Marrah Troyer
Updated on December 21, 2022

Nowadays, it isn’t enough to just be amazing at doing hair to be the busiest and most requested stylist. With every hairdresser showcasing their work on Instagram, clients have a buffet of stylists to choose from. A quick picture of your clients’ hair or a casual post isn’t going to have your ideal clients start flocking to you. It takes a lot more thought and a little more planning to become the most requested stylist.

It hasn’t always been easy for myself, either; I started out in this industry making less than $100 a week, sitting in the back hoping a client would walk in. But, after many years of failing and trying again, I have been able to scale my business to more than six figures in revenue behind the chair.

Now, I’m on a mission to help all stylists reach that kind of success, while skipping the ugly years of struggling and not making ends meet. So, I’ve put together this guide of the most important things that you can start doing today to level up in your business.

What Are Clients Looking For?

Our business lives and breathes only if clients choose for us to do their hair, so what are they looking for when they are trying to decide who can do the best job? Clients will look through your work and decide if you are a good fit for them and the style they want.

Firstly, clients notice your overall brand and your vibe. Do you have a color theme, a specific thing you specialize in, such as foilyage or balayage? Are your pictures good quality, or did you take them quickly in your chair? These are all little details that they notice right away and can turn them off from even calling you. Rarely are potential new clients looking at how many followers you have. They are looking for quality, content and personality. They want to vibe with you and feel like you will understand them and what they are looking for. So understanding these things and really getting specific on your brand, your brand’s voice (how you talk to your potential new clients), your uniqueness, such as things that you specialize in and do very well, and producing quality content (great photos capturing beautiful hair) are the foundations to becoming the go-to hairstylist.

Start treating your business and marketing strategy like a part of your job and not a hobby. It’s as big a part in your success as being good at hairstyling. You don’t have to be the best hairstylist to be the busiest. Most human beings want to connect, be heard and inspired. And, once you can make your clients or potential new clients feel this way, you are golden. I like to refer to this as the know, like and trust factor. Once your potential new clients start getting to know you, they will start to like you and then trust you. Once you have reached trust, they are willing to invest larger, and you have a lifelong client.

What Can You Start Doing About It

If you have your cosmetology license, you are an entrepreneur. You are responsible for yourself, continuing your education, and getting and keeping your clients. So, with this much competition these days, there is no better thing that you can do than educate yourself. If you won’t invest $1,000 into taking classes, don’t expect someone to pay $100 for a haircut. I believe that, to be the go-to hairstylist, it doesn’t just mean cool vibes on Instagram and pretty pictures; I believe that you have to have sound business skills in order to take care of your clients.

Clients want this to be easy because, most of the time, they are coming in to be pampered, have a few minutes for themselves, and are looking forward to this. If it is hard to get an appointment with you, or they have to come back multiple times for you to fix it, or they feel rushed and not a priority, chances are they aren’t coming back after that. Plus, they will tell their friends all about their (not-so-great) experience. Here is a list of the most important things you can do to be on your way to becoming the go-to stylist.

  1. Hair education: Look for some hair-technique classes you can take that will help you be the very best at what you’re passionate about doing.
  2. Business education: Take all the business and marketing classes you can to start developing your voice and brand. Clients want to book with you, they just can’t find you.
  3. Collaborate with influencers: Make friends with someone on Instagram with high engagement. Work out a deal with this person to do their hair in return for four posts and Instagram stories, saying they love their new hairstyle that you did for them. This will boost your followers, your potential new clients, and it will give you a ton of content to use on Instagram.
  4. Research: Look on Instagram at other stylists who are doing the type of hairstyles that you are doing and see which of their content is going viral. Screenshot it and chart it in google docs to go back to when you’re not sure what to post. We want to be intentional about everything that we do, so we aren’t wasting our time and burning out.
  5. Content plan: Plan out your weekly posts for Instagram and other social media. Having a plan will ensure that you will be visible with the right content that will start attracting your clients.
  6. Be consistent: Keep showing up and putting in the work. This will take a little bit of time, but it will all fall into place with dedication and hard work.

Now, being the go-to hairstylist isn’t only pretty pictures on Instagram. It’s about having a plan and showing up as yourself, confident in your skills and just being. It’s about being educated and looked upon as someone who knows what they are doing and talking about. And, it all starts with you making the decision that you are going to do whatever it takes in order to shift that. Allow yourself to be uniquely you and let that shine through. To learn more and become hair biz besties, follow me at @marrahsmagicalmane or @thehairdressersmagic. Or, you can listen in on my podcast “The Hair Dresser’s Magic”, in which we talk about all things hair business and the secrets no one is talking about. Hope to see you there!

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