We all love to hear the stories of self-made women because they inspire us and make us want to emulate them. But sometimes it’s hard to say, “Can you tell me quite literally what you did to start your career?” Doesn’t really slip off the tongue at a cocktail party, does it? Well, fret no more, because we’ve asked the incredible self-starter Veronica Sinclair from last week's interview how she built a career as a professional makeup artist in Los Angeles. And she’s told us, quite literally, what she did. So trust us, you’re going to want to read on.
1. Take your time seriously.
Sometimes the first step is simple but crucial: make sure you carve out time that is all about you and your career. “I [had] an ongoing joke with my friends back in my twenties where—because I wasn’t booked everyday then—I would do what I would call ‘working on my career.’ I’d say, ‘Sorry, I can’t hang out, I’m working on my career.’” This creates the foundation for your career (pun absolutely intended).
Find out who is working in the field and who you’d like to work with. And before you start having nightmares about hours in the library, check out how Veronica did her reconnaissance. “My strategy back then was: I would go to newsstands, and particularly the newsstand in Malibu, look in magazines, see the photographers, write down their names, write down what the magazine [was], go home [and] look them up.” See? You don’t even have to learn the Dewey Decimal System.
3. Reach out.
Now that you have this arsenal of information, it’s time to use it. We know this can be the part you dread the most, but don’t talk yourself out of it, cause it worked for Veronica! “[I’d] email them, reference the editorial or their work and say ‘Hey, my name is Veronica. I’m a makeup artist, I would love to work with you.’ [I’d] let them know I saw their work, I like what they’re doing, and I’d like to collaborate with them, not just, ‘Help me out.’ Many of those people that I reached out to back in the day, I’m still working with today. One photographer [...] introduced me to some of my biggest actress clients I’ve been working with for five, six years.’
4. Stay busy.
Venturing out on your own can feel like a Catch-22: people want you to have experience before giving you a job, but how can you get experience if no one wants you until you have it?! Here’s what Veronica suggests: “Putting out good work. Creating good work [...] that people can see, saying ‘Hey, I’m a makeup artist, here’s my work. Look at this picture.’ And working on my website: I’d be constantly getting new photos, and marketing it.
5. Say Yes.
Others might be saying no, but you can say “Yes!” Recalling her early days, Veronica says that a key factor for her was never turning down a job. “I think a big part of the early days of a career is saying yes to everything. I never said no to a single makeup job in the beginning, whether it was free, paid: did not matter. And some of these jobs that were for free were some of the crappiest jobs, but guess what: I met a producer and they booked me on another job, and another job. Throw yourself in and say yes to everything and then you’ll learn ‘Ok, I don’t need to say yes to this again’ or ‘Ok, I want this type of job again.’”
Doesn’t this make you feel like it’s entirely doable? And isn’t that such a good feeling? We can all make our careers happen now thanks to the marvelous and determined Veronica Sinclair! But before you run off and do just that, remember to check back next week for an interview with the Digital Editor of one of our favorite fashion blogs. (Photo provided by Veronica Sinclair)