For as long as the world can remember, people have styled their hair and beards in certain fashions as a display of wealth and status. Cultures around the world have differing perceptions on hair and how it should be styled.

Hairstylists have existed for thousands of years and their job has maintained its relevance, cutting and styling people’s hair in accordance to social or cultural convictions, or in later times, according to each individual’s sense of style.

These experts more or less work in hairdressing salons or barber shops. These establishments also tend to vary according to the type of customers they service. Some hairdressing salons focus mostly on female customers, offering other services that may include makeup consultations and application, nail care services, and spa treatments; whereas barber shops specialize in male clients, as their hairstylists or barbers are also trained in cutting and styling facial hair.

Even though hair salons and barber shops are the most common workplaces for hairstylists, they can also be found working in theatre, television, and motion picture production studios as part of the hair and costumes department.

The Pros of Being a Hairstylist

Now let’s get into all the wonderful benefits that come along with being a hairstylist:

  1. Short Program/Get Started Early

In the United States, becoming a licensed stylist can be done even before you graduate high school! Note that many trade schools offer programs that will train students in the field of cosmetology allowing one to graduate with their hair license and diploma! One of the significant things that appeal to people entering the field of cosmetology is the length of the program. Normally, acquiring a hair license takes about twelve to fourteen months. There’s also the option to attend school part-time, though that will make the program about two to four months longer. In addition, you can work as an apprentice for two years and then complete their boards to become a licensed stylist! Although the second option takes longer, it allows the student to make and save money, get hands-on experience and find quicker job placement.

  1. Flexibility

As a hairstylist, you may choose to work for a salon or for yourself. You may opt to work in an 8-hour shift or by appointment only. You may also establish your own salon or offer home service. Flexibility is a rare benefit in this fast-moving world. As a man or woman with kids, a demanding school schedule or balancing other entrepreneurial endeavours, it’s a massive plus that being a stylist offers you flexibility in your life.

  1. Work at a Salon/Work For Yourself

Note that being a stylist means being a boss. Though it can also mean being an employee! As a stylist, you can choose to open your salon, work out of a suite or even work out of your home! These options are all up to what you feel is most beneficial for your financial budget and the advancement of your career. Choosing to work in a salon or suite will mean that you will be required to pay rent either directly to the suite you are leasing or to the salon owner for your booth. While working from your home or starting up your salon can be another process altogether! Irrespective of the route you choose, be sure to do your research thoroughly and shop around for what is best for you.

  1. Cash On Demand

Another benefit of being a hair stylist is getting cash every day as payment for your service and even some generous tips. Cash on demand helps avoid the nuisance of waiting for a pay check or counting working hours. Nonetheless, if you are an employee at a salon, this will differ as you will be receiving what you have agreed upon with your boss. But you could always bargain on the salary depending on your skills and experience.

  1. Schedule

Note that the last thing one needs in this modern world is the lack of balance and feeling trapped in a career. As a stylist, you’ll choose your working days and hours. Most stylists choose to work Tuesday through Saturday, approximately 10am to 6pm, but the beauty of being a stylist means that any day is up for grabs. In addition, you can cut your workday short or shift your clients around. The flexibility is endless.

  1. Can Turn Into Other Careers

This flexibility can also funnel into other careers. Being a stylist gives the clientele and base for sprouting up other supporting branches like selling hair or coming out with a hair product line. With doing so, you can sprout an additional source of income from your career as a stylist. Being a hair stylist can be a path to get you into many other blooming careers. Be positive. Stay committed to your job and focused on building a brand.

  1. Interacting with Different People

A hairdresser always has this opportunity with various types of clients, young or old, male or female. According to some, it is this dealing with different personalities that add challenge and reward to the job. A hair stylist is prevented from boredom as each client requires specific hair care needs.

The Cons of Being a Hairstylist

  1. Unknown Income

In this business, some stylist receive income based on how many clients they have, what their clients are paying based on their service and the addition of tips, any given amount should be expected. In addition, cancellations and no-shows can cut into a hairstylist weekly cash-out. Due to these many uncertainties, it can be hard to calculate earnings on a weekly or monthly basis.

  1. Self Promotion and Building Clientele

In this business, every hairstylist needs to be their own biggest fan. As an independent stylist, you are expected to promote yourself to gain clientele and showcase your skills. You can never depend on your clients returning for sure or new people taking a chance on you, the best approach is always to put your best foot forward. Note that plugging oneself can become frustrating for a reserved person or someone more comfortable with working a job with regular customers. However, staying consistent with excellent customer service, doing your job well and active promotion will grow and maintain your clientele.

  1. Booth Rent

As an independent stylist, you are expected to find an office or salon. You could either be part of a salon or pay suite rent or booth that could vary from between 100$ and 300$ each week. If it’s a new stylist, this can be a substantial requirement. However, you could always start as an employee as you earn and save on working on your independent brand.

  1. Being The Boss and The Worker

As a worker, you are expected to show up to work and do your job to the best of your ability. Being a boss, it’s your job to make sure everything is running smoothly, and everybody is on point. As a stylist, you must do both. You are expected to manage your money, time with clients and appointments. It can be quite daunting to juggle so many things and still make sure that your client’s curls still come out bouncy.

  1. Competition

There are many other hairstylists in the United States, each with his or her own skills. If you will not think of an effective marketing strategy, you will be left with just a few clients. You may pursue additional training on the recent hair dressing techniques; you may offer a light massage or any freebie that will make your service extraordinary and special to your clients.

  1. Acquiring Work Tools

Whether you work in a salon or at home, you will be expected to acquire work-related items to perform your job. These things may include shampoos, towels, dryers, and curlers provided by the salon. Nonetheless, additional tools like flat irons, hair clips, and shears (which can be expensive) are acquired by the stylist. However, it is advisable you Invest in your products and tools; don’t cheat yourself or your clients when it comes to quality shears and flat irons. Include expenses like clips, mousse or hair wraps as necessities with the money allotted for your booth rent. Also note that saving as you go allows your materials to stay restocked. Keep track of your things within the salon and take care of your products and tools. Proper care and storage practices can bring you a long way!

  1. Dealing With Different Personalities

Although this may be seen as a disadvantage for a person who has less interest and patience in dealing with people, but it is generally an advantage for stylists. Not all clients are easy to deal with. As a hairstylist, there will be times when you will be working for difficult to please clients. Some clients will want to focus on how you would handle your scissors, some will not like the way you shampoo their hair and others will even mind the way you speak and talk to them. So you must be careful and gentle with your hair styling and communication skills.

  1. No Benefits

As an independent stylist in the United States, even if you pay booth rent, you are still considering working for yourself. No benefits mean that stylists have no dental, life or health insurance provided by their employer. Unlike other careers that reward you for twenty years of loyal service, most salons do not offer a retirement fund. Having no social security set aside for you means that stylist is responsible for securing their future later on. The hair game is unpredictable, and while one week you may have taken home a thousand dollars or better, next week you can fall just below three hundred. Try to save a set amount of money each week outside of your booth rent, and outside responsibilities. It is very necessary to plan for later so that you always have a security net.

Conclusion

Every career path will has its pros and cons, but a career as a hairstylist can be gratifying. Nonetheless, before deciding on becoming a stylist, be very realistic about your goals and your personality. You should be a person that is good with direction, budget, time management and meeting others. Being a stylist allows for growth, quick and steady money and is fulfilling when you see the smile spread on your clients face.

Ajaero Tony Martins