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4 Steps to Becoming a Business-Savvy Esthetician

As a fellow esthetician, I know that you likely didn’t choose this field because you find the topics of ledgers, profit and loss statements, and strategic marketing exciting, but because you have a passion for people and helping them achieve confidence through their appearance and health of their skin.

However, just because we may not love all the business-y topics doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be well-versed in them.

You can be an excellent esthetician and achieve tremendous results for your clientele, but if you’re not savvy in the business department, it makes the process of building a lucrative esthetics career very difficult.

Thankfully, with a few core steps, being business savvy doesn’t have to be boring, but can be a pleasing process of following your heart’s passion, improving the physical and emotional well-being of others, while simultaneously building your financial success for freedom now and in the future.

Step 1: Clarifying Your Position in The Esthetic Industry

Before you ever work to help someone else with your gifts and expertise, it’s essential that you clarify who you are and the values you hold as a practitioner.

This introspection helps to clarify who we are as esthetic practitioners, where we want to practice, and what avenue of the industry is most conducive to our personality and our client’s needs.

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • “What makes me feel most alive?” - This question helps to identify our direction so we can infuse our greatest passion into the treatment room.

  • “What do I like most about providing services?” - This helps to remind us of our Why and cultivate joy in performing each service.

  • What am I good at?” - Ask this to acknowledge our unique talents and help position ourselves in the exact avenue of the industry that we most prefer.

  • “How am I different than other estheticians in my area?” - Finding our specialized niche helps us to differentiate ourselves from other practitioners and free ourselves from constant worry of competition.

  • “Why do I do this?” - Ask this to remember our intention and stay focused on the bigger picture of our business and career goals.

After asking these questions, you will hopefully find that there is a recurring theme regarding the avenues of the esthetic industry that resonate most with you.

For example, in the treatment room, you may have an emphasis on holistic, Ayurveda or natural therapies or you may offer a gentle, relaxation treatment that is safe for all skin types versus directing your service menu to target specific skin concerns.

As you clarify your position in the esthetic industry, you’re also better equipped to define the target audience you desire to work with as well as the personal interests that you would like to incorporate into your services, allowing for more effective marketing of your services to attract those dream clients. 

Step 1 Action Item: Write Your Bio

Whether you’re applying at an established esthetic office, starting your own practice, or planning to launch a product line, write an industry blog, collaborate with media for marketing, etc.; a bio is a foundational piece you’ll need in your professional toolkit.

After meditating on these questions, write a bio that clarifies who you are and what your skills are as a practitioner including your relevant experience, esthetic specialty, as well as completed continuing education trainings, your personal approach to esthetics, and a description of the types of services you offer.

Step 2: Developing Your Strategic Plan

When it comes to your esthetic career, wandering aimlessly doesn’t do you any favors.

Yes, there is something to be said about seeing where the path may lead, how the universe will work its magic, and being open to new opportunities, but having a strategic plan isn’t placing you in a rigid box or cutting you off from freedom to pivot in the future.

Instead, a strategic plan creates a clear pathway so that you can focus on accomplishing your best work now and giving you a game plan for approaching new opportunities as they arise and decide whether to stay the course of your strategic or move forward in incorporating new elements or pivoting in your current directional.

Unlike a “business plan” with quantitative components, a strategic plan simply devises a structure of understanding where you are as a professional (or business) and where you would like to go over the span of 3-5 years.

Here are some ideas and questions to get you started:

For the current year, list a few directions you would like your career to head. For example:

1. To grow your client following

  1. To cultivate greater consistency with your existing clients

  2. To host spa parties, corporate wellness events, etc.

  3. To develop a website, your social media presence, or cohesive marketing collateral.

  4. To further clarify your specific skill set and values as a practitioner

For each direction and objective you list, answer the following:

  • Compared to where I want to be, where am I currently? What does the gap look like?
  • What are the challenges that I am currently facing (with this objective)?
  • What ways can I manage or shift my current challenges?
  • Where CAN I be next year if I take action to close the gap between where I am now and where I want to be?
  • Taking that a step further, where can I be 3-5 years from now?

Step 2 Action Item: Create Your Vision Statement (3 to 5 Years Out)

Once you’ve answered the questions above, write-up a vision statement that encapsulates what you’ve uncovered through your reflection and define what you’re going to do in your esthetic career, why you’re going to do it, how you will do it, and who you will do it for.

Be specific, concise, and clear with your desired outcomes.

Step 3: Working to Expand Your Network

An esthetic career is one of constant evolution as the industry and skin science continues to progress.

Thus, it’s crucial to develop your expertise as well as your credibility continually. This can be achieved in multiple ways (including Step 4), but one of the best ways to do this is by expanding your network and getting involved with your community.

For example, can you collaborate your services with a pre-existing event that is already thriving in your area?

Maybe there is a successful healing circle, group exercise classes, or farmers market that you can partner with to give a glimpse into what you have to offer by providing mini facials, demos, product sampling, or ingredient Q&As.

In addition to community events and happenings, also look to other service providers or places of business you can partner with including:

  • Hair and nail salons
  • Community and recreation centers or country clubs
  • Group exercise studies (yoga, pilates, Zumba, gyms, etc)
  • Local coffee shops and lounges
  • Universities, public and private schools

Step 3 Action Item: Make Your Connections

List three connections you’ll make in the coming month and come up with an idea for how you can bring them value first and then reach out to make your introduction and set up a time to connect.

Step 4: Improve Your Skills

As you continue to embark on building the esthetic career you desire, consistent improvement in your skill set and development of your relationships is crucial for maintaining an exceptional client experience as well as an ignited passion for the career path you’ve chosen.

First and foremost, you need to stay sharp on your skill set to continue developing as an esthetic practitioner, which is why it’s critical to find teachers and mentors you can connect with and learn from to evolve your practice.

Some ways to continue learning can include receiving treatments from fellow esthetic experts as well as attending classes, workshops, retreats, conferences and industry events that will expand your repertoire, enhance your offerings and keep you on the cutting edge of the industry.

This effort for continual education then trickles down to the client experience you offer and making it exceptional by developing your skills that lend themselves to personalizing your client’s services, practicing mindful listening, and being available to answer questions and address their concerns.

As you get to know your clients and create a genuine bond with them, you will be building a rich and rewarding community in which each member is naturally helping you grow through word of mouth referrals.

Final Questions for Reflection

With the four steps in mind, take time to find your answers and journal about them, and keep them somewhere accessible for future review and reflection.

  1. What are your unique skills and offerings that will help you to stand out as an esthetic practitioner?

2. Who are you most excited to share these offerings with?

  1. In what kind of setting do you see yourself practicing?

  2. How do you plan to market yourself (or your business)?

  3. If you could do anything with your esthetic practice, what would it be and why?

  4. Which three people could potentially be mentors?

7. Who do you know in your community that is like-minded?

On a closing note, I want to encourage you that building a career as an independent practitioner takes time, which requires not only patience but also space to develop into the professional you are aiming to be.

If you continue to persevere through difficult times and growing pains, you’ll continue to see how the path you have chosen offers great healing benefits to yourself and others.

So provide yourself with the space you need to grow and master the balance of applied practice and continuous learning, and you will never be at a loss for gifts to share with the world. 

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