Get Rich Quick Tip: Pay Your Dues

Keep Calm and Pay Your DuesThere’s one important thing I’m constantly reminding myself of whenever I’m stressed out, tired from putting in extra hours at work or starting to feel burnt out: the importance of paying my dues. I knew when I was making the transition from bartending to being a licensed esthetician that my success wouldn’t come overnight. My career would be exactly what I would make of it. The more time, hard work and energy I put into my career, the higher chance I’d have of receiving a promotion or pay raise.

One of the first steps to paying your dues is be willing to take an entry-level position. This is the best way to get your foot in the door of your dream job company. As soon as I graduated from beauty school, I was fortunate to land a full-time, temporary, holiday position at Sephora, working as a Beauty Advisor in the Call Center. I was quite successful within my year and a half of working for the company. I was hired on as a permanent employee within six months of starting as a contract employee. Three months after I was made a permanent employee, I was promoted from being a Beauty Advisor to a Lead position. It wasn’t the most glamourous job in the industry, but it was my foot in the door at a beauty brand that I knew I wanted to align myself with.

Once you get your foot in the door, you must have and maintain a “Always Say Yes” attitude towards your position and employer. I knew starting at Sephora as a contract employee, my contract could end at any given moment, for any given reason. I lived in fear on a daily basis for the first six months I worked at Sephora that I would lose my job without any sort of warning. I saw people all around me getting let go because there wasn’t enough work to justify keeping all of the holiday staff, not fitting into the office culture or having an attendance and/or tardy issue. The keys to my success for working at Sephora was always being on time, never calling out for work, having a positive attitude and always being flexible with my schedule. Anytime my supervisor asked if I could work overtime, the answer would always be yes. Part of paying your dues means having to work the less desired shifts such as weekends, nights, early mornings or holidays.

Another part about paying your dues is the willingness to make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals. For me, its important that I establish myself as a published writer and an industry expert. I knew deep in my heart that I didn’t want to perform treatments or waxing services on clients. Instead, I wanted to focus more on the business side of things by utilizing my social media skills. I also knew that I wanted to teach. At Sephora, that meant working my way up to being a Product Trainer for Sephora University. I got a small taste for training at Sephora when I was asked to participate in the holiday training classes last year. I even got the opportunity to create my own product knowledge training class and teach it to all of the holiday new hires.

After working for Sephora for only a year and a half, I left my cushy position behind in April of this year to work at SFIEC. I traded in my dreams of becoming a Sephora University Product Trainer for becoming a jack-of-all-trades at the school. In addition to teaching Guest Services classes at SFIEC, I also manage the salon floor, brand the school each month, run all of the contests and promotions for the salon floor, manage all of the school’s social media platforms on a daily basis, facilitate new product launches and run special fundraising programs for the students. I chose to take on a full-time job loaded with extra responsibility because I know that if I put in the time and a lot of hard work, it would eventually turn into my dream job.

Paying your dues means putting in the time and hard work. You can’t be afraid of starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. Once you get your foot in the door and prove yourself to your employer, you’re more likely to get promoted. Dream jobs don’t come without a lot of blood, sweat, tears, hard work and sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed everything from not being able to attend a best friend’s wedding to taking a significant pay decrease, just so I could get my foot in the door at a brand or company I believed in. These were sacrifices I happily made in the short-term because I knew that they would help me to accomplish my long-term career goals.


Get Rich Quick Tip – How do I Build a Clientele? (Pt.2)

Get_Out_Of_Your_Comfort_ZoneThere are so many fun things in life that weren’t always easy to do at first. Think about some of life’s biggest moments that have made you feel uncomfortable when you first did them. Moments like a first date, first day of school, moving into your own place, traveling somewhere by yourself, leaving the country or starting a new job or career. Sure, it was scary at first, but in the end you were probably so happy that you did it. Sometimes the scarier these moments are, the more likely they are to be life changing and memorable.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

The first beauty industry networking event that I ever went to was one of these moments for me. Here I was still in beauty school, not yet a licensed esthetician. My blog was in its infancy stage. Up until this point, my blog only consisted of my experiences at school and a few product reviews. I was terrified to go up to someone, introduce myself and tell them about my blog. I would think of the back of my mind, “Why would this person care about meeting me? My blog is so new and I don’t even have my license yet.” Turns out, I met a lot of amazing people at the event. Most of these people are people whom I still keep in contact with today. And the fear about no one caring about my little blog? Ha! Turns out, there were a lot of other like-minded beauty bloggers at this event as well. For once in my life, I was completely surrounded with a room full of women who shared the same passion as me – writing, beauty and social media.

