Free shipping on orders over $500 in the USA

Your cart

Your cart is empty

Planning To Be Successful

Written By: Deboarah Merhar Founder Of Relax & Wax

When you became an esthetician was your focus on the services you wanted to offer, or on how you were going to become successful? Good question right?

I personally wanted to learn how to do all skin care services and assumed being good at my craft was going to make me successful. But what about clients? Have you thought about how your future clients will be able to find you? 

I started my esthetics career based on commission at an established salon/spa and when I left my clients followed me. That was in the year 2000. Things have changed. Back in the year 2000 estheticians were a sought after commodity, not many to choose from. Unlike today where the market is flooded. So, how do you compete in this market? You work at it. There is a saying, “Just because you put your name on the door doesn't mean clients will come banging on it.” You have to work at it and you have to constantly work at it.

I’m going to give you ideas, suggestions, and places to start. I don’t expect you to do all of them. Take what fits you, what makes sense to you, what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

Make A Plan

What services do you want to offer? 

Option 1: Be a well rounded esthetician who offers facials, body treatments, waxing, and use all the cool, fancy, cutting edge equipment out there.

Option 2: Specialize in 1-2 services. I have a friend who has a thriving facial only business. She will do a brow or lip wax but no other waxing. I have another friend that is a brow artist and does nothing but brows. Both are very successful in their limited service businesses. 

You can be successful specializing in just one area and you can be successful as a full service esthetician. Find what you're good at and more importantly find what you enjoy doing

The Good News

The good news is you do not have to decide today, next week, or even next year what you want to do. If you decide today you want to be a brow artist only, you can always change your mind later. In the business you have the freedom of choice and the freedom to do what works for you. I myself wanted to do everything! Turns out 90% of my business is Brazilians. I’m always grateful for my facial clients, the full body waxes, and the occasional body treatment clients. I like variety. The key is, don’t get stuck with what you originally thought you wanted to do with your esthetic career, your speciality will always find you.

The Bigger Question

The bigger question, how will clients find you? How long is it going to take you to build a solid client base? And how the heck do you even build that base? How do we get to that elusive full book that we all want?

It’s not going to happen just because you want it or because you put your sign up on the door. There are not hundreds of clients trying to find you, but there are a whole bunch of clients trying to find an esthetician and that esthetician might as well be you!

Building your clientele is hard work but probably easier than you think if you are willing to put the work into it. The number one reason estheticians fail and quit this business is because it was too hard to build, too hard to put themselves out there, too hard to work at being successful. 

It’s not your lack of ability to do the job, but your lack of will or desire to do what it takes. Or maybe, you just lack the knowledge of knowing how to do it?

Remember this always: Marketing is making yourself known. You have to market yourself, you are the commodity. You are selling yourself to new clients. Most first impressions can get you, or lose you, that client. You don’t always have to be “on” but you do have to be ready. Look the part, if you just spilled ketchup all over your shirt, it’s not the time to hand someone your business card.

Ways To Market Yourself

Word of mouth: You will always hear word of mouth is the best and easiest way to build your books. Yes, it is, if you have clients to refer to you. But, first you have to find the clients, get them in the door, provide an excellent service, then the referrals will come in. How well does word of mouth work? It is the best advertisement you have. It requires no actual financial investment. However, everything you do in your practice builds into this. Deliver an outstanding facial or wax and people will talk and rave about it. Deliver a bad service and they will do the same. If you do make a mistake, own up to it, admit it. Don’t for a second assume the client won’t notice if they leave with one eyebrow or lifted skin. If this happens don’t stop until you find out why it happened, there is always a reason. Never charge a client for a mistake you made. They will not be back. If you apologize, make it right, they will always come back.

Business cards: Do whatever you can with what you have. Have hundreds of business cards printed. Make them stand out. You want to stand out. Always have them on you. Be ready. Hand them out to people you meet. Leave the house with perfect brows and when someone compliments you on them, hand them a card. Leave your business cards at local businesses. Most will be happy to have them on their counter and then offer to put theirs in your business. Put them on bulletin boards, at the coffee shop down the street, and the muffin shop. Businesses close to you.

