This is an in-depth blog post on how estheticians, hairstylists, nail techs, lash techs, massage therapists and other beauty service industry professionals can manage their time and make more money working from home.
Out of all of the home working issues, time management is one of the biggest hurdles in a service-based industry. How can you get everything you need to get done completed when there are increased distractions from home to contend with?
I have spent over 10 years working from home in my esthetics studio.
Below, you’ll discover some excellent time management hacks I want to share so you can be more productive working in your new home-based shop.
Let me show you how…
•Avoid working outside your scheduled studio hours
Be firm on your working hours from the beginning of your work-from-home salon or spa business. If you schedule your clients from 9 to 5, don’t allow clients to book outside these hours. It’s difficult to say NO and bend to clients’ requests when you can pop into the other room, do a brow wax, then pop back into the other part of your house and help get your kids ready for bed.
If your clients are used to unlimited flexibility, set up online booking and send out an email or text letting them know of the new business hour changes.
At the beginning of your career, you might want to have a wide-open availability. Once you consistently fill your books, don’t be scared to narrow your business hours.
I work 9:30-3:00, Monday to Friday and haven’t accepted new clients for 4 years. Clients will find time during the day to attend appointments, especially in this day and age where there is a wide variety of flex working conditions in the working world.
Always have a list of colleagues posted on the business website that you trust with your clients to readily refer them to. I have a note right above my online booking button that says, ” My business hours are set as is. If you require services outside this, please feel free to contact (Insert names).
*Exception #1– I occasionally have clients (maybe 3 per year) request an appointment time outside my business hours. If it was a new client, I would tell them that I do not have availability outside my hours and refer them to another esthetician. If it is a long-standing client (Let’s be honest, A good tipping, easy client that I never dread coming and have a great connection with), I typically accommodate them if it is a one-time thing.
*Exception #2- I have clients who absolutely can not come during business hours. These are usually clients I’ve had for years who have switched jobs. I charge double to these clients, book them myself and dictate the schedule. (They work around my children’s activity schedules etc., and can change the appointments as needed.) This sounds outrageous, right? Who would pay double?
I am primarily a Brazilian wax specialist. People aren’t willing to show their Vulvas to just anyone. And when you are a lawyer who sits in court all day, you can afford it. I don’t advertise these exceptions. Usually, clients ask me if I will do this.
•Avoid multitasking between your house and business
It’s common to try and multitask when you’re working at home. It’s easy to forgo doing your accounting work when there are 3 loads of kids’ laundry to fold in the other room. Try to set boundaries. Work time is work time, home time is home time.
Once you have gotten into the routine of your workflow, you can add small tasks that cross over, like booking kids’ dentist appointments or starting the dishwasher. Make sure you finish your business tasks before you start cleaning your kitchen. Otherwise, you might not get back to it.
•Set yourself realistic deadlines
A good time management tip is to set realistic deadlines when working from home.
I quickly learned that I needed to set “client hours” and “admin business work hours”. Set a specific amount of time at the beginning of your day to take care of non-client tasks like stock ordering, bookkeeping etc.
You’ll want to compile a list of the most important tasks you need to complete that day, week or month. Then, work on them in order.
You’ll find this really helps to keep you focused on the job at hand. When you work to deadlines, you can get more work done in a shorter timescale. This is because you’re much less likely to check things such as social media when you know you only have a set amount of time to complete what you’re working on.
•Take advantage of productivity tools
If you take a look online, you’ll find a lot of productivity tools available. Many of these are free to use, and they help boost productivity when working remotely.
Online booking is a huge productivity tool you should take advantage of. You save so much time, not responding to voice mails, text messages, emails etc. They usually offer other services like appointment reminders and basic accounting too. Check out this blog post on the importance of online booking HERE
Social media scheduling is another excellent way to boost your business productivity and keep your business more consistent online. Plenty of apps allows you to bulk batch and schedule your posts to multiple platforms at once or on a schedule.
My most secret online tool is Canva. Using the pro feature allows you to resize your images to hundreds of sizes with the click of a button. It also has a schedular attached to it and millions of pre-done templates. You have to see it to believe it.
One of the biggest challenges you will face in time management is distractions. There are a lot of distractions when you’re working from home. Whether it’s the phone ringing, the temptation to check social media, or the television, it’s easy to procrastinate with so many distractions around you.
This is why it’s crucial to work in a quiet space away from distractions. Even when you don’t have clients, shutting your door is very important to keep you on task.
•Let clients self serve themselves
Have an in-depth FAQ section on your website. The easier it is for a client to find the information themself, the less they have to disturb you.
Have things like referrals to other professionals FAQ about the service. Pre-care post-care, most recommended products etc.
•Outsourcing task to save time and make money
You will come to a time in your career when it doesn’t make sense for you to do certain things, for example. My house cleaner charges $15 less an hour than I do. I’m better off working on a client and letting her do the house cleaning. ( I hate cleaning then I have more time for my kids)
Time management for home-based salons and spas can be complex. However, the tips above can help you minimize the challenges it presents.