My Life As A Hairstylist

Salon owner, hairstylist, educator, product maker, photographer


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Cut Your Hours Without Cutting Your Pay

There is nothing wrong with wanting to work a little less. Hairdressers give so much of themselves each day I think that each stylists should find whatever work/ life balance they choose.

For many years, I was a 6 day a week stylist. Eventually after our academies opened and we had 3 salon locations, I cut back to 2 days a week. And each time I reduced my hours, I raised my prices. Demand was far exceeding my available hours, and I was charging a lot of money, though eventually I had to stop doing hair altogether.

You can get paid like you’re working full-time but while spending less time in the salon. But you can’t just cut back unless you’ve set yourself up for success.


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Chicago, We Flirted Before But You Got Nervous…

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, and if you are I thank you so much, you will remember the ridiculous drama I had with the people at America’s Beauty Show. You can read all about it here if you missed it:
https://michaellevinehair.com/2016/02/26/why-you-wont-see-me-at-chicago-abs/

Well, I’m coming, and this time it’s personal.

I’m so thrilled and honoured to have been asked to join The Butterfly Circus for their Chicago show next month. It’s going to be amazing!
And I’m humbled to be joining these incredible artists on stage:

@theConfessionsofaHairstylist
@glamiris
@hairgod_Zito
@alexisbutterflyloft
@davidbutterflyloft
@anthonythebarber916

Thanks to my friends Alexis and David Thurston for thinking to include me at their event. It looks to me like this is going to be awesome. The other artists work is so fantastic and they could overthrow a government with their combined Instagram following.

Tickets go on sale this Wednesday at www.butterflyloft.com/events

Now to start practicing so I can keep it to 30 minutes. If you’ve seen me on stage, you’ll understand.

See you May 15th Chicago!


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Get TODAY Booked.

vacancyAll busy hairdressers know that they can’t get back lost hours, so if they get no-showed or late cancellations, usually that time is lost forever. And that is incredibly stressful and frustrating when you know you could have filled that spot 5 times over and now your income is being negatively affected.

They will go through their wait-list if they have one and try to salvage some of the time, like by filling the last hour of a colour appointment. And if they are really on it, they will call every client booked during the following days and tell them about their cancellation and offer that time. A busy stylist who takes their career very seriously hates any and all openings and will exhaust all their resources in order to fill that spot before the time is gone forever.

Because that’s how it is. Once that hour goes un-billed, it is lost forever. And you just spent an hour or two at work for free, and that should make you insane

Usually less busy hairdressers will just leave their openings in a given day and chalk them up to being newer or still building and not get too stressed about things, and this passive attitude can be a career killer, or at least stagnator. I made up a word.

If you’re a stylist who’s growth is a little slower, you must adopt the attitude of the busy stylist and realize hours lost are lost forever for you too. You need to hate openings and do everything you can to fill them too! You are far better off loading your current day than seeing that same client tomorrow or a few days later. If you make it your goal to fill as many billable hours each day with hair you will drastically improve your income and your busyness.

The first thing you should do is have reception call every client in the upcoming week and tell them about your openings. This is incredibly effective and you will be surprised how many people will be able to take a short notice appointment if they were already planning on coming in anyway. Even if you only have a few, call them. The worst thing that happens is they say “no thank you.” Well, they could cancel their upcoming appointment and I guess that would be worse.

If you don’t have any upcoming clients, you need to plan on upselling the clients that are coming in. Now upselling is a challenge for a lot of people because they don’t like being pushy, and all of us understand this. But the way to take the “sell” out of upselling is to only suggest things that the client needs or would appreciate. If your haircut client is talking about how she loves all these cool pastel ombres she seeing, say “Let’s do it!” If she doesn’t think she can pull it off, discuss doing something that she will feel comfortable with, like a peek-a-bo0 or something more subtle.

But NEVER EVER try to convince a client to do anything she doesn’t need or won’t make a noticeable difference. Only do things the client will notice and appreciate.

