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Today we are going to talk about one of the biggest challenges for stylists. That’s right you guessed it, saying that dirty little word NO. Why is it that we can’t say no? Often, I hear of stylists who are literally being bullied by their clients into doing things that they don’t want to do. Then as stylists we wonder why we are feeling resentful, overworked, underpaid, and why we are working our butts off and not taking home any money. This often comes from the fact that we don’t have enough courage or the skills to just say no. There is so much power when you stop being a yes person and just learn to use the incredible power of NO to create a beautiful life for yourself. I know some of you listening to this are thinking that you are confident and have no trouble saying no. Even a confident person gets into situations where they feel awkward saying no, or they worry about what’s going to happen if they say no. It happens to all of us, and I want to give you a really strong skill set so you don’t worry the next time you’re in a position where you could totally say yes, but you want to say no. By creating some super simple guidelines, you can apply in your business today saying no is going to be super easy, pain free, and make your job a whole lot more enjoyable.

There are three major areas where stylists need to learn to say no, and we are going to tackle all three. The biggest ones I see are, saying no to discounts, saying no to schedule changes, and saying no within a consultation. You will be surprised to find out that saying no in a consultation is going to create more money in your pocket, less redo’s, and more referrals.

I want to talk about why we always hesitate to say no. It comes down to one core issue. Take a second and think about why you as a person say yes, when in the back of your mind you’re thinking I don’t want to do this, I shouldn’t do this I should just say no. Why is it that y-e-s comes out of your mouth instead? Generally speaking it’s because we are afraid the other person will be mad at us, and we’re scared of what their reaction is going to be. If you haven't done so yet I want you to go back and listen to module eight. It’s all about how to build your confidence because once you have that piece in place you won’t be worried about somebody else’s reaction at all. You have to become really in tune with yourself and who you are, and what makes you happy because even that alone makes it much easier to say no and be true to yourself. At the end of the day if that makes somebody upset, that’s a bummer, but all you can do is do good things for yourself.

So, confession. I am saying that I am good about it now, but at my core I really am a people pleaser. I have always been the fixer and the one who resolves problems. For years I struggled with the pressure of carrying the world on my shoulders, and the fear that if I didn’t do it somebody would be mad at me. This mindset made me a yes person, but it also made me resentful. It is not a great place to be. I made the decision to really change, to get in tune with myself and this past year I really became great at saying no when I knew that I was being asked to commit to something that wasn’t in line with my goals or that didn’t make me happy or that would have pulled me away from somewhere I really needed to be. I started saying no and no one was mad at me. Once you start saying no you will wonder why you weren’t doing this before. Today I am going to give you the skills so that you can feel confident about saying no in every situation you walk into. There are four key pieces we need to keep in mind each time we need to say no.

  • You are going to set a guideline.

  • You are going to communicate that guideline.

  • You are going to stick to your guns.

  • You are going to remember above all else that your happiness needs to come first.

 So, knowing that those are the four key pieces we’re going to dive into the three situations that most stylists end up in when they really should be saying no, but they end up saying yes.

Situation Number One: Saying no to discounts.

So many of us are guilty of discounting people that we really shouldn’t. We have all done it. It could be friends and family, it could be acquaintances, or people your friends and family send your way, if you end up giving discounts left and right everyone will begin to perceive you this way. This is a reality you could end up creating for yourself simply because you are unable to say no. This is a skill set that I want you to adapt so that you are no longer in that position where you’re giving free haircuts to extended family, friends, co-workers from your second job, acquaintances, people from high school who found you on Facebook and messaged you saying they need your help because they don’t have a lot of money.

The answer to all of that is no. If you don’t want to say no to that and if you like doing your friends and relatives hair for free then we need to have a reality check that you are a hobby hair stylist. You aren’t in this to make it a career and you’re in it to make people feel good which is totally fine. You have to think if you were trying to make a living doing hair right now the way you are running your business putting food on the table would be hard with giving everyone discounts. Until you stop being that person that is hooking everybody up you will be flat broke, and it’s really important for you to come to terms with that.

There’re a few discounts that stylists do that they don’t even realize is discounting. When you bundle services meaning a haircut is $50 and root touch up is $70, but when you get a haircut and root touch up combined it’s only $100. Why does somebody get a $20 discount just because they got two services? The time it would take you to both is the same, so you need to charge full price. When we think a client has been a client for years so she doesn’t get a price increase-you can’t do that. You are a professional and you need to be charging your worth.

Set the guideline.

The first place we are going to have to go if we are going to start charging our worth is we need to set the guideline. You have to have proper and set price points-this falls on you. Pricing is based on experience, it is based on market, based on your target market, setting your prices is not something you can get an answer to in a forum. It is important that your pricing is appropriate based on who you are as a stylist and that your set pricing isn’t something that flexes situationally. Services need to have specific amounts, and your pricing doesn’t flex depending on the person that it is, that is not running a proper business.

