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Freelance Hair Stylist: Job Description, Income and Salary, and How To Become

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Are you struggling to find a traditional career that fits you?

Thankfully, it’s not just you!

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are shifting towards working in freelance positions.

A recent survey found that nearly 47 percent of employed individuals work in a freelance job.

If you’re thinking about switching to a non-traditional job or finding jobs that can be done on the side then consider gig economy jobs!

Here’s what you need to know about working as a freelance hair stylist, including what the job is, how much you can earn, and how to become one.

What Is a Freelance Hair Stylist?

Included among the best side hustles is freelance cosmetology work.

When you freelance as a hair stylist, you get to work as your boss.

Since you’re self-employed, you set your schedule and find your client base too!

As a hair stylist, you’re responsible for cutting, styling, coloring, and even shampooing the hair of your clients.

Most hair stylists have an area of specialty, like coloring or certain hairstyles.

This makes them able to find their niche and provide the right service to the right customer.

What Does a Freelance Hair Stylist Do?

Freelance work in the cosmetology industry opens you up to many different types of clients.

What may work for one may not work for another.

For instance, even if one client prefers that their stylist makes small talk with them during their appointment, it doesn’t mean that every client will.

Knowing the client is key to providing the best stylist services.

One of the best parts of being a stylist is the ability to make personal connections with your customer base.

That means that you get plenty of face-to-face time and foster relationships with the people you meet with!

What Does a Freelance Hair Stylist Usually Focus on?

Even beyond making stylistic decisions, these are some of the key roles of a hair stylist:

  • Cutting hair
  • Styling hair
  • Shampooing hair
  • Coloring hair
  • Treating hair for split ends
  • Branding and marketing
  • Building meaningful client relationships

Knowing the focus of the job is only the first part, however.

It’s also vital to know the key responsibilities and job description of a hairstylist.

Freelance Hair Stylist Job Description

Being a freelance cosmetologist  usually requires the following as part of the job description:

  • Setting customer appointments
  • Keeping up-to-date with current hairstyles and color trends
  • Providing quality hair styling services
  • Processing customer payments

Even though most of the job of a hair stylist deals with cutting and styling hair, there are many other skills necessary for the job.

Knowing bookkeeping or financial software is a benefit since people doing most types of freelance work are responsible for maintaining their profits and expenses and paying their taxes.

Maintaining a social media brand also can be helpful since building a client base requires extensive networking.

Top Freelance Hair Stylist Jobs & Careers

Once you’ve decided to pursue a career as a freelance hair stylist, you might want to know what the field has in store for you!

Fortunately, there are several different types of hair stylist careers available. The following are just a few!

Freelance Hair Color Specialist

Selecting a niche area is a great way to find a key demographic for a freelance hair professional.

If you’re interested in hair dye and coloring services, you can provide these specialized services to clients.

It’s an in-demand field that services a wide range of people from the younger to the older!

Personal Care Assistant

If a hairstylist wants to expand beyond just the basics, it’s possible to work as a personal care assistant.

These assistants work closely with customers to provide highly personalized suggestions for maintaining their image or health.

Salon Owner

If you’re interested in the management side of the stylist business, you can get employees and open a salon.

This career path still enables you to work independently, but now you’re the boss! Opening a cutting-edge salon can offer you creative input and a larger income if you’re interested in small business ownership.

Where Can a Freelance Hair Stylist Work?

Typically, freelance cosmetologists work with various clients and go from session to session.

However, their skills enable them other work opportunities as well!

In addition to having many clients, a freelance stylist can work with one high-end client as a personal stylist or other hair specialty craft.

They could also choose to work in a salon or start their salon by hiring other employees.

What It’s Like To Be a Freelance Hair Stylist

As with any job, being a freelance hair stylist comes with its own unique set of challenges.

It’s vital to know the daily life cycle of this job to know whether it fits your intended career path.

Is Being a Freelance Hair Stylist Hard?

Being able to work as a hair stylist successfully requires a lot of skills, some more difficult than others.

When you work as a freelancer, you have to know how to manage your time effectively and proactively.

Fortunately, this means that you’re responsible for your schedule! It also means you have to be detail-oriented and never miss appointments.