  • Upselling a conditioning treatment that isn’t lasting and doesn’t make her hair feel amazing and nourished immediately is selling.
  • Super subtle highlights or balayage that can only be seen while standing in direct sunlight is selling. 
    *hint*- always go a little lighter than they ask for. Most people who ask for subtle usually end up coming back for more. It’s much easier to tone down than relighten.
  • A shine treatment that doesn’t make the hair absolutely sing is selling.
    *hint*- never use “clear” on its own for your shine treatments. Adding a little gold to natural looking pigments will always make it much shinier but will usually not warm it up.

Clients need to be able to trust you, so think of it this way: you take your car to some quick lube joint for an oil change for $29 and by the time you leave your bill is $200 and you’ve been convinced to change and flush every fluid in the car. The car drove fine when you arrived and drives fine when you leave, and you immediately think you’ve been taken advantage of. You have been. Say no to all that shit by the way and just stick with the oil change.

Don’t sell for the sake of padding a bill either, because that is disgusting. Don’t take the long, expensive road to a result if there is a faster and more economical way to get there. Some hairdressers look for ways to bend there clients over, and that is not at all what I am talking about. Only upsell from a sincere place.

Don’t tolerate openings and make it your priority to fill today’s hours and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. This pro-active attitude will make you a much more active, and therefore better-earning hairstylist.

You can never get today back so try to make the most of it.


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Michael Levine Answers You- Am I Too Old To Become a Hairstylist?

This is a common one for us, especially when meeting potential students at our hair school, the Vancouver Hairdressing Academy.

Here I discuss the pros and cons of becoming a hairdresser as a mature human.


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Copycats Are Dinks

olaplex

Lots of companies are creating copies of Olaplex, which is a true miracle and has revolutionized the way we can colour hair. And it’s funny how many of these companies are saying they used to work for Olaplex or that they were around longer than them.

The fact is, Olaplex has created an incredible product that is truly innovative and the rest of these companies are copying them, from the name to the concept to the packaging.

Use whatever you want or what gets you your preferred results, but just know that those companies are run by unoriginal copycats who are riding the coattails of a true industry innovator.

 


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Michael Levine Answers You- Building Your Dream Team

In this new series I answer your emails.

Here, I answer an email from a rental salon owner wishing to close her salon to go commission.

As an aside, you will never hear me advocate for rental. My opinion is that it hurts the industry.
There are some good ones out there but for every good rental salon owner there are 1000 that are nothing but leeches.
But for every good commission salon owner there are an equal number of bad ones.

My point? Most salon owners suck, regardless of pay structure.

But it is a reality, and in certain areas it is so prevalent that the salons are leaching from each other so it’s well past trying to help protect commission owners from rental owners. 


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The Reality of Social Media and Hairdressing

Instagram

I admit it, I was very late to the Instagram party. I’m old, and when my young staff were using it mostly for fun, filtered selfies and pics of food, it looked to me like it was just another fun photo app, like Hipstamatic. And as a cynical wannabe photographer, I didn’t like the filters and crop limitation, so I ignored it.

Then in 2012 one of my young staff came to me and said she wanted to use Instagram to promote herself. She mentioned some guy named Guy, and said she wanted to do what he was doing in social media. I didn’t understand why a young hairdresser would bother with something that seemed so trivial when there were proven, concrete, tangible ways to get busy. This, along with many other times I’ve been proven wrong, is why my opinion should not be trusted when it comes to anything remotely progressive.

Fast forward to today, when an entire industry is fighting for attention on Instagram. Hordes of stylists battling it out with butterflied images of rainbow colours and waves, all desperate for more followers. And I’m absolutely right there with all of you, hoping one of my 5 accounts gets some attention and I can eventually get to that 10,000 followers point. Because that will mean that I’m somebody. Except it won’t because to immerse yourself in “like culture” is to never really be satisfied. But that’s a different article, and that ship has already sailed in that most people, myself included, will continue this path of validation through followers and likes.