The second part of setting your guideline is deciding who if anybody should get a discount. For some of you your thoughts go to your mom, your siblings, their boyfriends, if you think about it this way your list could go on and on and on. At some point you have to say enough. You have to set the tone that you are a professional and not just the hookup hairstylist. You are a professional and your time is super valuable and that is why you need to charge for it. Anyone you decide gets free services, stick to it and do not go beyond that. In the salon I worked at we had a policy in place that two people out of your whole clientele could get free services and if a stylist did any more then that they would get a write up. This process wasn’t to be mean but because I wanted people to be running their business as professionals and not as the hookup hairstylists.

Communicate your guideline.

You should be communicating your guideline through published pricing. Your pricing should be published on your website. You should have some sort of printed piece that shares you pricing, it can be in the appointment confirmation. It should be very clear at several touch-points what the pricing is. It is your job to communicate this. If a client comes in and says they didn’t realize it was going to be so expensive, that is your fault not theirs. At some point you didn’t communicate the price to them. Your pricing should always be clear and always be published.

Stick to your guns.

Number three is always going to be stick to your guns. When you quote a price and someone replies with “oh my gosh it’s that much” your reply should never be to discount the price, but instead “that is what I charge for the services that you’ve selected, if you want we can take a look at the service package I’ve created for you and perhaps we can do a mini highlight instead of a full.” This allows the client to have a choice of how much they want to pay versus you discounting your prices. There are always options other than discounting your services. You set the guideline, you stick to your guns, and your price is your price. You also have to stick to your guns when you increase the price for one person, this means you increase the price for your entire clientele. You can’t charge different people different prices. Its unprofessional, people catch on, it hurts your referral business, and you end up building a discount clientele for yourself.  I know balancing prices is hard. I know it's hard to get out the discounts cycle. We have a whole module dedicated to it in our Thrivers Society program, but it's really important that you make this happen.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

If you are going to make a go of this as a hairstylist and really make a career where you make great money, live a wealthy life, work the hours you want, and have a beautiful balance, you have to say no to discounts. You have to find the power in yourself to say no. Find the verbiage to make it happen and follow these four steps, set the guideline, communicate it, stick to your guns and remember your happiness and well-being has to come first.

Situation Number Two: Saying no to schedule changes.

The second situation we get is saying no to schedule changes. Many of you know how it is when you close at 5:00 PM on a Saturday and a client begs you to squeeze them in. You end up saying yes, you end up stuck in the salon from 9:00 AM-8:00 PM on a Saturday night, and maybe you’ve missed out on a night out with friends and family. You do all this for maybe a $20 tip. Some of you are happy to do that while others you don’t want to do that to miss out on your own time, it is not worth it to you. For those of you who think you can handle this for a short while, it will end up burning you out. It is really important that you stick to your schedule. Another thing about saying no to schedule changes is what you do when a client cancels at the last minute. This is not okay. You don’t force them to come in, but you put that person in a position where she either comes in or there’s a price to pay.

Set the guideline.

You are going to have a set schedule, that you stick to. For some of us the hardest part is creating the set schedule and sticking to your guns and saying no when a client asks you to do them a favor and come in early or stay late. I know many of you think that by not accommodating these requests that you will miss out on money. Once I started coaching stylists to say no we have found they are actually not missing out on any money. They are still seeing the same number of clients and they save their sanity. Their clients are less stressed out because they’re not booked so packed together, and the stylists aren’t burnt out because they’re working too hard. It’s the exact opposite effect, you’re not going to lose clients or money you’re just going to be carrying yourself as a professional, and it’s going to lift your business overall

The follow up piece to this is creating a cancellation policy. It doesn’t matter if you have created it if you are not enforcing it. Until you start charging people for the late cancellations and no-shows you are not effectively managing your schedule and you’re not saying no you’re saying yes, it’s okay to cancel with me last minute. There’s no penalty, it’s all good. It’s really important that if somebody cancels within your cancellation window they get charged. You can let them know it’s okay they can’t make it in, but because of the policy you have in place you will have to charge them the cancellation fee before they are able to book their next appointment. This is a business decision not a personal one. It is really important to respect yourself as a business owner and enforce those things all the way through.

Communicate your guideline.

Your next step is going to be to publish this guideline. It is going to go on your website, it’s going to go in print, it’s going to be communicated verbally to your clients at their first appointment. This is how you pre-say no is by letting clients know what your cancellation policy is, and letting them know cancellations are not something you tolerate in your business. This is a really healthy thing to have in your business and if you don’t already have it in place I want you to get it in place today.

Stick to your guns.

