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Real Talk – Joanne Fox on investment

The flexibility and freedom of freelance life has extension specialist Joanne Fox hooked for life – with one caveat…

I love being freelance, I have such a good relationship with my clients. It keeps the appointments personal as they are getting the entire service by me, as opposed to a salon were a junior will wash their hair and start their blow-dry etc. It certainly doesn’t feel lonely as I’m always with a client having a catch-up.

I do think that being freelance and working alone means it’s so important to keep up with education, as you haven’t got that salon experience and colleagues to learn from. I regularly attend workshops and courses and as I specialise in hair extensions, so I’m always looking to learn new fitting methods. I have recently been on a couple of workshops covering cutting techniques and finishing, as well as a photography course to help with my imagery. You can never stop learning in our industry, no matter where you’re based.

Courses are also a great way of meeting other like-minded professionals.  I’m really lucky to have quite a few clients who are hairdressers too, so when it comes to chatting colours and techniques I still have girls to turn to, and they do the same for me. I also have great support from the hair brands I use and I’m active in several social media groups. Remi Cachet get their Super Stylists together regularly, so seeing the same group regularly is really helpful.

I’m not the most organised when it comes to bookwork and accounts. I was lucky when I started on my own that my dad is an accountant, so he made sure I was set up from the start correctly. More recently I signed up to Quickbooks to help keep things up to date. I’m not great with anything tech-wise but I have got the hang of it now, and it has made that side of my business so much easier.

I’d say before anyone ventures into freelance work you need to be prepared for the long hours and hard work. Building up a loyal client base takes time and recommendations are always the best, so you need to always give 110 per cent. Education is so important in our industry, you need to always invest in yourself. My advice would be to keep a little back each month to invest in developing your skills and staying current. Most of all enjoy it – it will show if you don’t.

The pros far outweigh the cons for me when it comes to being freelance, I can work around my kids and have a fantastic relationship with all my clients – I love it!