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I am proud to admit that I am a self-taught barber and managed to learn to cut hair for free! As they say, no better deal than a free deal! Seriously, how many people can say they were able to learn a skill for free and make money from it? Not many! But you too can be one of the few that’s able to say you learn to barber online and earn an income.
That’s what I did to teach myself to cut hair. I had an opportunity to learn to cut hair for free and I took it!
During my time as a collegiate athlete, I had very little time for a traditional job, and I still needed to earn an income. Teaching myself to cut hair was the best way to balance my time for school, sports, and make money.
That’s why this topic hit’s close to home for me. I still could remember the sacrifices I made and my determination to learn to cut hair.
You may be wondering, what is a self taught barber?
A self-taught barber is someone who takes the unconventional methods of learning to cut hair. The traditional requirement to becoming a barber is: minimum of 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, barber school for 1500 hours of barber schooling, and pass the appropriate licensing exam.
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A self-learning barber bypass all the requirement of a traditional barber. After reading this article in its entirety, you should feel ready to embrace the world of Self-learning barber. You’ll learn all the options available to become a self-taught barber to either save money or make real cash while cutting hair!
How to become a barber without going to school?
Have ever wondered is it is possible to get barber license without school… Well, it is possible to get barber license without attending school. In some States, you may sit for the barber exam instead of taking a formal course if you complete a cosmetologist or barber apprenticeship.
The completion of an apprenticeship must be done with and supervised by a state-approved and licensed barber. In some states, such as New Hampshire, a degree and an apprenticeship are required. In this case , you may be able to take online barber course or attend school in order to complete the apprenticeship requirement for your state.
I suggest checking with your State Board of Barbering for details on the education and apprenticeship requirement. Also consider contacting a local barber to discuss your options as well as the requirements for your area. They’ve been through the process and may be able to help you.
My story: taught myself to cut hair
I mentioned that I was able to teach myself to cut hair and used my skills to make money in college. I’ll be honest it took a lot of bad haircuts and persistence. I can’t tell you how many crooked hairlines and patches I had before the hang of cutting hair.
Keep in mind that learning to cut hair isn’t something you just pick up and go, I needed tools, space, and clients. When my journey of becoming a self-taught barber began, I didn’t have anything but the will to learn.
I’ll be honest, in the beginning, my first couple of clients were a bit skeptical. Once they realized I had skills with a hair trimmer, I had an endless supply of clients needing haircuts. Once I perfected cutting my hair, I moved on to a few brave teammates. Cutting my teammate’s hair was pivotal because I was able to work on different head shapes and hair types.
It took me a few months before I became skillful with hair clippers and build a reputation around campus! Before I know it, I was the guy to go to for a haircut at Millikin Univ. I didn’t charge nearly as much as the barbers in Decatur IL and did a way better job! No joke, I was able to pay my way through school; I doubt that would have been possible if I didn’t learn to cut hair for free.
Is it hard to learn to cut hair?
I wouldn’t say it is hard but just like anything in life, learning to cut hair takes time and practice. In 2020 it is much easier to learn to hair and there are many free options out there. The hardest part of learning to cut hair for free is finding the resources, don’t worry I’ll help you find them!
Throughout this article, I’ll share my experience of cutting hair and how I was able to teach myself to cut hair. The difficulty of learning to cut hair will depend on your schedule and the effort you’re willing to put in.
Keep in mind when you’re first starting, you’ll make a lot of mistakes when you’re cutting hair. That’s okay, making mistakes is part of the process in the road to becoming a great barber. Don’t worry if you don’t understand how to cut hair, doesn’t mean you won’t get better.
I’ll be honest if your goal is to learn to cut hair for free expect some difficulty for some of you. Continue and keep at it no matter how difficult it feels, it’ll be satisfying and worth it. Like they say, no pain no gain, but I’ll try to make it as easy process as possible.
For those of you who get the hang of cutting hair, that’s awesome and keep up the great work! However, this could be a false sense of confidence and may cause you to become stagnant and slow down your improvement.
How long does it take to learn to cut hair?
It depends entirely on your motivation to learn, your work ethic, and which path you choose to learn to cut hair. Honestly, there is no wrong or right answer. Your decision will be based on your circumstances rather than how long one takes over the other.
Let’s breakdown the length between barber school and a self-taught barber.
- Barber school – To complete barber school one of the requirements is an induvial must complete a minimum of 1,500 hours or 10 months. Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate, some states require a longer stint.
