How to Build a Customer Base and Market Yourself as a Freelance Makeup Artist

International Career Institute - Market Yourself as a Freelance Makeup Artist

So, you’re taking action to acquire your Beauty Therapy & Makeup certificate. Good for you! With the right passion and flair, a career as a makeup artist can be exciting and rewarding. You get to do something you enjoy every day, yet no two days are the same. Makeup artistry brings with it loads of creative freedom, and who doesn’t want that?

With the International Career Institute’s Beauty Therapy and Makeup certificate, you can interact and learn from very successful, highly qualified and experienced professionals. You will:

  • Identify the main functions of the skin to apply knowledge of skin biology
  • Learn how to promote skin health and care and how to prepare skin for cleansing
  • Learn how to analyse faces, context and client characteristics
  • Discover how to select the right products and equipment
  • Investigate new products and services
  • Learn how to apply makeup and false lashes
  • Learn how to provide lash and brow treatments

Most importantly, you’ll learn how to apply this new information to turn your knowledge into a dream career. After all, it’s what comes after your certificate that determines your success.

Marketing yourself as a freelance makeup artist

A career in makeup artistry can lead down many paths and offers opportunity in film and television, runway events, print, red carpet, theatre, costume makeup, bridal, spa/medical, and funeral homes. But let’s say you don’t want to cement yourself into a particular role, preferring life as a freelance makeup artist. What’s next?

As a freelance makeup artist, you are the core of your business. You are the only one who can ensure that every aspect of your business is running smoothly. Your role as a freelancer will include things like; profile building, bookkeeping, bidding on jobs, collecting testimonials, invoicing, writing creative briefs, managing IT and maintaining equipment.

You’ll need to be a multi-tasking wizard, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll fly through every responsibility with a smile on your face. There’s something hugely gratifying about doing it all!

One role that we didn’t mention above was marketing yourself. Marketing yourself as a freelance makeup artist is so important that we thought it deserves its own special mention. Probably be the most difficult part of your business, marketing takes careful consideration, time and creative thinking and requires you to use a variety of different methods.

Your livelihood solely depends on how you market yourself, so the more diligent you are in this area of responsibilities, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy a profitable full-time career as a makeup artist.

Turning marketing into client development

Client development is about becoming visible and credible to your target market. It requires trust-based relationships that stem from exceeding client expectation.

You do not become a visible and credible makeup artist simply by being highly skilled. Certain qualities and effort is a necessity, but these are only a starting point. Skill is what gets you in the game, whereas marketing is the playing of the game.

When marketing yourself, try to:

Look and feel confident

Before you can market yourself, you should be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Reflect on your distinct talents and professional achievements and use these to make sure that you believe in your own abilities. Good self-promotion starts with a good perception of yourself, so start building your ‘brag bag’ to paint a unique picture of yourself you can feel confident in.

Master your elevator pitch

Most people make their mind up about a person within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. Many say it takes just 7 seconds. When introducing yourself, look smart, make eye contact, smile, speak clearly, shake hands and know your elevator pitch. It should be quick, well-crafted and memorised. Imagine you’re in an elevator with the organiser of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and you’ve got to convince them you’re the right person to create the looks for all the runway models before the elevator reaches the next level. Your pitch should be compelling enough that once you’ve reached the desired floor, the person you’re talking to will want to continue the conversation.


With your elevator pitch mastered, it’s time to connect with people in your industry using a variety of methods. Chat to people at live events, connect on LinkedIn and other social platforms, and get to know your local businesses. Your network is your ally and provides word-of-mouth marketing for your business. And word-of-mouth marketing is the best advertising tool you have. As Mark Zuckerberg puts it, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising”.

Get social

Speaking of Mark Zuckerberg, social media is an easy and affordable way to promote yourself to a mass audience. Don’t just build a page and expect people to come though – you’ve got to work at social media constantly.

Because it’s essential that you set yourself apart from your competition, your social media branding should be visually strong. How people see you on social media is how you represent yourself to others. Focus on quality not quantity and choose just a few social media platforms to invest your energy. Sticking to popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest will allow you to give them the time they deserve. Spread yourself too thin and you won’t make a strong impact.

Build a portfolio

If you’ve never had clients before, offer your friends and family a makeup session in exchange for a photo. Once you start gaining clients, try to capture every look you create. ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots are particularly helpful, as they highlight your skills in an instant. Aim to keep both an online and hard copy of your portfolio.

Serve and care, not sell

When pitching to potential clients, only tell them what’s relevant to them. People have short attention spans and they want to get to the heart of how you can help them, not how great your service or a product is. Be gentle in your sales technique by finding out exactly what the client wants and then addressing their individual requirements. If you bombard them with information that’s not relevant you’ll seem pushy, when instead you should appear caring. If you still haven’t hooked them, you could try securing them with a level of urgency, such as “I’ve only got a small window that day, so you’ll need to book with me as soon as possible if you’d like to go ahead.”

Make videos

These days, people turn to platforms like YouTube for their beauty advice, makeup tutorials and product reviews. Create high quality YouTube videos that people love and not only will you attract business, you could make partnerships on YouTube to supplement your income while still following your passion in makeup.

Leveraging your skills as a freelance makeup artist

The bottom line is that there are a ton of ways to market yourself as a freelance makeup artist. Work on your marketing plan now and once that certificate is in your hand you’ll be ready to go. Give yourself a headstart and make a plan today!

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.