How to Transition Into Doing Nails Professionally

How to Transition Into Doing Nails Professionally

If you love doing nails, then you would probably agree with the phrase…

 “I didn’t choose the game; the game chose me.”

Like anytime you start touching anything nail related, whether it is your file, your nail color, you first anything nails… you just can’t stop, and before you know it, you’re building a home studio and even considering quitting your day job to go full-time into this nail thing.

But wait! Before you do that, let’s get into this and seriously talk about transitioning into a nail career… and that with as little risk of flopping as possible.

Let’s begin!

SO! Here are three tips to consider when assessing how to transition into doing nails professionally so that you don’t end up jobless or in a hole financially.

Tip #1 Start slowly

Don’t quit your day job; phase it out instead.

The beautiful thing about beginning a nail hobby or business is that there are some things that you need to nail (pun intended) before taking the first paying client.

You first have to think about or figure out:

All of this can be done concurrently with whatever job you have right now. You do not have to forgo an income to figure out all of this.

Chances are that you are so lit up about this new venture that you will be willing to work out the details (products, services you want to offer, practicing, etc.) at any time. The excitement will propel you forward.

Even though I started with just one client as an independent nail tech, I took on a job as a server because that offered me the financial and time flexibility I needed to build my clientele and pay my nail space rent.

Tip #2 Do not overspend.

Oh my gosh, it will be here if I can save you a lot of money anywhere. I get it.

You’re excited. You want to try it all. And this is the stage to do it at, but you also want to be slightly strategic about what you buy.

Here’s what I learned after five years of a successful nail career at the table, servicing over 1000 clients. 

The truth is that you are more excited and engaged about the nail art content on social media than your client is. Even if your client finds you because of nail art, they won’t always want it. It does get old, and often even your most artsy of clients will enjoy a solid color just for a reset.

Now with that being said, if you are the at nail art, please market it and make it your business.

But most of us won’t be, and this is excellent news for our pockets because that means you don’t have to pay into every fading trend.

Get good at applying glitters, esthetic swoosh art, and French Tips, and pick one or two other things that are sort of evergreen (like, for me, that’s metallic powders & foils). You’ll always have something to play with. 

These nail art tips will keep returning or stay as cute, cool trends.

So I’ll leave this chart of some of my popular color must-haves from the brands I know, like, and trust. (download it here)

But basically, think about reds, pinks, and nudes; your clients will always be up for those. And trust me, you can open up your nail business with the correct ten colors and just a few nail art techniques. Just think about how many combinations you can make with your glitters over nudes or just over clear gel.

Overall, I firmly believe you should buy products you can train in or learn a lot about.


Tip #3 Practice, practice, practice.

You cannot improve unless you get to practice. And practice never ends.

Think of doctors. They have a practice because, frankly, they’re never done practicing as every individual is different, even though the core of what they do is the same.

The same goes for you as an up-and-coming nail tech. You need to have some repetitive processes in place for applying nail services. Still, chances are not all of your nail clients will have the same nail length or amount of dry skin, so getting comfortable with as many scenarios will help you here.

Now, I get it; you can’t get better or get to practicing w/o more friends, family, or even clients.

So here is something I would suggest. You do you, but if you want to lower the bar of entry for someone to sit at your chair, let’s just say you haven’t even fully transitioned into nails fully as a business.

Invite your friends, colleagues, and family for free!

Free will get you more hands and more practice. The people you select should be people that care for you and want to see you succeed, and that will not mind spending 3 hours with you holding hands.

They should know that you intend to do business out of this but that you need their time and hands to make it happen.

The only two commitments I would ask of them for doing this for free. Is this:

That means gloves for washing dishes, not using them to open and peel things, and moisturizing at least nightly with cuticle oil.

Now, if you’re in nail school or planning on it, you can get specific here on how long you would love for them to come for free. Say you’re graduating in a month, and you’ve invited your colleague for free treatments; you can ask her to come in regularly, for the next three months, for example. This gives you time to finish nail school, take your exam, and find a little space to start bringing in paying clients.

Getting as many nail sets done before you even open shop also allows you to build a portfolio of your best work. You must photograph every job you do so that you have something to show for when you establish yourself on social media and review sites.

I want to be very clear. These free sets are just to incentivize as many ppl to come and donate their time and fingernails as canvases. These should be ppl who you love and love you back and already respect you and what you do, and desire to see you succeed. Doing their nails for free will also allow you to do anything you want on their nails.

Whereas if you charged, even just a little bit, they would want a say in what they want.

You’ll want to be clear that as soon as there is a literal roof over your business, you do intend to charge.

And one last thing, you don’t have to go to nail school to figure out if nails are for you and if you should consider a career in this. 

Practice the three tips we talked about. Again those are:

But if you need some structure, find a nail stylist or brand whose work you like and take their education if it is available for those not licensed yet.

Suppose you’re explicitly considering soft potted gels like Japanese Gel. In that case, I’d like to invite you to watch my free training where I share a little bit about my journey and a special invitation to the Master Gel Nails Course and Client Booster Camp. 

The Master Gel Nails Pro Program has everything you’ll need to define your path in the nail industry as a specialized gel nail stylist. It will teach you how to apply all of your gel nail services using soft gel only. It also has lessons that will show you how to increase your clientele to booked-solid success, even if you’re just starting.

So don’t delay. Get started with that free training; the link is waiting for you HERE.

Thank you for joining me, and I’ll see you at the next one.

Content written by Paola Ponce

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