Do you often find yourself competing and comparing yourself to others? Getting defensive if someone has what you think you don't? Jealousy and envy are a real thing, especially in the world of makeup.
Here is some advice for those of you struggling with those inner demons.
This morning I was cooking a nice meal for me and my hubby to slow cook all day. It’s been forever and a day since I cooked for “fun”.
While I was chopping, sautéing and going over the things I had recently witnessed on social media, I got to thinking….makeup and cooking are so much alike, yet everyone thinks they have the lock down or patent on some technique, application, or craft. Nothing could be further from the truth! The reality is, it's all been done, taught, and reworked so many times.
Here's the bold truth: There is only one thing that sets people and artists apart:
Their special sauce. Just like a chef.
Gifted artists have their unique experience as someone who has done it, mastered it, and executes it every day that they are a professional. No one can do it quite like you or quite like me. Groovy, right?
On the menu today is Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon all made with gluten free ingredients.
While I was adjusting the ingredients to fit with my gluten-free lifestyle, I thought:
“I wonder what Julia would do if she were still alive today? As a professional chef, how would she make this recipe gluten-free where it wouldn’t sacrifice the taste?”
•Would she use almond flour?
•Would the almond flour have the same texture or flavor?
•Would cooking it in the crockpot be a mistake?
•If I cooked it in the crockpot, would she turn over in her grave? (Yes, I really thought this!)
•I get horrible headaches from wine, could I leave the wine out? Fuck it. Do the wine, take an aspirin, girl, please.
•Am I crazy for thinking I can make this taste good?
While I was obsessing over my recipe and torturing my artistic soul, I thought “Ya know what? It’s not her show…it’s mine. It’s my art. It’s my special recipe…if it doesn’t turn out the way I want, I will make adjustments the next time I have a craving. I know I'm smart enough that I can figure out the correct way to make a gluten-free Beef Bourguignon. If it sucks, I will try again next time.”
Just like other artists and other “competitors of the beauty world,” my Julia Child recipe is not going to taste exactly the same as if she made it. I'm sure Julia made the recipe 100 times before publishing it in her cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. I wouldn't even be surprised if those proper Parisian chefs gasped at her technique, but who cares? She rocked it in her own unique way and sold millions of cookbooks because she made it easy for folks to understand. That special style of teaching is a gift only she could bring.
Doing makeup applications, teaching a class, or running your business is the exact same. You have a unique set of skills you bring to make every “dish” unique. No one has what you have and you don't have what they have. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you stop competing and start thriving to build the business you want!
I did a webinar a couple of years ago on Discovering Your Bridal Persona. I've been doing this “technique” for years in my studio and I taught many of you about finding your ideal client.
The key to not competing and start thriving is knowing exactly who your audience is. To be honest, you don't want to be all things to all people.
If you're trying to be all things and get all clients, you're always going to be competing for the same person. I know one thing, I don't particularly want that client who obsesses about Instagram-style makeup, but maybe you do! By knowing exactly what client you're speaking to, you can narrow down the playing field and stop making yourself insane by trying to compete with the other makeup artists in the industry. Knowing exactly WHO your client is will make your life so much easier and keep you from driving yourself jealous worrying about what so-and-so did in your town.
If you're showcasing your artistry and you know what kind of client you're speaking to, when the client contacts you, you can relax because they liked your unique style, right? Right!
While I know Instagram artists get on our damn nerves because they oftentimes teach bad technique and product reviews and makes our job more difficult, once you get them in the door, you end up making a real, personal connection and that is what makes winning relationships that your competition can't match!
Note: I plan to launch more webinars in the future now that tech has caught up with my vision. Be sure to subscribe to get notified at launch!
To be masterful at your craft and stop competing and start thriving, it's best you learn the rules so you can know when to break them. This will help elevate your career and create your own unique style. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
So, you're tortured about Instagram Artists right? I know, I feel your pain, but stop right there. Don't even let it get you twisted! I know they make our lives a living hell most of the time, but don't let it really get you angry.
When it comes to makeup applications, what you do to someone’s face isn’t going to be exactly what an Instaartist would do to their own. As a professional makeup artist, you know what is right and correct because you have the skill-set of being a professional and painting with your own unique talents.
