As a cosmetologist, you get really close to your clients. You talk about intimate details ranging from the condition of their skin to the color of their hair. To be successful, you have to like people, like touching them and like helping them look better and feel better about themselves. When you care about your clients, they know it and will come back and send their friends.
Sure, it’s good to be able to talk with clients when they’re in your chair, but more importantly, you’ve got to be an effective listener. Clients tell you what they want and you need to be able to either give them the results they’re hoping for or explain why it’s impossible. While they are explaining their needs, they may not be able to put it in terms you understand, so active listening means you repeat back what you think they’re telling you. Also, if you watch for visual clues, like how they’re shaping their hair with their hands, you can get a pretty good idea of what they are trying to relay to you.
Creative types often are drawn to the profession because you can use your clients’ hair and faces as your canvas. Come up with new and exciting styles and looks for clients and you’ll be a star in your salon. You’ll have more referrals than you can handle when you create new styles that others want to duplicate. Additionally, as a creative artist, you need to keep up with trends that others create and learn how to give your own clients the latest and greatest.
While creative types often are more big-picture type of gals, in the world of cosmetology, it’s vital that you pay attention to the details. One wrong snip and you can ruin a client’s wedding pictures. Mix up a bad batch of color because you weren’t paying attention to the chemicals and you could physically harm a client, scar her for life or at least, ruin a big date night she was planning. Skin and hair are very individual, so you must pay close attention to the condition of your clients’ bodies as well as the products you use on them.
You can’t be the kind of woman who gives up easily or who can’t hang for the long haul. When business is good, you’ve got to get it on. That means you’ll be standing for long periods of time and may end up working with the same person for hours on end. Persnickety clients may keep you long after you believe you’re done. They want one more little snip on the sides or they don’t like the eye shadow color you used and want their makeup redone. A persevering personality type has a stick-to-it-ness that allows you to take deep breaths, smile and keep going.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."