Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v10.0)

Let’s get this straight…I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. No, this is more of a logical suggestion. And you are not a lawyer either. But if you are, then I guess you can just stop reading this and bring me some tacos and beer. Please. Please…

But for those of you who are not lawyers, you need to consult with one who practices commercial law to discuss the proper setup of your contract / services agreement. The issue at the center of many discussions between makeup artists is exactly how to charge a retainer or deposit, and how one can legally claim the rights to those funds once a client breaches the contract. The fact is, it is not always a black and white issue and if challenged in court, more often than not you will be on the losing end if your contracts are not rock solid.

Case law exists in Cluck v. Commission for Lawyer for Discipline that argues ‘[i]f the lawyer can substantiate that other employment will probably be lost by obligating himself to represent the client, then the retainer fee should be deemed earned at the moment it is received.’ If a fee is not paid to secure the lawyer’s availability and to compensate him for lost opportunities, then it is a prepayment for services and not a true retainer. ‘A fee is not earned simply because it is designated as non-refundable. If the (true) retainer is not excessive, it will be deemed earned at the time it is received, and may be deposited in the attorney’s account.’”  This is a positive precedent for you, even if what you read has you scratching your head. However, you need to be very careful with how you go about discussing these situations with your clients when they arise. In Serchen v. Diana Ornes Photography, LLC the court ruled against the photographer when they determined, through reading email correspondence, that it was in fact the photographer who was in breach of contract even though it was the client who initiated the discussion of getting out of the contract and getting a refund of all money. If you would like to read more into these two cases, visit TheLawTog, from where these are cited.

I have found many generic contracts floating around the internet for makeup artists to use, but I would suggest having your own created by your own personal attorney. Furthermore, if and when a client asks you to get out of a contract either verbally or in writing, consult your attorney immediately. Anything that you say or do may be subject to review should it turn into a court case. And you do not want to end up like Diana Ornes Photography LLC where you lose out on everything simply because you said the wrong thing to the client.

Until next time!

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!

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v8.0)

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This post will be short and sweet. You should be blogging, on your freelance makeup website, for several reasons. Blogging is one of the #1 ways to keep fresh, new, relevant content on your website. This is extremely important when it comes to Google rankings. Search engine algorithms routinely rate content freshness and relevancy high when choosing what to display, and where, in the rankings. Composing a static website does you no good if you are looking to capture traffic from people in your area of influence who are looking for your services, unless you are the only makeup artist in the area.

Your expectations, however, need to be realistic. Blogging on a service oriented business’s website will not automatically equal hoards of new business. Though, it will work in your favor on the search engines as mentioned before. Furthermore it will make it obvious that your business is progressing nicely when a prospect visits your website. There are millions of websites floating around in cyberspace that have not been updated in years, calling into question whether or not the businesses even exist any more. Don’t be one of them.

Take the best work that you do each week, and turn it into two or three blog posts. Talk about the products used, the type of event, etc. Merely mentioning them will work in your favor for your ranking. Include pictures as well, because they are what will sell your services best. Be sure to ask your client if it is ok, first. And make sure your blog is a part of your website. If you use any of the standard template website providers out there, you should be able to activate the blog feature at no extra cost, if you have not already.

Start thinking about your blog. If you suffer from writers block like I do, it helps to write out some major themes that you want to follow, then break them down by different subjects under those themes. Usually when you have a set of things to constantly write about, it is easier to get started. If you have any more questions about blogging for your freelance makeup business, feel free to ask them below!

Until next time!

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v7.0)

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I’ll preface this one. This is mainly opinion. It’s subjective. But I think the logic follows. Keep it simple, stupid. Today we are talking about business cards, communication collateral, email signatures, email addresses, website URL’s, the look and feel of your site…you name it. Keep it simple. There are a lot of things that you can do to make yourself memorable to people who you meet, and intend to gain business from either immediately or down the road. Having a super flashy business card, a creative but unimaginabley complex URL, or an email signature that contains 6,500 flower emoji’s aren’t any of them.

