Those Who Can't

You want to know one thing that I absolutely do have a solid opinion on? Because I know I come off as opinionated, but, when you really get to talking to me, I think it's obvious I like to look at more than one side of any issue — and I love playing devil's advocate. But one thing that I absolutely do have a strong opinion about is that no one has any business teaching or managing a business that they have not mastered themselves first.

And once you have "mastered" your craft, if you expect to teach or manage in that profession, then you will also need to remain a master of it. You can't get to the top and then expect to stay there without continuing to earn it.

And that is why I just can’t stomach the number of product manufacturers out there that are being run by people who've never been to nail school. People who have never worked in a salon. People who have no clue what it's like to look at your appointment book every day and worry about the empty spots, the names that won't show, the names that won't become regulars. People who have no idea how important it is to have a product that sets up at just the right rate, no matter what the temperature is in the salon or whether or not there's a draft.

I can't take professional advice from anyone who doesn't know what my profession involves.

And there are tons of companies out there who can't relate — product manufacturers, consulting companies, scheduling software companies. But the ones that really leave me at risk for a sprained eyeball (Seriously, how hard can you roll an eye before you risk getting it stuck?) are the people who figured out how to build businesses teaching nails instead of doing nails.

It's a fine line. I know many, many educators and consultants in the industry who really are exceptional artists in their own right. People who really have built successful businesses with loyal clienteles and yet have the desire and the constitution to go outside the salon to help other professionals hone their skills and build their own businesses. And I bear them no grudge for charging a premium to share that knowledge. These people have my undying respect and gratitude and they are doing tremendous good for our industry worldwide.

And then there are the people who are just plain better business people than nail techs. Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But traveling the world, charging good money to tell ("tell," not "teach") others how to do something that you can't demonstrate for yourself is a travesty.

But it's our own fault that there are people out there like this. We keep lining up with our checkbooks in hand to buy their snake oil. We're the ones who keep taking advice from these people without stopping to ask, "Hey, if you're such a great nail tech, why do you have so much time to wander the earth teaching instead of tending to your own clients?" And we're the ones who never ask to see a resume or portfolio.

The Internet is changing this though. It makes it easier for people to communicate — instantly. I can be sitting in a class and update my Facebook page to let a thousand people know the instructor doesn't know what she's talking about. It's easy to look up a class and find out if the people teaching it are people you want to learn from.

It's weeding out the pretenders. That is changing the way our industry interacts and educates. It's opening our eyes to our educators and consultants and making it easier for us to hold them accountable.

It's gonna get harder to teach the stuff you can't do.

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