Once you have your qualifications in place, the next thing to do is find a job where you can use them. However, working for someone else may not always be the best path for you.
It is important to understand the difference between being employed and self-employed. If you are employed by a salon, you will be paid a salary and possibly commission and will also be entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and maternity leave. If you are self-employed then you will either pay rent for a space or a percentage of your takings to the salon and will not have the usual employment benefits.
If you choose to be employed you will work the hours required by the salon and use the products that they stipulate. If you undergo any extra training, this is usually paid for by the salon owner. Some contracts will contain a clause requiring you to pay back the cost of any courses should you leave within a certain period of time.
Whilst you forge a good relationship with your clients, and may be specially requested by some, the clients themselves belong to the salon. If you leave, you cannot take the details of any clients with you, and it is not good practice to tell them you are leaving and try to entice them away.
If you choose to be self-employed you can choose your own hours and products. You may choose to rent a room or a desk and pay a daily, weekly or monthly rent to the landlord. Some landlords will prefer to take a percentage of each treatment cost instead of rent, and so you will need to factor this in to your prices.
As a self-employed therapist you can decide what treatments you offer but you will be able to enjoy the usual benefits of employment. This means that if you are off sick or on holiday you will not be paid for that time and may still be required to pay your rent for your space.
Some landlords will help out with your costs if you are self-employed. They may be willing to provide your products for you, but make sure they are ones you are happy to use. They may also offer you marketing and reception support if you are renting a space within and existing salon.
Any clients you attract as a self-employed therapist belong to you. This means that you hold their contact information and record cards and can take them with you if you choose to move to a new space.
There are other self-employed options with even lower costs available as you can work as a mobile therapist or from home. This will mean you do not have to pay any rent but you will have absorb all of your marketing and travel costs yourself. It can be harder to get your business known but your will reap 100% of the benefits.
Some employers will only recognise particular qualifications, and so if you hold certificates that are not as well known, you may find that you are better off working for yourself.
In most cases, if you are employed your salon owner will pay for your treatment insurance. Remember that if you are offered in-house training in a treatment this will not be recognised by most insurers or other employers. If you are self-employed you will need to organise your own insurance, and can under-take any training that your insurer recognises.
There are pros and cons to both routes and only you can decide which is best for you. Weigh up what experience you want and how you are most comfortable working to see if you are cut out to be your own boss.