How to Make Money as an Esthetician – Part 1

by Amber Henson, Licensed Master Aesthetician, who shares some insights and tools she utilizes in her successful esthetics practice.

Continuing education. You need to spend money to make money. However if your main focus is on Brazilian waxing or acne skin care don’t waste money taking lash or brow extension classes. Take classes that will further you along the path you are on. Become amazing at those services.

Keep your rent/lease overhead low. Easy-to-get-to location, well lit, easy and free parking a huge plus; a location clients will feel comfortable coming to.

Don’t immediately jump into product lines that have high buy-ins. Try different lines by sampling and purchase based on the type of skin and clientele you want to focus on. Lines that offer free or discounted continuing education are a huge plus.

Learn to sell retail. Retail sales will be a very large % of your income. If you’re wanting to focus on corrective treatments and have loyal regular clients require an initial consult where you examine the clients skin, talk with the client about their concerns and then make product recommendations based on current skin condition and goals. Require clients to be on your prescribed homecare in order to have treatments done.

Find products that work and that you love. Once you find them, it will be easy to sell them. You know what can happen if clients don’t do anything for ingrown prevention, so education the client on that aspect will help. I tell clients, “Why would you spend $70 on a Brazilian wax and then not take care of your skin properly? You will end up with inflamed ingrown hairs that look ugly. Leaving the hair there would be prettier than ugly ingrown hairs.”

Learn to build your own website through web hosting companies. I personally have used VistaPrint since 2009. The annual cost is a tax write off and allows me to not have to depend on a tech to change things or depend on them for web ranking and SEO.

Make yourself easy to find. List yourself on major search engines like Google and yahoo and link to your website.

Sign up for Yelp and add a check in coupon. Prior to new client appointments in either an email or text message remind them that they can save (for example) $10 off their appointment by signing up for a yelp account and checking in. This will also help limit filtered reviews should these clients write reviews. Also for clients who have come in a few times and who obviously love their services, ask if they will write you a review. Reviews will be the best free advertising a small business owner could ever have.

Scheduling that requires credit card capture for appointments. This will discourage late cancelations and no-shows. Online options allow potential clients and clients to book appointments when it is convenient. Many clients who have been new to me have booked after midnight after researching and reading reviews for the services they are wanting to have done.

Post before and after pictures of the work you have done on clients. Use all your social media—your website, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp, too. If you love doing brows or lashes post them and tag everything in your area and surrounding cities. If you specialize in corrective facials with clients permission post before and after pictures. Great results and picture proof will drive clients your way.

Electronic consent forms. Sent upon booking, this will save you time and money and create zero clutter. It’s also easier to weed out clients who have contraindications to services if you are able to read over their forms 24 hours before they come in.

Solid cancelation/reschedule/no show policy. Give it to all new clients (I email it along with my new client pre-appointment email tailored to the services they are having done). Always enforce it (it’s only fair.) Change it as needed and make sure to always send updated policies as they change.

Don’t undersell yourself! If you are amazing with brows than charge for them! If you are amazing at Brazilians than don’t be charging $40! If you are good and have amazing reviews to back you up, clients will pay. My most popular facial is $175 and clients pay it and they come in every 4-6 weeks.

Do not offer services you are not educated and proficient in performing. I am a brazilian waxing educator and hear horror stories on a daily basis either from esties or from clients who have been subjected to a Brazilian performed by someone who didn’t have proper education.

Do your research-and then some-before paying for education or mentoring. Make sure the person offering the education or mentoring has reviews to back up what they selling. If someone is telling you they can help you make tons of money if you buy XYZ yet have no reviews for a business they have supposedly been successful at then ask around for reviews. There are Facebook groups where you can write posts asking for reviews on products and education.

Have a positive outlook and attitude. Think “Law of Attraction”– whatever energy you are putting out you, will get back in return. So if you are complaining about not having enough clients and not having enough money you are putting that “I’m not enough and I don’t deserve” energy out into the universe.

Set healthy boundaries. Not every client who walks through our door is going to be a healthy fit. Set healthy boundaries and respect yourself, and you will attract clients who respect and honor you.

Don’t focus negative thoughts. When you have slow times or gaps in your schedule, look at it as the universe giving you time to work on yourself and other aspects of your business or other things that might be neglected.

Self-care is important. Stay healthy, eat well, take care of your skin—practice what you preach! We are in the business of making others look and feel good so we should look the part. If you wear scrubs make sure they are pressed and tidy, if you wear workout clothes make sure they are nice workout clothes (no baggy oversized sloppy stuff). Dress the part and look the part. Like attracts like.

Client follow ups are important. Every contact makes the client feel more comfortable seeing you. Doing a follow up for new clients (or existing clients having new treatments) helps ward off potential issues or reassure what they are experiencing is normal and par for the course.

Purchase supplies wisely. For basic esthetic supplies like gauze, headbands, waxing sticks etc. do not purchase from beauty suppliers or stores. The markups can be 500% or more! Look for deals on Amazon, eBay or medical and dental supply companies. Free or Low cost shipping is always a plus.
For example the average cost of gloves from waxing and esthetic companies is $10-$12, but the same gloves at a medical supply is usually $4-$6 per box. Always shop around.

Set realistic expectations for clients before they even walk through the door. For example for waxing or sugaring clients, an email the day before their appointments explaining the process, explaining hair growth cycles and why they won’t be smooth the first couple of times, explaining expectations for home sending clients home without products to properly care for their skin is negligent, and for those clients prone to in-growns, sets them up for a bad outcome/experience.
Remember this is your business and you set the rules! Don’t let clients tell you how to run your business! And beyond all of these things … Never stop learning, never say never. Be humble, be open minded and be the best you!

Amber Henson-Billings, Brazilian Waxing Educator and Acne Specialist can be found in these FB Groups:
Waxaholics Unite
Moon Cycle Manifesting
ASH Aesthetics Mentoring and Training
Look for more wisdom from Amber in Part 2!