The Dream Revealed: Making It in the Beauty Biz as a Freelance Artist

Mar 30, 2022
Beauty Biz as a Freelance Artist Crystal Wright

Someone once said, No DREAM comes true until’ you wake up and go to work! Our dreams keep us going. They keep us alive and working toward a goal of our choosing.  But they also come with a price that begs the question; How bad do you want it?

When makeup and hair artists share their passion for becoming a full time freelance beauty professional, I ask them two questions:

  1. What are you willing to sacrifice to make that dream come true, and
  2. How hard are you willing to work to make it happen? 

Being a freelance makeup and hair artist has glamorous moments but like anything else, it requires work.  Most new makeup artists and hair stylists spend about two years just testing––working with no pay––to get images to add to their portfolio.  This process is called TFP (Testing for Prints/Time for Prints).

The money will come, but not immediately. Knowing that ahead of time will help you to keep your progress in perspective. Think of your first two years as building the foundation for a great house that will sustain you for the next 20 plus years.

You will spend many hours on the computer researching, sending emails, looking at images, studying everything about your craft, composing correspondence to potential artists and clients, reading articles that keep you in the know about industry goings-on, reaching out to photographers and formulating the plan to make your dream of freelancing full time come true.  For many years I’ve instilled this mantra into the minds of my PYP graduates, “Plan to Work, and Work the Plan.”

There will be triumphs like getting the images back from a test photo shoot which turn out to be exactly what you needed to open the beauty section of your portfolio, and there will be weekends spent doing photo shoots, often to learn that all the time and effort didn’t net you even one image that you can use in your online portfolio.  Luckily, with the disappointments come learning and an opportunity not to make the same mistakes on the next shoot.

These small setbacks are an even smaller price to pay to make your dream a reality.

If, in spite of the setbacks, you can see the dream coming together––stick with it. There really is a pot of money, choice and independence at the end of that rainbow.


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