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Did you ever think, OMG what am I doing?
I mean this more in the sense of when you first started out and were building your careers, I know everyones time in varies so Id love to hear from vets & newbs!! Were you ever building your clientele thinking Im going to be broke for the rest of my life..or What the heck am I doing...or how on earth am I ever going to get really good at this?

I have been told this is a 2-3 year process, and Im willing to stick it out, because I love what im doing and my heart is totally in this..but I have these moments where im like what on earth am I doing?

Anyone recall what they were making starting out, is there an average??? I know there are so many variables but ANY input would be GREAT
10 view and no response :cry:
i was very lucky starting out went straight into a hair salon, i also do hair but my point is that hair salons are a client base for nails just sitting there waiting. back when i started we got 75 or more for a set of nails, no tips available it was all sculpted, then when i went in and out of the industry fast forward to 7 years ago when quickie salons are on every corner and 35 bucks is what a basic set of nails was what i had to charge ... thats when i said what the heck am i but i found my client base with glitter and courtesy and now i am not saying that anymore...
Kathie Kirkpatrick get a grip on reality and choke it to death
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and
well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally
worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
I believe schools are doing their students an injustice when they say it will take 2-3 years to build your business. Most new businesses take a lot longer than that to build and now with the nail factories being the picture it could take even longer. Very few are successful immediately. Kind of like the few who find stardom, they just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, pure luck.

I have at times wondered about my business when I've lost a few clients, for various reasons that had nothing to do with how I do nails or them being unhappy, and the phone is a little quiet, but I have to remind myself that I have always receive what I need and have always paid my bills. and make sure I voice my gratefulness.

I think one major key to being successful is starting out with no debt in your business. I didn't go crazy buying all the newest, latest items or all the equipment. I bought a little at a time. When I got my own studio I didn't go out and buy all new stuff, I bought little by little. And still do.

Just remember, it has nothing to do with you or your abilities. It has everything to do with what is going on with having to compete with nail factories, the economy, etc. Hang in there!!
I never think that. Its all I do. I have thought about "What would I do if i didn't do nails". Work in an office? That really sucks to me. I love my career but it sure can be difficult to make money these days. I'm not giving up yet?
I know where you are coming from on that. Ugh is it going to happen already feeling!!! I have had a Class CA license since 2007 and have never had my own booth. I have kept my license renewed as active and i look for education in my area when it fits in with my day job. I work m-f 8-4 in an office. It just works better for my family. i dont have the time to sit at a booth till 7 pm to gain more clients I have to be there to cook, clean and feed my son and hubby. I really hate cubicle life but cant risk a full time venture into a salon right now. Its frustrating because all i want to do is nails and glitter and pampering!!!! I am thinking of asking one of the smaller shops in town if i could rent a nail station for just friday nights and saturdays people can call and book for those days and i could have my house in order too. I really want to offer just natural nail services and some other things to fill in openings. I just need to find the right booth for me and eventually i will have my own salon added to my house but until then im keeping my day job and dreaming of doing pampering services full time.

Dont get frustrated everything worth having takes time to make happen.
Mitchele Sheree Hunt
CND Master Painter
I am lucky in the way that I am renting a booth and have clients while my Husband has a steady check that pays the mortgage. I am just keeping my nose above water at this point though. I want to find a new location, as the one I in is a sinking ship, and the captain is an old German man going down with it. He doesnt want to invest in the esthetics of the salon anymore, and its a destination shopping center. I could have made it big there had I wanted to put in all the time and effort to really market the location. But its a long drive and I have been in that location for 12 years. Most of the businesses closed down several years ago and with them, my clients. Then more layoffs and more clients having to leave. I just havent felt like picking up after that in this spot. So I need to move on, or market to the newer businesses there.
I want to work closer to home so the drive isnt so long or costly with gas. I want to see some new scenery to. 12 years in the same center and 8 in the same salon, in the same corner, at the same rented table LOL. So yes. I ask daily. What am I doing?!! :lol: Ah, I just have to laugh at myself sometimes. I think I am on the verge of losing it.
My car blew a head gasket, ( thank the gods my husband and dad can fix them ) But wait. ( sounds like an infomericial) On the way to the parts store my husbands breaks started screaming, so now those need fixed. OK fine. But my car is misfiring now because something else needs replaced after the head gasket job! AND my husband had a tire blow out yesterday. My beautiful dog passed on the 4th and life has not let me have one second of peace since then. What am I doing? Yup. I have no clue.
We were however kindly approved for a car loan at an excellent rate for payments I can afford. Maybe this weekend I will actually know what I am doing for once.
OMG that got so long and none of you need to hear my crud.
Oh yea, the first year was really tough. I was like any other newbie, literally thrown to the wolves with no experience. I managed to get a job at salon and the owner said she'd help me learn. Yea, right! She was so booked she never had time to teach me. Trial and error was my teacher. I had to take a full time job because my 15 clients sure wouldn't pay my bills. I finally went back full time in '92 and have been that way ever since.
thanks for the time you all took to respond...and sobeit, I LOVED and appreciated your vent.

I am a single mother and am lucky enuf (sometimes) to rent a loft on my parents home or would literally live in a box on the side of the road, which would double as my nail salon Smile I racked up some credit card and school loan debt while going to school, and am LITERALLY living pay check to pay check, and well I cant even afford rent at my parents house anymore, I think its been since september since I made a payment..all I can manage is my own actual bills right now.

I dont want to even consider getting another job because I feel like this time in my career is so crucial, all my focus is on learning the trade, practicing, building my clientele and networking..I dream about nails. I stress about nails, and I just keep truckin' along.
Im probably making about $800 a month right now (is that embarrasing?)
I started out in a NSS shop and was also literally thrown to the wolves. I worked weekends but had a full time job working 12 hour shifts. It was hard!!! I am/was a single mother of 2 and sooooo many times thought what the hell was i doing? I nearly gave up many times but I managed to acquire a small clientel and when the NSS said "we close up now" i had no choice but to booth rent. After about 6 months out of that NSS shop I had a decent book and quit my full time job. There were hard times but I became frugal and realized i could do without a lot of things. I used to wonder if i could ever support my family on a nail tech pay....i look back at that now and am so thankful to my clients who encouraged me to say in business. Ive been on my own for 3 years now and my book is so full i have a waiting list. Sometimes i think "good god, what i have done"! I was able to build my business in a recession!! I am truly blessed!!

Just keep plugging away.....if it truly love what you do, it WILL pay off for you!! As i am thinking back now... I started off with 20 polishes and some no name

Hang in there....

~The true measure of a person is how they treat someone who can do them absolutely no good~
I have worked at about 5 different places in my 12 years of doing nails....and I dont think it would take you that long to build up.

I have co-owned my own salon, booth rented, and been an employee. Currently, I work for someone, and I have to say that this is the slowest Ive built up in my whole career. Its very, very frustrating for me, because I brought all of that experience to their place...they didnt really have a 'nail department' before I came on board.
The last salon I worked at before I left the business....I was making close to $800 a week including tips...but the owner advtertised all the time and was constantly marketing the salon. It was a brand new place that I helped to open, and pretty much within 7 months I was making very good money.

And my current bosses dont advertise outside the salon at all. This is a common beef with all the ppl there that arent booked completely. The owners just make us referral cards to pass out, we do email blasts to current clients...and I do the Facebook offers from time to time.

Not only that..they are only paying me a 45% commission..because they said that they had to make an 'investment' for me when i started...but that had been taken care of a long time ago.

I just dont know what to do myself. I like working there...but it seems like they help the stylists and not me. The new stylists all get an ad in the local paper and I didnt get one. I told them that I had worked in the area previously too, and that they might put one in the other close local paper announcing that Im back in the area.....but they never did.

They also belong to a program that they send out free haircuts to the new ppl that move into the area. They actually compensate the styslist their part on the service this would help me out tremendously!!!
I aksed to be put on that..and she said she would...but that never happened either. I just feel like Im not being treated fairly. They both are super nice as far as bosses are concerned...but they have to realize that I have to raise my daughter on what Im making.

Its like they dont value me as a professional and my abilities. Like I have to fend for myself and they are ok with that.
I dont make over $400 every 2 weeks, and Im a single mom.
I dont want to give up because Ive only been there under 9 months...but I had the entire summer to build, and just havent gotten the client base I normally do. I dont know what Im going to do. There is another salon that wants me...but I really like it where Im at. This other place is local too...and they do a much larger business and are very well known in the area. I know in the long run, it would be more beneficial for me...but I am going to try to talk to the owners here again, and let them know they must start helping me to build because whats going on now just isnt working.
I cannot live on what Im making....and the days/hours Im putting it...its like Im only making minimum wage..and I have too much experience and am really good at what I be paid like this !!!

Sooooo..sorry to take over the thread....its just you have to make sure where you work is ideal for your needs. Ask alot of questions and interview them as much as they do you.

I believe if they did some advertising for me it would create a flow of new clientele.... because nails are always the first to go. If they constantly advertised for me...then if I lost some would still be a consistent flow of clients coming in...

You have to be very aggressive when it comes to building a clientele. But people come and go, and if you arent replacing the ppl that leave (for whatever reason)...youre not going to make it.

So, pass out your cards, send thank you cards when you get a new client in...they love that !! And just market yourself!

Hope this helped..but I just wanted to share my story with you so you can see its not only you....its all of us.
" Take be kind".....

Full Time single mom,
Medical Receptionist &
Part Time Nail Artist
Akron, OH
anointdhndz thank you for sharing...WOW $800 A WEEK! I cant imagine, I would be tickled...
I need to re read your post because Im a little busy at the moment, but I wanted to add to my story that I am barely 3 months out of school
Awe ya....please do share....
Ya, when i was making that kind of was nice. I had a beautful car and wasnt struggling at all. But my boss always marketed the salon.
Thats the key really.
But, yes..when you have time..please tell me all about it.
I know its hard..but if you truly have a passion for the business-- you will make it...its the ppl who just do the job...'just for a job' to speak---that dont make it cuz they have no passion about it. You can tell who is like that and whos not very easily when you work with them.

I love the industry and Im glad I got back into it...I almost let a bad situation keep me from coming back...but I didnt. So... im happy about my decision.
Ok... i will check back!! Thanks.Smile
" Take be kind".....

Full Time single mom,
Medical Receptionist &
Part Time Nail Artist
Akron, OH
Tracy, thank you for sharing your story. I hope everything works out for you. You deserve it!!
I've been at this for 2 years and still do not have a full book. I have weeks where I don't have any clients at allSad Part of the time I was at an overpriced dayspa @a mall that had at least 2 nns shops w/$20 full sets. Then I took a break, and now I'm at a very small shop as the only nail tech. It's a very hard industry to be in, especially in California. I have to come up with new marketing strategies every month and find ways to put myself out to the public. I so know how you feel. There are days when I think I made the biggest mistake investing in this industry even though I love it, but I 'm not giving up yet.
and we all have had to do it in order to stay in this business, but I guess that would be true of any business when you think about it. I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing until after the 3rd year of doing nails full time. I've made as little as $10k a year in the early years to over $50k as my clientele & business experience grew.

It's a long process and next year will be my 25th year as a nail tech. God willing I can have another 25 years, too! I can't say what you need to do for sure because I have not walked in your shoes. But if you're not making it on a nail techs salary, then there's no shame in getting another part time job in some other field. I've worked in restaurants while doing nails around those hours AND I've worked in 2 salons at the same job in the am. and the other job in the pm. In order to succeed, you've gotta get your hustle on.

It helps me when I put pen to paper. Business 101= where am I now; where do I want to be; how am I gong to get there? Identify the problem, list possible ways to overcome that problem, map out a course of action to get where you need to be, then take the steps to make it happen....problem solved.

Easy? NO! Doable? YES! Don't let negative thoughts & people hold you back. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps girlfriend, because if you don't, no one else will. Hope this helps you get focusedSmile

Jill Wright
Bowling Green, KY
As someone entering this field I find the responses motivating and terrifying. I'll be honest, I haven't see many posts from NYCer's and that scares me. I do wonder how/if I can make it here doing nails and waxing. I currently have a full time job that i hate but making under $49000 a year is a very scary thought for me. In this town, (I have a child) I wonder how we'd eat. Not to mention leaving my job means leaving good health insurance.

Are any of you from here? Or know a tech here that can offer some input?
NY Licensed Nail + Waxing Tech
Owner/Developer Suite Tee
Instagram: @SuiteTee
I can tell you from past experience and wisdom that only comes with age, don't be a fool.....stay where you're at for now. If you hate your job then suck it up until you can find another one, be it in a salon or elsewhere, that has a written guarantee (not a verbal promise) of what your starting salary will be, especially if you can't live on less that $49k per year & need benefits. It may be vastly different in NYC, but where I've lived in PA., Chicago, Atlanta, & KY....most techs claim they do not make anywhere near $49k per year.

Here's the latest stats from NAILS mags 2010-2011 Big Book:

Average nail techs WEEKLY income-

21% make between $351 - $450
20.9% make less than $150
14% make more than $750
13.9% make between $251 - $350
12.4% make between $151 - $250
9.1% make between $551 - $650
6.8% make between $651 - $750

The average HOURS worked per WEEK-

28.1%: 31 -40
21.4%: 21 - 30
15.4%: 41 - 50
14%: fewer than 10 hours
13.7%: 11 - 20
6.6%: more than 50 hours

If I'm doing the math correctly (and there's a chance I'm not, since math is one of my worst subjects, so correct me if I'm wrong).....the majority are making at the top end $450 per week, divided by the majority of hours worked being 40 hours, equals $11.25 per hour. Multiply that by 50 working weeks in a year (minus 2 weeks for holidays, sickness, and vacation) equals a yearly salary of $22,500!

Do your research by interviewing many, many salon owners & many, many nail techs personally (not just online) to see what their typical TAKE HOME PAY is in your area, because I don't know and each area of the country is different. Be sure when doing your survey to find out if salons typically offer benefits, too. It's been my experience that the majority do not, UNLESS they are a corporate chain of salons or some other high powered entity with many employees (which usually does not mean techs booth rent but instead are on a % commission or are paid hourly.

But do your due diligence beforehand, so you're not jumping from the frying pan into the fire, especially since you have a child that depends on you for their well being. Then let us know how it turned outSmile

Bowling Green, KY
I suggest choosing your lowest-cost service and offering it on a Groupon. At the end of August, I ran a RockStar Pedicure, and filled my book for two months solid. I made $500 a week in tips. I offered the next service for $10 off the regular price, and I'm seeing 25% retention.
bella, thats really amazing..Ive just heard so many people complain about groupon Sad
I have been a nail tech for almost 23 years now and have certainly experienced many ups and downs. I moved from Las Vegas to Colorado in 1997 and built a clientele in the affluent neighborhood of Cherry Creek, eventually opening my own salon. Things were fabulous. I worked from 8-3 Monday - Friday and was boked solid. People did not cancel their appointments because they would not get another one. And then... the economy changed and people started dropping off. I had to make a decision: Figure out how to rebuild in Cherry Creek, OR start over, closer to home.

I decided that I was done commuting nearly 40 miles each way and I was going to rebuild, and start over closer to home. I began the transition in 2008, working in both places while I built my new business. I worked Mon-Tues in Brighton, and Wed-Fri in Cherry Creek. As I built in Brighton, I graduallly added more time. Finally, in 2010, I closed my Cherry Creek salon permanently, and made the switch.

This is what I have learned. You HAVE to think of yourself as a business owner, and NOT just a "nail tech". The 2 mindsets are VERY different from one another.

Part of being a business owner, is being a salesperson. Some people sell insurance, cars, makeup, or "nail services". If you look at how other sales people operate, they have "quotas" that they have to meet.

That was a huge turning point for me. When I figured out "how much $ do I need to make, to pay my bills". Then I calculated how many people it would take to reach that goal. How many clients did I currently have, and how many more did I need? I gave myself a time frame, and then calculated how many people I needed to get weekly to reach my goal. I kept a spreadsheet to track my progress. You would be surprised how much of a difference actually writing out your specific goal makes.

THEN once you have your goal, HOW are you going to get it? As a business owner, are you a member of the chamber of commerce? Are you in any networking groups? Do you advertise on Facebook? Do you have your own website that you maintain regularly? Do you volunteer in your community? Market with other businesses? There are SOO many ways to advertise your business. The chamber of commerce offers SO many opportunities to advertise!

I think that unfortunately, too many nail techs, think of themselves as just that... "just a nail tech". We are SO much more. But, the bottom line is, that the frame of mind" if you build it, they will come"... that is NO more. We have to fight every day to keep our chairs full. But, I for one, will FIGHT, and do everything I can to keep my books full.

I will say, that with everything I do, I bring in an average of $1150 every week. SO, it works. And don't use your small towns, or the NSS salons as excuses. I am in a town of 30,000 people with NSS salons every few blocks. Just remember YOU have something different to offer than they do Smile
Dedee, that was super inspiring. I am wanting the same thing, closer to home. I will make my business plan a little tighter. You're right, We are not "just" anything.
Yes I must agree very inspiring!!! I'm glad that your plan worked and u are making really good money!! I just need to be patient and keep bugging my bosses to advertise. I know in under a year I can't expect to be making what I did when I left the bizness before. But I was axtually thinking about starting a new business at the beginning of the year. I want to try to become a ' professional mentor' and solicit salons to educate their nail techs. Like one of my clients went somewhere where they had a groupon and she kept on telling the lady that her other nt didn't do it that way..and then she came back to me and the job that she did was aweful!! That's what I'm seeing and hearing about. So many women are discouraged to try shellax after they've had a bad experience with it. I ell them to trust me and they do.
So anyhoo..this is what I'm tossing around. I would have to be very tactful rith my approach obviously...but this is what I've always wanted to do. So thanks for the inspiration dd...I might just do a business plan and try to map my goal out like u did.
thanks again for sharing..that's wonderful younare doing so well in this time of economic crisis!!!
" Take be kind".....

Full Time single mom,
Medical Receptionist &
Part Time Nail Artist
Akron, OH
Tracy, I think your idea is awesome! Kathie and I did a networking in TX. basically as you were describing. We had a few educators there to help show techs who're trying to make it in this business but just need help in perfecting their skills. The response was wonderful and we had many educators come and help out. This networking was designed to help at the grass roots level, teaching gel, acrylic, tricks of the trade, how to use an efile properly, etc. Ideas were passed around and the girls left ready to go try out all they'd learned.
The networking focused on the needs of the nail tech and what they wanted to learn rather than being focused on what the educators were selling and demoing. There was lots of one on one going on and the only thing I can regret is we didn't have enough mentors to go around. I noticed some of the girls hanging back and I worry they didn't get all the education they could have. Since it was the first one we'd done like that, when we get ready to do another, we'll definitely have an idea of how to do things more efficienctly next time.
We really need more educators. The schools as we can see are not producing any real skill for their students. When I taught nails I was a nail tech, not a cosmetologist with no nail talent and I had girls that could do great service. Not just the basic manicure and lopsided set. I brought in educators who taught other enchantments and I was great. LOL But when the school was sold I moved on. I ended up having to go back there for my CO required e-file certification course. ( Something I taught these classes when I was there ) My 8 hour course was made up of, watch this video for 30 min, then talk among yourself for the next 7.5 hours. No Kidding!
The teacher was nice, but she didn't know a dang thing about the e-file. So I taught the other girls a little. And then Her nail students came into the classroom asking questions about their own things, they didn't know how to do a gel nail. I spent the next few hours teaching the manicure class HOW to do gels and HOW to market themselves.
If there were educators that were affordable, teaching skill, not specific products, that would be amazing.

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