If somebody asks you to stay late it’s a no. If somebody asks you to come in early, it’s a no. If somebody is late or a no show you enforce the policy and you charge them. Something really powerful will happen when take the reins in your business and begin to do this.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

When you start taking control of your schedule and don’t let your clients walk all over you, you’ll be seen as more of a professional. You will have more freedom with your family, you’ll be less stressed out and you won’t be working those long crazy days. Trust me, you will still be making great money.

Situation Number Three: Saying no in a consultation.

A lot of stylists get caught up saying yes when they should be saying no during a consultation. For those of you who don’t know, my experience mostly in the industry is as a salon director. I spent a lot of time dealing with angry and frustrated clients. When a client called in for a redo they always had to speak with me, because I wanted to know what was going on. Often times I would get that the person was crazy or unrealistic and a lot of times this would boil down to the fact that stylist made a mistake during the consultation. When somebody sits in your chair and wants something unrealistic or you get the vibe that they’re crazy or you’re going to label them as crazy or their personality type just isn’t a match for yours, it’s better to just say no. It’s better to say “You know I hear what you want, but I am getting the sense that we’re not a great match for each other. It’s nothing personal, I am very specific in the way that I do hair and I think what you’re looking for just isn’t something I can achieve. I am going to end the visit right here. I wish you all the best in finding a stylist who is going to help you reach your goals.”  Even though that person may be disappointed, how much worse is it when you spend three hours doing someone’s hair, and you are doing something you didn’t even want to do because you knew it was a bad idea, and she then comes back and wants a refund. If you had just said no in the beginning, yes you would have had a gap in your day but you also would have saved yourself the headache.

There are also scenarios where I have had stylists feel like everything went great and they are unsure why the guest might want a refund or a redo. After talking to the client, they will express they were really clear as to what they wanted in the consultation and the end result was not what I got. That is the stylist’s fault, they did not pull enough information out of the guest to be the same page so that the result could be achieved. So, either the stylists needed to say no, or ask more questions to get more defined picture on what was going to be happening for the day. In a lot of redo’s, it actually does end up being the stylists mistake because they ended up saying yes when they really should have been saying no.

Set the guideline.

Your consultation guideline is going to be more of a personal one. What’s going to help is if you have a consultation script that you run through some pretty standard questions and if you’re asking your questions and getting a lot of red flags, or you can’t get on the same page I want you to trust your gut and feel confident saying no.

Communicate your guideline.

What you can do is start off the consultation by saying “It’s so nice to meet you. Let’s talk about what you have in mind for today. I’m going to share my professional opinion as well just so that we can ensure you feel confident, gorgeous and happy as you walk away today, and that we’re on the same page.” This allows you to set the tone and take control. It allows both sides to communicate what they have to say versus a guest giving you their wish list and you making their dreams come true.

Stick to your guns.

When somebody starts to have a crazy plan or she’s a level one today box dye and wants to be a level 9, it’s not going to happen and you are not even going to promise you can get her to a level 7. You will maybe even under promise and say no. It’s really important that you don’t over-commit to something that you’re not going to be able to pull off. If your gut says this is not a good thing to do, don’t do it, it’s better to send the guest packing then to say yes and have disappointment and pain later on.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

Are we bummed when we have to send a guest away. Totally. What makes us feel worse is when we have a redo because we weren’t prepared, or we over-committed, or we really didn’t know what we were doing. There is no pain deeper than that as a stylist.  I want to encourage you to just say no from the start, because I promise you it will be so much less painful than cleaning up the mess on the back end.

For you to do:

Make a list of all your personal guidelines, boundaries, or policies so that when you are at the crossroads and thinking you should say no, but feeling like maybe I will say yes, you have something to keep you in check.

Know which particular situations that you will always say no to, this allows your rules to be your rules. Having your own personal rules is really huge and will help you make important decisions in your life.

Sit down and make a list of all the situations you find yourself in where it’s hard for you to say no. Maybe some of them are in your personal life, but most will be in your professional life. Make you own set of policies and guidelines of times when you are going to say no. You have to have personal policies you set in place for yourself. Your time is your time. Once you do this you will find you can be so much happier.

I hope that by the end of this you are feeling empowered to say no more often and you realize it’s not such a dirty little word.

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 9. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

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I always say that for a client, meeting a new stylist is like going on a first date. I like to use that analogy because I think the two experiences are very similar. The client is nervous, she is hoping she says all the right things, and that you guys click, because no client comes to you hoping it is not going to work out. They hope that you’re going to be their person. Please keep that in mind. You on the flip side are hoping you’ll have a really great time together, that the client has that kind of hair that you really like doing and you want to build that long-term relationship too. With that analogy to think about, what can make or break a first date? No matter how hot or how good looking the person sitting across the table from you is, no matter how fancy the restaurant is, or even if they pull out all the bells and whistles, the relationship is not going to last if the conversation sucks, or if there is no trust that can be built. If the communication is not there it’s just going to be a flop. As a stylist our consultation is the ultimate communication and trust builder, there is nothing else. You can do the best hair in the world, but if your conversation skills lack and you can’t have a good consultation, or if in the first 15 minutes of meeting you a client isn’t fully confident you get them, or think this is going to be a great long-term experience, they are likely not going to come back for a second time. The consultation can really make or break it. Consultations are also the difference between retention and referrals vs. re-do’s and a failing business. Your consultation can really make or break your career.