The good thing about having websites like VistaPrint is that you have dozens or hundreds of pre-made design templates to use for your business card and communication collateral. The bad thing about having websites like VistaPrint that has dozens or hundreds of pre-made design templates to use for your business card and communication collateral, is that there are tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of makeup artists. This means that your business cards and collateral will be identical to that of hundreds or thousands of makeup artists. As an artist, your uniqueness is your calling card.

As we discussed in Freelance Makeup Business 101 v6.0, specifically under Brand Associations, your business card, your communication collateral, etc. are ALL a part of your personal brand. That said, your business card, the collateral, the design (colors, look, feel) of your website should all flow together seamlessly. Additionally, it’s my own personal belief that they should all be rather simplistic. Nobody is going to remember you because of your business card. I’ve collected thousands of business cards in my career, and the only one I can recall is my own. I’ve collected cards that are odd sizes, insane colors, crazy textures, different materials, you name it. And I forgot every single one of them. The goal of a business card in 2014 is to hand it to someone and hope they put it into their iPhone immediately. Because if they don’t…it’s going in the trash anyway.

So use your business card, and the rest of your collateral as a way of furthering your brand image. Your brand identity. People will forget the small things, but if you combine all of the small things to make one strong overall brand identity…people will remember it. As Tecumseh said, “A single twig breaks, but a bundle of twigs is strong.”

As I mentioned before…as an artist, your uniqueness is your calling card. And as a businessperson, you should be calling attention to your art. The focal point of your brand identity should be the amazing makeup artistry that you create. The rest of your collateral should support it. Your logo, colors, etc. If I am representing a product…the product is what I want you to see. Super flashy websites that call attention to things other than what they intend to sell will ultimately convert less. There is a reason I have 20 awesome products right on the front page of this website — because it is what you are looking for, when you come here. And my job, is to give you what you want. Right? I know you wantBen Nye Luxury Banana Powder, I know you want a Viseart eyeshadow palette, and I know you want a Stilazzi professional makeup case. So there they are…right in front of your eyes.

If I am hiring a makeup artist, I want to see your work. That’s all I care about. Granted, I want your brand image to be clean and visually appealing because to me, it makes you look more professional. But mainly, I want to see the work that you have done. It’s the reason I am looking at your website. Your cleanest work should be showcased on your home page, and your work types (bridal, fashion, etc.) should be clearly broken out so that I can easily get to the type of work for which I am thinking of hiring you.

And a brief side note about breaking your work into clearly defined categories. If you are a well rounded artist who can make a beautiful bride, and an all-too-realistic looking gun shot wound to the head…don’t put both pictures right next to one another, k? The last thing a bride-to-be who wants to look beautiful on their special day needs to see, is a dude who took a shotgun to the face.

Simplicity, and a focus on your work will pay off more than all of your ancillary brand associations being flashy will. Bet on it.

Until next time folks.

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v6.0)

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Branding is tricky. A lot of people use the words branding, marketing, and advertising interchangeably when in reality, they are all different. So we’re going to dig into branding today and why marketing and advertising is entirely pointless before you’ve built your brand identity.

So what is branding? Your brand is your business’s personal story. It’s the whole of what makes your business, your business. It encompasses all visual and mental queues that a prospective client takes away from your business. It’s your logo, your type font, your website layout, your business card, your email footer, your story, your services, etc. It is, in essence, the conveyance of everything having to do with your business and how it is perceived by the world in general.

There are five key elements to consider when building your brand:

Brand Position

Your brand position is used to describe what you do, and for whom. It should clearly convey your strengths, what sets you apart from your competition, and give a prospective client a reason to want to contact you. It’s almost like a resume header. For example:

“Professionally trained bridal makeup artist, servicing the tri-county area for more than two decades. Experience working with all skin tones, and cultural wedding ceremonies. Lengthy track record of providing excellent service to wedding parties both small and large.”

Promise / Value Proposition

I touched on your value proposition in Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v5.0). Your value proposition is one of the most important aspects of your business that you need to clearly convey. It is WHY a prospective client will want to contact you. Your value proposition is an unwritten contract between you and your client – it is the value that you promise to deliver to them in exchange for their business.

