What I Wish I Knew Before Going Into Business As A Newbie Nail Tech

What I wish I knew As A New Nail Tech

What do I wish I knew as a new nail tech! What are some things that make me go… Gosh, why didn’t anyone tell me this!?

Before we get started, I want to invite you to our next Japanese Gel Nail Certification, happening in about 6 weeks. CLICK HERE to sign up to the waitlist to be in the know with all the details including the materials you’ll need and the exact date.

Alright now to today’s topic.

The “newbie” stage of any journey can feel frustrating, and as though all the odds are stacked against you when things are not going as expected. Which can really question your purpose, am I right?

We wish that the knowledge we need to be pro or successful could just be imparted to us quickly.

In a way, we wish to fast forward time and oftentimes we go into dark thoughts when things aren’t going as expected, thinking… I’ll never get this.

As someone who has tried many a-new-thing I can tell you that getting to that dark thought of “I’m never gonna get this”… is typically the signal of a hang tight- stay the course, this is as hard as it’s going to get- moment. Things soon start changing for the better and if you’re like me, you use that frustration to get excessive about how to become successful.

Now, other times in this industry you go into something super excited with high expectations… only to realize your expectations fall short to be met.

That is why I wanted to write to you today and create this. As in everything I do for you, I want to fast forward your nail journey and eliminate as many costly and hurtful mistakes, but also help you go into this industry with more solid expectations. So that you don’t end up disappointed.

Let’s get into our 5 I-wish-I-knew!

#1 I wish I knew nail school was just basic nail info.

I wish I knew nail school was not going to be this amazing experience where you’re caught up with all the latest and trendiest things currently happening in the nail industry. I wish someone would have told me: In nail school, expect only to learn the fundamentals and especially sanitation disinfection.

My nail school was far from being modern. It was quite a blast from the past.

Just our building alone had to be at least 50 years old, with a hole or 2 in the ceiling. Our director had the poofy hairspray scenario, and just about all of our furniture was vintage.

I would have not minded how physically old things were, but obviously, the out-of-datedness was more so felt with the curriculum.

There was a heavy emphasis on acrylic nails, followed by regular manicures and pedicures. By 2012 gel polish had already been making major waves in the salons and I was a bit disappointed that we weren’t even learning about gel polish.

Nail school consisted of basically every morning studying our book and taking tests.

One thing that nail school definitely cemented in us was the importance of sanitation disinfection. Like there was no skipping over this, in any practical or client service, this was the #1 focus. More than the application or prettiness of the nails.

To sum up, I’m quite thankful for the high standard of disinfection, but again, I wish someone would have told me this!

#2 I wish I knew I didn’t have to offer more than 1 nail system.

In nail school, you learn all the main systems like acrylic, UV gels, regular nail lacquer, and gosh, you may even learn about applying a full set of silk wraps; however, I wish my instructor would have told me that to be successful I didn’t have to offer all of these.

So what ended up happening right after graduating nail school, I immediately started booth renting. As a newbie nail tech, I thought that to attract clientele, I had to chase them by offering everything, I literally offered acrylics, hard gel, soft gel, regular nail polish, and pedicures. 

The truth is just specializing in the one that I felt the strongest would have catapulted me into success much faster.

That is why even to this day, we are very specific about what system we teach about. Soft gel and with a preference for those brands that emphasize potted gels from Japan.

I was so busy offering it all, as a result, I struggled for the first 2.5 years of my nail journey, trying to master it all, and ending up being a master of nothing until specializing in soft gel.

#3 I wish I knew I would have to take ongoing education.

Not that I minded taking more training. Not at all, but again, I went into it all thinking I’m just going to pick it up all nail school. Like this is where everyone gets their information, and becomes amazing at nails… right? Wrong, of course.

Because no one told me I did not have to offer it all, I was taking training in everything. You name it, if my schedule was open, I would be there. So I guess my first out of nail school training was with Artistic which is the sister brand to the makers of Gelish. This class indeed was amazing, but jammed-packed because everything was taught from acrylic to hard gel, to builder in a bottle, to gel colors, and nail art. I loved it but, because no one told me I didn’t have to offer it all, after this class I left ready to offer it all, and then some!

Eventually, as some of you may know I started to run into problems… nails lifting, popping off, and simply not feeling like a master at anything.

Then I started investing in a whole new system of nails… can any of you guess what that system was? Yes! Soft potted gel!, and later, even more niched, Japanese gel.

I started by investing first about $400 with Bio Sculpture

Then about $2000 more for certifications with Vetro, Kokoist, Leafgel and even Calgel. Yes, you can say I became addicted to this niche.

#4 I wish I knew that collaborating with others can further my growth, and faster. 

Let me say it now. Don’t be scared to collaborate, and leave the ego behind to make new friendships.

Since I began in nails in 2012 until about 2 years ago, I’ve had this tendency to keep, as they say, “my cards close to my chest”. Being friendly and sharing new or even “secrets” was not something I naturally gave in to and neither do many artists actually.

Now, that started quickly changing when I: #1 broaden my knowledge and #2 leveled up my marketing skills.

By really honing on these two things, as you can tell, I give liberally in terms of knowledge.

I must say that my biggest growth spurts as an entrepreneur were when I’ve was bold and got out of my comfort zone. I reached out to brands and nail artists so that we could work together. So I encourage you to do the same.

#5 I wish I knew I didn’t have to do pedicures! This one is interesting, I know. But hang tight.

I did pedicures up until I stopped being a full-time nail tech in 2018. I want to be clear, I didn’t HATE doing pedicures but if someone had assured me that I could be just as successful if not, even more, just focusing on manicures I may have opted out of offering them!

 You might be like: Wouldn’t you be leaving all of this money on the table by not offering them? The answer is a resounding, No!

You see, the more specialized and amazing you are at what you do, the more money you can make from it. Adding pedicures to your service menu should only happen if you REALLY want to do them. 

I would never coach you to add a service to your menu, just because you can.

I want you to be the best at whatever you CHOOSE to do.

Your pedicures, if you decide to add them to your menu, should be equally as great as your manicures! With the greatest and latest in pedicure technology and your regular manicure clients are equally as excited to get booked for these, as they are for your manicure services.

Let me keep it even more real about why I would give offering pedicures a second thought, as an independent nail tech.

You wear a lot of hats already.

There are a lot of little things to figure out for pedicures. Like there is literally laundry to be done! Think about it, you have to charge for your time washing and folding towels, not to mention you most likely would need a pedicure chair, pedicure liners, more disinfection protocol, and several disposables.

And like… will your pedicures be express or a total luxury??

Ok, I think now you get me right… it really is worth considering whether you should offer them or not.

Alright. Let’s recap my 5 I wish-I-knew:

#1 Nail school was just basic nail info.

#2 I didn’t have to offer more than 1 nail system.

#3 I would need a budget for continuing education

#4 Making friends and collaborations can more quickly further my growth

#5 Offering pedicures is indeed optional 

Well, I hope you took notes because you certainly don’t want to avoid anything that can cause you time, money, and heartache. I hope my experiences equip you to get ahead in this industry and differentiate yourself by clarifying what you do and offer as a solo-nail tech.

Stick around for my next video, and don’t forget to get on our next certification waitlist here.

 I’ll see you here next week. Bye for now.


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