Ever since I can remember, my parents have owned and run a successful business in photography. Unlike their clients over the years who only ever see the best of what the business has to offer and the sparkling exterior, I get to see the nitty gritty behind the scenes. The endless sleepless nights full of working away to structure the business, the hours of keeping up with the accounts, the extensive training to continuously improve and stay up to date with new trends, the cost of buying in the latest and best equipment to ensure a seamless job…it was and still is bloody hard work. Despite all of this, I still decided that I too wanted to become self employed. Sure, I saw the really hard stuff, but I also saw the benefits. Nobody to answer to each day or anybody breathing down your neck, the luxury of choosing your own working hours and not having to worry about booking time off for important events, the flexibility of being able to pick and choose how your business is run and building your own brand.
The freedom sounded amazing and after having been tied to office or retail jobs in the past, it was a breath of fresh air to me to think of having free rein of my time. However, I find it funny how people seem to believe certain ideals when it comes to self employment – that can be any form of self employment, but let me focus on the one I know for a little while. Here are the five lies people believe of being a self employed Makeup Artist…
1. Being self employed means that you don’t have anybody answer to
Lies! Being self employed doesn’t mean you don’t have anybody to answer to at all. Hell, you’ve got the tax man blowin’ up your letterbox, your clients expecting a friendly voice at the end of their phone or on their social media (24/7 I might add) and constant questioning from your nearest and dearest about how exactly your finances are coming along and if you’ll be ‘getting a job anytime soon?’ Just don’t.
2. Being self employed means you can go to work in your pyjamas!
Say you’ve got a little admin to do on a Monday morning, sure, you could sit around in your pj’s with JK on the TV sipping away at your Australian Skybury coffee and not having a care in the world. That’s all well and good. But there’s this little thing called MOTIVATION and if you’re snuggling on down in your comfies with your backside glued to the sofa, that bit of get up and go is gonna have gotten up and gone before you can say Real Housewives of New York. That process of a morning routine and actually getting up, doing your hair and makeup and putting on a little business attire really seals your frame of mind for how the day is going to pan out. Also, you can’t rock up to do a makeover in your penguin pjs and rollers. Unless it’s family. Jk.
3. Being a Makeup Artist is a really glamorous job
LOL! If you could only see me dashing from client to client mid prom season in the beating summer heat you’d realise that it’s really not all that glamorous at all. Sure, I get to visit some amazing places and make over some gorgeous people, I get to work on exciting studio shoots and take the lead on creative projects, but I also get my fair share of slogging too. Here’s the thing; I have a full case of heavy makeup products, a fold away chair that isn’t as ‘fold away’ as it claims to be and a damn good pair of heels that I need to use to scale my way up two flights of stairs to arrive on my bridal clients doorstep looking as perky and fresh as I did the second I left my own house. I don’t have an assistant, the groundwork has to be done by me and only me. I’m responsible for making sure my kit is cleaned thoroughly between each client and that I arrive with the correct equipment to be able to do my job in a timely manner. Speaking of correct equipment, or lack thereof, I’ll not even torture myself with reminiscing about the times I’ve visited clients at home to find they haven’t got anywhere for me to work properly so I’ve had to sit on my knees on a bathroom floor to paint their face. And I also won’t go into that time I was forced to work in front of a roaring fire at the heart of summer that was so ridiculously warm that my lipsticks along with a good 3/4 of my face melted. That’s the thing about working mobile – you never know what you’ll be walking in to, and sometimes the uncomfortable situations are unavoidable. So buckle up, buttercup! Nobody said this was going to be easy.
4. Being a self employed Makeup Artist, I bet you’ve got loads of money!
This assumption just pains me to the absolute bone. Just because you see me taking a wad of money away with me on a bridal job, doesn’t mean I’m rolling in it. That money that’s sitting in my hand, that glorious wad of stinking notes that I’d kill to head straight to Selfridges with…that money is only going to one place. The bank. Because it needs to be declared as an earning and needs to be subjected to tax like everything else we earn just like regular employment wages. Any money that I earn is banked, declared and taxed and whatever is left over goes to pay my bills. And not just the regular bills of living in my own place. Bills like paying for an accountant to make sure my books are well kept, bills like replacing products or buying new brushes because the current ones are worn out. Bills like petrol to and from jobs, insurance payments to make sure I’m covered should anything bad happen. There’s a whole host of things I need to pay out for just to run my business successfully and trust me when I say, it’s slim pickings after they’ve all been taken into account.
5. You must be able to take all the holidays and days off that you want!
In theory, yes. I could take the whole year off if I chose to keep my diary free, but who’s gonna pay the bills? Being self employed in a business like mine means that if I’m not actively out there working, there’s no way the money can be trickling in to pay for my bills. And you know what? I kinda like to eat, so taking too many breaks just isn’t an option. Also, contrary to what people may think, on the days I’m not physically out doing a makeover, I’m still working! I have a website to run, social media to engage in, accounts to arrange, promotions to plan, pricing structures to look over, PDF’s to update and a whole host of other jobs that I need to fit in so that when I go to bed on a night, I can close my eyes and happily drift off into a less worrisome sleep that at least I’ve completed half of my ‘to do’ list for the day. Being self employed is a full time job and if you aren’t prepared to put the work in, it’ll never work out. You have a reputation to uphold, emails and calls to answer and books to keep updated so that when Mr Tax Man comes knockin’, you can confidently produce the records.
Don’t get me wrong, being self employed is the best move I ever made career wise. It’s taught me so much about people, life and most of all, about myself. It’s taught me how to react more diplomatically to certain situations (even if it’s my Dad who has to frequently rein me in and make me see the wider picture – I’m getting there Paps, right?) and how to stand on my own two feet.
I think it’s so strange that people have so many misconceptions about being self employed, but if you are able to try out running your own business, go for it! It’s not something to take lightly but you’ll learn to laugh at the hard times and roll with the good. Eventually. Maybe.
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.