7 Tips For Starting Your Own Beauty Therapy Business From Home
It’s not uncommon in the beauty industry to find thriving at-home hairdressing and beauty businesses. Working from home offers greater flexibility and it allows you to get started in a job with your ideal hours and customers. That said, it also comes with some challenges.
A rewarding job and lifestyle
About the industry
Working as a self-employed beauty therapist can also be financially rewarding. In New Zealand, most people in the beauty industry with two years’ experience can earn between minimum wage and $60,000 a year, however, salaries tend to be higher among salon owners who run their own business.
Key responsibilities for beauty therapists include:
Offering beauty services such as:
- hair removal
- applying make-up
Communicating with customers clearly and in a friendly manner when conducting services as well as booking appointments and answering queries.
Maintaining customer records and taking payments.
Upholding hygiene and safety requirements at all times.
Leaving customers looking and feeling their best.
Crucial skills for beauty therapists
The crucial skills you need for being a beauty therapist – such as good hygiene practices, customer service skills, and service techniques – can be honed as you gain qualifications and experience.
On top of those, as you prepare for starting your own business, you’ll also need to build great working from home know-how, including:
What qualifications will you need?
Typically, beauticians require vocational training in beauty therapy or cosmetology with a TAFE Certificate II, Certificate III, Certificate IV, or Diploma of Beauty Therapy or Diploma of Salon Management. Advanced diplomas are also available.
They also need hands-on experience – you can gain this by choosing a course that has a practical placement component, or through apprenticeships or traineeships, or work experience.
7 Tips for working from home as a beauty therapist
Tip 1: Get some experience
After you get qualified as a beauty therapist, you’ll need to get confident in the job. When you go out on your own, you won’t have colleagues to guide you through anything you’re not sure of. It’s a good idea to have a few years of experience in the field before starting your own business so that you can develop your skills under the care and direction of a manager.
Tip 2: Get business savvy
Starting a business is heavy on the admin. It’s important to understand your obligations so that you can prepare to meet them.
If it all sounds overwhelming, there are lots of resources out there. You could take a short course on running a new business, find a startup coach, find professional mentors, or even ask questions of people in your local area who’ve made the transition to self-employment.
Tip 3: Consider your space
Setting up an at-home business involves asking important questions about how well your home will facilitate clients. Firstly, it’s important to check whether you’re allowed to set up a business from where you live: you may have to check local zoning laws, and if you rent, you may need permission from your landlord, depending on your tenancy agreement.
As well, ask yourself whether your space is good for running a business:
Have you done your market research? Do you have good evidence that there is demand for your services in the area you live?
Although not necessary, it’s ideal to have a separate space for work. Having a space dedicated to work, and a space dedicated to personal time can help you relax and get out of work mode. It also means you don’t have to pack up/unpack your equipment every day.
Do you have a separate entrance so people aren’t walking through your house when they come for treatments? If not, can you make sure areas of your house are kept private?
Do you have an area where people can wait when you’re with another client?
If your space is unsuitable, another option is to become a mobile beauty therapist where you offer to travel to customers’ homes to deliver your services.
Tip 4: Hone your set-up
It’s important to consider what kinds of beauty therapy treatments you want to offer and are qualified to offer, and then the equipment you’ll need to carry out those services. Do your research on costs, whether you can buy it new or used, what the best brands are, and what equipment is required for you to comply with government regulations.
Equipment may include things like:
Beds for body massage and other body treatments
Spray tanning, waxing, skincare, eyelash, or other kits
An electrolysis or skin analysis machine
Ear, nose, or dermal piercing equipment
A nail desk, polish, LED lamps, and other nail technology
Towels and robes
Essential oils for aromatherapy
You also need to select what brands and cosmetic products to use to best serve your client’s needs. You may already have favourites, or certain products you’re comfortable with or have specific training to use. If not, you can research what’s out there and find ones you like. As a business-owner, you may be able to get wholesale prices or bulk deals.
All businesses also need computers, appointments systems and business software (including specialised beauty or salon software), and a way of accepting payments like a credit card or EFTPOS machine.
Creating a calming space
Beauty salons also offer clients a feeling of luxury and relaxation alongside spa treatments, which you can achieve through décor.
Think about how you want people to feel when you’re offering them services, and then think about how your space could support that – without breaking your budget.
Upholding health and safety
Finally, it’s really important to have a plan to uphold you and your customers’ health and safety. Make sure the space is well-ventilated, and that you have an evacuation procedure in case something goes wrong. It’s important to sterilise equipment, for which an autoclave is a very useful piece of equipment. You may also need to set up clinical waste disposal, for instance for used wax strips or other single-use items.
Tip 5: Make a business plan
When you have a good idea about what work is involved in setting up a business and what you need, you can start to make a thorough plan about what your business is going to do, and what your costs and expected income are likely to be.
You’ll need to decide on:
- A business name
- The services you want to offer
- Who your target market is
- Whether you need a business loan
- Your basic business structure (for example, if you’ll have any employees)
- What your salary is going to be
- Your marketing plan
- Your plans for growing your client base.
Talk through your plan with people you know and get feedback.
Tip 6: Identify challenges and prepare for dealing with them
Think about what aspects of running a business sound most difficult, or that you need to learn about. Make a list of those things and ask for advice on how to overcome them.
Here are some common challenges to starting a business, and ideas for dealing with them:
Problems with cashflow
Often when you’re running a business there are peaks and troughs in income. Make sure you’re putting enough aside to stay afloat when business is a little slower.
Especially when you’re just starting out, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to new customers, working later then you’d like, or taking on too much. Remember to keep time for yourself and set boundaries.
Not saving up
Running your own business means not getting sick pay and annual leave, it also means that you need to save money to meet your tax obligations.
Not valuing yourself enough
Often people just starting out make the mistake of offering low cost services to the point of undervaluing their business – make sure you’re charging a price that’s fair to your labour, skills, and knowledge, and that allows you to make a good profit.
Not researching enough
At a certain point, starting your own business involves jumping into the deep end, but you’ll give yourself the best start if you know all about your industry, have a solid plan, and have sorted out your strategies for success. One way of testing your business model is to start your at-home business as a part-time side-hustle as you continue working in your day-job before you commit to running your business full-time.
Tip 7: Prepare for customers
Finally, you need to let people know that you’re about to open for business!
There’s a range of potential marketing strategies such as:
- Building word-of-mouth
- Making a website
- Having a strong social media presence
- Listing your business on platforms like Google Maps, the Yellow Pages, or listings of local businesses in your area.
When you think about your advertising and branding, think about how you want customers to feel when they go to your business, and try to reflect that in your design choices. For additional marketing ideas, it may be a good idea to consult with small business branding or web design professionals, however existing, free website templates for salon businesses or beauty businesses may work for you.
Regardless of what marketing options you choose, it’s useful to make available a list of what services you plan to provide and your pricing so that potential clients can easily see if they’re relevant to them.
When you’re just starting out, an online portfolio of your nail art or brow treatments, or whatever examples of your work you’re particularly proud of can show new clients your skills.
Setting up an at-home beauty therapy business can be challenging and can take a lot of time, with lots of elements to consider from bookkeeping, marketing, interior decorating, and procuring equipment. However, the rewards of a satisfying, self-led career can be amazing, and having a successful business is in reach.
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