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Ready to Become a Makeup Artist? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions First

4-minute read

Learn how to become a makeup artist, like this woman applying makeup to her client.
Mariah Bliss

Mariah Bliss

10 July 2019

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You definitely have an incredible talent with makeup. From contouring to coloring and everything in between, there’s no face you can’t transform with your brushes and palettes.

That’s precisely why you’re ready to take it full time by becoming a makeup artist — one who is paid to make your clients look absolutely stunning and selfie-ready before their big events.

Yes, there’s no denying you have the talent, but does that mean you’re ready to run a business as a professional makeup artist?

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7 Questions to Ask Before You Become a Makeup Artist

While there’s no one right way to know if you’ve got what it takes to start your own makeup artist business, these seven questions can help you better understand if you’ve got the right stuff.

Question 1: Do You Know What You’ll Specialize In?

Makeup artists often specialize their services, especially if they’re drawn to one type of project over another. While you don’t need to have a specialty right now — especially if you’re just starting out — it’s worth exploring different makeup artist specialties to see what you like best.

The most common specialties are wedding/special event makeup, photo shoot makeup, and editorial makeup (like the kind for ads). Some makeup artists find that they enjoy working with theater or film productions. So, it’s a good idea to know what specialty you’re drawn to, as it will influence how you seek out clients (more on this in a bit).

Question 2: Are You Really Good with People?

Makeup artists work day in and day out with people, and that’s why the best makeup artists have a knack for being bubbly, empathetic, and great with handling anything clients throw at them.

Think about it: No matter what your specialty, you’re going to be dealing with clients who may be unhappy with your work or have full-on meltdowns. You may be expecting this, especially if a client feels particularly self-conscious about how they look.

But still, even the best makeup artist may encounter a client who can give them a good run for their money. The difference between a casual makeup artist and someone who’s really going the distance is the ability to handle those sticky client interactions in a way that makes everyone happy.

The bottom line is that having great customer service skills can help elevate you to a well-respected, well-paid makeup artist.

Question 3: Is There a Market for Your Makeup Services?

Good news: Makeup artists are in serious demand. A lot of that is fueled by our Insta-friendly culture, where people want to look stunning for selfies. Plus, new mobile makeup artist services means it’s easy for potential clients to order a makeover right from the comfort of their home.

But you still need to understand if there’s a good market for your makeup services, because if you don’t understand who you’re competing within your location, you could wind up missing out on clients.

The best way to do that is to do some online research. Fire up Google and use it to answer these questions:

  1. How many makeup artists are in my town? County? Metro area?
  2. What are their specialties?
  3. How far are they traveling for gigs (you can usually find this info on their websites)?
  4. What prices are they charging?
  5. Do they seem to have a lot of clients/a large portfolio?
  6. Do these makeup artists travel, or do they have their own salons? Or both?

Researching these questions can give you a better idea of what your competition looks like, as well as where they’re getting their clients. That way, you can either replicate their success or start something totally different if you see a noticeable gap.

So what’s the bottom line here? Simple: Make sure you understand if there’s an appetite for your makeup artist services. Otherwise, you might spend too much time trying to get noticed by clients who are inundated with other offers.

Question 4: Are You Good with the Small Stuff?

Running a successful makeup business isn’t just about being good with makeup — you’ll need to be good at the small details, too. From buying tools and building your website to booking projects and sending out invoices, a lot of what makes a makeup artist business run well involves behind-the-scenes admin work.

This information isn’t intended to scare you off from becoming a makeup artist; it’s designed to give you realistic expectations for what starting a business is like. Rather, expect and plan to put in a lot of admin work now, rather than fitting it in after a long day of working with clients.

Question 5: Do You Have Some Money to Start With?

Starting a business as a makeup artist can be expensive, even if you already have several palettes, brushes, and other tools. You’ll need to buy enough makeup to cover a wide range of skin types and tones, and if you’re touting high-brand makeup, the expenses can quickly add up.

Plus, you’ll need to register your business, set up your marketing plan, and buy additional tools of the trade. That’s why you might need to secure a source of funding to get your business off the ground.

Make sure you map out what your main expenses will be, especially during the first few months of your business. If you’re using personal funding or a line of credit to finance your business, carefully track your expenses so you don’t overspend. Save receipts from all business-related expenses, as most of these will be tax-deductible.

Be sure to factor in money you’ll be spending on fees associated with starting your business, like licenses and insurance.

Question 6: Do You Know Other Makeup Artists Who Are Crushing It?

Starting a business can involve a lot of trial-and-error — unless, of course, there’s a makeup artist out there who is already doing what you want to do. Take some time to look into what they’re doing, and why it might be working so well. Don’t rip right from their playbook, but there may be a few key learnings in there to help you better set up your business for success.

Check out:

  • Their websites to see what their specialties are, as well as how much they charge.
  • How they’re marketing their business across Google and social media.
  • If a makeup artist would like to grab a coffee or beer with you so you can glean some good advice from them.

Question 7: Do You Absolutely Want This?

Of course you want this; otherwise, why would you have visited this article, right?

But it’s worth thinking over what your goals are for your makeup artist business, including how passionate you are about going into this space. Consider not just the benefits, but also the sacrifices you might have to make in your life to make this happen.

Are you truly ready for that?

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Mariah Bliss

Written by

Mariah Bliss

I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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