Ever have one of those days? You look at the clock and discover you should have been home four hours ago. You’re starving because you didn’t have time for lunch; you’re cranky because your hands hurt and you need a shower, and in walks Mrs. Awful-Client.

If you have that kind of a day now and then, you’re just like all the rest of us. However, if you find that you have those kind of days frequently, your motivation might need a jump-start. I thought I’d share with you some of my lips for getting your motor started, whether it’s a career rut you’re in or you’re just having one of those days.

For career ruts, I recommend:

  1. Get back to school. If you specialize in sculptured nails, learn nail art or fiberglass wrapping. And don’t limit yourself to nail classes: Try a bookkeeping class or an advertising workshop (Wouldn’t that be just as useful to your business?)
  2. Learn to sell. Believe me, if you can send every client home with something in her hands (as well as something on her hands), you’ll see dramatic increases in what you take home in your hands.
  3. Join an association. Getting together with other people who face the same frustrations and challenges you do in your career can be comforting and rewarding.
  4. Rearrange the salon. Change your perspective simply by turning your table around. One nail technician found that when she faced clients toward the retail section while she worked, she sold more products. (Read about other ways to improve your retail business in “Retail Success Strategies” on page 84.)
  5. Plan a vacation. Don’t forget that part of what makes anyone good at what they do is balancing a professional life with a personal life. Even if all you do is got a stack of old movies and spend your day off on the couch with the remote control, you’ll be getting away from nails for a while.
  6. Set up an assistant program. You can double or triple your income and serve more clients by working with an assistant. It’s also great training for new technicians. (See page 110 for how to set up a program in your salon.)

If you’re having “one of those days,” may I suggest:

  1. Exercise. Take five minutes and walk around the block. A few minutes of fresh air will clear your head and can be very invigorating.
  2. If you’re “all talked out” to clients, play a game with them. For example, one day ask all your clients the same question, such as “If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island with one person, who would it be?” It’ll be fun, and you’ll probably get the whole salon playing.
  3. Try something different with your own nails. If you always wear tips, try a gel overlay or airbrushing. Sometimes the mere effort of trying something new can freshen your perspective.
  4. If all else fails and you’ve just run out of steam, do what I do: Pop an Aretha Franklin tape in the stereo, turn the volume as high as it’ll go, and rock and roll for about five minutes. Works every time.


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