So how does getting out of your comfort zone apply to building a clientele? By now, hopefully you’ve reached out to your family and friends in your Inner Circle. You’ve invited them in to experience your amazing skills and a professional salon service. You give them an amazing service and they can’t book their next appointment with you fast enough.

Your next step? Ask them for a referral. As your friend or family member is waiting to check out from their service, give them a few of your business cards. Tell them how much fun you had working on them during the appointment. Then don’t be afraid to ask them to invite some of their family and friends to come in and experience a professional salon service with you. It’s hard to ask anyone for help. This is why you should always start with the Inner Circle portion of your Circle of Influence. Remember, these are the people who will always love and support you no matter what. Ask them to show their love and support for you by recommending your services to other people within their own Circle of Influence. The best kind of advertising is always word-of-mouth, especially if its from someone within your Inner Circle.

Never leave home without your business cards and don’t be afraid to give them out.


Get Rich Quick Tip: How do I Build a Clientele (Pt.1)

heart“How come I don’t have any clients today?”

Every time I work on the salon floor at SFIEC, I get asked this question at least once by a Future Professional. Future Professionals (or FPs as we call them) is SFIEC’s word for student. There are many reasons why an FP might not have a client. It could be that the salon floor was slow that day. Maybe all of the clients who scheduled appointments that day, specifically requested the FP they saw for their service. Perhaps there was a more senior student who got an appointment booked with them instead because they’re closer to graduation. Whatever the reason might be, the FP should understand that it’s not the service desk’s job to make sure an FP’s books are always filled with clients. If getting practice on the salon floor with real clients is a priority for the FP, then it’s really their own responsibility for filling their books while on the salon floor at school.

Putting the responsibility on an FP this early on in the game might sound harsh, but it’s the best dose of reality we can give to them while they are in school. Salons or spas in the real world aren’t going to just hand over a full book of clients to a newly hired, licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. In this industry, having a healthy and solid clientele is a badge of honor. It’s something every licensed individual works hard at attaining within their career. So why shouldn’t Future Professionals start practicing how to build up their clientele while they’re still in school? To me, having them practice this important business tool early on in their career makes perfect business sense.

Start in Your Circle of Influence Within Your Comfort Zone

When building up a clientele, you should always start with your own Circle of Influence. Influence is defined as your ability to affect someone’s decisions, actions or behavior. Everyone has some sort of influence over other people. The easiest place to start within your Circle of Influence is with the people whom you know the best: your family and friends. These are the people who know you the best. They love and trust you. Your family and friends are also more likely to support you in whatever you do. They are the ones who will usually do whatever you ask them to do, even more so if you ask them nicely.

Sure, it’s easy to hook up your family and friends by giving them free services at home. Who really benefits from that type of situation? You deny a perfectly good, potential client from receiving a professional salon service. You are also less likely to ever benefit financially from the transaction. Keep in mind, if you give family and friends free services early on in your career, I guarantee that they will expect to pay that same price throughout your entire career.

Set healthy boundaries now. Invite family and friends to come in to experience your newly acquired skills in a professional setting, under the watchful eye of your instructor, while you’re still in school. You’ll get to practice on someone you’re comfortable with and your “client” will be able to take advantage of your services at a relatively cheap price. Beauty school salon services are such an incredible bargain! Just be sure to plant the seed in your “client’s” mind now that the prices for your services will increase just as your skill set and experience increases.

If you are a newly licensed or newly hired professional who is looking to build up a clientele, you’ll want to take the same advice as those still in beauty school. Start with the people in your Circle of Influence that you know best: your friends and family. Depending on the spa or salon you work at, most places will require that you bring in your own live models to practice services on. They will also expect you to provide your own live models when you need to perform skill checks on specific services.

