Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ten Tips to Recession Proof Your Career from Michael DeVellis

It's not getting any easier out there. Competition is growing, the economy is in a tailspin and you are stuck with the results of poor fiscal planning on the part of people you'll never meet and likely couldn't care to. How will you be sure that you can make the most of your career now, and be sure to keep it growing as things turn around in the economy? Michael DeVellis, founder of The Powder Group, The Makeup Show and On Makeup Magazine, offers these ten tips on securing the future of your career. 

1) Meet more industry leaders
Knowing the people who make the industry move is a our number one way to ensure you get the work that you want - when you want it. But knowing them is just a part of the task - they must know you! Meet the cosmetics company owners and executives that you need to know, the agents and union artists that can hire and get you work and the pros who can bring you onboard their artist teams.

2) Know things that other makeup artists don't
One of the most sure-fire ways to be the first makeup artist people think of when hiring talent is to be the one they are certain knows the job best. Whether you use every skill in your repertoire on every job - understanding the implications of Hi-Def, how to create a realistic bruise, when airbrushing is the best option, or how photography effects the direction of your makeup application - will make you the expert that clients will hire every time.

3) Maximize your online presence
Nearly every search for new talent starts out online. Whether you are with an agency or out there on your own. Regardless of whether your specialty is bridal, film, catalogue or FX, the first thing most people know about you is what you tell them through your online presence. Maximize online networks like Linkedin, Myspace, Youtube, and Facebook, and back it all up with a great website, amazing images and an online promotional campaign. Finally, maximize your search engine results to ensure that you get noticed.

4) Develop and use photos that make your work saleable
Once you have their attention, blow your prospective clients away with your work. Understand how to create a great image by understanding the camera, and the clients perception of who you are and what you can do for them through a collection of great images. Learn how to edit down your images to make the most impact - and not throw your image off by including work that doesn't say "hire me!" Know what will sell and how to test or get the jobs that will give you the images to help sell your work.

5) Fine tune your technique and make your work unique
Even the greatest makeup artists need to update and learn a new tip here and there, and find new products and tools to help to help separate them from the pack. Being able to do beautiful makeup is not enough in a marketplace with increasing competition and shrinking budgets. Know the techniques, tools and products that will help you detail your work in a way that tells your clients you are passionate about your craft and that you care about the results of the work enough to pay attention to the finer points of makeup artistry.

6) Develop your artist network
It's a simple equation - the more other makeup artists you know - the more work you will get. Sounds crazy? It's not. You are not alone - there is strength in numbers. Even if you could do every job that comes your way - maximizing your relationships with your peers will ensure that you get referrals and assisting jobs, and that you can find a strong backup when you need one. Keep the work close to home by developing a network of like-minded creative types, (including hairstlylists and photographers!) who can help to strengthen your client base and ensure that you and your crew are the first people your clients think about when looking for talent.

7) Become creatively inspired
There is no doubt about it - boredom with your craft shows through to the final product and to your clients. It shows in the way you promote yourself, it shows in the way you produce your work. Whether you are doing makeup in a salon, at a retail counter or for film, theater or the red carpet - be sure that you are staying creatively inspired and bring the excitement of that inspiration into your work every day. You will grow faster, direct your career more steadily and work as often as you want to, if your clients know that you love what you do everyday.

8) Learn how the best got there
What better way to create a sustainable, impactful and satisfying career than to ask the people who have done it already how they did it. It doesn't matter if you are in the same field of makeup artistry - artistic integrity and a long lasting career cross over to every part of the career of the makeup artist. Get in front of the most talented artists in the industry, hear their story, apply their passion and insight to your own career and watch your own business grow and last.

9) Showcase your work as often as possible
The most amazing makeup artist in the world can't get hired if no one knows that they exist and they don't show anyone the work that they can do. Become an active part of the community of makeup artists and clients that hire them. Develop the strongest means by which to show off your work, and go to where the community is. Get your comp card out there, drive traffic to your website or agency, show the makeup artist world what you've got to offer and make yourself known to potential clients and network peers.

10) Become a brand that clients know and remember
Remember that makeup artist who you met a while back at that trade show? Right - neither does anyone else because they didn't have an image, a business card, or a story about their personal brand that stuck with you (or their potential clients). Ensure that you are remembered and though of first by the entire industry by creating a brand that is memorable, makes you stand out and clearly defines who you are as a makeup artist. It starts with a great personality that connects you to people, continues on with a strong business card and website, and keeps going until the job is done and you have followed up and gotten the next job. Is your brand is as strong and relevant to your industry as a certain coffee shop or or discount retailer with a big red dot in the middle of their logo? Get the work by making it so.

Michael DeVellis will be presenting Ten Words (To Recession Proof Your Career) at The Makeup Show NYC on Monday, May 18 at 10:00am. For more details and to purchase tickets to The Makeup Show - Sunday, May 17 and Monday, May 18, please visit