I was speaking at a hairshow in Long Beach and my friend Nina Kovner was speaking on success with social media in the very next room at the same time, and she had brought some friends with her, some heavy hitters. A few people from her gang had to come into my classroom to borrow several chairs, as her room was packed, and I could definitely spare several. Several dozen. And I thought to myself, “I wish I was in that room. I want to learn what they are talking about. I want to meet some of the cool kids.”

The next day I was part of an “expert” panel where I got to sit next to some fantastic people, including David Thurston, the co-owner of Butterfly Loft, the hair industry’s hottest salon company. He is someone I had admired from afar and was looking forward to meeting. And immediately I liked him a lot. He is a very progressive thinker and seemed really calm and cool, two things I lack.

The room was full of people that were not there to hear me. Most of the people there were asking about social media and how to expand their reach. Of course, this is where I shut up and listened as well. As I previously wrote, I’m no expert and am now playing catch-up. Sitting right next to David, I loved what he had to say and I learned a lot. But I noticed something. Most of these people were putting their social media presence as their number 1 priority in marketing themselves, and not following it up with speaking directly to people who could help them get to where they wanted to go.

That same trip, I had an epiphany. My wife and I drove in to LA to meet with David and his lovely wife and partner Alexis at Butterfly Loft. They were both so generous with their time and we had a wonderful experience and I think/ hope we left there with new friends. During the tour of the salons, we rounded a corner and I saw a very Insta-famous young stylist working on a client. I admit I was almost giddy, like when you see a celebrity. I’m 47 and this beautiful, talented young woman is probably in her early 20s but I was seeing a new industry icon working on a client. The photo she was going to take of this client would probably get 2000 likes and a few dozen comments.

And then it occurred to me on my drive back that she was just like you and me. She stood behind a chair to make her living. She had the same drama we all have, with late clients, mistakes, things that don’t work out, bad moods, and all the other things that a hairdresser deals with each day. She stands behind a chair and does hair for a living. And her income is for the most part limited by what she is able to produce with her hands, billing by the hour.

Now this girl is at the pinnacle of what we perceive as success. No new clients, booked over a year out. And she actually has broken through into the area where companies want her endorsement and she probably has several offers on the table. But she’s still tied to that chair, just like we all are. And if you are booked solidly with a waiting list, you probably make as much money as she does.

Two weeks ago I was in Costa Mesa speaking at Paul Mitchell The School (awesome place) and doing a Masters insterview with Winn Claybaugh. Right before my lecture, I met one of the instructors there, someone I follow on Instagram. I love this guy’s work, and again, it was like meeting a celebrity. I’m friends with a lot of very well known hairdressers but these Instagram hairdressers for some reason make me feel very nervous. It’s probably because they all seem really cool, they’re obviously super talented, and they are forging new ground. And this guy is a fantastic cutter, one of my favourites.

And then it occurred to me that he’s a super talented hairdressing school instructor, and for all the followers and likes, he makes his living teaching hairdressing to young students. He works 9-5 and follows a dress code and rules and his primary income source comes from showing up at the school, just like everyone else who teaches hairdressing. I have 12 working in my academies doing the same thing.

Last week I spoke to an Instagram-famous person about this, and she confirmed what I thought; that everyone expects that these people are making a truly incredible living and leading a glamorous life, but the reality is that beyond the odd perk here and there, they are sweating it out in salons just like the rest of us. And not only that, there is added pressure on those that fully commit to being Instagram-famous, especially if they put themselves out there personally too much. The person I spoke to? She is that young woman, my now former employee, who originally came to me in 2012 to talk about her dreams of being a famous in our industry. She got there. And while it definitely afforded her some amazing opportunities, it’s not been without it’s negatives.

