I travel to schools all of the time and get to talk with students. It's a fun, scary, exciting time when you finally made it to be senior in hair school! You look down at the youngins and think "I know so much more than them now." Oh is it just starting! The hustle is now beginning! I remember those days, even though it was 17 years ago. It's kind of like if you got your real estate license but now you have to actually sell a house and they don't teach you how to sell anything, they just teach you the laws.
When you get in to a salon or barbershop, you'll be back at the bottom. Learning how to shampoo, learning how to say hello and goodbye, learning how to sell yourself not just the products. You learn a lot about yourself and even more so about other people.
So how do you find that perfect fit? I say it's like dating, keep looking! Don't settle too quickly, ask lots of questions, and ask your friends and family their thoughts. DO NOT start with "How many vacation days will I get?" or "What are the benefits?". The key questions are, "How long will it take me to grow?" and "How do people receive new clients?" and "What is the mentorship program look like?" and "What are you like as a boss?" because you're interviewing them just the same.
It goes both ways though! Please be prepared, have some questions written down and definitely do your research on the place you're interviewing. People above you like compliments as well, for example, "It looks like you're running a good business" or "This clientele would be a great fit for me." You need to set yourself apart by being remembered and there is no easier way than giving an authentic compliment.
The common question is, "Why did you go in to hair?", And the common answer is..."Because I loved doing my own" or "I loved doing my friends hair". Obviously you liked hair but what will stand out is that you love serving people and your passionate about making them feel confident. When you get good at hair someday, it will be like driving a car, thoughtless. BUT what keeps you going in this business is creating long, lasting relationships with people. THIS is what someone is looking for! And this is what it takes!
In a salon specifically, usually you'll get paid about minimum wage during training and also while you're building your clientele. It can take anywhere from 3 months to a year to get paid at higher rates. Just remember, you didn't go to college and you're getting paid to train which is a huge expense for a salon owner and takes years to recoup. The longer you're "at the bottom" the more expensive your haircuts can be later typically. For example, no training program like Cost Cutters will give you a higher pay up front but then you'll be stuck because you can't raise your prices. If you're in a year training program, usually the prices are higher long term. On that note, once someone has worked at a high turnover place like Great Clips or Cost Cutters, you will usually never get hired at a higher end salon because it's harder to retrain someone then to just train them in the first place. For example, if you were a waitress at Perkins, you wouldn't get hired you at Ruth's Chris Steak House because it's very difficult to teach higher end service. You're better off being a bar back at a steak house and then working your way up.
This industry takes the love of people, understanding people and the discipline to learn a skill set. It's a fabulous business but be patient. :)
I hope this helps and please ask me anything! I'm here to help. Be your authentic self and shine.