terri hanlon photography, confident woman, sue mclaurin makeup artist, makeup artist brisbane, brisbane makeup artist

How CONFIDENT are you?

Whenever I start working with students or coaching clients, I like to learn a little about them and their business before we start working together. I check out their work online, and I also like to have a chat with them to hear their story.  I will ask questions like what is their big dream as a makeup artist, why that is important to them, and what is stopping them from achieving their big dream right now.

It’s interesting because I almost never hear artist tell me its because they don’t have enough products in their kit, or that they lack the skills to do a perfect winged–liner, glowy skin or red lip.  What they DO tell me is that don’t have a good portfolio, they don’t know the right people, they don’t know how to go about it, or, and this is the biggest reason, they don’t have the “confidence” to go after their dreams and become successful.

Yet these same students spend money each month on buying the latest celebrity endorsed palette, or attending workshops to further build their skills.  That’s great, we all need to have an up to date kit and skills, but what concerns me is these artists are constantly chasing after more products and masterclasses while not actually improving their businesses, building confidence and earning more money.

So what is “confidence” and why do some artists seem to have so much while other artists struggle with it?

Confidence is not the absence of fear.  Because you know what?  Fear NEVER goes away.  Even after 16 years there are times when I still get nervous about doing makeup (and I still make mistakes!).  Fear is part of being human.


The first commercial job I ever worked on… Cairns, circa 2005

So what do you, as an artist, fear?  If you list down all your fears, I think you will find they boil down to just two basic fears:  The fear of not being good enough, and the fear of not being liked.  Take some time.  Have a think about this.  Go on, I’ll wait.  Maybe get a pen and paper and write down your biggest fears as an artist…

(In fact, I asked the question “What’s your biggest fear?” in a recent Instagram Stories poll, ONE person said “Winged Liner” and all other respondents mentioned their work not being good enough to make their clients happy.  See what I mean about “I’m not good enough” and “I won’t be liked”?)

One of my biggest fears is dropping a lip brush with red lipstick on it, on my client (usually a bride in her wedding dress)… can you imagine?  I actually have had nightmares about this.  Has it ever happened to me?  No… in over 500 weddings, I’ve never dropped a lip brush on a bride in her dress.  See, sometimes fear can be a GOOD thing, as it can motivate us, and make sure we do our job even better.  Because of this fear, if I ever have to do touch ups on a bride once she is in her dress, I will always have her stand, and wear a cape, so that even if I DO drop the brush, its not going to fall in her lap and stain her dress.

bride, red lip, sue mclaurin makeup, bridal makeup artist, brisbane makeup artist
My beautiful red-lipped bride Jasmine

But not every fear is helpful.  Sometimes our fears paralyse us and hold us back from doing the things we KNOW we need to do to achieve that which we want to achieve.  Think about an artist who allows fear to stop her from reaching out to photographers she wants to network with. She might explain this fear by saying to herself “oh but why would they want to work with me?”  See how this fear is really about her not feeling like she is good enough, and also about not being liked?  Do you know anyone with that fear?  Maybe yourself?  I think we ALL suffer from that fear from time to time.  If you do, know that you are NOT alone, even the most amazing artists have felt this way at some point or another.  The important thing is to not allow the fear to stop you, and to learn to work with the fear.

Remember earlier I said that Confidence is not the absence of fear.  Rather, its learning to live with fear, and act anyway!  One of my favourite books is called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers…  I recommend anyone who ever feels fear (that’s everyone!) reads it… several times!! In this book Susan talks about the “When… then” game.  So you might say “when I feel more confident, then I will advertise my makeup services” or “when I am happy with my images, I will build my website” but really this is flawed logic.  Its only in ACTION that we can conquer our fears.

I recommend everyone reads this book

So how do we do that? How do we act in spite of fear? Well, I believe it’s a matter of focus. One of my favourite mantras is “What you focus on expands” and when you apply that to fear, it means that if you focus on the worst thing that could happen, it tends to become even more horrible (and more likely) in your own mind.  It’s a strange part of human nature that we tend naturally to focus on what we DON’T want to happen, what we DON’T have, and what we CAN’T do. Apparently it has something to do with when we were cave-men and women and we were in danger of being eaten by sabre-toothed tigers all the time.

If we INSTEAD change our focus to what we DO want to happen, what we CAN do (and control), and what we DO have, if we focus on those things, we will automatically start to feel better as our focus changes, our confidence grows, and everything changes.  Ultimately, what you want to be focussed on is the outcomes you desire… think of your goals and why you want to achieve them.  Think about the small steps you can take to achieving your goals, and take it one step at a time.

To help with this, one of the things I recommend to all my students and clients is to reflect at the end of the day, and the end of each week on what they have achieved that day or week, to list their wins… rather than thinking about everything you didn’t get done, think about everything you DID get done.

So my challenge for you all this week is to do just that.  For the next 30 days, spend some time thinking about your WINS at the end of each day (heck, write them down!!) and you’ll be surprised at how everything changes… BUT ONLY if you take the action.

I’d love to hear about how this works for you!  Comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook and let’s all work together and become more confident!


Photo credits:

Terri Hanlon Photography
Leftfield Productions






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