Have you ever felt stuck in your career as a stylist?
Being stuck can take many forms. Maybe you’re not making as much money as you wish you would from your services. Maybe you’re having a difficult time building and retaining a regular client base. Maybe you’re feeling overworked and burnt out. Maybe you just no longer love the job the way that you used to.
Long story short, feeling stuck sucks!
But here’s some good news to remember: You are always—always—in control of your life and your career. That means that if you’re feeling stuck as a stylist, there are steps that you can take to get unstuck.
Below are three steps that you can and should take the next time you’re feeling stagnant in your career.
What to Do If You’re Feeling Stuck as a Stylist
1. Acknowledge why you’re feeling stuck.
If you’re feeling stuck, things will never change if you just avoid and ignore the problem. So the first step is to acknowledge that you are in fact feeling the way that you’re feeling. The next step is to determine the reason why. Once you know the cause, you can take the required steps to fix the issue.
- Toxic environments can cause a lot of frustration and make you almost resent your job. Feeling fulfilled is so important when you're working as a stylist.
- Not doing the type of work you dream of doing will cause a lot of stagnant feelings. You see others doing what you would like to do and you're not quite sure how to shift into that.
- You aren’t attracting the right clientele. As a stylist, you spend hours and hours each week with your clients. If they don’t match your personality, style, or general vibe, that’s sure to lead to burnout. If you’ve been doing hair for many years, maybe it's time to invite new clientele into your space.
- A lack of professional development is a common cause, especially when it means you end up doing the same exact thing day after day for years. Getting involved with education will help give you new ideas and reignite your passion. Along with this, trying to experience new things in life in general will help get the creative juices flowing.
- General burnout causes dissatisfaction. Lack of time for yourself and constantly giving will leave very little for enjoyment. This can make someone feel trapped or completely stuck. There is life outside of hair, and we must recognize that.
2. Explore new opportunities.
Whatever the cause of your unhappiness, there will always be a number of opportunities to move past it and rediscover the joy you used to find in the job. Once you know the cause of why you’re feeling stuck, you’ve got to explore opportunities that can help you become unstuck.
For example, maybe you feel like you don’t have enough control over your schedule and, as a result, the rest of your life. Renting a chair or suite will help give you more freedom in a lot of ways. It brings on different stresses, which you need to evaluate, but you might be ready for that change. Switching environments can make a huge shift in your confidence as well. Being excited by something new is a childlike quality that we miss as adults.
Or maybe you still love hair, but you’ve become more interested in the business side of the equation than the hands-on side of being a stylist. Maybe it’s time that you consider opening your own salon, or becoming a manager. Heading into either path, it's vital you have a good plan in place. There’s a lot of business help available, but experience is the best tool.
Or maybe you’ve discovered over time that what you enjoy most about the industry is actually helping those around you learn and develop their skills. Becoming an educator could be a great next step! If you are drawn to education, start small. Maybe teach inside your own salon or to a few people you know. Have newer stylists come shadow you so they can learn. You don’t need to start with a huge crowd right away. Working one on one is so beneficial and encouraging.
3. Hone your skills.
Finally, one of the best ways of getting out of a funk is to improve your skills. Doing so will allow you to try your hand at more things, and will help your days become more varied, which can go a long way in helping you feel fulfilled. Taking an online course dedicated toward building your skills can be a great place to start.
A few tips if you’re considering developing new skills:
- Try out different things, but don’t try to be the best at it all. Pick something that you're really drawn to and focus on mastering that skill. It’s very hard to find your niche when your book is packed with all different types of clientele. It can feel overwhelming and also cause burn out.
- Specializing in something will help you market yourself.
- Become ok with criticism and stepping out of the box.
- Find educators that challenge you and encourage you in that specialty. Surrounding yourself with a great crowd is one of the biggest keys to success.
A lot of people have a fear of being judged by what they put out there. The fact is, you will always be judged so do what you love and are proud of. Not everyone will agree, but that’s ok and part of growth.