Tiyana Robinson went from being a laid-off sales and marketing executive to a well-regarded makeup artist in Washington, D.C., with a thriving business in just three years. She also has nearly 50,000 Instagram followers.
“I never knew that being a professional makeup artist was a viable career option,” says Robinson. In middle school, I saved my lunch money so I could buy makeup from CVS. And when YouTube came out, it was a wrap! I would watch tutorials for hours and replicate the looks. But it wasn’t until I was laid off and someone asked me to do her makeup that I decided to pursue makeup as a side hustle to hold me over until I could find a full-time job,” she says.
Currently, Robinson provides makeup services, training, and coaching for everyday women of color who want to look and feel as though they’re on the red carpet. Approximately 90% of clients find her on Instagram and she claims to have scaled her business to six figures, without working with celebrities or relocating to New York City or Los Angeles.
A “Terrifying Investment”
Although she never enrolled in a traditional makeup school she expanded her artistry and business knowledge by attending a “look-and-learn” class by one of her favorite makeup artists and making a “terrifying investment” in a one-year, high-level coaching program, which helped her map out a business blueprint.
So what else did it take for Robinson to go from side-hustler to full-time beauty entrepreneur? She details her process below.
“When I first started doing makeup, I made up my rate. I charged what I thought people were willing to pay. Then, I connected with other makeup artists and discovered I was severely undercharging. So, I looked at the highest rate, looked at the lowest rate, and priced myself right in the middle. But that wasn’t sustainable, especially if I wanted to do makeup full-time and pay my bills.”
“Once I got a business coach, I learned how to have a value-based business instead of trading time for money. So, whenever I pitch a rate to a client, my first thoughts are always: ‘What would make this worth it for me? How can I bring value to my client so this experience is amazing?’”
“From a business perspective, teaching was also a great way for me to scale my business because I could generate from one class what would otherwise take me one or two months to generate by doing one-off makeup applications.”
“So, when I got to the point that I was turning away more clients than I could accept, landing amazing opportunities to work with international beauty brands, and clients were flying me out to do their makeup-I knew that I could pursue makeup artistry full-time!”