The Power of Networking with Your Peers

I was recently told by an artist they didn’t feel like our networking events were working for them because it was “just a bunch of Makeup Artists standing around staring at each other.” Yes we are a network of Makeup Artists and if you attend one of our events you will find yourself in a room full of your peers. I think the real problem isn’t that our networking events are filled with a room full of other artists. I think the issue is that Hair & Makeup Artists are under the misconception that all fellow artists are just their competition. But here are the hard facts: most of your work is going to come from other artists.

1. Film & Television Hair/Makeup Artists work in crews and that crew has a department head or a key that will hire you (not the producer).
2. Makeup Artists often bring the hairstylist onto a project (and vice versa) so take the time to network with them.
3. Network with more established artists (they often need an assistant or extra person on a job).
4. There are many times I am unable to do a job and I pass off work to other artists I know and trust with my clients.

Networking is sometimes an uncomfortable thing. It forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to strangers. It’s not that networking with your peers doesn’t work because it does. It usually isn’t working because either you feel too awkward to introduce yourself or you feel intimidated by other artists. Or maybe it’s not working for you because you just don’t know how to network.

1. You have to feel confident enough to introduce yourself to others.
2. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you do and ask to trade work with them.
3. Don’t just give someone your card and expect they will magically call you. You have to ask for their card, make a note on the back about where you met, and take the time to follow-up with them.
4. Don’t just keep bugging people for work. Take the time to build the relationship with them over a period of time (lunch, dinner, drinks, event invites).

If networking with your peers isn’t working for you then I would reevaluate your approach. Start by building your networking of peers with a group of five people. Pass off a job with one or two of them and see what starts to happen. I’m sure you will start to see your jobs increase. And if you don’t, you need a new network of artists (either ones who are working or know how to network). Take these steps and your career will turn a corner, I promise.


September 6, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

So How Will Going To A Networking Event Benefit Me?

I think I have actually heard all the networking stories and excuses. People have asked me, “So what exactly is a networking event, a party?” Or I have heard excuses of, “Oh I’ve gone to networking events and nothing happened.” Once a person called about one of our events asking, “If they thought if was worth it because they had gone to a Chamber of Commerce meeting once and she didn’t get any work out of it.”

So here is the answer about networking and networking events: what you get out of it is what you put into it. Yes, most of the time it is a cocktail party, but the people who attend the functions are there to connect will other people they can do business with. Networking events are not a a one time magic fix to your career. It is something you do in order to build relationship with other people. As we all know, great relationships don’t form over night. You have to build them over time. Our goal at The Hair & Makeup Artist Network is simply just give you the opportunity to meet people. What happens after that is totally up to you. Most people in this town think that they will just get an agent and their problems will be fixed. That isn’t necessarily true. Frank Moore, from the Celestine once told me, “It would make his job a lot easier if his artists would continue to network.” The job of self-promotion cannot just be on the shoulders of the agent. You are in charge of your career path in the end and it is you who must build the bridge with clients, agent or no agent.

He are the top ten mistakes artists make in attending networking events:

1. Not bothering to go
2. Showing up to an event with a friend and only talking to your friend all night
3. Not asking for the person you are talking to for their business card
4. Drinking too much at an event and leaving a bad impression on the people you meet
5. Not bothering to network with your peers as well as directors and producers (you peers can be a huge referral source)
6. Only listening to the guest speaker and leaving
7. Not remembering to bring business cards
8. Not bothering to continue to follow up with people you have met at a event
9. Only attending one or two events and deciding it isn’t going to work for you
10. Deciding you are above everyone in the room (you never know who is connected to who and how they might help you down the road)

I would say the number one reason that networking events don’t work for people is that they don’t follow up with who they have met. All of my guest speakers have come from my networking efforts. If it wasn’t for me being a member of Women In Film, I wouldn’t have ever met our publicity class instructor, Judy Sandra or Actress Sharon Lawrence. Sharon has not only been a guest speaker, she had referred me to other artists and helped out at our UBCF event. Networking events do work but not over night. You have to show up and follow up.

For more information on our organization visit or attend our February 1st industry mixer

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 2 comments.

Do You Have Clients Who Owe You Money???

new photo of meI recently had to learn a very hard lesson. For the past year, I had a client who kept lagging behind in payment. There were invoices that were as much as a year old. Some invoices got paid, others lagged on and on. I always preach to people the importance of getting a confirmation agreement for each job. I also tell everyone that prepaid legal is good to have in case you need to have a lawyer to send over a letter for non-payment of services. But what happens when the client suddenly files for bankruptcy? Yes, you heard me right, bankruptcy!

