Honing Your Skills

Lessons from My First Year

Nail techs share the most important things they learned as newbies in the real world.

Educate yourself on marketing. — Lisa Santos, Destin, Fla.

Be a walking business card. Even when you are just running to the store for milk.— Tania Rice, Certified Esthetics, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

You are not entitled to a bad day. Leave your drama at the door. — Jillian  Swan-Eiffe,  Nailotus, Terrigal, Australia

Don’t spend tons of money on things you don’t need, like a beautiful new e-file, glitter, or anything else that’s a bit extravagant.— Lacy Hood, Post Falls, Idaho

Talk to the hand. I used to stop what I was doing when I talked to the client. That made for long service times at the beginning.— Karrie Berg, Jackson, Wis.

There are unexpected costs to salon ownership and it can be more expensive than you anticipate. Don’t be flattered into what you can’t afford. —  April Thomason, At Your Fingertips, Huntsville, Ala.

You can’t please everyone. Learn from the experience and keep going. — Erika Weight, Remedez Hair Spa, Orem, Utah

Client rentention is a top priority, and the way to do that is to provide top-notch service. — Debra Smith,Get Nails Esthetics & Spa, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

It’s not enough to post a cancellation policy. It needs to be enforced. — Amy Murphy, Amy Murphy’s Salon and Spa, Wharton, N.J.

Choose your location wisely. Your family and friends will only get you so far. You need walk-ins and word-of-mouth. — Kara Clark, The Nail Goddess, Salt Lake City, Utah

Illustration by Yuiko Sugino

Feel free to leave your own advice for newbie nail techs in the comments!

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