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Every one of us wants to succeed in our careers.  Some people want to make an endless amount of money while others like the fame it brings them.  Thirty years in the beauty business has taught me many lessons, and some of them were not so fun to learn.  While others have made me into the hairstylist/owner I am today, I ask you to ask yourselves this question before you go any further reading this article: Do you have what it takes to be great at your job?

I believe most people go into this business because they are infatuated with fashion and hairstyling.  When I think back, and I mean way back, to when I went to school, what motivated me was creating looks for people and having them love what I did.  We all know back in the day it took much practice to achieve a satisfied client every time, and still today I find that some clients are harder to please than others.  As an immature adult at eighteen, I thought I could do it all in Cosmetology.  Learning to fall on my face taught me two things: one was that I did not like it when others criticized my work and the other is I needed to pick my butt up off the ground, let go of my pride, and learn from my mistakes.

Pride can be a great thing but it can also be your downfall.  You have to be willing to be open to learning and look at what you struggle at and see that as a challenge to yourself.  As a hairdresser/owner of a hair salon, I can honestly say I am not the most talented out there.  What I have though is determination to succeed not only in my business, but in life.  When I think of my job, I don't see it as work.  It is fun for me to get up and go to work.  I get the pleasure of visiting my clientele while doing their hair and making them look and feel beautiful.  What a great business we are in.

Your atmosphere counts for 100 percent of your success.  If people do not feel comfortable with you or the services you provide, they will not return.  At last count, I have over three hundred clients who I know very well.  Sure there are new clients and those that come and go, but the majority of those clients return and so I asked a few of them what it was about me that made them so loyal.  “I love what you do to my hair” one client told me while another said I “make her feel special when she comes in.”  One of them even said, “You are funny, you should do stand up comedy!  You take my mind off of my problems if only for a little while and I feel like you transport me to a better place.”  One even said she “considered me family.”

A story I like share is about a client of mine, Grace.  Grace was an older client, and she would tell everyone who came into the salon after her I was the best hairdresser in the world.  I wondered why she thought that because I would just cut and style her beautiful white hair and to tell you the truth, her hair looked great coming in.  I really did not do anything special to Grace's hair, but I was her friend.  There were times she would forget to pay me, because we were laughing so much over conversation.  The following week she would scold me, saying her check was in her checkbook from the week before, and I should have called her.  Truth be told, for me it isn't about the money.  Success for me isn't measured in my bank account.  Success for me is measured in friendships created and for me to have clients who feel like family.  Grace passed this past year.  She had a stroke, and her family called me to let me know she was in the hospital in a coma.  They said Grace thought of me as a daughter, could I come?  I am not a big fan of hospitals, but I knew it was something I had to do for a woman who was so wonderful to me for 21 years.  Upon walking into the room, the family was crying and sad.  I immediately went into Georgette mode.  I said, "Oh Geez Grace what the hell happened to your hair?"  Everyone giggled and they said David, her son, did it.  David, I said, needed to come for remedial styling lessons if he were to continue doing her hair.  They watched me intently as I stroked her hair and whispered to her about how her makeup made her look like a hottie.  I asked, was she doing that for the paramedic?  Again, the family was comforted, and I was happy I could help to take the situation into a better direction even for just a few minutes.  It is clients like these that make every moment of my career priceless.

Stylists, are you making the most of every encounter?  Are you greeting the client when they come into the salon?  Make eye contact that relaxes your clients and lets them know you are happy to see them.  Upon meeting new clients, shake their hands and introduce yourself.  Most importantly, smile.  Even if you are having a horrible day, leave it in the car or at home.  Your clients are paying for your attention.  Please put your cell phone on vibrate, and unless it is an emergency, don't answer it.  Creating the atmosphere where your clients are relaxed and valued is a must.  After all how valued do you feel when you are ignored or overlooked.  We take on a lot as hairstylists.  We are counselors, confidants, and friends.  Sure, most of us need therapy after most days, but I use humor to get by.  Once, I had a client who told me she was abducted by aliens, and they put a chip behind her left ear.  "Wow", I said, "you can't even tell."  Sometimes you just have got to go with it.

Successful people spread success by being inspirational, motivational, and doing their jobs well.  Fellow hairstylists, I challenge you all to take a look at your day to day schedule and make a pledge to yourselves to create an atmosphere where your clients love to get their hair done and be a part of your life.  We have the greatest jobs in the world, and I am sure every well known artist you have seen has told you this.  It is the little things that you do for others that make the biggest difference.  Make your salons grow by being the stylist who goes above and beyond just styling hair.  That is what will make you stand out and ultimately achieve success.

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