Additionally, even though you’re the boss and can decide your brand of styling, you have to be flexible enough to follow what your client wants.

Is a Freelance Hair Stylist’s Job Stressful?

There will be days when even the most-experienced hair stylist feels stress from the job.

When you agree to take care of a customer’s hair, you’re agreeing to more than just a one-time service.

A person’s hairstyle helps define their fashion and style!

You’d think that that sort of realization would leave hair stylists with too much pressure.

However, it turns out that being a hairstylist is one of the happiest jobs in the world!

Being a hairstylist has one of the highest rates of job satisfaction in any field.

It offers creative input combined with helping other people.

As long as the stylist’s job’s stress is properly managed, it can be deeply rewarding and satisfying.

Common Freelance Hair Stylist Work Day

There are many jobs that a freelance hair professional does in a day.

From cutting and styling to scheduling appointments, no two days look identical in this profession.

Freelance Hair Stylist Tasks & Duties

Hair stylists need to cut and style hair.

Beyond that, however, what each hair stylist does is up to their discretion.

Coloring and treating hair for health problems are each also services that a great hair stylist provides.

Finally, they must schedule customer appointments either by phone, email, or verbal confirmation and process payments in payment software.

They must also keep records of their earnings to pay their taxes.

Freelance Hair Stylist Work Hours & Schedule

Since freelancers work independently, they get to set their schedules.

One of the benefits of the job is being able to decide how many hours you can work in a day and how many customers you’ll schedule too!

Does This Career Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Working as a freelance hairdresser does a lot to enable the stylist to keep a good work/life balance.

To achieve this balance, it’s vital to consider what makes a freelancer successful and how to implement these tips.

Setting a system in place and sticking to it can be key to maintaining a good work/life balance.

Freelance Hair Stylist Salary & Income

So, how much money do freelance hair stylists make?

A lot of factors determine the take-home portion of a stylist’s income, but here’s the baseline information.

Do Freelance Hair Stylists Make Good Money?

It varies by individual, but the average salary of a freelance hair stylist is around $45,000 annually.

The number changes, however, when you include tips and other payments, so the average can go as high as around $64,000 per year.

How Much Do Freelance Hair Stylists Make?

There is a significant difference in earnings per hair stylist, however.

Some can make as low as $30,000 a year, and others may make upwards of $75,000.

According to ZipRecruiter, the monthly salary for a freelance hair stylist is around $6,279 a month with an annual salary after tips and other payments totaling $75,350.

Factoring tips is a large portion of the difference between the lowest payment brackets and the highest.

On average, a customer tips between 15-20% to their stylist, but the number can be higher or lower than that per customer.

These figures add up, which can drastically change the take-home portion of a stylist’s salary.

How Do Freelance Hair Stylists Get Paid?

A freelance hair professional can be paid in several different ways.

Customer payments can be received electronically, by sites like Paypal or Square, or they can be done the old-fashioned way with cash or cheque.

While some stylists prefer to be paid before or after the session, clients can also pay for several sessions in advance or even monthly or weekly if they have a stylist on retainer.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Freelance Hair Stylists

What does it take to be a freelance hair stylist? In addition to passion and equipment, some education and experience are also required.

Who Should Consider a Freelance Hair Stylist Career Path?

If you’re the sort of person who loves to play with hair and has a great eye for detail and trends, being a freelance stylist might be a great career fit!

In addition to passion, it helps to be a people person.

A lot of a freelance beautician’s business is determined by customer loyalty and building new connections.

Although being extroverted is a plus, it’s not necessary as long as you can make personal connections with your clients and want to help them look and feel their best.

Who Should Not Consider a Freelance Hair Stylist Career Path?

Being a freelance hair stylist isn’t for everyone.

If you find it difficult to keep a work schedule without oversight, you likely won’t be successful in this field.

It’s important to manage your stress levels too!

If you struggle with difficult clients and lose your temper often, you might want to consider a different field as well.

Is It Hard To Become a Freelance Hair Stylist?

It’s not difficult to start working freelance. With the right setup, almost anyone can start!

What makes working as a freelancer uniquely challenging is that you’re responsible for finding your own, consistent client base.

That means that you need to stay on top of social media posting to keep current clients invested.

