Do you remember in the beginning of your career when you thought the worst thing that could happen would be a client who sits down in your chair and asks for a haircut you don't know how to do? Or that feeling where you'd rather cut a chunk out of your own finger than give a client hot roots?
Well, that's nothing compared to what happens to most stylists as their career evolves. There are some career crushing mistakes that basically every hairstylist will make once or twice if not over and over and over again, and I figured if I could shed some light on these career crushing mistakes. The funny thing is that the more comfortable a stylist gets in their career, the more likely they are to make these mistakes. They aren't always lessons corrected in time. I encourage you now to review the list and commit to making the change in your business today.
Career Crushing Mistake #1: This is one that we're all guilty of, myself included: Quit talking sh*t in the break room!. It is so easy to get sucked into this. One stylist comes in the back and talks about how annoying his recent client just was, and then you share a funny story about how annoying your client is, and then somebody else chimes in, and before you know it, you've all decided that all clients are horrible and your job would be so much better if the clients would just go away.
Well, guess what? The more you talk about that, the more they will just go away, and the more you'll find yourself dreading going to the salon every single day. I never want you to get to that place when you're around others stylists who are talking crap about their clients and you chime right it. Now, it's bound to happen in your salon so instead of diving in head first, try to smile, nod, appreciate, have a little laugh, but don't be too caught up in it. Remember that our clients pay our bills, so appreciate the good ones, realize you're in one of the best careers on the planet and enjoy every minute of it.
Career Crushing Mistake #2: Discounting clients: This is a slippery slope and one that I was definitely guilty of. We discount clients, generally speaking, for two reasons: One, because we don't feel like we're worth it, and two because we feel like they can't afford us.
First of all, we don't get to be in our clients' pocketbooks. We don't get to decide what they can and can't afford today. They made the choice to book in an appointment and come in to see you. They are choosing to spend money with you voluntarily so let them do that. One way to counterbalance that is to talk about your pricing up front. This can be done very strategically where the client doesn't feel uncomfortable, and then you don't have to be worried about a big discount at the end.
If you tend to discount because you don't feel like you can't justify charging somebody your set price, do some soul searching and find confidence in yourself and your skills. Honestly, lack of confidence is something that most every stylist struggles with and it isn't something that always improves in time. Techniques are always changing and when you try something new or different, it can be a little bit scary, but remember, your clients came to see you because they trust you. The more faith you have in yourself and confidence you have, the better the experience will be for you and for the client.
Also, when you're discounting, think about this. If you discount just 25 clients, $5 each, every single month, you would lose $1,500 a year. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to lose that much money, so quit discounting!
Career Crushing Mistake #3: Not taking enough classes OR not taking the right classes. When it comes to our industry, I think it rivals tech as far as fast growth and change. If you're in my Thrivers Society, you know my rule, you have to spend $500 a year on advanced education, and that is above and beyond whatever your incredibly generous salon owner's already offering you.
Our industry just changes way too fast to think that you know everything. I know, I see new techniques popping up on Instagram every single month, and clients see those kind of things too, and you never want to be in a position where a client comes in and shows you a picture and says, "I really want my hair like this," and your stomach drops and you think, "I have no idea how to pull that off." Usually, that happens when we let our education lapse. There will never come a time in your career in this industry where you know everything.
When you're signing up for education, it's important to take the RIGHT classes too. Really think about your target market, your goals and invest wisely. Be sure that whatever class you take will leave you with a skill set that you can apply to your business today and increase your revenue tomorrow.
The super awesome bonus is that education recharges your battery. There is nothing more inspiring than being around a group of other inspired stylists, kind of fueling your fire that way, and you'll fall in love with your career all over again. $500 a year, that's my rule.
Career Crushing Mistake #4: Not selling retail. I know that a lot of us don't like to sell retail. We didn't get into the industry to be salespeople. I know that I didn't. That being said, I was always pretty good at selling retail. I realized that it was something that my clients appreciated, and I don't know about you guys, but I'm a product junkie and I'll spend some good money to have my hair and my makeup look really good, and a lot of clients feel that way too. They believe that retail sales are part of the experience and they want you to talk about it.
I actually surveyed the clients in our salon, and over 80% said they appreciate it when you talk about what's new in the salon as far as retail goes, at each and every visit. Clients are telling us they want to hear about it, they want to talk about it, and they want to buy some from you, so don't be afraid to sell it. Retail equals retention and referrals. The more we can get clients to buy into us, the longer they're going to stay with us and the more likely they'll send their friends our way too.
Career Crushing Mistake #5: The biggest career crusher of all time is the most common and most devastating: forgetting to be constantly growing. I cannot tell you how often stylists reach out to me and say:
"I don't know what happened, Britt. I've been a stylist for 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, and I was doing amazing, and all of a sudden, my clientele has jumped off a cliff. I have no business."
Well, they didn't jump off a cliff. It was actually probably a slow decline that you kind of didn't see coming and it snuck up on you when you lost $15,000 over the last year. This is very common. Even for the most successful stylists, if you are not consistently growing, you are declining.
I want to throw a little statistic your way. If you see an average of 100 clients a month, which is a stable base, you need 8 new requests per month to maintain, 12 new requests a month to grow. Those are just the facts. Ten percent of our clientele will leave us every year due to natural attrition. They move, jobs change, life changes, it happens. When you get a new client in your chair, only about 30% are going to stick with you past the third visit. So, if you're not seeing 8 new clients a month just to maintain, 12 new clients a month to grow, you're actually losing.
Let's be honest, these career crushers are easy to slip into. I've been guilty of all 5 at a time or two so I'm sure you have too. It's okay to make mistakes, it's what you do now to correct the error that really counts.
Happy business building loves!