I think a lot of stylists skip over this read, and think oh yeah, I’ve done consultations before. I guarantee each and every one of you reading this have never heard this strategy before. You have never seen consultations explained this way no matter how many consultation classes you’ve taken or the tools you have tried out. So, let’s dive in.

We all come pre-wired and predisposed to learning in one specific way or another. You’ve probably heard people talk about that before maybe as far back as elementary school. There are four different learning styles and most people have the natural tendency to think that they are hands on learners. Only 25% of the population are in actuality hands on learners and the other 75% learn another way. All of your clients, and you are wired to learn in one of the four ways. I want you to understand the four learning styles because the client sitting in your chair learns in one of these four styles better than any of the others, and the only way to ensure that the consultation goes flawlessly is actually by hitting all four of these styles in one way or another through the process so that you can be 100% sure that your messaging is coming through loud and clear to the guest.

I want to remind you the purpose of a consultation. The goal for us is to listen to what the guest wants, almost like taking an order at a restaurant. We also want to offer advice based on personal opinion or expertise so that we can get on the same page and meet in the middle. Most of you reading this blog don’t like to just be order takers, or do the hair your guest requests even if it is a bad idea.  They’re coming to you because you are the professional, so you should be offering that professional advice. Then there is the middle ground between what the guest came in asking for and what you as the stylist believe is the best plan. When we are working to get on that same page with our guest there is an element of learning happening there. If you aren’t speaking to the style that the client understands best they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. So, if in your mind you have the perfect plan, and you explain that to them, think they’ve got, and in their mind the client could be like I hope this lady knows what she is talking about because I have no idea what is going on right now. A lot of the time the client won’t tell you if they don’t know what is going on. If we improve our consultations and communication it is never going to be an issue in the future. When most stylists consult they speak in their own communication style, and naturally we’re all really great at speaking in our own style. Alternatively, others are kind of going through the motions based on other consultation techniques they learned at a class somewhere, but they don’t understand the logic behind it. The key and most important part are that you have to understand the logic behind what you are doing and the tools you are using. I want to give you the logic so that your communication is going to soar and all of your consultations are going to kick some serious ass! I want to share with you the four key elements of every consultation to ensure that you and your guest are 100% on the same page. Each of the key elements is wrapped up into a learning style, some of these are going to be familiar while others are brand new.

Learning Style Number 1:

The first learning style I want to discuss is visual which is also known as spatial. A visual learner likes to see pictures, and images, they have a better spatial understanding when they can see the world around them. A visual learner is an I’ll believe it when I see it type of person.

Learning Style Number 2:

The second style I want to discuss is an oral learner. An oral learner prefers sounds, auditory and musical sounds alike. They prefer music, but sound would also count as hearing the sound of your voice. The more that you can speak to them the better.

Learning Style Number 3:

The third style I want to discuss is the verbal learner-linguistic. There is a difference between oral and verbal learners. A verbal learner prefers words in both speech and writing, verbal learners are actually great at reading content and comprehending it. They’re also great at taking notes, and when they do it really cements everything into their brain. They like speaking and learn through speaking.

Learning Style Number 4:

The fourth style I want to discuss is the physical, kinesthetic learners who prefer to use their body. These are the hands-on type of learners, where sense of touch really makes a difference.

Reflecting back to those four key learning styles I want you to try and place yourself and see what fits most with you. I am going to dive deeper into each style and talk about how you can start incorporating all four of these elements into your consultations because every single guest you have sitting in your chair is either a visual, oral, verbal, or physical learner and consultation is a teaching and sharing technique. The more we can get on the same page with each guest the better our consults will be.

Visual:

Let’s start with our visual learner, somebody who’s a visual learner wants to see examples of what you are talking about, and not just one. The more examples you can show a visual learner the better. Showing them the little details is something they need to really understand what you are talking about. They are going to do best if they are able to show you examples and you in turn are able to show them examples, because they communicate much better through looking at something rather than talking. They won’t understand what you are talking about until they see it.

