Oct 29, 2020

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How to build a full clientele from scratch in under 12 weeks


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I’ve been in this industry for a while (two decades under my belt counts as “awhile” right?). Although you may know me as a 6-figure salon owner, I wasn’t always in the “flashy” position that I am now.

When I first got into hair I started out, as most stylists do, as an assistant in a salon. And I gotta be honest… 

I hated having to be the assistant.

I hated being in the “pay-my-dues” position. Endless hours of sweeping hair, washing colour bowls… I was Cinderella and the ball was actually getting to touch someone’s hair… I was day-dreaming about my fairy godmother waving a magic wand and I’d be swept up in hair scraps and transformed into a “real” hairstylist.

I had been so excited to graduate from school, what was supposed to be a magical moment of getting into the industry made me feel trapped. My speaking anxiety was still alive and kicking at this point and walk-ins made me so anxious…

“What was this person gonna be? Would they like me? Would they like their hair?” 

After dealing with a trickle of clients as slow as molasses (I had exhausted all my friends and family – there’s only so many times you can cut your mom’s hair) I decided it was time for a change.

So I kicked my own shy butt into gear and started randomly talking to strangers.

I still remember the first time I ever gave my card to a stranger, it was the grocery store clerk… I’m pretty sure all my words came out jumbled up and I sorta yelled at her…

“I’d love to do your hair!” 

I was so nervous. 

And then…

She never came in.

But it taught me how to start talking to people. I kept practicing. And kept inviting people in.

Pretty soon I was the most booked in my salon and I was only a junior stylist.

Over the years I’ve moved to London, UK, Sydney, Australia and then back home to Canada where I started my own salon.

With each new adventure and move, I picked up something new on how to get my chair full quickly.

So when I decided to walk away from my six-figure income, sell my house, my salon and move to a new province in my 30’s and fourteen years into my career people thought I was nuts.

My family warned me against it, telling me about the risk I was making. Clients gave me looks that subtly said:

“You’ll be back…”

Everyone around me was telling me I was making a mistake. But my gut was telling me a completely different story.

I took a huge leap, it was scary. There was no guarantee.

But I had taught myself a lot over the years. I knew how to get people in my chair. Even as the shy, introverted anxious girl that I was.

So when I finally arrived in Calgary, not knowing anyone but my boyfriend, without a single plan in place, I got to work.

After a couple weeks of humming and hawing whether I should work at a salon, or do my own thing, I decided to work from my suburban basement that our landlord very kindly let me plumb a sink into.

It was far from glamorous… 


But within 12 weeks I was booked months in advance!

By using the method I had come up with over the years

I continued to grow and grow and grow…

I got more booked than I knew what to do with. I had never had such a loyal group of clients before.

And it’s not that I had some secret. I had just done a lot of trial and error over the year and I knew what worked and what didn’t.

I remember telling a friend:

“I know this is a total risk but my gut is telling me bigger and better things are on the other side of this decision.”

By trusting that gut feeling, I’ve ended up here… Getting to coach, guide, mentor and befriend hundreds of other stylists who have been where I was. 

And I know you can do it too. If there’s something in your gut that’s telling you to take that big leap, trust it. And I’d love to help guide you through it.

Go on, binge the latest posts (you know you wanna)…

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

Get to know me! :-)

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