Emily Barton, hair and makeup artist, does makeup for a bride.

How to build a business without social media

When I was on maternity leave, I asked my subscribers what topics they would like me to cover in upcoming blog posts. A few different people wanted me to talk about how to build a business without using social media. Although I do believe social media is a great (free!) tool to help build your business, it’s not the only way to build your business. If social media makes you cringe (or worse), know that there IS a way to build your business without making Reels or showing your face on IG stories. 

Let me back up and tell you how I know this to be true. 

I started my hair and makeup business without a website, without Instagram, and without Facebook. In fact, I started it without any formal training at all! I taught myself how to do airbrush makeup, how to style hair so that a bride felt like she walked out of a magazine shoot, and how to market it so that I had more clients besides friends and family. 

I went from training myself and knocking on doors to having a business where I did over 60 weddings a year and winning some fun awards. 

The secret to how I did it? Well, it’s the same way you’d approach social media if you chose to do that: build relationships with people.

People remember how you make them feel. Are you warm? Inviting? Personable? This is true if you’re hopping on a FB Live or if you’re chatting with the cashier at Target. You don’t have to be an extrovert to get your business going, but you do have to believe in your business and how it helps other people. Once you have that, even when it’s hard you’ll know why you’re doing it.

With the foundation of building relationships in mind, here are my best tips on how to grow your business without social media:

  1. Integrate your business into your everyday life. Talk about it freely and confidently with everyone you come in contact with. (Yes, even the cashier at Target!) Be proud of what you do and what you have to offer. 
  2. Ask questions. Get to know people’s needs. Look for opportunities to solve people’s problems with what you have to offer. Be their solution to making their life easier, fuller, richer. 
  3. Create compelling business cards or informational cards and pass them out freely. Make sure there is a picture of you on the card, this gives a personal element and a face behind the business. 
  4. Build your personal brand… you want to be the first person people think of when they hear the words “BEAUTYCOUNTER” or “makeup artist” this will give you the awesome opportunity for referrals. This includes more than just your brand colors for the info cards or website. Think: what are my values? What do people know me for? When you allow more than just the business to enter into your brand, prospects will learn to know and trust you more. 
  5. Invest your time building strategic relationships with other professionals. If you’re brand new to the business or industry, reach out to people you look up to in the field and ask if you can shadow or take some work off of their plate. This might require some pro bono work, but keep the long game in mind. You want to build and sustain relationships with people you can learn from… and who may be able to refer work to you in the future.

Yes, I use social media more these days, but my time on various platforms have ebbed and flowed. I’m a mom of three kids, a fire wife, and now we have a mini farm to take care of. I can’t commit to every platform all the time! But what I can be consistent about is showing up for my clients and maintaining the relationships I’ve built along the way.

So, regardless of whether or not you want to do YouTube tutorials or go the brick and mortar route, the foundation to growing any business is treating every person around both as a potential client AND as a real and important person.

Build the relationship first. The business will follow.



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