How I Got Started in Nails

So when I was in high school and had to do the daunting task of choosing a lifelong career, you wouldn’t believe what my aspiration was. I wanted to be an architect… like I really did.

Now before I could ever build anything… I had to take some challenging courses in college that included calculus, physics, physics with calculus, and some bio and chem classes.

Science was not for-te and so I struggled, but I got through it. Then I began my lower level classes of architecture before I could even apply to an architecture college. And that’s where I stopped. Those classes were some of the most challenging courses of my life, and on any given day within the first month of those courses I was getting up to… 2 hours of sleep if any, and my stress levels were through the roof. 

After 3 years of dedication and focus, and though it was hard, I had to think more pragmatically and really think of a career that could get me going in the real world much faster, and whose curriculum I could compete in, while still getting my sleep.

Nope… that’s not when I went into nails.

After quitting the architecture thing. 

I decided on being a nurse, but guess what? Even after successfully completing my course work for nursing, as life would have it… I had to take a break from school (and it was actually timely, I was really burned out from school and just wanted a big break from it).

But I still wanted to “grow up”, and growing up for me, didn’t come in the form of a degree. I mean I gave it a good shot, I took some damn intense classes… 

So then I got married, moved out, got a job, got a dog… you know “big girl things”.

At that time I was a waitress, and as life would have it again, I had to be off from work for about 2 or 3 months… AND that’s when I really gave the nail thing some thought.

I did a little research, found a local program, gave them all of my savings and began nail school.

Now at that point in my super young nail journey, I was only 23. I started getting an affinity towards gel nails but I was super open to anything, really anything about nails excited me, even the acrylic monomer smell. Like to me that smell, was the smell of nails.

I finished my schooling as soon as I could. I got licensed… and nope, I did not go and get hired in a salon… your girl picked up another waitressing gig because I was broke.

You know, I needed it capital, ok. 

Because for whatever reason working for someone else doing nails just did not excite me, and so even though I had just 1 client, I was going to make this work for me one way or the other.

And so in the daytime I would waitress, and in the evenings I would do nails or at least go sit at my station and pretend to be waiting for my 6’oclock…

Well that was at my 1st space anyways, that I rented for like one month before being put out… Yeah my first renting experience was a total misfit.

But thanks be to God, because then, soon after, I found the best salon owner to rent from, and stayed there permanently. 

As a renter you should have access to your stuff 24/7, so as often as I could, I’d go and hang out at my happy place, my little nail station.

By sitting there, I quickly found out that simply telling yourself and a few other people you are open for business, really does not drive clients in droves, and because I was desperate to be booked…

I did something I would not recommend now, and that was…running a Groupon.

Now if you don’t know what Groupon is, it is a site where you as the consumer can get products and services from like 40-70% off. 

So I could say to Groupon Hey! I want to run a gel manicure special with you, and they usually would be like Ok, what you got?? It was really that easy.

As a new account I would have to do at least 50% off of my services, and then the other 50% Groupon and I would split… yeah you can do the math… lunch money essentially. 

But Instagram was barely taking off and all of the posh new nail studios where not really yet a thing, and I feel like marketing for brick and mortars was at a weird transitioning place… Like Yellowpages, was obviously not a thing, Yelp was booming, uhm and again IG was like a new thing.

And so I did Groupon because in my head, at that time, being a successful nail tech was being slammed with appointments I thought… boy did I learn a thing or two with that Groupon promotion.

So when the promotion ended about 6 months later I learned a few big lessons. One being that I did not want to work 12-14 hours days! Doing nails literally became painful!

I also learned that I was barely being profitable.

And I also learned that unlike when I first started doing nails, I wanted to find my niche. I did not want to do it all.

Acrylic monomer was no longer a pleasant thing for me. 

It’s different when you’re a customer and you smell it for like an hour, but working in the smell for 8 hours was literally nauseating for me.

I still preferred gel but I didn’t like the bulkiness of hard gel, and how it would pop-off from clients.. and gel polish was such a temporary service also.

And so right about now I was ready to throw in the towel. 

After all, the first and real reason why I got into nails was to learn how to give myself the best set of nails… but I was passed that. Obviously, I had gained enough experience to do that by now (yeah after 400 Groupon redemptions), so then I really wanted to find a product or a nail system that would work across the board with all of my clients. And by this point, if this product didn’t exist, I think I was ready to walk away from it all.

You see you don’t have to offer it all to be successful. Heck you don’t even have to do pedicures, if you are totally uncomfortable doing them. 

Again, by this point I had kind of fallen out of everything I had used, and I was tired of being the complaint department. With nails lifting, chipping, breaking, etc…

And so I got kind of desperate, but also very business minded. And I think this is when I really had a mindset-shift in regards to my business. I knew it was a business because Hey! I was the boss… But on paper, as far as revenue went, it was not a business. 

And so I had a heart to heart with myself because this nail thing I thought was supposed to be super fun, and yet it was so hard, and so I gave it one more shot…

I invested in a $400 program hoping that this would be the solution to me niching down, not offering it all, having consistent wear on clients, no more lifting nails, and really just being able to master my craft, specialize and make money.

And this program I invested in, was a training with my first soft gel potted system. 

Yes, soft gel potted systems saved my business.

And the company I started with was Bio Sculpture gel, the inventors of soak off gel. 

Yep 1988 in South Africa.

Soft potted gel systems are a game changer. They have ranging flexibilities to fit all nail types.

They are usually high quality hypo-allergenic formulas that are rather expensive.

Now while this soft potted gel movement began in South Africa, it was deeply embraced in Japan.

And yep, you bet, that is how AND why I got so involved with Japanese gels, and over time I just preferred them a bit more then Bio Gel… but it has a little special place in my heart always will.

Tear moment.

Ok. So because of the superb adhesion components to the nail and wonderful flexibility, soft potted gel systems, including Japanese gels, last extremely well on clients’ natural nails.

And bingo, these systems were genuinely what saved my business.

After niching down, meaning specializing, and for me that was specializing in soft potted gel systems or Japanese gel. I was able to increase my prices, save a whole bunch of money by not buying into all sorts of nail systems, and flling my books with clients and doing nail services that I genuinely enjoyed.

And now I’m sharing my story with you.

And so I thought this video would be super important for me to make for you, because perhaps you are in the same place today…

Really frustrated by all of the nail systems “you’re supposed to use”, perhaps you’ve also become the nail complaint department with nails chipping, lifting or “mysteriously popping off”. Or perhaps because you’re not sure whether or not you’re actually making money doing nails.

Listen, I get it, and I promise YOU can do what I did.

Now because of time, I’ve left some key details out of this story, but I have put everything you need to know in a free training that is currently available for you to watch immediately. That free training link is in the description box below… do make sure to check it out!

Thank you so much for listening, and if you’re feeling stuck, I want to know exactly what it is you’re struggling with, so drop a comment in the comments section and I hope to get back to you soon.

Bye for now.

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2 thoughts on “How I Got Started in Nails”

  1. I love your story! Picking a career for myself was so hard as well. I went to beauty school right after I finished high school thinking I could do nails while I was in college studying art history. Unfortunately where I am from almost all jobs in the nail field were independent contractor jobs. I started from zero renting a place and you know what, it didn’t work for me. I was waitressing for 5 years after that and I would do nails for my friends but I wasn’t making any money doing that. When I moved to Chicago though, there were so many opportunities here so I started from the bottom again and eventually I had my own studio space. Funny thing now is that I’m going back to school to study dental hygiene. I don’t think everyone is made to have the same job their whole life though. At least not me. 😉

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