Feeling like giving up on your career in hair and beauty? Read this article first

Giving up

You are tired. No, not tired – you are exhausted. You wake up in the morning and already feel discouraged. You hear that the government has some new announcements and you curl up in a rush of anxiety. Thinking about your business does not spark joy – it’s quite the opposite, really. You catch yourself asking these questions over and over again – is it even worth it at this point? Do I even want to be a hairstylist, a nail technician, a PMU artist, a massage therapist any longer? Do I even like my profession after all of this? There are days when you seriously consider quitting. You even started to browse local job offers and are slowly getting used to the thought that there is no other option.

If this sounds like the situation you are in, then this article is for you.

How COVID-19 affected the hair and beauty industry

The coronavirus outbreak has hit small and medium-sized businesses really, really hard. The entire Personal Care sector suffered especially badly, experiencing a year of a literal rollercoaster of closings, reopenings, new (oftentimes quite contradictory) instructions, information chaos, sudden announcements, lockdowns and restrictions. The first mandatory closure, although difficult, went rather smoothly, with most hair and beauty specialists candidly believing that it will help to calm the situation and they will be able to operate normally soon after. Unfortunately, the fight with the virus is not a fair one and at this point, lockdowns became even more chaotic and sudden. It’s no wonder that the entire industry is on the verge of a breakdown – especially the smaller salons and solo practitioners, either working mobile or renting spaces. According to the statistics delivered by the NHBF for November 2020, 62% of salon owners claimed that they are not sure if their business will survive until the end of the financial year (April 2021), and 18% of them openly declared that they will probably be forced to close.

However, it’s important to notice that finances are not the only area of your trade affected by the outbreak. There are multiple social and even cultural changes that have occurred (and keep occurring) due to COVID-19, and many of them influence the Personal Care sector directly. The coronavirus outbreak literally shook some of the industry’s paradigms, bringing changes to the way hair and beauty professionals manage their businesses, from the form of taking bookings to ways in which they earn revenue. Just think about it – a year ago, the walk-in culture used to be very prominent, especially in the United Kingdom. Now, walk-ins are not even legally allowed in salons.

Why are we recapping all of this? Because before we move forward to the more personal matters, it’s very important for you to understand that yes, the industry has changed and yes, it’s different from what you’ve signed for. You have all the right on the planet Earth to feel estranged, confused, discouraged and even abandoned. What you experience is valid and very real. The question remains – what are you going to do about it?

Is it your business or is it your state of mind?

It’s beyond dispute that the current situation took a toll on the mental health of basically everyone. The more you were affected by the outbreak, the more serious may the consequences be for your well-being. Many hair and beauty specialists started experiencing signs of depression and/or anxiety, and those who had already suffered from these disorders noticed worsening symptoms.

Both depression (which is a clinical disease, not a simple “bad mood”) and anxiety (or, to be precise, generalised anxiety disorder) are very serious issues that should never be treated lightly. According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, in Great Britain alone, one in fifteen people have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Even before the pandemic, working in the Personal Care sector was associated with exposure to constant stress caused by working with people, being burdened with their problems, facing negative feedback and emotional reactions from them, and much, much more. Now that you additionally face the harsh reality of running a business in very uncertain times and cannot even unwind properly, your mental state may be, euphemistically speaking, not in its prime.

Tip: We wholeheartedly encourage you to read our piece on mental health in the hair and beauty industry – it provides more details and may help you to potentially understand your situation better and be able to help yourself and others.

How does it all relate to the topic of your professional burnout? It’s the fact that your mental state may very much affect the way you perceive things. One of the most characteristic symptoms of depression as well as anxiety are feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, loss of energy and seeing things worse than they are in reality. It’s also typical for people who suffer from mental health disorders to no longer be able to feel passionate about their hobbies.

Now, no one can deny that the situation that you are in is actually difficult. Nevertheless, it’s vital to try to assess how bad it is in reality, and how much of it is exaggerated by your own head. In situations like this, you should always begin by taking care of yourself.

