9 Salon Mistakes That Will Make You Pause

9 Salon Mistakes That Will Make You Pause


Have you made any mistakes lately that have left you weary and full of blame, discontent, and questioning this industry? Do you ever look at successful hairstylists and think, “They have it all.“? What if I told you that experienced stylists have fallen too, and not in ways that you might expect. In this beauty industry expert round-up, 9 Salon Mistakes That Will Make You Pause, these fine hairstylists and successful entrepreneurs share an important part of their journey that has helped shape who they are today.

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“Going with my gut more often about business relationships and/or contracts. 99% of the time my gut has been right about a business deal. If I feel iffy I should back off. Ive learned the hard way. I just have to deal with it in a professional manner and learn for next time.. “. Jenny Strebe  www.theconfessionsofahairstylist.com





“Mistakes are our biggest lessons and one of my biggest lessons that I learned in the beauty industry was to learn to be a jon-david-5manager/owner before you open your first salon. When I was only 24 years old, I was one of the hottest stylists in Southern California. Well-known, skilled, as well a great self-marketer, I thought I was ready to open a big salon. But when I opened the doors to Visage Appearance Centre, in the new (back then) downtown Long Beach area, I was not as prepared as I should have been.” Jon-David www.salonspa.chat, www.mafiahairdresser.salon

Jon-David, aka Mafia Hairdresser, is an author, marketing expert and hairdresser as well as the host of SalonSpa.Chat, the online show that gives social media, marketing, management & wellbeing information to the salon and spa industry. Jon-David did not work behind the chair when he owned his own salon.


“Your mistakes are your wisest teachings. Listen up.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY



“The biggest mistalupe-vosske I’ve made in my business was something I didn’t realize I did until after I had to deal with the aftermath…

Being a multitask-er, I thought I could run the salon with an amazing team … travel and teach… work at the NYC Aveda Academy and
start up the HCM education business in one year.
What happened was, with everything I had going on I thought the salon was good to go. It wasn’t.
I had 5 of my top stylist walk out and eventually go to a booth rental salon. They all made a quick stop at a salon that went out of business in 9 months and then to the booth rental salon. Financially, it took 3 years to build the customer base, as we told the customers where they went, and they did too.

What my mistake was in this disaster; I shouldn’t have left the team without a leader and gave these people what they needed to thrive. I abandoned them and left them to carry on…h And they did! The three years it took to build back up went by fast. It was a learning experience and the team I have now is amazing. We love to learn and revisit the standard often. Actually, this is a great reminder to send a love letter and remind them of what those standards are…
The salon that I “am building” never ends!” Lupe Voss www.haircolormagic.net



“The biggest mistake I made was the same mistake. I kept making it until I stopped making it. The mistake was taking my eye off the ball.

Our business is simple. What we do is easy… but it is hard to do it consistently well.ivan-zoot
My business had a mission statement. it was simple and clear. Looking back… any time we made a mistake, in hindsight the decision we made was clearly at odds with our mission.
Today our industry is highly specialized. If you are everything to everyone, you are nothing to anyone. Focus. Specialize. Pick one thing to do. Do it amazingly well. And everything else… say NO! with enthusiasm. In the era of 24/7/365 access to ideas and information you are more well defined by what you say NO to and do NOT do than what you do.

Learn to say NO to everything except THE MAIN THING.

Our cosmetology textbooks are hundreds of pages thick. I specialize in 3 pages. I do not do anything else. I am the best on the planet at my three pages. I do not even think about the other 397 pages.” Ivan ZootAKA ClipperGuy





emma-louise-willett“As a professional and a perfectionist I never truly feel satisfied with my work. In turn this has made me undervalue my worth. I kept my prices low at the start of my business and was working extremely long hours for not a lot of profit.

Years of experience and praise for my work, I now realise I am very good at what I do. I offer a creative skill, experience and knowledge to my clients. I now price accordingly and in keeping with the current market, work less hours and have grown my profit margin.