When I first started waxing, the initial thirty days at the salon were spent training. Training meant that I had to bring in my own models to practice all of the different waxing services on, under the watchful of my trainer. If I didn’t have a live model, I didn’t get to practice. If I didn’t have enough practice, I wouldn’t be eligible to take paid guests on the floor. You better believe I invited all of my family and friends to come in for various, free waxing services during that first month. Some of them were a little hesitant to be my waxing model in the beginning, but most of them ended up turning into repeat clients over the next few months.

Start with who you know and go from there.


Get Rich Quick Tip: 5 Ways to Get Hired

help_wantedCongratulations! You survived all 600 hours of lectures, reading the Milady’s textbook cover-to-cover, working in the treatment room on real clients, studying flashcards for State Boards and doing so many State Board practical walk-thrus that you could probably take the exam and practical in your sleep if you had to. Ideally, your State Board test date is shortly after graduation. Then you can get your license and be well on your way. But where to? Where does a newly licensed esthetician go after graduation and passing State Board?

This is a question that you’ve probably already been thinking about while in school. I know when I first started my esthetics program, I was pretty set on becoming a professional waxing queen while working my way into a medi spa-type setting. That all changed half way thru my program when I discovered how much I loved products and that my true passion was in training people how to use all of those amazing products. During the last few weeks of school, an opportunity presented itself which led me into the job I have now. Lucky for me, the day I got my license was also the same day I found out I had gotten hired for my current job.

How does one go from being a beauty school graduate to working in the professional world? It’s not always easy and it takes a lot of work, dedication and patience. Here are five ways on how to get hired right out of beauty school.

#1: Don’t Hide Your Enthusiasm
Chances are if you’ve just finished beauty school, you’re probably really excited. You finally earned your license and now its time to get to work in your new profession. Employers love employees who are full of passion. People who are passionate about their job enjoy coming into work. They usually have an impeccable attendance record. They’re eager to learn and will do anything to take good care of their clients. This type of positive energy is infectious in a business. What employer wouldn’t want to have employees who are excited about work? Bottom line: Don’t hide your enthusiasm from potential employers. The happy and positive types of people not only get hired, but quickly get promoted.

#2: Know Your Networking ABCs: Always Be Connecting
When you think about it, the beauty industry is small. If you work in a spa or salon, the industry is even smaller. Everyone seems to know everyone or of them in some way, shape or form. Use those networking skills you developed in beauty school. Never leave home or go to an industry event without your business cards. Don’t be afraid to hand them out at an event, in a training class or after receiving a service at a spa or salon you really like. You never know who’s hiring. The more people you know in your industry, the more people will know you and know of you. Businesses always prefer to hire someone they already know rather than taking a chance on a faceless resume.

#3: Just do it and Don’t Forget to Follow Through
During the last month of my esthetics program, I found out that recruiters for Sephora were visiting our school. The day I got ahold of the job description with the recruiter’s information, I submitted my resume. Then I made sure to stay after class for the beginning of night school so I could meet the recruiter in-person, just to introduce myself. A week went by after submitting my resume and I still hadn’t heard back from the recruiter yet. I decided to call the recruiter to follow up on the resume I had submitted with her. I also sent her an email letting her know how interested I was in the position. A couple weeks later, I had earned myself an interview. Even though I wasn’t the only one applying for the position, I stayed fresh in the recruiter’s mind because I took action and wasn’t afraid to follow up. My persistence resulted in me scoring an interview and landing the job. If there’s an opening or an opportunity that you’re interested in, don’t just think about applying for it. Do it. Submit your resume and don’t forget to follow up.

#4: Utilize the Job Placement Coordinator at School
Hopefully your school cares enough about your professional success that they have a Job Placement Coordinator on site for you to work with. Don’t wait until the week before your graduation to meet with the Job Placement Coordinator. Make friends with him or her early on in your program. This is the person you can come to for resume writing advice, potential job leads, and endless networking opportunities. Even after you’ve graduated, your Job Placement Coordinator can still assist you in your job search if you need help. They certainly wont get the job for you, but they are an excellent resource in finding worthy opportunities to apply for.

