Some students choose to work for a salon or spa after graduation. Others choose a more independent route and go into business for themselves. This was the case for Cecilia, who began her career as a freelance makeup artist almost immediately after graduating from VICI Beauty School. We recently caught up with Cecilia to find out how she succeeds working for herself.
VICI: Why did you choose to start your own freelance business, and what have been the challenges?
Cecilia: I’ve always been extremely entrepreneurial in spirit so going into esthetics school, I definitely knew that I wanted to be my own boss. I love being able to set my own schedule, work the hours that I want to work, have control over the products that I use on my clients and be able to make the big decisions that matter in a business. It’s definitely a challenge every day, but that’s why I love it! When I first started freelancing, I knew I needed a website and that was pretty easy but getting people to go to that website has been A LOT more difficult. Search engine optimization, advertising, networking and social media are a huge part of how I get new clients, and I had to learn all of that from scratch. Also, I spend most of my working time alone since I don’t have any coworkers! That can feel super isolating, so I’ve since found a group of creative entrepreneurs who meet once a month, so that’s really fun.
VICI: What’s been the most rewarding part of working for yourself?
Cecilia: The most rewarding part of working for myself is seeing how satisfied my clients are and being able to spend as much time with my family as I’d like to. I love doing the reveals at the end of the service, my clients are always so excited to see their makeup and you can tell that they feel really good about themselves. I’m also able to have time to take fun trips with my husband and not worry about having enough PTO or anything like that.
VICI: Have you done any additional education since graduating?
Cecilia: I’ve taken so many classes on social media strategy, advertising, and business management. Also, classes for automating business and things like that. I’m planning to get certified to do eyelash extensions by the end of the year, so I’m super excited about that as well!
VICI: How did VICI Beauty School prepare you for a career after graduation?
Cecilia: Working on the clinic floor was super beneficial to me! It’s a good glimpse into what your job as an esthetician will be like. I paid a lot of attention to how the front desk and Char interacted with clients and mitigated any problems, so that was a good introduction into how I should run my own business.
VICI: Do you think a stylist could work full time as a makeup artist in the Midwest?
Cecilia: I personally work part-time currently but I think that someone could easily work full time as a makeup artist in the Midwest. To be clear, being a makeup artist isn’t 100% doing makeup either. It’s cleaning your brushes, setting up your kit for the next gig, emailing back and forth with clients, planning and creating social media posts, blogs, and advertising strategies, and retailing products if you can! I probably only spend 2-3 full days a week actually doing makeup!
VICI: What advice would you give to a student who is nearing graduation?
Cecilia: Take your State Board exam early if you can!! I did mine almost 3-4 weeks before my graduation date, as early as I possibly could. Employers are so impressed when you do this and all the information is still fresh in your brain! Also, be nice to your fellow classmates. School is a great chance to network and someone you know may end up working at a salon that you end up having an interview at down the line. The beauty community in Milwaukee is very small!