Thinking of going it alone as a beauty professional?

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If you are planning a career in the UK beauty industry, you could hardly have timed it better. As the Financial Times recently revealed, UK beauty is booming and the industry is worth £17 billion per year, with 16% growth forecast between 2013 and 2016.

While much of this turnover comes from famous cosmetic houses and brands, there is evidence that in the UK, spending serious money on beauty treatments and products is becoming more accepted and widespread.

What about me?

This is all great, but what about the individual who dreams of setting up their own salon or other beauty-related small business? Well, there is more good news here. The banks are becoming more willing to lend and some small beauty businesses (such as mobile or home-based hairdressers and nail technicians) can be started with minimal outlay. So if beauty is your passion, what are you waiting for?

First steps

The first thing you must do, if you truly want a self-employed career in beauty, is draw up a business plan. Decide what services you are going to offer, and to whom. Create your business plan even if you are not going to ask for any funding: it will be a good way of making sure you stay on track with your ambitions and will allow you to monitor your progress. Don’t worry – writing a business plan is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds; try your local library for helpful reference books.

Are you ready?

Next, take a look around the industry. What treatments and services are most in demand right now? Are you trained and able to deliver them? If not, this could put you at a substantial disadvantage in a competitive market. There are sites such as that bring together a range of relevant training courses across the UK, so if there are any gaps in your knowledge you can fill them quickly. Once you are up and running, you must keep your eyes open for changes in the market. Beauty is a fast moving industry and your competitiveness as a business is only as good as your ability to provide services that clients want.

Raise your profile

When you are ready to launch your business, make sure that people know who you are, what you do and how to reach you. It is not enough simply to create a website and wait for people to call – they won’t. You need to make a concerted effort to promote yourself, especially if there is a lot of competition locally. There are lots of affordable options that can be effective: try launching a business Facebook page, and building a bright and attractive website. Do not overlook the traditional methods such as advertising in newspapers or distributing flyers, these can be very effective. Many beauty professionals build business by taking stands at local events such as craft fairs or charity pamper evenings, where they can circulate their business cards and flyers as well as offer treatments.
Finally, don’t forget to speak to an accountant or financial professional about your tax and national insurance liabilities – nobody wants to upset the tax man!


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