5 skills you need to become a successful nail technician - with Alice McNails


5 skills you need to become a successful nail technician - with Alice McNails

Being a nail technician is not an easy job, especially if you decide to run your own business. Your day-to-day responsibilities require you to be both exceptionally creative and business savvy, which is a combination not everyone can pull off. However, if you are able to face the challenges, the job can be uniquely gratifying.

Today, we asked our Booksy Ambassador, the wonderful Alice McNails, to share her wise take on what skills a nail technician needs in order to thrive in the industry. So if you would like to learn how to become a successful nail technician from the best, it’s a must-read for you!


It may sound like a cliche, but creativity is the backbone of being a nail technician in more ways than just one. Of course, it refers to your artistry, but also a certain kind of inventiveness. “This isn’t just about being amazing at nail art - though, of course, that helps”, explains Alice, “but having the creativity to problem solve, and come up with good ideas to drive your business forward”.  Manual skills required for a nail technician are not easy to master on themselves, but even if your craftsmanship is absolutely outstanding, you will not go far without the ability to adapt to changing conditions and the capability to keep finding new ways to further develop your business.


It’s not easy to find a balance between focusing on the personal and technical skills that are necessary to be a great nail technician. You need to be able to be a skilled professional and a people-person at the same time (not to even mention a business-oriented mind). And while lack of technical nail qualifications can be problematic, troubles with communication can be almost as bad. “People skills are so important. It’s a customer-facing role that requires you to chat with people all day, and you really need to feel comfortable in the company of others - possibly strangers if it’s a new client”, explains Alice. Even if you are super skilled at what you do, if you are not able to deliver in the customer service department, your business will suffer sooner or later. “This is very important for customer retention - if your customers had a lovely time, they gonna come back”. 


“You need to be determined to get to where you want to be to build your business!” Let’s be brutally honest for a minute - if you are not able to work through your self-doubts and anxieties, you may not be able to make it in the industry. You need to be very persistent and trust to process if you want to be a business owner. Just ask Alice how it was for her when she just started! “I’ve got so many knockbacks in the beginning and I had to grow more of a thick skin. It’s so important because it’s hard in the beginning and you really need to have that determination to push your business forward”.


Between all the skills needed to be a nail technician, there is definitely a place for a little bit of perfectionism… as long as it comes in a healthy dose. Take it from Alice: “You need to be a perfectionist… although you need to watch out a little bit for this because it can bring out being obsessive. But it’s going to be that star ticket that gets your clients coming back”. When you have nail technician skills that exceed the norm, they can quickly become your point of difference and earn you tons of new clients. “You are putting out beautiful, flawless work and you take pride in your work and it really shows. And it’s the best thing for making customers want to be your client”.


Finally, last but not the least, a skill absolutely necessary for any nail technician, especially if they run their own business - the capability to stay motivated no matter what. “It’s so easy to stop believing in yourself. But you’ve got to always push yourself to be motivated”, says Alice. Running a business is not a steady, straightforward walk upwards. You need to be ready for all the bumps, dips, twists and turns along the way.

It can be hard to handle, especially at the beginning of your career, and you have to be aware that the industry tends to operate in seasons of business and slower times. “There are always going to be slow times - for example, when you first open your business, it’s going to be slow, as it takes a while to gain customers”, explains Alice. “There are slow times at the beginning of the year, so January and February, as well as the beginning of autumn, so September and October”. Furthermore, even months as a whole are not consistent with the number of customers. “There are always going to be slumps at the end of the month. You need to stay motivated and really still believe in yourself and your business”.

How can you remedy it? Alice advises us to use this time to further develop ourselves as nail technicians and business owners: “pick up the little jobs in between that time, work on your nail art, maybe take a course to better yourself”. Working on your nail technician qualifications is very important, no matter how much experience you already have. The industry changes and new techniques emerge almost every other day - there is no place for resting on laurels!

Finally, Alice stresses once again how crucial it is to not let the difficult situation tear you down. “Always stay motivated, because so many people give up at the very beginning and that’s why they are getting no worm. And you get what you put in!” Indeed, being able to realistically assess the situation and keep going even if the slower moments take a toll on your confidence is difficult, but absolutely crucial, if you want to succeed. Let Alice's words guide you if you are in the self-doubt phase and keep doing what you love, because the reward is only getting closer!

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