This chapter goes hand in hand with what I was saying about working and making money. Yes, you have to work to make money. But do you work hard or do you work smart? I have been guilty of working hard – and still do – but have been figuring out ways to work smarter. Why be so stressed all the time? Shouldn’t you love what you do? (If you don’t enjoy and love what you do, perhaps you are reading the wrong book!)
I will be the first to admit I am not book smart. No, I am not lacking in intelligence, but I think my common sense is a far greater barometer as to how my intelligence meter moves its needle. I have been told by friends that I am one-of-a-kind. I appreciate that compliment, but in reality, we are all one-of-a-kind. You just have to know how to make your own light shine.
Let’s face it. As hair stylists, we are artists of another kind. We are creative and expressive. We speak who we are through what we do. However, we also have to have some sort of business sense or the financial end of our career could plummet. I do know that being an independent contractor – as most of you will be or already are – is not for everyone. You have to manage your own money and the state’s money. Plus, you are managing retail! That’s a tall order.
But when I refer to business sense, I am also speaking outside of products, numbers and bottom lines. I am referring to how you want to leave your mark in this world. You are essentially selling yourself and the products you believe in. For me, I am very people-oriented (as if you haven’t figured this out already!), and I truly care about others. I exude positivity. I love that. But don’t confuse that upbeat mindset with never having had a stumbling block. I have no shame in admitting that I went to therapy when I was in my 20s. I had several issues to sort through and talk about: losing family members, traveling a lot, separating from my husband at the time – and I had to get it all off my chest. Fortunately, I found a counselor that worked for me.
I can tell you this: if you ever feel the need to speak with someone professionally, do it. But if you are not comfortable with that person, then get out and fine another one. This is all about finding the balance (one of my favorite words!) that works for you.
When I educated others in this industry, it made it a point to tell people that it is so important to say what is on your mind. When you work with people, you see them so many times over the years. You get to know them. You really like them. Don’t be afraid to express what is on your mind. Just say, “I love your hair. I love your smile. Your make up looks great.” Whatever it is that is on your mind, let it flow from your lips. Just do it. Life is short. Make others feel good about themselves. There is so much power and magic in that. Fill the world with happiness. Let your passion flow. However, make sure that what you say is a warm and sincere compliment. (One caveat: in corporate America, I realize there is a certain line you don’t cross when it comes to giving compliments, as it can be confused with harassment. Fine lines, people! Fine lines!)
If you are in this industry and love it, there are so many avenues you can pursue: stylist; sales rep for a product line; director; or owner of a salon. No matter what appeals to you about this industry, you can still find a job tailored just for you.
And remember your attitude and confidence counts. Those are empowering. Talking to clients is a simple thing….to you…but to them it is HUGE! You are in a unique position to educate them. They are eager to learn new ways to do their hair. They look to you as a source of knowledge and inspiration. Don’t be afraid to share that with them. Show your clients different tools to use. Share your education so they can do their hair well without you in between visits. You may only have an hour or two at a time with them while they are in the chair, but over time, those hours add up to something pretty significant. You are making your mark as a stylist, working smarter every time! You are leaving your legacy this way, making your mark in the world. That is powerful!