10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Leaving a Commission Salon

There are a lot of questions that’ll start coming up once you start thinking about doing your own thing as a beauty professional, but one of the first things you’ll want to ask yourself is ‘Why?’ As with most major life changes, understanding your motivation for making the next move can help you figure out the best next steps to take. Maybe you’ve had enough of helicopter managers and catty coworkers or perhaps you’re just ready to step into your own power as an entrepreneur. Either way, knowing your “why” is step number one. After that, think through these 10 questions before you say “peace out” to a commission-based situation, so you can leave in the strongest position possible.

1. Am I ready for the responsibilities?

Starting your own business is empowering and liberating, but it also comes with great responsibility. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Totally. Get excited, get motivated, and get hyped up, but set aside some time to get down to brass tacks, too. Being the one in charge of managing a property, securing permits and licenses, overseeing schedules, and prioritizing client relationships isn’t always easy. But you’re not afraid of a little hard work, right, Boss?

2. What space will I work from?

You’ve determined the why, but now you have to figure out the where. As a business owner, property expenses will almost always make up the greatest chunk of your overhead, so take that into consideration as you ponder your next move. In addition to cost, there are several pros and cons to the variety of spaces to choose from. As a more entry-level option, a booth rental usually gives you a stall or a small area within a salon, but a salon suite gives you an entire space to yourself. Alternatively, you may want to look into taking your talents on the road, literally, and go mobile. Think about the services you’ll offer, the amount of privacy your clients would appreciate, and naturally, what you can afford. More on that, up next.

3. Am I making enough to cover my overhead?

As you start conceptualizing your escape route, one of the most obvious considerations should be how much money you’re making and whether it is enough to manage all of your expenses. Run your numbers to make sure you’re not only making enough to live the lifestyle you want, but that you’ll also be able to afford the rent, products, permits, and branding to make it on your own.

4. Will I work alone or find a partner?

Going independent doesn't necessarily mean doing it all alone. You may find your services perfectly align with another like-minded beautypreneur you want to pair up with, or you may discover you really work best alone. Either way, it’s important to consider what both options might mean down the road. Being a one-person show gives you all the control, but it also makes you the only one responsible for everything. Partnering up can be a smart move for divvying up financial and logistical responsibilities, but you have less control over the long-term direction of the business and there’s always the chance your partner will decide to leave.

5. How will I attract new clients?

When building a business, client retention is the key to survival for independent beauty and wellness professionals. Depending on where you are in your independent business-building journey, your focus should shift from heavy client acquisition to client retention as you continue to grow, but ideally, you want a balance of both. As a new beauty or wellness professional, a majority of your time will be spent on acquiring and getting your name out there. Once you’ve established a solid customer base and are starting to see decent sales, you’ll want to begin to introduce retention strategies to entice each client to return more often or spend more each time.

Because existing clients are statistically more likely to spend more and to recommend your services to others, keeping them happy is going to be one of the biggest assets to your business. In our free Client Retention Workbook, we walk you through simple tactics you can employ to reinforce client retention before, during, and after every appointment.

6. Who will my target market be? 

Determining your target audience may sound like fancy marketing jargon, but it’s really an essential foundation for building a business that will appeal to those who will be keeping your bills paid. You can figure out who these people are in three simple steps:

  1. Understand who your clients are or can be. To do this, you can conduct interviews with clients, Google the demographics in your location, or dig around on local social media groups or hashtags to see what trends your potential clients care about. Are you in a location with lots of business people looking for efficient services, for example, or would you prefer to focus on a certain occasion, like weddings?
  2. Create personas that reflect who is buying your services.
  3. Match your marketing and your services to these personas.

7. What services will I offer? 

Depending on what stage of the career journey you're in, you may still be experimenting with a wide range of services as you work toward finding a niche, or perhaps you already know exactly how to play to your strengths by specializing in very specific service offerings. As you start putting together your own service menu, re-evaluate what you've been offering over time, what you have the most experience with, and of course, what you enjoy doing the most so you can create a selection that you and your clients will be confident in. 

In addition to your core offerings, consider including add-on services as well. The perfect add-on can be completed in less than half an hour (low-lift for you) and priced at such a level that your typical client would be willing to add it on without much consideration (low-cost for them), making it the ideal win-win.

8. What will my brand be and how will I express it?

Brainstorming about your brand is one of the most exciting elements of doing your own thing and you can start figuring it out in three easy steps. Have fun with it! Set aside some time to jot down the answers to these questions and explore what comes up organically: 

  • What do you provide clients? Are you going for a posh experience? Or a laid-back experience?
  • What’s your style? (Modern? Retro? Classy?) Consider how you would describe your style and the surroundings of your ideal studio.
  • What are your main interests? Write down a few specialties... Do you love color? Cuts? Skincare? Makeup?
  • How would your friends describe you? (Fun and outgoing? Supportive and caring? Sassy and energetic?)

Once you have a brand in place, set up your booking website and secure those social media handles so you can share your style with your world.

9. Who do I need in my corner? 

Even if you decide you don’t need a business partner to get started, there are still a few other individuals you’ll need on your side as you set out on the path of an independent professional. First and foremost, your family might serve as a strong support system (emotionally or financially). There are also other folks outside of your family and your salon you might need to call on to keep your business running smoothly – lawyers, accountants, mentors, or an assistant if your admin tasks aren’t covered by your tech provider will all be important players to your salon's success.

10. What technology will I use? 

Whether you end up operating as a team of one or a team of 20, the secret to success is to keep your technology streamlined. Using different platforms to manage your website, booking, social media, accounting, inventory, and POS to accept payments leads to nothing but overwhelm and too much time troubleshooting IT issues. All you need is a singular, all-in-one booking and payment system built for beauty and wellness businesses to keep it all together and that’s where GlossGenius comes in. The best part? You won’t be punished by extra fees as your empire expands – there’s no extra cost to add more team members to accounts. 

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