Are you ready to take the plunge from working in a salon, spa, or resort to launching your own business as an esthetician? First off, congratulations! That’s a huge milestone in any esthetician’s career, and you’ve worked hard to earn the certification and licensure necessary to get to this point.

You might be wondering what comes next—and you’re in luck. We’ve boiled this transition down to five key steps that you can take to hit the ground running in your first few months as a solo skincare practitioner.

1. Maintain existing professional relationships and grow your clientele.

You may already have the two most important assets you can bring to your new business: experience in the field and a loyal customer base. Seasoned estheticians with several years of experience can charge a premium for their services, while those with a dedicated clientele will be required to put in less initial groundwork to build a profitable business.

If you’re not quite where you’d like to be in terms of established relationships, take the opportunity to expand your network in the months before you launch your new business. And in the early days of your new venture, maintain a willingness to work around the schedules of your clients; this approach will also give you some flexibility in setting your own hours.

2. Dust off your business management skills and consider your budget.

Think back to the coursework you completed to gain your esthetician certification—you probably remember all of the hands-on skills you acquired working with clients and the top-notch instruction from industry veterans. But do you remember the coursework you completed on basic business management and marketing? If your skills in this category are a bit rusty, give yourself a refresher course: this expertise will be vitally important to you during your new business’s first year.

Once you’ve freshened up on the basics, it’s time to get down to business—specifically, your startup business costs. Initial expenses for your esthetician practice will vary based on your location, but there are a few constants that you should factor into your calculations: the cost to lease a space (if you are not operating out of your home or clients’ homes), licensing fees in your state, business insurance, necessary supplies and equipment, and an allocated marketing budget.

3. Choose an approach to your service offerings: are you highly specialized or a jack-of-all-trades?

After you’ve brushed up on your business acumen and considered your budget, there’s one last philosophical question to consider: are you a generalist or a specialist? In other words, do you prefer to offer a full-service self-care experience to your clientele, or do you want to earn a reputation as the best of the best in one particular specialty?

If you prefer the first option, you can choose to pursue additional training or certification in a variety of areas, such as yoga instruction or meditation (or work alongside practitioners who can round out your service offerings). If you prefer a more laser-focused approach, consider carving out a niche in a particular type of facial or makeup application technique. You may soon gain a reputation as the most in-demand esthetician in town.

Whichever path you pick, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest products and techniques. Attending industry tradeshows can be a great way to do that.

4. Deal with the logistics: choose your business location, get licensed, and know your regulations.

Where do you want to see clients within your new business model? If you are coming from a spa or salon, you might be interested in giving treatments in your home or at clients’ homes. If you’d prefer to stick with more familiar territory, consider renting booth space in an established spa or salon or leasing your own commercial space.

Before you rush to open your doors to new business, there are several tedious but essential steps you must take to avoid getting into hot water with local regulatory bodies. Namely, you should ensure that you are complying with your state’s board of cosmetology and health department regulations. You may be required to maintain handwashing facilities, a functional ventilation system, and a minimum square footage per esthetician work station, for example. If you are a medical esthetician, you may need to consider additional regulations, such as HIPAA compliance and infection control and sanitation.

Lastly, you’re not a business until you get your business license! Visit your city hall or county administration building to fill out a business license application. At minimum, you will need to have a business name, address, and type (LLC or sole proprietorship).

5. Get business insurance.

We saved the best for last. We might be biased, but with the flexibility of on-demand General Liability insurance arranged by Thimble, it’s certainly the easiest step to check off your list!

Insurance is a necessary expense for any small business owner—but if you’re starting a new business as an esthetician, your budget may be tight. Rather than pay upfront for an expensive annual esthetician insurance plan, Thimble allows you to purchase insurance on-demand in the app, exactly when you need it, with instant access to policy documents like your Certificate of Insurance.

Please note that our General Liability policy excludes certain procedures, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and eyebrow microblading. You can check out a sample policy to determine if the treatments you plan to offer are covered.

If you anticipate that business will be slow in the first few months, you can select insurance by the hour to cover individual client appointments. Or, sign up for a monthly policy for 24/7 coverage. As your business grows, you can adjust your General Liability coverage to match.