Instagram is definitely crucial to success today, but it’s only a part of what someone has to do. And this is where so many of the people focusing exclusively on social media go wrong. It’s an incredible way to communicate your services, but it’s communication that’s the key word. For a very small number of hairdressers, social media can launch a supplementary career in private classes, and it’s absolutely possible to make a living through it. But there are an awful lot of people making a lot of noise in the world of social media. If you have a targeted goal of doing something beyond the chair, go for it and absolutely invest your time and energy pushing your brand. If your dream involves becoming well-known via social media, make it happen.

But for the rest, use it as a way of communicating what you do, or what you want to do more of. It’s a wonderful way of target marketing and putting out the type of work you like to do to then attract more of that clientele. But don’t get too caught up in imagining of what your life will be like when you are well-known through social media. Because it likely won’t change all that much. And that’s OK.

Oh, before I forget, here’s my company’s main Instagram account. Follow me please!
https://www.instagram.com/michaellevinesalons/


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Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…

…certain colour companies would invest the same amount of money and energy that they do marketing home hair color to the public into marketing professional services? To educating the consumer as to why results achieved by a skilled professional can never be duplicated in the kitchen?

If you use these brands professionally, how do you come to terms with the fact that the brand you endorse spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually trying to get your clients out of the salon and into doing their hair themselves?

Now there are always a few responses to this argument;
“I love home hair colour! It means I get to charge more for colour corrections when they screw it up.”
or
“It doesn’t affect me, because I know the client can’t achieve what I can in the salon. If I do my job well, my work can never be replicated.”

Both of these things are true. To an extent.

Most people don’t really screw up their hair using home colour. You might see the odd disaster but it’s all anecdotal, and generally a small portion of what we see as colourists. And it seems to be less and less as home colour products get better.

And to the second point, you must realize that these companies are spending incredible amounts of money on research to do exactly that, to replace you. There is even a company that does online colour customization. The research dollars that could be going in to creating a better salon product are absolutely going in to creating something magic for the consumer.  And there are also a million Youtube How-To videos, some by professional stylists, showing more complex applications.

But more importantly, what about your industry as a whole? Let’s not just think about ourselves but think bigger. The industry itself is being deliberately hurt by some professional hair colour companies.

I know that there is a certain portion of the market that will always be salon clients. But there is also a large part of the market that every day is being tempted away from you by the very company you give your money and endorsement to. Gwen Stefani’s pretty face all over television, billboards and signage at Costco telling millions of people every day that they can achieve her blonde with what’s in this box. Think of all the celebrities who have endorsed consumer colour, and of all those slick advertising campaigns. The money spent is incomprehensible.

It would be nice if we could get the same level of investment in professional-only colour. A celebrity endorsement would be nice. But instead, they know that most stylists are like sheep, and that many doubt their own abilities as colourists and are married to the brand they were trained with.

There aren’t too many companies left that truly have our backs as hairdressers. I think it’s important that we work with the ones that do, and show our strength as an industry in not working with the ones that obviously don’t.


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You’re Better Off When They Leave

Hit-the-road-singles-cover

As owners, we occasionally feel handcuffed by employee demands. So we need to know the difference between a good employee making suggestions and having dialogue, and an entitled staff member who is wanting rules to be bent or broken just for them.

Sometimes we are tempted to bend, out of fear for losing those people and what that might mean. Don’t be afraid, run your salon the way you know you need to. That stylist was likely casting a large cloud over your salon. They were unhappy, you were unhappy and your team was probably unhappy too.

If and when they do leave or you let them go, you will be better off.


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Why You Won’t See Me at Chicago ABS

Chicago2

I’m sorry and embarrassed to say I have cancelled my class at Chicago ABS. Or more accurately, it was cancelled for me and I chose to not play games with these people anymore. Here is what happened.

In September of 2015 I started applying for the 2016 shows. I had had a lot of fun and full rooms at IBS New York 2015 and I wanted to do Long Beach and Chicago for 2016, so I filled in the online application.