After receiving great testimonials from my clients, I know now that I am worthy and that my clients appreciate the detail and work I put into creating exactly what they desire. Because of this creative self-doubt, under valuing myself may indeed have been my biggest mistake.” Emma Louise Willett   www.emmalouisehairstylist.com




“My biggest mistake when I started in the industry wastearsheet-2
thinking I knew everything about the industry and hair!
How I got over it was basically a reality check. I had to be open to
making mistakes and not seeing them as mistake but taking
the time to figure out the “why” behind the result. It’s helped with
moving my career to the highest level and made me a better educator.” Giovanni Giuntoli   www.yourtearsheet.com



“My biggest mistake is when I was a new stylist on the floor, I didn’t understand the concept of the suitability of service! I thought it was always great to give a client the newest trend and spend two hours doing it!! I didn’t think about them; it was more about me: my art, work, and career.

It took me a few years to realize that it is actually all about the client. It was my job to make them look and feel good while staying within the appointment time. Of course, we all want to be creative within this process which is why to me, hair is a balance of art

sally-rogersonand commerce. Trying to find artistic satisfaction in designing and cutting hair while making the client look and feel great. This is truly the hardest balance, but you can learn to do both. I learned to listen to the client more, editing my work,, and staying on time. Once I adopted this practice, I actually enjoyed cutting hair much more,, and my clients were thrilled. That is the philosophy behind my company, S•R education. Modern, high-quality salon cutting within a regular appointment time. I believe in celebrating commercial cutting instead of looking down on it.” Sally Rogerson  www.sallyrogerson.com





“The biggest mistake I made was not setting personal goals for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly success. I used to just do my job and hope enough business would come my way to get paid well, and I thought it worked OK. Once I started keeping track of my numbers and sales I noticed a huge difference in my motivation to upsell add on services, meet new clients, sell retail, and encourage re-booking. The irony was that for years I had neglected to do this easy little adjustment because I thought it would take too much time and energy. I found the opposite to be true.

Once I was in the habit of keeping track, it became exciting and helped reignite my drive and ambitions to be better and keep pushing myself. Setting goals is by far the most important lesson I had to learn in order to keep my business moving forward. Now that it is my habit, I’m not sure how I survived not paying attention to this previously in my career.”  Natalie Berglund  www.dearhairdresser.com



One of my biggest mistakes in the industry was not getting financial advice early on in my career. I thought tomorrow would never come and that I had lots of time to worry about that kind of thing. I was too busy being “creative.” I’ve always been independent and have followed the road less traveled, so I always paid my taxes. However, when it came time to save for me and my future, I was clueless. I learned the hard way that saving money made me less anxious; saving money made me feel more professional. Even if you put the slightest amount away now, you will gain so much in the future.


We’ve all made less than wise decisions that affect our lives and our businesses. Perhaps the effects of your biggest mistakes linger for quite a while, but the more you lean into the offering here and learn all that you can learn, the greater that wisdom will lead you to success. When you are in the thick of it, it isn’t easy to see what is being asked of you at a deep level. My wish is for you because these stories deeply touch you and help you see your mistakes as your teachers. Respect them, and love yourself. Nobody that jumps into the game of life comes out without scrapes and bruises, but you pick yourself back up, dust off, and keep on walking.


Hairstylist Tip

Write down your latest mistake in your business, leaving out no details.  Let it flow, forget the punctuation, say everything. Talk about what happened, how you dealt with it at first. Then burn it. Yes indeed. Please give it a ceremony and let the universe know you are done with it. Now sit quietly, close your eyes, and think about where this lives in you now. Do you have distance from it?  Do you have some perspective on the situation? Do you see what decisions led to what outcome? How might you take the lesson, this deep teaching, inside and benefit from the wisdom you now experience? Write down and declare who you are today.


Watch this TedTalk video by Michael Litt, Why You Have To Fail To Have A Great Career, for some insight on this topic, with humor.



  • Jacqueline Bernardi
    Posted at 19:05h, 27 September Reply

    Great post Rebecca! I love what Ivan Zoot had to say – ‘taking his eye off the ball.’

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