5 steps to a creative career change

Published on 22 December 2016
by ASI Team
Category: Community

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you will have experienced that feeling.

You know the one; after slumping on the couch, totally drained from a 9-5 day in the office, you get that sense that something’s missing. You can’t stop thinking that you’re not doing what you makes you happy.

So where’s that feeling coming from?

For many of our stylists, it’s their creative side, and it’s begging to finally be noticed and put to use. Usually that transpires into starting on that career change they’ve always talked about.

However, each time you get ready to take that first step, there’s that one big obstacle in your way that you can’t seem to figure out. Once you’ve decided what to explore (spoiler alert: we highly recommend styling) how do you actually jump from being an industry outsider to a career professional?

Our tip: don’t jump – waltz.

Follow the steps. Go forwards, then backwards, then forwards again.  Maybe trip up a few times. By the end of that you will have completed a dance, learnt something new and improved since the last time you got on the dance floor.

We had a chat with Australian Style Institute stylist Chelsea Brice, who has been through this challenging but rewarding process. Previously in car sales, Chelsea is now a successful personal stylist and makeup artist who runs her own business. She gave us some great insight into how she got to where she is today.


change careers

First, Ask Questions

So you’ve decided that you want to explore a new path, now is the time to ask as many questions as you can!   

As much as we all love our friends and family, your accountant father or best friend the teacher are not your go-to’s in this situation. Instead, reach out to industry professionals to learn about what the role involves and how they got started. Don’t be afraid to contact someone you don’t know, people love share their expertise and help out a beginner!

Chelsea said it was the moment chatting to one of our team that made the difference –  “It wasn’t until I went to Australian Style Institute that I realised it was what I wanted to do.” Seek out people that can help give you that ‘ah-hah’ moment.


Research till you can’t research any longer

Once you’ve spoken with some industry insiders, you need to start thinking about how you’re actually going to make the change.

There’s always good ol’ Google, which is not to be discredited, however attending events such as info sessions are a great way to guide you into taking that next step.

Australian Style Institute holds information sessions and Become a Stylist events that can help you decide whether studying styling is the right choice for you and what options you have.

Having all the information available is important, so if you need to suss out all your options, go to multiple events. You can never over research.

Changing career

Get the skills

Get skilled. Finding an educator that fits your time frame and learning style is key. Not everyone is designed to fit an online course; a lot of people need to be in the classroom. Some like full-time study, while flexible, part-time options suit others – you need to understand yourself to make these decisions.

For Chelsea, educating herself was an extremely important step – “It gave me the confidence that I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about”. This is a point we can’t overlook. There’s a lot more to creative careers than just having a good eye. Studying will give you the skills you need to know what you’re doing and be confident in your abilities. It also allows clients and employers to trust you and your capabilities.


Experience, experience, experience

Once you’re skilled it’s all about the next step: gaining experience.

In the creative industry this can include assisting someone or collaborating with other creatives. Time to get networking!

Contact that person you’ve been following on Instagram forever, you never know when someone needs a helping hand. Facebook groups are also total winners for finding people that are keen to create together.  

If you’re feeling ready, you can also start your own business.

This is what Chelsea did. She registered a business name and was ready to go. She began by utilising what (or who) she knew – her friends. Chelsea built her client base from friends of friends and it only grew from there. The more friends of friends she worked with, the more referrals she received.

Experience is a step that is never quite completed, it’s a continual learning process that allows you to grow and advance each day. Remember: there’s always room to improve.

Take action

To continue pursuing your dream you can’t stay stagnant – you need to keep taking action.  

Taking your business online is a great way to show off your work and expand your client base. Chelsea says, “It was definitely having an online presence” that helped her. Once she was posting regularly on her social media profiles and launched her website, clients were lining up at her door.

It’s all about putting yourself out there, networking until you have no one else to network with and doing what makes you happy.

Chelsea says that moving from sales into styling has changed her life for the better –

“I’m a lot happier. I love what I do now; I didn’t used to love what I did. Instead of going home drained I walk away buzzing! I feel empowered.”

It’s this kind of personal transformation that makes stepping out of your comfort zone so worthwhile.
There’s no need to be scared that it’s nothing like anything else you’ve ever done before. The beauty of a career change is that all past experience leads to a unique professional edge.

There is no perfect formula you need before you’re ready, it’s all yours for the taking.


Download a Free Course Guide

Where you’ve seen our stylists

Take the quiz!