I know how hard finding work as a makeup artist can be at the start. We get so caught up trying to find any opportunity we can get our hands on, we forget to understand the logistics of working as a freelance makeup artist and the business side of it.
Working as a makeup artist is only half the job. The other half of your job requires managing yourself as a business and a brand. This relies on having a little bit of business savvy to help you grow and thrive, and unless you are working in retail, you will rarely be able to secure long-term full-time jobs. The business of freelancing is not talked about anywhere near as much as it should be, especially when it comes to makeup artists in the film industry. It is also seldom taught in schools, which means that students graduate often without the skills of being able to properly invoice for jobs or market themselves successfully.
Working in film and television is so different to a makeup artist who works in the beauty/bridal sector. But no matter what niche you’re in, a good makeup artist is business-savvy and takes the steps to prove that they’re a valuable business. The goal is not to be successful. The goal is to be valuable.
As a makeup artist, you are your own brand. As the founder, president, CEO, head of creative and sole employee, it is up to YOU to market yourself and promote your work. – Huffington Post
It can be easy to forget all about marketing yourself when you finish makeup school because you’re just so excited to get out in the world and find work experience. Even when doing student projects, short films, and pro-bono work, you should present yourself as a competent freelancer. This means dealing with the boring stuff we all hate doing ie. invoicing properly, networking, communication skills and displaying a professional presence online. Have you thought about these things lately:
Keeping Track of your Income and Expenses
It’s easy to move from small job to small job and forget to take note of the income you’re bringing in, especially if you are coming from a 9-5 job with payslips. Think of income as revenue (This is essential as a freelancer and business!). Take note of all the money that is coming in from your jobs and keep your PAYG statements somewhere safe for when tax time rolls around. Most past employers will send you one in June. TIP: If you haven’t already, you could also consider setting some revenue goals for yourself each year.
Taking note of Work-related Purchases
Replacing items in your kit or simply looking to try a new product? Any purchases that help you do your job should be tracked in an expense. Whether you do it digitally or prefer good old pen and paper is entirely up to you, but be vigilant about keeping that list up-to-date. It is way too easy to become lazy and let it pile up. Don’t forget the less obvious expenses such as courses, education and streaming services or movie tickets (if you work in film).
The Process of a Freelance Job
When you approach people for work, is your resume up-to-date and easy to interpret? Furthermore, when you accept a job, are you going through the motions of a structured and professional process? Pro-bono jobs and work experience gigs often mean there is no need for agreements, invoicing or paperwork. When you move onto paid jobs, don’t forget that you may need to negotiate terms, get verbal agreements in writing and send proper invoices with an ABN.
For larger scale jobs, you will be provided with a starter pack of paperwork asking for bank, super, medical information and more. Always have this information easily accessible on you so that you can fill out your paperwork correctly and be paid on time. MAKE SURE your Super is consolidated. Look into how many accounts you may have with different companies (even from old jobs you had back at school) and take the time to combine your Super into ONE account. Don’t let it bite you in the a** later. The fees are a killer, and newer artists often forget this!
Setting Business Goals
We all love to make personal goals, so why aren’t we making business goals as well. Setting goals for your freelancing and business will keep pushing you to get yourself out there and make money. Look at your income from the previous year, and think about the revenue you’d like to bring in the next year. Think about how you can market yourself better to score more jobs, and then once you have some goals set in place, REVIEW THEM as often as you need to. Tweak, modify, Change. Goals don’t have to be set in stone.
This is just a few things to think about, but they’re important and shouldn’t be neglected, especially when you’re a less-experienced artist. Keep yourself organised to avoid falling behind when your career starts to find that momentum.