Oral:

Then we have somebody who would be more in tune with the oral learning style. For them they are going to be very in tune with everything that’s coming out of your mouth, and they’re going to match your tone. If you are going into a consult and you are not really feeling it, low tone, and low energy, you have already blown it before you even opened your mouth. They’re never going to come back. They want you to be high energy, they want to feel that positivity through your voice. You need to smile through your voice, they want to hear that happiness in your voice. They want to be all in on the conversation-don’t be distracted. If you get distracted and pulled into a side conversation or consultation with an oral learner you are screwed they are done for. They want to have 100% of your attention for that consultation, you have to be all in with no distractions. They will also want to hear you recap the plan several times. You must explain exactly what the understanding is, exactly what the plan is, at least two times so it really cements in. They are also going to find comfort in you knowing exactly what they want, when they verbally hear a recap it is going to give them the greatest peace of mind that they have finally found someone who understands what they are looking for.

Verbal:

So, then we have those who are more verbal learners. Very different than the oral learner a verbal learner actually needs to keep talking. The verbal learner wants to talk themselves, because when they’re able to speak and say things that’s going to cement it in their head a little bit more. You need to keep this type of guest talking. You want to get this guest to spit out all the details and you do this by asking questions, you ask what they like and also what they don’t like. A verbal learner needs to be coerced into continuing to talk so that you can both get on the same page. For these types of learners, you need to remember it is equally important to know their likes and dislikes.

Physical:

Then we have the physical learner, and this type of person wants to feel really physically connected and they want that through eye contact. We want to look at them in the eye and not through the mirror and be truly eyeball to eyeball. Get in front of your guest, if you have a stool that you can sit down at eye level with them, this is the best. If you bring out something like a swatch book encourage them to touch the swatches and really make a choice for themselves. Allow them to touch their own hair, if you are doing a cut have them hold their hair so you can show them where the cut will be. This kind of confirmation for a physical learner is everything. Getting them really involved in the process is huge.

A good consultation is a partnership 100% of the way, and if you can’t get on these four levels with each and every guest and make sure they actually get the information they need to feel comfortable with the plan, you’ll end up with a redo, a refund or no retention if you can’t get these things down.

So, let’s pull it all together and make your game plan:

Guest walks through the door you greet them immediately. Greet them with a huge smile, a handshake or a hug. Do what works for you. As you walk up to them and you have a smile in your voice you have already appealed to the visual, physical, and oral learner.

Guest sits down and you sit down with them eye level if possible and if not, you stand in front of them, remembering to be eyeball to eyeball. What you are going to start doing here is working through your list of consultation questions. You should have a list of at least 15-18 questions in your brain that you routinely ask each guest. If you are in my Thrivers Society program I give you the consultation overview with a major checklist cheat sheet of all the questions you should be asking. If you are not a part of the program yet I encourage you to still make a list of 15-20 questions that you’re going to run through with each of your guests to make sure you hit all the touch points. When you are asking your questions, you want to be sure you are doing so with a huge smile and warm tone because that’s really going to be great for the oral and verbal learners.

As a guest starts to mention what they have in mind I want you to pull out a look book. Some sort of printed book that your guest can flip through, or scroll through on your phone. It needs to be a visual resource that you and your guests can go to during the consultation to get to what the guest is looking for. Ask the guest to hold the book or the phone and to go through and pick out pictures that they like. This is going to be both for the physical and visual learner. If you’re just showing them pictures you are only appealing to the visual learner, but once you make the guest an active participant in the experience everything is going to be enhanced and you’re going to meet the needs of both the visual and kinesthetic learner.

When a guest shows you a photo they like, ask what they like about the photo and if there is anything they don’t like. This question appeals to the oral, the verbal, and the visual learner. Based on the picture they show you can now show alternatives if needed, this is great for the visual learner. From here you can ask questions about the new photo and get them talking about it, this is great for both the oral and verbal learner.

Now when you are doing color, always use a swatch book or color ring, every single time. There is no scenario in a consultation where one of those tools doesn’t come out. This is very important for the visual and physical learner-they have to have it. They don’t understand any other way, going through magazines will not be enough. Having something a guest could look through, feel through, point to, and touch is really going to help you get to where you need to be for that guest. By doing this you are going to cover the visual and physical components for each guest.

If a guest comes in and wants just a trim. Hand them a mirror, turn them around so they can see the back of their head and show them what one inch means to you by combing through their hair. This gives the guest a super solid visual and a guest who is a visual learner can really understand that. Use you comb as a guide to give your guest a visual on what you will be doing, even just feeling that comb go through their hair is going to be great for a physical learner as well.

At the end of the consultation you’re going to say OK, so my understanding is that this is what we are achieving today. Here is when you will begin your recap, you will show a swatch again, talk about the process of what you will be doing, talk about the colors you will be using, show multiple swatches if necessary, discuss the cut that will take place, reconfirm the length of the cut and the style. Once you have recapped everything that is going to take place you want to place your hand on the guest’s shoulder and let them know that is your understanding of the plan and ask if there is anything else they would like to add or change before getting started. That confirmation for the verbal and oral learner is everything.

