I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is you can’t be a makeup artist in every industry. Actually this isn’t strictly true. You can’t be a successful makeup artist in every industry. As tempting as it is to try, balancing multiple disciplines will prevent you from truly excelling in any one.
It is far better to specialise, and dabble when you can in the other areas you love on the side. And that’s the good news – that if you specialise your chances of running a successful business as a makeup artist will be significantly higher!
For example, it would be very difficult to be a full time wedding makeup artist working weddings at weekends and organising trials in the week, and a full time fashion makeup artist working on photo shoots most days with long hours and shifting schedules. Imagine then trying to layer in TV and special effects as well. What about music videos? Something would have to give!
So for the above reason it’s an important first step to decide what your main goal for your career is. If it is to become a fashion makeup artist, then you need to push that aspect as hard as you can. Yes, you could do a wedding here and there to support yourself financially, but fashion has to be your focus.
With your goal in mind, you can now scope out what the likelihood of getting work in your area is. The best way to do this is to hit the net and start researching. As with looking at competition, it’s worth keeping a note of this stuff now, as you can refer back to it in the future and see where things have changed. To help you do this we’ve created a spreadsheet – details on where you can download this can be found at the end of this post.
Sites such as yell.com (in the UK), yelp.com (in the US) and Google maps can give you fast information on the number of businesses and operators in your area.
So if fashion is your passion then go online and check out:
- Independent Fashion retailers and designers in your area.
- Fashion photographers in your area.
- Fashion magazines in your area and county that are local & national and check out what shoots they have been doing and when/where they have done them.
- Are there fashion events that take place where you live?
- Check out other fashion makeup artists in your area and check out what they’ve been working on and where? (In their portfolios, they are likely to put which magazines and shoots they have worked on which will give you an indication of whether they are getting work locally or travelling a lot outside your area)
- Check out surrounding cities and towns and see what they are up to as well. Do you live in a little village that doesn’t have a lot going on? Check out the bigger cities near you.
Similarly, if you primary goal is to be a wedding makeup artist then it would be a good idea to search for:
- Wedding Venues such as Halls, Churches, chapels, cathedrals, Hotels, Manor Houses, Converted Barns… etc in and around your area (30-40 miles radius).
- Bridal companies
- Wedding Organisers
- Wedding Photographers and Videographers
- Wedding Makeup Artists
You can also use job search sites such as Monster, social networks such as groups in Facebook or more industry focussed sites such as Model Mayhem to look at the amount of jobs available locally and how far you might need to travel.
Once you have done your research, you will have a pretty good idea of what sort and how much work is going in your area and surrounding cities. Don’t narrow it down to just where you live, but also bear in mind that the further you research outside of your area, the more you have to travel which in turn means you will need to charge more or end up earning less if they are not willing to pay for travel. So choose your jobs and the areas in which you work carefully.
Armed with this information you should be able to get a feel for whether there is work for you where you are. On top of this you will now also have a good idea of the main players in your area with whom you may cross paths.
And this leads us nicely onto step three of our process – building a network. You now have a list of the key professionals working in your field locally. It’s time to consider how we might get to know them!