Lately, as the BlushPretty team grows, we have been holding monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) meetups at the studio called, Freelance 101. It’s an opportunity for the ladies just starting out in the world of beauty and freelance to find their footing in this big crazy world of blush, lipstick and bridezillas. I developed these meetups because when I was starting out, I had no one to really guide me in the industry and I made a lot of screw ups. My m.o. now is to not let my talented team flail around like I did and to bring us all together to offer advice, stories, and most importantly support. Um. I think it’s working … :)
Anyway, I thought my team, or anyone interested enough to click on by, might like to read some business-related posts as well, once in a while. So here it is: Biz Shiz 101.
I’m going to start this series by reflecting on the ONE word I hate when people use it to refer to what I do. Not makeup artist. Not mogul. It’s:
Don’t get me wrong. I have respect for women who have embarked on being an entrepreneur through some milestone or mishap that occurred while incubating/raising a baby and gave them some awesome idea for the latest baby gadget like, motorized strollers or something; BUT this word does not reflect me or my business. And I also think that there are plenty of other women who have developed and created a powerhouse of a business – NOT because they are moms, but rather because they are just that whip-smart and hungry.
I love my boys. I really do. But I also love my business just as much. I didn’t become an entrepreneur because I am a mom and wanted to do something that would allow me to be a mom – it’s a perk, don’t get me wrong – but really, I was (am?) an entrepreneur AND a mom. Two separate and wonderful things.
Put it this way, if my wonderful husband decided to quit his job and start his empanada business full time (and I must say, he makes the BEST empanadas out there), do you think anyone would turn to him and say “look at you being a dadpreneur?!?!”? Have you ever heard the word dadpreneur? Have you ever seen a book written for men who want to run businesses and refer to them as dadpreneurs? Probably not!
(But do a Kobo book search for women who are entrepreneurs: “Mommy Inc.” “The Mompreneur” – you get the picture, right?)
Okay, so you’re probably wondering, where the heck is Stephanie going with this. (I’m beginning to wonder that too … I’m rambling).
It comes from the fact, that being a freelance beauty artist (or even a freelance female anything), can sometimes be regarded by others as a “hobby” that you do. I find that this is especially so when you are a mom. They think it’s something you do “to make a little extra money” as opposed to something you do to pull in a really decent hourly rate when you break it all down. Or something that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time on developing a brand, creating a marketing strategy, and networking to increase your client base – how the heck is all that work “just a hobby?”. You mention one milestone you are really proud of, and all they will say is something like “Look at you being a mompreneur”. Like, it’s all cute and you’re wearing a frilly dress or something. What they don’t realize is you’re a shark! . And you my pretty little artist, always have to act like one (perhaps a shark in a frilly dress …).
So what I am saying is its hard. It’s hard to be seen as a serious freelance artist and really make a go of it when the people whose support means the most to you don’t see it the same way. It’s discouraging. (And this goes for whether or not you are a mom. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re a mom and a freelance artist; and it’s just as hard to be taken seriously when you are just a freelance artist). But, you have to put on your big girl underpants and prove them wrong. Really wrong. Don’t let MOMPRENEUR, the dilution of the strong word, ENTREPRENEUR, get you down. Don’t just sit there and take it. Show em the numbers and the hard work if you have to and make them take you seriously.
So here’s the anecdote:
I had this one mom during little league season turn to me and say, “I heard you mentioned you have a studio downtown Steph, is that for your makeup and hair thingy?”; yes, she said “thingy”. I replied yes, and she went on to say “so you like rent a chair or something?”. Again, totally annoyed, I said “no, I own the whole space and I meet my clients there”. And when that didn’t register she said “huh. well, look at you an your little hobby. moms making money”. And while I’m not normally one to talk about finances, at that point I lost it and said – “well, if a hobby gets me $150 bucks for a 45 minute skin treatment – I’ll take it. What’s your hobby these days?”.
End of conversation.