For years I worked for a company named On The Scene Productions. For the longest time I got a lot of work from this company. From time to time they would be late paying me, but they always paid me one way or another. About a year ago, the company started falling behind by six months. In the beginning, I was able to have my prepaid legal attorney send over a nasty letter to them and I got paid right away. Although, my biggest mistake was to keep working for them even after they were late paying me. At the time, I just figured I would get my money eventually and getting paid late was better than not at all. I was so wrong. Last month, I got the phone call that On The Scene Productions filed for bankruptcy. I just felt sick to my stomach. They currently owe me $3500.00! What’s worse is that when a company files for bankruptcy, the employees are the last to get paid. Their debtors get paid first and if there is anything left over then the workers get paid. Unfortunately, I’ve been through this with companies in the past and I haven’t seen a dime of that money from those companies either. The likelihood I’ll see a cent from On The Scene Productions is very very slim. That means I got up at 3am to work them on many occasions for free.

As freelancers I think we hold extremely tight to our clients. We are always afraid to rock the boat. Too afraid to lose our clients at all costs. But now I have to ask myself,” was holding on to my client worth it?” Obviously not. I should have took them to court at the first signs of lagging payments. I also should have stopped working for them at that point as well. Now, I have had to learn the lesson the hard way. Never hold on to a client too tightly. If they are not paying you on time, take them to court. And if they stop calling you for that reason then it really is for the best. You should never keep a client who doesn’t pay you on time. If they do that, its clear they don’t respect you as a professional. No one needs a client that badly. Its better to spend time finding new clients rather that chasing payment. And believe me, their are plenty of other better production companies out there. You just have to take the time to find them.

To learn more about the business of the business visit our website at

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

November 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Networking To Increase Your Business

new photo of meIts been almost three two years since I started The Hair & Makeup Artist Network and it certainly has not been without its challenges. I think the most challenging part is that I have created something entirely new. When I say “new”, I means there isn’t anything out there quite like what we are offering. My vision is to start a network that offers one resource for all your freelance business needs. I envision a resource where there are networking events, information about what is happening in your area, marketing services, website design, business education, and business resources.

It’s hard being a freelance artist, and in many ways it can be very isolating. The problem is that artists aren’t business people, but the reality is that you are running a business. What’s even harder is trying to get artists to change the way they approach their craft. I have often heard artists complain that there isn’t any work or they feel that there isn’t any respect for the work they do. However, I have over and over again watched artists not show up for networking opportunities or behave in ways that aren’t professional. The reality is that no one is going to take you seriously if you don’t act like a business professional. You can’t sit back and wait for the phone to ring, you can’t rely completely on an agent to get you work, and you can’t make appointments with people then constantly reschedule and expect for someone to take you seriously. Working as a freelance artist is a business. If you want respect and if you want to work, you must learn how to run a business -period!

If you are not willing to self-promote then you need to chose another profession. Self-promotion is a very long term ongoing commitment. It’s not something you can do once or twice then quit once you have achieved your goal. It’s not something that you can expect to do one time and receive instant results from. You have to approach it like a business. Taco Bell has been a successful business for over 20 years yet they still continue to advertise. Why, they advertise so they can keep people coming back, and they want to attract new customers. They don’t put out one ad campaign and wait for people to come. It works they same way with getting work as a freelance artist. You have to keep advertising and networking. Networking is not something that necessarily generates instant results. It is a long term ongoing commitment to your business. You go to networking parties to meet people and build relationships. Relationships take time build. And just because the party you went to didn’t have Ron Howard begging for your card doesn’t mean it was a waist of time. You never know who knows who or where your next job will come from. Here are a few networking tips:

* Go to every networking party or dinner you can
* Pass out your card to everyone but more importantly get their business card
* Follow up with the people you have met right away and continue to stay in contact with them at least by email
* Don’t go to just one event and decide networking didn’t work for you
* It’s ok to spend money on networking – think of it as investment in your business
* Make sure you get a receipt for any thing purchased (food, drinks, networking admission) – It’s all tax deductible

We offer networking events every month. Next month we are co-sponsoring networking parties for both LA Femme Film Festival and Sreamfest LA. For more info visit:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

September 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.