Personality

Your brand personality as a freelance makeup artist will most likely need to be a reflection of your own. Across most facets of business, a brand personality is a completely separate thing but as a freelancer, it’s my opinion that you and your business should be one in the same. That said, if you are a fun loving free spirit…don’t try to create a brand personality that gives prospective clients the idea that you’re a suit and tie kind of person. When you show up to the project, and you are not what they were expecting…you’re going to have a hard time. On the other side of the coin, if your personality is so intense and you feel like you may have to tone it down a bit when you’re on the job, your brand personality should follow.

As an example, if you follow Frends Beauty’s social media outlets you’ll see that there are only two things we care about: 1) Having a really good time, and 2) providing the best service we can to our clients. That’s it. So our brand personality pretty much flows with our own personalities here. We play loud music and drink champagne and whiskey at trade shows. And we bring extra cups so we can share it with our customers. But we also deliver on every promise we make. We deliver on our Value Proposition better than all of our competitors, as evidenced by our reviews on Yelp, where we have held the highest rating since that site came into existence.

Brand Story

Most prospective clients who are considering hiring you will be at least somewhat interested in knowing where you came from. So don’t be shy, tell them. How long have you been doing makeup professionally? What professional training do you have? Be sure to display your story in a way that adds credibility to your business, and displays your value clearly. Your story should also summarize your services and validate them.

Brand Associations

This is everything a prospective client sees that tells them that it is your brand. Your logo, color scheme, website layout, business cards, marketing creatives, etc. When a prospective client sees any of these, even independent of others, it makes them think of you. For example…Apple, or McDonalds. When you see that silver Apple with a bite missing, or those golden arches, you know what company it belongs to without actually having to read the brand names. The association to those brands is as strong as it can be.

In 2011 we began rebranding Frends Beauty. Our old logo was a bit tired and other companies had begun to take queues from it when creating theirs and they just looked too similar. So we spent several months working with a creative team to make some changes. And in reality…we just simplified it. We have a basic look and color scheme that is unique to Frends Beauty and it follows everywhere in our business.

When you are on one of our websites or social networks, it is immediately clear that it is a Frends Beauty domain. The brand association is rather strong and getting stronger.

When we run advertising and marketing campaigns, we have an established brand to fall back on. Although we have been in business since 1940, before 2011 if you were not in the industry, the Frends “brand” was hard to describe because we didn’t spend time building our brand position, our story, etc. Now though, it’s common knowledge in the industry and out. All because we spent the time it took, to build it. Our advertising and marketing campaigns are very uniquely ours. And the power that our brand brings, to what we say, pays off.

So pay attention to your brand. Create your brand, and display your brand proudly. As an artist, your brand will be as unique as you are.

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v5.0)

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“Oh, wow…I didn’t know you were going to be so expensive. I don’t think I have room in my budget for that.”

This is a cop out. It’s a lie. The chance of your fees actually being out of reach of your clients is slim to none. For some reason, it’s become normal in American culture that the fees for any service which does not have a physical price tag stuck to it are up for debate. I don’t know who popularized this, but I would love to meet them one moonless evening in a back alley. Nothing about freelancing is more annoying and sometimes disrespectful than someone who feels entitled to receiving your services for 1/3rd of your rate.

 

So how do you combat this?

First, you need to present your Value Proposition before your prospective client ever reaches out to you. Some popular mediums for doing this are your own website, reviews on sites like Yelp, Model Mayhem, etc., and of course word of mouth. Network until you cannot network any more with other professionals in ancillary positions like photography, post production, even catering. You have more control over all of these mediums than you probably know.

WEBSITE

Your website is your most powerful value driver. All other mediums which suggest people contact you will ultimately send them to your website whether directly, or simply because most consumers feel the need to look for one when shopping. Your ability to create a website that drives home your value will determine the amount of leads you receive. For pointers on how to improve your website, visit http://www.frendsbeauty.com/blog/elements_of_a_great_website when you’re done with this post.

REVIEWS

 

 

It’s actually quite easy to control your reviews. Maybe I shouldn’t be sayiing this publicly, but online reviews are the easiest thing to manipulate if done correctly. Here is the thing…you have to ask people for them. I know…thought provoking, right? If you don’t ask for reviews, you won’t get a lot of them. But if you ask for them…most people are going to be happy to give them. Then, you can display your reviews on your website making it even more compelling.

