At ProAiir we're dedicated to educating artists in every way possible. In this case, we want to talk about tips on running a business. Sure, we're known for our knowledge about makeup, but we also know a thing or two about running a successful business.
Perhaps you recently launched or are considering starting up a face painting business. Maybe you've even stocked up on the best supplies (ProAiir Makeup and StencilEyes, of course!), and have even tackled a few gigs.
Congratulations! Sounds like you're off to a great start. Getting up and running is a huge step and likely required a substantial financial investment. We encourage you to read on, follow these self promotion tips aimed at ensuring your discoverability, and land more gigs in no time!
To start off, effective business cards are a MUST! Keep a stack of professional looking cards with you at all times, and don’t be shy about handing them out at every opportunity.
Effective, memorable business cards should contain the following elements:
Your business name
Your full name
Your preferred methods of contact; email, phone, etc.
Your website if you have one (which we will touch on later)
Any social media handle that showcases your work.
Design your cards with the mindset of making them stand out from others. Have fun with the layout by including photos of your best work and sprinkle those cards everywhere! Many businesses gladly allow others to prominently post their cards near entrances. Check out the links below for card building ideas and tools. These sites have templates you can use and they offer useful info (e.g. typical dimensions) should you choose to design your own with a tool like Photoshop.
These days, EVERY business is on social media in some way, shape or form. You don’t have to be on all platforms, but pick at least one to showcase your business. Instagram and Facebook are my personal favorites for marketing small businesses. Both allow you to create FREE business accounts, enabling you to keep your personal and business sides separate.
Instagram is strictly for video and photo content and is great for displaying your work. Post crisp, clean photos for a professional look.
Some ideas for photos/video posts:
- A silly selfie of your painted face
- Your compact, orderly set up
- Happy, smiling customers around your booth or tent
- Your rainbow of makeup colors
People scroll quickly through social media so you need to capture their attention with beautiful photos, funny videos, discounts, testimonials, catchy verbiage, etc. Express yourself briefly and to the point.
Facebook business pages allow you to “check in” to locations such as events you're attending. It welcomes people to share posts, “like” your page, and leave ratings and reviews. Unlike Instagram, Facebook is for posting visual AND textual content. Posts containing photos or videos almost always garner more attention than words alone. Consider having an exclusive hashtag for tagging photos and post it in your booth for customers to use when they post their photos.
Instagram and Facebook both offer paid advertising to better reach local users in demographics of your choosing. This can be super helpful, but is not necessary. If you have money to spare and want to test it out, go for it! Just be sure to have an evaluation system in place to see if it was worth the investment. One super cool thing about these two sites is that they can be synced. For example, set it up so that when you post a photo on Facebook it automatically posts to Instagram. With consistency and dedication, your pages can reach tons of people organically.
While social media is booming, still nothing screams "professional" more than having a nice website showcasing your offerings. With Facebook pages being so commonplace, a well designed website can tell people everything they need to know to make an informed decision about hiring you. Effective websites share the following features:
- Clearly stated contact information
- Rates, ranges, and available package deals
- Space and time required to set up/pack up
- Photos of your work
- Distances you are willing to travel
- Testimonials from past clients
Aim for a clean and professional look, with a flair towards fun! Include photos of your best work and awesome set up! Show people what they can expect when they hire a PROFESSIONAL artist! In markets with many face painters, small things set you apart from others.
For some, the thought of building a website may be daunting. We get it. Luckily, these and other awesome, simple, effective self-service apps can help get your site up and looking fab in no time!
Once your website is up, immediately sign up for a FREE Google Business account! Google is the most popular online search engine in the world. When someone searches “face painter near me”, you want your business to pop up and be displayed on a map. If your business has a physical location, use that address in your listing. If you travel, use an approximate location central to your working radius. (Example, Type your city).
When clicking on your Google listing, customers will have the option to call you right then and there, or follow the attached link to your website and/or Facebook page where they can see your info. Include pictures of your art and encourage customers to post their own photos to be displayed on your listing page.
Google Business favors listings that have a lot of action and engagement going on. You can post upcoming events to announce where you will be working! The more positive ratings and reviews you receive on your business, the quicker you will jump to the top of the list. Remember to always respond to customer reviews!
As stated at the outset, starting a business typically requires an upfront investment. When considering startup costs, be sure to factor in the cost of equipment, supplies, and your set up/display. At busy festivals with hundreds, even thousands of patrons, you want your space to scream “STOP HERE!”. Don't skimp on banners that clearly illustrate designs offered, your business name, and contact info (below are links to sites where you can easily design banners). Make sure people know who you are and exactly what you offer. Hand out business cards when you can, and leave an accessible stack for attendees to grab. It also helps to have a tent that stands out from all the white E-Z Ups out there.
Once in your tent, position customers so that others can witness your work and experience the smiles and joy that result from a job well done. Nothing makes a better first impression to passersby than happy customers. Tooting our own horn just a bit, face painting done with ProAiir Makeup and StencilEyes makes lasting impressions long after a customer leaves your chair. Consistent, well done, high quality, water and heat resistant designs last for hours. Because ProAiir makeup is cosmetic alcohol based, designs withstand extreme conditions, yet wash off easily with soap and water at bedtime.
for a free face paint removal printable document. Every customer that leaves your tent is like a walking billboard! Because ProAiir is certified “skin safe”, you and your customers can relax and enjoy the experience.
Check out Esigns
for design and creation of beautiful, vibrant, high quality banners.
Shameless Self Promotion
Aside from online advertising, here are some awesome ways to self promote. The more you put yourself out there, the better the odds of you being noticed!
Paint your face before going out to run errands! Be ready to hand out business cards when people strike up conversation.
Donate your time and service at charity events. Offering a limited set of designs and colors is a great way to practice and get your name out there.
Ask customers to leave reviews online. Hand them a business card to serve as a reminder.
Install custom made magnets or stickers on your car. Make your business stick in the minds of people around town.
Let’s not forget the oldest form of exposure and recommendation, WORD OF MOUTH! When somebody has a great experience, they jump at the opportunity to recommend you!
Get Creative & Have Fun!
Think outside the box and have fun with your self promotion. It takes time and effort to build up your clientele, so don’t let the process stress you out! Art is all about having fun, unleashing your creativity, and putting smiles on the faces of those who hop into our chairs.
In addition to public festivals, consider making yourself available for hire at private events. Private gigs produce the same feelings of joy and success as public festivals do, with one added benefit: guaranteed income! At private events, rates are typically negotiated in advance and you get paid, rain or shine.
If you're new to the face painting business and not yet swamped with paying jobs, know that there are still tons of opportunities to “work”! Public events and festivals are always looking to rent out vendor spaces which more often than not result in very successful days of painting. Building a consistent and loyal clientele requires time and effort.
Follow these tips, keep working hard, be patient, and most of all have fun! As always, feel free to reach out to the team at ProAiir / ShowOffs for all your supplies and/or educational needs.