Remember when you registered for cosmetology school and thought "this is going to be freaking awesome! I'm going to cut and color hair all day and get paid to make people beautiful. Pinch me, this can't be real". And then somebody pinched you, really hard, and you realized yeah, it isn't quite that easy.
I remember when that moment happened. It was the week where I had one client all week long. 40 long hours, one client. Even reading that now reminds me of the pain. I was at the salon thinking "come on, I'm trained, I'm eager and I'm ready. Where are my clients at"? I'm sure you can agree to some degree. We all kind of thought you'd get your license, find a salon and the clients would come and you'd do hair. Unfortunately, that isn't how this whole hairstylist thing goes at all.
The sad truth is that in this industry you are likely to experience that moment at least half-a-dozen times in your career; when you first start, after you return from a maternity leave, when you move salons, when you move cities, when you turn 50 and suddenly the 20 year olds don't want to see you any more but your older clients can't afford you either. I've heard it all before. I promise this story is getting better so hang with me!
So, then what usually happens is the panic sets in. We start to question if we'll ever make it as hairstylists, why did we ever choose this crazy industry anyway, should we think about changing professions? We've all done it and we are still here! It's in that moment that your mind starts playing tricks on you and you let the lies muddy your thoughts.
Here are the most common dirty little lies that we all believe and how to move past them:
Lie #1-I'm not making the money I want to make and I never will-I have yet to meet a stylist who hasn't felt like this before. Millenials are extra guilty of thinking this way because they want it all and want it right now. We are living in the age of immediate gratification. Order something on Amazon, it's at your door the next day. Have a question? Don't bother going to the library to look it up, just Google it. We have come to think that we should just want something and get it and this profession just doesn't cater to that. If you've heard my story before, I left a dream job to get my license because I wanted to be in full control of my financial freedom. Now I've made a great career for myself, but I had to work my a** off to make that happen. You can and will make great money as a hairstylist, but it will take at least one year of blood, sweat and tears followed by consistent education and dedication to marketing to continue growing, but if you make the commitment, any stylist can have a beautiful life and six-figure income. Trust me, I know some stylists with mediocre skills, in strip-mall salons driving Range Rovers and making big bucks.
Lie #2-I'm over social media. I try to use it but it isn't bringing me new clients and these Insta-famous people just got lucky-This way of thinking all boils down to confusion and jealousy. Jealousy runs wild in our industry and it's the way that we cope with the things we don't understand. Social media is really freaking confusing. There are new platforms being created all the time and it sometimes seems like no matter how hard you try to post and comment and be active, you're just not seeing the results you're looking for. How many of you have Instagram accounts that have had basically the same amount of followers for at least 6 months, you post content regularly and still no results? It's because there is a method to the madness and you just need to really master the program. My next free online class is going to be all about social media so be sure you subscribe below for class updates.
Lie #3-I just don't think I can do this. Haircutting is confusing and color theory is hard and I'll just never get it-Totally not true! Some of the most successful stylists I know are terrible hairdressers. Seriously. There is a reason why there is a running joke about hairstylists being underpaid therapists. Our clients don't see us because we do good root touch ups. They see us because of the way we make them feel and they look forward to their visits. If you do good hair, that is a bonus, but often your skills are secondary to your personality and social skills. If you are looking to grow your business, worry less about the latest hair painting technique and worry more about your consultation technique, hospitality skills and marketing strategies. That mental shift is a game changer.
Lie #4-I've totally plateaued as a stylist. I only make decent money and there is nothing more that I can do to grow now-This lie probably makes me the most annoyed. That is actually impossible. When I say the sky is the limit in this industry it truly is. If your books are so full that you can't possibly take an add-on, great, give yourself a price increase. If you are charging $150 for a haircut and thinking "I can't possibly charge more so this will be it", wrong again. If you are pre-booked 3 weeks out and getting 5 new requests a month, give yourself a price increase. How lucky are we to be in an industry where the potential is limitless. There will never come a time where you've achieved all of the goals, maxed out your clientele or made all the money you can possibly make.
Lie #5-I've been at this for years and am still not where I want to be. Maybe I should go back to school or take a second job-This lie breaks my heart. As soon as you go back to school or take the second job, you've basically given up your career as a stylist. At no point do you need to throw in the towel, but as soon as you start feeling this way you do need to step up your game. There is this funny 18-month cycle at my salon that most every stylist goes through where they get depressed and weird and feel stagnant. We sit down, talk about goals, look at their business and choose a focus and within 3 months they are making more money again. It is super easy to get stuck in a rut especially when things are going well. Throwing a pity party is really easy and feeling inspired takes twice as much work. As soon as you start to question your career, I want you to spend 30 days, JUST 30 DAYS, kicked into overdrive marketing and working to build your business. If at the end of the 30 days you truly still don't feel like this industry is for you, then you'll need to do some soul searching, but 90% of you will be happier, inspired and enjoying a new stream of clients headed through your doors.
These dirty little lies cross our minds from time to time. When they do, I want you to think back to why you got your license in the first place. Was it to have more time with your family, make more money, be creative, have a job that you love? Whatever your reason, think back to that. You can have that, you just need to commit to 365 days of hair work to build that clientele, a lifetime dedication to education and a genuine desire to grow and you really can achieve all of your dreams in this industry.