NETWORKING / WORD OF MOUTH

It’s good to have people in your corner. It’s really good to have people in your corner. But it’s best to have good people in your corner. Because good people will think of you when they come across an opportunity for which you may be a good fit. So you need to utilize two forms of networking. First, as mentioned above with reviews…ask your clients to think about you when they know of someone who may need the type of services you provide. Give them business cards. You may even offer an incentive program for your clients who bring you new clients. Perhaps a discount on their next appointment. The second is in person networking events. And there are plenty. Check on sites like MeetUp.com and look for local events, attend trade shows like www.IMATS.net and www.THEMAKEUPSHOW.com, and attend classes and seminars where other industry professionals will be. Be active on social media sites and look for online groups to be active in. As always, keep your decorum professional. As for cold calling other local professionals, and sending unsolicited emails to introduce yourself…don’t do it, that ship has sailed and is now considered incredibly annoying.

Now, no matter how well you do at all of the aforementioned…you’re still going to get a whole bunch of people who believe that they should get a full face done for $6.99. It’s inevitable. You’ll just have to make yourself comfortable dealing with it. But knowing that you’ve done a good job setting up your Value Proposition, ane having the proper tools to combat this roadblock, you’ll be fine. So when you get the “Ohh, I didn’t expect you to be that expensive. I don’t think I have room in my budget for your services…” you’re going to have to decide which way you want to go. And you have several options…

1. OK, BYE-BYE…

I don’t know if you are struggling for business. This is for you to decide. But a consideration of yours should always be to simply fire your prospect in the nicest way possible. The last thing you want to do is accept a job at a cut rate that is going to make you feel animosity on the day of the project. Your client will feel it, and it will make for a very uncomfortable atmosphere. And you can be sure that your client will tell his or her friends about the poor experience with you. This is negative publicity that you do not need, and it goes against the Value Proposition that you set up. So if you cannot find any redeeming value in cutting your rate to accomodate a prospective client, then walk away. It’s that simple.

“(Client), I can appreciate the fact that you’ve considered a budget for your (project), but I think it would be best if you were to continue your search for an artist whose fees are in line with your budgetary needs. If I happen to come across any I would be more than happy to forward their information to you. I appreciate the opportunity.”

2. SEARCH FOR VALUE

Ok so your client wants to get a cheaper rate out of you and they’re playing hardball. Keep in mind, it’s highly likely that they do have the money to pay you but if you don’t want to push it, is there some other value in it for you if you do cut your rate? Do you have an ability to gain more work from this initial job? Will there be other artists or ancillary industry members there that are important for you to meet? Is there some sort of exposure that you will get that will end up driving you more business? Every business cuts rates from time to time for certain things, so while it is not unheard of, there absolutely must be a valuable reason for you to accomodate it. Always keep in mind though that once you cut a rate for one person, more people will hear about it, and it will become something that you will need to deal with more and more. And as other artists cut rates, the Perceived Value of the industry degrades. So this is a very, very touchy subject and you should only do it when you are convinced it will pay off in the end.

“(Client), thank you for the opportunity. While your budget and my fees don’t necessarily line up, your project is quite interesting so I would be happy to accomodate this time. Let’s set up a phone call and discuss moving foward.”

3. STAND FAST!

Don’t budge. Simply stand fast, and hold your ground. But you’re going to have to be a good salesperson with an excellent Value Proposition to be able to do this. If someone requests a discounted rate and your website looks like shit, you have no reviews from clients to show, and you don’t know anyone in the industry who can vouch for you…well, you’re likely going to lose that fight. So in order to be able to stand fast and fall back on your Value Proposition…well, you need to have one. And you need to be able to articulate your value both written and in person. The truth is, some artists can rightfully command higher fees than others, and if that is your feeling then you must be able to convey that if you want to stand a chance of making it a reality.

“(Client), thank you for the opportunity to work with you on (your project). I can appreciate the fact that you’ve set a budget for this but based on your requirements, and my abilities, it’s my professional opinion that you will have a challenging time finding an artist who can deliver what you need within that budget. I’ve worked professionally in this industry for ___ years, and have amassed the knowledge and experience to deliver exactly what you need at my required rate. An artist whose fees are any less will likely not be able to provide satisfactory services, which will surely cause a headache for you. I am available at my rates to make (your project) successful, and am open for a phone call to discuss any time after ___.”

