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Today I want to talk about hiring a salon assistant the right way. What today’s assistants are looking for, and if you’re really ready for an assistant at all or if it should be part of your game plan. If you’ve ever heard my story before, as soon as I graduated cosmetology school, I became an assistant, then I was put in the position of the new employee trainer, I was a new stylist building my clientele, but also managing our assistant team and training them up, then I moved on to the position of salon director where I experienced hiring over 100 assistants in my time. I’ve got it, I’ve been there, I’ve done it right, I’ve done it wrong, I developed a really unique education system for our salon that kicked ass. Our reputation in the Silicon Valley grew to be the salon that you would come to when you graduated school. People who applied at our salon would share with me that they interviewed at another salon and were told that with their talent they should come and interview at our location specifically because of our assistant program. They were right about our program and I think it’s because of a few key things we did. I am going to share all of this with you, and help set you up for success. I will show you the difference between just having an assistant and really having an assistant who supports you and where you make a huge impact on their career. Before we dive in, I want to mention that we have an awesome PDF workbook for this that we will link at the very bottom called The Salon Assistant Checklist.

I find that hiring an assistant to be a funny thing, most hairstylists long for the day that they’re ready to bring on assistant, but at the same time they dread it. They dread having to give up the control, they love the idea of being in a position where they’re so busy they need an assistant, but then the idea of entrusting their clientele with someone else is their worst nightmare. I think a lot of people feel this way about hiring an assistant because it’s hard to hire them and it’s hard to train them. These are hurdles you have to overcome, but if you have a system in place it is easy. You just need to have the tools in place to get there and then as far as the fear that no one will treat your clients as well as you do, that is B.S. there are some really amazing assistants out there who could run circles around their own stylists, and when you hire an assistant and train them up right your clientele is going to love them. Having an assistant should really enhance your experience for the guest and it becomes part of your partnership. I think a part of why our assistant program was so highly regarded was because at the time a lot of salons had programs where a newly graduated cosmetologist would come in and be a shampoo slave. They would shampoo, sweep, stand around, and there wasn’t a lot of training and in comparison, our program was super structured and involved none of that.

I had assistants applying color on clients within 3 weeks of being hired, people had to get up and running and moving. This is what today’s millennials want. They don’t want to spend two years assisting you and watching you and doing shampoos over and over. They want to get on with their life and build their own business and their own clientele. I want to set you up for success in that regard where your program has a start and end date. Everybody’s moving, everybody feels engaged, and involved in everything that’s going on.

Let’s take it back a step and really determine if you are in a position to be hiring an assistant at all. My kind of are you ready for an assistant checklist is:

  1.  Are you booked for solid for four weeks, and I don’t just mean weekends like solid through the week as well? You are going to be hard pressed to find an assistant who wants to work less than four days a week. You are probably going to be paying your assistant minimum wage plus tips or maybe even a little bit more than that. You have to remember that this person has to survive and they have bills to pay. If you are thinking you can offer a position that is two days a week that is not going to work for someone who is trying to build a career. You have to be in a position where you are ready to bring someone on from anywhere from 25-35 hours a week. This is what someone is going to be looking for and you have to make sure that you are able to facilitate this type of environment for a person.

  2.   This may be the biggest one. You have to be ready to release control. For example, you can’t be the one mixing color and double checking the assistant’s application when they are done with it. This is part of the training process and nobody wants to be micromanaged or babied. There’s a big trust factor that goes into this. How do you think your client would feel if once the color is put in their hair you come over and double check it? They’re going to have no faith in the assistant at all. You need to be selling your assistant and talk about what an amazing job they are going to do and let the client know they are in great hands. It is very important to be able to release control and have full faith in another person.

  3. You have to be willing to take on an additional 10 hours of work a month. When you bring on an assistant your income potential becomes exponential, that person can help you to double your annual income no problem. That’s fully possible having a second set of hands, but it comes at a price. You have to invest into that person 10 hours of work a month to be spent on training and education. There are the major benefits to having an assistant, but you need to go all in on that person and be super committed and there is a higher workload that is associated with that.

 If you meet all of those criteria and you’re ready to dive in, perfect!

Step Number One: Decide what kind of education you are going to offer.