#5: Remember That Education Doesn’t Stop at Graduation
There is only so much information any esthetics program can fit into 600 hours. Education doesn’t stop after getting your license. It’s important to continue your postgraduate education within the industry. International Dermal Institute is not only the skin care industry leader in postgraduate education, but its also responsible for the ingredient research and product development for the entire Dermalogica skin care line. IDI currently has 38 postgraduate Training Centers worldwide; 18 of which are located in the United States. In addition to the paid class curriculum, IDI also offers FREE Guest Speaker evenings that are open to all licensed professionals. Students even receive a 30% discount in the student store on all personal and professional sizes of Dermalogica products.

Seasonal trade shows such as the Face and Body Conference Expo feature a weekend full of numerous product-neutral and supplier classes taught by various industry leaders along with a networking luncheon, a networking night out at on the town (in San Jose its at a local winery), the Expo Hall featuring over 100 exhibitors and a day long Medical Esthetics Summit.

Education also includes any research you might choose to do on your own regarding product lines, ingredients and industry trends. It can also include brand trainings taught by representatives of any of the product lines your salon or spa might carry. One of the best ways you can keep yourself competitive in this industry and be an invaluable resource for your clients is to always pursue postgraduate


Get Rich Quick Tip: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

road-less-traveledIn beauty school, I learned many valuable lessons.  Some of them were important concepts, procedures and industry terms that I needed to memorize in order to pass State Board. Thanks to my fabulous Learning Leaders, I also learned a lot about real-life and how to be successful once I graduated from school and started working in the professional world. One of the real-life lessons I really took to heart while in school was the need to do something that scares me each and everyday. I’m not talking about forcing myself to watch scary movies just so I can spend the next week sleeping with all of the lights on and looking underneath my bed before I go to sleep every night. I’m talking about doing things that force me to break my daily routine and get out of my comfort zone.

I’m a creature of habit. I’m one of those people who loves to have a routine. I like to wake up at the same time every morning, walk down the same side of the street, go to the same coffee shop and order the same breakfast sandwich on my way to work everyday. Having a routine is settling. It’s mindless. It reassures me that I wont forget anything. It also isn’t very exciting.

It’s the days when I don’t stick to my routine when exciting things happen. It’s as simple as me having to take the bus to work because I ended up leaving my house a little later than usual. Instead of walking to work, I’m forced to walk down a whole different street, see different store fronts and experience a different form of mode of transportation to work, but I also gain a fresh perspective on the new work day.

In beauty school, I quickly got comfortable with all of my classmates and Learning Leaders. It was easy to talk to anyone at school because they had all become an active part of my daily routine. I’ve always thought of myself as a social person. Being a bartender for eight years, I knew I had the people skills to be able to start up a conversation with anyone who sat in my bar. My tip jar depended on my people skills and being able to win my customers over.

Last year I attended my first industry networking event, the iFabbo event at Beauty Company. It wasn’t until I had got to the event that I discovered just how much networking terrified me. I no longer had my classmates or even a bar to draw people in to have a conversation with me. Now, it was up to me to go up to someone, introduce myself and start a conversation with a complete stranger. Luckily I went to the event with a really good friend of mine who also happens to be a networking master. She’s one of those people who isn’t afraid to talk to anyone. She picked up right away that I was nervous, even though I was the one who had invited her to the event. She gave me a little pep talk and had me follow her lead for the first few conversations. By the end of the event, I was completely comfortable and had even managed to make a few friends.

I ended up going to five more events last year after the iFabbo event. Most of these events I attended by myself. At each event, I became more comfortable with approaching a complete stranger, introducing myself and talking shop about anything pertaining to beauty, makeup or skin care. Once I made the decision to face my fear, break my routine and step outside of my comfort zone, I started to grow as a person. My confidence soared and I made a lot of new friends.

Choosing to do that one thing that scares you everyday doesn’t mean you have to go to an industry networking event solo just because you’re shy or even jump out an airplane because you’re afraid of heights. It can be something as little as walking on the other side of the street to work that morning, trying a new serum or moisturizer, wearing a different color of lip stick than you normally do, wearing a pair of heels, trying food that you’ve never eaten before, telling the girl on the bus that you think her boots are cute or even just smiling at a stranger. Whatever it is, choose one thing each day that scares you and do it. Don’t be afraid to shake up your routine a bit. Who knows. Doing that one thing that scares you could inspire you to do something even bigger and better than what you’re doing now.