THAT SAID…

The truth is, you aren’t going to win them all. When you do lose them, you need to make sure you lose them with grace. Because a prospect cannot afford you today, doesn’t mean they will not be able to afford you tomorrow. And when that day comes, you want to make sure you are the one they come crawling back to. Making a good impression on a client that I didn’t immediately end up doing business with has won me hundreds of comebackers.

Until next time…

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v4.0)

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Let’s talk about terrible websites, and how taking the steps to create a good website will make you stand out in the crowd. And I’m notstanding on a soapbox, because when I came to Frends Beauty in 2011…our website was pretty bad. It wasn’t terrible, but it was not intuitive, it certainly was not pretty, and it was built on some really old and unstable architecture.

As the new head of business development…one of my first suggestions was that we update the site. At any cost. As one of the oldest, most well-known, and well-respected industry companies, I knew that our online presence was a big deal and the impression that our website left on potential clients and clients alike was make-or-break. I understood that, for a new customer, the layout, format, functionality, etc. of our website will determine whether or not they choose to shop with us. So I had to be sure we put our best foot forward. We spent nearly a year working with a firm who helped us dream up a new logo, and a completely new website.

It paid off. Big time.

So we’re going to talk about YOUR website, and we’re going to talk about what you need to show your prospective clients. And we’re going to talk about what you DON’T need to show them. Ever. There are several elements any good website should have. There are more than we’ll talk about here but this ought to give you enough to be able to sit back and say “NAILED IT!” or “Yeah…my site needs some work.” And that is the goal here.

ELEMENTS OF A GOOD WEBSITE, ask yourself…

– Does your site have good visual design? When a prospective client visits your website, will they find it visually appealing? Is the format pleasing to the eyes, does it calm their nerves (keep in mind, they are looking to hire someone with whom they plan to spend a considerable amount of money)? Is your logo design intelligent and appealing? Do the colors of your website flow with your logo? Is the layout clean and intuitive? Is your font clean or is it absolutely ridiculous?
Are your images clean high definition, high quality images? You’re selling your ability to make art on someone’s face, so your images should help you sell that. If you do not have any good images, consider finding a photographer and a model who can help you get those images for use on your site. It’s an investment that will pay off immediately.
– Does your website contain good, fresh, valuable and timely content? The content on your website is how your prospective clients will get to know you, your work, your personality, etc. The easiest space to present content is your blog. Is it tied into your website or are they separate? Do you have a blog at all? With the permission of your past clients, you should showcase your work on your blog as often as possible. You can never have TOO MUCH new, relevant content. But you can go stale…so make sure you always have something planned.
– Are you overselling yourself? No need to explain this one…
– Is your site navigation intuitive and simple? I’ve seen a lot of websites that have navbar links for things like individual blog posts, etc. Be careful not to overdo it here. Getting around your website should be akin to getting around your own house. It should be easy, intuitive, and comfortable. It should not be like trying to navigate blindly down the 405 South in Los Angeles during morning rush hour.
– Call-to-Action. Your website exists solely to sell your services, so don’t be shy about that. Make it easy for prospective clients to book an appointment with you. This could be a button, an image, whatever. Whatever flows with your visual design. Don’t overdo it, but don’t make people search for it either.
– Is your website mobile friendly? Around 30% of traffic on the web is from a mobile device and I will tell you right now, that number only stands to increase as mobile devices get smarter and faster. If your site is not mobile device friendly, change that…now. Now. NOW!
– Credibility. Who are you? Will anyone vouch for you? Have you won any awards? Did you graduate from any professional schools? Are you a member of any professional societies? Have clients written reviews for you? Show your prospects that you are who you say you are.
– Is your search function simple and powerful? There is nothing worse for a prospective client than not being able to find what they are looking for. It’s one surefire way to lose their interest fast.
– Can they contact you easily? The last thing you need is a prospect who wants to talk to you but cannot figure out how to. And a simple Contact Me form doesn’t cut it. I want to know your phone number, and your email address. A random cookie cutter contact form on a blank contact page is not going to cut it. (As an aside, regarding contact, you should also read this)

