If you caught part one of Becoming a MVP last week, we talked about three characteristics to cultivate in order to become a Most Valuable Player (or Most Valuable Painter) for your clients. This week, I have 4 more things I think are equally worth cultivating to make your business shine and to keep your customers loyal.
Have a positive mental attitude
There are days when you will arrive at your final event for the day with sore feet, a weary back, and a persistently throbbing headache after fighting traffic and skipping dinner to arrive on time. You won’t feel like putting on a cheerful smile and offering an enthusiastic greeting to your hostess or the room full of noisily happy kids. On those crazy days, you have to make a decision to have a positive attitude rather than relying on your feelings of the moment.
The good thing is that it’s easier to produce a genuine smile if you remember that you are a very special component of their party. The young guests who instantly line up when you appear with your equipment have possibly been looking forward to your arrival for days. This may be one of many events for you, but for the birthday child or guests of honor, it is the one and only party celebrating him or her for the entire year, so put on your best smile and make it great, no matter how you feel.
Professional appearance and kit
This category incorporates all sorts of sub-categories, such as keeping a clean kit, setting up an organized, hygienic process while painting, and using professional supplies. What I have noticed is that there can be a big difference between the way professional face painters and hobbyist face painters approach an event when it comes to these mechanics. If you are advertising as a professional, however, clients will expect a higher quality of equipment, kit maintenance, and face painting protocol on your part. Don’t let them down.
For hygiene, use a brush bath while working, and clean your brushes and kit thoroughly between events. I use three wells for water—one with brush bath, one with rinse water, and one with clean water. If any of them get too murky, I pour them into a container below my work area and get fresh water. (Don’t put your container up on the table where you’re working, by the way. I’ve had people put tips into mine—EW!—a couple of times, not realizing it had dirty paint water in it already.)
Keep your kit in order, and wipe the surfaces during and after events. Use a clean sponge for each child. Enforce a well-child policy and keep a few regular tattoos or fun stickers on hand to ward off tears of disappointment for those who cannot be painted because of contagious symptoms. Use professional, high quality face paints, which are actually makeup and not paint. (I shudder when I see a “pro” using acrylic paint.) Only use cosmetic glitters, which will not damage the eyes.
This list goes on, but you get the idea. If you’re going to call yourself a professional, make sure you have the supplies, equipment, and procedures to back up your claim.
Train and practice
Everyone begins somewhere, so don’t feel you are inferior because you’re still developing your abilities. We are all in some stage of artistic development. The important thing is to not stay where you are.
A professional athlete doesn’t just show up on the field or court each week and rely on his natural talent and ability. He works hard all week long to bring his best to each game. He particularly targets his weaknesses in order to make them better.
You owe it to your clients to do the same for them. No matter your skill level, you can always become better with knowledge and hard work, and you’ll find that if you persevere, it will turn you into a MVP as you raise your quality of work.
Be kind, understanding, and flexible
People are people wherever you go. They have good days and bad days, just like you. If the hostess is flustered, or you don’t feel appreciated, or a grandmother insists that you paint just one more child, be kind and understanding. Do what you can to make the event easier for the hostess, and don’t gripe over little things, like having to relocate after you set up in one location or painting three minutes extra because Uncle Archie wanted to get a football on his face and didn’t realize it was time for you to pack up. (That last one will depend on your event schedule, of course.)
Being an understanding and flexible person to work with is a great way to become a MVP for your clients, and it will make you their favorite choice the next time they need a face painter.
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