Get Rich Quick Tip: Fake it Until You Make it

fake_it_till_you_make_itSome days, things seem to go perfectly. You wake up rested. You leave the house for work on time. The right songs seem to be playing on your Shuffle. You have a super productive day at work. Clients are really nice and easy to deal with. Easy, breezy.

Then there are those days where nothing seems to go right. It all started with sleeping through the alarm. That caused you to be a few minutes late to work. You didn’t have time to grab breakfast before heading into work. Clients are escalated and there seems to be no resolution in sight that will make any of them happy. You’re starving and realized you forgot your lunch at home. Of course your debit card is in your other purse.

It’s on the tough days when faking confidence becomes crucial. You don’t want your boss or clients to ever see you sweat. You don’t want to make an already bad day be any worse. When things refuse to go according to plan, it’s important to take a few moments to step back, take a deep breath, smile and then jump back into the game with a solution. Fake it till you make it.

I remember back in beauty school when I experienced giving the worse service of my life. I originally planned to use a complicated mask during my last service of the day. The mask ended up going horribly wrong. It solidified before I even had a chance to apply it to the client’s whole face. Even though I was freaking out inside, I pretended like it was all part of the service. I slowly picked up the pieces of mask off of the client’s face as I thought about a Plan B. The client ended up getting three masks for the price of one. The client had no idea that I was stressed out during the treatment. She didn’t have a clue that I had botched the first mask I applied. The client come out from the treatment on cloud nine. She was relaxed and loved the way her skin looked and felt. She even bought all of the products I recommended to her.

Then there are times when escalated clients will give you a run for your money. Their idea of a solution to the problem is outside of company policy. Here’s another perfect opportunity to “fake it till you make it.” Turn up the smile, turn on the charm and pump up the self-confidence. Even if every nerve in your body is shaking. In these types of situations, it’s important to never take the client’s reactions personally. If you have to, put the client on hold for a moment to gather your thoughts and come up with a fair solution that will leave the client satisfied while staying within company policy. You’ll always know that you’ve made it when you’ve won over an escalated client.

Every now and then there might be a morning that comes just a little too early. Maybe you were out past your bedtime the night before. Had one too many cocktails. Instead of calling out for work, “fake” looking awake and well rested. Take a few minutes to put a couple fresh cucumber slices or damp tea bags over your eyes to help relieve some of the puffiness. Throw yourself in the shower. Use the best concealer you have. Don’t just dress in the clothes on the floor. Put a little extra effort into what you wear today. You’re regretting now not getting your beauty sleep the night before, but putting on your best “going to work” face will get you a whole lot farther than not going in at all. Don’t forget to put on your smile before leaving the house and grabbing a strong coffee on the way in.

When you “fake it till you make it”, no one ever really knows how bad you’re panicking on the inside unless you tell them. Instead, others will see you as being a calm, cool, confident and collected individual who can handle any situation life, work or clients might throw your way. It’s this type of behavior that will get you promoted.


Get Rich Quick Tip: Listen to Your Heart

Follow_Your_HeartIt’s been a crazy, whirlwind last few months at work. Gearing up for the holidays was no joke. Now that we are in the thick of the holiday season and everyone is trained, it’s time to get down to the frenzy. Christmas is now 24 days away and counting.

Tonight was the first time in a long time where I actually got a chance to sit down and clear out my email inbox. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful fan mail I get from my blog. Thank you, dear readers. You’re all truly amazing and inspiring. I just wish I had more time to respond to all of the emails I receive in a timely manner. Some of the emails I answered tonight were from all the way back in September. At least its better late than never!

I’ve noticed that the questions I’m most often asked pertain to beauty school.

Why did you decide to go to school?
Should I go to school?
Where should I go to school?
How do I know that beauty school is right for me?

These questions touch my heart because it was only two years ago that I was asking myself these same questions. Only there wasn’t a blog like mine for me to reach out to. I had to dig deep inside and do a lot of soul searching of my own. I also seeked professional and honest advice from all of my friends who already worked in the beauty industry. Once I started my own research, I knew that one day I would write a blog with the intentions to inspire others out there like me and help readers make educated decisions that were right for them.

