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Makeup Artist

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

THE BRIEF:

If you've got a way with makeup -- you know how to create magic with powders, lipsticks and shadows -- 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 makeovers to people who want to update their everyday looks and more. Some advantages to this business are that you can start part-time and on a shoestring. 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. Target those planning a wedding by establishing relationships (be sure to leave brochures and business cards) with wedding-oriented businesses like wedding consultants, bridal shops and caterers. Work up referral networks with event and party planners, too, along with public relations agents. Reach out to hair salons as well for potential partnerships.

ASK THE PROS:

How much money can you make?

Nationwide, the average annual salary for a makeup artist is $34,429, according to Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter pegs the average hourly pay at $23.

What kind of experience do you need to have?

“I first created a YouTube account in 2009 just as a regular viewer. I did makeup on the side for fun while I worked as an insurance rep and went to school full-time -- and juggling all of that, along with being a wife and mother, I had to make a choice and ended up letting go of my freelance makeup jobs. When I told my clients and friends, they told me I needed to start making videos so they could practice doing their makeup. That’s how it started -- so I could help -- and I was still able to do what I loved. In 2012 or 2013 I started posting regularly and put more attention into my videos -- for example, if I did a beach look, I’d go to the beach. That’s when my account started to grow.” -Christen Dominique, Dominique Cosmetics

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

“There are totally amazing artists out there, and everybody should pull inspiration from people they admire. But finding what works for you is what's going to separate you from every other thing that people have seen over and over again. I would rather have 150 unique followers who really appreciate what I do than 100,000 followers who don't interact and don't engage because they've seen it a hundred times.” -Ryan Kelly, makeup artist

The Market

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.

Needed Equipment

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.

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