We often receive enquiries from people who are looking for a complete change in career but just aren’t really sure where to start. Many of our learners have spent years in full time employment, so the prospect of trying something completely new and starting up on their own can be daunting. Undertaking training in some potentially lucrative treatments is a great first step, but once you’ve got your certificates, what happens next? How do you go from newly trained aesthetic practitioner to someone who’s actually practising and treating patients on a regular basis?
Start treating straight away
Something that we advise all of our learners to do once they have completed their training is to line up a few family members or friends to have treatment as soon as possible. This is for two reasons; firstly, it means that you’re practising straight away. We often hear back from learners who have, for whatever reason, not picked up a syringe since their training and now, months later, they’ve lost all their confidence. Don’t put it off! Secondly, you’re building up a portfolio of photos. We’ll get to marketing later, but as we have previously discussed in our Marketing Guide, before and after photos are an invaluable resource when it comes to promoting your services.
Spread the word
Once you’ve treated those first few clients, encourage them to spread the word! Word of mouth is one of the most effective methods of marketing - people are far more likely to make a purchase based on the recommendation of someone they know - so the more your clients talk about you, the better.
Social media is also a great way for your clients to spread the word about you, so if they’re active on Facebook or Instagram, ask them to share a post about their treatment and tag you (or your business) in the post.
Of course, some clients prefer to keep their aesthetic treatments private, so they won’t always be willing to broadcast what they’ve “had done” to the world, but you may find that offering a reward will help with this. You could even develop a referral scheme, where anyone who refers a new client to you will receive a discount off their next treatment
Connect with local salons
Many aesthetic practitioners find that one of the most effective ways to build up a client base is to work with local beauty or hair salons. Beauty businesses already have clients for you to market to AND they are likely to be people who take an active interest in their appearance.
There are a couple of ways to do this. If you’re a mobile practitioner and the salon has a treatment room that isn’t always in use, you could agree with the owner to come in on a regular basis and treat clients. Different arrangements work for different people; some practitioners pay a fixed fee to essentially “rent” the room, while others negotiate with the salon owner and instead give them a percentage of their takings. We have found that the second option can be more successful as the salon owner may be more motivated to promote you to their clients if they know that they will receive a percentage from every treatment you carry out. It’s also worth offering a discount or referral scheme to the other staff in the salon, as they will be the ones who interact with the clients regularly and can, therefore, tell them about your business.
If you are already working from a premises or not able to travel to different locations, you can still speak to local salon owners in your area to ask if they’d be willing to refer their clients to you for aesthetic treatments. Again, a referral scheme can work really well here, especially if you’re the only person in the area who offers aesthetic procedures.
One thing to remember when working with other beauty businesses is to be careful not to “step on anyone’s toes”. Sometimes there can be some cross over between the treatments that you’re offering and the treatments the salon already does, especially if you’re treating the skin. This can lead to a conflict of interest and can ultimately lose you a great source of income. Before you start working with a salon, make sure you agree with the owner which treatments they are happy for you to offer their clients.
We’ve already written a whole guide on marketing, which you can find here, so we won’t spend too long on this point. But remember that using online methods such as social media, website and email marketing to promote your business can be a great way to promote your services to both new and existing clients.
The most successful practitioners are the ones who have a great rapport and relationship with their clients. Of course, it also helps to be great at what you do, but in an industry like ours, where you’re spending lots of one to one time with people, it’s vital to make sure that your clients not only like your work but also like and trust you. The better your relationship with your clients, the more likely they are to keep coming back to you and to tell others about you.
Put the work in
The most important thing to remember is that building a successful aesthetics business is going to take commitment and patience. It will only happen if you’re willing to put the time in, which means, if you’ve already got a full time job, that you will need to work on your days off. Like most things, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out, but you’ll probably find that things start off slowly. Don’t lose heart if you only have a couple of patients in the beginning. Keep promoting yourself, explore other avenues and eventually you will start to reap the rewards.