If you've got a way with makeup--you know how to create magic with powders, lipsticks and shadows and you like transforming Cinderellas into princesses--then this could be the business for you. As a makeup artist, you'll help clients look their best for weddings or other special events, give beauty makeovers to people who want to update their everyday images, or you might specialize in helping people disfigured by accident or illness look and feel good again. If you live in an area with a viable film industry, you can also become a makeup artist to the stars (or star-hopefuls) by working on TV or movie projects. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time and on a shoestring, and you get the rewards of helping people feel good about themselves. As a makeup artist, you'll need the skills and talent to turn a plain Prudence into a dazzling Diana as well as the teaching skills to send your clients home with tips on how to achieve everyday glamour results for themselves.
Your clients can be just about anybody who wants to look good, although they'll likely be female. You can target brides by establishing relationships (be sure to leave brochures and business cards) with wedding-oriented businesses like bridal consultants, bridal shops and caterers. Work up referral networks with event and party planners, too, along with public relations agents. Nab clients who want a beauty makeover by placing ads in local Yellow Pages and newspapers and leaving brochures at hair salons, trendy boutiques and dress shops. Give workshops for women's groups or experiment with home parties à la Mary Kay--but keep in mind that if you sell your beauty products, you'll need a resale license. If you plan to work with disfigured clients, introduce yourself and leave brochures with plastic surgeons and oncologists.
In some states, you need a cosmetology license to work on clients' skin, so be sure to check with your state board of cosmetology. Other than that, all you need is makeup, brushes and sponges, and your own innate talents.