THINGS TO AVOID

– Music. Next to unexpected porn pop-ups at work, there is nothing more annoying than visiting a website and having your computer speakers blasting Michael Bolton or some insanely loud and fast EDM suddenly, out of nowhere, with no warning. It’s unprofessional, and it assumes that your prospects enjoy your same musical taste. It will immediately turn off a percentage of your prospective clients without them even having to lay eyes on your site if their first interaction with your site is their speakers coming to life unexpectedly.
– Social Media Links. Unless they are social media links to your business profiles where you routinely maintain a professional business atmosphere, avoid them. It’s far too easy to post hundreds of funny cat pictures or be suckered into a post about politics or religion on your personal profiles. Nobody who wants to hire you to work on their face, needs to know what you are eating for lunch, or how drunk you got last weekend. If you do not have business profiles on all of the social networks, simply avoid linking them all together.
– Mis-speeled word or bad grammer. Yes I did that on purpose. Have someone you trust read the content on your website because a second set of eyes always catches something. Now I don’t always practice what I preach, but whatever…you get what I am saying.
– DON’T STEAL OTHER ARTISTS’ WORK! As unfortunate as it is…this seems to happen rather frequently in the makeup artist community. An artist pours their blood, sweat, and talent into creating beauty…and another artist takes the image and puts it on their website. Do not be that artist. Just don’t.
Your URL. I’ll take the company Wix as an example. They offer templates that customers can purchase, fill in with their own custom information and images, and publish a site. This can all be done in minutes. The customer can choose to keep the URL that it comes with which will read as http://www.customer.wix.com/ for example. Don’t do this. Instead, buy a custome domain name, and then forward your Wix site to that URL. It is very inexpensive, very easy, and makes a massive difference. You will look far more professional right from the beginning with a custom URL.
Don’t use Adobe Flash. I’m not saying Adobe Flash is bad, and it can look really cool, but there are two big problems with it. First, anyone with a slow internet connection is going to have to sit through a really slow graphic intense load up time. In 2014 there aren’t a lot of people who have super slow connections…but still, you’ll be alienating them. And second…it’s not supported by Apple. That means people using iPad’s and iPhone’s (the #1 selling mobile devices) simply will not be able to view your site. Additionally, it does not perform well on other non-Apple devices. And remember, about 1/3 of all web traffic is mobile…so 1 out of every 3 people online will encounter trouble on viewing your site. That’s really bad!

I know that the Frends Beauty website is very good, but it’s not perfect. There are little imperfections all over the place. But it’s a massive upgrade from our old website, and we’re constantly working on this site to keep it fresh, relevant, and beautiful. Our goal is to deliver value to you, and that keeps us busy constantly making it better. We have a list of more than 35 website upgrades and projects we will be working on in 2015 to ensure that your experience on our site is as good as it can be. Does your website convey your talent? Does it deliver value to prospective customers? Ask yourself these questions, review your website, and make changes where appropriate. You will notice, they will pay off.

Until next time!

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v3.0)

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So far I’ve talked about how makeup artists can book more jobs by responding to inbound inquiries faster, and also present a better and more professional initial impression by fixing their website URL. Today we are going to talk about the initial phone call or meeting. I’ll make it known that I am not a makeup artist. I’m a business guy who started out in sales before I took over sales, marketing, and business development at Frends Beauty. I could not apply eyeliner without making someone painfully blind, but I could sell a hamburger to a vegan…please believe.

That said, there are some very simple things that you can do to help you book more business when you are having that initial interview with a potential makeup client.

The first one, is to make sure you come prepared. Pretend you are having an interview for a Network Engineer positon at a Fortune 500 company. Before your interview, what are some things you are going to do? If you want the job, I bet you’re going to do a lot of research on that company. Understand its history, know its products, and memorize the FAQ’s. You’ll likely need to demonstrate that you have some basic knowledge about the company, during your interview. You’ll need to understand some of their challenges and be prepared to show how you can fix them. This is also applicable with prospective makeup clients. While you can Google all of the information you’ll need to know about every company in existence…it’s a little different for your prospects. So when you have your initial phone call, just ask. It’s that easy…

– “What celebrity do you look most like?”
– “What celebrity style do you most want to emulate for your event?”
– “Do you have any products, brands, colors, etc. in mind already or would you like me to bring suggestions?”
– “Have you ever had any negative skin reactions to any products?”
– “Have you ever hired a makeup artist before?”
– “Would you mind emailing me a picture of your face, or linking me to your Facebook page?”

