How much time do you have? I could write multiple books about all of the mistakes I made when I first started out in this business. Some I learned the easy way, most I learned the hard way, some I’m still learning even today. The thing about the beauty industry, and most industries for that matter, is that you have to fail before you sail. The tough lessons on standing up for yourself, the color-mixing nightmares, you’ll experience it all—I sure af have! I’d love to tell you that if you listen to me, you’ll avoid all of those head-smacking mistakes entirely and rise to the top unscathed. That won’t happen. But I can tell you that the hurdles I’ve had to jump are the same ones you’ll have to jump, too. By sharing the mistakes I’ve made, and how I’ve overcome them, my hope is that our community bond strengthens and you have the tools to learn, grow, roll with the punches, and decide when it’s time to punch back (figuratively—don’t be going out punching people saying Jess told you to! Haha)!
Waiting Too Long to Raise My Prices
Honestly!!! I didn’t realize this was such a tough topic until I consulted with a few friends struggling wit, when and how to raise their prices. But as I looked back on my own career, I realized I went through the exact same thing! I had a few close clients that I gave discounted rates to for years. When I first started out, it wasn’t a problem because hey, I needed money—any money! As time went on, I knew it was time to end the discounts but one thing stopped me: fear. What if they get upset? What if I lose them as clients and friends? Oh my gosh, the things that fear holds us back from!! By the time I got over the fear and charged them what I charged everyone else, they didn’t even bat an eye! If you know it’s time to raise your prices , here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your loyal clients probably won’t even question it because they know your worth! But if they do, know you are making room for clients who will happily pay you what you are worth!
Your hesitation on how they will react is mainly all in your head. But if it isn’t you can always refer them to a junior stylist who would be happy to continue charging them the lower price. (This is how I’ve built my assistants’ clientele)
Evaluate your worth and do the math! How long does your service take you? What’s the industry rate? How does your expertise factor in? Factor in all the products you had to use!
Not Upselling on Services or Take-Home Retail
Hello!! The day I realized I was missing out on a good portion of income from upselling was a big one for me! Because you know damn well they are going to buy products from somewhere!! I’m not saying you need to become a car salesman overnight (please don’t), but you should be offering your clients take-home products and add-on services that will increase the longevity of your service, and their happiness! When upselling comes from a genuine place, yes, you make money, but you also strengthen your relationships with your clients.
And it’s a proven fact that when clients purchase products from you they are more than likely to come back to you! Ask your front desk for support in following up with the sale, or if you have an assistant let them finish the sale for you!! Even just adding a few extra products sold and add on's a week can pay for you to have your very own assistant if thats something you are working towards.
Not Having a Proper Consultation
Practice makes perfect...but you do need to practice! I definitely needed to! Consulting doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but my clientele didn’t expand nearly as much as it did once I landed my consultations. This is the very first step in solidifying your long-term client relationship. I learned that this wasn’t time for me to show off my skills or how much I knew (there’s time for that later!), but instead:
Listen! Listen to your client’s needs and expectations. If it’s the only thing you ever learn to do.. BE A GOOD LISTENER! Repeat back what they say to you.. make them show you pictures if you are unclear!
Don’t bash on their previous hairdresser. This is a big one! Whether you think you could’ve done better or not, don’t comment on the previous work. If anything, tell them what you can do to achieve the look they want.
Be Upfront. Don’t promise something you know you can’t do or you know won’t look good. Clients trust your opinion! Be realistic with them so everyone is on the same page. And definitely don’t be afraid to say NO to something you know will not work for them!
HELLO PRE BOOKING!! Let them know how many weeks until they will have to come back in to maintain the particular style you are doing! This is a MUST! Pre booking them before they leave is a massive game changer!! DO IT!
Happy business building!