The Pros and Cons of Being a Freelance Makeup Artist - QC Makeup Academy

Nothing worth doing is going to come easy – but as a hard-working makeup artist you probably already know that!

Whether you specialize in weddings, fashion, special FX, etc., you’re aware of the different highs and lows that come with your incredible profession. But if you’re just breaking into the industry and have goals to work as an independent MUA in 2020, you may not know what to expect.

The truth is: even though there are a variety of different freelance makeup artist jobs out there, they all have the same benefits and disadvantages in common. Below, we’ll explore 5 of the most common pros and cons of being a freelance makeup artist.

smiling woman holding 3 different makeup brushes

Pro: You Are Your Own Boss!

If the typical 9 to 5 grind under someone else’s management doesn’t appeal to you, then being a freelance MUA is perfect! You won’t have a supervisor breathing down your neck, or stifling your creativity. You’ll also never get bored from having to do the same menial tasks day in and day out.

As a freelancer, everything about your business is 100% in your control: when you work, what you charge, the jobs you’ll take, and more! No two jobs will ever be the same, too, so each day will be just as exciting and challenging as the last!

Con: You Are Your Own Boss.

Yeah, it’s great to not have to answer to anybody, but that also means that all the responsibility of literally everything falls on you. No one’s going to do the work or promote your business for you, so you’re going to have to work hard in order to get things off the ground and moving. Building your portfolio and reputation takes time and effort; if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, you can’t be surprised if you aren’t successful.

Running your own business – a successful one, at that – isn’t to be taken lightly. If you aren’t truly up to the challenge, you probably won’t succeed. When you succeed, it’s entirely on you. That sense of pride and accomplishment has been earned because you made that all happen on your own. But on the flip side: if you fail because you didn’t try hard enough, that’s also on you. In this business, you can only get what you put into it.

mua applying eye makeup to female model

Pro: You work on your own schedule!

Not a fan of mornings? Don’t book clients in the early morning. Simple. You make your own hours, meaning you choose clients that fit your schedule. You don’t have a boss to answer to so no one can deny you vacation time.  Your time is your own!

Con: You Work on Your Own Schedule.

Sure, you can choose not to work whenever you want, but that can also mean sacrificing the opportunity to get more employment. In the makeup industry, a lot of your jobs will take place on the weekends.

There may also be times where you’re booked last minute. You may not have the work the standard 9 to 5 job, but if you’re serious about doing makeup professionally as your career, you’re going to have to commit (to the best of your ability) to the times when traffic for business is highest.

So, there may be times when you have to cancel plans to book a job. You’re also likely going to have to kiss most of your weekends goodbye.

busy woman on phone and typing on computer

Pro: You’re in Charge of Your Income!

Being able to decide how much you want to charge clients and make per job is, without a doubt, one of the coolest parts of being a freelancer. How many other people get to say that they can pick their own wages? As you develop in the industry, gain experience and clients, and get better, you’ll be able to increase your prices and charge a good price for the services you’re offering.

If you’re working full-time as a freelancer and have been at it for a while, it can definitely be enough for you to pay your bills and live comfortably.

Pro tip: You may not always know how much you should be charging for your services, and that’s okay! Here’s a comprehensive list, based on the type of MUA job, to help you figure it out! what prices you can – and should – aim for with your clients!

Con: You’re in Charge of Your Income.

Some people have big dreams, others can have big egos. Either way, if you go into this type of industry with unrealistic expectations, you’re going to be unpleasantly disappointed. Case in point: not knowing what to charge when first starting out, and then charging too much or too little.

Charging too much without the reputation to back it up is an effective way of tanking your business before it even starts. Charging too little is a great way to get an influx of clients… but you won’t make any money off those clients.  You deserve to be paid for your work!

Pro: You meet all sorts of new people!

Being a freelance makeup artist is a career that will bring you countless experiences and unforgettable memories – especially between you and your client. Helping to transform a person and make her feel beautiful is a special type of bonding experience.

Since the results of your work are instantaneous, too, you both get to benefit from the final product together, right at that moment. Not many people are lucky enough to have that in their job, let alone on a regular basis!

brunette mua doing blonde model's makeup

Con: You meet all sorts of new people.

You aren’t going to be able to please everyone. That’s just life. Now and then, a client will be having a bad day and take it out on you. Sometimes, she may really hate what you’ve done to her face, and since you’re the one who did the job, you’re the one who’s going to have to hear all about it. Having a client be unsatisfied with your work can be hard for anybody – especially someone like you, who truly loves what they do, and just wants to make others happy.

Getting yelled at and/or being verbally abused is a whole other level. While it doesn’t happen often, it may happen once in a blue moon. While there may not be any way to prepare yourself, just remember: all that you can do is your best. If you’re ever struggling to deal with a client who insists on berating you and being unreasonable, it’s probably best at that point to politely end the session, pack your things up, and leave.

Pro: The Competition is Tough!

This keeps you motivated! You thrive on being creative. You want to be one of the best, and how can you become the best? By beating the best!

The makeup industry is competitive, especially for freelancers. You need to be able to stand out from this competition if you ever hope to be successful. You revel in this – and welcome it, even – because it pushes you to always give your 100% and test your own creative boundaries.

blonde girl with leather coat wearing crown on head

Pro tip: Looking for some insider advice on how to stand out from the competition? Here are 3 of our top recommendations!

Pro: The Competition is Tough.

Unfortunately, the downside is that if you’re not as self-disciplined and motivated as the person described above, you may be in for a nasty surprise.

You need to fight to prove to potential clientele why you’re special and worth giving their time and money to. You have to be willing to put in the hours required to build your online presence, create your business’s brand, and establish a rapport with customers, as well as others in the industry.

We’ll be honest: if this sounds like too much work for you, bow out now. If you think you can find a way to bypass these steps and get all the benefits without first earning your stripes, you’re wrong. As we mentioned before, you get in this industry what you put into it. Put the bare minimum, and your business will get the bare minimum.

But put in your heart and soul, and your business will eventually soar!

When all is said and done, you’re doing this because this is what you LOVE. That’s the dream we all wish could come true – and you’re actually doing it! Do you realize how special that is? How admirable that makes you? When you love something, you give it your all. We know that’s what you’ll do in your career, so regardless of whatever challenges you face, the positives will always outweigh the negatives.

That’s the mindset you have to go into this with because it’s true. At the end of the day, getting to do what you love will always be worth it!

upclose shot of models face, and mua's hand applying product to her lips

Want to leverage your online makeup schooling to help you find the best jobs? Read more and find out how!

Author Sarah Seguin

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