How to start on this subject. Its complex and multifaceted to begin, so its tricky, but I am going to try. I’ll start by saying, I adore my job and love everything about it but I am also a realist. Smoke and mirrors is not something I buy into. Especially for people who are parting with their hard earned cash to come and see me or train with me. I am beyond grateful for that and promise transparency when you do.
So here we go. There is a LOT online at the moment about how lucrative a career in permanent makeup is. Its true! It is lucrative …. for some, what they don’t tell you is everything else you need to consider when they draw you in with the little table a bit like the one below. This is a marketing ploy and nothing more than disingenuous nonsense.
It looks great doesn’t it? Of course it does. A quick draw on someone’s face for £100 an hour is easy money right? Wrong! This job is complex and not a quick buck as often advertised. This career is a long hard eye opening journey and not for the faint hearted. To be good you HAVE to commit completely …. For YEARS! You have to invest in good training and in yourself and be aware that the training is the tip of the iceberg. A part time tattoo artist working on someone’s face is not going to cut it!
I have created the below table with a far more realistic projection of the potential outcome of a PMU artist. You absolutely can make six figures, you will absolutely not do it quickly and nor should you. Think of your first few years as your own self appointed apprenticeship. You make your own goals and achievements and you are accountable to you. No one else is going to do it for you! Invest in you and you will see the benefits … eventually.
Those tiny figures to start? That’s your tea making, free working apprentice days. These are the days you work your ass off every day for hours and hours and hours. This is your intro to the world of PMU where people pay you buttons in return for letting you progress your work, on their face! You don’t get paid big money for this and nor should you. Your retention is unlikely to be great, your symmetry might be off, it will take you hours to finish, they might come back too dark or with nothing at all. That’s what they pay buttons for and this is part of the journey. Until you get good heals and good colours and start to feel happy and see progress with your work, you don’t move up the ranks. You stay here until you do.
Something further, these figures above? They don’t consider your rent, insurance, furniture, equipment, inks, needles, machines, consumables, marketing, further education, tax, national insurance and the rest YOU need to pay for when you are self employed. They also don’t give you a single weeks holiday they are based on 52 week years. If you want a holiday you go without pay or work even more hours some weeks.
The good news is that if you DO work hard and long you will start to reduce those working times and people start to come back happy and YOU feel happy too. When this begins to happen, your time reduces, your prices increase and your hourly rate starts to go up to. We are on the way!
There’s still a long way to go! That’s okay, embrace it! Put the ego to the side and know that to be the best you can be, this is normal! It does take years to get to the lucrative end of the scale. You are very unlikely get there fast and produce beautiful results and happy clients. Be patient!
Now here is the part no one wants to hear. To get to the higher end of the scale, you have to be good and have lots of new and existing clients. Really good! Not everyone has that ability, this isn’t me being mean or cruel, it’s just a truth to consider. The artist side of me wants to continue here, but that’s a blog for another day. Not everyone is a natural artist and that is a chance you take, the same as any new venture.
What does all this mean for the PMU industry? Quick buck mentality, quick buck trainers, quick buck students. These are the people who cheapen and dilute our industry and have a negative impact on something that is designed to make people feel good. They don’t care about their students, or their work and more scarily, their clients! They are not dedicated or willing to put the effort in and any less than 100% on a trusting clients face is unacceptable. Fly by night, no insurance, no license and no integrity. These are the people who end up all over social media with their messes and give the industry a bad name despite the vast majority of us putting our hearts and souls into our work.
How do we fix it? I’ll keep this section a little shorter. Stop the cheap courses, regulate the industry, have prerequisites in place, look for qualified trainers, stop online beginners, stop lying to your students, clients and yourself.
My advice for anyone thinking of entering this profession. Do what you are passionate about, don’t play on faces for money, do not choose the two day cheap course. This is not a quick buck industry and it is not a part time, on the side, hustle. This is a skilled profession and downplaying to anything less is insulting and delusional. Commit and be real and you will do well for yourself. You and your clients deserve that and nothing less.