As a dedicated hairstylist who has poured time and effort into honing your skills, discovering that the average hairstylist income may not provide the financial stability you desire can be discouraging. Nevertheless, there are strategies and opportunities to help you overcome this challenge and achieve the financial success you deserve. From upselling services to leveraging social media, we’ve got you covered with actionable tips to boost any hairstylist salary and bring success to your business.


How Much Does a Hairstylist Make


Hair styling or hairdressing is a passion for many individuals who love beautifying others while experimenting with new hairstyles. One question that remains unanswered for many aspiring hairstylists is, “how much does a hairstylist make?” First, you should know that various factors, like location, experience, clientele, and salon influence the average hairstylist income. According to Indeed, the average hairstylist income is about US$21 per hour in the United States.

However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate, and some hairstylists can earn significantly more with additional income, tips, commissions, or owning their salon. If you are passionate about styling hair and building client relationships, then a career as a hairstylist may just be the perfect choice.With your expertise and creativity, you can make people look and feel incredible, but the hairstylist salary leaves many wanting more. While you may love your job, you also have expenses to cover and dreams to pursue. Fortunately, the average hairstylist income can be increased by expanding your skillset, building a loyal clientele, and offering value-added services. By implementing these tips, you can pursue your passion, supplement your income, and build a thriving career.

Exploring 7 Side Hustles for Hairstylists

Freelance Hairstyling

Freelance hairstyling involves providing services independently, outside a salon or established workplace. This can include offering hairstyling services for events, weddings, or private clients. There are several opportunities for hairstylists to build their client base, such as networking. For instance, attending events like local bridal shows and connecting with potential clients on social media.

Pros: 

  • You can set your schedule and choose the clients and projects you want.
  • Freelance hairstylists often have the opportunity to charge higher rates for their services compared to working in a salon.
  • Every client and project is different, allowing you to showcase your creativity and versatility.

Cons:

  • Freelance work may not provide a steady stream of income, depending on the availability of clients and projects.
  • You must invest time and effort in building a strong client base and promoting your services to ensure consistent workflow.
  • As a freelancer, you are responsible for your healthcare, retirement plans, and other benefits typically provided by employers.

Workshops

Teaching hairstyling workshops involves sharing your expertise and knowledge with aspiring hairstylists through training sessions and workshops. You can check with local beauty schools or salons and offer expert guidance. They may be looking for guest instructors, or you could pitch your workshop ideas. Social media is also a powerful tool for networking and promoting yourself as a workshop instructor.

Pros:

  • Teaching workshops allows you to share your passion and skills with others, positively impacting aspiring hairstylists.
  • Workshop fees and potential partnerships with educational institutions can provide a supplementary source of income.
  • Teaching workshops can expand your professional network by connecting you with other professionals in the industry.

Cons:

  • Developing workshop materials and curriculum requires time and effort to ensure a valuable learning experience for participants.
  • The hairstyling education market can be competitive, requiring you to differentiate your workshops and attract participants.
  • Teaching workshops can be time-consuming, requiring balancing your teaching responsibilities with your hairstyling work.

YouTube Channel

Creating a YouTube channel allows you to share hairstyling tutorials, tips, and insights with a wide audience. Not only can it be a fun and creative outlet, but you can also monetize it as an additional source of income to your hairstylist salary. By sharing your expertise and demonstrating your skills online, you can build a loyal following and establish yourself as a trusted voice in the industry. With hard work and dedication, starting a YouTube channel as a hairstylist could be the perfect way to expand your reach and grow your career.

Pros:

  • YouTube provides a platform to reach a global audience, expanding your visibility and potential client base.
  • You can generate income from your YouTube channel through ads, sponsorships, and brand partnerships, even when you’re not actively creating content.
  • A successful YouTube channel can establish you as an expert in the field, attracting clients and opportunities for collaborations.

Cons:

  • Building a successful YouTube channel requires consistent content creation, video editing, and viewer engagement, which can be time-consuming.
  • Earning substantial income from YouTube can take time, as it requires building a large subscriber base and meeting the platform’s monetization requirements.
  • The hairstyling niche on YouTube is highly competitive, requiring you to create unique and engaging content to stand out.

Hairstyling Product Sales

Selling hairstyling products, such as haircare products, styling tools, or even your own branded products, can be an additional income stream. With the growing demand for hair care products, it is an ideal time to dive into the market. You can create your own products, purchase high-quality, branded items in bulk for resale, or opt for a commission-based approach by selling for others. Several salons, beauty supply shops, and online retailers always need skilled hairstylists who can help market and sell their products.

Pros:

  • Selling hairstyling products can provide a consistent source of income alongside your hairstyling services.
  • Selling products allows you to deepen your understanding of different brands and products in the industry.
  • Developing your line of hairstyling products can help establish your brand and create a loyal customer base.

