Set yourself up for SUCCESS

December is a time when many people are winding down, getting ready for Christmas and holidays, attending lots of parties, and in general, the focus goes away from running a business and more towards having fun.  We makeup artists may be very busy with private clients going to Christmas parties, and finishing up our last weddings for the year.

And then along comes January!   January is usually a very quiet month for us makeup artists, especially those of us who do commercial work.  But with a bit of forward thinking and planning, you can be super productive in January and really set yourself up for a great year.  Today I’d like to offer some suggestions for areas to focus on in January, and how you can spend the last couple of weeks of December getting ready for January!


1.  Boost your Bridal Bookings.

Over my career, I’ve found that January can be a super busy time for bridal bookings.  My theory on this is that a) lots of people get engaged around New Year,  b) even for those who got engaged earlier in the year, once January rolls around, brides start thinking “OMG I’m getting married THIS YEAR” and get into a frenzy of planning, and c) after all the excitement of Christmas and New Year, getting back to work in January is a real drag, and brides need something to keep them excited.  Anyway, whatever the reasons, its safe to say that January can be a very busy time for enquiries.

The question then becomes, how can you attract these brides, and convert their enquiries into bookings?

Spend some time in December getting your portfolio looking great.  Reach out to past brides, or photographers and collect the images to update your website.  Have a critical look at your portfolio – is it representing who you are as a bridal artist and the brides you want to attract?  Does your website clearly show your style and does it speak to your ideal bride, or is it a mish-mash of styles and does it look confusing?

Review your pricing, many artists put up their pricing in January.  I actually put my prices up at the beginning of February, so that when any enquiries come in during January I can encourage them to book and pay their deposit promptly by offering last years prices if they book before January 31st.  Do you display your prices on your website?

Think about automation. Do you have a standard response that you send out to brides when they enquire with you?  An email template?  Do you have them fill in an enquiry form?  I am working on an enquiry form on my website, so that when I get enquiries through Facebook, Instagram DM or text message I can send them the link to the enquiry page which will capture all the information I need and save lots of time going backwards and forwards, and also prevents lost messages.  Keeping all your enquiries and bookings in one place is really important.  During formal week I was constantly flipping between my DMs, facebook messages and texts, until I got all my clients onto email.  It is much easier to keep track when they are all in one place.

How can you stand out from the crowd?  If a bride is enquiring with you, unless she has come via referral, she is probably enquiring with several other makeup artists too.  Is there something you can offer your brides at the initial enquiry stage to help get them to know, like and trust you? (This could be a list of your preferred vendors, a PDF with hints and tips for her wedding day, a discount code for beauty/brow/lash services if you offer those, etc)

Spending some time in December thinking about these things, and getting your systems in place, will really help you when January rolls around, so you’re not feeling like you’re playing catch up.


2.  Testing time!

January is a brilliant time for test shoots, as there is not much commercial work happening, so often photographers are looking to do something creative then too.  Don’t wait until January to start planning and reaching out though, get those ideas out of your brain, start building some Pinterest mood boards, and reaching out to photographers and stylists to set some dates now.  I already have one shoot booked in for January, and plans underway for a couple of others.

Again, this is time to look at your portfolio with a critical eye, and think about the direction you want your career to go in 2019.  Do you want to do more creative beauty?  More lifestyle commercial?  More high fashion?  Whatever the direction you want your paid work to go, set yourself up by creating that portfolio through testing.

If your career is a little more established, think of these tests with a view to submitting them for publication.  Having your work published elevates your portfolio and your career.  If you want to be doing commercial work, prospective clients will look much more favourably at a portfolio with published editorials than a portfolio of just personal clients and the odd test shoot.

If you’re not sure how to get ahead with editorial work and how to go about getting published, check out my mini-course Editorial Excellence HERE:


3.  Be purposeful with your business systems.

January is also the time when we all catch our breath, and set ourselves up for success in the next year. A big part of this is reflecting back over the past year, and looking at what worked for you and what didn’t, and how profitable your business was.  Although we are only halfway through the financial year (in Australia), I like to track my business by calendar year as well as by financial year.  Do you know where you are at in your business? How did 2018 compare to 2017?  Have you kept good records of your income, expenses, and profit, or have you just chucked all your receipts in a shoebox waiting for the end of the financial year.  Remember “That which is measured gets improved”.  Do you keep track of your numbers?

Knowing your profit margin is really important, especially for those of you who are still working in a job and looking to go full-time as a makeup artist.  It’s all very well to be earning $1000 a week, but if you’re SPENDING $800 a week, then you’re going to be clocking on and off for a long time to come.

As a freelance makeup artist or hairstylist, you are self-employed, and for many of you, who may have come from a corporate, retail or hospitality background (or even straight from school) you are probably operating with an Employee Mindset, where someone else told you what to do, and took care of all the behind the scenes “Business” stuff.  Becoming self-employed is super exciting, and a big part of it is making that shift from Employee Mindset to Entrepreneur Mindset.  Knowing how to manage your business, your clients and your finances is a big part of this mindset shift.

I encourage all of you to spend some time in January looking at your business systems, and getting to know your numbers (and I’m not just talking about Instagram followers!!). You can set yourself up in December by gathering together all your receipts, bank statements, invoices etc.

In January I will be launching a new Masterclass series which will help you to put smart business systems into place, so its not an overwhelming drag at the end of the financial year to prepare everything for your tax agent.  Keep your eye on your emails for news about this fantastic Masterclass (or reply to this email and let me know if you’d like to be put on the list to be first to hear about it – and the super early bird pricing).



4.  Reflect, Rejoice and Recharge!!

Of course, the end of the year is also a time to celebrate.  Look back over the year that was 2018 and reflect on how far you have come. What were your big achievements for the year?  What was your biggest challenge?  Spend some time reflecting and being grateful for all the good things that came your way, AND the lessons too.  Then wrap it in a bow, and get ready to move into the New Year with new goals and determination.


Did you like this article? Please feel free to comment below, letting me know what was your biggest achievement in 2018.  And, don’t forget you can share this to your facebook page if you feel it will be of value to other makeup artists too!


Photo credits:

  1. Kenny Smith Photography
  2. Unknown
  3. Daniel Sangermani 
  4. Elisabeth Willis



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