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MUA Business & Marketing

Three Rules for Building a Recession-Proof Business

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Building a Recession-Proof Business


I don’t know if you know this but my makeup business was a total hail-mary. I know, it’s kind of shocking to admit, but I am a big believer in being vulnerable, especially if it helps others. When I was first starting out, I had no idea that I was creating a recession-proof business that would endure for years to come!

Although I always had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, I never thought to be an entrepreneur would “pay the bills.” My makeup artistry business, from the beginning, was supposed to just be a fun side-hustle. My military career had left me at a crossroads and the international business strategy consulting firm I started wasn’t filling my cup.

When I realized nobody really cared about my academic and professional past and that being a makeup artist was good enough, I decided to go all in on makeup, not really knowing what that would look like or how I would forge my own path and stand out without a big name or established reputation to fall back on.

When I first started my makeup artistry business I didn’t know much but a few things I knew were: 

  1. I knew that I 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 how to do makeup and make people feel beautiful. (oh boy I had a lot to learn it turns out)
  2. I knew I wanted to create a business that invited 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 to the table. (yep, inclusive in my copy since 2014)
  3. I knew that I was 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗱 for bigger and brighter things. (I would have to run a business, not a charity).

These might be the same core beliefs you had when you made the decision to build a makeup business, and you know what? I think that’s all you really need. Everyone has to start somewhere and lemme tell you, that somewhere is ground zero.

In this post, I am not going to be talking about makeup specifically. Instead, I’m going to be sharing the three things that I think contributed most to the growth of my business and honestly, everything I still do to this day.

Whenever I get lost in the shuffle, stuck in a comparison trap, or I lose sight of the shore in the middle of a big idea or project, these are the things that bring me back to my truth. 

Okay, so without further ado, let’s get into them!

Recession-Proof Business Makeup Artist Photo

My 3 Golden Rules for Success

1) Create New Things (ahem they *may turn into multiple revenue streams)

Yes, your business is going to sink or swim depending on the quality of the work you create and even more so, the professionalism in your interactions. Period.

But the way you will become recession proof is when you create new things. Try out “ideas.” Organize a shoot. Don’t wait for work to come to you. Make work for yourself.

Some of the “ideas” I created were:

  • Makeup Reset Workshop
  • Bold. Beautiful. Beer Workshop.
  • Makeup Service punch card.
  • Subscription makeup service.
  • Online Classes.
  • Instagram Audits

Some of these endeavors worked. Some fell flat. Others led me to different avenues. If you need help with ideas, I highly encourage you to book a coaching call. I can give you a number of profitable, tangible ideas in an hour. 

Remember, being a makeup artist is about so much more than putting makeup on faces. Anyone can do that. 

You see things in a different way. Your approach to makeup is unique and your ideas and thoughts are so valuable! I sometimes have to remind myself of this, but it is so true. Get out there and create something new and I guarantee, it’ll reinvigorate you. 

You might not have the recognizable name or the big dollar investors like the celebrity makeup artists have, but you have something really special and really rare that they don’t have: your unique point of view! 

Recommended resource: Listen to Part I of my interview with Melissa Street. The first question I ask this 8x Emmy award winning makeup artist what a typical day is like may surprise you. Be ready for doing a lot of things that don’t involve makeup.

2) Community Over Competition (It’s Good Business)

There will be people that copy you. It happened it me, and if you’re good enough  it will happen to you. Check out episode 2 of my interview with Eugenia Weston — a huge name in the beauty industry was copied by a massive brand. You should see how she responded. It’s so good.

Remember, while “seeking inspiration” or straight up copying may “work” in the short term, you won’t be able to keep up. The beauty industry is competitive but just know that when you try to compete with someone, you aren’t coming up with anything new. And when someone copies you, they’ll eventually run out of content or come across as inauthentic.

There is enough room for everyone at the table. Rather than seeing every new makeup artist you meet as an enemy, see them as a community of people you can learn from, bounce ideas off of, collaborate with, and yes, even sometimes commiserate with (after all, no one “gets it” better than another makeup artist!).

Of course, I understand that when you’re just starting out, it can be overwhelming and ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know. Instead of swiping someone else’s processes or their business model, invest in templates and systems from people you trust. This is a great way to get everything up and running without having to build from scratch. For example, the templates in my template shop are totally brandable and you can customize and use them in just minutes!

Natalie Setareh Template Shop Mockup

3) Listen To Your Universe (you can’t afford to be “fake” in this industry)

Stop comparing yourself and your timing and the things you are doing against other people. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s that. No one else has the unique perspective and vision that you have and only you can decide what to do with those gifts.

Building a Recession-Proof Business Quote Graphic

Remember to serve your audience and your clients. When you focus on the people who actually hire you, invest in you, ask you beauty questions — listen. Serve them. If you focused on getting everyone else in the world to notice you, you’ll either become broke or burnt-out. 

Strike a healthy balance between planning and following your intuition. I always have an idea of what I want the year to look like, but I am constantly changing and adapting that plan. Like, constantly. As I have new ideas and lightbulb moments, I cross things out and add new things in.

It is SO important to listen and flow with the universe, not create rigid plans that you feel so attached to that you won’t consider changing them when it serves you.

So that’s it, those are my three rules for building a makeup business that endures! Which one do you think will be the most difficult for you to embrace? Let me know in the comments! I would love to continue this conversation with you. 

Are you looking to start your own recession-proof business? I can help you grow your makeup side-hustle organically and strategically using tried-and-true techniques that are surprisingly easy once you know what you’re doing. Get on the waitlist for the course by clicking the banner below!

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

kevyn aucoin