A Helping Hair Hand
One day I was scrolling casually on Instagram, and I saw a business owner in the hair industry willingly giving out tips about vendors, running a business and professionalism.
Weeks later, I saw another hair business owner saying that she would 'never sell her vendor,' and that vendor sales were a scam. Finally, I witnessed yet another extensions owner stating that they were no longer giving away 'free game,' and their classes would be starting shortly.
As a hair blogger, seeing these varying opinions circling the same topic got me wondering, when are you making things too easy? And is there ever such a thing as 'creating competition?' How do hair business owners pass down knowledge and when do they decide it's time to make a profit?
In this time and age, everyone is holding classes for one thing or the other. Whether it is a two-day event, a four-hour seminar, a sip, and paint or a webinar if you want to learn somebody is always there to teach you. They have their bios, and links in order just waiting for views! But the real issue is, are these people experts and what are they learning?
It has been proved time and time again, that you do not have to be a professional cosmetologist to know how to dye extensions, sell wigs or silk press hair. If you have a high follower count and you've made money people would more than likely be willing to drop money on the class experience.
Moving along, many people have chosen to take their success in the hair industry and double they are earning two-fold.
Are These Classes Helpful?
Business owners have introduced classes for braiding, branding, weaving, and general business startup information priced from $100 to $500 based on products, popularity, and word of mouth.
People who sell extensions also sell their hair vendor list with wholesale vendors that they use or have tried to set up their businesses. The validity of these lists has been called into question because buyers are not sure if the list entails reliable and quality vendors. Additionally, the information given at these sessions could have been on Youtube or merely the business owners trial and error experiences.
However, all of life is others experiences, and they are valuable. The best way to learn any industry is to go to those that are respected and successful within your industry and follow their tips.
Looking at the path such as business partners, others' failures and breakthroughs can save you a lot of time when going out on your business venture.
Should I Charge or Not to Share Knowledge?
The short answer to your question is: yes and no. I know you were looking for a more concrete solution.
But the truth is that it is up to your discretion on what information is taxable. Some individuals feel that any part of their journey to success is worth adding a dollar amount, and they refuse to give out information to their competition, or to those who aren't paying for their expertise.
However, other's believe that blessings come with lending a hand and all information doesn't come with a dollar sign. While I firmly believe it is up to you, here are a few things to help you make your decision and gain clarification.
What Kind Of Information Should I Give Out For Free?
1. Information That Was Easily Given To YouIf someone provided you with this information without any money, class or hard work up front, it's only right that you find a way to pass that information down.
2. Genuine AdviceGiving out advice via social media is a great way to interact with your followers and build your reputation. Additionally, help can be as specific or general as you decide. Furthermore, even if people have heard bits and pieces of your story when it comes time to share the whole thing they will still be interested.
Samples for hair companies are general hair or a new product. Giving these away for free can help others get ideas for their businesses but also enhance your business popularity and speed up the process of rolling out new ideas for you.
For these things that you willingly and freely give remember that every business has a starting point, and being a leader or helping hand is a selfless thing to do. A true leader and boss want to see others win and have the confidence in their product and their company to excel no matter what.
4. Facebook Community Groups
It's always good to have some kind of support group for your niche in the market. A facebook community group is a great free resource to have and to give to others. Your group should be filled with like-minded individuals that share similar goals as you.
Not only does this increase your connections, it creates a space where ideas can be shared. In the hair industry, creating and joining a facebook community group is essential and helpful for anyone looking to start a hair business.
What Kind Of Information Should I Charge For?
As a business owner, you could feel that others feel entitled to free advice and information.
And it would be smarter to turn this constant sharing of knowledge into money. Additionally, for some, it can be a tough pill to swallow that they are giving out all the gems they worked so hard to obtain for themselves. Information that should cost money should fall into these four categories:
1. Lessons Learned The Hard Way
While I do believe some advice should be free, I think it is safe to say providing effective resources and the do's and don'ts is a smart way to add a new source of revenue and help others at the same time.
Giving out advice is one thing, but it is another once you get into the meat and potatoes about what exactly worked to make your business success such as vendors, marketing strategies and meaningful connections that you've made.
2. Information that is considered 'confidential' in your industry
One big thing that is confidential in the hair industry is vendors.
A vendor is a place where you get your hair wholesale and a reliable source of quality hair by your standards. As having affordable quality hair as the basis of the hair. Business, it is a big thing to give out even for-profit willingly.
The companies you work with to get your extensions quickly and to resell like hot cakes! The details about how to add flat irons, mists or edge controls, and make wigs to your business are taxable because these are things that boost business and are considered essential to creating a successful company.
You wouldn't want everyone to have your exact vendor list for products, making your company repeatable unless compensated.
3. Contacts and People who like to remain exclusive
If you were a singer and just collaborated with some of the hottest artists, you wouldn't go around giving out big executive numbers, would you?
It's the same with the hair industry. People who are well established might recognize and contact you for a variety of reasons dropping gems, sharing personal details or inviting you to join their team; in turn, give them the same peace they had before joining you.
Do not post their number online, add them to your fliers or promise interaction with your consumers unless explicitly asked.
4. Information that cost you a bag!
As I mentioned before, one of the women on Instagram was very adamant about the fact that she had to stumble and learn the business on her own.
After spending thousands of dollars to get the right combination that suited her business goals and needs she charged for one on one's, seminars, business advice and she also refused to sell her vendor.
Things that have cost you an excessive amount of money and time are profitable because others should invest in their craft the same way you did, and it is information that is not easy to come by. However, do not become consumed in making money or forcing others to build from the ground up, real success is not bashful and makes way for others to come up behind them.
If you are going to start classes, it is best to wait after your business has been up and running for a year or two. First, you want to be able to master your first services before adding more onto your plate, and secondly, give your self-time to become known and respected as a person who specializes in hair or extensions.
People need to feel like they are learning from a person who has cracked the code on what it means to run a business successfully or master a skill like braiding and frontals.
You've Got The Advantage
Lastly, pay attention to the responses given when you share free information.
Are people appreciative or pushy? What are the wants and needs of the people reaching out for advice? Providing young entrepreneurs with a starting ground is admirable and will go a long when you do decide to profit off of your knowledge. Remember that everybody starts somewhere and that these people were once you!
Helping others with no immediate return in favor is okay. This process of giving turns into a negative thing when people are reliant on you to provide the tricks of the trade and feel entitled to get a piece of your knowledge without putting in the necessary work it takes to succeed, the moment you think that tide is turning, it's time to change things.
Overall your story, vendors, and business layout are valuable, and when you become extremely established, successful, it's time to turn up the heat.