Finding balance between a day job and a makeup career may sound impossible. From the structured pattern of one, to the inconsistent hours and work days of the other, juggling both of them requires a bit of planning and definite dedication.
Makeup Artists have nerves of steel, if you don’t, you should...and you will learn! As a Makeup Artist you’ll be the first on set and the last to leave. While the talent is eating an omelet at 7am, you’ll be hard at work making them look like they had enough sleep. You’ll also be cleaning and packing your kit well after they’re on their way home. What’s a long day for them, is a longer day for you, but if you love it, you’ll do it, and that’s exactly as it should be.
Throughout my career in fashion and film, I have met numerous Makeup Artists at different points in their career. Some of them just starting out with an office job, some of them midway on their path to becoming completely freelance. What’s amazing is when you end up working with the same Makeup Artist after a year or so and see how their makeup career has blossomed and become their sole job and source of income, and if they can do it, you definitely can too.
Whether you are just beginning your makeup career and are building your portfolio, or if you are keeping your day job for the extra income - here are some pieces of advice that will keep you focused and your makeup career your number one priority:
Make sure to let your employer know that you are actively pursuing a makeup career. By laying all the cards on the table and being transparent with your pursuits, you will not have to feel like you are going behind your employer's back. Also, a little bit of support and understanding can go a long way in your growth. Look for an employer that’s excited about the work that you do, and understands that your “day” job may not be your “dream” job. As a little side note, if your two jobs are similar, make sure to check your day job’s contract and see if there are any clauses that would restrict your makeup career.
If you didn’t have an excuse to be before, now you do. A calendar for deadlines and a to-do list for the day are definitely your new best friends. When you are managing too many tasks you may start to make mistakes, and your two new friends will help you from doing so. Hash out your priorities and go from there. Some tasks need to be done immediately while others can wait.
Being organized will also help manage your time. If you are like me, you probably feel like an extra couple hours in the day would solve most of your problems. Since that’s not a real thing, learning how to efficiently manage your time should do the trick. All I can say is: planning, planning and more planning!
In everything you do make sure to work hard. It’s obvious, but true. On set or in an office, working quickly and efficiently will make you stand out. By always giving your best, you can make sure your job is done correctly the first time around.
As hard is it might be to “bake bread” when you’re thinking about makeup, focus and “bake the best bread that you can”. What I mean is, when you are doing either of your jobs, treat it like it’s the only one. Set boundaries and make a point of not mixing the two. Makeup inspiration and preparation for your next shoot should be done after work hours or at the very least, while on your break. This might be the most difficult piece of advice to follow, and may not work for everyone, but give it a try.
Side note: If you have a website, a good idea is to separate the two careers. There is nothing more confusing than mixing your accounting job with your makeup portfolio; same goes for your business cards; you don’t want anybody calling your office job and asking for you as the Makeup Artist.
What you mustn’t forget is that having a day job can also enhance your side hustle. Your network of people is much larger; this increases the opportunities that may present themselves to you. Also, having a different set of skills can help you with the business side of the makeup industry.
Bottom line is this: some people pursue their passion with no intent of quitting their day job; they love it, or they love the security it brings in a fragile and chaotic world, or to an unstable heart or mind. Other people trudge away, hoping to one day make their living from their makeup career alone. If this is you, let me remind you that it’s possible, and with clear priorities, discipline and dedication it will become likely. Who knows, you may even be further along than you think! Whether you’re tied to your day job or not, you can succeed! Willpower and the passion and love for what you do is the main focus. The results may be a gradual growth, but they will come, and when they do, your career path will be a matter of choice, built on hard work, dedication, happiness, and success!