If you copy someone's look like a paint by numbers, you're just an unoriginal duplicate in a sea of artists who all blend in. How does that set you apart? Oh that's right, it doesn't. When you do exactly the same thing, you blend in, not stand out (this happens a lot in website design among makeup artists).
Want more proof? We all know what Instagram is about, don't we? Everyone looks the same. Manufactured beauty that looks like robots or clones of the original version. Truth be told, I bet most people wouldn't even know one Instagram artist from the other. They have one speed and one speed only: Full on.
Bottom line: Don't be the one trick pony. Showcase what you've got with your own unique gifts and perspectives. Be that uplifting spirit in people's lives and show them what you're made of.
I'm a master of skin and I'm slightly obsessed. However when it comes to my brow game, that isn't my strongest asset as a makeup artist. Can I do them? Yes, but they don't give me the warm fuzzies and I damn sure think “Instabrows” are about the ugliest thing since the hairless mole. (Sorry, no offense hairless mole)
As a professional, once you know who your audience is you can relax and not worry about getting that Instabrow shit down pat. Why? Your clients who want to hire you didn't see that type of brow game on your social feed, more than likely they went to your competitor. And you know what? Fucking AWWEEESOME! You didn't want to do it anyway, right?
Paint in your own unique way and hit the skill-set you're best suited for. This is why it's important not to be all things to all people and create your own style. You learn this and you will never compete for anything in your life.
Worried that other artists will say you are copying their style? Don't worry about what other people say about you. Who fucking cares? If you're painting in your own unique style, sharing and experimenting from a unique point of view, no one can dare say you're competing with them. That is their insecurity, not yours.
Here's the reality of it all:
What people think of you isn't any of your business.
This type of negative thinking only causes you to doubt your talents and special sauce skills and keeps you in a place where you never see personal or professional growth. Seeking approval is a waste of your time and mental energy. This type of obsessing will only bring you anxiety and sleepless nights. Paint what you see. Paint with style. Don't worry about trying to be like anyone else because being like others doesn't set you apart. Sure there are only so many ways to paint a face, but by putting your unique spin on it and your artistic talent, no one can say jack shit.
Own it and rock it like the bad ass britch I know you are.
I stopped apologizing for my rates several years ago. I know I am one of the most expensive makeup artists in Chicago. It's not that I think I am better than anyone else, I have always known everyone has their own unique gifts. I know I speak to a very targeted client. Remember, you're not trying to appeal to everyone.
But I do know one truth that will set you apart: DO NOT be a technician, be an artist. Just like chef is not a cook, she is a chef. There is the difference. Your experience and knowing when and where to adjust your craft will never have you apologizing for how you roll, what you charge, how you teach or what you write. Just like fingerprints and DNA, you're one of a kind.
If you want to stop competing and start building a business that thrives, you gotta be worth it. That means bringing your best skill-set to every job, class or project.
Working as a pro makeup artist is a lot like going to a Michelin star restaurant where the chef is well known. Dining in their restaurant is expensive. You're paying for the chef's expertise and creativity. You're paying for all the times they made mistakes in the kitchen and fell flat on their ass. All of those mistakes that have turned these cooks into master chefs that allow them to charge more for their time and expertise and made them worth it. Experience matters. Making mistakes matters. If you want to be worth it, you better bring your A GAME to everything you do. Doing so will allow those special TARGETED clients to know that you're worth it over your competition. Because you speak to their unique soul.
A WORD ABOUT BEING WORTH IT:
Now before you get your knickers in a twist, that doesn't mean bending over backwards without a reach around. This means setting expectations and scope of work that you decide comes with what your time is worth. To stop competing, look at your operation costs and see what it means to be worth it for you to do the best job for each and every client.
Hopefully by now you feel better and have kicked that green jealous monster out of your mind and embraced your own special gifts. You can’t teach someone to apply foundation just like you or how to apply eyeliner, “just like you”. You can’t teach someone how to run a business that has never experienced what you've experienced. We all come from all walks of life, and that my friend, is fucking BEAUTIFUL!
If you learn one thing, learn this: You are the artist. Target your ideal client, work your strengths, be worth it to your target client and you will never compete anther day in your life.
Now, who's hungry?
This article was originally published in Dec 20, 2014. Updated and reworked March 15, 2018.
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