June 2012

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


The Choice is Yours

"Begin with the end in mind" is Stephen Covey's second of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the advice I give the new beauty professionals when they ask whether they should work in a salon as an employee or become independent.

It's important to visualize how you see yourself at the end of the day and what you want to feel that you have achieved.

Do you want to be part of something larger than what you can produce yourself while being part of a team? Or have complete control of every aspect of your individual business? Bear in mind there is no right or wrong answer; it starts with what's right for you.

Even if you choose the employee-type career, you will still need to concentrate on your individual achievement. In today's business landscape employers no longer want to have total control of their staff. They want to empower, educate and develop them to be independent so they are self-managed and self-realized. Then they work to maintain and grow their collective culture toward mutually agreed on goals.

We have learned that pitting one stylist against another through competition actually inhibits growth through separation, rather than getting the unifying end result through leadership and collective cooperation.

This cooperation and collaboration then creates a third synergy that allows the business to grow through cooperation rather than individual competition.

The independent model is the polar opposite of the traditional employer/employee model. To be truly successful in this paradigm you are an army of one.

Every facet of your day-to-day professional life and future success is defined solely by your vision and actions. Your individual branding and follow through in service provision is yours and yours alone. The demand to make all the pieces of what creates salon success rests with you.

Time management skills are crucial as well as principled planning. While the space you occupy to perform services is provided, the partnership you have with the location owner is a tenant/landlord relationship. Your marketing and promotion of your products and services is your responsibility.

With the national expansion of the independent service provider model there are now many support services aimed toward independent contract professionals. Liability insurance, POS credit card systems, professional product providers, all give support.

With the advent of social networking the ability to promote your individual brand is made easier than with the expense of traditional print or media advertising, while reaching untold new potential clients.

While this model offers freedom of outside control of your future, the responsibility to act as a professional still is required to grow and thrive. In the end it's all about you.

Salon businesses that have employees are truly businesses in the traditional sense as they rely on the collective abundance created by the individual players on the team working together to achieve agreed upon goals. They are partners with their staff as they share both the profit and loss that is created.

In the modern models the owners work for you not visa versa. They reward performance and work to mentor and turn challenges into new found strengths. They as employers also, through payroll taxes paid on their salaries, provide protection through disability, workers compensations and contribution to Social Security and state taxes. They put their capitol at risk in the faith that they and their share takers will prosper.

Whether the ultimate decision to be an independent provider or follow the employment model, carefully weighing the pros and cons will go far in your career path before proceeding. Knowing the responsibilities expected from each model will help to avoid any negative unknown consequences and will assure your future industry success. After all either way it's all about you.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.