Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v9.0)


This should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it isn’t. You need to invest in your education if you want to make it as a Freelance Makeup Artist. And I know you are saying “Well, duh Matt, I did…I went to the Awesome School of Makeup and got a certificate as an Awesome Makeup Artist, I could even make YOU look attractive. Ok, maybe not…but still, I’m an awesome makeup artist”. And for that I commend you, it is likely to be something that will help you through your career.

But the education that we are talking about today, is an education in business and marketing. Tens of thousands of makeup artists spend tens of thousands of dollars investing in an education that teaches them the ins and outs of makeup, but too many future (and current) artists neglect learning the fundamentals of business. Upon graduation, they are armed with every tool needed to be an excellent artist, but have little to no business skills. And the ripple effect of this is much larger than you would expect, and the waves it causes are detrimental to the industry as a whole.

Having a look on Craigslist as I write this post, here is what I see:

– Professional head shots 3 looks Pro makeup artist, pro photographer, professional film studio with several creative backdrops one LOW PRICE $300.
– I can come to you or you can come to me $35.00 special for first time clients.
– Prices are reasonable from $50+.

What I am seeing, is the degradation of perceived value of the industry as a whole. People willing to travel to a client for a $35 makeup doesn’t even cover the price of gas and products. How is one expected to make a living as a makeup artist, when other artists are willing to make far below minimum wage, in order to book a job? And soon enough, these low rates become the norm. You begin to find people or businesses who need the services of a makeup artist, offering small pay or TFP jobs, and dozens of artists clamoring to get them. The more discounts are given, and low rate jobs are accepted, the worse it is for everyone.

And the reason for this is simple – a general lack of business savvy.

Understanding how to conduct your business in a freelance setting is essential to success as a freelance makeup artist. Knowledge of tax laws, accounting, marketing, advertising, contracts, contract negotiation, etc. are fundamental to freelancing. But you do not need to spend another four years in school and get your bachelor’s degree, especially since you work in an industry where a degree is not important. I would suggest looking into certificate programs though. The University of Phoenix, for example, has a Business Essentials Certificate Program which covers many aspects of business knowlegde you will need, including the ones mentioned previously. There are literally hundreds of business certificate programs nationwide. There are also makeup industry leaders like Crystal Wright (www.crystalwrightlive.com) and Michael DeVellis (www.thepowdergroup.com) who regularly host freelance makeup business seminars. Totally…worth…it.

The net effect of an increased business savvy throughout the industry means one thing – higher paying jobs for all. Raising the perceived value of the industry to levels that it once was will allow true professional makeup artists to make a better living. The first step in raising the perceived value, is increasing the business savvy of professional artists. When individuals or businesses looking to hire a makeup artist realize that they are dealing with a businessperson first, and a makeup artist second, they will know that they are not going to get away with paying $100 plus a $50 kit fee for an 8 hour day.

Educate yourself. Let your inner business beast out. Learn the ins and outs of how to truly manage and grow your personal business, and reap the benefits of an increased perceived value of your industry.

Then…come spend all that extra money here, with me, at Frends Beauty!

Until next time!

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