Deciding what type of education, you are going to offer is where you start, because real talk an assistant is coming to you for education. That is what they are there for, they want to learn a little bit more before they start to build their clientele. My suggestion would be to sit down and write out at least 30 topics that you could teach an assistant. There are a million topics that you as a stylist could teach your assistant, make a list of 30. If that can’t happen for you, you need to think harder because this person is coming to learn some advanced skills and techniques, not just watch you apply hair color all day. Think about what you could teach a person to enhance their career, if you can make that 30-topic list you’ve just created a curriculum for yourself. You can run through this list weekly, monthly, however you want to do it as your training this person in their advanced education classes. You now have created a syllabus you can work off of, and they have a checklist of things that they need to master before they can graduate or be promoted to the next level.

How are you going to deliver your content and information?  

If you go back and listen to podcast episode 012, we talk about 4 different learning styles. For some of your assistants they’re going to want to practice applying color on a doll head, practice doing cuts on doll heads, yes, you’re going to have to purchase doll heads to make this happen. For some of your assistants they’re going to want to see infographics of haircuts, and the visuals that show the angles that the hair needs to held to achieve some haircuts. For some students this is going to be what they’ll need. Really think about how you can come to the table with all of those tools. I know some of you are already thinking that in your salon you like learning to be a little more organic and let the assistants learn through the work day. Good luck to you. There are very few salons, I actually can’t think of any who run assistant programs that way and are successful where they’re producing great stylists who stay on board and end up building a clientele. I can’t name a one. There was a time when that was the standard, it’s not going to work now. So, if you’re trying to attract the best and the brightest, you’re going to have to come to the table with a little more structure than that.

Step Number Two: Determine how you are going to provide that education.

I always say that to be fair to your assistant you need to be coming to the table with at least eight hours per month of structured class time outside of the workday. So, you could do one 8-hour Monday a month, that’s totally fine. A lot of salons or stylists do that and they’ll do a hands-on class or a book work kind of class and then a live model in the afternoon. You could also do two four-hour blocks of time before the start of your workday or one-hour blocks of time after the workday two days a week. Make sure you’re finding the and carving out the extra time beyond your regular work schedule to train these people. It can be a Monday, it can be a Friday night, but make sure that you find the time to make it happen.

The other thing I want you to do is to involve your assistant in the learning throughout the workday. As an assistant you definitely learn a lot in classes, but for some they may learn most of their formulation applying color for the stylists they work with. For some this will allow them to see the process of where they start with a client and see it all the way through to the end results and it’ll just click. If you’re doing a cool haircut invite your assistant to come up and watch you. I know for a lot of use we’re like oh I don’t want to make the client feel uncomfortable. Think about what a stud you look like when you have somebody who is learning underneath you, you look like a rock star, and your guest feels like a superstar when you when you think they have an exceptional haircut that you want your assistant to sit in on. Don’t be afraid to pull your assistant in there. You want to help foster a relationship where your assistant could easily be your right-hand man, so the more you can get your assistant involved the better.

Step Number Three: Support advanced education for your assistant.

I’ve always said that I think that stylists should give the equivalent of 1% of their annual earnings towards education for their assistant. So, for example if you made $60k a year behind the chair I want you to give your assistant $600 in education to spend to go see any artist, class or show that they want to see. This would make your assistant feel like they hit the jackpot. Providing this for your assistants can be such a win-win because they come back so much sharper because of it. You may have a lot to teach and share, but your assistant may want to learn a technique that you’re not familiar with, so giving them that opportunity to go and learn it is so important. By doing this you let your assistants know that their personal aspirations are important and supported, this alone will do so much for your relationship.

Step Number Four: Allow your assistant to do more than you’re comfortable with.

I want your assistant to do all your shampoos, all of your color applications, your toner, I want them to assist with retails sales, I want them to up sell treatments for you, help check out your guests, blow dries, and down the line maybe even a little foiling with you. I know most of you probably got nervous with the thought of that, and that’s way down the line, but I want you to feel the fear and do it anyway. The more involved you can get your assistant in the process the more your clients will trust them and the more your assistant will be all in with you. I want you to let them get in there, and if you’re afraid that maybe they are going to mess something up that’s a training issue on your part and maybe you need to provide more training to let go of that fear. If you felt like you made the right decision in hiring this person you need to trust they are going to do things right.

Step Number Five: Provide amazing training.

