How to Become a Makeup Artist in a Small Town - QC Makeup Academy

We’re going to bust a myth for you. It’s totally possible to become a professional makeup artist in a small town. You don’t have to move to a big city to pursue your dreams – despite what the stereotypes tell you!

Freelancing is the best option for small-town MUAs. You’ll work on a client-to-client basis, and although it doesn’t sound like steady work, it can be! Once you establish yourself with a list of loyal clients, you’ll have a thriving makeup business in no time!

Here’s how to become a successful makeup artist in a small town!

Know Your Market

Knowing your market means considering a number of factors. Ask yourself these questions before diving into a career in makeup artistry…

  • Who is your target client? Consider the demographics of your town. Would you be working with high schoolers to do prom and formal looks? Or young adults for their wedding day? These are things you need to know!
  • What types of looks are popular in your town? Once you know who your target clients are, you should be able to figure this one out! In small towns, you’ll find yourself doing weddings, proms, and other formal looks most often.
  • Which seasons are the busiest? Depending on where you’re located, your income may ebb and flow with the seasons. In locations with cold winters, for example, most of your business will likely be in the summer months!
  • Is there a demand for makeup artists? This is perhaps the most important consideration. There aren’t going to be any clients for you to work with if there isn’t a demand! Some small-town MUAs consider opening up their business radius to other surrounding towns. If there’s limited demand in your immediate area, find other small towns where there is a demand for professional MUAs!

Know Your Competition

If you want to compete in your local industry, you need to know what the competition’s like. Here are some points to consider…

  • Determine how much experience they have. Who are the other established makeup artists in your town, and how long have they been around?
  • Look into the services they offer. Dig through online reviews of the best MUAs in your area. Learn about all the a-la-carte services they offer along with their packages. How are they pricing them?
  • How can you set yourself apart and stand out? Maybe you’re trained in airbrush makeup or global beauty. Offering clients what your competition can’t or (just isn’t) going to will set you apart.

Remember: Your market and clientele won’t be static. Just like beauty trends, clients and their makeup preferences will always change. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your business is to stay on top of the trends. Know what’s coming and be able to give your clients exactly what they want.

Know What You Can Offer (& Start Offering!)

Now that you understand your potential clientele and know what you can offer – start booking these new services! Here’s where to focus to get your business up-and-running (and to keep it that way)…


Marketing is the way to get your name out there! Even in a small town, marketing is still critical to your career as a freelance MUA! It doesn’t have to be pricey! There are plenty of cheap marketing tools that’ll serve you well once you get familiar with them.

A quick and easy marketing technique is to build your social media presence! Having a website or online portfolio is a no-brainer for any MUA. But social media is a great way to get people on your website and communicate with clients. Start an Instagram account, a professional Facebook page, and maybe even a LinkedIn. Most social media networks have built-in analytic tools to help you track data like who is interested in your work, for example.


Build those connections! This includes anyone from beauty brands and stores to clients. A key part in becoming a makeup artist in a small town will be earning loyal clients. When you don’t have a large and loyal following right at the start, you’ll want to keep clients coming back.

Consider offering referral discounts. When a client refers someone to you, they will get a percentage off their next look. You can also experiment with promotions and sales to draw in new clients. Just be sure not to give discounts forever. Know your worth!

Starting a career as a makeup artist in any town or city can be daunting. With professional training and some helpful tips like the ones above, you’ll be set to start a successful career!

Do you have any tips for aspiring small-town MUAs? Leave a comment!

Looking for proof that being a successful MUA is possible in a small town? Learn about QC Graduate Brittney Sladky!

Author Catherine Hammond

More posts by Catherine Hammond

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