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How we work now – Michelle Rooney, Hooker & Young Wynyard

Michelle Rooney had always been tempted by the idea of being a freelancer. She left Hooker & Young and struck out on her own – and as part of our How We Work Now special, she explains why she returned back to the salon

“Having worked at Hooker & Young for years, I’d always been tempted to go it alone but didn’t necessarily want my own salon. So I made a big decision and went freelance.

After a couple of years, I just missed the team I was in before and the stability of salon life. As I’d kept up a great relationship with Gary and Michael, I returned to my old salon at the beginning of last year and I’m so glad I did. I think the bit I found most difficult about being freelance was that you just can’t ever switch off. You have clients messaging you on Boxing Day and holidays become an issue as you’re losing money. I was getting clients calling and texting me while I was away, so you just never feel like you get any downtime.

Because of this, I found it ends up becoming just about the money as opposed to the job. I’ve always loved hairdressing and being creative, but it soon becomes a numbers game. All you’re thinking about is getting as many people in as possible, so you can’t turn anyone anyway and end up working all hours. Not to mention having to do taxes on your own!

Having gone it alone, being back in the salon feels so much more secure. Even silly things like the fact that you feel you can compliment those working around you and get compliments back. If you’re renting a chair, you don’t have that rapport with the others and you don’t want to say someone is better than you in case the client goes to them! It’s lovely having that team ‘bubble’ around you and feeling like you have the support on those difficult days.

I think “the grass isn’t always greener” is the perfect quote for this situation. All the things you moan about being employed are then the things you miss, like regular training – I missed that so much!

Of course, it depends on everyone’s situation and what you want to get out of it. But for me, I prefer a steadier way of life and being able to focus on my passion for my job rather than looking at each client as a number in the bank!