Often when consultations go bad it’s because the stylist ended up dominating the conversation. Verbal communication is very common in consultations in the salon, some visual though it is often fairly weak. There is very little partnership in the consultation process, I rarely see a stylist who is truly trying to get on the same level and communicate in the way that a guest understands. The more you can nail this down and start incorporating all four pieces the easier your life will get. Your consultation allows you to teach your client what is possible for them. This comes down to their learning style and the only way to communicate effectively is to hit all four points.

If you have ever had a client leave unhappy or call for a redo, generally speaking this is due to the consultation. Even though you may have felt you were on the same page you weren’t, there was some kind of communication breakdown. The more time you spend in your consultations pulling out information you will see a decrease in unhappy guests looking for redo’s.

I have decided to include for you today everything you need to create your consultation kit. I have suggestions for everything I want you to be walking out with every time you consult with a guest. Make sure you head to brittseva/012 to receive your consultation kit cheat sheet, so you can really start putting it together, practicing, and putting it into play for your business so you can get your consultations nailed down.

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 12. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

Consultation Kit Quick Guide

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To sign up for my free Facebook training class click here now.

To sign up for my free website training class click here now.

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A question that I get asked a lot by stylists, salon owners--all at different points in their career is “Britt how do I know what’s next?”

I think a lot of us a human beings even beyond our industry are always in search of our life’s purpose. Most of us have some kind of awareness that everybody was placed here on this planet and that we are all here to serve a specific purpose. So, few of us actually discover what that purpose was meant to be. I think a lot of us are looking for our what’s next, our what’s bigger or what’s going to take us to the next level or allow us to live the life the we always dreamed possible. Most of us didn’t join this industry as stylists to be okay with struggling, not paying all our bills and just living okay. Most of us when we decided to become stylists became stylists with the mindset of I am going to be loaded, have tons of cash, work whatever schedule I want, and live this luxury lifestyle you had in your mind. For most of us we thought we were going to live this big huge life and for a lot of us it is not panning out like we thought, or we’ve done that and we’re like man I did it, now what. Many people do not realize that success is a constant moving target. People are always looking for more, there’s always a next level and that can be a personal what’s next or a professional what’s next. People are constantly finding themselves in the state of “now what” and that is how we are wired as humans. I wanted to dedicate this blog to helping you find your what’s next.

What I am going to do is cover the 8 different what’s next options that I see if you want to stay in the industry. Now if you’re what’s next is you want to work for Facebook or Apple, you go do you! What I am going to cover is if you want to find your what’s next in the industry. Even if you are on the fence of not knowing if this industry is part of your what’s next, that’s okay, you are still going to get a ton of value out of this because I am going to go over the different ventures or different paths I think you can look into and the process of figuring out how to determine your what’s next.

Let’s start with the two most common what’s next ideas. Let’s say everybody reading this is a hairstylist or they are a licensed cosmetologist and imagine everyone had already built a clientele that you’re looking to graduate to somebody else. A word of caution to the wise: if you have not yet built a clientele for yourself and you are looking for an out, please don’t do that.

A lot of stylists I have talked to who struggled to build a clientele get to a point where they’re like I am just going to get another job to supplement their income. The reality of this is working in a retail store and getting a paycheck is a whole heck of a lot easier than working to build a clientele, it’s also more boring and way less lucrative. Sometimes we choose that easy default path, but in the end, it typically leads to years down the line you realize you want to get back into the industry. You got into this industry because it was your calling and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is no other industry where the opportunity is in such abundance the way it is in ours. If you are reading this and thinking building a clientele is too hard and thinking about finding what’s next--please don’t. Focus on building your clientele, listen to my podcasts, watch all my Facebook videos or do whatever you need to do to find the inspiration to build a clientele.

What I am going to address next is for those of you who have put in all the work, have a full clientele, are happy with the money that you are making, but are looking for something else. This is what I am talking about what I am talking about find your what’s next. Let’s say you are that stylist and you’ve built that clientele and you are ready for a new challenge. Most of us think there are two avenues we can go down and that is education and salon ownership.

Number 1: Education

In the industry there are two segments to education and then there’s a hybrid in between. We either have branded education or independent education. Branded education is when you have a hair color brand you use in the salon and you decide to become an educator for them. Independent education has been made possible due to social media, the exposure one can get through social media has made independent education boom over the years. What a lot of stylists experienced by this boom is the reality that some stylists are incredibly talented, but don’t make great educators. This was unfortunate because these stylists had amazing skill sets, had built beautiful clienteles and their work was amazing, but being able to teach effectively and communicate something is very different. This has led many educators to return to branded education, but that does not mean independent education isn’t possible, it just is not as easy as it used to be.

