Should You be Working as a Freelancing Makeup Artist?

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Do you have what it takes to be a freelance makeup artist?   I’m not going to cover the requirements to become a freelance artist – depending on where you live there may be different requirements for registering your business, qualifications required, etc. Today I want to talk about whether you have the right things to become a successful freelance artist.

So what does it take to make it as a freelance makeup artist?

Here is my list of the skills / things you need to be comfortable with if you want to be successful as a freelance artist

Talent / Skill

Some people are born with natural talent other have to work hard to get good. No matter which one you are you are going to need to have skill to make it as a freelancer.
Much of the work relies on work of mouth and repeat customers. If your skills aren’t up to scratch then you are going to struggle to make it.

Need to keep up to date on latest styles and techniques

Fashion trends change all the time. New techniques are being used, sometimes they are good sometimes not so much. But it is essential that you are up to date on these things as a freelancer. The last thing you want is to turn up to a job and have no idea what your client is asking you to do!

Be comfortable with uncertainty

There is no such thing as a normal day for a freelancer. The work is very rarely consistent. You need to be comfortable with the fact that there will be times where you have no work and others where there’s so much work on offer that you are turning away jobs.

Understand basic finance

As a freelance makeup artist you not only have to be good at your art, but have a firm grasp of basic business finance. You could have plenty of work but be losing money if you don’t understand all of the costs involved in running your business.

Be creative about your work

Do you live in a small area?  Don’t think there’s much work available?  Unless you live in a town of 10 people then you may need to get creative about what work you do.  Thinking outside the box to find your market.  Depending on the type of work you want to do you may need willing to travel to be able to do it.


Even in today’s online-everything word of mouth is still the most powerful way of growing a business.  You need to be able to build your network and keep it “alive”.


The rest of your free time (ha ha! ) should be focused on marketing.  Online marketing, offline marketing all different types of marketing are available to you.  You need to be willing to learn new marketing techniques and test them out!

Be able to say NO

Your kit costs money.

You need to evaluate every job that is offered to see whether it is going to reward you – either with money, portfolio images or skill building (or all three).  Be prepared to say NO if the job isn’t going to further your business.

Hints on “making it”

Find a niche and own it!

I totally get that you want to do it all. Editorial, Special FX, Bridal, Film and TV, etc.  But you will do much better as a freelance artist if you focus on a specialty.  There is a common saying that there are “riches in the niches”.   It’s much easier owning 80 – 90% of a niche than even a small percent of the total market.

Don’t be afraid to get really specific.  Targeting a specific age group or people with specific hobbies, etc makes it much easier to market your services specifically to that niche.

Surround yourself with other successful freelance artists

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

– Jim Rohn

This idea is very powerful.  If you surround yourself with others that are already successful in doing what you want to do then they will help to inspire and support you.  Surround yourself with negative people and you will quickly lose faith in yourself.

Building friendships with other freelance artists also creates opportunities for you to support each other in other ways.  Can’t do a job? Then you can refer it to one of your friends.  They will also be able to do the same in return.

Alternatives to Freelancing

Have you been reading along and shaking your head saying – “that’s not for me” then what other avenues are open to you?  Well if you are still keen on being a full time makeup artist then you may look  into these alternatives to being a freelancer:

  • retail artist for a cosmetic brand
  • work as part of someone’s team
  • work in a salon that offers artist services
  • possibly become agency represented

Taking the next step

To be a successful freelance makeup artist takes a number of skills and a certain attitude to be successful.  You also need to be willing to market yourself constantly.   This means you need a firm grasp on your brand. If you are just starting out then we can help you with our 5-day branding challenge that will help you refine your brand and help you get started on building your image.  Sign up here!

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