How to Make Money as a Cosmetologist Without Clients?

A salon business is a service business.

By definition, it generates income by serving clients. This is no news.

But what happens when there are no clients?

This article is meant to provide ideas to help salon owners, hairstylists, nail techs, and other cosmetologists manage through these difficult times.

I know that many of you sit on a wealth of experience in managing a business against the wind. I am asking you now to share your valuable experience with your industry friends.

What can hairstylists, nail techs, or other cosmetologists do to earn an income when there are no clients to serve in the salon?

Let’s go through the list of ideas.

Ideas for Earning Money When You Have No Salon Clients to Serve

The list contains ideas contributed by The Salon Business community. It contains small and big ideas in no specific order. I hope you’ll find something here that you feel you can do to earn some extra money while you do not have any clients to serve.

Sell Gift Certificates

If you have a loyal clientele, it’s likely that they want to help you through the challenging time period by purchasing gift certificates now that they can use later.

The idea was submitted by Maha.

Perform Services at Your Client’s Home

You can offer a mobile salon service and visit your clients at their homes. You should be able to charge extra for this due to travel time.

The idea was submitted by Elisabeth

Teach and Train in Social Media

Keep the clients engaged by posting DYI tips on our social media pages. Guide existing clients over the phone whenever they need any basic grooming assistance. Provide online training to our grooming experts on a daily basis.

The idea was submitted by Sandhya Prasath.

Become a Beauty Writer

A good way to leverage your experience in order to earn extra money fast is to become a writer. The beauty segment is big and there are many magazines and blogs that look for writers with a background in professional beauty.

The easiest way to do it is to register as a writer on where jobs are constantly posted. What I’ve seen most beauty writers charge is around $15-$35 per hour.

Rent out Your Salon

If you own your salon, you can try to look for ways to rent out space when you’re not using it. How much you can earn from this is hard to say as it depends on location and many other factors.

Sell Home Color Kits

Maha shared that she is doing home color kits for her clients to do their color touchups themselves. She formulates the kits and sends them the tools to do it for a small fee.

The idea was submitted by Maha.

Check if there are Government Loans Available in Your State/ Country

Salons based in the U.S. can apply for SBA loans at good rates now that are designed to help small businesses through the crisis. If you’re based in the U.S. you can compare rates of different SBA loans at Fundera or learn more about this type of loan at the SBA.

The idea was submitted by Karen

Start a YouTube Channel or Blog

Creating content (e.g. hair/nail how-to videos) and publishing it on YouTube or a blog is a good way of earning extra money. It does not work from day one though. You should expect that you need to publish content for at least 3-6 months until you start seeing any money coming from advertising on your blog or YouTube channel. But when you have it up, it can generate additional income for years.

Sell Product Stock or Other Things You Don’t Need

Take the time to clean out the storage of things you don’t need. This could be particularly relevant if you have a large inventory of products.

Websites you can sell things are Amazon and eBay but there are of course other options as well.

If you see that it works well, it might be a first step in setting up a full-blown eCommerce business for the future.

Sell Hair & Beauty Photography Online

If you’ve documented hair, nail, or other salon work over the last years you could be sitting on photography that you own the rights to and can sell.

You can sell these photos to stock sites and earn 15%-60% of what they sell your photography for. And even if it’s smartphone photos, this can often be good enough to resell.

Websites where you can resell photos:

Teach Cosmetology (or Something Else You Know)

Given you sit on unique knowledge and experiences, you’re in a good position to teach others. You can do this face-to-face, at home, or online using one of the teaching platforms.

Websites that allow you to make money teaching online:

Use Your Cosmetology Expertise in Focus Groups

As a beauty pro, there are many companies who would like to have your opinion on their plans. You can earn some extra money by joining focus groups and share your opinion

Websites where you can join focus groups:

Negotiate a Lower Rent with your Landlord

Your landlord may be willing to offer reduced rent for a period of time. Karen shared that she received a 50% discount when she asked her Landlord.

The idea was submitted by Karen

Become a Virtual Assitant

You can earn good money by supporting other businesses as a virtual assistant. This includes things like checking mail and helping with other assistant tasks. This might not play directly to your experience as a cosmetologist (depends on who you work for) but it’s a good way to add income now.

A good platform to use to find this type of work is

Get Paid Taking Surveys

You can get paid for answering questions online. This is probably the easiest way to make money – but it is very small money.

Some website that offers this service:

Invest Your Time Instead of Money

If you don’t have many clients to serve right now, it’s a good idea to make use of the time you have now to build for the future. This isn’t really a money-making idea. Instead, it’s a way to save money in the future by doing more by yourself now.

This can be things like:

  • Creating a website for your salon yourself (instead of buying it later). See my guide to creating a salon website here.
  • Set up an email newsletter for your salon. This allows you to maintain client relationships even if you’re not seeing your clients. See my guide to creating a salon newsletter here.
  • Take the time now to revisit the overall strategy for your salon so that you can start strong when the tempo picks up again.

Other Relevant Resource

Here are some other articles you might find helpful if you’re looking for additional ways to earn income as a salon owner or cosmetologist.

Share the Ideas with Friends & Submit Your Own Ideas

Below you’ll find some social sharing buttons that you can use to pass these ideas to friends and colleagues. If you have an idea to contribute, send me an email and I’ll make sure it gets to the list of ideas as soon as possible.

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