What I discovered was that after agreeing to book me, telling me they would “love to have me,” they completely forgot to schedule me. By the time I asked for details, I believe that it was too late and they started string me along.

I first got an idea that they were going to try to cancel me on February 16th, in the email below. But I started to realize that my class was not available to purchase on February 20th, 3 weeks before the show. They had cancelled me February 20th and the only way I found out was because people were messaging me telling me they were unable to book my session.

On February 24th, I wrote to ask what was happening and was informed my class was cancelled but they would put me back on if I could sell 10 tickets by March 1.

I do this for fun and because I love speaking to and meeting people. I do not do this for money. I was being lied to and disrespected and this was not going to be fun anymore so I told them I wouldn’t do the class.

It is my firm belief that my class was never made live at all. I have since learned from a well-known speaker that it is part of the Chicago ABS business model to overbook educators and then cancel them within 2 weeks of the show if they don’t sell well. It is my feeling that since this is normal for them, they put me on the program but never made my class available. It’s win/win for them, knowing I will promote my class and my name will be on the program and they can cancel without repercussions.

In fact, I am still being promoted on their business page as a featured educator 6 days after I discovered my class wasn’t being sold. I just captured this screen shot right now.

chicagocapture

Due to the travel arrangements I had made, my cancellation fees for flights now total $900. I won’t bore you with the details of why they are so high.

So thanks for wasting a crazy amount of my time, energy and money Christie Smaidris and Chicago ABS. You are incompetent and have absolutely no respect or regard for the people who educate at your shows.

Here are the relevant email exchanges between us as well as my thoughts in red if you care to read the actual details and see what I put up with and how agreeable I was attempting to be.

September 18, 2015 
Hi Christie,
I’m sorry to bother you. IBS is trying to book me for New York and I would much rather do Chicago since I’ve never been to Chicago and I hear nothing but great things about the show. I can’t do both as I’m a family man and I’m not interested in being a road warrior.
Do you have any idea when your team will start evaluating educators? IBS has given me 2 weeks to make a decision.
Thanks.
Michael Levine

September 20, 2015
We would love to have you! Let’s discuss next steps! 
Christie Smaidris

September 24, 2015
Not sure if I got back to you, but we would love to have you.  When is a good time to discuss the next steps.
Christie SmaidrisAfter several more emails arranging a time for a telephone call, we spoke on Thursday October 1, 2015 for about 30 minutes.
She seemed excited for my sessions, we were going to do 2 classes and try to get me into a student workshop she was planning.
Everything was a go.
January 13, 2016– I’ve not heard anything from them in months and I realize I have no contract. I’ve turned down New York and I have booked flights as well as a teaching gig and a studio interview in California that I need to go to directly from Chicago before going home.
Hi Christie,
I hope your planning is going well.
I am just finalizing my travel details for the show and wasn’t sure what, if any, travel arrangements or discounts ABS has with hotels for educators. 
I also don’t see a contract anywhere in our emails, though I know we did discuss the event and my class in detail a few months ago.
I look forward ton hearing from you.
Michael Levine
January 13, 2016
Hi Michael,
I completely forgot about this!  What?! Can you quickly provide me with the class title and description and we can get this finalized today.  I can’t really discuss until Friday, as I have a huge deadline for this education supplement.  I am so packed with classes, but I did commit.  Would you mind doing two classes on one day?
Christie Smaidris

January 13, 2016

Hi Christie,

No worries,  and I’m happy to do whatever classes I can.
I’ll forward the classes again.
Michael Levine
At this point I was a little concerned but I was getting two classes and I understand that things get lost in the shuffle sometimes. I re-sent her my class descriptions, bio shot and details within minutes, and she thanked me for the speed of my response.

