A salon, like a boyfriend, is never one hundred percent what you want. You don’t like the salon’s music; the owner is too controlling, and the receptionist plays favorites, yet you stay. Yes, that is valid; however, your boyfriend, that’s still around, snores, doesn’t like healthy food, and forgets you’re not his mom. Yeah.
If you want to save a salon job or a relationship, go for the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, you are okay with what’s going on. The 80/20 rule asks you to “pick your poison”—you have to have some, so choose the least nasty one. That other twenty percent that ticks you off comes with any situation. If you, however, are unhappy most of the time and see no solution, yes. Look for another place to work where your creativity flows easily. Before you go, figure out where the discontent is coming from because the problem could be you and not know it.
How could you not know the problem might be you? Well, follow me on this one. Hairdressing, nail services, skincare is repetitious —just how many different ways can you shampoo? You may be a little burned out and in need of a break. Take the break because how you handle repetition determines your success. Repetition is where the money is. An interruption in the repetition stops the flow of money. You’re not about the money, you say? Yes, you are. You better be. Here’s why:
Think pandemic or medical emergency. Once you have six months of living expenses in the bank, you could take the risk of starting over in a new salon—not before. And yet, what motivated me was the fear of something completely different. I was scared to wind up working some odd, whacko job just to make ends meet. I wasn’t making that much money initially, but savings allowed me the time to think about what was best for my personal growth and happiness. Priceless.
- When you get ticked off at the salon, take a breather—work tasks one at a time and stop looking at your whole day or week. It’s exhausting to think about all you still have to do.
- Sit down away from the salon and ask yourself, “What’s going on with me? Is it the salon or me?”
- Then ask, “Is it bad enough for me to lose clientele by moving to a new salon, or can I address it with management?”
- If you need to go somewhere else, “How much will that cost me?”
- And here’s the big question: “What do I need to work on so it doesn’t happen again in the new place?”
Here is what works for your clients, for the salon, and your success: dependability. Your reliable presence works—you at that third station from the window where you always stand works. Notice when your client walks in, they ignore the greetings, punch, and cookies at the reception. Their very first glance is to that third station from the window where you always stand and do beautiful things with their hair. They want that. They count on that. They don’t want you to mess with that. Don’t.
Carlos Valenzuela is a hairdresser, writer, success coach, ex-salon & beauty school owner. Author of The Thrifty Cosmetologist, a video-based approach to money smarts tailored to salon pros, and Letters to Young Carlos, a novella about a gay boy growing up along the border in the 1960s.
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