If you’re pursuing a career in makeup artistry, you’ve very likely considered freelancing (of course you have!). Becoming a freelance makeup artist is highly desirable – you can set your own hours and pay rate, choose your clients, and build a fabulous brand that you can be proud of.
If you’re just starting out, however, freelance makeup artist jobs can seem intimidating, and the job search itself is unique. But don’t worry – we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to becoming a freelance makeup artist, so you’ll have all the skills you need to start out. Plus, you’ll know how to stay on top of new makeup trends and practices!
1. Reflect on your skills
A makeup artist certification and some experience under your belt are invaluable as you start your career as a makeup artist. Before starting on the road to becoming a freelance makeup artist, you’ll definitely want to complete a makeup artist course and hone your skills as much as possible. In addition to these items, you’ll also need several traits in order to enjoy a successful career in makeup:
- Organizational skills: These are huge when it comes to managing your time, keeping track of your clients, and ensuring you turn a profit in freelance jobs. Think about it – if you can’t keep a proper schedule of your appointments, you could end up being late, or missing them altogether! This will affect your reputation as a makeup artist, and you’ll lose clients in the process. Being your own boss sounds like a dream, but it takes an extremely organized individual to be fully responsible for themselves, their business, and their clients. Before venturing into the world of freelance makeup, think about whether you are truly prepared for the challenge. If you’re an organized person by nature, the transition to freelance makeup artistry won’t be too bumpy.
- Work ethic: This is such an essential aspect of freelance makeup artistry that it is often not included in lists, or even mentioned! Any business owner is going to work hard, but in the makeup industry, you’ll work even harder. Prepare to really hustle as you build a name for yourself, including networking, marketing, and taking on as many clients as you can to gain experience. The good news is, if you’re already passionate about your makeup artistry career, this will be a labor of love, and a journey you’ll enjoy. Be honest with yourself about the work involved – your current lifestyle will change and your freelance makeup jobs will become priority, so know what you’re getting yourself into.
- Tech Knowledge: You don’t need to be totally tech-savvy to become a freelance makeup artist, but you certainly need to be comfortable with social media, online culture, and spending time online daily. If you don’t already have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, create accounts as soon as you can. The same goes for a professional website – you want to show your most professional, polished face to the world in order to land freelance jobs, and most people look online first when seeking out makeup artists.
Don’t worry if you’re not an extremely organized person with a collection of social media accounts. These are skills that you can cultivate in your career as a makeup artist! However, you do need to be mindful that organization is vital for any freelancer, and that hard work is a large part of achieving success in this industry.
2. Build your tool kit
A professional kit is a freelance makeup artist’s most prized possession. As a result, it can be a huge source of stress for a newly certified makeup artists who know how much of an investment these products can be. Those color palettes and skin care products are certainly not cheap! However, putting together a professional makeup kit is a necessary evil, as you’ll need to show up to every appointment with items such as quality brushes, a range of eye shadows, lipsticks, foundations, and cleaning products.
Organizing your kit is an excellent step on the road to becoming a freelance makeup artist. You want your clients to come to you, and you don’t want them to find you unprepared! There are many ways to build your kit on a budget, and a good number of products that can be purchased at the drugstore rather than at your local Sephora. The plus side of being thrifty while building your kit? You’ll gain invaluable experience with a variety of different products, and will develop a sense of which ones to splurge on and where to save!
3. Set boundaries
We get it – you’re just starting out and as such, you want to take on as many clients and freelance makeup jobs as you can. However, you don’t want to burn out, and you certainly don’t want to overbook yourself and run the risk of mixing up appointments.
Before you even book your first client, decide on the type of makeup you want to focus on. Perhaps you’re comfortable creating airbrush, fantasy, glamour, and every day looks but bridal makeup has never been your strength (or your passion!). Guess what? You can say no to bridal clients. Heck, you can even be picky about bridal parties and wedding themes.
This may seem counterintuitive to an aspiring freelance makeup artist, but it actually is a smart move. Saying no to one client frees up your time, and allows you to say yes to another (ideally, one that you really want to work with). You’ll be much more likely to do your best work if you’re focused on a few strong areas, and this will build your reputation and client base quickly through word-of-mouth.
So, consider these boundaries as a stepping stone to becoming the best freelance makeup artist you can be. A good understanding of your own strengths and interests will serve you well in the industry, and can result in more clients and a happier career!
4. Be assertive
This is where your work ethic comes in handy! In order to land those freelance makeup jobs, you’re going to need to be assertive. There are several ways to find new clients, including reaching out to models and photographers who are looking for a makeup artist, approaching event and wedding venues, wedding planners, hair salons, and even doing makeup for your friends and family. Never underestimate the power of industry connections!
In addition to pounding the pavement this way, be sure to maintain a strong, active online presence that allows you to be found by clients and to connect with industry professionals. Schedule an hour or two each day to add new photos to your website and social media accounts, chat with potential clients, and network online.
Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is a key element to a successful career in makeup. A client who is happy with your work will tell their friends about you, or share a review on your Facebook page. Be sure to have business cards at the ready so those happy clients can pass along your information, and encourage them to follow you on social media. These kinds of referrals can seriously impact your career as a makeup artist, and quickly! This is why it’s so important to focus on the kind of makeup that you’re passionate about (and good at!), as you’ll build a reputation for being a highly-skilled makeup artist. Good news travels fast!
5. Stay current and keep learning!
We’ll let you in on a little secret: the best makeup artists are those who are one step ahead of new makeup trends, and who keep developing their skills. Just because you’ve hit a groove in your makeup career and are earning a steady income doesn’t mean you should ever slow down. Clients are going to expect you to be on top of beauty trends and be in the know about the latest makeup looks and newest color palettes. They’ll be impressed at your commitment to improvement and quality as a makeup artist, so don’t hesitate to enroll in more makeup artistry courses that will increase your skill-set.
If you continue learning and stay relevant, you’ll soon find that you’re well ahead of the competition. As a freelance makeup artist, this is where you want to be – it sets your services and knowledge apart from those around you. So keep building and sharpening those skills!