  • Try to relax and unwind (yes, it is hard, but please, at least give it a try). A well-rested mind is far more productive and is better at processing things.
  • Analyse your current state of mind. Again, give our article on mental health a go – you can find a very basic guideline regarding the early symptoms of mental health disorders there. Are you constantly nervous, restless or tense? Do you feel anxious, as if something bad is going to happen, even for no apparent reason? Do you feel tired no matter how much you rest? Do you feel worthless and guilty? Do you have problems with concentration, changes in appetite or sleep patterns?
  • If these symptoms sound familiar, consult with a psychiatrist. They will be able to diagnose you properly and suggest the best treatment options. And don’t let harmful stereotypes stop you from getting professional help – it’s the most respectable, responsible and mature thing to do!

Seeing your business for what it is

Now, let’s state this very clearly – having depression or anxiety does not rule out experiencing a professional burnout or genuine problems with your business. Yes, it may make the issue seem worse, but it’s not like one excludes the other. After getting better thanks to professional help, you will be able to perceive things more objectively.

Now ask yourself – what is the culprit of my doubts? Be 100% honest with yourself. Only by answering truthfully you can find the real solution to your problem.

The financial damage is just too much

It is a very valid concern – nevertheless, before you make any final decisions, make sure to take a look at the actual numbers. Aside from the “hard ones”, such as sales, profits and cash flow, think about other ways in which your salon was affected. Did you have to lay off some of your employees? Have a fair share of the products in stock gone bad? Have you taken a loan that you will have to pay off? Write it all down. Analyse all bills, costs and statistics with a cool mind. If you are using Versum, make sure to generate your financial report.

Only you know if the numbers you see are possible to salvage and if you think it’s worth the effort. If you decide to keep on fighting, remember about all the financial help schemes provided by the government. Also, don’t forget to revamp your budget, making the recovery its main goal.

The future is too uncertain

Truth be told, most industries were hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and a job change, although seemingly being the best solution, may not work as well as you anticipated. Service workers were presumably affected the most, followed up by art, design, entertainment and media workers, construction workers, sales workers, transporter workers and manufacturers. It’s difficult to find a job that will provide you with stability and, at the same time, will not require special qualifications and years of experience. The grass is always greener on the other side – before you decide you will do better by going through a change of industry, make sure you have solid information on how secure and substantial your intended new job really is.

I don’t like the direction the industry is heading

If you are a people person who always loved the social aspects of your job, you are probably devastated with how things are like right now. You miss the casualness of taking walk-ins, chatting with half of the salon on lazy mornings, treating customers to tea and biscuits, organising parties and giving your favourite clients warm goodbye hugs. The worst part is that everyone says that the current standards are “the new reality” and that you should get used to them, because there is no going back. In such circumstances, it’s no wonder you no longer feel the motivation to overcome the struggles.

Yes, the restrictions may stay with us for a while and yes, most probably some elements of customer service will change for good. Possibly, we will become more dependent on virtual receptionists, keep very high hygiene requirements and using software to manage appointments will become an industry standard, however, there is no way that hair and beauty services will become less personal and intimate. It may be quite the opposite, really – once the situation settles, thanks to mass vaccinations and the acquisition of herd immunity, many people will be anxiously looking forward to receiving some personal attention. They will crave the friendly atmosphere of a welcoming salon and, with some healthy security measures in place, you will be able to provide them with customer service like in the good old days.

Finding love in a hopeless place

Finding the true source of your problems and calmly analysing the pros and cons of each possible solution is the only way to go. Take a moment to remind yourself about all the good things you’ve experienced at your salon – think about all your accomplishments and daily successes, even the smallest ones. Ask yourself – “what made me so passionate about this job in the first place?” Is it possible to feel like that ever again? Try to look at the situation from a different angle. Is the pandemic a huge challenge that you just want to overcome and fight for your salon, or maybe it is another blow to a person who has been losing heart for their career for quite some time now?

Whatever your decision may be, remember that our team is always there for you, delivering industry news, business advice and tips on how to get your salon back on track after a crisis. Our software offers a wide range of features that can help you to get through financially (such as the Online store and Online vouchers), reopen in accordance with the restrictions (such as the Screening Questionnaire and online booking) and keep developing your business in any circumstances (such as Marketing Automation and Loyalty Program). If you decide to keep on fighting, give Versum a go – we will happily fight by your side!

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