True confession. I was little curious when I noticed Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist on Amazon.com.
From a marketing perspective I absolutely love the title. Pure genius. You’ve got to admit, if you’re a booth renter, that title seriously grabs you by the eyeballs.
However, I work primarily in the internet marketing space so with a title like that, my B.S. meter starts to warm up a little bit. You see, I am accustomed to products with great titles that hint at great things and then deliver a lot less than what was promised.
What I found here was a bit refreshing and definitely different than what I was expecting.
There is absolutely nothing new about a marketer promising to show you how to start and successfully run a booth rental business. Normally it’s someone who is or who used to be a booth renter who wants to show you how they did it, and how you can too.
A usual technique is to lay out a few tips and tricks to get you excited and but leave out some crucial piece of the puzzle that you’ll need to make the whole thing work.
To get your hands on that missing piece, you may have to grab some sort of an upsell. Perhaps they have a training system or some sort of coaching program you can subscribe to.
That’s what I was expecting. This is not that.
The author calls Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist a roadmap that includes best practices on topics from finance to operations to marketing.
If you are a successful veteran of 10 or more years behind the chair, my gut tells me that this book is simply going to be a walk down memory lane and a reminder of some of the tough lessons you’ve picked up along the way.
For someone considering making the jump to booth renting, this is an excellent resource for taking a honest look at what you’re considering, and whether you are in a position to make the jump now or at later date.
However, the group that I think will get the most out of this book are stylistics who have already jumped into the deep end and find themselves paddling as fast as they can.
Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist gives you a way to compare what you’re doing on a weekly basis to a framework best practices that covers all of the moving pieces that a healthy booth renter business needs to consider.
You can lead a horse to water, but ultimately it’s up to the horse whether he or she chooses to drink.
I imagine one of the bigger challenges, Deshawn Bullard faced when writing this book was trying to make it relevant for booth renters across the board. Booth renters come in many different shapes, sizes and circumstances.
What passes for marketing best practices in Atlanta, could be a total waste of money out here in the southwest. What resonates with a seasoned hair stylist may make absolutely no sense to a hair stylist just out of cosmetology school.
So if you’re looking for a document that holds you by the hand and takes you through everything you need to do to be successful in your particular business situation, you are going to be disappointed.
Instead, what you’ll find is something more akin to a set of standard business fundamentals that just happens to be tailored for booth renters.
Rather than attempting to lay out a step by step plan for the reader, Bullard discusses the what and why of practices to consider and a few lessons learned to help you avoid unnecessary road rash along the way.
She leaves it to you to determine what best fits your business model.
Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
The first chapter of Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist is a reality check for prospective booth renters.
Every year, thousands of stylists make the jump to booth renting without a clear understanding of what they are getting into. Some are tired of being employees working for a salon owner, some are fresh from cosmetology school.
In the Chapter 1, Bullard makes it easy for anyone to decide whether their current circumstances would support them becoming a booth renter.
The remainder of the book is written for stylists who made it through the first chapter and still want to have a go at it.
My favorite aspect of Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist is its lack of hype.
Many stylists I know have remarked that the marketing for some cosmetology schools is filled with the promise of being your own boss, setting your own hours and the potential to make tons of money.
Rightly or wrongly, that promise has lead to a lot of student loan debt and more than a few stylists discovering that what they envisioned and what their reality looks like are two different things.
Throughout the book Bullard delivers a consistent message. Booth renting is a business and you need to run it like a business to be successful.
I like this book. I may like it more than most because it helps me see booth renting beyond its marketing aspect.
I also like how the information is actionable and delivered in a clear, easy to follow manner.
The marketing section suffers a bit due to the fast changing nature of the online marketing. While Bullard touches on it in a general way, there is no way she’d be able to stay up to date on the most current strategies.
I am a bit disappointed that Bullard chose to mention ineffective marketing methods such as billboards, radio and television commercials. As you may have guessed. I have a bias against any method of marketing whose effectiveness can’t be directly measured.
To be fair, in her section on Creating a Marketing Plan and Marketing Strategy, she does include a section on tracking the performance and evaluating results.
Are you getting a return on your investment? Use the Advertising Tracking Form in Exhibit A at the end of the chapter to track all new business associated with each initiative. Evaluate whether the money you spent on your marketing plan is producing enough revenue to validate the costs associated with the campaign.
Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist (Page 124). Milady (2014-01-30). Kindle Edition.
While I don’t agree with including those methids, I have to give Bullard a pass on including them. She is consistent. She informs the reader what’s available, without recommending a particular course of action.
“Lead a horse to water.”
If you’re thinking about making the switch to booth renting, Booth Renting 101: A Guide for the Independent Stylist will give you a solid glimpse at how deep that rabbit hole goes.
If you’re a booth renter and you’re already standing behind your own chair, it’s a handy tool for evaluating whether how well what you’re doing on a regular basis is helping you reach your business goals.