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As a self-proclaimed serial side hustler, and having tried out so many side businesses over the years, I’d like to think that I can offer some good advice when it comes to both choosing the right side hustle to start as well as how to start it and grow it…
It all started back in 1999 with a gift basket business. I was only just getting to grips with the internet, had a stable dial-up connection and a cool email address (at least I thought so!) After much research and brainstorming, the gift basket business – it can still be a viable one-woman business today, so if you’re interested in starting a side hustle like this, click here to read more.
Over the years, from that little idea, came many more, and some even went further than just the research stage. For now though, it’s all about starting a mobile beauty side hustle business…
Running a mobile beauty therapy business is a great option for those who are qualified as beauty therapists. They’re called by different names in different countries, including aestheticians, estheticians, skin care therapists, beauticians, cosmetologists… You may not be trained yet, but considering taking a course, so this post will still be a great start for you once you’ve qualified – it doesn’t take too long to qualify. It’s possible to take modular courses too, which are great if you need to get started soon in order to bring in some side hustle cash. If you find yourself in this situation, you would likely start with a manicure/pedicure course which includes anatomy and physiology theory relating to the hands and feet and completed, you could start offering your services to clients in the local area while moving on to study another module, for example waxing. Just be sure to choose a course that allows you to get insurance after you qualify so that both you and your future clients are protected.
Read on for the steps to take in order to start and grow your mobile beauty therapy side hustle…
1. First things first, decide what beauty services you will be offering
What are you qualified in? What services do you enjoy doing? Personally I loved doing facials because I could customize the treatment to suit the client’s skin and actually make a difference And I also enjoyed doing pedicures because there was a clear before and after and the client would usually always leave happy and feeling much better about their feet! What are you good at? Are there any treatments you would happily do even if you were not being paid for it?
2. Choose a name for your side hustle
Brainstorming some name ideas and write them all down. Work through them with a process of elimination and whittle them down to your five favourites, then go on to check that no-one else is using the name. To avoid issues, it may be worth using your name such as Katie’s Mobile Beauty or Katie’s Beauty To Go… something along these lines. Since you are only going to be serving your local area, be sure there is no other beauty therapist in the vicinity who is using the same name.
3. Confirm what contact number and email address you will use
Will you use your usual personal contact number for your business? Or do you have a spare phone that you can get a pay-as-you-go sim card for? Personally I prefer to have a separate phone and mobile number so that I can spearate business and personal.
Next is to create an email address. I use 123-reg for my domain names and emails. (www.123-reg.co.uk)
Create a new email address the same name as your business or something very similar. It’s better to get a personalised domain email address such as email@example.com – just looks more professional than a gmail or other free email account address. However, please bear in mind that it’s perfectly acceptable to use a free email account, especially in the beginning when you are trying to keep costs down and build your business. I use a Gmail account linked to a mailbox I purchased from 123-Reg, paid for yearly but it has my domain name as the email address. This course walks you through how to link the two if you’re unsure.
4. Buy your domain name
When you’ve decided on your business name and checked that it’s available to use as a business and available as a website name, go to https://www.123-reg.co.uk/ enter the domain name into the search box and up will pop the available domain extensions. Definitely get the .com as well as the extension for your country. For example if you’re in Canada, get the .ca, in UK, get the co.uk, in South Africa, get the .co.za, etc.
If you can fit the additional cost for domain privacy, definitely purchase this for both your domain extensions otherwise your full name, address and contact details will be publicly available and you’ll be inundated with calls from people trying to offer you web design services and scammers trying to find out who you bank with so they can find the missing puzzle pieces to carry out identity fraud! It’s extremely annoying and sadly some people fall for it, thinking it’s a legitimate call from their bank. Rather just buy the domain privacy if you can!
5. Define your working hours
Do you have children? Do you need to adjust your working hours around their days? Do you have a full-time job? Will you only be working in your mobile business during your spare evenings and weekends? Will you offer early morning appointments? Are there any other mobile beauticians in your area and what hours do they offer their clients? When you are just starting out and trying to build your clientele, it might be wise to work the hours around your clients. Depending on the area you live in, it may be a commuter town many women needing their bookings to be in the evenings. If you can accommodate the times that other mobile therapists in your area do not, this could be a great push for your business when you’re starting out.
