New Make-up Experiences

I got a great phone call the other day asking if I could fill in for Karin (Mika’s makeup studio) on a TV show doing the make-up for the presenter. The show is called The Mix. It’s hosted by Greg Coyes and is a “half-hour magazine of outstanding musical performance and informative interviews. Each show begins with a traditional Métis performer and then branches out to explore musical kinship right across contemporary First Nations Canada”. They travel around reporting on various events and groups/performers and record the introductions in a studio.

Everything I’m doing at the moment is voluntary as I can’t earn money in a freelance capacity due to the visa I’m on, but I don’t mind as I’m building up experience and a small portfolio of projects. Plus it was a favour for Karin as she had other obligations for that morning!

Karin left me a quick fire guide as to how to do Greg’s make-up which was appreciated. I think one thing I learned was to use plenty of powder when I initially set the make-up, as I had to powder Greg quite a bit due to him being shiny. The warm lights won’t have helped. So, basically, must powder more!

Working Freelance

Since I have the hopes and intentions to eventually get into the Freelance Make-up Artist gig I’m doing my best to find out about the freelance world.

This involves many trips to the library to pick up every book I can find that has the words “freelance”, “marketing”, “advertising”,  “accounting for dummies” and/or “Make-up” somewhere in the title or blurb! When I first thought about becoming an MUA I guess I never really gave the business side too much thought. Obviously I knew I would have to get myself out there and make a name for myself, but according to all these books there is sooo much to do and to think about before I even bother looking for jobs/projects!

Most of the books I’ve found about starting your own business, becoming self-employed, etc, are either focused on IT professionals or very generic in subject but the principals seem to be the same no matter what field you get in to so I thought I’d let you know what I’ve found out.

If you’re deciding to work for yourself then there are things that you should think about first. They are not all mandatory but definitely seem to be advised across the board:

  1. Name -  What is your business to be called? Is it your name and what you do (e.g. “Tom Smith Hair and Beauty”)? Do you plan to hire employees in the future, in which case you may not want the business to just be your name as that implies a one-man-band operation instead of a whole company!? Is the website domain available, or are there so many “New Age Technologies” sites out there that you wouldn’t stand out from the rest?! Do your research before settling on a name.
  2. Location – Are you planning to work from home, rent a booth/office/studio or only be mobile? What are the costs/advantages/disadvantages to every option?
  3. Business Plan - Before starting your own business it makes sense to create a business plan. This is basically a 5 year plan that states what your business will be, who will work for it and what their role will be, who your competition is, what problems you may come across, your plans for advertising and marketing, statistics relevant to your location/field, projected annual incomings and outgoings, and pretty much any other pertinent information you feel is important to the survival of your business. Apparently a basic plan should take a couple of weeks to complete as there is a lot of research and re-writing. You will probably end up with a plan that is around 30 pages or more, depending on the business you intend to start.
  4. Advertising - This is everything from the business cards you hand out to the sign above your shop (if you have on) and the decal on your car window. Think about the logo you want and whether it portrays the image/feel of your business (is it fun/classy/functional, etc).
  5. Marketing – This is about deciding how you want people to see you and your business and making them think it’s true. Do you want to be known for your charity work, community spirit, professionalism, fun atmosphere?! Whatever it is, get the stories out circulating. Write up press releases about your volunteer work at that orphanage, or the street party you are holding/sponsoring next week, or the top end business you just signed with. Decide on who/what you want to be and push that image forward!
  6. Outsourcing – Can you do everything yourself or will you need to bring in a contractor to help with the accounts? or to do hair while you do make-up? or to help design your logo? Will you pay them or swap service for service (they do your logo, you do the make-u for their wedding party)?

You should also give thought to how much money you have and whether you are going to take out a loan from the bank or a family member with a healthier looking bank account than you ;-). Consider how quickly you want your business to grow and where you hope to be in a few years time (e.g. how many employees/locations do you hope to have in 5 years?).

Greg and I are in the process of applying to stay in Canada for longer and if they say yes I won’t be able to go freelance due to the visa type, but at least I will have plenty of time for future training and voluntary experience. If we go back to the UK then I can start freelancing whenever I feel ready, so I’m going to put together a basic business plan over the next few weeks, hence all the library trips.

There’s so much to think about and consider (start-up costs, advertising, networking, accounting…) and I really want my freelancing venture to go well. As someone who is more of a “wing it” person as apposed to a “plan everything” person I think that all this time for prep work and research has done me some good. I’m not going to jump into freelancing all guns blazing only to realise that I’ve no clue what that the hell I’ve got myself into! I’ll be as ready as can be with ideas of where I want to go and how I want to get there. Hopefully I’ll see you there ;-)

If there’s anyone out there who stumbles across this post and wants to add anything or tell me I’m babbling then please go ahead. I want these posts to be helpful to all those who read them! :-)

(p.s. this is my first post of 2011, so Happy New Year!)