The Story of SEJ

How We Got Here – AKA “When Your Planning Meeting Takes An Unexpected Turn…”

Welcome to the first issue of Salon Education Journal! I’ve been tasked with writing our first article, which has to be about what’s brought us here and why I’m writing this. Grab a cuppa and take a comfortable seat, as I tell you how Salon Education Journal came to be (imagine the Disney Tinkerbell wand, the ‘Trrriiiiinnngggg!’ and fairy dust …)

Once upon a time, there was a salon owner, called Sue, who had an idea for a salon-wide education platform. It would operate a little bit like a professional’s directory does for service providers (you know the type – Treatwell, Check-A-Trade), but for education and course sourcing. She’d been in the salon industry for a long time; she had worked hard as a salon and business owner (mobile, events, home, and salon); educator; in competition and trade association management; and had even won some lovely awards! She’d been around the block a few times. Sue knew that there were lots of education providers in the salon industry that were amazing, but that there were also a rising number that were selling poor quality courses leading to unhappy learners and lower quality services. 

Something needed to change! Too many learners of all levels were paying poor quality education providers for bad courses that didn’t give them confidence, the right skills, or even insurable skills, or enough foundation knowledge. Fortunately for Sue, she had a great person who had worked with her on her salon website, socials, and graphics, called Diane, who was a whizz at the techie stuff she wasn’t so good at. Diane helped Sue work out how this idea could be created. Sue put her thinking cap on and created a name that came from a god of wisdom (Nabu) joined with the verb ‘to know’(no), and Nabuno became the name. Diane got busy creating the brand and checking out the tech side. Many conversations followed about how to create what would become Nabuno and over the next 18 months they developed the salon industry’s first education platform and course directory. The platform launched as the pandemic hit – talk about bad timing huh? Nabuno got put on the backburner and they dissolved the business side of it while they waited and waited…

Scroll forward over a lot of stuff we’ve all tried to put behind us between 2020 and 2022 and, wow, did the education sector change over that time. When the UK went into the pandemic, online and remote education as a way of teaching in the industry was often frowned upon, even for theory. During those 2 years everything shifted; as an industry that were sat at home for a long time, we got bored and suddenly online was considered acceptable for many parts of the industry, and for some, not so much. Online theory and business education has been ingrained in the industry and hybrid learning is now the present and the future of learning for practical based skills. 

Two of the many, many Nabuno & SEJ planning meetings

“Something needed to change! Too many learners of all levels were paying poor quality education providers for bad courses.”

They knew things had shifted and that Nabuno hadn’t fulfilled its destiny yet, so they went back to the drawing board and created a new and improved platform. Following a few delays, like Sue moving from Kent to Norfolk and Di moving from Devon to Argyll & Bute in Scotland, amongst some other obstacles, Nabuno relaunched in March 2023. Nabuno v2.0 brings together the power of a salon dedicated course directory with a learning management system that links the education providers’ courses directly to the directory, along with the Nabuno Oracle, a source of information, blogs, and more.

This is really where the seeds of Salon Education Journal were sown. Throughout the process, providing information that is educational, informative, accurate and inspirational was part of their mission. During the ‘wilderness years’, both Sue and Diane continued to work on their own projects. Sue creating her Inspiring Salon Professionals podcast and brand, and Diane managing her creative agency, Enzby Media. Both continued to write content for the Nabuno platform when it returned. 

In July 2023, Diane suggested perhaps a digital 8-page periodical may be a useful tool to provide a new platform to shine a light on Nabuno and share our educational content. She continued to play with imagery and layout in between other tasks and a design format started to shine through. By 6 September, it was a 32-page document and ready for final decisions on content; and so, in their weekly planning meeting, Sue & Diane set aside a portion of the meeting to decide on what was going in. As the conversation progressed, it went from 32 pages to 40. Sue suggested she could ask a couple of associates to write a column and it grew from 40, to 48, to 60- and then the fateful words, “Why don’t we just create a new trade magazine?” were uttered from Diane’s lips (which she may now be regretting just a little) and we all know where that led…

“Why don’t we just create a new trade magazine?”

