business 102

In the almost 19 years I have been working in hair and make up so much has changed, social media and mobile phones have become an essential tool sitting next our brushes in terms of importance.  

However it does make me think of things I wish I have known when I started out.  

1: this is not a glamorous job.  It doesn't matter if your a bridal artist or a film and TV make up designer.  We are not in a glamorous position, leave that notion at the door.  When your working you are up early, there is cleaning and packing to be done. dealing with tired, stressed or coffee hyped (sometimes alcohol too) adults to deal with.  You are there early setting up, your tired but you have to be the calm in a sea of chaos.  

2: We do not dictate the hours, the look or the outcome.  We are service providers and need to remember that.  If the brief changes at the last minute you need to be prepared.  I am not saying carry a HUGE make up case or a suitcase full of gear just in case, but be ready to meet change head on without worry.  I have done shows where the look for the dancers has changed each performance and I had to smile and get it done with what I had available.  

3: The client is not your friend.  No matter how big the job, no matter who the client is, you need to remember that these people are paying you.  I have dealt with celebrities and my policy is simple. Treat them with respect, a laugh and a joke is OK but know your boundaries.  If they are repeat customers, fantastic, BUT do not let this go to your head and show up late, give attitude, cause there is always another artist at the back of you willing to work.  Provide the service and do your job remembering that tomorrow is another day and it can be a cold one if you aint working cause you were late or snippy.  Your running a business treat it like one.  

4: Discounts and freebies are not your right.  You are not entitled to a damn thing in this life or this business.  Its usually courtesy that gets you sent items that you can have in your kit and companies that offer pro discount can change their policy anytime.  So remember that.  

5: Other artists are not competition.  I cannot stress this enough, bad mouthing is not smart.  When the person your attacking finds out, and the industry (hell the world) is small you will be in big trouble. Blocking them on social media makes no difference.  They will find out and its you ultimately that suffer because if you get a rep for being gossipy and nasty, when your target isn't then you will be on the black list fast. 

6: Earning your craft is a good thing.  No certificate or diploma can replace experience.  Just because you have that bit of paper it doesn't mean you are ready to be in charge.  Think of it as learning to drive a car, when your learning and believe me going out into this business is a learning curve, in the car you have an instructor to support you, Who will step on the brake etc.  When your out on your own and you make a mistake, its your responsibility and time is money, so if you and your team are not cohesive for any reason it will show.  

7: Yes your skills are transferable BUT be realistic Fake it till you make it only gets you so far.  Be realistic in your expectations, going from bridal and fashion to film and TV requires a new set of skills and is a different discipline.  You can't leave at 2 to pick up the kids or run to the bank, you need to be know what your getting into and plan for that.  Assisting and taking extra courses will be a major plus for when you move in a new direction. 

8: A website is not a frivolous expense.  Its a Huge part of your marketing and a showcase of your work.  If you don't have a portfolio then you need to build one up and that will take time.  This is when I advise talking to a senior artist or assisting to help build, test shoot and work with student films.  I find it amazing that with so much out there happening and colleges pushing you to build books over the years that you cannot show a single image portfolio worthy.  if you have diploma that took three years to attain and cannot show a website or portfolio, a CV with a few indie credits then there is something wrong and you maybe need to address that before you hang up a shingle and call yourself a business.  

I think for now I will leave this as it stands and let you all mull this over.  Hopefully it will help you.