If you have never taught or educated before I would suggest going branded first. The amount of education that a distribution company or brand will provide to you is unbelievable. Also, some stylists go into education to find either they don’t like it or they are not good at it, so trying it before you buy it is a great way to go. Something to keep in mind with branded education is that the brand is actually going to expect that you make a financial investment. A lot of people think they are going to become an educator and make a ton of money, but you must first take into consideration the financial aspects to becoming an educator such as travel costs, training costs, and classes. Another aspect to keep in mind about becoming an educator is that you will likely be traveling on your Sundays and Mondays especially when you start. You have to think if this is something that is going to fit into your lifestyle. Going branded first is in a lot of ways how you will build a network for yourself and you will get people in your community to know who you are. Your name will be more common and popular and it will make it much easier to build as independent educator when people already know who you are. Going branded and getting your name out there really does end up making a difference if you’re considering going independent one day, so stick with branded first and build yourself up.

Number 2: Business Ownership

When we are looking at common path’s stylists take when they’re looking to level up business ownership is one of them. Business ownership comes with a lot of different options, you can be a booth rental salon owner, you can be a commission salon owner, you can be a mini salon owner or a studio suite owner. If you are a commissioned stylist or a booth rental stylist going studio suite first is a really nice way to test the waters. It gives you a sense of if you like being in charge. Doing a trial run of this before you are in a heavy lease in a huge space is a really nice way to test the waters, because I know a lot of stylists who have gone into studio suites and realized it was not for them. For those of you who already know you want to become salon owners I want you to ask yourself a couple of things; do you want a team, do you want employees. These are two different questions.

Some of the most successful salons I know are booth rental salons who are 100% a team and there is a company culture, and everybody is on the same page. They are all in on the salon business even though they are booth renters and are technically independent. That team culture does exist in booth rental salons everywhere and those are the most successful salons I know right now. Commission salons can absolutely have that same team environment. They would be employees and the company culture would be a part of it. You can still have that same type of agreement with booth renters.

Now, do you want employees or not? I think everyone is hot to have contractors only or booth renters because having employees feels heavy. It only feels heavy when you’re cutting corners and not doing it right. There are so many companies that make getting employees setup super easy. There are a lot of great resources that you can use if you’re going the employer route to have that team culture, have employees that follow the rules and all that good stuff.

Now a couple of other things I want you to keep in mind if you want to pursue the business ownership route. You will need to supplement employees with an hourly base wage, and will need to do your research on this based on where you live. You cannot simply link having employees as a way to be profitable. Both booth rental salon owners and commission salon owners can either be profitable or in the red. Neither option is a guarantee of profit. What is more important is determining what you see for yourself and what environment you want to have for your salon. After you determine what is right for you, do your research and think about what you can offer your area that doesn’t currently exist. In order to run a successful business, you will need to find the gap. Is there a gap for what you’re thinking about putting it or is it just going to be another salon in a busy area. You want to be that one salon that everybody wants to go to. So, if you’re going to go the business ownership route really think about what you are going to do that’s going to stand out from the crowd.

Number 3: Salon Leadership

Are you part of a salon team where you’re looking around and thinking they could really use a social media coordinator, or we could really benefit from an assistant manager, or maybe a management role. Is there something that you could do within your salon space that is going to give you more responsibility without making you feel like you need to bail out on your current job. There may be opportunities within the walls and space that you are currently in, really take a look at your salon and think about ways that you could level up on the team. Within the salon you can create a lot of different roles that people can grow into, and that people could love. You can have a salon director, retail coordinator, front desk manager, assistant manager, reception team and so on. Growing and expanding roles really help people to feel like they are contributing to the overall growth of the business and help improve team morale. People enjoy that there are roles they can graduate into beyond just doing hair. For those of you who are salon owners reading this, please create those opportunities for those in your salon who are desperate to figure out what is their what’s next.  If you see a need within your salon speak up to the salon owner, and you might just be happily surprised with what you find.

Number 4: Step away from the chair / sales positions

This would be a huge game changer for some of you that are really ready to step away from the chair. There are many sales positions within our industry. This can be an amazing opportunity for those of you who maybe want to educate, don’t want to be behind the chair anymore, don’t want to give up their Sunday and Monday to travel, but want a salaried role, consistency, sales, going from salon to salon, meeting different stylists, educating, and uplifting the community. Most hair care brands have these positions, along with color brands and distribution companies. There is a lot of opportunity in this area of our industry and a lot of people that are doing it have been doing it for 20-30 years because they love it so much. So, if you know that being in the salon is just not for you anymore and you want to do something different really take a look at the opportunities that exist within your hair care brands. Reach out and make those connections, because you’d be surprised to see what’s out there and available to you.

