Deciding to attend beauty or barber college is an exciting accomplishment and definitely worth every penny, if this is where your true desire and passion lies. The 9-24 month journey requires focus and sacrifice because the time you put in is real, actual clock hours.
It’s been 25 years, but I remember those days all too well . . . and I couldn’t be more satisfied and proud of myself to this day. When I first started school, I was anxious and nervous, but I was having so much fun learning and couldn’t wait to leave the classroom to get on the floor. As much as I wanted to get on the floor, the classroom education was so important, because that’s where the real education is taught. And therein lies the secret. The art and skill of hairstyling is important, yes, but the knowledge is imperative to one’s long-term career success.
I always advise the students I speak to to not be in a rush to finish, but to learn all they can and then some. It took me 15 months to finish cosmetology school and barber college because I also had a job at night, but it was well worth the wait. I feel like I took my time to really learn and even became the lead student-teacher while I was in school. You have to be prepared for life after school and getting ready for the real world. Clients believe that we should be knowledgeable about all things hair, nails, and skin (and we should), so don’t shortchange yourself by rushing through the classroom hours. Think of it this way: when you seem 100% confident to your client, that gives the client a level of trust and comfort.
So, what will life be like after beauty and barber college? Well, it will be a transitional period, which I suggest you prepare for while you are still in school in order to give yourself the best chance possible to achieve success right away. If you plan and prepare carefully, this can be your story.
Most students want to wait until school is over and think that things will happen fast and comfortably, however it doesn’t work that way, you have to be proactive in finding your new home salon or barbershop after you finish beauty school or barber college. If you already know what services you want to focus on, make sure that you are well educated and confident in those areas of expertise. That in itself will make the process of shopping for a place to call home easier and will give the shop owner confidence that you are a talented professional. I always tell graduate students to not focus on opening their own salon or barbershop for at least 3 years minimum. There are so many things that one needs to learn and be aware of as a business owner— building a staff, developing leadership skills, knowing when to hire and fire, accounting and bookkeeping, filing taxes, reading contracts, executing product sales, etc. I suggest reading my book, Mentored By Failure: A 5-Point Guide To Long-Term Success In The Beauty & Style Industry. In my book, I share best practices and tips that guide you in areas that we as licensed beauty and barber professionals take for granted. I know ours is the best industry in the whole world, and through all my years of being in the industry—being a shop owner myself, traveling all over this world and now in the role of CEO & Cofounder of beauty tech startup ShearShare, (the first app that allows licensed professionals to rent empty salon, spa, and barbershop by the day)—I have the opportunity to see more licensed beauty professionals become successful right away.
If you still have questions you’d like me to answer, leave them in the comments field and I’ll be sure to respond. We’re in this together.