NAILS asked nail care professionals how they manage the juggle of business and personal. Enjoy their practical advice.
I’d say not as well as I should, but I’m getting better. It’s hard turning clients down since it’s the equivalent of turning money down, but, on the flip side, I’m letting my kids down when I accept too many appointments. I’ve started putting my clients on a waiting list instead of saying no all together. I’m afraid if I tell my clients “no” they’ll take their business elsewhere. But putting them on a waiting list makes them feel better. I stick to my scheduled hours that way and spend more time with my family. During softball season I schedule my daughter’s games in my appointment book as well so I don’t schedule over them. — Joan Sliter, Need Pampered?, Sherwood, Ohio
Living in Mexico has changed my life dramatically (I was born and raised in California) and this is where the balance comes into play. Almost every business opens at 10 a.m., which lets me enjoy breakfast with my family. Then, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., every business closes for lunch, which gives me family time once again. (I used to think this was “siesta time.”) Businesses then close for the day between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., with people working six days a week, with Sundays off (which is great for a family day). I never really quite understood this schedule until I started living it. I really enjoy the middle-of-the-day time because it gives me time to refresh for my nail art in the later part of the day and gives my husband and me quality time to talk; because of this, we’ve become closer. I feel living this way takes the stress off from day-to-day pressures. — Patty Lopez, Studio 24, Parral, Mexico
I’m struggling with this issue right now. I started at a new salon several weeks ago with the understanding that I would be the only nail professional in the small salon. Then, out of the blue, the owner told me that she’d be adding a partner who would be bringing another nail professional with her. This changes everything for me. I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over how my work life is affecting my family right now. With two small children, even working part time is dicey when childcare is figured in. I’ve found that in the last year our family standards have slipped with my absence. Manners, cooperation, and chores are not where I’d like them to be. So, I’m committing to move my nail business to my home so I can be here for the family and still have my creative outlet. I know it will take more marketing work on my part but I believe it will be worth it in the long run. — Sarah Hallford, Rancho Cordova, Calif.
My family is top priority. As a wife and a mother of two teenagers, we are very close-knit and enjoy spending time together. I make sure that my work schedule is built around my family and not my family working around my schedule. It isn’t always easy, because the temptation to take just one more client is always there and there is always that one client who insists on you coming in after or before hours because they have an “emergency that just can’t wait.” I don’t take appointment calls on Sundays because that is our family day and after a certain time on weekdays my business calls go to voicemail and I return the call the next day. While this may not work for everyone, it’s great for my family because they know how important they are to me. As for my clients, they appreciate it as well, because they value their families in the same manner. — Camille Mason, Screaming Mimi’s Nails, Toledo, Ohio
I always say you have to reward yourself for all the work that you have done. Make sure to make time to have fun with friends and family. If you are unable to go out on a Friday night because you have to work Saturday morning, then go out Saturday night and have some fun. I like to work in neighboring areas so that when I do go out in my hometown, I am not interrupted. Also, my clients know what days I work and they only contact me about those days. This leaves my days off to me! — Jessica Knepper, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
At the moment, I’m redefining my role at the salon to be the best technician I can be and have handed over the “management” duties (that I’d sort of taken on) back to the owner because, although I do want input for salon changes, my hands are full and I don’t want my appointment book to suffer. Concentrating on my own personal business and clientele is my number-one priority at work and having time with my children at home is even more important. I could work five days a week and be busy, but I’m not at the point where I want to be away from my girls that much. I also make sure to plan time to get away from it all, like a Florida vacation where I’ll be visiting family and friends. — Adrienne Schodtler, Hair, Body & Sole Salon and Spa, Apex, N.C.
When I first went out into the world after school, I found a job close to home. I have two daughters, and they needed to be taken to and picked up from school everyday. My employer was fine with me taking the time to do this every day for a while. Then it became harder to do. So I decided to open a salon in my home and now I schedule my hours around my kids. It has worked out great. I can spend time with the girls and take all the work I want! It is perfect solution to what could have been a stressful mess. — Tina Hastings, Brier Nails, Brier, Wash.
I balance my nail business and personal life by being self-employed; so I have the freedom to take the occasional day off to spend time with my family. Being a successful nail tech can be quite consuming, when you love what you do and you love to make women feel wonderful about themselves, it’s hard to say no to “one more client.” I’ve had to draw the boundary and say no to new clients and keep my numbers where I need them to be. This has given me more freedom and hours to be with my family. — Michele Layton, Sublime Styles, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
This is something I had to learn early on in my career. I am 43 years old and have been doing nails for almost 17 years. If you allow your clients to dictate your schedule, they will. I set boundaries for myself and my clients. I will not work past a certain time and I will not come in before a certain time. I do not ever work on Sundays. Mondays I will work if I need to make up for time off. When it comes to doing nails for friends, I charge them what I normally charge. This is a business for me and I can’t afford to be working for free. My business is very important to me as I am the primary breadwinner in my family, but my family does come first. If you have that attitude from the beginning your clients will respect you for it. If they don’t, they’ll move on. And that’s OK with me! — Joanne Boice, Paradise Spa & Salon, Santee, Calif.
I balance my business and personal life by keeping them completely separate. At work I listen and respond to my clients’ problems and triumphs. I keep my personal life to myself. When I’m at home I leave my business at work and enjoy my family and friends. — Linda Giubbini, Spa Haven, Rohnert Park, Calif.