Salon or Solo? What's your choice?

Hairdressing isn’t only one of the most rewarding professions, it is also one of the most versatile. And most of us, at some point in our hairdressing career, will ask ourselves the question: should I work in a salon, or set up by myself? Well, here are some of the pleasures and pitfalls of both…

When you work for yourself, you have nobody except your clientele to answer to and you can choose the days and hours that suit you best. You can also be a lot more flexible about the kinds of client you take onboard, and if you want to specialise in a particular type of hair design (for example, bridal hair) that can be easier too.

But, on the reverse, you’ll also have a lot of overheads that stylists who are employed by a salon don’t have to worry about, you won’t be able to rely on making a regular fixed income (unless you’re very lucky or very well established) and, unless you’re operating your own salon, the possibility of customers “just dropping by on the off-chance” when you’re having a slow day are going to be pretty remote. You’ll also have to be motivated enough to advertise and find clients for yourself, at least in the beginning.

It goes without saying that one other thing you might miss is the companionship and camaraderie of other stylists (never to be underestimated, especially on a bad day). If you’re a people person (and let’s face it, a lot of us are) you’ll almost certainly have times when working alone might get you down a bit.

On the other hand, if you decide to work for yourself by opening your own salon, hiring other stylists to work around you won’t be an issue. But the bad news is, you’ll be solely responsible for paying the rent, wages, tax, bills, making sure everything meets the correct standards, and attracting customers through your door. It can be a minefield. You’ll need someone with good, trustworthy business advice in your corner.

So, on the face of it, working for somebody else and letting them deal with the financial and logistical headaches may seem the best way to go. But what about flexibility of working hours? And what about your ambition to stamp your style identity on the world? When you work for a salon, even if you’re the stylist everyone’s asking for, you’ll still be a part of the salon’s identity. If you’re creative and ambitious enough to want to make your own mark, taking the leap and going solo is a risk that can reap great rewards – if you’re willing to put the work and the hours in, and be prepared for some tough times ahead.

Whatever you decide to do, one thing is for certain. Isn’t it great to be working in a profession where this variety of choice is even possible?

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