The Who…

Let’s come back to the real world and leave the fairy dust and the rose-tinted glasses behind. Starting a magazine is not a simple task; starting any major project is not an easy thing, and we knew how hard we’d worked to create both versions of Nabuno and the challenges of bringing it to life were just the start. However, both Diane and I have histories and experiences that are expansive and have the components to make a trade magazine happen. Sue’s background in her corporate career and salon career as an award-winning salon owner & professional, writer, podcaster, and industry advocate with a network of collaborators at her fingertips, and Diane’s as an online marketing, graphic design, publications & advertising expert, position us to be able to deliver something new and something with a different feel to what exists already.

The What…

Salon Education Journal will be packed full of engaging, informational, inspirational, and motivational content and have education at its core, whether the readers are new to industry, seasoned professionals, educators, or industry leaders. Our ground-breaking quarterly print and digital publication is dedicated to serving the thriving salon industry and delivering educational content to enable professionals and businesses to grow and develop their abilities. 

Content created by professionals and experts – a team of industry titans who make up our Collaborative Columnists and who will be joined by guest contributors from within and from outside of industry. 

Affordable advertising opportunities for smaller businesses that want to reach their target market are also available.

Key Features of Salon Education Journal

    • In-depth features that promote education and development across the sector

    • Expert insights from our 28 leading industry experts who have been exclusively invited to join us as Collaborative Columnists and guest contributors

    • Best practices and strategies for salon professionals, salon owners and education providers

    • Spotlighting self-care, and harnessing the power within, to grow as a well-rounded professional or educator

    • Learners and professionals sharing their inspirational career journeys and pathways

    • Advertising opportunities for business of all sizes with transparent and clear pricing

    • Exclusive access to educational resources through our online education platform, Nabuno

The Why… (The Backdrop Why)

With some 209k employed workers in the salon industry, and with a large increase in self-employed workers since the pandemic, there is a recognised shortfall in educational resources within the industry. In 2021/22 there were over 80,000 recognised qualifications taken and a considerable number over and above this that are based in accredited education as foundation or as continuing education. Education is a growth market within the salon industry and one that shows no signs of slowing down. With regulatory change on the horizon for some areas of the industry, education and knowledge surrounding the correct pathways is more vital than ever.

There is a lack of educational direction for newcomers, and even for existing salon professionals, on where to find quality education resources and courses. There is also a significant lack of business and strategic planning education within the ever-growing world of the solopreneur and entrepreneur. SEJ brings together, for the first time, a collection of the industry’s biggest coaching names and business experts from outside the sector. This powerful combination will highlight this important area that regulated and accredited routes of education only have time to touch upon. There isn’t a dedicated education space and between Nabuno and Salon Education Journal that void is filled. [Statistics: British Beauty Council – Value of Beauty Report 2023]

The Gritty Why

We want to bring transparency to the table and so first up, let’s be real about why SEJ has happened. 

We’ve got a lot to say, and we know the rest of the industry has a lot to say too. The industry has changed and is changing still; both professionals and small businesses feel they have little voice and are not heard. The constant refrain is that what is currently on offer does not serve them or their businesses. They do not feel represented, they do not feel heard, they feel overlooked. SEJ is about representing and including all in one place, under a shared roof.

We’ve experienced the challenges of trying to reach our target market in any way other than social media. Whether that’s the prohibitive cost of advertising, getting editorial or even a mention, and building that elusive email list – let’s face it, it’s a tough world out there. There is a glass ceiling that is hard to break through. The consensus amongst professionals is that there is something missing. Smaller brands are beginning to fill a gap when salon businesses are looking to make changes in their client offerings, but they may find it hard to be seen and to build brand awareness. These limitations were the part of the trigger for us creating SEJ. We recognise that collaboration over competition is the way forward and that there is room for everyone. We will welcome larger brands to contribute in editorial and advertising in the magazine, but we will also ensure that we offer a diverse, equal, and inclusive platform that everyone has the same access to so that smaller brands and businesses have the same opportunities to reach the same market. 

So, once we started going through the 8-page, 32-page, 60-page options, we knew we wanted to create a change; we had the knowledge; we had the skill; we had everything we needed within us to create our own doorway; and we knew if we needed a new vehicle to market there were many others who would like to walk through that door with us. The only thing we didn’t have was time, but you know the saying, “Ask a busy person”, yep, we found the time.

The How… What makes us different?