Cons:

  • Managing inventory, shipping, and storage of the products can be challenging, especially if you choose to stock a wide range of items.
  • Selling hairstyling products requires effective marketing strategies and sales techniques to attract customers and drive sales.
  • The market for hairstyling products is highly saturated, requiring you to differentiate your offerings and provide a unique selling proposition.

Create and Sell Hair Accessories

Designing and selling hair accessories, such as hair clips, headbands, or hair jewelry, can be a creative way to generate income.

Pros:

  • Designing and creating unique hair accessories allows you to express your artistic vision and showcase your personal style.
  • Selling your own line of hair accessories under your brand’s name can play a crucial role in building your brand identity and cultivating a devoted customer following.
  • With the ability to sell online through platforms like Etsy or your own website, there is potential to reach a global customer base and scale your business.

Cons:

  • Managing inventory, sourcing materials, and ensuring consistent production can be time-consuming and require initial financial investment.
  • Promoting your hair accessories through effective marketing strategies is essential to drive sales and attract customers.
  • The market for hair accessories can be competitive, so it’s important to differentiate your products and find your unique selling point.

Hair Care Blog

Starting a hair care blog allows you to share your knowledge, tips, and insights about hair care routines, styling techniques, and product recommendations. It also opens doors for opportunities and collaborations with hair brands and other industry professionals. Additionally, leveraging your well-optimized blog allows you to display your portfolio, attracting a larger clientele and increasing your hairstylist salary.

Pros:

  • A hair care blog allows you to share your knowledge and expertise with a wide audience, establishing yourself as a trusted authority in the industry.
  • You can generate income from your blog through sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or partnerships with brands.
  • Engaging with readers and creating a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about hair care can be highly rewarding.

Cons:

  • Consistently creating valuable and engaging content for your blog can be time-consuming and require research and planning.
  • Growing a blog audience takes time and effort, as you need to focus on marketing and SEO optimization.
  • Generating substantial income from a blog can take time, as it requires building a large readership and establishing relationships with brands and advertisers.

Wig Making

Wig making involves creating custom wigs or hairpieces for clients who may have hair loss or desire a different hairstyle. The wigs industry reportedly reached a valuation of US35.20 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand to a whopping US80.85 billion by 2028. To tap into this growing market, consider contacting local hairstylists to explore potential collaboration as a wig maker. Alternatively, you can carve out your niche by crafting high-quality, unique wig styles and promoting them to your existing clients and through social media advertising.

Pros:

  • Wig making requires a unique skill set, which can set you apart in the hairstyling industry and provide a niche service.
  • Offering custom-made wigs allows you to cater to individual client needs and preferences, providing a personalized experience.
  • Custom wigs can be priced at a premium, allowing for higher earnings compared to traditional hairstyling services.

Cons:

  • Wig making requires specialized knowledge, training, and practice to ensure high-quality and natural-looking results.
  • Investing in wig-making equipment and quality materials can be costly and require ongoing maintenance.
  • The demand for custom wigs may be specific to certain demographics or occasions, limiting the client base and requiring effective marketing to reach the target audience.

Skill Enhancement for Increased Earnings


Investing in your skills as a hairstylist is not just about providing great haircuts; it’s a strategic move to boost your income and career prospects. Clients value expertise, and consistently improving your abilities creates a reputation for excellence. This increases client satisfaction, word-of-mouth referrals, and a higher hairstylist salary. Moreover, evolving your skills allows you to take on more challenging and diverse hairstyling projects, opening doors to premium services and clients willing to pay more for your top-tier abilities.

However, skill enhancement goes beyond delivering great results; it’s about positioning yourself as an industry expert. Obtaining advanced training and relevant certifications can propel your career to new heights. Specializing in specific areas, such as bridal styling or color correction, makes you a sought-after professional. Likewise, knowing the trends and techniques within your niche will greatly improve your services.

Here are five key points highlighting the value of staying updated with the latest trends and techniques as a hairstylist:

  • Client Attraction: Being well-versed in current trends and techniques makes you a magnet for clients seeking the latest and trendiest hairstyles.
  • Versatility: Staying updated enhances your versatility, enabling you to cater to a diverse range of clients with varying hair types and style preferences.
  • Trendsetter Status: It establishes you as a trendsetter and an authority in the hairstyling field, drawing clients who seek your expertise and guidance.
  • Premium Pricing: Clients often value and are willing to pay more for the services of a hairstylist who can deliver the hottest and most fashionable looks.
  • Competitive Edge: In a competitive industry, staying updated gives you a competitive edge, setting you apart from hairstylists who may not be as current with the latest trends and techniques.

