Now what I am about to say here is something that I whole heartedly disagree with, but what I am sorry to say is a stereotype out there.

Being a trained beauty therapist/makeup artist/hair stylist = you are stupid and not academic.

This is something that I have come up against a few times in the last few years since having my career change and entering the beauty industry.  People instantly assume that you aren’t intelligent.

It doesn’t annoy me, but it did open my eyes to how people are put into categories based on their occupation.

And I know it is not uncommon for many of my peers to have the same or similar background to me.  There are lots of us in the industry on our second career paths, there are also lots of us that enjoy learning, as the beauty trade isn’t just about filing someone’s nails or putting on some lip gloss, we constantly have to learn, be up to date with standards.  And what is most important to point out is that some of us..

Are Self Employed and run our own businesses.

And with that comes endless amounts of paperwork, compliance, health and safety, employment law, accounting, marketing…the list is endless.

So here is an insight in to the business side of beauty, it’s a fantastic industry to be a part of and I hope this will help existing and up and coming therapists when looking to start their own business, and also people to understand that it’s not just a 9-5 job, but that work never really stops!


Therapists need to under go initial training to become qualified in the treatments they offer.  But it doesn’t end there, regular training in the form of CPD (continuing professional development) needs to be undertaken each year to ensure that you meet the industry standards, and to make sure that you stay ahead of the game, and are able to offer new trends, treatments and services to your customers.

Stock Taking

The same as any retail or service business, therapists need to make sure that they have good stock management, so that they aren’t caught short when a last minute customer books in for a treatment that you may not carry out often.  With this stock management comes the fact that records need to be kept of shelf life of products, when they are opened, when they need to be thrown away etc etc.  When you offer quite a wide range of treatments, this is not easy to keep ahead of.

Health and Safety

This covers day to day health and safety when treating clients, such as disinfection, sanitisation of tools used, using disposables where required, personal hygiene.  This also covered risk assessments, fire, first aid, COSHH (storage of hazardous substances), disposal of certain products (human waste, sharps), carrying heavy goods. Procedures and guidelines need to be in place for everyone who is actively involved in the business to make sure that insurance remains valid, and so that the risk of infection is minimalised.  In the boot of my car I carry a full first aid kit, plus a fire extinguisher and fire blanket! I also make sure that any electrical equipment that I use is PAT tested each year to ensure its safety.

Record Keeping

This subject is vast, as it relates to keeping and storing client consultation records relevant and up to date, as well as diary management. Small businesses also have to be registered with the Information Commission if they hold customer data to ensure that they are adhering to the terms of the Data Proctection Act.

Book Keeping

I am lucky enough to have my Dad on board to help me with my book keeping, as this is a full time job in itself.  Keeping track of sales, purchases, wages, subscriptions, tax, national insurance and VAT if you are a big enough business is a minefield.  Both my Dad and I having come from financial services backgrounds are fortunate that we can do this ourselves without the help of an accountant.  If I didn’t have a finance background, then an accountant would be the first thing on my list as this has to be done right.

Social Media

Updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Pinterest, Vimeo, you tube, periscope, tumblr…… Who knew that the world could change so rapidly and that social media is now the go to place for any services. Not only is social media a great way to reach out to new clients, it’s also a fantastic tool to showcase your work.


Getting your name out there, looking for local newsletters, papers, business directories to list your business.  Another big part of this is search engine optimisation, making sure that you rank highly among search engines such as Google when people search for keywords relating to your services.  Again, I do all of this myself but many hire someone of a technical mind to help with this side of the business as again, this can become a full time job.


The design and print of logos, brochures, business cards, leaflets, etc etc which need to be continually ordered and updated to show existing and potential clients what your business has to offer.

Website Management

Making sure this is kept up to date, adding images to your portfolio, changing it from time to time to keep it fresh looking for your clients.



A strange one, and one I didn’t realise when I started how much I would be doing! I have to do at least 2 loads of washing a day, laundering towels etc so that they add fresh as a daisy for my customers.


Returning telephone calls, voicemails, text messages, whatsapp messages, Facebook messages and sifting through the 153427 e mails that we receive every single week to ditch the spam and reply to any enquiries.  This takes up a lot of time, and something that frustrates my partner Steve immensely, as every night I am sitting in front of the tele glued to my iPad getting back to everyone.  I never switch off, and have even been known to get back to customers at midnight.  But this is the age that we are in, with technology we have access to everyone at our finger tips!


Making sure that you are insured to carry out the services that you offer, and that it remains valid.  Also insurance for yourself, what would happen if you had an accident and were unable to work?
And there is probably more that I have forgotten!

To sum it up, the beauty industry is one of the many occupations out there that on the face of it may seem like a girl carrying around nail varnish and a hairdryer, but as you can see it is much more than meets the eye.