SEJ is something different, something accessible and open to all. Like most professionals, I’ve read my fair share of industry magazines over my time, and I’ve listened to other professionals and readers who want to see something ‘different’, and so we made the decision to take on board comments and readers who want to see something ‘different’, and so we made the decision to take on board comments and observations about the reader experience. SEJ is committed to delivering quality information and articles over product and brand promotion, which is why our advertising space is limited to a lesser portion of our publication. Yes, we know this isn’t the pathway most magazines take, but content will always outweigh advertising rather than be equal to or surpassed. There will always be weighting towards content.

Editorial from Experts & Professionals 

Our editorial delivers real content by real industry experts taking readers behind the curtain. SEJ doesn’t have traditional journalistic reporters, all our content is delivered by professionals with experience in the area they write about. A reflection of the industry – raw, uncut and with a little bit of edge.

We have our Collaborative Columnists who represent a different sector or niche, we have guest contributors, and business and industry experts with international and entrepreneurial experience, and with skills and knowledge built over decades. From nails to hair, mindset to retail growth, lashes to qualifications, beauty to team management, aesthetics to marketing, woo-woo to science, we deliver something for every salon professional no matter what level they are at there will always be useful takeaways. 

The magazine is not about ‘how to’ or technique building guides, it’s about actionable knowledge to help the audience leverage their skills and grow as professionals. If you want to know ‘how to’ on a practical skill, we will always advocate for taking courses and getting involved with an educator by your side.We want to inspire professionals to grow through continuing education.

“We struggled to climb the ladder to reach our audience and so we have built a ladder with no ceiling.”

Advertising for All

Alongside providing editorial space for industry experts to have a new platform to be heard from, we provide a new platform for brands small and large with advertising packages that are inclusive, affordable, and clear. Giving access to smaller brands is part of our mission for change in the industry.  We recognise that every business needs to advertise but most entrepreneurial suppliers struggle with the cost of publication advertising and are missing this audience completely. Salon Education Journal is different, we welcome smaller advertisers and provide premium space at an affordable price. We offer Quarter Page adverts through to DPS Premium space.

Our prices are transparent and fixed, they say what they are, no haggling, no wondering, no obstacles. Those dreaded calls to see if you can afford to advertise won’t be necessary. You can visit our website, find the pricing, work out what you want and get in touch. We want to provide an open door to small businesses to advertise and reach their ideal clients. Salon Education Journal isn’t a cheap substitute, we are an affordable, quality-driven alternative.

“Education doesn’t just come in the form of vocational courses; it is about building broad skills cross more than the ‘how to’ of our day-to-day role, whether we are a salon pro or an education provider. As professionals in the salon industry, we need to learn and understand all elements of how we perform our role regardless of role.”

Louise Searles – Industry Support Network & Salon Education Journal Collaborative Columnist

“Our industry is ready for something new and exciting, disruptive education, inspiration and a reconnection with real stories, small business focus and an affordable showcase platform for all.”

Debbie Lewis – Salon Angels, Nat West Business EcoSystem Manager & Salon Education Journal Collaborative Columnist

FOCUS: Inspirational Learners, Professionals and Academies

Welcome to SEJ’s first Inspirations feature where we talk to 3 different inspiring individuals. In this article we meet Jessica Carson as our Inspirational Learner who has just completed her Cert Ed qualification and is continuing her growth as a professional; Kirsten Steward as our Inspirational Professional with a long career as a beauty professional and who has shifted her business into a skin heaven for clients and finally; our Inspirational Academy, Signature Academy, owned by the expert educator, Tracy Fensome.

There is a resonance between all 3 of these women which I didn’t realise when I asked them to be our first Inspirations. They’ve all taken their educational journeys at different rates and during different times, all of them have continued to grow through building their families and working and learning in between life changing situations. This is a common theme across our female dominated sector and I know we’ll see many more stories that have this resonance too. You’ll see that they have also never stopped learning and that any one of them could have been any one of our Inspirations either now or at some point in their career! They are true inspirations to all those who walk the same pathway in their footsteps.

Thank you, ladies, for joining us for our launch issue and we look forward to seeing your continuing journey in the salon industry!

-Sue Davies, Editorial Direct: SEJ

Jessica Carson

At the age of 16 I had decided the career route I was going to take. The Hair and Beauty options jumped out at me, and I enrolled into a local college studying VTCT Hair and Beauty. My tutor on the course was young, supportive and a great inspiration. I knew then, teaching would be part of my career plan.

