Amy Baugh @hairbyamybee discovered her passion for natural-looking hair color and now...

Amy Baugh @hairbyamybee discovered her passion for natural-looking hair color and now specializes successfully.

You love balayage and braiding, but men’s haircutting? Not so much. Yet as a solo artist, you worry that limiting your services to just those you prefer doing could be a mistake. Are those worries founded or unfounded? Can you specialize as a solo artist? Many top solo artists believe you can. “When I first started out, I took anything and everything to try to build a clientele,” says solo artist and #ittakesapro team member Amy Baugh, @hairbyamybee. “But once I realized creating natural-looking hair color was my passion, I decided life is too short to spend my time doing anything other than what I love and what makes my soul happy. So I shifted my focus and was able to build my dream clientele!”

Here’s How It’s Done
Pros agree today’s strategy for putting yourself out there as a specialist generally involves Instagram. “I specialize in vivid hair color, braiding and styling,” says #ittakesapro team member Stephanie Hodges, @stephstyles. “That’s my brand. To promote my braiding, I embarked on a project called 365 Days of Braiding. I posted a different braid on Instagram every day for a year. It was a lot of work—some days you’re tired and you don’t want to create and shoot a new braid, but you have to hustle. Now clients come to me for this work, other clients reach out to me to create braids and festival for photo shoots. Salon Centric approached me for images to use in a festival hair collection. We live in a social world and you have to put your work out there.”

Catherine Long, @catherinelovescolor and #ittakesapro team member also committed to building a social media presence to pursue her passion for blonding, balayage and corrective color. “When I first switched to specializing in color it was hard because no stylist in my area had done that,” she says. “I started by marketing myself on social media every day with color transformations, blonde clients and balayage, balayage, balayage! Before I knew it, my hard work paid off and I was turning people away!”

For #ittakesapro team member Vanessa Bautista, @glamvstudio, Facebook is the platform of choice. “I specialize in color correction, balayage and styling,” she says. “I find I get most of my referrals through Facebook—it appeals to the age range of people in my chair. I’ll post a photo of a client, she’ll share it on her page and get so many comments I’ll get at least one or two new clients from the post.”

Stay Strong, Stay Smart
All pros agree it may not be easy for solo artists to specialize at first, so it’s important to take your time. “If you’re just starting out,” advises #ittakesapro team member Antonio Estrada, @antestradahair, “don’t specialize right away. Instead, focus on learning as much as you can. This will allow you to build a clientele and live without financial stress. Once you have that foundation, you can start specializing in what you love. And when you do, practice, practice, practice and get as much education in your area as you can. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Be open to constructive criticism. And don’t give up!”

In the end, it can pay off. “Now I am also a balayage and blonding private educator,” says Long. “I took a chance on something I love, and I have no regrets. I used to hate my job because I was doing things I didn’t like. Now I only do what I love!”

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