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Are You a $100,000+ Hairdresser?

By Laurel Nelson, contributing writer with Salon Today

A photo of stylist Harry Wood blow drying a client's hair

Ever feel like you’re toiling away on client after client, year after year with no end in sight? Are you seeing the same paycheck every week, every month, every year, despite rising costs in living?

If this is the case, Van Michael Stylist and Founder/CEO of Six Figure Hairdresser, Harry Wood, says it’s time to pull yourself out of a salary rut.

Wood, who has been a stylist for 20+ years, was surrounded by some of the best in the business when he started his career at Van Michael salons and quickly realized there was no reason hairdressing can’t be just as profitable as any other occupation.

Now, he has taken his knowledge and experience and created a program any hairdresser can learn from and pave their own way to a six-figure salary.


When designing the Six Figure Hairdresser model, Wood had two main goals in mind—raising professional standards in the beauty industry and helping fellow stylists become more successful.

The program covers everything from setting attainable goals to marketing yourself as a brand and is designed for everyday use with a simple and straightforward structure.

“Six Figure is about teaching people how to become the person they want to be in their career,” says Wood. “Whether they want to work three days per week and spend more time with their family, or maybe they want to work on the fashion side of the business—there’s a way to make it happen.”

During the goal setting and career mapping portion of the program, Wood relies on his experience as a triathlete and trainer—skills he has found translate to coaching stylists, too.

“I teach them to look at the big picture,” he says. “Hairdressers sometimes think they’ll have one clientele for their whole career.”

But Wood coaches, “It’s business. We have personal relationships, but if you want to make more money, you have to be willing to charge more.

Picture of Harry Wood, hairstylist instructor“A lot of people feel bad about it,” he says. “But I tell them you can’t look at your owner and tell her you want to make more money and then blame her for it if you won’t go up in price.”

In his program, Wood also emphasizes that a six-figure salary is not just for celebrity stylists—a common misconception. He teaches all levels of technicians, focusing on customer service and smart planning, not just the technical side of cutting hair.

“As a performance coach, I look at ‘performance’ as retail, service, and education,” says Wood. “Sometimes it’s a matter of looking at the systems that work and redefining the ones that don’t. Things always have to be recalibrated.

“For example, if we have a customer appreciation day, I would calibrate goals and determine what performance should be. Could you do a thousand dollars in retail on that day if we raise the bar?”


Performance coaching stylists can be tricky when you’re focusing on the big picture. Wood advises, “Don’t make it about the numbers—make it about how you deliver the service.

“We’re trying to teach this industry how to do business in a more white-collar way,” he adds. “We need to look at our professional license the same way a doctor, dermatologist or dentist does.”

In an industry where the focus in on relationships, rather than the professional side, this is a stumbling block for many. “We’re going to have those relationships, and that’s ok, but we need to understand the business dynamics behind them,” says Wood.

“With our program, we teach stylists how to go through the sales process without feeling like it’s a sale—and it all starts in the consultation.”

“We focus on learning how to identify the customer—what’s their buying style? All that builds up into how you sell to them. We teach active listing and how to overcome objection the same as a corporate business would with new phrasing and psychological tools to get clients to say yes.”

As for those pesky numbers, Wood does insist stylists should always know one very important number—their bring-home pay.

“We give people a formula for their daily bring-home,” he says.

After that, it’s an individual process. “I can’t tell you you’ll go from $50k to $100k in one year. We figure out what’s a realistic goal and what’s a stretch goal and find somewhere between. Everyone has different strengths.

“Part of performance coaching is figuring out what people don’t know and getting information they can relate to,” he says. “The individual must know what she is capable of.”

“We don’t preach numbers—we teach people how to have more engaging relationships,” says Wood.

However, he does employ a few strategies to keep stylists focused and on target when it comes to tracking their numbers to hit a goal. And each conversation is based on the individual’s performance.

“If I’m talking to someone who has never run a marathon to completion, it’s a lot different than someone who has run 10 marathons and now wants to run a 2:40,” says Wood. “The higher you start to perform, the harder you have to work to make incremental goals. You have to work harder—and smarter,” he says.

“The point is to focus on the end result,” he adds.


Even with the best coaching, some people simply aren’t interested in pushing themselves to the next level. Wood says emerging leaders have the most potential for improvement.

“The ones who don’t want to change won’t become leaders long-term,” he adds. “The top service provider is not always going to be a leader, either,” he says. “They can get complacent—the best leaders aren’t necessarily always the top performers in the salon.”

To combat this, Wood looks at the individual and tries to figure out what will motivate and inspire them. Maybe that’s a trip to fashion week or a class outside the industry.

“I recently encouraged a whole team to go to Fashion Week,” he says. “Clients thought it was really cool and the stylists qualified themselves to go up in price.”

Finding ways to trigger people to do things differently has been key for Wood. Technology has been the main common ground. “The next generation always has a device in their hand—so we take hairdressers through a series on how to consult with tablets. Do you take notes on people anymore or do you check them out on social media?

“Building relationships and business on what’s important to people today is another way to recalibrate systems.”

Currently, Wood is working with brands and schools to coach his Six Figure program. “We work on customer service, management—whatever is needed in the organization, we design a program around,” he says. “We have people who can say what managers can’t. I can come in and say ‘you can’t blame this person for your paycheck—your role is to perform. You’ve got work to do.’”

Another focus for Wood is getting his books into schools to give students a better understanding of what business looks like as a whole.

“They need to know they won’t make $100k the first year, but it is possible in five to six years if you’re focused. We have to change it from the bottom up and change the perspective on what we do.”

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