By the age of 19, I had completed my qualifications to Level 3 standard, including my VTCT qualification in nails. Having these qualifications has opened many career opportunities for me, and I was able to gain valuable experience from working in spas, salons and being self-employed.

When I was 21, I had a one-year-old and was pregnant with my second daughter and I had made the decision to take my education further and enrolled to study an Ofqual regulated PTTLS course. This would enable me to teach others privately. Although I did learn a lot from this course, I knew I was missing a huge

part, this was the experience. I did not feel for me this was enough.

My next career steps included attending university to study my Cert-Ed level 5. Due to life and having my children, it was a long journey and was on hold for 7 years.

During this time, I continued to work both in salons and as a self-employed mobile professional building up my clientele and growing my skills. I started university aged 28 with four young children. Being completely honest, this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my career.

I managed to secure a ROLE delivering regulated qualifications, whilst also studying my university course, juggling children, home life and my clients. The course was two years long and I have recently completed it.

This is by far the proudest career moment I have had!

I learnt so much in this time as the course required a minimum of 100 teaching hours. I gained practical experience and had the opportunity to work with some amazingly skilled educators who shared expert knowledge, tips, tricks, and support throughout my time working alongside them.

I recently left my teaching position to set up my own salon and academy where I will use my teaching qualifications to enable me to teach privately.

I have proudly joined Nabuno and the theory for my courses will be delivered online through their learning management system, followed by practical sessions in the salon academy.

The beauty and nail industry has allowed me to have a career that I have worked around my children. For anyone who is looking to begin their teaching journey, I would strongly recommend gaining the regulated teaching qualification as you can progress through the different levels to grow your knowledge and skill.

Kirsten Steward

What made you choose the pathway of salon professional?

A visit to the careers tutor at school to discuss work experience led me to be placed at a beauty salon. It was 1983 and I literally had no idea what a beauty therapist was or did! Back then there were only about six salons in Cambridge; they were purely for the middle to upper classes, certainly not a place my mum would’ve frequented or introduced me to.

As requested, I arrived in my brand-new white outfit and was immediately transported to this amazingly tranquil world; the smell of surgical spirit and essential oils filled the air and everyone spoke in hushed tones. I immediately fell in love with this magical, peaceful environment and shortly after arriving I had my first ever epiphany; the course of my life changing forever! One of the therapists wasn’t busy so I had a Cathiodermie facial; my fourteen-year-old self was in heaven and in a lightbulb moment I knew that I HAD to become a facialist and make everyone feel as amazing as I did in that moment! Here I am forty years later & nothing’s changed!

How long have you been qualified and what was your route into industry?

I qualified in 1988 after a two-year full-time course, gaining both City & Guilds & International Health & Beauty Council diplomas in Beauty and electrical epilation. In those days there were only 10 colleges in England offering Beauty Therapy and only 15 places on each course – we had to have good ‘O’ Level results and interview well. How times have changed! I did my City & Guilds Level 3 in Artificial Nail Techniques back in the 90’s and I now hold Level 4 Aesthetic Practise and Level 5 Clinical Skin Science.

What challenges have you faced?

After working for Glemby International for a year and earning a measly £75 a week, I was offered the opportunity to rent a treatment room above a hair salon in 1989; I went to every bank with my business plan but no joy! With time running out, I changed tactics and asked for a £5k car loan instead. The following week I was on the first ever UK Dermalogica training course with Eve Taylor! After a few years, two salons in Cambridge and teaching part time at Cambridge Regional College, I opened the first ever beauty salon in Chatteris. My biggest challenge was being a ‘boss’. I wasn’t great at it and learnt after six years, just days after an emergency caesarean section, that I hadn’t prepared my staff for my absence. Everything quickly fell apart, and I realised I much prefer working alone! Some of us really aren’t cut out for a big salon business, and that’s ok!

What lessons have you learned and overcome?

From staff nightmares, recessions, not to mention, keeping positive during a pandemic to IT skills and social media marketing in a digital age when you’re clueless. Staying current & relevant by continually learning and finding your tribe by networking and reaching out to other lone skin professionals so you can support each other in this crazy paced industry! I’ve embraced TikTok too, and regularly talk in depth about skin on there.

What type of treatments do you offer?

