Freelance Makeup Artist: Setting Career Goals

The career track of a freelance makeup artist isn’t exactly simple. Jobs vary from retail demonstration to work for media and stage. You could also work on performers, models or similar positions. Goal setting and success in the makeup business isn’t accidental. Professional makeup artists are trained, licensed and in-demand across the media and fashion industries. And competition is ferocious. 

Career Planning Basics

Career planning needs to start early. To have a successful career as a freelance makeup artist, you need the following things:

  • Talent: Skills are everything in this work. The best freelance makeup artists are actual experts, able to do makeup in a range of styles.
  • Motivation: The career path includes a learning curve on a par with artists and actors. You need some stamina for this profession.
  • Business sense: Running an independent freelance makeup artist business does take business sense and the knowledge of where and how to get business.
  • Experience: This is also a “portfolio career,” and you need to be able to promote your services based on a strong presentation of your work.

Training and Experience

Training is the obvious first step, and this needs to be a good broad-based type of training which allows you to do a range of different types of work. Most professional freelance makeup artists are highly experienced across the entire range of makeup artistry.

A range of jobs which teach you all the required skills in this business:

  • Business types: Retail, wholesale, contract
  • Performance makeup artistry: Theatrical, fashion, boutique, media

If this range of work looks like a career map for goal-setting purposes, it is. This is where career goals become visible. The makeup industry is a business, and to succeed in this field you must be able to do business well.

Goal Setting

From an experienced position, you are now able to make realistic decisions about the direction and goals of your freelance makeup artist career. To establish yourself, you need to work in areas which create strong commercial profiles, like fashion shows and media. Commercial experience, like starting your own makeup boutique service, is another option, which also allows you to go for contracts while being backed up by a retail income.

Career progression is measured by both commercial success and a high profile in the market. There’s an obvious relationship between market profile and brand power in terms of commercial success. Many freelance makeup artists progress to the point where they effectively become mainstream businesses and even launch their own range of makeup.

The interesting thing about the makeup industry is that it’s surprisingly receptive to new brands and new ideas. Some people start out very small and wind up as huge international businesses. Estée Lauder, founder of the famous brand of the same name, started out during the Depression in New York and progressed to selling products from a small space in Saks Fifth Avenue. The rest is the story of one of the most famous brands in the industry.