What’s up people and welcome back to the Hair In Motion Blog.
Today, I want to delve into something close to my heart and my new reality of being freelance. Taking the plunge and going it alone. Your rules, your time, your vision – the beauty of why after 10 years in the industry I decided this was the life for me.
Let us first begin by honoring the importance of being employed by a company. Being employed by your company, (especially in the early days) is exactly where you need to be. Being under the guidance of those whose wisdom you require, becoming apart of a team, and experiencing all walks of life the established companies attract is how you are going to become the freelancer you wish to. There is no missing this journey and so there shouldn’t be. My days working under companies and bosses were those that molded me to become the success I am today. I owe many of my accolades and wisdom to those doors companies opened for me. You will know when this chapter of your career is beginning to come to a natural end when you begin to feel the nudges. The nudges that result in you being more drawn to those living their freelance journey on Instagram, or the nudge that opens your awareness up to what life outside shift work may look like, or even the prospect of diving into another sector of the industry without asking for permission from your manager. These are just a few of the little signs you can expect if you are destined for a life and career on your terms.
WHAT IS A FREELANCE HAIRDRESSER?
A freelance hairdresser Is a creative who solely works for themselves or multiple companies at one time. A freelancer can be a mobile hairdresser or barber, part of the hair department on TV and Film, a session stylist, an educator, or even a personal hairdresser or groomer to celebrities and all the while continuing to run a clientele as they please. A freelancer has the freedom of choosing the parts of hairdressing they desire on the days they desire and at the price they see fit for their talents. Sounds pretty good right? Although the positives are there for the taking when it comes to the creative juices of hair lets not forget what else the freelancer must accomplish on the path to success. Freelancers are accountants, social media managers, photographers, admin assistants, PR, marketing, managers AND assistants all at the same time. You see, its all well and good having all these new options but really, when you go this industry alone the time you are actually doing hair (in the beginning anyway) cuts down to about 50% from the 80% (ish) when just turning up to your salon every day.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER BEFORE GOING FREELANCE?
So now we’ve touched upon when you might go freelance and what the job description entails lets now breakdown what to consider before you ask for your P45.
- YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE
You are responsible for well, EVERYTHING. You go from being responsible for just your clientele and the cleanliness of your section in the salon to being the sole carer of your career and whether or not that career is a success. You can expect to hold yourself accountable for the progression you make, the contacts your make, the clients you attract, your social media following, sick days, and of course – your damn taxes.
- WHAT WILL THE TRANSITION BE LIKE?
Considering your transition from employed to freelance is one you must consider before you make the move. How will you make ends meet after your last paycheck? Do you have savings that can cushion you? Have you begun to make contacts with potential jobs or brands you want to work with? Where will you work from if you are continuing to do clients? Some points to consider but please don’t let this “life” stuff get in your way if this is your soul’s desire! I for one had a BABY on the way when I went from my comfortable high-level position in a world-renowned company. I took a studio outside my means and trusted in myself that this was the right path. You will know what is right for you.
- YOUR JOB ROLE WILL CHANGE
Your job role will change guys like I mentioned earlier you are about to become way more than the hairdresser or barber you are accustomed to. Gear up to step out of your comfort zone and get ready for some cold hard self-promotion. You are your brand and the sign above the door, if there is no you there are no clients. You will need to be on social media more so than you may have been while employed to grow awareness of your brand and connect with future clients. You will (ideally) now also be in charge of creating and running a website, managing your taxes, budgeting for quieter periods, and uber organised for the busy periods. The flow of your business and relationships with clients will depend on the integrity you give to them – this means being on your admin! Get used to conversing over email days, weeks, or even months before you get to pick your comb up.
“THE 30 DAY” RULE
Freelancing, get a job the day before – won’t get paid for said job for up to a month later. When you begin to depend on invoices as wages you need to be ready for this 30-day rule. Clients are legally allowed to not pay you for your work for up to a 30 day time period and even then it can become more. You will need to budget for this in the beginning when you are living job to job. You will also need to become familiar with your rights if this timeframe is breached.
The Benefits Of Going Freelance
- Flexibility Throughout The Industry
The possibilities when becoming freelance open you up to skills you never knew you had. You may begin by entering the fashion and session industry to then meet someone who normally works on TV, they asks if you’re free to work and then all of a sudden your working TV or commercial jobs and absolutely thriving. Similarly, you continue to run a column out of your chosen location, and with all this extra time (because you set your pace, remember) you begin to take the most beautiful pictures of your work and you get more and more into building and creating a portfolio you never imagine you would have. You can also begin to take more courses, spending more time on your craft to eventually becoming the one doing the educating. Who knows!?
- Working Hours On Your Terms
Choosing when you work and having a newfound freedom has got to be my favourite part of becoming freelance. I find myself having a jam-packed 3 or 4 days to then just being home with my family for the rest of the week. Of course guys, there’s hard work in the beginning, there is no avoiding that – you will most likely take whatever job comes your way and when you aren’t doing that you will be busy networking and building your brand but when you enter this life for the long game, you quickly realise that this is where the rewards lie. Life is there to be enjoyed, work smart not hard.
- Become The Energy You Want To Attract
Working on your terms means you can set the tone and the energy. Whether you favor a relaxed approach to your work or you thrive on the corporate feel and the utmost professionalism -DO YOU. You have the choice to operate how best suits your work and the brands and clients you want to attract. Living your most authentic self will be the reason you become successful. No one wants to get up every day to work with clients or brands that do not align with their ethics or personality. Niche down on who you are, what you are here to do, and run with that.
- Become Limitless
No more waiting for the approval of your bosses or co-workers. You decide what you want to do when you want to do it and how you want to do it. You have the choice every day to fill whatever creative void you have that day and if somedays there’s nothing, well that’s okay too! You set the tone. Like we said earlier – you are the sign above your door, without you, there is no business, no clients. So without letting that overwhelm you, Embrace that!! You are your vision now and that is what makes you limitless.
- You Find Yourself
No, no going freelance does not come with a trip to South-East Asia to find yourself. (Although it could do if we really got into it – another time maybe) by finding yourself I mean you have the time to understand who you are as a stylist and even a person, you actually have to in order to succeed! Away from the rules and lifestyle of working in a salon and all the comes with that you finally have time to play, explore and push yourself to places you would have never had you stayed comfortable where you are. Get comfortable becoming uncomfortable my friends as this is where the magic is going to happen. You will learn how you conduct yourself in business, how disciplined you are even how much you actually want this!! This is your time to just figure it out.
- You Meet Amazing People
We all love the salon banter but man there’s a world of creatives out there ready to light you up and open new doors for you. Just in London alone, there are amazing, vibrant freelancer spaces for hairdressers to create from whether that be clients or education. Mi Casa Su Casa, the choice is yours just pick your days and they can accommodate. Working all over the country and world opens you to meet the most amazing people both on a professional and personal level. Your work is a representation of your inspiration and if you never allow yourself the experiences or people in life who influence that inspiration then well, you gonna get bored!
Alright people I expect that is enough food for thought for one post. I hope I have shed some light on this fast-growing reality of many of us in this industry. If you ask me I’m excited! I strongly believe post covid times are going to be truly exciting for hairdressing on a creative level. Let us watch this space.
Tell me – Are you freelance? Or perhaps you are in that nudging stage you waiting for the signs to go for it.. Or perhaps you are loyal to your company to the end and you’re thriving there. Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Peace out till next time