I can remember when I first started in the industry. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids, and I was able to work 12 to 15 hour days. Sometimes I worked six or seven days straight. Now as I reflect back, I was blessed to be able to work at that pace for so many years. It allowed me the opportunity to build a substantial clientele.
However, I was so use to accommodating everyone as much as possible that my clients grew accustom to me being at their beck and call. Then, life happened. I got married and though my husband was supportive of my full schedule, it all changed when I gave birth to my oldest son, Phenix.
I knew I wanted to spend more time with him and that this would require sacrifices at work. Quite honestly, this was hard. I didn’t know how to cut back my appointments and make the transition easy for my clients.
I still wanted to work, just not as much. I also was scared that I was going to lose some of my long-time clients. Finally, when I was home on maternity leave, I sat down with my husband and we decided which and how many days I would work. Then, I gave myself a final date and I stuck to it. Prior to that time, I was notorious for not being able to tell clients “NO”.
This decision meant that I had to stay disciplined regarding my final date and hours. I also personally called all of my clients and let them know of my new schedule. I encouraged them to pre-book their appointments to ensure that they were able to get their desired day and time.
Yes, I did lose a few clients because their schedule was not conducive to my schedule. For these clients, I would recommend a stylist who I thought was best for their hair type. I also did a slight increase in my prices to make up for the clients that I was no longer able to fit in.
Then there is the issue of rent, I had my own suite. I recommend, if you are in a suite or booth rental environment, find someone to share your space with in order to help you to cover your rental costs. I personally ended up sharing my suite.
If you are retiring, I would encourage you to set a final date and stick to it. Make it a reasonable time frame so that you are able to personally see your clients and give them plenty of time to find someone new. I would also recommend that you suggest a stylist who you think will fit their needs. Then, introduce them to that new stylist.
To be candid, your clients will adjust to your schedule. This is one of the many reasons that the beauty industry is great. We can control what days and times we want to work, the prices that we want to charge, and have the flexibility to prioritize our own lives. It’s surely a blessing being your own boss.