It’s true that being a solopreneur can sometimes feel lonely – you’re dedicating a lot of your time and resources to growing your own brand, starting a business, and likely trying to figure it all out as you go. That doesn’t have to be the case. Even though you may no longer be surrounded by a salon of other professionals every day, going it alone doesn’t have to be lonely.
In fact, you get to build your own community of individuals going through similar challenges and reaching for the same milestones as you. You’re no longer at the mercy of working shoulder-to-shoulder with whomever gets hired at your job – when you go solo, you now have the power to pick your own peers.
As you set out to build your own circle of ‘colleagues,’ there are several ways to connect with other pros so being independent doesn’t put you in a silo.
Clients will come to lean on your opinion as a trusted source for all things service-related when they’re looking for the best outside of your skill set. One of the best ways to pay it forward to fellow beauty pros is to send new clients their way. It’s a supportive gesture to show you care – and it works both ways. Hopefully, your peers will be doing the same or you may even agree on an understanding that you’ll be consistent references for each other so you'll both become integral to helping each other build a more robust clientele.
Outside of client sharing, you can also show other pros some love by sharing some of your best beauty biz superpowers, like GlossGenius, of course. Sharing the tools that help you run your business means empowering other service-oriented professionals with the tools to thrive as their own boss, too. In addition to building up your community, you’ll also get a boost to your bottom line. With GlossGenius’s referral program, you’re investing back into your business with each referral – for every referral who activates their subscription, you’ll save more money on your payment processing fees and so will they.
And because learning to run a business can become a part-time job in and of itself, it’s a great idea to also ask around for references on the best contacts for the areas of your work that require outsourcing. Who’s the best accountant in your area for handling 1099s? Which local lawyer can best help you navigate your new salon lease? The best way to find out is word of mouth. Start asking others beauty bosses who they recommend, so you know who to pursue or who to avoid as you continue expanding your empire.
Freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs often find that the one thing they may miss about working for someone else is having someone else to look up to and learn from. Mentors don't have to be limited to someone who is actually managing you though. You can learn just as much from someone in the same boat as you or someone who has been there before.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, or ideas from fellow service providers. When you have the opportunity to chat with other beauty professionals, use that chance to pick their brains, share ideas, talk through challenges, or take a moment to celebrate each other’s latest wins.
No matter where you are in your brand journey, there’s no doubt you have plenty to teach, too. Think about the things you’ve learned the hard way or the tips and tricks you’ve discovered that transformed the way you do business – and be open to sharing those with others coming up behind you. You wouldn't be where you are without learning from someone, and sharing what you know with others who are where you once were is a boss move.
Even the most buttoned-up corporate workers find moments in the day to break away from business matters. If you’re feeling lonely working in a private salon suite or find yourself missing that witty banter with your old boothmates, there are plenty of other ways to create water cooler moments. Tap into virtual equivalents and host a book club with other entrepreneurs or make it a point to get out of your space and meet another beauty pro for lunch. Not only is it a great way to connect with others so you can sympathize together over a hard day of work, but you might also get a great tip on the next Netflix show to binge or the chic new restaurant you need to make a reservation at ASAP.
As you continue to grow your network, think of little ways you can reach out that will continue to foster a sense of camaraderie – even if you’re not working in the space together. Bringing your friend their favorite coffee drink or even just sending a thoughtful text so they know you’re thinking of them can make a huge difference in someone else’s day.
Aside from the mutual benefits of having people to grow and fraternize with, coming together with other business owners may also have some logistical benefits. Befriending others in your professional community may present the opportunity to offset costs of doing business that can get pretty hefty when you’re the sole proprietor.
Can you take turns carpooling with the friend you made at the tattoo parlor next door? Can you go halfsies on laundry with the massage therapist in the building? Think of opportunities where you can split the cost of errands or daily expenses – making new friends can also become a pretty smart business move.
Let’s say you’re known around town for being a visionary with vivids, but your friend is ridiculously skilled with a pair of scissors – who says you can’t come together to create a collaborative look that’ll have the town talking? Look for opportunities to pair up with other creatives nearby and come up with packages to pamper clients. From bridal parties, birthdays, or seasonal makeovers, collaboration wins over competition.
Nothing creates a sense of community like finding reasons to get together. Partner up with nearby business owners (inside or out of the beauty industry) and host a Friendsgiving potluck or business block party that neighbors and clients are invited to join. Whatever the reason for hosting your event, it’s a great opportunity to meet more people, get more clients, and cross-promote services with other like-minded entrepreneurs.