Building a Strong Client Base

Exceptional customer service is pivotal in building a strong client base for hairstylists. It extends beyond the skills of crafting great haircuts to create lasting connections with clients. By providing personalized care, warm greetings, and actively listening to clients’ needs, you create an atmosphere where clients feel valued and appreciated. This encourages their return and transforms them into enthusiastic advocates who refer friends, family, and colleagues to your services.

Similarly, effective client communication is at the heart of exceptional customer service. Engaging in open and honest dialogue allows you to understand your clients’ desires, address their concerns, and tailor your services to their preferences. Building strong rapport through genuine conversations fosters trust, making clients comfortable in sharing their hairstyling goals with you.

Beyond the salon, staying connected through personalized follow-up messages and regular newsletters or social media updates reinforces the client-stylist bond, keeping clients informed about promotions, trends, and your availability. This ongoing engagement encourages repeat visits and fuels word-of-mouth marketing, as satisfied clients become your most reliable advocates, driving your business growth through referrals.

Upselling and Cross-Selling Services

Upselling involves suggesting higher-tier services to clients, such as recommending a luxurious hair treatment alongside a standard haircut. Cross-selling, on the other hand, means offering related or complementary services or products. For instance, you might suggest specialized styling products after a styling session. Some examples of additional services you can offer include deep conditioning treatments, color enhancements, hair extensions, special occasion styling, and even scalp massages.

Strategies for effectively suggesting and promoting these services to clients:

  • Personalize recommendations to each client.
  • Educate clients on the benefits.
  • Use visuals to showcase results.
  • Offer bundled packages.
  • Implement loyalty programs.
  • Host promotional events.
  • Follow up with post-service communication.

Effective Time Management

Time is a hairstylist’s most valuable resource. By efficiently managing your time, you can accommodate more clients, increasing revenue. Efficient scheduling ensures a steady flow of clients throughout the day and minimizes downtime, allowing for higher productivity. While efficiency is crucial, maintaining service quality is equally important.

Rushing through appointments can lead to unsatisfactory results and dissatisfied clients. Strive for a balance between delivering exceptional service and optimizing your schedule. This may involve fine-tuning your techniques, investing in time-saving tools, and continuously improving your skills to work more efficiently without compromising quality.

Follow these tips to optimize your schedule for the best profitability:

  • Appointment Booking: Implement an effective appointment booking system to distribute clients and minimize gaps in your schedule evenly.
  • Service Bundling: Offer bundled services to maximize the value of each appointment and reduce idle time between treatments.
  • Time Slots: Allocate specific time slots for different services based on duration and complexity, ensuring a smooth workflow.
  • Client Communication: Clearly communicate appointment times and expectations to clients to minimize delays and optimize your schedule.

Leveraging Technology and Social Media

Your online presence acts as a digital storefront, drawing potential clients from the vast expanse of the internet. It’s your opportunity to showcase your skills, style, and personality, leaving a lasting impression before clients choose your salon business. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest allow you to showcase your hairstyling expertise through captivating visuals.

Share photos of your work, before-and-after transformations, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly. Use relevant hashtags to increase discoverability.

In addition, the convenience of linking online booking platforms, like Calendly, to your social media accounts cannot be overemphasized. They enable clients to schedule appointments while considering both your conveniences. These tools streamline your scheduling process, minimize no-shows, and encourage repeat bookings. Also, ensure your contact information, including salon location and booking details, is easily accessible.

Yet another advantage of using social media is the effortless creation of an online portfolio while enjoying the process. Invest in high-quality photos of your work. Well-lit, clear images showcase your skills and attract potential clients. Showcase a variety of styles, including different hair types, lengths, and colors, to demonstrate your versatility. Feature client testimonials and reviews to build trust and credibility.

If you’ve made up your mind to widen your social media reach, these tips will help you meet and retain clients on social media:

  • Consistency: Maintain a regular posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and informed.
  • Interactivity: Encourage interaction through polls, Q&A sessions, and live demonstrations. Respond promptly to comments and direct messages.
  • Educational Content: Share hairstyling tips, trends, and advice to position yourself as an industry expert.
  • Community Building: Create a sense of community by fostering connections among your clients and followers.

Conclusion


Despite fluctuating salaries and varying geographic locations, it is still possible for hairstylists to earn a substantial living. As highlighted in this article, you can increase your hairstylist salary by implementing one or more side hustles and continuously improving your hairstyling skills to build a strong customer base. You should embrace these strategies and remain committed to your professional growth to thrive in the industry and reach your financial goals 

Don’t let the average hairstylist income discourage you, take matters into your own hands and seize the opportunity to be above par today! 

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Ajoke Aminu

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