Juggling my business, clients and kids!
I’ve had my home salon for 4 and a half years, although I didn’t always do nails and I don’t come from a beauty background. I’ve had loads of jobs and I mean like A LOT - waitressing (hated it) retail (left after 1 shift) office work (got told off for being on the internet too much) McDonalds party entertainer (actually quite fun but too many burgers!)
I’ve always been quite creative and one day back in 2013 I started making cakes - loved it for about a year and a half until I started to hate the late nights and I was done with my 3 year old ‘helping’ me by tasting the cooling cakes up on the side - I’d often find small bite sized chunks missing! It was stressful and an expensive hobby with not much profit, one day I completely forgot to make a cake someone had ordered and I knew it was time to end my cake career - my heart totally wasn’t in anymore and I think that if you get paid for your craft you have to do it because you love it with everything you are - the money is a bonus right? Cakes were not my passion anymore and I needed to find something else that made me happy!
I would often tell people my only regret in life was not leaving school and getting qualified in beauty - from a young age I was really into anything to do with make up, hair and all things nails. Having a loft conversion in my house made me wonder if I could use it for a beauty salon - it seemed perfect and I felt inspired by one of my close friends Lucy @trendsbeauty who had a beautiful salon in her home - I was determined to make it work so I sold all my cake stuff, booked a course with HD Brows and Nail Harmony and within 3 months I was qualified in Brows and Nails and started to book in clients!
My kids (Megan and Jack now 8 & 7) were 4 & 3 at the time and I would practice constantly, when they went to bed, when they were at nursery and school; I worked around their schedule and said yes to everyone who wanted to book with me. I even did mobile jobs for a while after my husband Christian got home from work - I would work until 10.30pm some nights to get the practice in / very tiring but I just loved it. I knew I’d made the right decision.
I think one of the reasons my home salon has become quite popular is because I work late evenings and am very flexible with my hours, I try to finish by 9pm these days but my later evening appointments have always been booked up fast as there aren’t many salons around who specialise in nails who can offer such late hours. Luckily Christian has always been home to put the kids to bed, unfortunately it’s not always easy, one of the hardest things when I started out was trying to remain professional whilst carrying out a nice relaxing brow or lash treatment and my 4 year old daughter Megan is in ear shot complaining about bedtime because she is hungry, needs new socks, her PJs aren’t comfortable, her belly hurts, her arm hurts and these ailments always miraculously happen at BEDTIME! There was always only so much Daddy could do and I do remember running downstairs a lot to give one more kiss or tuck her in again - just for peace and quiet!
My son Jack has always been quite well behaved at bedtime, he just saves his cheekiness for daytime clients! I never forget the time I’d gone to get a glass of water, I came back upstairs and Jack was offering my client a spray tan which obviously she found so funny!
It is my number one priority that my clients are happy and feel that I present them with a certain level of respect and professionalism - I feel so lucky to be paid for doing something I love and they deserve to feel appreciated. However, I can’t get away from the fact that I am running a salon from home and it naturally has a home from home feel to it for my clients - the kids pop up to see my clients who they know so well now and as they’re older I don’t mind so much, none of my ladies have a problem with the kids being around - it’s often a bit of a madhouse and I do feel the need to make sure the kids (and Christian!) know when I have a brand new client coming in and they need to behave or they might not come back, it really does fall on deaf ears most of the time and the madness continues whoever is sat in my chair - I think people must really love their nails to keep returning time after time! Clients tell me the noise and commotion from the kids definitely gets to me more than them when they’ve sensed me getting a bit stressed during the bedtime hour - I have such lovely understanding clients who have kids of their own so we all relate to each other!
In this day and age we are on our phones a lot; many social media platforms are keeping us busy with replying to messages, posting our work and keeping up with latest beauty trends - it’s hard to have downtime when you’re building up your profile in a world that you love.
One thing that has reduced the amount of messages I receive and have to reply to is my booking system - I’ve been using a booking system for 3 years and setting it up was fantastic for my business, my diary sorts itself, my clients book and change their own appointments and can cancel when needed. This gives my business a professional front to new clients and I find people love booking their own appointments too as they can do it at any time of day without having to bother me - it works really well.
I had to implement a few rules when I set up my business from home - I needed my clients to understand how I need to work - this has probably been one of my biggest challenges yet! Every minute counts when you have children and you’re working, so after my clients kept arriving 15 minutes early and I was still sorting the kids or even finishing my own dinner I ended up putting a note on my doorbell telling people to wait in their car until their appointment time - it worked and I am always really strict with my breaks - I will not let people in if I am finishing my lunch and they’ve turned up early - its my time and once their appointment begins thats entirely their time…. until Megan needs me to see to her because one of her eyeballs feels like its falling out or her drink isn’t cold enough…..!
Working from home and doing a job that fits around my family has been the best thing I ever did, it hasn’t been easy and I do feel like sometimes I never leave the house! But I’m always there for pick ups and sports days and I’m very fortunate because not all parents get to have that luxury…although sometimes I do wish I was sat in an office in a fancy pair of heels drinking tea especially when the kids start arguing about nothing... lol but I do LOVE my job and it just goes to show being a Beauty Professional isn't just a hobby can be a great career!