How To Take More Vacations As A Wedding Hairstylist Or Makeup Artist

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As a bridal hairstylist or makeup artist I see a lot of people make this mistake- they think that they have to work themselves to death. And only then are they allowed to take a vacation. They don't view the exchange of time and energy for money; they think “I can only afford it after working so much, and then I'll take a vacation.” Here’s a little secret, you can take a vacation whenever the fuck you want to, honey! It doesn't matter if your busiest month of the year is October and you want to go do something in October. Go do something in October! You don't have to sacrifice areas of your life for the sake of your business. It just means you need to be a little bit more strategic in the times when you’re working.  

I want to talk about different strategies and different ways that we can work more vacation time into our daily lives and help to release some of the mental roadblocks and the guilt that we may have around taking time off. First of all, it’s not money. A lot of us will use the excuse of “I don't have enough money.” Instead of just taking the vacation and finding more strategic ways to make that money, we use the money as an excuse, and I'm here to tell you that money does not have to be the excuse. So, here are some strategies for taking more vacation time. The very first is to block the time off in advance. I know it seems so simple. But really, it's quite revolutionary when you think about it. When was the last time that you just looked at your calendar, and you said “I'm not going to work this weekend, this weekend, and this weekend?”

Now, taking every other weekend off may not sound like a vacation. But you need to start looking at time away from the office as the same thing as vacation. It doesn't mean that you need to spend a thousand on a beach vacation. Any weekend that you're not working is a vacation from your business. You can even just take a little mental health weekend, and that’s still a vacation. So, when I'm talking about vacations I'm not necessarily talking about these big grand expensive trips. I'm talking about time away that you’re devoting to relaxation. So, the very first step, if you want to take more vacations, is you need to give yourself that time. Every year my husband and I take our children down to Universal Studios for an event. So, I make sure that I do not book anything for the week before or the week after because I don't want to feel stressed out before my vacation trying to cram all of this work in. I want to be able to go and get my hair, nails, and spray tan done. I want to get all of my laundry done, and pack, and get the house nice and clean, and make a plan for who's going to take care of our animals. Then I don't want to come back from vacation and immediately jump right back into work, so I plan my time more strategically. For the time that I'm going to be away, and the time that I need to prep, and then for the downtime afterwards, I block all of that time off and I stick to it. If I get a request for somebody to do a wedding during that time, I stay strong and say “no.”

Episode 25: How To Take More Vacations As A Wedding Vendor

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 So when you're setting up time on your vacations. What are some things that you can look for? Well, look for times when there are special events in your family. Are there birthdays or celebrations that your family does every single time? It doesn't have to be going away somewhere, if you are the kind of person who always misses out on the Fourth of July picnic because you have a wedding. Block it off for next year! Everything is going to become a tradeoff, if you want more vacation time but you still need certain income goals. You need to decide when will you be working and when won't you be working. One of the benefits of being your own boss is that you get to make that decision. The hard part is deciding how you're going to make up for that time that you’re not working. We’re going to put together some strategies for shifting our perspective about what makes a vacation and some strategies for taking that time off and still make your income goals. You want to start thinking about how you want to map these plans out. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be this big expensive grand thing; we can take time off and view that still as a vacation. As long as you're going into it with the mindset of you are no longer responsible for X, Y, and Z. You have to give yourself the grace of saying no to certain responsibilities.

Another way of incorporating more vacation time into your schedule, is to utilize work-related travel as an opportunity. For example, I was part of a program for my salon business- it was Britt Seva’s hairstylist education/coaching system- and there was a live retreat out in California that I had decided to attend. I was going out there already to put the time and money into growing my business, so it was a business expense, but I also saw it as an opportunity to travel with my husband. So we went out to California and I booked a couple of extra days, so we could spend some time together and see all these different things in the area. So what was a work thing became a mini vacation for the two of us. If you have opportunities to combine those kinds of things, that’s great. They can become an adventure if you book those extra few days before or after. 

So if there are hair shows or makeup shows in other states that you want to go to, then definitely go! And then take some extra time to just visit the city and see what's fun or interesting in the area. And while you’re doing that, make sure to use any rewards systems or discounts that might be available. There are some really cool options on Groupon, and if you have Expedia, you can combine Expedia Rewards points. That's how I book everything. We have a credit card that is dedicated to travel, and we put all of our travel expenses and travel-related purchases on there, like airlines and cruises and things like that. We get bonus points and cash back. That, and then we book the travel on Expedia and get those points too. So we get discounts, and we just kind of layer everything as much as possible. We don't let money be an excuse not to go on vacation, but we allow it to be a limiting factor.  

You also have to be strategic about how and when you are making money, so shifting how you focus your time and either frontloading before you go, or having a bunch of clients the week after. So if you have holiday weekends, those are a great opportunity to fit in little trips between periods of making money. Or if you're the kind of person who's always working every holiday weekend because people get married on the holiday weekends, I challenge you to start taking some of those off and see how that impacts your life. You may think, “well I'm not going to make as much money.” But if you prioritize it, you'll find a way to still make the money. You can get a lot more creative in finding how to make it work. If you want more time off from weddings, there's actually a lot of other ways that you can still make money within this industry. Do you have something else that you can monetize? Think about it. 

Lastly I want to kind of just go over some different things that you can do to prepare, because all of this time off sounds well and great. But if you do not prepare for your vacations properly, you're literally just deferring stress. And deferring responsibilities. So. It's really important to be strategic and set these systems up in advance. I promise that you can take as many vacations as you want, and your business is not going to suffer, because you have these systems in place. So make sure that you have things that are automated. So, if you know that you have a lot of weddings every May, and thirty days beforehand is when timelines go out and all of these other things happen, but you want to take a vacation in April. You need to set up a system to make sure that all of that stuff is done beforehand, and you have a way to communicate with your brides and your clients to get them what they need when they need it without you having to physically be working on that. Set up automated emails and responses. It's super easy and quick to just type in a quick “I am on vacation during this time. I will respond to the emails in the order that they were received starting on X date” and let it be. People will understand that you're on vacation. Don't worry! Your business is not going to come crashing down because somebody didn't hear from you for a week when already you told them that you're on vacation.

So vacation time is really, really important for your mental health, and for your relationships, and for your business. When you take time off from working, you're able to be more strategic and you’re able to have that mental clarity and that energy to put back into your business and better serve your customers in general. If you're the kind of person who says, “well I don't have time for vacations” or “I don't have money for vacations” I challenge you to look at “vacation” in a new way, to give that word a new definition, so that you can begin to incorporate a lot more of them into your regular routine.

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