Stay put or move on? Most hairdressers ponder that question at least once, if not many times, throughout their career. The salon family is like any relationship—there are good days and bad days. When the bad days seem to be coming around more and more often, it starts to force the consideration if it’s the right fit.
This is an extremely important decision that deserves some pretty deep consideration. Each time you move salons, you most likely will lose a portion of your guest list, and if it happens multiple times, it can really shake people’s confidence in you as a hairdresser. It can also make it more difficult to get into a new salon if they see a history of frequent moves.
Here’s the honest and undeniable truth: nothing is perfect. When you first start at a new salon, the shiny surface keeps you distracted from the little imperfections that exist in any business. As time goes on and you become more comfortable, you can begin to notice little things, like the lighting casts hard shadows on your guest’s face, or the music is always too loud. When you stop by your friend’s salon, you think, “Wow, look at how perfect their lighting is, and the music is so pleasant!”
But, when that friend visits your salon, she is always thinking, “Wow, look at how nice the front desk is, and everyone seems to get along really well.” This is the “grass is always greener” syndrome. Every salon will have its strengths and benefits, as well as a few weaknesses and compromises. You need to figure out what is most important to you and what compromises you are willing to live with.
Here’s a suggestion for when you’re considering changing salons (or looking for your first salon). Take some time and answer these questions in detail:
- What are my personal core values?
- Which of those values must be shared by the salon that I work at?
- What are my non-negotiable elements of my business (commission, booth rent, education provided, etc.)?
- What kind of environment do I want to work in?
- What kind of clientele do I want to work with?
- Does my current salon support these elements?
Then answer these questions:
- What are the most significant factors influencing me to consider leaving the salon?
- Are these in conflict with what I wrote in the first set of questions?
- Are there solutions to these challenges?
- What opportunities are available if I do decide to leave?
Hopefully this process will help you to see where your focus is. It’s easy to allow small challenges and imperfections to build up to a point that you have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. Or, maybe it will reveal that the challenges that seem to be on the surface are much deeper and it’s an issue where the values of the salon are not in alignment with your own.
In the end, the final decision is yours. If you do decide that your situation is compromised enough that it requires a change, or that there is a much better opportunity available elsewhere, handle the departure with grace and respect. Even in the worst situations, burning bridges and leaving a trail of chaos behind does not benefit your future.
Your career is a journey, my friends. Enjoy every moment of that journey—even the hard parts.
Aspire for more!