Tips for Setting Up Style/Makeup Business
I sometimes receive emails from newly-qualified stylists and make-up artists who are looking for some advice / tales from my own experience on setting up business. I remember when I started out in 2009 I received great help and advice from family, friends and professionals, so I’m happy to ‘pay it forward’ now.
Here are my top 10 tips for anyone thinking of setting up their own business. Some are specific to style/make-up but most are generic. All of these are based on my hindsight, experience, successes and indeed mistakes!
1. Your business should match your lifestyle
What hours/days are you willing to work? Do you want to be self-employed or would you prefer to work with an established company? (Talk to your accountant about the pros, cons and costs.) How much money do you want to to make? How far are you willing to travel? How much equipment do you want to use / carry around with you? Have you got suitable transport facilities for your equipment? All of these factors have a huge bearing on your business model.
2. Identify a target market
What aspects of your profession are you strongest at and enjoy the most? Once you have identified these, you need to take the above lifestyle factors into consideration. Eventually you will identify a niche market that you’re happy with. Don’t branch into areas that you are not confident in as you won’t enjoy your work. Focus your marketing strategies on attracting your chosen market.
3. Build your business on a shoestring
You do not need fancy stationary, flashy website, high-tech equipment etc. You only need the basics starting out. You can find plenty of free logo designers and free website templates on-line. The only stationary required are business cards. If you do want to invest in branding, wait 6 months at least so as you can see how your business is developing. As for make-up and styling equipment – start off with the essentials and build up your kit slowly over time.
4. Be careful of advertising
Advertising is very expensive and in my experience, it is often very costly. I find that word of mouth, editorials, public speaking engagements, stands at exhibitions / fashion shows etc. are more effective ways of spreading the message.
5. Integrity, honesty and passion
Be engaging, honest, and, most of all, be yourself, in all your business interactions. Treat everyone, especially clients, with utmost respect and dignity.
6. Balance the books carefully
Budget budget budget. Do a cost-benefit analysis before any purchase/investment. Record every appointment and financial transaction methodically and make sure that you file your paperwork carefully (this makes life a lot easier when you’re filing your Revenue returns).
7. Ask for advice
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get a good accountant first of all. Then consider talking to trusted friends and colleagues, other industry professionals, joining a networking group, liaising with other business*people on-line etc. Talk to business support agencies such as your local Enterprise Board. You can never get enough help.
8. Ignore negativity
There’s no doubt that the business environment is challenging at the moment, but I find that negative ‘Recession’ talk is not only draining, it takes your eye of your business and the opportunities available to you. Ignore negative talk and keep your eye on the prize.
9. Don’t be afraid of failure
If you find that something isn’t working, then change it. Always draw the positives out of every experience and learn from your mistakes so that they don’t happen again. Failure to try and failure to learn from mistakes are the only true failures.
10. Work smarter, not harder
Write a business plan (follow it and amend it as necessary). Manage your time very carefully. Learn to prioritise. Ensure you have a healthy work-life balance and most of all, enjoy the ride!
I hope this information helps. If you have any queries don’t hesitate to get in touch.