- Self-learning barber – This is the most flexible between the two options. Learning to become a barber for free could take a month or several years. This option requires self-motivation and dedication but if you’re willing to learn it’s certainly doable in less than 10 months.
In my case when I learned to cut hair for free, I didn’t have many obstacles other than school and football. I didn’t have a kid, wasn’t working full time and I was younger… So, staying up late to learn to cut hair after my required responsibilities were nothing at the time. Therefore, I was able to learn to cut hair for free in such a short period.
If I tried to learn to give haircuts on my own today, it would be much harder. Like most of you, the hurdles are much different, I have a son and work full time. That’s why I say circumstances will dictate how long it takes you to learn.
Afrocurlsandcuts.com is a perfect example of how lifestyle impacts production. Some day’s it’s a challenge balancing work, other business ventures, and personal relationships while building a website. Though I wouldn’t change anything in my life currently, those factors are hurdles that dictate my project timeframe.
Reasons someone would choose self learning barber over barber school
There are many reasons why someone would choose to self-taught barbering over barbering school. Self-taught barbers tend to have other responsibilities besides attempting to learn to cut hair for free. Let’s take a look at why someone would choose to cut hair on their own over attending barber school.
- Money – keep in mind that finance is usually a deciding factor whenever someone opts to learn to cut hair for free or barber school.
- Barber school cost – Barber school generally costs between $10,000 and $20,000. Consider the wide range of costs depending on factors like program length, state requirements, and your location. The high cost of barber school is enough to turn people off from attending.
- Income – One reason someone would want to learn to become a barber for free is because it is free and once you’re up and running you’ll keep 100% of the income. This is an appealing aspect for someone who’s starting and who may not have the capital to start barber school.
- Time – Keep in mind that barber school usually requires 1,500 hours, which is about 10 months to complete. Some people don’t have the luxury of spending 10 months whether it’s because of family or have a full-time gig.
- A hobby – For some people, learning to cut hair for themselves is just a hobby and just for fun. In this case, barber school is unnecessary, and the cost wouldn’t be worth it. You’re better off just learning to cut hair on your own.
- Flexibility – Flexibility is a key factor when weighing your options whether to go to barber school or not. You can become a self-taught barber at your own pace, there isn’t a timeframe like there is in barber school.
When I decided to learn to give haircuts by myself, I went the free route… My decision to bypass barber school was due to limitations of money, time, and lack of flexibility. At the time it was the right decision for me.
Can someone make money as a self-taught barber?
Yes, absolutely… Someone could make money as an amateur barber. To make money from cutting hair, you’ll need to achieve a couple of things. Let’s take a look at what those things are to earn money as a self-learning barber.
- Be a good barber – The first rule of making money as a freelance barber is to be good at what you do. This is why it is important to master your craft before you recruit or charge clients for haircuts. If you are learning to become a barber for free it is important to take advantage of all the free options available to you. I’ll show you how to use them and where to find them!
- Be consistent – It’s important to be reliable as an independent barber, remember your income depends on you being where you say you’ll be. The quickest way to lose clients A.K.A money is not keeping your word and being inconsistent.
- Market yourself – I can say this enough… If you’re a freelance barber it’s imperative that market yourself and get your name out there. Take pictures of the haircuts you provide for clients and post them on your social media.
Make sure you put your clients first and make them feel like they’re a priority. The tips above will assure you that you earn money as a self-taught barber!
How much money can you earn as a freelance barber?
Your ability to earn money as a self-employed barber is based on how good and how you market your skill. However, your barber salary will depend on a few interconnecting factors which dictate how much you make. From there will be able to determine whether barbering is worth it or not. Let’s look at elements that could help maximize your barber income.
Best practice to earn money as an amateur barber
- Price – Your price point is important when trying to make money after you’ve learned to become a barber for free. How much you charge as a barber could impact whether you draw clients or turn them away. Here’s a couple of barbering tips for beginners, keep your prices fair and use incentives to draw customers in for haircuts.
- Referral Discounts – One way to build your clientele is through word of mouth, so offer discounted rewards for clients who help build a reputation. Consider offering a special rate for clients who post photos of their haircuts on social media and tag you. This could pay a dividend for your brand.
- Travel rates – You want to price accordingly if you’re a traveling barber and making house visits. In this case, it’s wise to charge a premium for your services. Make sure your haircut price is worth going out of your way. Trust me your client will understand why your charging a premium for haircut house calls.