It’s been a long road to get to where I am today. I am thankful for each bump I’ve had to encounter along the way. It not only helped me become a happier person than I was before, but made me truly appreciate the career I’ve carved out for myself over the last year.

My “Get Rich Quick Tip” to you? If you have a passion, go for it. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams. Squash the negative self-talk and don’t listen to the negative people. Life is too short to stay at a job that you hate to get out of bed for or in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy. Not every day is going to be without challenges, but those bumps will be a whole lot easier to conquer if you love what you do.



Get Rich Quick Tip: Always Say Yes!

yesOne of the most important lessons I learned in Beauty School last year was to always say yes to opportunities that come your way. I remember the day my Learning Leader gave us this Get Rich Quick Tip. It was our second day of school and we were going through our program’s itinerary, discussing our classes and the school’s policies. Our Learning Leader was very wise to remind us that whatever we put into our time at school is what we would get back. You could do the minimum amount of work and get by or you could do a little extra and get more benefit out of your time and experience in the program. I agreed with her. Shoot, I was already in school. I might as well make the best of it and get the most I could get out of the program while I was there.

The entire time I was in school, I took my Learning Leader’s advice to heart and said yes to every single opportunity that came my way. Sign up for the extracurricular makeup class on my two days of the week off from school? Yes, I did that twice. Sign up for the one day Sunday seminar with a skin care company offering training on their entire product line? Yes, I did that. Apply for the Design Team even though I was working two jobs and only had a month left in school? Yes, I did that and was the only estie to make the team. Volunteer to stay for night school once a week just to see more clients and get extra hand-on experience? Yes, I did that for the last two months of my program. Brazillian certification? I went for it. You get the idea.

During the last couple of weeks at school, a placement agency visited our school, recruiting students for a full-time position with a local beauty retailer looking to hire Beauty Product Specialists for the holiday season. It was half way through my program that I discovered how much I loved products and wanted to work towards being a product trainer for a brand. When I heard the recruiters reading off the job description for this position, I told myself, “I can do that.” The position was with a company that I loved and respected. Even though it was a temporary position, I knew that there was a chance that I could get in there and work my way up. All I needed was an “in.” I applied for the position.

I found out that I had landed the job only an hour after passing my State Board Exam and getting my esthetician license. I started my new job two weeks after getting my license. That was in October of 2010.

During the holiday season, I said yes whenever I was asked to work overtime or stay later than my normally scheduled shift. I ended up sailing through the holiday season with flying colors. I managed to win top sales in the month of December, outshining many of other people who had been working in my department long before I had gotten there. I also had a perfect attendance record, minus the two days I was out due to having surgery.

In April, the company snatched me away from the Temp Agency and made me a bonafide, full-time employee with benefits. In June, my supervisors asked me if I would consider being a part of a special, new program. They considered me a perfect candidate because I was responsible and reliable. The catch was that my start time would be at 5 am, meaning I would have to wake up for work at 3am. I said yes without batting an eyelash.

In July, my supervisors asked me if I would be interested in being promoted to a Team Lead position. This new position would take me off of the phones and put me into a managerial role with more responsibilities. They told me that even though I was the new kid on the block, I was being considered for the promotion because I 1) had continued to do a good job since I started back in October as a temp,  2) was already working the uber early shift that the new Team Lead would be required to work and 3) my perfect attendance record proved that I was responsible and mature enough to take on the position. Of course I told them a big fat YES.

Today, they offered me the Team Lead position and I accepted.

My professional experience is proof that saying yes to opportunities that come your way in life does pay off. This past year has been no easy feat for me. I’ve had to work extremeley hard every inch along the way. There were times that I wanted to give up. There were times when I cried. There were times when I questioned if what I was doing was going to take me down the right career path. As you can see, all of that hard work IS paying off. I haven’t had my esthetician license for a whole year yet and I am already climbing the corporate ladder.

I only hope that my professional experience will inspire you to continue to work hard and say yes to opportunities that come your way. Those opportunities might not fit so perfectly into your schedule or even be glamorous, but you never know where one of those opportunities might take you. All you have to do is say yes.