6. Create your service menu
From what you decided in answering the questions in number 1 above, offer what you are good at. If you’re not great at Brazilian waxing for example, rather don’t offer it until you’ve had additional training or practiced a lot. After my initial diploma, I had been trained in Brazilian waxing but because it wasn’t a popular service in my salon, I didn’t get all that much practice for a few years, so when I moved to London and got my first job in a waxing and tanning salon, Brazilian waxing was one of the most requested services and I have a couple of unpleasant stories from the first few weeks at that salon! (*face screaming in fear emoji*)
So if there is just one piece of advice you take from this post, stick with offering the services you’re good at and you’ll have repeat clients 🙂
What are other salons offering in your area? What is their pricing like? Are there any other mobile beauticians in your area or nearby?
7. Design and print brochures
Picmonkey is a fantastic tool to use for creating graphics for your website, for printing flyers and service brochures – basically any graphic design needs. It’s something you can use yourself easily without the need to hire a graphic designer. You can use it free but some usability options are only open to the premium membership (I think it’s only about $54 per year and well worth it!) I’ve tried Canva which I like to use for mobile graphics for social media post but it’s nothing like Picmonkey, imho, for other graphics and creations. If you’d like to give it a try, sign up here. There are a variety of free courses on how to use it and my favourite is Suzi Whitford’s (Start a Mom blog) Picmonkey course – best of all, it’s free!
For printing, I’m a big fan of Vistaprint because they’re so affordable, easy to use and deliver quickly. You can upload your own design, choose the printing template, pay and then wait for your professional brochures and flyers to arrive 🙂
8. Create a website
Buy your domain name and then link it to your website. It looks much more professional than a website address made with a free website builder. For example, www.katiesmobilebeauty.com looks a lot more professional than www.katiesmobilebeauty.blogspot.com. If you are on a really tight budget however, please go ahead and create your website on a free web builder! You will not get it to look exactly how you want it to and it’s likely that the free web builder platform will display adverts on your site, so even for this reason alone it would be best to get your own domain and hosting.
For step by step instructions on how to buy your domain name, buy hosting, link the two together, and set up your personalized email address with Gmail, click here.
9. Buy your supplies to set up your mobile beauty kit
You’ll need a long list of items for your business so that you can start serving your first clients. Start out with the essentials and add to your kit as you get more clients.
Please sign up below and I’ll send the PDF kit shopping list to you:
There are a number of places where you can find your supplies, including Sally Beauty, Salon Services and Amazon, depending on what country and city you live in. You can also go direct to product houses that you are planning to use but do bear in mind that some of them do not supply mobile therapists and if they do, there could be a requirement for a substantial opening order which is difficult when you are first starting out, have limited funds and don’t know how quickly you are going to get clients.
10. Get insurance
Be sure to choose a reputable insurance company and one that actually insures other beauty therapists whether mobile or bricks and mortar. All this goes without saying but just as a reminder, read all the fine print and ensure you’re covered for the right things! A good insurance company will be able to advise you properly and answer all your questions.
11. Brainstorm how you will market yourself and your services
Marketing. OMG, how? Where? This is a minefield with all sorts of options available for marketing yourself and your business. The thing is not to throw money at an avenue that doesn’t work and lose out on valuable time that could have been spent attracting the right clients for you. Do your research! How are the salons in your area finding their clients? And where do the mobile beauticians make themselves known? Here are some options:
- Set up a Facebook page for your side hustle, add your website and contact details along with your logo and great cover image and profile photo
- Join a local Facebook group and post enticing offers for your services
- Run a give-away or other competition
- Set yourself up on Instagram and post images of your products, you doing a facial or massage, your set up at one of your clients’ homes with candles to show how relaxing your mobile services can be, etc.
- Take out a small add in a local community magazine or newspaper
- Walk around your neighbourhood dropping your flyers into mailboxes
- Ask if you can leave your flyers at a complimentary business such as a chiropractor’s rooms, dietician, naturopath, etc.
- Run a special offer for new clients
- Run an offer that gives a client 50% off their next treatment when they refer a friend to you
- Take a stand at a community fair such as a health & fitness fair or some other related exhibition
These are just a few, but there are so many others. The key is to be patient though – your marketing efforts will not produce results overnight (unless you are really, really lucky!)
12. Get accounts on relevant social media
As number 11 above, it will be beneficial to set yourself up on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and possibly LinkedIn. Regularly update your pages so that you have more chance to get in front of your ideal audience. If possible, have the same handle for all social media accounts and link to each of these on your website. This way your potential clients can check out your feeds and learn more about you!
There you have it… 12 simple steps that you can implement today!