More Than Skin Deep: Beauty school blunders career expectations

Dear Scott: I just graduated from beauty school and I am looking for a job. I don’t have any clients since I just got out of beauty school. I am working at a place right now but all I do is stand around and look out the window with nothing to do. I do more hair for my family and friends for free on the weekends than I do all week at work! I was told at school that there are plenty of jobs out there. The only place I have found that will hire me is where I’m at, and they don’t have enough business. I didn’t think it would be so hard to get started!


Answer: You do have a chance. Right now at the place you are working. Salons that have a large walk-in business are becoming scarce, other than the quick-cut type places. The client of today rarely walks in. They ask around, do their homework, and make an appointment.

That you can start working with a line of people forming at the door awaiting your services is a common misconception of the aspiring hairdresser. Getting started takes time. Even a salon with an excellent location will not be able to instantly guarantee your financial success. The newcomers to this profession need to work on bringing in clients on their own.

You may not realize that you already have a good start of a clientele right now if you are busy doing hair in the kitchen on weekends. It’s time to explain to your friends and family that you have spent a lot of time and money to acquire the license for your new career and need their help by using your place of employment. You will be surprised how understanding they will be.

Save the freebies for charity and community service work only. Because what we do for a living is fun, it will be hard for you to cut the strings and start cutting for cash. If you continue to give your work away you will have nothing but good intentions at the end of the day. Frustration and boredom will eventually be all that’s left of your new vocation.

That anyone who has a good personality can be taught how to do hair and make it in this business is another silly idea. If you want to be a successful professional you must take the necessary steps to be the best you can be at what you do. Further your education by going to hair shows. Seek out inventive ways to become more educated in your craft. Even the most charming personality cannot explain away a crummy hairdo.


Scott Terwilliger, an Aiken salon owner, can be reached at