Changing Your View on Face Painting Competition

Lela Trock — 07 June 2023 —


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Are other face painters taking your business?
Rise above the competition once and for all!
How can you use a union to your advantage?
Can your competition be making you more money?
One step to increase the demand for good face painting in your community:
So does collaboration have a leg to stand on?

Are other face painters taking your business?

Is your area oversaturated with the competition? Where there are lots of thriving face paint businesses, it may seem like there’s no room for what you offer. Or that you won’t be able to compete…

That anxiety and pain get in the way of creativity and joy. When you show up for an event and there’s another face painter painting there too, your heart might plummet.

What if clients want you to paint things off of the other painter’s menu, and it isn’t your best art?

What if you’re better at painting, but they’re better at marketing, and so no one will even know your business name by the time the event is over?

Maybe you were told to offer quick designs, but their menu is detailed full faces… Will everyone think you’re not as good as them when really you’re just providing what the client asked for?

Or at a pay-per-face event, what if they’re charging so little that no one comes to your booth at all?

And what about those companies that could be hiring you but instead hand their employees a cheap painting palette and let complete amateurs do a professional’s job? How can you ever compete in a market that is closed off?

The good news is, you don’t have to compete. With a change of mindset, you can turn any and all of these situations to your advantage.

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Rise above the competition once and for all!

So what mindset could possibly change these very real and very difficult situations into something other than frustration and hard feelings? Because, WARNING, if you take your competitive spirit one step further you could turn into someone combative, aggressive, pushy, or mean. And being mean and combative will burn bridges and lose you clients, guaranteed.

But competition isn’t all bad. Seeing what others have achieved helps us to push ourselves. Competition is such a motivating force. Seeing other people out there succeeding is like having a carrot dangling in front of you. It sets your goals for you. What do you want your business to look like? Your competitor’s business…but better.

So how do we transform competition into something less hostile, something that allows for creative freedom, joy, and friendship, but also stay motivated and successful?

The secret is to trade competition for personal growth.

Growth isn’t toxic to your business like being passive and submissive would be. Growth is an upward trajectory, but unlike the competition, growth allows us to make that climb with friends.

Let me share some examples of competition-mindset goals vs. growth mindset goals:

Competition says: “Other face painters are getting big corporate clients that should be calling me. I wonder how I can get their clients so that I have more corporate business.”

      Growth says: “Other face painters are getting corporate clients. I want to learn how to find and market to these executives so that I can encourage corporations to book me too.”

Competition says: “There are face painters in the area who paint better than me. I’m going to spend as many hours on youtube as it takes learning what they know so I can outshine them.”

      Growth says: “There are face painters in my area with skills that I could learn from. I’m going to invite a bunch to a social gathering so we can meet and share tips! I bet I have something I could contribute too.”

Competition says: “These new artists in my area are charging so low that people are getting sticker shock at my prices! My artwork is better, but they aren’t bad enough that no one will ever hire them… I’m going to have to lower my rates to compete for those clients.”

      Growth says: “These new artists in my area are charging so low because they don’t have the skills or knowledge yet to charge the going rate for our area. Maybe I can provide some resources to help them improve their skills and services and let them know what the going rate is so that our market doesn’t suffer for everyone.”

Competition says: “The artwork I see online makes me feel bad about my skills. I’ll comment that these aren’t realistic for OTJ, because I’ll never be able to achieve something this good.”

      Growth says: “There are phenomenal artists all over the world who could teach me how to be a better painter. Their results really inspire me. How can I learn from them?”

Our annual Online Summits provide everyone the opportunity to learn from the best painters to take their art to the next level!

Tip: Need to improve your on the job tiger? Paint along with this Rainbow Tiger step-by-step tutorial by Elodie Ternois (Lodie Up!) and see the beautiful results you can achieve with the right instruction.

a young girl with a very colorful purple, green, and yellow tiger face painting on her.

How can you use a union to your advantage?

When we reach out to other artists, especially new ones, with friendship, we can shift the entertainment culture for the whole community (both the artists and the clients!). As we communicate about how we do business and decide what we want the work culture to be like, we start the enjoy the advantages of a union.

For example, you probably want to charge a deposit for clients to book you. That helps guarantee that even if there are cancellations, you don’t lose out on all your income during that time slot. If you learn that everyone in your area is charging a 50% non-refundable deposit in order to book, it would be easy to add that to your policy as well.

But maybe you’re in an area where no one is charging a deposit. If a customer gets uncomfortable paying that amount up front, they can always take their business to someone else. So you lose a customer to your “competition” or take the job without a deposit.

Tip: If you’re not taking deposits yet, you’re missing a chance to show your clients you are a professional. Find more tips for being professional in your face paint business that will boost your confidence and success!

But wouldn’t the other artists in your area also benefit from asking for deposits? Of course, they would! If deposits became standard for your area, everyone would have more security in their events.

When you collaborate with other artists, you can improve the market for everyone working there. But in competition mode, we’re so eager to offer the “best deal” we don’t notice that these undercutting tactics create a market that isn’t good for anyone.

But when one company decides to ask for a deposit, and others follow suit, everyone thrives. Believe it or not, the same is true of getting clients. When your painter friends are getting more business, they’re making more business for you too.

Can your competition be making you more money?

