Outside-The-Box Education Tips & Social Media Advice

How do you define success? Is it “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame” like how the good folks over at Merriam-Webster define it? Or do you go the route of famed author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou with, “Success is liking you, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Maybe you’re more of a Richard Branson type who says, “The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” No matter how you define the word “success” we can all agree on one thing—it doesn’t come easy in the real world and you have to bust your ass at times to achieve it.

We reached out to Megan Hollinger, someone who is no stranger to Industrie who has achieved much success for only been in the industry since 2012, and asked her to share some of the ways she’s been evolving her education and skillset to the next level. The reason we chose her is because in the short amount of time since she graduated, she has opened up her own salon, is killing it on social media and she has an extremely no-nonsense approach to furthering her education, her skills, and…her success. Here she will share some of her outside-the-box way of thinking and lend some advice (and personal secrets) with you all.

Social Media Advice

“I am simply working every day whether that is actually in the salon or out of the salon. I relate everything I do in my daily life back to my career and try to incorporate ways to grow or connect with people. I am always on social media, which is like a full-time job in itself. My posts are genuine and live, not simply scheduled and mass-produced across all of my networks. The idea of auto-scheduling my posts is terrifying because it’s kind of like when you pack for a vacation. You never know what you’re going to be in the mood to wear and when it pertains to social media, you never know what’s going to be trending or whether you’re going to want to share something you literally just did! I would say a combination of daily dedication in person as well as through social media is what has contributed to this growth. It doesn’t hurt that I also try to soak up as much education as possible from any and every source!”

Career Advice For Current Students & Recent Beauty School Grads…

“Start doing some extracurricular work, (a.k.a studying online and watching webinars or YouTube videos for hours) and sign up on brands websites you admire, and chances are they offer a portal for education and events.

Find some mentors, whether they are someone hundreds of miles away, but you can follow them on social media, or someone in your local town. Make sure you watch their every move and see how they grow themselves and their brand. If you have some spare time, offer to assist at a salon nearby. You’d be amazed at the salon experience you can learn just from sweeping the salon floor and eavesdropping on stylists with their clients.

Start digging deep into yourself and ask yourself “What type of hairstylist do I want to be? Where do I want to work? Who is my ideal client? What is my favorite service to do?” Write your answer down in a journal or on your phone in your notes so you can revisit it often when you need a reminder or when you feel the need to edit your answers!

About a month before you are done with school, start going into salons that interest you and see if you can chat with a manager or owner. Tell them your story and how it is just the beginning and see what type of salon environment they have to offer. Take notes and be sure to thank them for their time. Follow up with them at a later date thanking them again and if you have any other questions for them. Most would greatly appreciate that, I’d hope!

Once you’ve finished school, gather all of your research, go take your licensing exam, and pass. Then look at all your options and put yourself out there. Don’t be scared or intimidated. Every salon owner started exactly where you are. Start looking up hair shows or classes in your area or nearby. You learn so much from hair shows and submerge yourself with all sorts of talent from every level in the industry.

Start your online portfolio for free on Instagram. Make a professional page for yourself separate from your personal page and start taking pictures of everything you do. Ultimately, put yourself out there physically and socially online and you’ll be one step further!”

Consider This All You Seasoned Stylists…

“For the more “seasoned stylist,” go take a new class or attend a hair show for some fresh inspiration. Also, maybe if you work with a newer stylist who is growing and has all sorts of talent and energy, ask her for coffee or a cocktail to see what she’s doing and how it’s working for her. Hopefully, she’s flattered and takes you up on the offer. Challenge yourself and go outside of your comfort zone. Try a new coloring technique even though the one you have used for the past few years is your ultimate go-to. Just try it and see what happens. You don’t know how great something can be if you never try it. When it comes to technology and social media, look to that newer stylist in your salon who’s all over it or if you work independently but have teenagers at home or college kids, ask them! They know all the latest and greatest and what’s cool/not cool, believe me! If neither of those applies to you then Google “social media coach” or something along those lines and see if there is somewhere nearby that can help teach you. Also, another idea may be to check out the local college nearby and see if they offer any tutoring or free classes if your budget doesn’t cover this field.”

Some Out-of-the-Box Thinking & Skills…

“I continue to evolve in my career by attending classes and shows all over the US as well as continuing my daily research online when I’m doing my “bedtime reading.” I have always been a very visual learner and sometimes I’ll be scrolling on Instagram and see an amazing hairstyle or color and I will simply take a screenshot and revisit it later and study it and try to figure out how it is done.

I also look to my mentors in this industry and see what they are up to and teach myself or sign up for classes they may be teaching nearby. I did recently attend a blogger conference. I not only think it’s crucial to attend industry related things, but I like to go “outside the beauty box” and attend other events or educational opportunities that indirectly correlate with my business. For example, this blogger conference was focused on building your brand and how to pitch it to other brands, as well as developing your media kit, and what large companies were looking for with branding and SEO rankings. I learned so much and it’s funny because I was the only hairstylist/salon owner/educator/hair blogger in the entire conference and that shocked me. I knew that being at that conference, not only was I setting myself apart, but I was also mingling for 12 hours with over 100 potential clients! I spoke with one of the keynote speakers after her segment and told her my idea for how I could help her campaign. She liked it, we exchanged cards, and now I have a potentially huge campaign in the works. You never know what can happen if you don’t just put yourself out there and try. I heard about this conference through the local blogging company that I joined when I first moved to Chicago and they shared the event on their Instagram.

Other events and shows I plan on attending this year include a few local classes on branding and marketing, photography intro class (once I get a DSLR), as well as a social media conference. I’m sure there are many others I will come across over the next few months and then they too will be added to the list.”

And For All You Booth Renter & Salon Owners and Managers…

  • Join local networking communities and attend at least one event each month.
  • Analyze your current brand or how you brand yourself.
  • Develop a game plan for goals, objectives, and social media.
  • Put yourself amongst your target audience in a non-forced way.
  • Commit and stay consistent in whatever you do.

“Honestly, that last tip is the hardest one for me to follow sometimes because I want to do it all and sometimes my Pisces self-thinks I really can do it all by myself,” adds Megan. “If you have a team, delegate them on some of these tasks and work together to see tremendous, positive growth!”

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