Carlos Valenzuela courtesy of Carlos Valenzuela Beauty.
Carlos Valenzuela courtesy of Carlos Valenzuela Beauty.

Today, I received another letter from Mrs. Edwina Mafalda from the Republic of Burundi. She writes:

“Dear One,

I am recently widowed from my husband who was killed by rebels. I need your assistance in relocating five million dollars to your bank account for which I am willing to share half of the money. You would never worry about money again and live a life of luxury.” 

Why even open this junk mail? I like to rate the creativity of the request and imagine someone writing multiple versions, bouncing them off other cronies.  Right before I toss it, I think, “Really? Is this the best you can do?”

Quick money schemes have been around since the dawn of man. Ah, the lure of passing on the grind and challenge of moving up for unlimited resources and the freedom to do whatever you want. Most of us tried coming up with the easy formula. In my case, it always points to a surrender and dedication to my craft — and all that this entails.

Maybe the magic formula is elusive, but there is common thread among the real winners in the beauty industry. This means that although I can’t come up with the no-fail secret to success, I am sure of what it isn’t. Here goes:

  1. Don't get a job, go for a career. Admit it, you are creative, you fidget, get bored easily. I tried jobs — the speed of my burnout was like a flashbulb. Go for the jackpot; maybe get a job to support your career, like students who work to pay for beauty school.
  2. Be sure you love your career. You should feel like you own it, protect it, improve, and thus ultimately define it. New trends come from dedicated professionals.
  3. Don’t serve up anything you wouldn’t buy yourself. If you don’t believe and understand beauty concepts, you will be a boring disaster. Successful salon professionals believe in their craft. I am so hung up on this that I refuse to create some style requests — if it damages, looks bad, or is poor quality, I won’t do it. I love and honor my craft this way. Move along, now.
  4. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Notice that greatest shifts and trends in our industry are created like minded groups of people. Vidal Sassoon, Tony & Guy, Aveda, Pivot Point, etc. Limit your exposure to negative and pessimistic people, places, and things.
  5. Train continuously. Push, push, and push yourself — this means not waiting until you go to a class or seminar. Learn everyday from the salon; go online while you are waiting for clients. Here is the best part: your prices should reflect your commitment to perfecting your skills. Charge for your dedication to being the best. Come on.

Decide on the type of work you want to do, the level, and quality. Then, find your tribe that supports you. Hang with people who do the type of work in which you want to excel. Throw yourself into it. Wear the black, the tats and shave your head, it’s all part of it and I love it — because the big payoff of having a career is being happy. What a concept.

The alternative? Move to Burundi where apparently there is lots of cash sitting around.

I’ve got contacts.


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