I’ve made the choice to only take on skin & electrolysis clients now and I offer blemish removal, microneedling, RF and peeling but I mainly offer bespoke treatments that incorporate both holistic & aesthetic treatments such as CAP (Cold Atmospheric Plasma), Mesotherapy, LED, Electroporation etc. I firmly believe in this approach and am disheartened to see leading Aesthetic industry figures who dismiss the benefits and referring to it as ‘fluffy’! Devices have their place but can be blended with hands on too. My natural face lift massage is relaxing but you’re also going to leave looking 10yrs younger too!

What is your biggest achievement or proudest moment to date?

I’ve never been ambitious; I’ve never entered any competitions & I’ll certainly never be Businesswoman of the Year! So, I guess my proudest career moment was finishing my Level 4 and 5 qualifications last year, with a post-menopausal brain at 53 years of age! If I can do it, anyone can! I hated science at school and A&P at college was challenging but Skin Science changed everything; I loved every second of this module! Knowledge is power & I highly recommend every Level 3 therapist does it. It ups your game more than you can possibly imagine and in our constantly changing industry we need to have an enquiring & educated mind to ask the right questions of potential suppliers & educators. Of course, you’ll also need it with the impending regulation of the aesthetics sector.

What is your favourite part of being a beauty professional?

My favourite aspect of being a skin care therapist and electrologist is making such hugely impactful differences to my clients’ lives; hearing them contentedly snore during a facial and telling me it’s the best facial they’ve ever had!

If you have one, what would your Top Tip to a successful career be?

Being successful isn’t about being rich, Insta famous or winning awards, it’s about loving what you do, being able to sleep at night and being appreciated by your clients who have been loyal for decades.

Signature Academy Luton: Owner - Tracy Fensome

What made you take the leap from professional to educator?

I became a qualified teacher around 29 years ago and I have a passion that can transform people’s lives and as a natural educator I wanted to share my knowledge with others.

How long have you been in the education pathway?

I started my education pathway after recovering from a serious illness, which debilitated me for some time. It became the catalyst to take foundation qualifications and then entry to teaching and assessing leading to my Cert Ed and the PGCE. That all started when I was 26 years old. Yikes 33 years ago! So, I’ve had a lifetime as an educator.

What challenges have you faced in becoming an education provider and starting your education business?

I needed to get some entry qualifications to start the education process so that alone was a challenge and time consuming. At school I was amazing at anything creative and involving my hands. Despite that my dyslexia and ADHD were just put down to, “Lacks focus” which explains why I had to begin with access qualifications.

One of my biggest challenges was starting university with a three-year-old and a three-month-old, breastfed baby. That was a very hard time, and my time management and organisational skills became streamlined. Whilst at university I set up my first academy teaching software and management leadership. I later sold this business and started my reskilling journey into beauty, holistic therapies, and later permanent makeup.

Signature Academy Ltd was born in 2012. Beginning with 1-2-1 training and progressing to 2/3 trainees per course with individual trainers. In 2016 we took new premises and registered as a VTCT/ITEC Centre. This allowed us to provide both accredited and regulated training courses and business mentoring.

One of the most frustrating things I see are the training academies that pop up delivering training without good practice. When talking to potential trainees, it can create challenges in them understanding the level of training they need to be able to work safely and professionally and how this is paramount to success. Quick, cheap training will backfire on them, and they often end up coming back to us to start again! I am pleased that regulated qualifications came in for PMU and will continue to be adopted over the next 18-24 months. It’s happening already and I believe that Permanent Makeup will be included within the new proposed roadmap.

What lessons have you learned and overcome?

I learnt early on that the mentoring, support, marking, and assessment days take a lot of time outside of teaching. Ensure time allocation in your work and life schedule – don’t forget to factor all these in with your course pricing. Also remember that your passion for creativity is what will make you a great educator but do not forget you are a business and processes, procedures, and marketing should be just as important for success and growth.

Having successfully set up two academies and being a previous salon owner, I have the blueprints to starting and scaling a clinic salon and academy and the best route to becoming an education business. Signature Academy will have a great opportunity in 2024 for five prospective educators to academy owners.

What type of courses do you offer?

We run a variety of accredited and regulated VTCT and ITEC training courses in subjects from beauty through aesthetics, PMU, education, and business. I have also created a comprehensive beginner course for PMU as I felt it was missing in the sector.

What is your biggest achievement or proudest moment to date?

