Today, I want to talk about something familiar to nearly every personal stylist and image consultant out there, but which is never talked about publically by anyone in the industry. It feels like a shameful secret, so I’m on a mission to change that.
What am I talking about?
The fact that it is SO HARD for stylists to make a decent living.
The fact that most of us, including me, struggle for years and never bring consistent income home, and sadly, so many of us are forced to give up on our dreams and go back to a steady 9 to 5 job that gives us stability in our earnings.
Don’t worry; this isn’t meant to depress you. It’s quite the opposite. It’s supposed to give you hope and show you how, with my know-how, YOU can leave behind all your frustrations about never having enough money and the nagging thoughts telling you to give it all up and go back to your old job. BUT, you do need to think very differently about how you currently do business. You need to move away from selling colour and style consultations, wardrobe edits and personal shopping.
You don’t need any other qualifications or start using trickery, spammy practices or anything else dodgy. You just need to package up your experience in a different way. I’ll explain more shortly, but first, I want to tell you more about my back story from the early days of my styling business.
Like you, I spent lots of money on my training to be a personal stylist. I was over the moon to have finally found work that I truly loved and excitedly waved goodbye to the corporate career that bored me to tears. I started offering colour and style services, just as we’re taught, and I worked SO hard for years trying to get things off the ground.
I spent hours networking, holding events, building relationships with local boutiques, and delivering leaflets. You name it, I tried it all, and I did get a trickle of clients who always left very happy with their results. But not once in years did I ever earn more than a few hundred dollars a month.
It was demoralising. I was a well-educated woman who’d had a very successful corporate career and commanded a good salary that I couldn’t match in my own business. I was working my butt off for peanuts. I didn’t feel like a businesswoman. I felt like I was playing at a hobby.
Honestly, I was ashamed, and after eight years of struggling, I gave up. By then, my second son had arrived. He wasn’t a great sleeper, and I decided no more. That’s the end. I’m closing my business, and I’m going to work for my husband’s company, where I’ll be paid a set salary and have fewer worries.
Working for my husband made things easier because I was earning consistently again. But even after a short few months, I was bored. I didn’t enjoy the work like I did when running my image business. I felt that not only had I given up on my business, but I’d also given up on my dreams and my purpose in life. I loved my clients, and I loved colour coding and styling them. I loved everything about it but couldn’t get the financial return I needed.
I started taking my drapes to the office and colour coded all my colleagues, even the very reluctant men!
I kept asking myself whether it was worth giving it another go. Still, it didn’t make financial sense to keep investing in renting a studio space and going to networking events when what I earned wouldn’t cover those costs.
Once we relocated to France, I decided to give it one final try after many failed interviews and some coaxing from a wonderful friend who saw how miserable I was.
I was reluctant, though, because I knew that what I’d done to try and build the business before didn’t work, but I didn’t know what else to do! I proceeded to establish and grow my business in the only way I knew how – giving free talks, attending networking event, working with the local boutiques etc. Honestly it was like drawing blood from a turnip – Lots of interest but not a lot of clients!
On the verge of giving up again, what saved me was taking my colour analysis service online.
I was suddenly able to help people outside my local community.
Many of the international ladies where I live were already immaculately dressed and didn’t need my help. The language barrier was also challenging to navigate as my French was very poor, so being online opened up the rest of the world to me.
Once I worked out how to package my services in a unique way, things started taking off, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This leads us nicely back to why you need to start thinking differently about how you do business. The traditional model we’re taught about in our stylist training doesn’t work for most people.
There I said it.
It just doesn’t work.
When you’re selling colour, style and wardrobe audits for between $60 to $250, you’re not going to match your old corporate salary. At those prices, how many clients will you need each month to make $3,000 or $5,000? You’re going to need loads, and then you’ll have to get out there and find just as many the next month, the next, and the next, etc.
How realistic is that?
Can you honestly keep going the way you are trying to make money in your business?
If you’re still struggling to get above a few $100 each month, I want you to know there’s nothing wrong with you. I was where you are now for a long time, and it really does feel like you’re a failure, and because no one talks about it, you assume that it must only be you with this problem.
I assure you it isn’t. I’ve worked with hundreds of image consultants over the past four years, and it’s the same for them. Even those with a good stream of clients struggle to make good money because they only have so many hours a day to work when they’re charging according to the traditional model for individual colour and style sessions.
The thing is, when you promote traditional colour and styles services, people see these as a nice to have or a luxury. They don’t see them as the solution to their most pressing problems. They see them as not necessary and they can’t justify the purchase.
However, if you niche down and focus on serving a specific client, get to know their problems, and how you can solve them with your services, suddenly, your package of services becomes a must-have.
If you then demonstrate in your marketing activity that you understand their problems and have the solution, your work is no longer a frivolous luxury (in their eyes) but an absolute necessity. And that is how you can then charge much much more than you currently are.
It’s what I teach my clients in my 6 Figure Stylist program.
No magic tricks or shady tactics, just how to create an offer that solves a specific problem for your client and then show you how to market and sell it.
I also help you with your mindset, particularly around money, so that you become comfortable with charging four figures and upwards: charging your worth. There is nothing to stop you from charging premium prices, only yourself.
You don’t have to spend years grinding away, struggling to bring in consistent good money. Struggling is not some rite of passage. You don’t earn any medals for going through it. There is absolutely no reason why a stylist of one or two years’ experience can’t also charge premium prices before any of you newer ones pipe up with your excuses.
You have all you need within you already. It’s not about building a big glossy brand or using fancy words or anything like that. You don’t have to change anything about you or your technical skills. You just have to become truly aware of your worth and learn how to communicate that to the world. My 6 Figure Stylist program helps you do just that. Interested? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.