- First-time client rate – Remember when I said offer incentive? Well, that could be the difference in retaining your new clients and losing them. By offering a first haircut discount you may be able to get those new clients coming back!
- Clients – The key to success for a self-taught barber is to build your clientele and keep them coming back! The more clients you’re able to handle the more money you’ll make as an amateur barber.
- Tips – Barber tips are a great way to boost your income. Customers who are happy with their haircuts will be more inclined to give a tip. Therefore, it’s extremely important to provide quality haircuts to your clients.
- Expense – One way to maximize your profits as is to minimize unnecessary expenses where you can. Make sure you don’t cut costs for the essential in the process.
Will a barbershop owner hire a self taught barber?
Sorry guys, hate to break to you but your chances of being hired by a barbershop are slim to none. If you look up job search for barbering job all of them ask that you are a licensed barber. If you learned to cut hair for free you will not qualify to work at a barbershop.
You should know, to work in a barbershop you must complete the license barber requirements set by various states. Usually, the expectation to achieve a barber license is 1500 hours of barber school and you must pass the barber exam. Other state requirements to become a barber at a barbershop, you must be 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED.
You will rarely find self-learned barber cutting hair at a barbershop… Most people who learn to cut hair by themselves usually work for themselves. Don’t be fooled, some self-taught barbers are better than professional barbers!
No matter how good you are, the requirements set by states make it impossible and prohibited barbershop owners from hiring amateur barbers. Well technically, a shop owner could hire you to sweep and clean but not as a hair cutting barber. I know, it sucks but those are the rules, my friend.
What is the benefit of a self-learning barber?
When I taught myself to cut hair, I had to weigh whether or not “is barbering for me”. I wrote down the benefits of a self-teaching barber and how it would help my situation at the time. Let’s look at the benefits that I considered when pursuing learning to become a barber for free.
Benefits of learning to cut hair for free
- Income – Income is a huge weighing factor when learning to cut hair for free. I know it was for me when I was in college. Think about it… while you’re in college, your earning potential is at its lowest. That was true in my case while trying to balance schoolwork, collegiate football, and living a normal life.
- Main income – For some people, after they learn to cut hair for free, they can turn their skill into a full income.
- Supplement income – In my case, learning to cut hair was a way to earn money on the side while I was in college. Some of you may be in a similar situation and being an amateur barber could help relieve financial burdens.
- 100 percent Keeps – All the money that you earn as a self-taught barber you keep. You will not have to pay back barber school loans or split income for barbershop owners for space rental.
- You’re the boss – Another benefit when you learn to cut hair for free is you will be working for yourself. You’ll be able to decide how you run your barbering business and call all the shots!
- Have options – There’s nothing like having options… My learning to cut hair for free, you’ll be able to cut your own hair when barbershops are closed. A perfect example of this is the Covid-19 pandemic that forced all barbershops to close in order to practice social distancing.
- Flexibility – Flexibility was important when I decide to pursued learning to become a barber. I was able to learn at my own pace and didn’t require too much time once the business was up and running. Take a look below at the flexibility list of self-taught barbers!
- Pick your clients
- The pace of learning to become a barber
Before you start the process of learning to cut hair make sure you weigh your options and decide if the barber is for you… doing so will save you time, money, and much frustration.
What is the drawback when you learn to become a barber for free?
Welcome to the real world, with everything positive there is a drawback associated! Some of the drawbacks could outweigh the pros and could cause you not to want to pursue self-learning barbering. Let’s look at some of the shortcomings of a self-taught barber for free.
Drawbacks of learning to cut hair for free
- Job Limitation – As you know, when you become a self-learning barber for free you will not have a license. The lack of a barber certification will eliminate your chance of becoming a barber at a shop.
- Client recruit – one of the shortcomings of learning to cut hair on your own is client recruitment. You will have to put in work by yourself to get clients instead of a steady stream customer from a barbershop.
- Upfront investment – Though learning to cut hair is free, the tools that you will need will not be. You will be responsible to buy your trimmers, edge liners, and barber cape as a self-taught barber.
- Location – Again, you won’t have access to a barbershop as a self-learning barber, you’ll have to improvise and find a location or travel to cut hair.
- Traveling – You may need a reliable source of transportation if you do not have a makeshift barbershop.
- Limited practice – You will not only need to know where to learn hair cutting but also find people willing to let you practice on them. That’s not always an easy task!