Because our work is so often limited to prime times on weekends and holidays, there’s a very finite number to how many jobs you can do. You can’t hustle harder, accept every job, and get to your 10th party of the day at 4 am caffeinated and ready to paint. Nobody is throwing parties then. And you also can’t split yourself into four people to make it to all the parties happening at 4 pm this Saturday. The same is true for all your painter friends.

So if one painter has way better marketing skills than you, will jealousy and bitterness help? Certainly not. But creating a relationship definitely could.

A wonderful example of this is a team in the USA including both Ronnie Mena and Shawna Del Real. Can you imagine how hard that would be to compete with? But instead of competing, they built up a community of face painters from different parts of a big area in Los Angeles to share bookings with each other. They teamed to provide services in their local area and could share the bookings with others when it was too far away for them, or they were already booked.

a man and a woman with bird face paintings around their right eye and foreheads
Shawna Del Real and Ronnie Mena are face painter friends who work, teach, and paint together.

Can you think of some benefits this arrangement would provide? Let me get you started with a few:

  1. You can cut down on long drives by contracting out for events that are out of your ideal area. You make a finder’s fee for booking the client but have that time slot open to take more jobs closer to home. More time painting and less time driving is more money in your pocket.
  2. You also receive jobs from painter friends who are already booked or too far away. The flood of clients they are generating with good marketing becomes rain on your garden.
  3. Your clients will be happy to have reliable face painters, whether you’re available or not. You’ll turn more of the people reaching out to you into repeat clients instead of turning away jobs and losing out on all the future jobs they might have booked you for too.

These three are just the tip of the iceberg. If you can come up with more benefits from your imagination or your experience collaborating, add them to the comments!

One step to increase the demand for good face painting in your community:

So what goal can you work toward with your painter friends? Become the gold standard for face painting in your area and raise your clients’ standards. The truth is, the more good face painting is a part of your community, the more good face painters your community will need!

When a parent goes to the fair and gets excellent face painting, they’re more likely to look into it for their child’s birthday party. When the PTA president enjoys the birthday party, she’s more likely to hire a professional for the school fair. It’s an upward spiral!

Let me tell you about a company that brings me so much joy:

MOUS provides entertainment services and high-quality face painting in Norway. Their team includes our former instructor, Kristin Olsson, and Cathrine Enger Johansen manages it.

The MOUS team in Norway entertaining and painting beautiful artwork on the job.

When IFPS first opened, MOUS team members started to join one by one until the majority had taken our Elite Course. This motivated others in their team and their local area to improve their craft by joining IFPS as well. They all worked and improved together to build up the biggest entertainment and face painting company in Norway. They even fly to events in Denmark and Sweden to face paint and entertain!

two girls one with a pruple heart face paint and the other girl having a butterfly face paint
We were grateful to help Kristin Olsson and Kudrina Mila (as well as many others on the MOUS team) reach their face paint goals!

That success wouldn’t have been possible if the 20+ high-quality face painters on their team were undercutting each other instead of supporting one another. You might think that a new painter in Norway would be discouraged, but not so! New painters are motivated to quickly improve their skills to join this superb team and get top pay from the first gig.

Is your sloppy artwork keeping you from getting gigs from your fellow artists? Instead of struggling to keep up, you can rocket to success and become a leader in your community! Our Professional Course can take you from beginner to PRO in as little as 3 months.

Face paint faster and better with proper instruction from the International Face Painting School.

Although there are over 20 high-quality face painters on the MOUS team and other artists in the area, their market isn’t oversaturated. The opposite – there’s plenty of work to go around.

Clients love the quality they are getting and often return to their services. And people at events they go to are more likely to hire a face painter in the future because they’re having good experiences with face painting.

So does collaboration have a leg to stand on?

Here are a few benefits of networking instead of competing:

  • Get more work, not less – No one can be everywhere. Instead of turning down work on busy weekends, share and share alike. You’ll definitely get jobs in return.
  • Provide more for your client – When one painter tries to do a large event by themselves, they can’t create their best art, it’s stressful, the wait is long, parents are mad, and clients are disappointed. Instead, you can recommend multiple artists to work with you for large events. You’ll have a real treat painting with friends, you’ll delight the client and guests, and your whole community will thrive.
  • Travel less, work more – Be the go-to painter for your smaller area for all your painter friends. If you’re spaced out across a large city, you’ll be amazed by how much drive time you can save by sharing events across town with one another.
  • Have backup – Sometimes, there’s an emergency, or you’ll get sick on the day of a big event. Don’t burn bridges with clients by being the entertainer who canceled last minute. The more face painter friends you have, the more likely you are to find someone who can fill in and keep your clients happy and coming back for more.
  • Get support and grow together – Entertainers get together in areas all over the world to practice, learn from each other, and even host industry-leading instructors in fun workshops. The joy of improving with friends and helping each other is unmatched.

Our attendees from our annual Online Summit for Face Painters have shared how much more productive and fun it was to watch the classes and paint together with their face painting friends. Follow us to learn about upcoming summits as soon as tickets go on sale. ;)

Collaboration always beats the competition. If you’re new to face painting, and especially if you’re not, extend the arm of friendship to other artists near you. Get inspired. Share what you’re learning and practicing, and see how much better it will be growing together.

Collaboration is at the heart of what it means to be a face painter, and it’s one of the things we believe in at the Face Painting School.

And let me assure you that what you bring to this community does matter. We’re glad you’re here with us. You make a difference. ♥️

Let’s fill the comments with our positive stories about collaboration for those wondering if having painter friends in real life is too good to be true.

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 — Lela Trock

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