Number 5: Corporate Positions within Hair Care Companies

Every brand that you know and love has a corporate level. No matter what the company is they have a corporate team that works in cubicles and offices somewhere. They have sales, marketing, human resources, accounting, executive assistants and so on. It is a business-like structure that you would picture anywhere in corporate America and that exists from most of the brands we all know and love and maybe for some of you, you would like working in an office. For some of you corporate may feel very comfortable and you are a happy camper there. The nice part about that is you can have the best of both worlds. You can have the corporate job with the salary and insurance and all the things that are the appeal of a 9-5, but still be in the industry. For those of you who feel like this is a route worth looking into I urge you to head to the page of some of your favorite brands and check out their careers page to see what opportunities may be a good fit for you.

Number 6: Industry Influencer

It is my belief that an industry influencer is the wave of the future. I believe our industry has a lot of educators, but we don’t have a ton of industry influencers yet. An influencer is someone who elevates our industry by inspiring others. They talk about brands that they love, they become a resource for great information, and in a lot of other industries people refer to these as the bloggers of the industry. There are makeup beauty bloggers on every corner, food and mommy bloggers right behind them, but for our industry--not so much. I think there is a lot of potential here, but this is the type of pursuit that work comes first money will come later. For those who will want to pursue this route that will have to be a sacrifice that you are willing to make.

Those who blog make money through sponsored posts, running ads, and education opportunities that come as well. This is a long game. Industry influencers can make bank, but you can’t go for the quick buck, because that is not how it’s going to work. If you really have something interesting to talk about, you think that you have a unique voice, and unique information to share, that can really be a great path for you. I think it’s a really underdeveloped market, that there is so much potential there.

Reflect:

Okay so now I told you I had eight different career opportunities and wanted you to consider when you're looking to level up. But before I get in into 7 and 8 I want to take a moment for you to reflect, because I think it is important before we move into the last couple of options.

Most of you are like okay where do I even start?

 You start by not thinking about the job itself at all. You start by thinking about the lifestyle you want to have.

If you choose to be an educator. Are you down to travel a ton, live life on airplanes and in hotels?

If you choose salon ownership. Are you doing it just because you’re hoping to make more money or do you truly want to uplift others in the industry? Do you really want to create an incredible environment that doesn’t exist anywhere else?

If you choose a sales and corporate position. Are you really ready to step away from your clientele and start serving stylists? Do you enjoy corporate work, are you down to go home and work on your laptop once you get home, are you okay cruising around in your car all day, or do you enjoy working with other stylists and salon owners and educating them.

You have to be able to put your lifestyle first when you are making these kinds of choices because that is a game changer.

Number 7: To become the most amazing most successful hairstylist this industry has ever seen 

Some hairstylists are making six figures, like multiple six figures. They are living large, buying houses, taking trips to Europe, living these big beautiful lives taking clients. They never became a salon owner, they didn’t feel the need to educate. Maybe they are not even working full time anymore. They love their clients, their picky about who they take and who they don’t take, and they really do enjoy the work they’re doing. If that lifestyle I just described appealed to you, than just go all in on what you are already doing. We all joined this industry to make a ton of money as hairstylists, that’s what we all initially decided to do. I think many of us get caught up in the idea of missed opportunities. You have to ask yourself if you really want to chase those opportunities or if you want to make a killing be the stylist you already are. You can do that working in a town you’re already in, go home to your family every night, visit Maui every summer living in your beautiful home. You can do all that being a stylist, and that is respectable. Really think about what is it that you’re doing that you feel like you need to level up and what leveling up is to you.

Number 8: To create that solid base and live the fullest life possible, knowing that that’s your what’s next

For me my mind instantly goes to more time with my family. It is not a professional what’s next, and that’s not to say that I don’t have big dreams and ideas for what’s next for my business, but I got into this industry to make a ton of money and be there for my family. So, if those are the two reasons I decided to become a hairstylist I can never lose sight of that.

For some of you I really want you to think about that. Do you need to add to your work plate or is your what’s next man I am amazing. I am going to raise my prices, do more stuff to raise my average ticket, I’m going to be pickier about who I take on as clients, and I’m going to love the fact that I chose the best industry on the planet. That’s a huge what’s next and something that so many human beings never get to experience. They hate their jobs and they hate what they do, they don’t make enough money. You have the ability to make as much money as you want to working whatever schedule you would like. Take that opportunity and enjoy it.

If you feel like you’ve conquered the business, that you aren’t being challenged and you are feeling lost as to what your what’s next is, I want you to make your what’s next a personal one. Take a step back and start thinking about what you want a personal level, maybe it’s moving into a bigger home, or taking a dream trip, scaling back your schedule to be home more. Finding your what’s next doesn’t always have to be job related. Sometimes what’s next is stepping back and enjoying it all. So, what I want you to next is to take a step back and think about your dream lifestyle, how do you want to live out your days, what do you want to look back on forty years from now and think about your life. There are two types of people we will find in old age, those who live in regret and those who live their life to the fullest. So really think about who you want to be and the choices you’re making.

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 31. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

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