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How To Become A Successful Freelance Makeup Artist (8 Step Guide)


It’s easier than ever to Start your own business as a freelance makeup artist and while you’ll never stop learning, following a strategy will give you the foundations to grow your creative skills while making a serious profit doing what you love.

You can choose your own hours and set your own prices. Full or part time or even seasonal its up to you.

These are the steps I followed to become a pro makeup artist. ( I’m going to assume you can put makeup on) consider it a roadmap to mua success and give yourself a tick in the box as you complete every step!

From the off set if you need any help just shoot me message at Anna Cordelia

freelance makeup artist kit


1. Goal setting, what do you want?

If you’re part of the MUA Business School you know how I think its so important to set goals very day, short and long term.

You will need to decide what genre of makeup you would like to work in. TV, theatre, fashion and editorial. My specialist makeup is bridal and special occasion.

Once I had decided to work in the bridal industry I made a plan to achieve this goal

Knowing where you want to be 1, 5, or 10 years from now will help you determine what direction you should go in. Think about the long-term vision for your life, starting with the end in mind will make it clear on what you should focus on and what to say “No” to.

2. Back to school

Right now in the UK there is no formal qualification (unlike hairdressing ) required to start working as a Freelance Makeup Artist! Great news if you have the passion and drive, you cold literally start your biz tomorrow. However I believe we never stop learning and the bare minimum you should attain is at least a health and safety qualification and get some decent insurance that covers you for all eventualities. Some venues won’t let you work with them without an insurance certificate.

After this, don’t become complacent. Products and skill sets are ever evolving and one of the best things you can do is invest in your education. FREE Courses At Anna Cordelia

For me this meant a basic beauty qualification for health safety and hygiene and then I chose to assist and be mentored by experienced pro MUA’s. I would recommend assisting as the pinnacle step to becoming a MUA. You will learn on the job, see everything behind the scenes while having support from an experienced pro who will hopefully be able to guide and pass you on work later in your career.

For those of you taking this step seriously, I have a FREE Masterclass training series ‘Booked Out Bridal Makeup Artist’ …Sign up here for free and get your first video in your inbox today

3. Buy & Build Your Kit Essentials

Maybe a bit obvious but if you’re going to be putting makeup on others you’re going to need actual makeup. At least a basic kit of cosmetics, tools and brushes. When starting out as a MUA you really don’t need to spend thousands on a pro kit. You will never stop adding to your kit throughout your career, but please don’t spend money you don’t have at this stage. I was able to build my first kit from scratch for a few hundred pounds (really!) and if you need a bit more guidance on this step you can download my free guide HERE

Also be clear on your makeup career goals… would you need FX in your kit if your going to be become a classic bridal makeup artist?

4. Build Your Portfolio

In this case I thought I can’t be a Bridal Makeup Artist if I haven’t ‘worked’ as a Bridal Makeup Artist or don’t have social proof from real life brides.

Everyone, and I mean everyone had to start somewhere and everyone had a first client. A first beauty job and a first wedding gig at some point inter career. If they didn’t then they’re obviously now not successful MUA’s and probably spent a fortune in beauty school and then went to work in a an office because they never got past his first stumbling block.

My biggest tip here is to put makeup on as many faces as possible, all ages and skin types ad take pictures, lots of pictures… then be Critical and seek improvement.

5. Create Your Business Social Media Accounts

You need to tell people about your business and what you’re offering. Potential clients are actively looking for you everyday, you just need to make it easy for them to find you. This is one area of business that can get costly very quickly and it’s so easy to throw money at lots of different channels without getting anything back on your investment.

Get clever, it’s possible to market your business without spending a penny on social media, networking, word or mouth and old school PR. Have a plan and stick to it and be consistent. You don’t need to use every platform. One of my favourites which has worked very well for me is Pinterest… I even wrote an Ebook ‘Ultimate Pinterest For Freelance Makeup Artists’ and you can get a copy HERE.

Think about where your ideal clients will hang out. For me as a bridal makeup artist Instagram and Pinterest seemed the obvious choice. It’s important that even if you don’t know anything about social media that you set up a few accounts for your business as this will give you instant social proof.

6. Build Your Website

This is a crucial investment to your freelance makeup artist career. It is your shop front and business platform. Business cards and actual portfolios are old news and another unnecessary expense. Your website will host your brand, showcase your images and be your business home. You will be found here, take enquiries and make bookings.

It may be tempting to skip this step till you’re further established because of the dreaded tech and cost but seriously don’t panic. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I built my first website myself on a template platform in a weekend and took my first bookings through that site. If you’ve got a budget to hire a web designer then great but it’s not essential. Again it can wait till further down the road.

The bare minimum site map I would suggest is

HomepageImages/GalleryServices/PricesContact page

7. Turn Enquires in to £££’s

You’ve set up this amazing business, are you prepared to handle enquiries from customers and make confirmed bookings? You will need a client handling system in place consisting of email response templates, the ability to invoice and take payments and some software to keep you organised like an online calendar.

Potential clients really need as much info and guidance as possible at this stage so never assume they have any prior knowledge of your services. Converse effortlessly and confidently guide them and you’ll make yourself an irresistible choice as a Makeup Artist.

8. Grow Your Business

Experience, tools, images, reviews PR and networking and… ‘rinse and repeat’.  After you have done all the all the hard work you need to capitalise on it (word of mouth is the best referral). You will have gained experience, insight, images from work and hopefully a positive reviews so let’s take these go back to step one and add and improve (rinse and repeat)

Get confident and  increase your prices, work bigger weddings and jobs further afield and take opportunities to work on publications, guest post on blogs and become a trusted authority in your field (a wedding boss?) maybe consider fashion or catwalk and start entering awards ( I entered my first awards after only 8 weddings) awards are great PR for your business.

Ask for reviews and post them on your website and social media. This will give you proof and authority.

makeup artist business library

Ultimately if you are skilled at your makeup craft and determined to succeed (keep going) and follow these steps then you will be a booked out makeup artist quicker than you think.

If you want to know the exact step to how I became a successful award winning freelance makeup artist then you can get my FREE Guide HERE!

If you are REALLY serious about becoming a successful freelance makeup artist then check out my signature sell out course ‘The BOMB ‘Business Of Bridal Makeup’ over at the MUA Business School

Let me know how you get one and if you have any questions just shoot me an email

Much love,

Awarded MUA | Wedding Boss | Chunky Chocolate Consumer


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