Most of us are not pulled to this industry for the money, although I guarantee you there is more potential for earning a great living than you might think.
Clients often ask us, “How are you?” And many of us causally reply, “I’m great! What are we doing with your hair today?” But what if we took a moment to really sit down and smell the proverbial roses? In that moment, we may realize that being an independent stylist adds so many more facets to our career than when we were fresh out of beauty school. And these additional facets may cause burnout.
So how do we go from autopilot—and potential burnout—to cultivating our business? Let’s use the rose garden analogy to discover how to cultivate a beautiful, prolific business once again.
WEATHER THE STORM
Maybe your roses aren’t blooming right now. You had a beautiful garden with vibrant colors (and a smell that will knock your socks off), but just as you were about to settle in and enjoy the fruits of your labor, a threatening storm rolled in. At first, the rain tore at your roses, destroying their beauty. Over time the torrential downpour created black spots and fungus, and the weeds started taking over. Now your roses ar in bad shape, and you don’t know how to save them.
As an independent stylist, the analogy of the rose garden can easily be compared to your feelings about your business. You may feel defeated by the additional stressors that come with owning a business: fear, anxiety, depression, conformity, lack of interest, COVID-19, and the list goes on. Oftentimes, this stress can wear on your creativity and put you under a dark cloud, which makes it hard to remember the thriving business you had before the storm rolled in. So how do you get the beauty back?
ASSESS THE DAMAGE
In order to start repairing your business—and your mindset—you need to first reflect on the beginning of your career. Who were you then? What were your dreams? Where did things go wrong?
Most likely, you weren’t handed a full clientele when you graduated, and just as in planting a garden, you began with a seed of an idea. You put in the hard work to make your business grow, but now, as you look around, all you see is destruction; all you feel is despair. The beauty is gone.
To get the beauty back, dive into your funk. Find out what is causing your stress and burnout. Now, get rid of it. One easy fix may be your environment. Is your salon suite inviting? If not, change it. Switch up your salon décor and change the overall vibe. There is a reason so many salons have a salt lamp and diffusers piping daily—because they help relieve stress. If you rent a booth, ground yourself to recreate your creative place. Maybe add a black tourmaline stone to your space or carry a small stone in your pocket. Changing things up just a bit will aid in bringing back the joy.
PRUNE THE DAMAGE
Just like gardening, it’s imperative to prune away damage to revitalize business growth. To help you determine where your business may need pruning, play the best- and worst- case scenario game. For example, when deciding whether I should get liability insurance for my salon, the best-case scenario is that I am protected if there is an issue where I am liable at the salon; my assets are better protected; and, if there is a fire, all of my tools and products are covered. On the other hand, the worst-case scenario is that liability insurance is a yearly expense. (In this case, liability insurance is a no-brainer; there are definitely more advantages to paying a small annual fee than leaving yourself open to risk.) Writing out best- and worst-case scenarios will help give you direction. Focusing on positive actions you can take to restore beauty to your business will give you a fresh outlook.
REIMAGINE YOUR GARDEN
How will you make your business grow like the beautiful rose garden we used as our analogy? First, you need to be clear on what you want your business to look like.
• Decide where you want to be in five years. Most of
us are not pulled to this industry for the money,
although I guarantee you there is more potential
for earning a great living than you might think.
• Consider your favorite (and least favorite) aspects of
owning your own business. Is it possible to delegate your
least favorite tasks? Or can you rethink them to add more
joy to your day?
• Consider what you need to feed your creative side. What
inspires you? What drives you toward success?
I challenge you to regrow your business as if it were a garden. In order to weather the storm (and avoid burnout), remove your rose-colored glasses, and instead provide a shelter for the storm. Just like a garden, your business needs protection, pruning, and continuous attention to detail in order to blossom.
AHP Indie Stylist magazine
AHP Indie Stylist is AHP's bimonthly publication, created to speak directly to you, the independent hair stylist and barber. In this issue:
► Empowerment through Creativity
Hair artist Shanna Anise empowers young people of color
► Luxe Highlights
A gray coverage upgrade
► A Call to Action
Advocate for regulation in our industry
► Take Time for the Three Rs
Give yourself and your business a kick start
Are you a licensed hairstylist or barber with something to share with other stylists? We would love to publish your expertise! Reach out to our editor firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.