Career Advice

Building a Career in Beauty One Gig at a Time

Makeup Artist at work

So, you’re admittedly obsessed with the beauty industry. You spend hours watching the latest YouTube tutorials and scrolling through the Instagram feeds of your favorite gurus. They say you should do what you love, but how do you get started?? How do you break into the notoriously competitive beauty industry?

Everyone has to start somewhere and, now more than ever, there’s no single way to succeed. Your success is dependent on a number of factors including your passion, initiative, network, personality, and, of course, skills.

To get started, take a look at your favorite brands. Do their websites list any openings? Do their social media pages feature requests for talent? Apply! Go to stores and talk to beauty advisors. Ask them about their work, show interest, and get their manager’s contact information. Be proactive, look into your options, and go after what you want. 

Keys to Growth and Success

Know your area of interest inside and out. Does it require a certification? Some positions will allow you to dive right in and others may be based on your experience or portfolio. Regardless, take advantage of every training program, master class, and mentor relationship that comes your way – your education should never stop. Learn from every experience, the good and especially the bad, and you’ll always emerge better than before.

Be invested in relationships. Your career depends on them. No matter where you live or what type of beauty you specialize in, relationships are a vital component to your success. In big cities, while there may be more opportunities, there are just as many more people who want your job. In smaller towns, the range of opportunities may be more limited, but relationships remain a key factor all the same. Poor relationships = limited future options; great relationships = excellent referrals and a larger network.

Build up your social media accounts. If you’re hoping to break into the more competitive opportunities like fashion week and editorial work, this is especially important. Seek out and interact with major players – you never know when they’ll post asking for help! It’s also a good idea to support and network with other people looking to gain traction; not only do you benefit from their inspiration and expertise, but you can also leverage that relationship later on.

Stay on top of trends. Post your own interpretations of them frequently. Everyone’s always obsessing about the next big thing – whether it be a product, like Beautyblender, or a technique, like strobing. If you find it first, people will take note. Follow top beauty publications, like Allure and New Beauty, as well as niche brands to uncover these innovative opportunities and unique sources of inspiration.

Bright Futures Ahead

We’re currently living in a time where a new beauty star appears seemingly every day. That’s not to say that success is fleeting, but rather that there is room for anyone who finds their niche and shares it with the world. Freelancers, when focused on their passion and vision, can forge a career path straight into corner-office careers or business ownership – just look at Bobbi Brown and Lisa Eldridge.

Why are freelancers qualified to break into the top-tier jobs? A number of reasons all lead back to the same answer – they’re uniquely qualified. 

Not only do they learn brands inside out from their product usage and sales roles, but they also become experts in the customer from interactions among all types of consumers and experience creation. A person who understands the industry from all sides is a key player in the success of a brand and its future growth.

The sheer amount of interaction a beauty freelancer faces on a daily basis is a major element in that person’s success. Those who are most successful in the industry showcase their personality and develop new skills through personal interaction, which are both qualities that are integral when making a career jump. They know their customers – from what they want to the best way to sell it.

Finally, flexibility is basically synonymous with freelancing. A freelancer chooses their own hours, working where they want and when they want, so they’re set up to build a career at their own pace. The ability to access more opportunities, and often times special opportunities at that, translates into a chance to master their craft and expand their portfolios without being limited by the scope of traditional settings. They also benefit from the variety of experiences available to them; they do not have to be confined by one career ladder to success. In short, beauty freelancers can accomplish more in a shorter period of time.

The opportunities are out there, but it’s up to you to position yourself successfully to secure them. By working in freelance, you can build your career in beauty – one gig at a time.

Glenn Laumeister is an experienced technology leader who is currently the CEO of AllWork, a platform for brands and retailers to find, manage and pay retail talent.  

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