How to Rule the Beauty Industry as an Independent Hairstylist

Readers like you keep The Beautyholic alive. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through our links — at zero cost to you.

If you are in the hairdressing field, chances are you are the creative, artistic type. Working under a manager or in the confines of a salon may seem like the only option, but nearly half of hairdressers work as independent contractors.

If being your own boss sounds like a dream come true, don’t jump right in without a little research. You need to first consider the pros and cons of becoming an independent stylist.

independent hair stylist

Pros and Cons


  • Flexible schedule to fit your needs
  • Chance to earn more money—after expenses, all profits are your own
  • Independence and freedom to do things your way


  • Responsible for more than just hair, must be in charge of business aspects
  • Have to attract your own clientele
  • No employee benefits and must do your own taxes

Different Types of Independent Hairstylists

There are many different types of independent stylists, so if you want to be your own boss, there is sure to be one that fits your specific needs.

Weddings and Events

There will always be weddings and proms with groups looking for a professional, unforgettable look for their big day. Even just working these events as a side gig on weekends can bring in a good amount of income, especially if you specialize in updos and formal styles. If you do an outstanding job, word of mouth to fellow brides can spread fast, gaining you clients.

Photo Shoots

Networking with photographers can really give your career a boost. Photographers need hair stylists for a variety of photo shoots, ranging from family photos to magazine shoots. This is perfect for stylists looking for variety and exposure.

Rent a Booth

Renting a booth in a salon is perfect for those who work well with a traditional structure and set-up but want to be in control of their schedule and earnings.  Salons rent out spaces with a vanity, hydraulic chair, and utilities. Most salons may also allow you to use their shampoo bowls, driers, and reception area. You will have to supply your own products, but this gives you the freedom to use what you like the best.


You don’t have to tie yourself down to one type of work. As a freelance hair stylist, you can work all sort of events. From family photos to fashion shows, the sky is the limit.


If you are already a hairstylist, but just looking to transition into being your own boss, you do not need any further qualifications to begin work as an independent stylist. However, you should research and educate yourself on the business aspects involved.

If you have interest in hair styling and want to make a career out of it, you must gain your license to practice. In order to legally charge for services, you must acquire a hairdressing license. Cosmetology schools, trade schools, and some community colleges offer courses where you can gain hours necessary for licensure.

Building Clientele

When working independently as a stylist, you are personally responsible for finding and keeping clients. It is vital to build rapport with clients and ensure their happiness, so they will make follow-up appointments.

You must also get your name out there. Some ways to market yourself include:

  • Create a business website and social media
  • Hand out business cards
  • Keep a portfolio to show clients
  • Post your work to social media
  • Invest in promotions and advertising (ex. birthday promotions, referral discounts, or social media hashtags)

Managing Business

One of the most enticing yet intimidating aspects of becoming your own boss is having total control of your business. You are no longer solely responsible for cutting and styling hair. Now you must worry about managing income, clients, scheduling, and marketing. Luckily, there are services such as Gloss Genius, an all-in-one app, and software for a stylist’s business needs. For more information, you can visit their website at

Being able to be your own boss in the beauty industry is a dream for many. With hard work, dedication, and motivation, it is something more obtainable than most people think.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top