It’s Gonna Take Three Hours, OK?

For a long time, I bought into the “time is money” philosophy. I caved to the pressure to book on the hour and be able to perform every service on my menu in one hour or less. I bought into the notion that this was what clients wanted, that they had become accustomed to assembly line shops where services could be done on a lunch hour.
And I did it. I was able to knock out those pink-and-white sculptured sets in just a little under an hour.
I didn’t talk while I worked. Nail art got simplified to nothing more than a stripe, or maybe flowers just on the ring fingers. It had to fit in an hour, or be booked out separately.
I was busy. At the end of the day, my hands remained clenched in a claw shape. Ibuprofen became a standard snack. I never got to learn much about my clients and I certainly didn’t get to share my adventures with them.
I was miserable and I hated my job.
I took everyone’s advice: I stepped up my tradeshow attendance, I took some continuing education classes, I raised prices.
I still hated my job and my hands hurt at the end of the day.
After narrowing down the culprits to a couple of soul-sucking bad seeds and realizing that I wasn’t enjoying my work anymore, I threw all that “wisdom and good advice” out with those bad seeds and went back to just working again.
I started scheduling more time for services. I started looking up at my clients while I talked to them. I occasionally let go of their hands so I could gesticulate wildly while telling tall tales and laughing out loud.
All my services take longer now. My hands don’t hurt every day. I get to communicate with my clients, they get to hear my stories (no really, they promise me they like them), and I enjoy being at work again.
It’s not unusual for a set of nails to take two-and-a-half hours these days. Not simple pink-and-whites or a single-color rockstar set, but by the time I consult with the client about what they want, wash our hands, chitchat, and get it all done and photographed, two-and-a-half hours seems to be the norm for one of my artsier sets.
I don’t know why anyone would want to come and hold hands with me for two-and-a-half hours, but they do. And I haven’t heard a single complaint — most everyone even comes back. Go figure.
No. I don’t charge nearly what I ought to for my time and years of experience, but I determined a long time ago that it’s not about the money for me. I just love loving my job.
And that serves as my “what I’m thankful for” post this year.

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