Networking: Does your town have a women’s health fair? Offer to give a presentation on skin care, cellulite, and anti-aging. Attend local events, places where people gather and make sure you dress for the occasion. You are going there to build your business. Compliment someone to start a conversation. I once told a hostess at a restaurant how pretty she was and then asked if I could do her first brow service for free. She came in and so did several other employees and customers who became clients, paying clients. Be up to date on what's going on in your town and go to the events. You can start a conversation by saying, “Hi, I saw you at the health fair, nice to see you again. Then ask them what they do for a living, then tell them what you do and hand them a card. Attend seminars, be seen. Go to networking events.

Do trades: This is what worked the best for me. One of the busiest hairdressers in town was referred to me by one of my clients. We started doing trades and still do to this day. I have traded with a massage therapist and nail tech. I’ve traded with my dentist and my doctor’s wife. Both of them allowed me to put my business cards in their offices. The key here is to find a very busy person to trade with who is excellent at what they do. Go above and beyond with their service so they rave about you. The biggest mistake is to not go above and beyond when you do a trade service. I had a nail tech ask me once to do trades. I did the best facial ever on her. In return, I got a horrible pedicure. She had me soak for about a half-hour and then basically put polish on. She wanted to do another trade, no way. It had no value to me and I did not want my clients to go to her. I found a new nail tech to trade with. Make sure you both agree to also refer new clients to each other. You can also do a trade for trade and it ends there, but try and find a nice busy, excellent tech to trade with that wants clients and wants to send you clients. Trades have zero added costs, other than your time and a little product and in return you will look and feel great with all your traded beauty services and possibly more new clients!

Don’t be afraid to give away a free service: When I first went out on my own I rented a place in a complex that had multiple services, including hair, nails, massage, and estheticians. I had been working for just under a year on commission and needed to build my clientele. I went to the hair salon with a handful of gift certificates, introduced myself to each one and handed each stylist a gift certificate for any service I offered along with a service menu. Most came in and wanted a simple wax and I got a lot of new referrals. Next, I went to the nail shop and massage therapists offices and got the same results. They all loved me and kept my menus on their counters. Important: Never get into an argument with anyone in your complex or in your profession. No matter how much they deserve it. Just smile. A smile is a referral. An argument causes bad mouthing. Remember, their clients love them, not you.

Offer gift certificates to charity events: Most people who attend charities have access to disposable income. They come to bid and support their charity, these are the clients you want. Offer to work some of these events, getting you out there and making connections. Make your gift basket stand out so those attending the event come to see what it is. Example: I made a gift basket with pre & post waxing products and a gift certificate for a bikini or Brazilian wax. I went to the dollar store and bought a sand pail, shovel and some sea shells, it was really cute and received a lot of attention.

Client referral programs: There are a lot of them to choose from. I have always offered. “Send me four clients and get the same service for free.“ Send me 4 facials, get a free facial, 4 Brazilians, get a free Brazilian, 4 brows, get a free brow wax, etc. Get those clients working for you. I will gladly give away a free $75.00 facial, which cost me a few dollars and my time for 4 new clients spending $300.00 each. A very popular one is to give your client 20% off their service for each client they send you and 20% for the people they refer to you. If you have enough clients working for you, you will build your books quickly. But don’t be too cheap on the deals you offer. You don’t want to work for free but also make the deal worth their time and effort. Most of your clients will refer you regardless, if they like you. I’ve had some estheticians reply with “Oh I just give them $5.00 off, that’s plenty.” I personally feel if they referred you they should be rewarded and excited to continue to refer you!

Ways To Market Yourself Digitally

Website: You will need a website. You can build a website for little to nothing. Put your website on your business card. Invite your clients to check it regularly for pricing and specials. Tell them that is where you will post specials and helpful tips. Write about anything that pertains to your business, new products, review products, new treatments, specials, tell stories, post cute cartoons. Be active and post several times a week. Hold a contest or a drawing monthly for a service or a free product. Post a special, 20% off or $20 dollars off on any new service they haven’t tried yet.

Social Media: It’s free and it works! Start a Facebook business page and create accounts for Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Make sure your account is public so people can find you. Promote all the same discounts and contests that are live on your website. Post before and after photos, make short videos, everyone loves videos. Be active and post regularly. Ask clients to check into your business when they arrive. I have a friend that gives them a cookie when they check in. Ask them to tag you when they post their amazing new brows or glowing skin after a facial. When they do tag you be sure to acknowledge them with a post, tag or comment back such as, “it was so nice to see you today!” Engage with them. Don’t forget to join esthetics groups and post a friendly “Please like my business page and I will like yours too!” Get likes, ask clients to like your page and to refer their friends to your page.

