1. Believe the client when she says nobody has ever done her hair the way she likes it. The common denominator here is her. You? are not going to be the one to change that record.
2. Have a plan. This is not a roadtrip....you have to know where you are going before you get started.
3. Be realistic. If you can't do it, then tell the client right off the bat. There's nothing worse than finding yourself in the weeds, with no way to get out. The room gets very hot, very fast, and you will want to throw up. And really, who wants a barfing hairdresser?
4. Don’t keep the next client waiting. Everyone's time is valuable to them. If you're running behind then tell your next client and let them decide whether to stay or re-schedule. (We had a guy who worked at our place who made clients wait hours past their appointments, and it was just awful to watch. He was a power-tripping little turd.)
5. Bangs are kryptonite to hairdressers. A fine haircut can take a harsh turn real fast when the bangs go wrong. One stealth cowlick can ruin a perfectly good day.
6. Never talk anyone into something they don’t want. Okay, this one I learned through hard experience. Even if you KNOW she's going to look amazing when you're done, a client in tears is bad for your PR. Another person's head is not the stage for your performance art. Let her think about it and get back to you.
7. One inch is one inch. And not one smidgen more. If a client wants an inch off, do it. (I have, however, been known to wave my scissors over the head of a client who only wants "a half a centimeter off", because it would look exactly the same as if I actually cut it.)
8. Nutjobs look like anyone else. Don't be fooled by the nice clothes and the expert makeup. Like serial killers, crazy clients seem perfectly normal at first. Except for.....
9. Brides are psycho. It's just a fact of life. Even if things are going along swimmingly, the average bride will find something to spazz out about, and it has nothing to do with you.
10. Children’s haircuts speed is more important than accuracy. When cutting children's hair, you should start and proceed so that you could stop at almost any point in the haircut and it would still look okay. Because, like brides, children are psycho.
11. Hair is attached to a person. We often say that if all we had to do was the hair, our jobs would be very easy. Unfortunately, one also has to contend with the person under the hair. Most of the time, that is a genuine pleasure, but sometimes, it is hard, stinking work.
12. Never underestimate how ridiculous clients can be. Like the client who wanted a curling iron set to last through a wash and blowdry, there are no boundaries to what you will be asked to do. Just when you think you've seen it all, you will get someone who wants their hair to defy the laws of biology, or come to their house to have you cut their hair, or change their mind midway through the procedure ("is it too late to do something else?") Be prepared for anything.