Picture, for a moment, one independent hairstylist you’d like to emulate: someone who’s earned the respect of their peers, an army of loyal customers, and a fat bank account—all while staying true to themselves and refusing to sacrifice family time, peace of mind, or self-care. Someone who makes you think, “I’d be happy with half of their success.”
Thankfully, success in our industry doesn’t hinge on luck, trade secrets, or even uncommon talent. Rather, the steps that made your role models successful are repeatable and within your reach, if you’re willing to put in the work.
With that in mind, we recently sat down and devoured the September issue of Stylist. What better way to glean success tips than from pros who’ve been where you are, and have taken their business to where you want to take yours?
Below is a roundup of juicy, tried-and-true tips we picked up along the Stylist pages. We’ve focused on the business side of hairstyling: attracting and retaining clients, plus those admin duties that tend to suck up so much time if you don’t have good tools and processes in place.
We then reduced those tips to items that are often misunderstood or not common practice, and summed them up in bullet form so you’re not overwhelmed by our brain dump.
Ready? Here we go:
Managing Your Digital Reputation
- Your digital “face” deserves just as much daily care and maintenance as your physical appearance: It’s all part of your personal brand, with tremendous impact on your business.
- Like getting dressed every morning, take a moment to post daily on your social media accounts. “It takes two seconds; your business should have something positive to say every day.”
- Focus on providing value: Post content that makes your followers smile, teaches them something new, inspires, or compels them to share, comment, or book an appointment.
- Check your accounts and inboxes throughout the day, just as you’d check your hair and makeup in the station mirrors. “It doesn’t have to take more than a second but it can save your image.”
- Consider setting up an automatic response when someone emails you. At the very least, be prompt in returning emails and messages.
- Like making friends at a party, interact with other people on social media. Make comments, ask questions, compliment and chat up prospects, industry peers, and influential bloggers to increase your own influence and digital footprint.
Stepping Up Your Online Referral Game
- The easiest way to sell yourself to new clients is to get existing clients to do it for you by way of referrals.
- Referral clients are high-value because there’s built-in trust from the very first contact, and they aren’t just chasing a discount or coupon (which means they’re likely to return if you do a good job).
- Decide what type of clients you want to attract. Then hop on the social media platform(s) where they hang out most often.
- Set up your profile with marketing in mind. Post content that appeals to your ideal client—particularly pictures of the type of work you want to do more often.
- Post and tag clients with their permission. (Before-and-after client pictures work like a charm.)
- Use hashtags! Search relevant hashtags that are popular with your audience (a.k.a. #balayage, #haircolor, or #blonde) and leverage your location (a.k.a. #OhioHair).
- Engage! Like and comment on other profiles, as we covered above.
Online Booking: Wooing Clients With Instant Gratification
- When clients decide they need a touch-up or makeover, they don’t want to spend a day (or several) playing phone tag or exchanging messages trying to nail a date & time. Online booking helps you lock in the appointment when clients are most motivated, and reduces frustration for both of you.
- Make a winning impression from the very first contact—especially with clients who seek instant gratification and hate to make phone calls (that’s just about everyone these days).
- Great way to ensure cancellation policies are enforced, to collect deposits or no-show fees.
- Ability to capture and easily view client history and preferences.
- Ability to send automated reminders via text/email.
- Ability to keep in touch between appointments and send customized promos and messages.
- Ability to integrate with social media so you can post promos straight to your social media accounts and enable easy booking.
- …all on autopilot, without you having to babysit appointment requests, cancellations, or client communications between appointments.
Arming Yourself With The Right Technology
- The goal: Save yourself considerable time and effort, making your business more enjoyable and easier to run.
- Seek software or apps that are built specifically for beauty professionals—not repurposed from other industries, or by companies that don’t understand your needs as a hairstylist.
- Jump on demos and free trials to test-drive features before committing.
- Consider how quickly you can access key business and client information: Is data accessible from any web-enabled device whenever you need it? What if your phone or tablet dies?
- Are processes smooth and easy, requiring just a few clicks?
- Are updates, patches, and data backup included? Or do you have to pay for them separately?
- Does it enable you to automate a handful of business functions so it can truly save you time?
Making Your Business Work For You, Just As Much As Your Clients
- Organize your business around the life you want to live—not your life around your business.
- Don’t work with vampires—unsupportive peers, soul-sucking bosses, or clients who leave you drained, discouraged and frustrated. As an independent hairstylist, you get to decide how, when, and whom you work with. Get rid of energy-suckers who aren’t worth your time and effort.
- Let your space reflect your vision. Want Kardashian-level clients? Then your workspace shouldn’t look like a Honey Boo Boo set.
- Keep clients returning again and again by making each interaction better than the last.
- Allow to clients to book online and pay with credit cards. Don’t make them jump through unnecessary hoops to do business with you, or require them to pay in a way that’s inconvenient (and often impossible) for them. (Bonus: Easier upsells and bigger tips.)
- Automate all you can. Incentives, reminders, marketing, bookkeeping, appointment-setting, inventory management, and more are all things you could (and should) put on autopilot. You get more peace of mind, while clients get more value.
Want more? Dive deeper into any of the areas covered above by accessing the full publication right here. Be sure to check out our feature on pages 26–27 for more tips on growing a high-value, high-profit hairstyling business.
-Easy for you, Easy to love-