How Much You Can Earn As An Independent Beauty or Fitness Professional?


7 min read

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There’s often a stigma associated with solo businesses because they don’t always fall into a common category. There’s also a flawed and false notion that these businesses don’t thrive just as well as more established or accepted professions. 

One reason some people believe that myth is that they don’t know what’s possible. People feel like there’s an income ceiling when it comes to these careers. However, the truth is that when you’re great at what you do as a solo business owner, there’s literally no limit to your earning potential. 

Today, I want to talk you through what certain solo business owners can expect with their earnings, on average, and how they can level up to get into that six figure (or higher) bracket. I think that more people would enter these professions if they had a real sense of what’s possible. You can be confident that it is possible to be rewarded for the efforts you put into delighting clients and growing that solo business.

The view from the top

In many solo business professions, when you’re at the top of your game and starting to do big productions and commercial work, big checks can soon follow. That’s because the work you’re doing isn’t just seen by a few, it’s seen by hundreds of thousands, even millions.

Let’s take as an example. There are independent beauty professionals making a million dollars per year. At that income level, it’s not just a question of the number of customers; professionals at this level may be working with celebrities, big events and major productions.

If you’re working at a hair show and styling 30 folks during that event, or doing makeup for an Instagram influencer, then you’re probably pretty well paid. And if you’re a beauty professional with an engaged or targeted group of social media followers (and product endorsements), you can be paid upwards of $10,000 for a single social post. That applies to many other solo businesses as well.

Running the numbers on independent beauty professionals

Coming back to the average you can make if you’re just getting started and haven’t taken it to the next level yet, here’s what we’ve observed at PocketSuite. For people working full-time as independent beauty professionals, we’re seeing annual earnings of $30,000 at the low end of the range and $150,000-$200,000 at the higher end. 

Part of this depends on your specialty. For example, we see a lot of nail-care artists in that $30,000 range. How do you get to that $30,000 a year number? As a solopreneur economist, I love doing the math. Here’s what I’ve worked out: Say you’re charging $30 for a and you do nails for 50 weeks per year (taking two weeks for vacation). To make $30,000 for the year, you wouldneed to do 1,000 manicures in that year (averaging 20 per week). 

You can level up in a couple of ways. If you get at least half of your clientele to become repeat customers, that’s consistent business. You can also offer add-ons. When you start performing gel manicures and other speciality items, then what was previously a $50 manicure is now bringing in $150. 

It’s about building and layering, and you really see that in action with estheticians. Estheticians are comfortably in the six-figure annual range. They work with skin, removing impurities, hair and oil, hydrating and moisturizing, and they also offer chemical peels and microdermabrasion. In a typical session, depending on location, you could pay anywhere from $70-$150 for a facial. 

Related: Why Owning Your Own Business Is Everything

So, what’s the math on skincare services? Say on average an esthetician will charge $100 for a treatment session. To get to the average earnings of $115,000 a year, they need 1,150 treatment sessions per year and around 23 per week if they are working for 50 weeks out of the year. Estheticians working four days per week, as many beauty professionals do (taking another day for admin and marketing), need to perform about six treatments per day.

However, the highest earning estheticians are able to offer multiple treatments in a single session, boosting their earnings in the process. We’ve seen some estheticians charge $800-$1,000 for an appointment based on the set of procedures being done. One top-dollar booking in that range per week reduces the number of total treatments that an esthetician needs to perform per week to earn that same income by seven to nine. This brings down their total treatments per week to as low as 14, or a number per day as low as just over three. 

This math also works for hair, makeup, barbers and tattoo artists. The average yearly earnings for these careers range from $30,000-$150,000, depending upon their add-on services. 

How to level up as a fitness pro

Fitness, health and wellness is such a large category, encompassing everything from yoga, pilates and personal trainers to pain management specialists and chiropractors. Therefore, the range of earnings is similarly wide. We’ve seen full-time fitness professionals earn everything from $50,000 per year at the low end to $250,000 per year at the high end.

Fitness trainers and coaches earn, on average, around $50,000 per year. What helps them level up is the opportunity to do group classes. With group sessions, you can have people paying anywhere from $20 to $30 per class, all the way up to $75 for specialty, high-intensity training. Then the numbers start to get really interesting. 

If you’re earning $50,000 per year while working 50 weeks during that year, you’re earning $1,000 each week. If you were charging each person $20 per class, you’d need to see 50 people each week to get to that number. 

But if you have classes, the numbers play in your favor. Given Covid-19 guidelines, you may only be able to have 10 people in a class. That will earn you $200 per class. The average class is one hour in length, and you might be doing around five hours of classes per day. Therefore, you’re earning about $1,000 a day. At just four days per week, you can comfortably earn an income of $200,000 per year. 

Related: 7 Key Questions to Lay the Foundation for Success as a Solo Business Owner

The other thing that makes the difference in this niche is repeat business. You need some of these clients who signed up for your class to love it so much that they come back regularly. This will ensure that your income is consistent. We’re now seeing fitness trainers offering subscriptions, which enables clients to pay a flat rate per month and go to a few classes of their choice.

So, it is possible to build a rewarding, six-figure career as an independent beauty or fitness professional. I’m happy to help you do the math on what’s possible, and will be sharing reflections on income for therapists and dog trainers in an upcoming article. Until then, I hope this helped put you on a path to prosperity. 

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