Set yourself clear SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable and time bound. So think about where you want your business to be and to take you in say 6 months, a year, 2 years and 5 years. Be realistic and take baby steps. Nothing is more demotivating than setting a goal impossible to achieve. Small, measurable goals are what you need so that with every milestone achieved, whether that is your first regular client, first client referral, tenth client booked etc. you have positive steps towards those bigger, long term goals.
During these unpredented times, one way of easing worries is to look to the future and think of ways to use this time in lockdown productively to give yourself exciting new opportunities. So many have been soul searching while our busy days quieten and there has never been a better time to consider paving the way for a more flexible career, where you call the shots. Our blog this week focuses on those vital must dos when planning to start your own beauty business…
Have a business plan
You also need to do the maths and have a fixed budget for starting your own business to cover the cost of insurance, tools and products, business cards / price lists, transport costs such as if you need a bigger car, interest on any business related loans, rent and bills if having a salon space etc. and then also if this is going to be your only source of income, work out how much you need to earn each day/week so you can keep track of your income versus outgoings. Initially you may need to have a buffer and expect it may take a month or more to start breaking even and into profit as you build up your client base.
Have a brand
Think about your branding. What is your company name and logo? Is it obvious what you do from that to stand you apart from others? Is it catchy and memorable? If you’ll be using it online as part a website address, it needs to be easy to spell and not similar to existing company names or website addresses. Think about how you will present yourself – will you wear a beauty tunic and if so, will this have your logo on it?
Get your brand online as soon as possible so a basic website will do to start. Platforms such as wix.com offer free or low cost hosted websites, ideal for web beginners. Social media is also vital – set up a Facebook and Instagram profile for your business so you can showcase what you do, start building a following and start reaching out to your existing contacts to provide them an easy way to share what you do with their contacts too.
Have realistic expectations
If you are working your beauty business alongside another job, be realistic as to how much time you can give to the business and let it build gradually rather than trying to do too much, too soon and burning yourself out. You don’t want to lose love for what you do so make sure you still take time for yourself. If you’re going to go full time on your business, be realistic about how long it may take to build a large enough, regular client base to provide you with a solid monthly income. Don’t be disheartened if it takes some months to build up, just keep active in promoting what you do locally and with your contacts. Encourage clients to recommend you through word of mouth and speak with other related local businesses such as hairdressers, florists etc. to help build up clients and contacts.
If things are slower than hoped, stay proactive and think about what you could do to boost business such as a launch event hosted in a local hair salon or coffee store where you do mini treatments, pampering evening in connection with a local charity or school, advertising in local press, handing out price lists at the school drop off etc. And don’t underestimate the importance of social media and your website to help business find you. Plan marketing strategy so promotions you run throughout the year, retail products you could sell to boost sales, treatment packages for wedding or holiday season etc. The key is stay busy but stay positive. Most beauty businesses take around 6-9 months to become well established but once you are, your earning potential is uncapped so it’s definitely worth investing the time and effort.
Cover the legalities
Make sure you have beauty insurance in place and that it ideally covers your beauty kit. Check your car insurance policy will cover you for business related mileage and also any car contents in the event of damage or loss/theft. Make sure you are working safely and hygienically at all times. Think about waste disposal and if you need to apply for yellow bins or commercial waste collection.
If you are working from a room in your home, check your home insurance and mortgage / rental agreement permits this. If you are converting part of your home into permanent salon premises, you may wish to consult with your local council regarding planning restrictions, change of use and if business rates would be applicable. When inviting clients into your home, check if you need insurance in the event of accident/injury unrelated to treatments. You may also wish to take a first aid course and have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher or blanket on site for emergencies.
If you are renting a room in a salon or even your own premises, you may need to consider any additional insurance for the business premises such as employee or third party insurance to protect visitors and clients at your premises in the event of an accident/injury. If employing other therapists, take legal advice in regards to contracts and qualifications / insurance they must hold. Some local authorities require special treatments licensing in some areas for salons so this must be checked out before committing to premises. If you are working alongside another job, check your employment contract to make sure there are no clauses against this.
Finally don’t forget your safety. Make sure if you are working mobile that someone knows where you are at all times and check in with someone when arriving and leaving a client’s home having given an indication of how long you will be there so that you always remain safe. Finally don’t forget to register with HMRC for tax purposes if working self-employed. You will usually need to submit an annual self assessment to declare your earnings and to correctly pay tax and NI contributions so make sure you register in a timely manner online and keep adequate records of your income and outgoings in relation to your business.
There is a lot to consider when running your own business but with careful planning, you can ensure you are always one step ahead with no surprises. Having written down goals that you can regularly review against is great for staying on track with progress and also helping stay motivated. Don’t forget it is important to keep learning as a beauty therapist so that you can stay ahead of the competition and offer something new to delight your regular clientele. There are huge rewards to running your own business including flexibility to work around your children or other dependents, pride of owning your own business, opportunity to have uncapped earnings and the chance to earn doing something you are truly passionate about.