pay her bills and I couldn't promote her because she wasn't generating any income. Discounting is eventually what killed Amy's business and I've heard she is now bartending again full time.
Kyle's story-I still miss Kyle! He was such an incredible stylist with amazing energy and endless potential. Like Amy, Kyle found that he wasn't growing as quickly as he wanted to but he wasn't handing out discounts left and right. His problem hit closer to home because he had become a free-hair-slave to his friends and family. I actually completely related to Kyle because I got into this trap too. Since she's not paying, your mom wants her roots touched up every 4 weeks, your brother needs his fade trimmed up the first Saturday of every month, your sister wants you to do her hi lights on Sunday morning (your day off!) after church. Does this sound familiar? Doing just a basic hair color costs $10-$20 plus the cost of your time. Doing "free hair" is actually super expensive and is the fastest way to bleed out. It's also the fastest way to burn out. Being a hairstylist isn't your hobby, it is your profession and honestly your friends and family won't send you any referrals or respect your business if you are just the hook-up-stylist who does their hair for free all the time. I now suggest that all new stylists do their mom for free, so long as she sends in 2 new referrals every month. I know it sounds harsh, but I have a stylist in my building right now who took this to heart and 5 years into the industry she produces nearly $140,000 in revenue annually. You are a hairstylist, not a friend who happens to hi light.
rin's Story-Nobodys story hits close to home more than Erin's for most people. In the back room she was bubbly, smart and oozing confidence. Put her in front of a client and she was a ball of nerves without a brain. He consultation lasted about 2 minutes, the visit was full of strained conversation and at the close of the visit there was no retail sold, no rebooking suggestion. Nothing. This is actually the easiest problem to correct because Erin wanted to do well, she just didn't have faith in herself. Although it sounds like a huge issue, it all came down to giving her a great consultation script and it set the tone for success. We laid out a master plan that took about 10 minutes to deliver with each new client. Her consultation included getting to know the client, talking hair, talking retail, setting the stage to pre-book and making a plan for the days services. She would walk away from that 10 minute conversation knowing exactly what the client wanted, what products to sell and also exactly what to chat with the client about during the visit. Never under estimate the power of having an amazing consultation. Sit down today and write out a basic script of the things you want to talk about and watch your confidence soar as you walk up to each new client with a master plan.
It almost always boils down to either lack of confidence or lack of drive when I am unable to coach a stylist to success. Dig down deep and always remember why you got your license in the first place. You have the potential to be amazing so don't let the amazing opportunities in this industry pass you by. Commit to always working on yourself to become the best that you can be.