Freelance Success Stories That'll Inspire You

Published 25th Oct 2023 by charlottegw

If you're a hairdresser working in a salon at some point in your career you've probably questioned pursuing freelance work – here's some stories to give you an insight into what it takes to be a success.

From what made them make the initial freelance leap to what their favourite career moment is, these freelance success stories are truly inspiring!

Carolyn Newman
International Colour Educator and expert and colour and education consultancy

"I had been employed for 36 years and have had the most incredible career supported by wonderful salons and companies. I felt it was time to have more flexibility in my life so I could go home to Australia more regularly to see my family as well as working on certain projects I had always wanted to do, but never had the time. I have loved looking after team members in management positions but felt it was important now to give myself me-time and focus. A lot of my friends are freelance in other industries as well as in hairdressing, so I knew from their support that I could do this. My favourite part of my freelance career has been delivering my bespoke colour education programs. This is specialised and addresses the specific needs of the salon and team and I love the energy you get having the whole team together for a day. I have done this all over the UK, Ireland and Australia which has really fulfilled a dream. My average week looks a little like this ... on a Monday and Friday I focus on my education business so I can be working on presentations or actually educating in salon or via zoom. Tuesdays and Thursdays I work as a guest expert at Trinder Hair Studios St Albans and on Wednesdays I look forward to seeing my clients at Hunter Collective in London. During lockdown I created Carolyn’s Colour Business Chats which is a 1-1 mentoring program for salon owners, freelance colourists to support them in their businesses. This can be chats about their team, services and client marketing ideas, to creating different techniques supporting their client’s needs ending in a detailed Action plan."

Michelle Cartwright

"I went freelance 31 years ago when I was 21. I can’t believe it’s been that long! I decided to go freelance as I wasn’t that happy where I was working at the time. I liked the idea of being my own boss, deciding on when and what hours I worked. Take holidays when I wanted to and to be honest be able to earn more income. I really love my job and seeing my regular clients each week. Making them feel special be it a blow dry, new colour or hairstyle. Seeing them happy with their hair is a real buzz. Having lovely messages after thanking me makes all the hard work worthwhile. These are definitely my best moments. My average day starts at 9am. I don’t really have set hours but generally finish most days by 4.30. I do work one or two evenings if needed. I have every other Saturday off and a day off in the week but I’m flexible with that. I average around 25 clients a week which doesn’t sound a lot but most of my clients have colour which are long appointments. At times it’s been stressful juggling it with family life but at the end of the day it’s up to you to make your business work and be a success. If I was younger I may have considered working in a salon again but not full time. To be honest I’m more than happy being my own boss.Having the support of The FHA and Wella education all through lockdown and beyond has been brilliant for me. It's helped refresh my knowledge and boost my confidence which has been a great asset to my business. It's definitely one positive that's come out of a tough time."

Andy Smith, Indola Global Ambassador 

I started freelancing about five years ago! Time flies hey?! I knew I was ready to go at it alone when I felt I’d made a name for myself within the industry and had got a better understanding of how to run my own business and dealing with clients. I started to do a lot more shows and seminars, I loved the freedom and knew that this was the right path for me.  The highlight of my freelance career has been without a doubt it has to be shooting the cover of Vogue! But every day/week can be very different which is why I love being freelance. It can vary from visiting very wealthy Chelsea clients to cutting and styling clients at Billie Currie to working on a music video or photo shoot. I wouldn't go back to being an employee. I love being my own boss. Being employed is great when you’re building your career and I’d highly recommend for everyone to start there but once you’ve established yourself it’s great to get out into the freelance world."

Cimone Cheveux, freelance stylist based in Berkshire

"I first started freelancing in September 2016 so it's been 4 years already. I can't believe how quickly its gone! The pivotal moment in my career was when I felt that my career wasn’t quite going to where I wanted it to when working in the salon as an employee. The salon I worked in stocked a particular brand and because of this I felt that it limited myself when it came to education and seminars from other brands. Therefore this was when I decided it was time to move on and push myself in new directions as a freelance hairstylist.The best moment of my freelance career has got to be seeing my work being recognised and published in major magazines like R&R bride and Black Hair and Beauty magazine. It's shown me that my efforts of networking and putting myself out their had really paid off! My average day can be working on my portfolio in the morning with another talented MUA where we would work on creating content for our socials. This can then lead into an afternoon of doing clients who have been with me over a span of 10 years! Other days can see me on shoots and in slightly more normal times creating beautiful wedding hair for my beautiful bridal clients. I wouldn't ever go back to being an employee, I love the freedom and variation that my weeks as a freelancer bring. It's opened up so many new avenues to my career as everyday is different and I’m never restricted." Back in 2013 I started working freelance on a part time basic, working on both commercial and editorial campaigns. I took the leap to doing it full time in 2016 after a really successful campaign with US brand ORS Haircare, Eugene Davis (head stylist on the shoot) gave me the belief that I could do it full time and he was right! I have not looked back since." 

Hollie Russell

"I started freelancing when my husband and I moved back from Germany six years ago. I knew freelancing would suit my lifestyle better – I've got a young family and my husband isn't always at home. I work Monday to Saturday and I'm normally booked at least 4 weeks in advance. My main bookings are for colour, and because I work 'school hours' that means I can usually fit in 2 colours a day. I loved the experience that working in a salon gave me at the start of my career but I feel settled on my own. I'm busy and I get a lot more opportunities than I did when I worked in a salon. I also work less for more money." 

Rianna Henry, @theblowdryartists

"Back in 2013 I started working freelance on a part time basic, working on both commercial and editorial campaigns. I took the leap to doing it full time in 2016 after a really successful campaign with US brand ORS Haircare, Eugene Davis (head stylist on the shoot) gave me the belief that I could do it full time and he was right! I have not looked back since. In terms of freelance career highlights Salon International 2019 really stands out for me – I have attended the show for years, so getting the opportunity to present to a crowd on the Jo Robertson Agency stand was a real ‘WOW! Pinch me’ moment. And of course, having the opportunity to work with brands I love and started out using at the very beginning of my career always feel amazing.

There is no average day! My day always start with 30 minutes of meditation and gratitude, I then try and hop on my Peloton bike for a spin class, get myself ready and leave for a 7am start (although once a week it’s 6am). I then have back to back blow-dry appointments with my regular clients until 10.30am. Every day from then on is different – I may have more clients booked in, a shoot or even some time to myself! That is what I love about being freelance, every day is so different! I don't think I'd go back to being an employee, but if I did it would be in a part-time education role – I can’t ever see myself back in a traditional salon environment. I just love the flexibility being freelance gives me."




Published 25th Oct 2023

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