How to become a freelance makeup artist

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As a professional makeup artist, you make your clients feel beautiful. Whether they’re getting ready for a night out, a photo shoot, or their wedding day, you make sure they’re happy with what they see in the mirror (and on their photo reel). If you’re looking for a way to make money with your makeup skills while keeping a flexible schedule, a career as a freelance makeup artist can be ideal.

Just as with any new business endeavor, it takes some time and know-how to get started. We’ve got you covered. For how to become a freelance makeup artist, follow these steps:

  • Assemble your kit and choose your niche
  • Build your portfolio & website
  • Start booking (more) jobs
  • Protect your business

Ready for your own makeover? Let’s build a gorgeous business together.

Assemble your kit and choose your niche

As an aspiring makeup artist, you already have some skills. And if you’ve done makeup for friends, you know the products that work on your skin may not work for your clients. Likewise, different face shapes and features require different techniques. To prepare yourself with work for clients, make sure your kit is stocked with the essentials and a variety of colors.

You’ll also need plenty of spare towels to prevent makeup from getting on your clients’ clothing, as well as ways to clean brushes on the fly. You might also consider your own lighting solutions in case you’re doing makeup in a dark venue.

As you look at the list above, you might think to yourself, I don’t need all that, I do natural makeup. On the contrary, you might be thinking, That’s not nearly enough! Where’s the glitter!?

The trick to customizing your kit is to think about your beauty niche. To determine a niche, ask yourself the following questions:

Who is your ideal client? Are you hoping to get into bridal makeup? Dramatic, avant garde makeup for editorial fashion photoshoots? Makeup for bachelorette parties? A successful makeup artist will know their audience and be able to adapt their freelance career depending on the job.

Where will you work? Do you have a studio space where clients can come to you, or will you need to tote your makeup setup with you? Make sure your makeup kit is always stocked up for any kind of job.

What’s your style?
Do you specialize in dramatic contouring, or light and natural looks with your makeup application? Is your goal to highlight a client’s natural features, or provide stunning transformations? Being known for a specific style will help tremendously with your makeup career.

Once you’ve honed in on your personal brand as a professional makeup artist, you’re ready to build a website to make a name for yourself in the beauty industry.

Build your portfolio & website

As a makeup artis, your clients need to trust your taste. That’s why it’s so important to create a professional, attractive website to highlight your makeup services. Luckily, smart website builders make it easier than ever to build a beautiful site from existing templates. From there, it’s all about customizing your site. Be sure to include the following:

  • A bio and picture
  • A list of services and rates
  • Your portfolio
  • Contact information

The most important element of your beauty website? Your portfolio. Highlight multiple pictures of finished makeup looks, as well as before-and-after photos. If you’re just starting out and don’t have pics for your portfolio, ask a few friends to volunteer as models. Who could say no to a free makeover?

Start booking more jobs

As soon as you’ve built your website and portfolio, you’re ready to start looking for freelance jobs. Try out the following methods to get started:

Social media – Create new Instagram and Facebook pages for your business and fill them with photos from your portfolio. Promote the pages via your own social media to let your network know you’re open for business. If you work on an event, such as a wedding, ask the photography to tag so help build your portfolio.

Advertise in your area – You provide face-to-face services, so it makes sense to advertise locally. Consider leaving business cards at salons (that don’t already have makeup artists on-staff), as well as retail stores. Partner with other local businesses to promote your services.

Optimize your local profiles – Most likely clients will be local so you need to make sure you show up when people look for makeup artists nearby. Make sure to claim and update your Yelp and Google My Business accounts. Don’t forget to ask past clients to leave you reviews on these sites!

As you begin to book gigs, don’t forget to bring business cards to promote your makeup services! After a few freelance makeup jobs, this will help you experience organic growth. In addition, ask clients to post their transformation photos with your tag in exchange for a small discount on their next service.

Protect your makeup business

When you book your first job, you need to show up to the site prepared. For this, consider the following:

  • Create a contract and agree on a rate in advance
  • Be prepared to accept payment and keep track of your earnings
  • Take out insurance

But do you really need makeup artist insurance?

Say you’re at a client’s home doing their makeup for an engagement photoshoot. If you stain their dress with foundation, they could hold you responsible for the cost of the damaged clothing. Would you be protected?

Without insurance, the answer is no. That’s why makeup artists need the following policies:

General liability insurance can provide coverage against client and third-party claims of personal injury, advertising injury, bodily injury, and property damage.

Professional liability insurance can provide coverage against claims of errors and negligence that result in a financial loss for your client.

Ok, insurance is important but you don’t want to pay for it when you only work sometimes. At Thimble, we get it.

As a makeup artist, you might work only nights and weekends. Taking out yearly insurance just doesn’t seem worth it. That’s why Thimble has created on-demand insurance.

With Thimble, you can take out insurance for a single job. Just choose from hourly, daily, and monthly policies. That way, you only pay when you’re working.

Need insurance for a last-minute job? Getting insured with Thimble takes less than 60 seconds. All you have to do is enter a few details about your business, and a quote will be instantly generated. Purchase with a click and count yourself insured.

Your beauty secret

As a freelance makeup artist, you know that no amount of concealer is better than a good night’s sleep. There are countless tips and tricks to improve your appearance, but the best method for lasting beauty is taking good care of your skin; taking care of your business follows the same principle.

These simple steps are the secret to the long-term health of your beauty business. Just follow your plan, and you’ll soon have a business as flawless as the looks you create.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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