You also need to online network to find new clients.

Once you figure out what makes your brand different, you can start to discover your niche.

This can be a difficult process for beginners, but once you find it, you’ll find your client base!

What Do I Need To Become a Freelance Hair Stylist

Unlike some other freelance jobs, there are some formal requirements for becoming a freelance hair professional.

Additionally, there are specific skills you need to find your niche and provide the best service to your clients.

Requirements for Becoming a Freelance Hair Stylist

Hair stylists are required to have a license in most states.

Beyond that, requirements may vary, but most generally licensed hair stylists must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have completed their state’s cosmetology program.

After completing their cosmetology program, prospective hair stylists are required to complete a written and practical exam to test their certification.

What Skills Does a Freelance Hair Stylist Need?

A freelancer needs to have the ability to work with clients one-on-one, be able to follow a client’s request, and have a high skill level in their field.

This means that stylists need to be able to efficiently cut hair with as few errors as possible and be able to adjust as needed.

In addition to cosmetology skills, a hair stylist should have a good understanding of how to manage business expenses as well as reliable transportation and/or a stable location for their sessions.

What Education Does a Freelance Hair Stylist Need?

Along with a cosmetology license and a high school diploma or GED, a freelance hairdresser may be required to take continuing education courses to keep their license active.

If a stylist is looking to start a small business then small business classes may be of help as well!

What Experience Does a Freelance Hair Stylist Need?

A freelance hair stylist receives experience while completing their license.

This experience includes providing stylist services to customers under observation.

Other than completing the license, no other experience is necessary to start styling freelance.

How to Become a Freelance Hair Stylist

Once a stylist has completed their license and is ready to begin professionally styling, it just takes a few key steps to get started.

Where To Find Freelance Hair Stylist Opportunities?

The best way to find opportunities to freelance as a hair stylist is online.

Companies like Glamsquad will post opportunities specifically for beauty stylists.

And checking websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and even HARO can help connect you with potential gis.

Applying for the Gig(s)

Often there is an online application process for hair stylist gigs.

Be sure to fill out everything as completely as you can!

Consider including a portfolio of your work too! Giving prospective employers pictures can help them envision your skills more concretely.

Interviewing for the Gig(s)

Acing the interview process is important, especially for a beginner.

Researching commonly asked questions for your interview will help prepare you for the process.

During the interview, feel free to bring samples of your work to show your interviewer as it can illustrate your experience.

Offering personal stories or experiences you’ve had in the field also helps solidify your skills during an interview.

How Do I Prepare for Freelance Hair Styling Gigs?

Preparing for your first gig as a freelance hair professional can be stressful! Always double-check your equipment and make sure you have everything you need for your appointment.

If your customer has an online profile, do your research and see how your style fits with theirs.

Similar Careers To Check Out

If certain parts of the freelance hairdresser career don’t appeal to you, you may want to check out similar jobs that have slightly different descriptions.

  • Traveling Hair Stylist: Working as a traveling hair stylist means you go from location to location to meet your clients. This requires that you bring your equipment with you, including any shampoos or dyes, so you can work wherever you have access to running water.
  • Freelance Massage Therapist: A freelance massage therapist works with clients to help sore backs, joints, and other parts of the body to promote health and well-being. You may also need to work with lotions and oils.
  • Spin Instructor: When you work as a spin instructor, you’re in charge of leading a group of people in a cycling class. The health benefits of this career are numerous, and you’re a key part of your clients’ healthy lifestyles.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions about freelancing as a hair stylist.

Can an Introvert Be a Hair Stylist?

Yes, an introvert can be a successful hairstylist.

You may have to push yourself a little more on networking and emphasize marketing more than skills, however.

The most important part is caring about the health and well-being of your client.

Can I Run a Hair Business From Home?

Yes, you can run a hair stylist business from your home.

Make sure to check with homeowners associations or the regulations where you live first though.

It’s vital to comply with residential business codes.

Wrapping Up

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a freelance hair stylist.

While it may not be for everyone, it’s a great career path for anyone with a passion for hair styling and the ability to self-promote.

If you’re tired of traditional jobs with inflexible schedules, consider checking out a career as a hairstylist.

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