My husband said a long time ago that I needed a job where I had no one to answer to and no set schedule. He was completely right. I can be honest and say I feel completely restricted when it comes to strict rules and attendance policies and they make me feel homesick in my own skin. I’m sure this makes me sound like a pathetic millennial with the worst work ethic on the planet. But, on the contrary, I actually do have a decent work ethic.
For the past four years, I have worked as an independent booth-renting hairstylist and nail technician. What does that mean? It means that I pay my salon owner a weekly fee to rent my (booth) space and I set my own hours and my own prices. I’m self-employed, aka my boss is the baddest b*tch around… but for realz…
Being your own boss comes with A LOT of perks, especially when you find yourself to be a very independent woman. It can also come with a lot of struggles as well:
If I’m not passionate about what I do, I’ll never show up for work.
Thankfully, I can say that I sincerely love my job and my clients. I get to be creative in a large variety of ways while making my clients (whom I consider friends) feel and look beautiful. Yes, there are days that I feel sluggish and would rather be sitting on my ass at home watching Netflix (no one is immune to these occasional desires). But, for the majority of the time, I actually look forward to going to work. I’m passionate about what I do.
I’ve had jobs that made me so miserable I cried on the way to work. I’m not lying, ask my husband… he was usually on the phone with me as I bitched about how much I wanted to just turn the car around and go home. But alas, I showed up because if I didn’t I would get fired… and no one can afford that. As my own boss, I am responsible for getting my own ass out of bed and holding myself accountable for showing up to work. This process is SO. MUCH. EASIER when I actually look forward to work!
Making my own schedule means everything to me.
My husband will agree that being able to make my own work schedule has been a huge contributing factor to my work happiness. I seriously don’t know what it is about having to follow someone else’s schedule or attendance policy that makes me feel so trapped, but I am eternally grateful to be able to make my own. I can work my clients around doctor appointments, any activity regarding my daughter (which will become especially handy when she is in school, sports, mathletes, etc.) and any vacation.
In all of its glory, making my own schedule sometimes does suck. There are days where I have booked myself a three-hour color at 5PM, ensuring that I wont step foot through my front door until well after 8PM causing my husband and daughter to fend for themselves for dinner (Ha! Totally a joke… my husband does the cooking. But you get my point). It’s easy to say, “Yeah! I’ll work late every day next week!” and then feel completely overwhelmed and overworked when next week shows up.
I need to learn to say no.
I wouldn’t ordinarily say that I am a people-pleaser but when it comes to working at the salon… guilty. My lack of the word “no” has often caught me in a tight spot. Mostly in scheduling aspects, but in other areas of well. Example: there have been many many (too many) times when I have told my husband that I would be off at 5PM and he will make plans. I get a call from a client wanting to get in last-minute… and I can’t say no. Of course, making that money is nice but more than that, I fear that if I say no that client will go somewhere else and possibly not return to my chair. This inability to say no has kept me at the salon past midnight and has got me there early as 6AM.
What I’ve learned in my four years: you can’t please everyone. And while many of my clients appreciate me bending over backwards to meet their scheduling needs, some of them don’t care at all. I’m working on it… This will be a long process.
No work = no money.
The worst part about working for yourself? The benefits. Why? Because there are none. No health or dental insurance. Zero sick days and zero paid time off. No worky, no money. Solution: find a handsome fella with a good paying job and excellent vision insurance, marry that fella and reap the benefits… literally. Thanks to you babe, I get contacts every 12 months and new glasses every 24.
Money management is key.
Since becoming a stylist, I have had to completely re-learn the way to manage my money. Before, I was given a paycheck every two weeks and I knew which bills would be paid with which paycheck. Now, I get paid after every client and it’s up to me to allocate my money to specific bills, groceries, etc. This can become tricky when I have a slow week or a few unexpected cancellations but I feel like it has made me a better handler of money and expenses. Basically, it has made me better at adulting.
Never stop learning or investing in myself.
This can be true of absolutely ANY profession… unless your profession is in moveable type, there’s probably not much new to learn. But in MOST professions, things are always changing and improving and truer words could not be spoke about the beauty industry. Trends, techniques and products are changing constantly and it’s important for stylists to keep up. New products and education can be expensive but the benefits always outweigh the cost (and the cost is a tax write-off). Learning new things is part of what keeps my job interesting. I love when I can add a new style, technique or service to my menu ensuring that everyday I can do a wide variety of services.
Are you your own boss? What are some of your favorite and least favorite aspects of being your own boss?