As you see, there is plenty to think about if you decide to teach yourself to cut hair. If you’re able to get past the cons you’ll be able to self-learn to cut hair, it could be fruitful!
What will I need to be able to learn to cut hair for free?
Once you begin your journey of barbering and free haircutting tips, you’ll need a few things to get the ball rolling. Everything listed below will be essential to your success as a self-taught barber and learning to cut hair for free. This list is in no particular order but let’s take a look!
What you will need to learn to barber at home
- Patience – Trust me, learning to become a barber for free could be frustrating if you don’t know where to look. Not to mention finding places to cut hair and people to practice haircutting. This is where your patience may be tested but stick with it and do a little improvising.
- Correct hair cutting tools – To learn to barber at home you will need the right tools. You need hair trimmers, edge liners, straight razors, and shears to start your free barbering journey.
- Reliable internet and devices – You will need stable internet to consume the information that’s out there. Information like articles, videos, and podcasts will all be delivered to you through your phone, tablet, and computers. Consider investing in devices capable of handling the information you will be acquiring.
- Pure will – You will need pure motivation and dedication! When things don’t go your way, you’ll need the will power to push through and keep going.
- Pen and paper – Go old school when you learn to cut hair for free! Studies show that most people retain information better when they write the material down.
- Confidence – A free barbering tips for beginners is you will need confidence in your haircutting skills! Practice cutting hair with confidence doing so will shift when you’re cutting hair for money. As they say, practice makes perfect!
- Volunteers – You will need heads to practice haircutting skills and develop as a new barber.
- Consider offering free haircuts on college campuses and senior homes. You should be able to find plenty of volunteers by offering your service to the elderly and college students.
You will need everything that I mentioned to become a successful freelance barber. Give yourself the opportunity and do whatever you need to do to become the best self-taught barber.
7 ways to learn to cut hair for free
One of the most effective ways to start to learn to barber at home is, to begin with learning to barber online. Once you have a good grasp and after you learn barber online you then move on to the real world. The tips will prepare you for the real world situation when cutting hair.
Online barber training
- Watch YouTube videos – You could look to YouTube for free barber training videos. A barber video course is a great outlet for beginners learning to cut hair. Search barber courses for beginners on YouTube and you’ll have an endless supply of videos to start your barbering journey! This is a great tool if you want to learn to barber at home under COVID-19 quarantine.
- Visit forums – Barber forums are so underrated… so many tips, ideas, and experiences are shared through barber forums for males. You may come across a troll or two but for the most part, barber forum communities are helpful. You’ll learn about barber lingo, trending hairstyles, and best barber equipment suggestions. Forums were key in my barber training; it was a huge factor when I taught myself to cut hair.
- Read articles – Article are undervalued! Just like writing down information, reading helps retain information better than watching it on YouTube. Keep in mind you’ll find information faster through articles than you would with videos, especially if there aren’t any video timestamps. Articles could be a vital gizmo when trying to learn barbering online.
- Follow barbers on social media – Social media such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are awesome places for barbering tips for beginners. As a self-taught barber, you should consider using social media to promote yourself.
These online resources are great ways to learn how to cut hair for beginners. The best part it’s all free! So, use the online barbering resource available to you to learn to become a barber for free.
Real-world barber training
- Spend time at the barbershop – This is the most undervalued tip I can give you as a new barber. While you’re at the barbershop watch how they cut hair, the brand of haircut tools they use, and how barber interacts with clients. Another piece of valuable information I can give you is to pay attention to what haircut clients are asking for and practice those haircuts.
- Ask a professional barber – Ask barbers in your community for barber tips and pointers. That’s why spending time at the barbershop is beneficial. Not only will you learn a lot, but the barber will become familiar with you and likely to help you.
- Practice on yourself and others – As a self-taught barber, your main hurdle is finding people to practice cutting hair. Consider starting your barber training at home by practicing cutting your own hair. Once you’ve mastered cutting your own hair you could then recruit potential volunteers and practice cutting their hair. Like I mentioned earlier, you could recruit family members (like cutting your child hair), college students and offer free senior home haircuts to enlist volunteers.
It is very possible to become a self-taught barber and learn to cut hair for free! There are many resources out there when you take time out to learn barbering online.
By learning to barber for free online you will be allowed the luxury of flexibility to learn at your own pace. Once you’ve mastered your haircutting skills, you’ll be able to cut hair and schedule haircut appointments around your life.
If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please like, subscribe, and share! Also, read the other article from AfroCurlsandCuts.com
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