Raleigh NC's On Location Hair + Makeup Artist specializing in TV/Film, Weddings, and Commercial projects.

Raleigh NC On Site Hair and Makeup - Ashley Watts Beauty

Learn more about Raleigh, NC’s Premier On Location Hair and Makeup services provided in Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Sanford, New Hill, and Pittsboro.

Posts in Tips and Tricks
Maintaining your vibe: A low key guide to balance

I know what you’re thinking, “another dumb self help guide”. But I promise it’s more than that. In 2017, I hit my biggest burn out with running my own business that I really had to take a step back and focus on what my goals were and whether the juice was worth the squeeze, if ya feel me.

I spent the good part of my early years in this business thinking, taking all the gigs you can, overwork the crap out of yourself, and make sure your clients know you value you them over yourself. It took me years to realize all of those things are very unhealthy. That it’s way more important to take care of yourself than be the first one to reply to an email, that the best way to serve your clients is to serve yourself. It seems so simple, but if you’re running your own business it can be quite challenging to remember a work/life balance. So if you’re stepping your toes into entrepreneurship, let me help guide you so you don’t end up in the same burnt out state of mind I did.

How the heck do I maintain my vibe?

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Care for yourself financially.

Are you making enough money? Charge what you’re worth and if you need a reminder of what your expertise is worth — ask your peers in the same career what they’d pay for your services. And PAY YOURSELF! Your business should be providing the income for the life you want to live, which means different things for different people. But if you can’t survive off the crumbs you’re collecting, it’s time to up your rates and get that bread.

Put yourself first.

In order to be present and show up for your clients, you have to be 100%. Would you want to hire someone who needs to do deep and meaningful work if that person is tired and lackluster all the time? You must stay energized and fresh for those you work for. Inspired people live and share inspiration. These self-care activities help me stay fresh and inspired: deep cleaning/organizing, watching the Veronica Mars series with snacks, hiking/camping, coffee dates with Sam, Joanne, or a quick call with one of my best friends who are scattered all over the USA. What are yours, and how soon can you get them on your schedule? You’re pouring your soul into your work, don’t forget to refill the cup so you have something to share with your clients.

Stay Inspired.

High-vibe entrepreneurs love learning and personal development.If you’re not enriching yourself, you’ll feel stagnant. So take a class, go to a convention, or pick up some new books about something you’re interested in.

Check in with yourself often.

Are you using your gifts every day in your business? Are you attracting people you want to work with? Does your purpose fill you up? If you answered no to any of these questions, you are setting yourself up for burnout. Which isn’t good for your vibe!

‍Get Support

Are you a part of a community of other people in your industry? A group of people who can support you and advise you when you’re in need? Find a tribe to cheer you on — and cheer them on in return. For even more learning, get a business coach, or hire a member of the community to help grow your support.

‍Lean on your intuition.

“Trust your in gut” hasn’t been around forever if it wasn’t something to put stock in. As entrepreneurs when you feel overwhelmed, trust yourself and ask the right questions. Make sure to listen to your needs, instincts, and you’ll rarely be steered in the wrong directions. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t invest in it.


Your business supports your life, and your life supports your business. Make sure you’re caring for both. This is essential for maintaining your vibe.

Successfully finding your Client

This is a question I get asked a lot. And if you know me, you know I am all about uplifting and empowering those on both sides of this game. I truly feel like all of my clients choose me based on what how much of myself I am putting into my business and truly perpetuating a vibe that only attracts those who can resonate with will “buy” into.

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1. DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.

It’s important to make note about what you’re looking for in clients. That’s not an invitation to say things like, “to buy services for me”, to “not care about price”. Because honestly, they’re usually on your site because they’re interested in what you’re serving, and there’s not a person in this world where price doesn’t matter — especially if you’re a millennial who only has money for ramen and rent.

You need to really think of what your business means to you, and what you want to offer your clients. What makes you a unicorn in the middle of a horse pin. Both are beautiful, but a majestic unicorn is certainly going to stand out.


2. BUILDING PERSONAL CONNECTIONS

The Makeup industry has grown a million times more populated since I started almost 10 years ago. It’s honestly crazy to see how many people are popping up each week with little to no experience and totally killing the game! I’m probably one of the only people you’ll run into that’s 10 years into their formal makeup career who thinks the wave of new comers is incredible for the industry. I learn something new from gals at Sephora all the time.

This loops into the first point, but it should stand on it’s own. Build connections with your clients by asking their history/experience with makeup. The average person doesn’t know what they’re looking for regardless of if you’re speaking to DP’s or private clients. They’re looking to you for guidance. Be exactly that! Ask questions, take criticism, and be mature enough to understand. You need to know what your client’s comfort level with makeup is, or the DP’s expectation of makeup (is it for corporate, who is the character you’re creating).

3. BE FLEXIBLE

You’re never going to find a normal set of hours as a MUA. You’re always going to be all over the place in this industry. It’s not like a salon, or stereotypical beauty counter work. You’re going to have some mornings that start at 2am, and some evenings that end at 11pm. You’ll need to understand you need to be very flexible with the company/client you’re working for and constantly deliver great results.

