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Advice for Newbie Estheticians


Jillian Wright has gained acclaim for her custom skincare services.

The day you receive your aesthetic license is the day your professional journey begins. It is a huge accomplishment and one in which you should be proud, as it opens your aesthetic career to many opportunities and directions. It’s like being a kid in a candy store. If you decide you want to open your own skincare location, where do you go from here? Starting a business can be daunting and scary, yet it can also be rewarding and exciting. In fact, this is where the fun begins. Keeping these tips in mind will help you along your journey, save you money, and provide focus so you can enjoy and advance your career.

Selecting Post-Educational Classes
Even though you have received your license, it’s important to continue your education. There are many classes from which to choose. Start with in-depth instruction on acne, rosacea, premature aging, and pigmentation. Deepen your knowledge so you can grasp these skin conditions that plague people every day. These subjects are not brand specific, nor should they be in the beginning. Find a school that offers post education and is brand agnostic. From there, you can research and find a line that speaks to you and provides the solutions your clientele will be seeking.

Choosing a Brand Partner
As you evaluate the skincare brands to use in your business, there are some important questions to ask yourself and your potential partners. How comprehensive is the line? How many SKUs? Do you have to invest in the entire line, or can you purchase what you want and what is relevant to your business? Will the brand promote you as a service provider on their website so people can find you? Do they offer their own education, and is it included if you spend a certain amount? Some brands require a high opening order, which, as a new esthetician, can be cost prohibitive. Do your due diligence, and find a company that is willing to work with you and your current needs. Education is key, and that should be a part of the package.

Finding a Location That Works for You.
When it comes to selecting a location, you have some choices to make. Do you work for someone? Do you rent a room within a larger salon or spa, or do you sign the lease to your own space? It depends. First you need to establish your three- to five-year plan. The first couple of years you are honing in on your craft and building your clientele. This may not be the best time to lease your own space. But I urge you to think hard about working for someone else if your long-term goal is running your own busines. If you work for someone else, they will most likely have you sign a non-compete, which means if you leave, you can’t take any clients with you. Ethically, you shouldn’t anyway, because it could kill the business of someone you are working for. It’s bad karma. Renting a room within a salon or a larger spa might be a good solution for a couple of reasons. You are independent and not beholden to a schedule someone gives you. You have in-house front desk support because of this larger location, so you don’t have to hire your own manager. You can run your business through a tablet or phone, cutting your costs to a minimum. You can charge accordingly so you make a nice living and are able to pay your bills. Finding your own space is the holy grail of accomplishments, but when you are building your business, finding a room within a larger facility like a salon might be a better option. 

Establishing Your Expertise—Time Equals $$
How do you spend your time? You can do facials, body treatments, peels, laser treatments, waxing, lashes, micropigmentation, and the list goes on. Think about your time and what it is worth, and choose wisely. Some services have financial overhead, ranging from leasing equipment to washing linens to the purchasing of products. Figure out what you enjoy doing, and try to maximize your time for the biggest financial gain. It’s easy to lose sight and offer treatments that won’t pay the bills.

Creating a Strong and Interesting Social Presence
Social media is your way to grow an audience and potential clients and establish yourself as an expert. Along with reviews (I prefer Google), having a compelling social media presence is a good way to grow quickly. There is so much to share from ingredients, skillset, products, skin conditions and issues, nutrition, inspirational quotes, and more. Have fun and be creative. You never know who might be watching. I suggest establishing yourself on LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Tiktok, YouTube, and Google.

Networking and Offering Incentives
Your friends and family make the best clients, because they tell their friends. Word of mouth will grow your business quickly and effectively. Repeat clients equal loyalty. Avoid discounting, and offer incentives instead. Even if you are giving a discount, never use the world. There’s a “gift with purchase,” “incentive,” “special,” “bonus,” “addition,” and “complimentary,” to name a few ways to promote your services without using the word “discount.”

Keeping Your Expenses Low
Setting up your room can be costly. People will gladly take your money, so beware. Do your research. Follow other esties, like Kasey Boone (@glowskincarela). She is always sharing what she loves for her treatment room. I recommend these items to get you started.

Before you start:

  • Insurance
  • Online booking platform 

For your room:

  • Preferred backbar line(s)
  • Treatment bed
  • Streamer (supply of distilled water)
  • Hot towel cabbie 
  • High frequency
  • Mini fridge
  • Sterilizer
  • Purified water source
  • Sheets and towels (they can come from Walmart or IKEA for savings)
  • Bolster
  • Decor 
  • Cart for your backbar
  • Microdermabrasion (optional)
  • Chair and small table for your clients’ belongings

As your business grows, you can then begin to invest in other equipment and focus on what you love. Aesthetics is a rewarding industry. It is never stagnant. There’s community and support, and it is a business you can grow over time. If you set yourself up for success in the first five years, you can reap the benefits for the rest of your life.

About The Author
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Jillian, a skin health and independent beauty expert, owned and operated Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa prior to launching Indie Beauty Media Group in 2015. During her tenure as a spa owner, she also launched her eponymous skincare line. Jillian is also the recipient of the 2019 “Emerging Leader of the Year” award from INNOCOS. In 2020, she relaunched her career as an esthetician and is currently booking her skincare services in Manhattan. She specializes in plasma skin-tightening treatments along with her famous custom facial experiences. Learn more at