I have to admit that, in general, I have a very relaxed attitude toward business. This last year, I set a goal of increasing my gross income 50%, which was fairly ambitious considering I didn’t have a plan in place to bring it about other than painting my absolute best for each client and working hard. As it turned out, I ended up with a 25% increase, which is still a good thing and definitely beats a decrease, but if I had created a business plan, I’m sure I would have seen more growth. So for 2017, I’ve given some thought to the following short and long term goals to help my business increase.
Contact Corporate Clients at the end of the Year
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I was so busy last year and still relatively new as a face painter that I didn’t do this at the beginning of the year. A few corporate clients had booked their dates a year in advance without prompting, but not all of them. As a result, I had to find a replacement for myself at a some events because I didn’t know the dates the clients needed me to reserve. Since I’d rather paint for my corporate clients personally, this year I’m taking action to reserve their dates and not waiting for them to come to me.
Contact Non-Corporate Clients as Well to Reserve Their Party Dates Early
This is definitely a bigger task, since the majority of my clients are not corporate. Why do it? Because I pay in some way to acquire clients, whether they come through advertising, my website, or the services I use. While I still have room for new clients, I want to give previous clients my first attention, because I appreciate them for having chosen to use me in the past. I value their business, and I’d like to keep it.
Add New Skills
Most entertainers have a main skill and supplement their business with lesser skills which are added to increase their marketability. I haven’t done this much, unless you count offering glitter tattoos. My main focus has always been face painting, and it probably always will be. I could continue to face paint and stay right where I am, but if I want my business to grow, it is necessary to think creatively about what other skills I could or should offer to customers.
I’m planning to work on airbrush tattoos this year, since I’ve airbrushed in the past with other types of paint. I’m also hoping to build my caricature skills, having done some portraiture work, although it will take several years of training to develop that ability. (Caricatures are a long term goal.)
I would suggest finding a skill you have an interest in and an aptitude for. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying many things. Just choose one thing you can learn. It can be anything from magic tricks to henna to balloon twisting, but expect it to take time for you to become truly proficient before offering the new skill to your clients. They pay a lot for you to be at a party, so make sure you’re worth it.
Analyze the Previous Year
While it doesn’t seem like much fun, organizing your records and preparing taxes will help you take a close look at how your company performed the previous year. You can’t make improvements if you have no idea what happened the year before. What were your costs? How much time did you spend each week running your business? What was your actual hourly wage after subtracting your expenses and taxes and dividing your net income by all the hours you worked—not just the hours you face painted for clients. Does this number surprise you? How can you be more efficient in your time usage as well as your income usage?
Set up a System of Accountability
If you thought analyzing your business was tough, you may not like this one. As I said earlier, I’m not a super-motivated business person. I just like face painting kids because it makes them happy. Left to my own devices, my good intentions sometimes fall by the wayside after a couple of months as life gets busier. To keep this from happening, find one person who is willing to hold you accountable, and don’t get mad when he or she does. Try to pick someone who is more motivated than you are, but isn’t quite a maniacal slave-driver. It will help you to follow through on your plans if you’re going to have to answer to someone if you slough off a bit.
December and January are good months to evaluate your business goals. We all like fresh starts. Don’t worry if you had a less than stellar year in 2016. The new year is here, and by carrying what you learned forward, choosing your goals, and implementing a plan to grow, this year will be better than ever.
Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in Elgin, Illinois. She services the western and northwestern Chicago suburbs, Chicago’s north side, and the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Rockford. Stop by Clownantics.com to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.