For this post, I wanted to take a different approach. Generally, I am giving you product reviews, makeup looks and sharing some of my favorite makeup. This time around, I want to speak to you about some of my experiences of being Jennifer, the Freelance Makeup Artist.
What's the real deal of being a Freelance MUA?
I am speaking from my perspective. First of all, congratulations on taking your craft to another level. Having the ability to apply makeup flawlessly is a gift from God. Not all women can do makeup on themselves, yet alone, other women. I believe if you naturally have the talent and you have the passion to do makeup, you will succeed. You must believe in yourself. Before you begin your journey as a Freelance MUA, you must be mindful that this is a journey, you will encounter hurdles, rocky roads, smooth roads and so forth. Keep riding the ride; you will thank yourself in the end.
What would you consider the PROS of being a Freelance MUA?
I'd thought you never ask, lol! Freelancing is a fun job. You are your own boss, and the pay is great as long as you charge clients what YOU are worth. You have the ability to work on your own available time which is a plus. The most important aspect of freelancing is to practice, work on your portfolio, build a clientele and network. If you are in the beginning stage, you should not charge an outrageous amount. Once your craft begins to improve drastically, you should indeed increase your pricing. Remember not to sell yourself short or what DJ Khalid says, "don't ever play yourself." Don't overcharge when you are not too confident in your work and most certainly, don't undercharge. You are proving a service, in fact, an ELITE SERVICE because nine times out of ten, you are coming to them.
If you love to meet new people, you will enjoy freelancing. Me, I love to meet new people. I also love to make women feel beautiful beyond the brush. You are a makeup artist, it is your responsibility to uplift them, just like a hair stylist. You get to express your creativity. If you decide to work with a great team of artists (i.e., photographer, model(s), creative director), the final product will be amazing and you could potentially collaborate again on future projects. I personally love working on sets and photo shoots (I kind of turn into the Creative Director – sorry it’s in my blood). You also get to visit new places and travel (if you're lucky). I've had the opportunity to attend fabulous weddings, work with talented photographers on sets and connect with professional makeup artists. I haven't had a chance to travel as of yet, and I am waiting for that perfect opportunity.
I am an artist and I thrive on the artistry.
Let me explain. I fell in love with the artistry of makeup. I have always been inspired to transform looks on a muse (aka my client). Years ago before I tapped into makeup, I was obsessed with eyes. When I was younger, my mother bought me a sketchbook, and I would always draw faces, focusing on the eyes and eyebrows. It only made sense for me to begin expressing my creativity with makeup by drawing or filling in eyebrows - that is my strength.
Side note: Identify your strengths and make that your focal point of promoting yourself. Use your weaknesses as an opportunity for improvement. Continue to educate yourself on the growing trends of makeup. When doing so, your clients will continue to grow.
Seeing their expression once you reveal their face is the best part of my job. It is my satisfaction. I know my job is complete when my clients continue to admire themselves in the mirror or taking a ton of selfies, lol. Not to mention, the wonderful thank you notes.
You are doing what you love, so it will not feel like work. Plus, who does not want to have a career doing what you love and passionate about? I’m just saying.
What would you consider the CONS of being a Freelance MUA?
Of course, being a Freelance MUA is not 100% perfect. Everyone will have their own cons when it comes to freelancing. Here are mine.
Freelancing is a LOT OF WORK.
Most freelancers are traveling makeup artists. Which means we have to transport to our clients with makeup, tools, a chair, tables (if necessary), lights, etc. We also have to set up and taking everything down. Since I do not have an extensive collection for my clients, I use a lot of my own products. I also try to keep everything together, but I find myself rummaging through my makeup because I need it at times for personal use. I do however, have a collection of brushes and tools I use specifically for my clients.
Sidenote: You should ensure that your tools, products, and brushes are ALWAYS properly sanitized before using on clients.
If you do not have a vast amount of products, most importantly, different shades of foundation and concealer for your clients, then do not consider booking large jobs such as weddings or photo shoots. I am still building my collection, and it is costly. Makeup, tools, and brushes are not cheap, honey.
Kiss your weekends goodbye! Most bookings occur during the weekends. Keep in mind that the spring and summer seasons are the busiest with prom, weddings, outdoor photo shoots as well as special events and parties. If you are about this life, just know that you will be booked the majority of your weekends. Schedule accordingly.
Not only clients will try you, but friends and family will to.
This is a sensitive matter. You must make your pricing very clear while booking clients. Let’s not mention, if you are traveling to them, it would only be right to add travel costs. It is imperative to have your pricing in writing. Eventually when you become more of an established artist, require a deposit. Also, make sure that payments are traceable. You are dealing with the public, and some will try you. This goes for family and friends too. Sadly, I have had people who I considered friends to try and not pay me for doing their makeup. Granted, friends deserve love, yes they do! Consider honoring a gracious discount, because at the end of the day, you am providing a service to them just as the next person. It would only be right for them to support your service – it is our way of living, if it were another person, they would pay them. On the flipside, if you are practicing, just playing around or helping them while you are getting ready – no big deal. Don’t allow your friends to book you to do makeup for an event when they are not expecting pay you especially when you are using all of your products on them.
Expect for potential clients to try and book you at the last minute.
No matter what time of the day, people will contact you to do their makeup. That’s great – you’re relevant! The downside is that some people do not respect time. I have received requests late at night, and questions asked on my Instagram pictures in the comments section regarding pricing and booking. I have received requests to do makeup the same day or within hours away. I am a stickler about my availability. Don’t expect for me to pack up my stuff, travel to you, set up, do your makeup, take down, repack and leave within 30 minutes. That is NOT going to happen. If I were stationed at a location, different story. I will be a little more forgiving on last minute requests.
Be prepared for the unexpected.
Lastly, I want to touch on this subject because ideally, you would like to work in an environment where the lighting is perfect, you have a ton of usable space, the chair height is perfect, and the location is clean. Wake up! That is NOT going to happen. I have worked in places where I had limited space. I have worked in some places where I did not want to sit my stuff on the table. I have worked on clients where the chairs are so low if affected my ability to work and left with back pains. I have worked with limited lighting. I have worked where I felt extremely uncomfortable because of the environment I was in. I have worked in locations where I froze my derriere off (I hate being cold). I have also worked on clients where their breath is not too pleasant. I have worked where my products grew feet if you know what I mean (I despise thieves). I am sure some have experienced worse. However, it is not for your client to see any frustration while working. Continue to smile, push through and get the job done – it is only temporary. Don’t sweat it.
In the end, you are doing what you love. You may experience some bumps along the way, but I wouldn’t trade my talent for the world. I love makeup, and I love making my clients feel beautiful. I must admit, I stopped freelancing for a while because I was so frustrated with the disrespect of allocated time expected from me. I got tired of folks not respecting my time, so I turned down a ton of jobs, especially a year ago when I was on the tail end of completing my master's degree. Today, I work on an “on-call” basis. I am considering looking into working at a location. It will make my life as a freelance artist much easier. I prefer to work on sets for photo shoots, editorial print work or the media. That is one of my goals for 2017 is to tap more into that market. Stay tuned.
I hope you enjoyed my pros and cons of being a Freelance Makeup Artist. Do not let my cons discourage you from going for your dreams. Every job has good and bad, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.