Your assistant’s success lays in your hands. It all depends on the training you provide in the forefront. In the first few weeks working with your assistant you have got to put their training as top priority. Something my business coach has told me is that sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. In hiring and training new people you may have to slow down on the front end of your business, you may have no choice. So, if you as a stylist need to take a couple days off to train your assistant that’s what you have to do. This is part of the process of slowing down to speed up, so be patient with that. If you’re a booth renter it might mean coming in on a couple of Mondays’ to train your assistant to apply color on doll heads. In our salon we had assistants to a tint touch on a doll head 20 times in a 3-week period, and at that 3 weeks mark they were ready and, on the floor, working with guests. I had assistants do shampoos on myself, on other stylists, on family, whoever it needed to be so that they were getting their hands wet and getting some practice so that I could get them out there working on guests as soon as possible.

Step Number Six: Begin with the end in mind.

What does your assistant need to achieve before you decide they’re ready to move on? Do they have to take a test? Do you say that at 30 weeks they are done? You can decide whatever you want to decide, but bottom line is no matter how much you love your assistant or no matter how much they love assisting you you’ve got to push that baby bird out of the nest and at some point. Very few assistants will stay solid for more than a year. Very few, even fewer than that are going to stay solid for 18 months so that is why you have to put a lifespan on this. There was one assistant that I had that was amazing, and he decided he wanted to be a lifetime assistant and I said yes. Not long after I said yes, his work ethic began to slide and he started calling in sick often. This happened because nobody wants to assist forever and ever, very few people do. Every once in a while, you’ll find that perfect person who’s burnt out of doing clients and really does want to assist for ever- but this is rare. If you by a miracle find this person that wants to assist forever talk about what leveling up looks like for them and set goals for them. Make it so that they’re going somewhere, because nobody wants to be endlessly working at a job. You have to have goals before you can even start bringing somebody in. You also need to think about what happens when you do reach that stopping point. Is there a space in your salon for your assistant to graduate onto the floor? If your assistant can earn a chair what do they have to do to make that happen? When they do get the chair are, they there full time or part time and still assisting you for a few hours? You really have to think about these things all the way through before hiring an assistant.

Step Number Seven: Hiring your assistant.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re still all in and you’ve done all the steps leading up this point now you get to hire the assistant. You have figured out what tasks they are going to be doing, you’ve decided you’re going to release control. You’ve completed a training program, you have the end in mind, you’ve decided when you’re going to educate them. Hopefully you’ve determined how you will be paying them. You have all of that logistics worked out and you’re ready. Then you bring in the assistant and now what. How do you find her to begin with, right? The very best way to hire an assistant is to attract them through industry reputation. For years and years and years I didn’t even have to run and ad because I was in the position where I got to say I wish I could train all of you, but I don’t have the space right now. Other salons were literally sending us the best of best, because they knew we had awesome training. In addition to this I also went and spoke at local beauty schools to the point that I was a familiar face. I didn’t go in with the intention of teaching a cut or color, but went it to have fun with them and speak about the culture at the salon I was with. I spoke about business and marketing, building a clientele, the realities of what life in the industry is like and really spoke about things nobody else was talking about. Really focus on your strengths and do that to help you shine and connect at your local cosmetology schools and get those students dying to come work for you. If you can’t do that and you’re desperate for somebody you can run ads on sites like Craigslist, Facebook job postings work as well. You can absolutely advertise on social media, through email marketing as well. Use all the outlets available to you, but building that strong industry reputation, nothing beats that. Make sure you are working on your social media presence. There’s nobody in their right mind today who is not going to look at your website and social media before coming to work for you. Nobody. If both of those things are not on point it will be a little of a struggle for you.

Step Number Eight: The interview.

