In a perfect world, there is a long list of things that I could do. In a perfect world, money would be no object and I could rescue every unwanted & abandoned dog that I see on Facebook and give them a happy home with me. In a perfect world I could buy whatever vehicle I wanted for my family so that I could travel anywhere with BOTH my kids AND dogs in the same vehicle. In a perfect world, I could go on vacation 3 times a year and travel to new places around the globe. In a perfect world, I could do nails for free for my ‘clients’ so that any woman who wanted pretty nails could have them with all the swarvoski rhinestones their hearts desired.
We don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a real world where just about everything comes with a price tag. Often, those things feature a price tag that we can’t afford. So we work. We work to pay for those price tags, and budget ourselves accordingly. When we can’t afford it, we go without. We leave it on the rack at the store, or in the car lot at the dealership, or in the display case at the jewelry store. We go without it.
We.Go.Without. So can someone please explain to me why “we go without”, but don’t expect others to do the same? WHY do we go without, so that others can have what they want? Why do we go without so someone else can go on vacation, buy a new ring, drive a new car, talk on a new phone? Frequently in the nail tech forums there are discussions about service or class prices and without fail the following statements will be made “I can’t charge that, no one will pay it” or “Everyone deserves to have pretty nails, so I price myself to what they can afford” or as stated by many educators “I do it because I love it, not for the money”…. Why? Aren’t you worth it? I think you’re worth it! Can’t you do what you love AND earn a living? When do you EVER hear other Professionals in other industries make those statements? I’ll tell you when. Never!
We are in Business. What is Business? Business is defined as “1.a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade.” AND “2.the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce.” What is “making one’s living”? It is “To earn enough income to support oneself and, if applicable, one’s family.” So if we aren’t making enough income to support ourselves and our family, then then we’re not running a business but a charity. Because if you’re giving yourself away, isn’t that what charity is? Giving away products and/or services for free?
The majority of Professionals that I know in this industry are “Independent Contractors” and not employees. From a Canadian Site (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/laws-regulations/labour/interpretations-policies/employer-employee.html ) please review this table that defines the differences if you’re uncertain.
As Independent Contractors, our prices are determined by a multitude of things, not just product costs or an hourly wage. The obvious expenses are products, tools & equipment, business cards, advertising, licensing, insurance, rent, electricity etc. Don’t forget TAXES and Unemployment contributions, Pension Plan, etc This all needs to be included in your math. The government wants their cut. How about vacation pay or sick pay? Did you figure those into your calculations? The list goes on and on because we are independent contractors. We are not employees that can collect our paycheck at the end of the week after the Boss/Business owner has paid the rent, product costs, overheads and tax contributions etc. Nope. We have to take care of that ourselves.
I’ll stop for a minute to mention that Math is NOT my forte and I’m certainly no business expert. That’s why I have an accountant. I do the data entry but she does the math. If you want a Business Expert who EXCELS at math (see what I did there?), check out Tina Alberino’s articles and calculators. https://www.thisuglybeautybusiness.com/ She’ll help you sort out the math. That’s not what I’m doing here.
Ok, back to what I was saying. The list goes on and on and then on some more. Once you reach the end of it and you’ve added up the cost of everything on that list, you have some heavy lifting to do called ‘math’ (insert shudder here, what a horrible word). I refer you back to Tina’s expertise for that. But in a nutshell, you need to cover those expenses, earn a living wage AND a profit (to reinvest into your business). Whether you’re doing mani/pedi’s all day or teaching, the point of it all is “Making one’s living” “To earn enough income to support oneself and, if applicable, one’s family.”
If after it is all said and done, you’re not “making a living” as defined, nor turning a profit to reinvest into your Business, then you’re doing it wrong and running a charity, not a business. In a perfect world, I’d love to be a charity. Everyone loves to be on the receiving end and get stuff for free. I would love to teach for free and share my passion with anyone aspiring to be a nail tech. I would LOVE to dole out swarovski crystal rhinestones by the tonne for any client that wants them, and do freehand extreme nails that take 4hrs to do and charge a pittance just because the client deserves pretty nails. But….what do YOU deserve? What do YOU get out of being a charity? Your bills are still waiting for you. That car you want is still at the dealership. That vacation you have dreamed of is still just a dream.