You’ve forked over the thousands upon thousands of dollars on a beauty school education and at the makeup counter, and you’re competing with thousands of other makeup artists. The good news is that it’s easy to set yourself apart from the crowd by excelling in the two areas of the professional makeup artist industry that many others neglect: networking and business prowess.
Here’s your guide to getting ahead and standing out from the crowd so you can paint faces and pay your bills.
Location, Location, Location
Let’s start with some cold, hard numbers. Ten percent of all makeup artists in the U.S. make around $115,000 a year, or around $55 per hour, according to Sokanu. Twenty-five percent make almost $89,000 per year, and 50 percent make around $44,000 per year. The best places to work in the makeup industry are, not surprisingly, New York and California, where makeup artists earn an average of around $40 per hour.
Don’t start packing your bags for the big city just yet. The key to building a successful career as a self-employed makeup artist is to start small, start smart and start at home. Your hometown is where people know you and are invested in your success. It’s where you have connections, family, old classmates and co-workers — all people who can help you get referrals and build an impressive clientele.
Business Is as Business Does
Now that you’ve done a few dozen weddings and proms, it’s time to quit your day job and go full time into the business, right? While this seems like a great idea, many entrepreneurial experts advise against quitting your day job for a while.
Vera Wang didn’t become a designer until she was 40 years old. Before that she was a journalist. Julia Child was in marketing until she wrote her first cookbook at the age of 50. But the most interesting part is that her career didn’t take off for another 11 years after that.
What you need to remember is that overnight success stories only happen overnight to people looking from the outside in. True success takes time and patience. So get cracking on what you can, when you can. Study up on how to build your online presence with social media, and keep customers updated on your rates and availability. Reach out to mentors in your town and online, and ask if you can help them in any way or if they have any advice for you. You could even start your own small business to increase network and marketing skills. Volunteer at a local fashion show to help out for free. Your contacts and skill set will thank you.
Make Customers Feel Special
No matter how many clients you have or how many Instagram followers you have, it’s important to build and maintain relationships with each one of your clients. Respond to every single text message, Facebook comment and email. Focus on learning some of the technology skills Entrepreneur suggests. Many creative professionals shy away from technology and have poor communication skills, so make it something you shine at and you’ll continue to set yourself apart and gain recognition for your art.