When you have somebody come in for the interview, let’s say you’ve had the perfect applicant. I want you to make sure that you want to hang out with this person eight hours a day. I always say you have to hire for personality and train for skill. You will have a difficult time training anyone who has a terrible attitude, they aren’t coachable, they aren’t confident or that they can’t carry on a conversation with you. When you are interviewing you should want to know what that person’s goals are in the industry, but more than anything you want to try and figure out if this person is a good time. What I mean by that is how seriously are they going to take this role, where do they see this going for them, how do they see themselves connecting with your guests. Learn what they do on the weekends, find out if the conversation between the two of you flows naturally, because if you guys can talk and connect, they could likely flow and connect with your clients as well. For me it's all about the personality and making sure they are truly a right fit for the business. So, I really really want you guys to focus on that human and personal connection more than anything else. From there guys you enjoy the ride, you bring on the right person, you train them up properly, you allow them to really become a key piece of your business. You encourage your clients to fall in love with this person. Bringing on an assistant is a blessing to your business not a curse. It can be a really wonderful thing, just be sure you’re ready for the commitment of taking this person under your wing and training them up properly.

As mentioned at the beginning of this I have attached a cheat sheet that you can download that is kind of the hair stylist guide to hiring their first assistant, I’ve also included some bonus information on how you can structure their pay, what they’re looking for as far as compensation is concerned and more!

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 13. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

Links Mentioned:

Download your copy of The Salon Assistant Checklist

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Instagram

Follow me on YouTube

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

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

To listen to past episodes of The Thriving Stylist Podcast click here now.

B. SevaComment
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Today we are going to talk about finding the time and space to do it all. Finding the time and space to take classes, be there for your partner and your family, get everything done that you to get done in your business, and feel well-rounded as a person. There is a system I’ve put into place in my business that has been a game changer and I only started running this system fairly recently and it has been a weight off my shoulders. I want to share my system with you in hopes that you can put it into practice in your business and life as well just to take a little bit of that pressure off and allow you to retain just a little bit more focus.

I don’t know about you, but I know for myself there are times in my life where I lay in bed staring at the ceiling with a list of a thousand to do’s running through my mind. Sometimes it’s a list of a mix of personal to do’s, professional to do’s and things I should have done a month ago, and the mix of it all actually becomes overwhelming. I call this the analysis paralysis, because you are thinking I could do so many things now that I don’t want to do anything because I feel like an epic failure because nothing is getting done. This is not a true at all and a false reality we give ourselves. I think as stylists, and salon owners, there are four phases that our business runs through at any given time, they range from feeling inspired, excited, amped up like you can take over the world, to overwhelmed, disheartened and discouraged- I don’t even know how I got here. All of those thoughts and riding that roller-coaster is normal, we all go through it. I’ve dissected it, and if you haven’t already listened to Podcast Episode 4 of this podcast, do it. It is one of the most downloaded episodes I have done, it’s a huge eye opener, and if you feel like you’re riding that roller-coaster of some days I love my job, and some days I don’t even know how I got here, listen to this episode and it is a total game changer. One of the things I talk about in that episode is a phase called The Inspiration Phase, and I talk about how inspiration is so important to us and all stages of our business. As soon as your inspiration tank is drained it is incredibly difficult to drag yourself out of bed every day, it’s incredibly difficult to put on that big huge smile and greet our clients, and a lot of times we just don’t feel like we can do it. We have a hard time mustering that energy to make it happen. That happens when your inspiration tank is low, when it’s drained you feel worthless and you feel like you can’t show up for your clients. You’re not there for your family, you’re not showing up for your spouse, and you certainly aren’t showing up on social media, and your marketing efforts are lacking. I feel like this at times too and it’s overwhelming and all consuming. A lot of inspiration comes from reading a book, listening to podcasts, or education, and a lot of people get in the mindset of yes, I would do it if I had the time to. You have to make the time. The 28-hour day that we’re all praying for isn’t someday going to land on our laps. It’s not coming. The universe is not going to give us a 28-hour day, and if it did, you’d fill up those extra four hours with minutia. We have 24 hours in a day and you get to choose how you spend those hours, and those who are successful spend them very wisely. I want to teach you how I have broken my business down into seasons so that there are times in my life where I can squeeze in that inspiration and how it transforms the rest of my year.

I have four seasons that I have created in my business. Seasons don’t mean that quarterly I am doing something new in my business. Sometimes a season will last a week. Sometimes a season will be a couple of days, once I explain the seasons it will make more sense to you. The four seasons I will share with you are known as the inspire, create, execute, and reflect seasons.

