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Makeup artist blends business and pleasure

Freelance makeup artist Daniela Baldor, of Larchmont, applies

Freelance makeup artist Daniela Baldor, of Larchmont, applies makeup to model Desma Du'Bois of Bay Shore for a photo shoot at Lucy Lencinas Photography in Bay Shore. (April 29, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

As a child, Daniela Baldor had a passion for makeup. As an adult, she works as a tax analyst.

Now she's trying to do a bit of both, with an eye toward making makeup her primary career.

Ultimately, she'd like to open a boutique on Long Island, where she spends her weekends at her boyfriend's East Meadow home and gets much of her work. During the week, she lives in Larchmont, in Westchester County, because the commute to her 9-to-5 job in Greenwich, Conn., is easier from there. Baldor's goal is to leave her job and move to Long Island full-time so she can focus entirely on Beauty By Daniela, applying makeup for photo shoots, weddings and other events around Long Island and nearby areas.

So after spending normal business hours at her day job, Baldor, 33, heads home and spends several more hours answering emails, finding networking opportunities and otherwise building her business, which she incorporated in February. She also goes to one to three gigs a week -- some of which are paid, and some of which she uses to build her portfolio and network. She charges about $150 for bridal makeup.

"It's been difficult, but since it's something I love, I find time to do it," says Baldor, who became serious about pursuing a cosmetics career in 2010, when she took a course over six weeks to become certified as a makeup artist.

 

Time management is key

Juggling a day job with a start-up business is a tough challenge for many entrepreneurs, says Jim Stumpf, a business coach with AdviCoach in Laurel. One major challenge, he says, is time management. "They know their time in the corporate world is valuable because it pays for the future development of the new firm," he says. But that can mean there will be "some area of the [new] business that may be at risk just because they can't do everything."

An important tip: Business owners pursuing their passions need to keep sight of the financial realities of leaving a job that's paying the bills, Stumpf says.

"When you ask somebody, 'What do you need to survive?' we know we can put that number down. But when you're running a business, you also need to be investing in the future," he says. "As a business owner, you need to have a nice cushion in place to know if you fall upon hard times, you have enough for your family."

Baldor says that when she can earn her current salary -- between $60,000 and $70,000 a year -- as a makeup artist, she'll know it's time to quit her day job.

To that end, she is focusing on developing her business. She's about to start a major marketing push around Long Island high schools in time for prom season.

And she continues to make connections with local photographers and other potential clients who can give her repeat business.

 

Open to ideas

"She's very nice, which is a great thing in the industry," says Niki Kniffin, a fashion photographer based in Huntington, who met Baldor on a website where models, photographers and makeup artists can connect. They've since done several shoots together. "She's willing to work with my ideas. She's great [at] bringing my ideas to fruition."

Baldor says it helps that her day job offers a lot of vacation time and summer hours -- Friday afternoons off -- starting in late May. If she doesn't already have a job planned, she'll spend that time on Long Island networking and seeking out new business.

But traveling between Greenwich, Larchmont and East Meadow is time-consuming: When she has a weekday job on Long Island, she stays at her boyfriend's place and commutes to Greenwich from there, which can take as long as two hours.

Still, Baldor says it's worth the effort if it means she'll be able to do makeup -- and join her boyfriend on Long Island -- full-time.

"I see it as rewarding, because I'm fortunate enough to have [customers] interested in my services who can possibly use my services a second time or who can refer me to other clients," she says.

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