Social media ads can be done for as little as $1.00 a day. You can target who you want it to reach and the area you want. Social media is great, there are so many options, use them all.

Google and Yelp Reviews: Open accounts and encourage your clients to leave reviews. Offer an incentive for leaving a review.

Email/Texting: Collect your clients email address and cell phone numbers. Do a monthly email blast with a beauty tip or a beauty don’t. Make it fun. You can offer monthly specials as well with coupons. 

Invest In Yourself And Your Education

Take classes. Go to trade shows. See what’s new. Learn new things, don’t be afraid to try something new. Find products you love and champion them. Be passionate about the products and services you choose to offer. If you are excited, your clients will be excited. Stay away from fads. Only offer services that show results. Your clients will learn to trust you and if you offer it they will want to try it. I hear all the time that my clients love that I’m up to date on the new things and that I only bring in things that work. When you bring in a new service rave about it. Make a flyer describing how amazing it is and what the expected results are. Be careful, don’t promise anything you can not deliver.

Setting Goals

This is a great way to boost your sales. It makes you more aware of sales and the need for them. Start out with an easy goal. Then every time you reach it, bump it up. I used to give myself a little treat when I reached a new goal. This also keeps you aware when you need to step it up. Sales down, get back on track.

Don't Be Afraid Of Gaps In Your Schedule

When you first start, you will probably have some long gaps in your schedule when you don’t have a client. Don’t leave, stay put. Be there for that walk in. One of my best clients after all these years was getting her hair done not far from me and her hairdresser recommended her to me. It was my first year in business. She just came in while I was sitting at the front desk reading a trade magazine. She explained she was going on vacation and needed a brow and bikini wax. I told her, "I'm available and I can wax you right now. She became a big money client and referred me to more people than anyone else. 

The Personal Touch

Your treatment room should be a reflection of you. If you are elegant or more of a free spirit your treatment room should reflect that. When they enter your room it should remind them of you. However, make sure your services are the main focus. Your product should stand out and be front and center. Above all it should be comforting and relaxing.

 If you have a cancellation, use that time for marketing, social media posts or to write your next email blast.

One example of adding a personal touch is to start a birthday club. On your intake form ask for your client's date of birth. Send them a birthday card each year. Make them feel special that you remembered their birthday. It is always a nice added gesture if you put in a discount card for a dollar amount or percentage off their next service when they come in during their birthday month. One of the most special things you can do for older clients, widowed or newly divorced, is to gift them a small gift or flowers for their birthday or a special occasion when their appointment falls within the same week of their special day. You can go to the dollar store and buy $1 vases and add a flower or 2. You will make them feel so special and acknowledged. I had an older client who lost her husband of 60+ years. On her wedding anniversary each year I gave her flowers and signed the card in his name.

Educate Your Clients

Every waxing client I have knows as much about waxing as I do. An educated client is a loyal client. They will do what you ask them to do. They will follow your home care suggestions. They will trust you. They will think you are brilliant. 


You must be proactive and keeping up to date on new trends and services is essential. Never lie to a client. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it. Tell them you will do some research and get right back to them, then do it. When a client asks for a referral, be ready. If you don’t have one, find one for them. Nothing makes a client feel more appreciated than taking that extra step to help them. Think about what you would like as a client. What would make your esthetician stand out to you? Is it that cookie after your treatment she offers you? Is it the feeling of relaxation you get when you enter their space? Is it the fresh, crisp smell in the air, the vibrant art on the wall, or is it her? Does she make you feel welcome? Does she make you feel special? Is she always happy to see you? Does she ask about you, remember what you talked about last time? Does she ask if your son won his baseball game? Does she seem invested in you? Did she make a follow up call to see how your peel was coming along? Or does she complain about her life? Does she always talk about herself and not ask about you? Can you ever get a word in? Who do you want to be?

Be patient while you build your business and your reputation. 

Remember, nothing happens overnight. 

All hard work and effort made with love, truth and generosity will come back to you tenfold.