There are plenty of questions that you could ask, and frankly, you SHOULD ask. Never walk into any situation where you need to sell your services blindly. When you ask questions, your prospects responses are most literally things that you need to demonstrate to them, to close the deal. Period. Not a lot of people understand this simple fact. Every answer that you receive, is exactly what you need to present a solution for, when you meet. We call these Pain Points. In plain English, the process is this simple:

– Makeup Artist: “What are your pain points?”
– Prospect: “These are my pain points, ___, ___, and ___.”
– Makeup Artist: “Here is exactly how I will solve your paint points – ___, ___, and ___.”
– Prospect: “You’re hired!”

By going into your first actual meeting with them with background information and solutions, you’re setting yourself up to win. But there is more that you can do. The majority of selling is not actually selling. Shut up, and listen. That’s the majority of selling. And when you talk, it’s not talking about a bunch of random and unrelated crap that YOU think is interesting and relevant. This is something that most people don’t like to acknowledge. What is awesome, super rad, and incredibly important to you…likely means absolutely nothing to your prospect and the more you talk, the more they slip away. Seriously. It’s presenting your solution to their paint point. Period. Most people don’t care about your past accomplishments, who you have worked for, what awards you have won…all of that stuff is ancient history. All they care about is…

CAN YOU FIX MY PAIN POINT!?!?!

And since you’ve already asked them what their pain points are, you’re coming into the first meeting with them with solutions. So you can demonstrate that YES…you CAN fix their pain point. And nothing more. Once you show that you can provide them with what they told you they need…shut it. Zip it. Stop talking. So while all of the other makeup artists who they are talking to, are busy talking about themselves, you are busy winning their business because YOU are the person with the solution and you’re not wasting their time. You’re also not wasting your time and your makeup kit testing a bunch of things they’re unhappy with.

When you show up to your initial meeting or test application PREPARED, and knowledgeable about what your prospect is looking for, you are demonstrating VALUE. And when you demonstrate value, you’re lessening the chance of hearing the most annoying thing in the world: “Well, I mean, you did a good job but I didn’t really prepare a budget for what you’re asking. Is there any way we can cut your price in half?”

There are a lot of things to talk about, and they’ll be coming soon in the next few Freelance Makeup Business 101 posts! So stay tuned…

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v2.0)

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Like my last blog about the best way to book more jobs as a freelance MUA, I was inspired to write this post based on observations I have made with a lot of makeup artists, and their business websites. Please understand I bring these points up to be helpful and in no way disrespectful toward you if you are a part of the group I am discussing. My hope is that I am bringing to light something that you simply overlooked. And by doing so, help you fix it, and of course get more business.

So let’s talk about websites. There are dozens of reputable companies who sell or lease / host website templates that make it easy for anyone with even a freshman knowledge of the web to put together a “decent” website. Some fall below that standard…but you can’t win them all. Most websites that exist today are built off of platforms like these.

Many of these companies that offer templatized websites also offer the ability to buy custom URL’s and very easily attach them. Thus…the reason for this post. Lately I have noticed far, far too many makeup artists who create these sites, using the URL that the website company automatically assigns. So rather than something like http://www.abcmakeup.com, it shows as http://www.abcmakeup.websitetemplatecompany.com. The latter is very unprofessional and really works against you. Like many other facets of life, in business you only have one chance to make a first impression. And when you give someone a business card with a wonky URL for your business website…you’re immediately degrading the value of your brand.

If you have even a beginner level understanding of the web it should still be rather easy to purchase your URL and make it live. If you have trouble, contact the company with whom you set up your site and ask them for assistance in purchasing your URL. I am sure they would be happy to help. Then upgrade all of your links and business card and present yourself in a more professional manner. You WILL earn more business that way, I promise.

Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v1.0)

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I was inspired to write this blog post today based on the volume of email autoresponders that flooded my inbox a moment ago. Every two or three weeks, I send an email blast out to our massive opt-in email database. To those who are interested, we like to communicate company news, product news, information about upcoming trade shows, information about upcoming sales, etc. If you’re interested in being on the list, go here – http://eepurl.com/hLZQ2. After today’s blast it finally dawned on me that I routinely receive autoresponse emails from about 75 artists who subscribe to our email service. So every email that they receive, automatically gets a response stating something to this effect – ‘Thank you for contacting ____. I will respond to this email within 48 hours. If this is urgent, please contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.’

Keep in mind, nobody is being singled out here as this tends to be the typical response…but if this is you, pay attention because I have some information that will help you close more business. Before coming to Frends Beauty I was a sales manager at a software company that made SAAS for sales teams who dealt with time sensitive, competitive inbound leads. Having thousands of customers, access to their SAAS databases, and an in house team of ivy league educated statistics geeks, we were able to identify the NUMBER ONE driver of lead conversion – Speed To Contact. This should come as no surprise. Any time you are shopping a new service, you’re likely shopping multiple providers. And it’s in our nature to give more credence to the first person we chat with, who makes a good impression. Anyone coming afterwards has to then live up to the level of the first person. And that’s hard to do.

So why the blog post about it? Frankly, we want our freelance artist clients to be able to secure as much business as possible. Having a background in sales management, I know a lot about promoting the types of habits that lead to more new business being booked. Utilizing an autoresponder, is not one of them. Unless you are out of town or otherwise unable to answer a new inquiry in a matter of minutes…you should not be using an autoresponder as a way of getting back to inquiries. It is impersonal and does not leave your new sales lead with the warm and fuzzy feeling you want them to have. And they are most certainly reaching out to your local competitors. If those local competitors are better at responding to inquiries in a more timely manner…you are losing business. I do not mean to come off harshly at all, but it is the truth. If you are unable to contact your new leads by phone, or at the very least with a personally written email in a matter of minutes, your chances of earning their business decrease significantly. And this decrease compounds itself until it reaches 0% — when your comeptition earns it.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some very easy steps that you can take to earn more business, starting right now.

— Turn off your autoresponder and rid yourself of the false sense of safety that it gives you.
— Very quickly, realize that time is of the essence each time you get a new lead and if you do not drop what you are doing the moment you receive it, you probably won’t secure that business.
— Connect your business email to your smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone, get a smartphone.
— Set your smartphone up to vibrate and beep when your business email receives a new message.
— Stop what you are doing when your smartphone vibrates and beeps, and read the new message.
— If the message is from a new lead, call it. Immediately. Not later on. Not after you are finished doing the dishes. Unless you are currently working on a client, stop what you are doing, and call your lead.
— PROFIT!

And this is how serious I am…I bring facts. Yes, FACTS! While the internet is chalk full of bullshit and conjecture…I…Bring…Facts! So here are some from a study at the software company I worked for that I think you will find incredibly interesting:

— Sales leads called under 60 seconds showed an astounding 391 percent improvement over average conversion rates.
— Sales leads called between 60 and 120 seconds after they were generated converted 160 percent more often than the average.
— If sales leads cannot be reached within the first few minutes, attempting contact quickly is still valuable. Leads called within 24 hours are still 17 percent more likely to convert than those that were not.
— 88 percent of sales leads that eventually convert were called within the first 24 hours. This does not imply that all of these leads convert within 24 hours, but rather establishing the relationship at this juncture is critical to conversion — days, weeks or months down the line.

If you would like to read the source itself, which I suggest you do, go HERE. Is speed to contact the end all be all determining factor in how much business you earn? No. But does it play a huge, vital role in booking new business? Absolutely. And in my experience, using autoresponders on a routine basis is helping to set you up for failure. They can be useful, but not when attempting to earn new business from someone shopping multiple sources. So kill your autoresponder today and get used to responding personally, immediately. If you are already doing that, then you have no need for an autoresponder anyway. If you are NOT already doing that, then the person who is, is earning all of the business that you could be earning.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this information useful!