If you joined the hair industry thinking it would be quick easy money, fun to hang with interesting people and a release for your inner artist, you probably found out pretty quickly that it’s not always that simple. There are definitely days, weeks and even months that the above is true…but without a doubt, every hairdresser faces burnout, angry guests and a time when their guest book looks like the empty surface of the Sahara Desert. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not trying to scare you, I want you to feel comfort in knowing you are not alone. Everyone has gone through this at some point in his or her career, and most have found their way out as a stronger stylist than ever before by reviving their mojo. The choice is yours.
First, take an honest look at your world…has something changed? Can you see a cause for the problem? Look from the inside, it’s easy to throw the blame onto others or onto the salon, but if the problem lies outside of you, you don’t have much control over it. If you don’t see something obvious, it’s ok. It could simply be a case of burnout and that’s something that you can bounce back from.
Burnout is not usually a symptom of hard work, it’s usually a lack of change or evolution in your career. No one can do the same thing over and over again 40 plus hours a week and not get bored, so you need to change. Take a break and re-educate yourself. Book a class, start a cutting club with friends at the salon and come together and share ideas, or maybe just take a vacation somewhere that inspires you. You must evolve on a regular basis, and if you don’t create a plan to do so, you will always fall into the pattern of just providing a service rather than living your passion through your craft.
Next, it’s time to shake up your clientele. If you’re booked 6 weeks in advance, it’s time to raise those prices and create space for some new faces. We often see stylists that proudly exclaim, “I’m not taking any new clients… I’m full.” This is shutting down the natural flow and limits you when it’s time to give yourself a raise… the recommendation is to always keep your business open to new guests that can feed new experiences. My Education Director, Andrew Carruthers, found himself in this situation a few years back and took a big leap - a $25 price raise across the board. Yes, it was very scary for him, but he knew it would take that large of an increase to open space in his clientele. To his surprise, most actually stayed with him and it actually increased the demand by new clients! So, he started to schedule his colors with other people in the salon, allowing him to focus on his major passion… the haircut. We are so scared to disrupt our clientele out of a mindset of scarcity, and many times it’s just what we need to make shifts in our career that we see as impossible.
On the other end, some of you may be feeling drained because you’re struggling to build a strong clientele. Everyone is looking for that magic bullet that is hiding somewhere deep inside the pockets of the great stylists of the world… how did they do it? What did they do that I’m not doing? Well, I have the key… are you ready for it? Consistency. Are you disappointed? You are probably saying, “I’ve been consistently handing out cards, displaying my work on social media and asking for referrals for months and I haven’t seen any change.” Keep doing it!!! In the movie “The Secret,” they talk about a plant that is growing from a seed. You plant the seed, you fertilize it, you water it, and yet from above the soil, you see nothing happening. You continue hoping that things are happening under ground and after a few weeks of seeing nothing, you assume it’s not working… so you stop the watering and fertilizing. What you didn’t know is, right at that moment that first shoot was just days away from peaking through the soil… you just let up too soon. This is almost always the case when we talk to young hairdressers about their struggle to grow their business. Every successful stylist remembers their tipping point where all their hard work finally paid off. It happens slowly, then suddenly. So, get excited about the small victories and keep pushing! Do not slow down as you start to see progress. In fact, this is your opportunity to push harder than ever before since you have momentum on your side.
So, how do you revive your mojo? You change... and if a little change doesn’t help, you may need to throw things into the blender for a moment and really shake it up. Even small changes are scary. Our minds have a way of telling us the bleakest story of what disaster may come if we change. The only true way around this is to face that fear, trust in our own power, and take action.
Aspire for More!
[Credits for Image: The Blockhouse in Nashville, Tennessee; Lauren Napier]