Inspire Season

When I am in an inspire season, I can spend several weeks inspiring. When I feel like I am drained, tapped out, and like I have nothing left to give it’s difficult for me to come up with new content, because it’s not that I don’t have great ideas, it’s just I am tapped out. I feel like I don’t have anything more to share. If you feel like you want to post on social media, but you don’t even know what to say right now, or you want to do a YouTube video, but you don’t even know what you would share, or you want to do exciting marketing for the salon, but you don’t even know what that would be like, if your mind draws a blank at stuff like that--You need to get inspired because once you get back to the inspiration season your mind will be overflowing with ideas. I try to get back to inspiration as long as I can and I can spend several weeks just focusing on inspiration.

Let me share with you what the inspiration season means for me. When I am in the inspiration season, I read a lot, I do a lot of research. Research can be online research or it could be in the form of coaching calls with my peers or mentors. I spend time listening to podcasts and I fill notebooks with ideas, strategies and aha moments. I take long walks with my dog, or go on runs with him while listening to music because it helps me to get a clear head and come up with brilliant ideas. Sometimes when I try to sit and just think of an idea it’s too much pressure, but when I am out enjoying life that’s when the best ideas come. When my mind is open like this, I am soaking up the knowledge and not creating anything new. When I am in the inspire season, I am not creating new podcasts, or writing blog posts or anything like that. I am not creating any new content, but that doesn’t mean that I have stopped working. I am still taking coaching calls, I’m still in my Facebook groups every day, I am still updating course content as I need to, I’m answering emails and supporting my team while doing all my regular work stuff. So, for you, you would still do all your clients, you would still order your color, your business still goes on, but in the other hours of life you’re just soaking up inspiration and knowledge.

Create Season

The create season happens when you have closed down the inspiration season for a minute. This is the season where I review everything that has come up. I look back through the notebooks, and I sort through which ideas I should start with and I make more detailed notes on how I can turn these inspired ideas into a killer plan. What can I do to make this happen? Then I start creating a plan for how I can transform my business. One of the best areas I can show for where I have done this is my Instagram page. If you scroll all the way to the beginning of my Instagram posts and see where I started to where I have come to. I got inspired over how I wanted to transform my account and put that into action. Your create season can be anything you want it to be. Look at it as a space for creativity of what could possibly be in your business. If you did the Inspire stage properly you should have an arsenal of ideas for what you can do. Remember all of this takes place while you are still doing the normal day-to-day of your business.

Execute Season

In this season I start executing my plan. I encourage you not to skip steps. Take a breather, think about what you have learned, create a plan around it and then execute. You will be amazed at how less overwhelmed you are and how much easier things flow when you actually have a plan in place. Create a plan, have a vision for what you are doing and then you execute. It is in this third season when you start cranking out the work

Reflect Season

In this season I will go back and look at the work I put out whether it be my Instagram posts, my Facebook, my blog, or my podcasts episodes. I will take a look at everything and analyze it. You are going to ask yourself how you feel about it and what you think can be improved. You have to make note of everything you want to change, because when you go back to your inspire season you can start fixing some of those things and making them right. Look back at your clientele the last few months and what your retention percentages look like. How many people did you send thank you notes to? How many times did you talk about referrals? What monthly promotions did you put into place in your business? You really need to do an assessment of your business and what you’ve done and the areas you’re proud of and think about what you want to do more of and improve on.

I know a lot of you are thinking if you had the time to do all of this my business would be booming. That you wish you had the free time to make it happen. Like I mentioned earlier, that 28-hour day is never happening, and those who choose to be successful carve out the time to do this. You will never grow your business until you stop working in it and start working on it. Doing the things beyond the cuts and color, doing the things beyond the inventory, doing the things that actually grow your business. Gone are the days when you could just show up, do good hair, and grow a clientele. Those days died and they’re not coming back. It has become all the other things that we do that maintain and grow our business.

So, depending on the time you are reading this content, I may have just had my Hair Stylist Boot Camp, it may be opening in a few months, or it may be around the corner in just a few weeks. I challenge you that the next time it comes around you carve out the time to join me and thousands of other stylists and together we will light your fire, and get the ideas needed to recharge your business. You can check out my Boot Camp at brittseva.com/bootcamp, please remember that even if there is not a Boot Camp happening right now there will be future one’s for you to join me!

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 19. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

Links Mentioned:

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Instagram

Follow me on YouTube

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

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

To listen to past episodes of The Thriving Stylist Podcast click here now.

B. SevaComment
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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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