I just graduated my permanent
makeup class. Now what?
By Jane Adler
Now the real learning and hands-on experience begins. It takes a ton of practice and work to move to the next level. If you are overwhelmed, sit back and think, "Yicks, what now?"
We are starting at A and the goal is to get to Z. Reality check: it can take years to get to the big Z! Let's make this easy and break down sections of our careers by a more simple set of key words. This can take one to five years. When you reach Platinum your business runs by word of mouth and it is all good!
This is stage one. Organizing your paper work, getting insurance, organizing your notes, reading and drawing every moment you can. Breaking down each chapter of your training manual until it is second nature. Doing mock consultations with friends and family members. Rehearsing all of your steps from literally introducing yourself to a client to gripping the skin and going over aftercare instructions. I mean EVERY little step. Be creative. You can always pretend there is a real client in your chair. So what if it is a dolly? Embrace her and do a wonderful job!
Stage two is the grunt work that will pay off in spades. This is repeating the paper stage as often as possible, then doing as many physical models as possible. It is ideal to have a tray setup fee. However, you have to do twenty free procedures it will be money in the bank as time goes on. Repetition creates excellence! It is time to seriously collate your business by doing procedure after procedure. This is the only way to grow and become confident. In this phase you have to lose the "what if's" and calm your nerves. If you have a two-week period without a client, go out and find them. Your clients are literally everywhere: the market, the car wash, the pet store, the gym, the cleaners, your children's school, local salons, etc. Hit the pavement. If you are afraid to meet new people and recruit models to practice on, you may want to reconsider permanent makeup as a career. You need to be a sales person and you are selling yourself.
Run an ad: "Permanent makeup artist looking for models to practice on to build portfolio." Clients will flock to you. They come with lower expectations and you can do your thing. Yes, you will get more challenging clients. That is wonderful! What better way to learn? It is not realistic to expect to come out of a one-week class and charge full price. There is a natural learning curve and we all have to pay our dues to get to the Platinum level. It is all worth it! Be creative and put a sign on your car, wear a tee-shirt advertising yourself at the gym. Make up fun business cards, detailed brochures or information packs. Your printing is a business write-off. Do not waste money your first few years with expensive ads. It will bring only financial hardship. Think outside the box! Hand out lip-shaped cookies. Do whatever it takes to stay busy and motivated.
Without a good amount of procedures under your belt how are you going to be able to get that dream job or open up your own studio? If you have only done a few set of lips, it is not your pigment or tools of the trade. It is you! Technique can only come with practice and it will take at least 50 clients until you start to feel one with your procedures. Be warned and scared of ads for magic products. It is the person behind any given tool, machine or pigment that creates excellence. Exercise common sense. We are all responsible for our own success. No one else!
One of my favorite analogies is that cosmetic tattooing is very similar to being a realtor. You may not sell any homes for weeks, and then you sell ten new homes. In the weeks with out a sale, you should have been doing all the prep work for the big sale. This includes paper work, practice, consultations, marketing, classes etc.
One of the most important investments you will ever make is a camera! Clients will expect and demand to see documentation of your work. I do mean your work and not fabricated photos or store-bought portfolios. Keep it real! Sell what you can produce and stop wasting money on portfolios sold on the internet. I have a feeling some are not even real models with cosmetic tattoos but stock photography. The average client is smarter than that! Spend your money on your own camera. DO NOT start off using false advertising. Adhere to a strict code of ethics and invest wisely and the clients will come!!!! The best way to build a business is with integrity, consistency and a positive attitude above all else! Stand tall and do not even worry about what others do, there is enough work for anyone with talent who is willing to work hard.
The third stage is developing a network of referrals and a strong support team like the SPCP. Know matter how good or bad your initial training was it is up to you and only you to move on and develop this art form and be a successful participant in the wonderful world of cosmetic tattooing. When you enter your place of business each and every morning look at it from the client's point of view. Is it clean, professional, and inviting? Are you following all applicable city, state and county laws? Have you taken your annual "Blood Borne Pathogens" training? Are you a member of at least one professional organization? Any way you look at it, this is an industry that takes money to make money. Do not skimp on training or procedure room protocol. If you want to be the best, invest in yourself. I did. Is it hard? Yes!!!!!! Did it pay off? YES!!!!!! Focus 110% on the upside of the hard work and not on negativity. It takes up to five years to build any service industry job.
Education is the golden rule for all. This is how you start to build up power and set yourself above your competition. Each and every client is a learning experience. Invest in education! This is the way to stay motivated and inspire clients to tell others about you. It is also imperative at this point to stay put and not job-jump. Remember, consistency is very important to clients. Clients have busy lives and can not waste precious time keeping up with a technician that changes jobs every few months.
Everyone loves platinum! Share and reap the rewards. Be a mentor! Do public speaking and write articles. Offer local businesses your brain to pick. Educate anyone that will listen. Give back to and be an active participant in your industry. Don't sit back and let others make the new paths. Jump in! Your phone will be ringing off the hook when make it to the platinum level and you will be booked weeks to months in advance. This means that you can only go up from here and that all your hard work has paid off. You can set your own hours, pricing, policies. You are in demand. What Susie Smith is doing down the street means nothing. Every year, review all the stages listed above and never forget we all start at the bottom and the artists that stick to the plan are headed to the big Z!!!!