There's no doubt that being a henna artist is one of the most fun jobs in the world.
You get to interact with people from all kinds of cultures, you're expressing your creativity and you get a little art therapy along the way.
But there's one major drawback...
It's totally dead during the winter. And if you're in a cold country like me, it can feel like an eternity.
Winter = fewer clients = less income and your henna business obviously can't grow.
So you got one of two choices...
Give up on the idea of running a sustainable henna business and keep it as a side hustle forever
Use the slow season wisely to build enough hype so you can get fully booked when the season picks up again.
Here's the beauty of this profession - you can totally make your year's worth of income in the few months of summer, but it won't ever work if you're not working during the winter strategically.
Don't believe me?
Let's break it down...
Now depending on which part of the world you're in, but if you're working on brides, you can make an average of $150 - $600 per bride. Which means you would need a minimum of 3 - 4 brides a week for a period of 4 months to make 6 months to a year's worth of income.
So if you want to turn your henna hobby into an actual money-making career, then hang on tight cause I'm about to throw 8 effective tips your way!
** FREEBIE ALERT**
1) GET INTO CONTENT CREATION MODE
Unlike other artists, I actually look forward to the winter because it gives me the room and space to be as creative as I want.
That's when I'll get into extreme content creation mode.
Meaning, I'll devote time to some product shots and flat-lays at home (similar to the image below)...
I'll create enough of these photos to last me the coming few months leading up to henna and wedding season.
Good content will be a striving force in attracting followers and customers.
2) TAKE PART IN COLLABORATIVE PHOTOSHOOTS
Speaking of content creation, this is a perfect time to collaborate with others who are in similar industries.
The season could have slowed down for them too so it's a total win-win.
I have done many shoots myself collaborating with: make up artists, photographers, hairstylists, etc. (and it doesn't even have to cost you a single dollar).
Here's a shoot I did with a yoga instructor...
And the best part?
You're getting more exposure from their audience as well since they'll be posting on their website and social media channels too, while giving you credit.
3) UPDATE YOUR PORTFOLIO + WEBSITE
Sure people are probably too busy holiday shopping or planning their Christmas vacation, which is exactly why this is a good time as any to update your website and portfolio.
And the good news is, you can use the new content you've created from your photoshoots!
As henna artists, it's absolutely crucial to portray your best work because that's what's going to attract your dream client.
We're always so fixated on perfecting our designs and henna recipes, that we totally lose track of having to continually market ourselves.
You should treat your website and portfolio like a store front, and so your photos will speak volumes to a potential client if they're nicely polished and curated.
4) CREATE A LOYALTY PROGRAM
Loyalty programs are a great way to re-book past clients. And here's something you probably didn't know...
It's waaaaay easier to get a repeat customer than it is to acquire a totally new client.
Because they already interacted with you. An open channel has already been formed with them.
So if you create some sort of loyalty program like: $10 off your next appointment, or half off for you and a friend, then you're enticing them to come back to you.
5) GATHER TESTIMONIALS + REVIEWS
Reviews are so important, because that's how people will base their decision whether to book you or not, even if they've never heard of you before.
While clients won't intuitively offer writing a testimonial, I find that's it's always best to ask for the review after they've had the experience with you.
That's when you really gotta shine and truly leave an impression on your client.
Use the dead month of winter to go through your client list and actively get in touch either through email or whatever method of communication to ask for a review.
Another little bonus tip here is that you can introduce your loyalty program to a past client - it might encourage them to book with you again.
Because remember, it's a whole lot easier to get a past client to purchase from you a second time than it is acquiring an entirely new client.
6) BE INTENTIONAL WITH TRADE SHOWS
Trade shows can be successful or it can be a total bust.
I've taken part in quiet a handful and got some clients, while others were just a total waste of my time.
You would need to be extremely deliberate with your trade shows and whether or not it's the right show that attracts the kind of clients you want to work with.
The drawback of this is that some trade shows are wickedly expensive, so the goal here is not to turn for an immediate profit, but to make an introductory to people who are actively looking for henna artists.
Think of it like a networking event.
You're sole purpose is to collect as much leads as possible which brings us to tip number 5...
7) NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LEADS
Did you know it takes exactly 7 touch points for a lead to turn into a client or customer?
Basically what that means is, it takes at least 7 points of exposure before someone decides to book you.
So it can literally look like this:
An introduction is made
They follow you on Instagram or sign up to your Email newsletter
They start seeing your posts or emails
They decide to comment and engage with you
They ask you for your rates and packages
They do some more research
You close the deal!
That's why it's so important for you to nurture your relationship with leads you've made during trade shows, or even followers you have on your social media channels.
People are not going to find out about you and instantly be sold. It needs to take a little bit of convincing.
Think about it like this... would you ask a total stranger to borrow some money?
But what if it's a super close friend? The chances increase, right?
And that's why you need to constantly nurture your relationship with them by being the best friend they never had, so when the time they're ready to book a henna artist, you're instantly at the top of their minds.
8) SPEND SOME TIME ON EDUCATION
We're lucky that most henna workshops and conference occur during the fall or winter.
While devoting time to practice henna and attending these workshops is all well and great, it's not actually what I mean by "spending time on self-educating".
What I really mean is be active in reading or finding online material that will help you in becoming a better entrepreneur (not henna artist).
We always lose sight of the fact that if you want to be a profitable henna artist, you also need to act the filling roles of a: CEO, Marketer, Social Media Strategist, Photographer, etc.
Look up articles online, watch Youtube videos and always ask other successful artists smart questions about business (not just henna).
The knowledge that you gain out of self-educating will accelerate your business growth and give you the ability to stand out from your competition.
While winter can be a great time to slip into hibernation mode (hello fuzzy blankets), it doesn't have to be as dead of a season as you think.
You should use the winter as a way to generate off-season hype so that when the time comes, people are already reaching for their wallets and super eager to book with you.
Not to mention the fact that this is an awesome time to start up the projects you've always been delaying.
Use this time to create collaborative photoshoots that will help you grow and allow you to create positive relationships with others in your industry.
And make it a point to always and constantly be nurturing your relationship with your social media followers, past clients and even potential clients as well.