Going Solo!

The time has come; you need to leave your current salon in order to begin the next phase of your career. How do you handle this change? What can you do to ensure that your clients will be able to find you? Follow these guidelines for a smooth transition.

Giving Notice: Do You or Don’t You?
An unpleasant reality of the beauty industry: Often, when a nail technician gives notice of her intent to leave the salon, the owner reacts in fear and terminates the working relationship immediately. We’ve all heard stories about messy scenes that disrupt a salon’s business and damage client relations. However, your move doesn’t have to follow that script. Depending on the reason you make your move, you can take several preemptive measures to alleviate the owner’s concerns.

It Depends…
Primarily, why are you leaving the salon? If you aren’t happy in your current situation due to strained relations with your boss, it stands to reason you won’t discuss your departure in-depth with her. However, if you plan to leave to further your career, she could be understanding. Be professional and give a proper notice—in writing, preferably. How much notice you give depends on what you feel the owner expects. A good rule of thumb is to give at least the amount of time equivalent to one pay period. For instance, if you receive payment every two weeks, give at least two weeks’ notice. If you’re a booth renter who pays monthly, give at least one month’s notice. Anything less than two weeks could send the owner into a panic. If possible, take into consideration the owner’s need to reorganize and start the hiring process. She should be assured that the salon’s clients will be taken care of.

In the event that the move is spurred by strained relations, a protracted notice may not be honored and you may be asked to leave immediately. You can try to avoid this scenario by behaving in a completely professional manner. Follow these suggestions:

• Be forthright and neutral in your communications. Don’t place blame. You want to walk away whole.
• Don’t discuss your move with everyone in town except the owner! Be discreet.
• Take into consideration the fact that some clients will want to stay with the current salon for convenience; it’s not a personal slap at you, and you shouldn’t make it personal.
• Assure the owner that you won’t be soliciting the salon’s clients. Two reasons why you shouldn’t: First, because it’s not a necessary action—the clients who want your services will come to you; and second, it puts the clients on the spot and creates unnecessary awkwardness.
• Reassure the owner that you don’t want to wreak havoc on her business—you simply need to make this move as a career choice—and wish her success.
• Give an appropriate notice, but have a plan in place that will allow you to calmly walk out the door if need be. Be sure you have cleared your gear and personal items into a single location. On your downtime, get yourself organized and remove all superfluous items from your work area.
• Work on good communications. Write down your thoughts and read from a checklist when you confront your boss (if necessary), but try to keep your brain engaged and your emotions in check.
• Finally, don’t burn your bridges! By being the consummate professional, you can help defuse any possible threat the owner may feel.

Doing everything you can to assure the owner that you don’t wish to disrupt her business will pay off for you. Not only will it make the move easier on you and your clients, but it will also pave the way for clients who ask for you at a later date to get accurate information about where you are.

-Karen Hodges

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