Hustling to pay the bills is an everyday battle for many freelance makeup artists. If you want to work full time in a freelance role, there are things you can do to make sure you can cover your living costs. While you take the time to build up your name, you may not have regular work. My top tips for surviving these difficult years for your business:
Get a website. Websites are easy to come by these days. You can study Search Engine Optimisation for free through Google and build yourself a website that will show up on the keywords you think your customers will be searching. Wordpress and Wix are a few free options. I recommend getting a website created by a designer if you can afford it. You will need high quality imagery for your website and portfolio to stand out.
Stop ripping yourself off. This is one of the hardest things to learn as a freelancer. At first you are so excited to get clients that you are willing to work for less just to secure the jobs. This will not be great for you in the long run. People are not going to be happy if you suddenly charge them the full rate after discounted rates. It is important to make sure you are always being paid what you are worth. Keep in mind that your services are tax deductions for businesses that hire you. If you are offering a discount or even working on a TFP shoot you need to consider whether you will get anything out of it that is worthwhile for your business or personal goals. If you will get amazing images that you can use on your website and social media, it may be worth doing a TFP shoot where no-one is paid. If the photographer does not edit skin well, the images chosen are not flattering, then there is no point. Set your fees and stick to them.
Diversify your income. There are lots of things that makeup artists can do to makeup money. Think outside the box. Create your own classes, sell products, get a part time job in a makeup shop, offer niche services that no-one else in your area does. Think of ways that the skills you have can be used, I personally use my makeup skills to restore dolls for people.
Promote yourself on social media. Many clients are using Facebook and Instagram to find artists in their area. If you do not have a present on these platforms you may be missing out on clients that don’t know you exist. Use high quality imagery to promote yourself and your business so you will stand out. You can work with other creatives in a TFP arrangement to create photos for your social media and website.
Sell products and extra services. Stocking makeup and products is a great way to make extra income for your business. You can make sure your clients will be able to work with them correctly and choose what is right for them. Adding extras onto services such as deluxe lashes, mini facials, brow shaping is another great way to make extra money.
Take a non-refundable booking retainer to secure bookings. Taking a non-refundable retainer means that if a client cancels at the last minute, you will still get paid. I prefer to refer to this as a retainer as opposed to a deposit because deposit implies that it is a part of the full fee for the appointment. A retainer, retains your clients booking. The money can go towards their booking fee but you should ensure that you are covered incase they cancel. I have had a client cancel when I was just about to knock on their door, having turned down other jobs. In this case I kept the retainer that they had agreed to when they created the booking. Make sure this is included in your contract or terms and conditions.