03 February 2021
How To Become A Full-Time Nail Tech
-- KRISTIN ARMSTRONG, AMERICAN PRO ROAD BICYCLE RACER AND THREE-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST
Is there a checklist before diving in head first from part-time to full-time nail boss? Our best piece of advice is to steer you towards preparedness and a methodical approach to the career transition. Take action towards your future goals but do so without delusion. Evaluate your current client base, calculate the potential for steady earnings, and be prepared for the occasional bumps in the road to success.
The entry point for many nail techs is the part-time hustle. To make the change from a part-timer to a full-fledged nail artist, don't go full out on your passion just yet. Even in nature, the seasons don’t change overnight but make slow transitions. So how do you make the switch? Get your books in order; your financial and client books. Tally up what goes in and what goes out for home and work. Figure out your essentials to survive. This homework gives you guide rails to take more thoughtful risks. If you split your time between two or more jobs because you need the income, it’s ok to lean on the reliable paycheck. It’ll feel like training wheels on a bike. It’ll be awkward before you find your balance but eventually the wheels do come off. The awkwardness also relates to client traffic. Sticking to the “stable” gig limits your time with client facing work. It may limit your availability to go after more clientele. There will be a space and time when you feel motivated to make the pivot. Manage your expectations and be patient. It will feel scary and that’s completely normal. You might choose to let go of some income from a current job situation to build clientele. Start out with two days, then tag on another and another and another.
The first step is understanding if there is already a true demand for your work while in part-time status. Plainly put, how much income are you pulling as a nail tech? Calculate per hour, per day, per week, per month. How many clients are you able to see each day? What kind of services earn top dollar? Are you low-balling your services or are they market competitive? Knowing these numbers lessens the financial hit when you decide to make the change. If you have demand, then it’s safe to say people like and will return for more services. Let’s say, however, that you only have one or two clients a day. You still have some serious building to do. If given the choice, devote weekends to your fledgling nail business. The weekend is prime time. Thursday evenings from 5PM-7PM are good. On Weekdays, the time slots are short. Reserve these for your serious customers who want a long term relationship with you. This is a great time to book regular maintenance appointments. Monday is frequently hit or miss. Try to load your appointments on prime days back to back. If things go well start a small wait list. Ease into it and roll your wait list into a possible third day. Take whoever you can get. Don’t be picky as long as the customer can pay. Value yourself and the services you provide. Do not give your time away for free. Make every minute count. This is literally the strategy: one client at a time and one day at time. The growing pain is only temporary.
THE SLOW BURN
When a full time nail pro looks back at how they started, they cannot believe their own growth. You’ll get to look in the rearview mirror, too! The only way to learn is by doing. If your part time nail business is still on simmer, you still have to go to work in order to scoop up someone else’s overflow or a walk-in customer. If the client seat is empty, you should focus your time on social media marketing. Get a training hand or full cover nail tips and put nail looks together. Post on Instagram, TikTok, whatever the platform du jour is. Watch one of our Biz Talks or tutorials and execute one skill for 30 days straight. If you want to be in a full time business, treat yourself seriously. There really are enough clients out there for everyone. Don’t sweat the competition. There is no perfect formula but you always remember that the world is abundant. Keep your energy on the only thing you can control, yourself.
Negotiating the starts and stops of a part time nail career with the job that gives you a paycheck requires a lot of time. You’re going to be working harder than anyone else. There will be days that there is no gas left in the tank literally, emotionally or physically. Protect your health and well-being. A often overlooked priority is self-care, especially in build-mode. It can be lonely. Phone a friend for a laugh or a professional mentor to bounce ideas off of. If you have to, schedule it in the calendar as a standing date with yourself, your partner, your pets, or get out in nature. Steal an hour a week for this or reward yourself for ten minutes with a dance party or a sweet treat after a daily win. Remind yourself of the things you did well throughout the day and write it down. Reinforce the positives as you work toward your vision. If it helps, just know that you are not alone. We’ve been there. We’re here for you.
**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, originally aired on December 10, 2020.
***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion: