5 Tips for Self-Employed Salon Professionals 

Self-employed salon professionals

Have you ever dreamed of becoming your own boss, setting your own schedule, and partnering with clients you actually want to work with? You’re not alone. In fact, 70% of stylists have taken the plunge into self-employment in the last 15 years.

If you’re ready to build your brand and business and succeed as a beauty industry entrepreneur  in the post-pandemic world, follow these insider tips for self-employed salon professionals.

1. Develop economic autonomy

With thousands of salon professionals laid off during the pandemic, now is an opportune time to consider how you’re going to set the foundation for your beauty business. Whether you’re already an independent contractor or thinking about going at it alone, you’ll need to come up with create ways to maintain self-sufficiency while boosting your income potential. 

One of the very first things to consider is finding a flexible work space. As a self-employed salon professional, you’re no longer shackled to a long-term chair rental thanks to apps like ShearShare. This innovative app enables you to rent private suites and open stations in your area by occasion or date and time. By having a flexible space to work, you can work when and where you want to.

2. Understand what you can write off

One of the toughest times for self-employed salon professionals is tax season. When April rolls around, understanding tax deductions is critical in order to vastly reduce your taxable income and save money. Some common things that you can write off as a beauty professional include:

  • Your equipment and supplies (scissors, mirrors, shampoo, hair dye, blow dryers, etc.)
  • Travel expenses and gas
  • State-required stylist licensing fees
  • Ongoing education
  • Stylist insurance

Basically, you can write off any business essential you use to build your brand.

Related: You… A Salon Owner

3. Enroll in portable benefits

It’s important to have health benefits. While benefits used to only be available to salon employees, critical benefits such as health insurance, retirement, and disability are now also available to the self-employed.

Portable benefits are work benefits that are associated with you, not your place of employment. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need professional liability insurance that is tied to you wherever you go, in addition to full coverage on dental, medical, and vision. For more information, visit the Professional Beauty Association’s insurance marketplace for portable benefits that cater to your needs and budget.

4. Market yourself like a pro

In order to maintain a profitable cosmetology business, you’re going to need clients. That’s why marketing your services is so important.

Self-promotion doesn’t have to be expensive or dull. It can actually be fun and free! Social media is the easiest (and most affordable) way to sell yourself to new clients. Build an online portfolio of your work on Instagram. After you’ve created your business page, you can also add a book/call button on your profile, making it effortless for clients to get in touch with you.

Related: The Power of Social Media and Salon Marketing

5. Open a separate business bank account

In order to enjoy financial freedom as a self-employed beauty professional, you need to be disciplined about your money. This is why it’s a smart idea to have a few business bank accounts, including a Solo 401(k), to save for your own retirement, and an account that you allocate to just tax money.

This post was originally published on December 2, 2020 and updated on December 16, 2022.