Also being okay with someone changing their mind or not loving an idea you have. Sometimes doing a trial run, or a tech day is important to make sure everyone loves what’s going to be created whether it’s for a character or private client.


4. BE PROFESSIONAL

You know, just practice good sanitation, great etiquette, and remain being a professional personality when working. Does that mean you have to be someone you’re not — absolutely not! You can 100% throw your personality into the mix and still be professional. I think business’ get so caught up in being “professional” they forget that during intimate moments, people want to know who’s delivering those services or products. Don’t forget your you’s or why’s. Keep the at your center, even when deciding how to be professional.


5. CREATING A SAFE/HAPPY PLACE

You heard it — life is so dang stressful and you’re not the only one eating ramen like I said earlier. Everyone is facing a great deal of stresses, losses, or disappoints me in their lives. Creating a space/energy that your clients can truly feel at ease during their time with you is so important finding the “right” client for you.

It could be as simple as helping them get settled when they come in for the first time, asking them if they need a drink, diving straight into a polite conversation. You’d be surprised what that initial energy can define about your relationship with that client.

Making sure you provide a safe, clean, and comfortable spot is important as well. Make sure they’re as comfortable as you can reasonably accommodate. I’d highly recommend creating a space to meet with clients, or finding an environment you can control to provide that type of experience with them. Making sure they feel relaxed and comfortable with your skills is super important.


So there you have it. Let me know if you use any of these to help improve your business with clients. I’d love to hear about it.

5 steps to collaborate successfully

Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking. Ashley, styled shoots are the backbone of amer-uh, the entrepreneurial. Don't tell me they're a bad idea. But, hear me out.

I've been in this industry for some time now, ever growing, ever changing, and you guessed it -- ever collaborating. Most of these collaborations have been amazing, but some, well...they've been learning experiences. Thus, I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer out there so people don't make the same mistakes I made about twenty times too many. They say you learn each time you've been "burned" or wronged, whatever you want to call it. But for me? Oh no. My stubborn thick head kept humming the word yes over and over again.

It honestly took me ages to figure out why collaborations weren't going my way. And once I adapted the below, it's saved me a ton of headaches since. Let me spare you the frustration and disappointment of a collaboration gone wrong by sharing my tragedies and triumphs in these 5 easy steps that will leave you less likely to throw in your creative towel and more likely to feeling confident when saying yes to collaborations aka styled shoots.

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1. Tell them what you need.
The first time I signed up a styled shoot, I had ASSumed that all the experts around me knew what I needed. Whether you're a photographer, florist, or like myself, a makeup/hair artist. You need to be clear with your collaborators on what you all need to feel like everyone walked away serving their clients/business.
 

2. If it isn't your style, don't say yes.
You'd think this would be a given. It isn't. You'll find yourself looking for anyone who will snap some images or dust on some makeup that's willing so you'll have something, anything, to post. But if it's not going to serve your portfolio or your social media feeds, than don't say yes.

3. Share your ideas.
You're being asked to collaborate because someone liked what you can do and trusts your vibe. They've given you an idea, but don't be afraid to tweak, share your ideas for changes, or talk about what can be realistically accomplished, they're coming to you because you're an expert in your craft. They're trusting you as a pro, so be it and them 'em what you can offer.

4. Share ALL the vendors.
If the person who has coordinated the shoot didn't collect the social handles for the vendors collaborating. Take it upon yourself to do it. I've been so disappointed watching a large project I collaborated on get posted with credits going out to only a few of the larger vendors and forgetting us little guys. I've been guilty of the same. Don't be afraid to kindly reach out and let them know they forgot to tag you. You collaborated with these people because you felt you could cross your clientele!

5. If you're unhappy, say it.
You can be respectful and share your opinions. If a project you collaborated on, and followed the above 4 steps, turns out to be crap. Tell them. Am I saying send them an email saying, "Hey, this is garbage, here's an invoice". Absolutely not, conduct yourself professionally. There's no need for hurtful words or pitchforks. But if you worked hard and when you get the gallery back, you see it was edited all very dark so your work doesn't show through, or your floral arrangement was pictured from so far away no one can tell if those are roses or, uh, lillies, or um...who really knows. Or the makeup/hair artist used blue eye shadow and the vibe you were hoping for was natural so you had to spend 80 forevers editing out frosted blue shadow. Don't trash the idea, but let someone know when they've fallen short of their expectations. Most people would rather hear it from you, than hear it through the grapevine about them knowing it was you who said it.

That's it. It took me years to understand that standing up, saying no, and being firm in what is expected wasn't "rude" (thanks southern hospitality mind set) but actually a form of good professional communication. You should never walk away from a Styled Shoot with any vendors feeling like they've missed out or wasted their time. I've done it before, but you can certainly prevent it.

 If you're ready to go the extra mile, I even have a Styled Shoot contract that I've made available for download in my Etsy shop, use the code "BLOG10" for 10% off.