  • I was one of the first judges in the first ever PMU Championships in 2015 and have judged several times since.
  • I’ve created and scaled five businesses since I was 23 years old. Three I sold and the other two I am still CEO of.
  • The proud list must include seeing my trainees become successful, and sometimes award-winning, business owners, especially the mums, as that was me at 28. I’ve lived it for 3 decades, so I can help them overcome the challenges and reach their goals quicker.

What is your favourite part of being an education provider?

Seeing smiles when a skill or some knowledge clicks, the passing and graduating is exhilarating. It’s such fun getting to see their businesses thrive on social media and the visits when we go on the road to capture their updates for our YouTube channel. I’m a proud educator with a great team, many of whom are also past trainees.

The Importance of Rebooking & Retaining Clients

For those new to the industry and even those that have been around for a while, rebooking a new client may seem daunting.  However, it’s a skill all of us need to have or else you’ll find many of those clients you’ve attracted with your great marketing, walking straight out of your door to the next salon with an attractive Facebook or Instagram page.  Attracting clients is a tough business so don’t miss your only opportunity to keep them coming – REBOOK them!

Part of retaining clients is ensuring they are happy throughout their treatment every time.  Check the length, style, shape, colour at each stage to ensure you are doing what they require, this may seem obvious, but sometimes, especially when you’re a novice, you can be concentrating so hard on your goal you may forget the details.  Your client care and advice during will show your professionalism and will give them encouragement to say yes when you ask if they’d like to rebook.

If you thought asking for money was hard with your first professional clients?  Rebooking can feel harder as you’re asking someone to instantly assess the following – Did they like you? Did they feel comfortable? Did they like the finish? Do they want to see you again?  That’s a lot tied up in the one simple question, “Would you like to rebook for 2 weeks’ time?” Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back, without rebooking you can’t grow your business.  So, bite the bullet and ask. They might just say ‘Yes’!  Most clients are waiting to be asked.  Clients rarely rebook if not asked.  Maybe you could also look at follow-up appointment incentives.

If you provide other services talk about them.  A client booking one service is more likely to book further services.  Many clients often visit several therapists or salons for different services.  If you can provide them with a one stop shop you will have a loyal client for longer.  For most busy people, the thought of replacing someone that carries out one service is an easy one, whilst the thought of replacing someone that provides 3 or 4 of their services will be a less agreeable prospect.  

Across many online forums there’s a consistent question throughout the winter – ‘Is everyone quiet or is it just me?’  In December we have daily opportunities to convert new clients to regulars.  The challenge is that you and they are busy and on a time limit.  If you’ve been too quiet over winter, you could ask yourself a few questions.  Did you convert all those new Christmas clients?  Did you get too busy and forget to rebook? Did you check what your January looked like before you hit the Christmas rush? How did your business cope during the winter?  What are you going to change next year?  Could you benefit from better planning?  Whenever you’re quiet apply these questions and check you’re rebooking.  

Always offer rebooking to all clients and, of course, applies all year round.  A new regular client is a new line of revenue, which for a £30 fortnightly service could bring you £780 pa.  Just a couple of those and your profits will start looking much healthier.  If you have staff, invest in some specific training.  Rebooking could nett your business thousands of pounds you are potentially letting walk out of your door.

Rebooking and recurring appointments can help you and your clients plan their time more efficiently.  Perhaps consider an online booking system to help administer your client management.  There are many available, for example, Phorest, Shedul, iSalon and many more.  They all provide diary management whilst some provide apps for your phones/tablets, ability to embed in your website, click thru from your social media, salon reporting, financial accounting, stock management, marketing suites, ability to assess business and staffing management.  They provide a smooth interface between your client and your business.

When I switched to computerised diary management 3 years ago it boosted rebooking significantly as it’s so simple.  Clients have their time with your business guaranteed.  This one-click diary management frees up time and allows easier management of staffing rosters, stock and business projections.  Booking systems allow you to offer client incentives like 24-hour online booking, recurring appointments, appointment reminders, apps, loyalty schemes.

Once you start rebooking & recurring appointments you can plan your business and if you see patterns of gapping you can aim your marketing at the most suitable demographic to fill those spaces.  Booking systems allow you to visualise your future before it catches you out. 

Research the options available as some come with full hardware setups which can be high budget whilst others have free trials or free forever packages.  

And remember as your client pays – REBOOK! If they love you make them do it again and again and RETAIN!!