January 24th, 2016
– I see I’m only booked for 1 class
Hi Christie,
I just saw the ABS schedule. Is there a student schedule coming soon? We had talked about me doing a student session as well. You had mentioned there is sometimes a panel for students at ABS. Let me know if there is anything else I can get involved in.
Thanks so much! I look forward to meeting you.
Michael Levine
January 25th , 2016
Hi Michael,
Unfortunately, I had to cut many classes due to the amount we have had this year.  Including the CE classes Saloncentric is having at the same time, we were close to 100.  I have a committee to review and they have the last approval prior to print.
Also, unfortunately, we do not have students attend our CE classes as they are advanced classes and are paid classes. 
Lastly, I do have a student assembly on Monday that we need to find talent to fill.  I am waiting to find out what that might entail.  I will let you know if there is something you might be able to do at that event.
Christie SmaidrisJanuary 25th, 2016- I’m starting to express my frustration, but trying to play it cool.
Hi Christie,
OK,  I understand though I’m a little bummed as I turned down a strong presence at IBS for this.
I know you are scrambling but if you can find anything else for me to get involved in it would be great.
Thanks.
Michael Levine
I now go to California for ISSE and am focusing on that event as well as a little vacation. At this show, I meet a very well known educator and colourist who tells me he’s frustrated that ABS has cut him to one class. I feel a bit better about it knowing it’s not just me.

February 16, 2016
Hi Michael,
Did you already make your air reservation for the show?  I need to reserve your hotel and reimburse you for the expense.  I can forward our travel contact if you have not.  My concern is that we have no attendees for your class as of yet, and I am worried about the cost of an airfare from Canada.  Can you keep me posted so we can review and finalize. This is now freaking me out. Is she implying they may cancel me or not take care of any expenses?
Also, can you forward me your contact information for the contract? I still don’t have a contract.
Christie Smaidris

February 16th
Hi Christie,
That’s unfortunate about the class. Do you have any promotional material I can share on my social media?
If we draw any people, I don’t care about attendee dollars,  I just want an audience.
ABS charges for classes and splits the cost with the educators. I don’t like this idea as it’s not easy to draw an audience for a business class if you expect them to pay. I do this for fun, not money so I’m happy to forgo my share of what we get.
No response about the promotional material.

Febuary 19, 2016
Hi Christie,
Is there any promotional material you can send so I can push my class. I have a large following in the US and I should be able to draw some bodies.
Thanks,
Michael
ABS doesn’t have or offer any promotional material other than the show program so I make the graphic seen above and create a blog post, and IG post (which ABS liked) and a Facebook post offering my thumbdrive free with each ticket purchased, not realizing that at this point, they have already cancelled my class!!!

On February 20th, I get a comment on my Facebook post promoting my 1 class.
“I fear you won’t have attendees only because even I couldn’t find the option to register for your class, just the class of a gal who also has the words ‘survive’ and ‘thrive’ in her class description.”
At this point I think it’s a glitch and maybe I’m not on there yet because they forgot about me once already. I’m not worried though, because they know I’m coming and are booking me a hotel. Right?
I’m a busy guy and I forget to contact ABS about this.
But then I start getting more messages, and on Wednesday February 24th, someone writes me telling me she was told by ABS my class was cancelled.

February 24th
Hi Christie,
I have now been told by 4 people that my class is either not showing up when they try to register for it. The latest one said she was told it was cancelled.
Please tell me what is going on here. I have been promoting this class, offering a personal incentive and nobody is able to register for it.
Michael Levine

February 24th
Hi Michael
Let me check on it.  I know the committee was reviewing the numbers last night to decide if any needed to be cut.  I will get back to you as soon as I can. 

Hi Michael
I do apologize for your trouble.  We certainly would still have you attend and reimburse you for any value for your flight if the class is canceled.  Unfortunately, we have a committee, led by our CFO,  that reviews the budgets and class expenses and they begin cutting classes three weeks before the show.  We are a not for profit organization, but we also need to be fiscally responsible to the association and a Board of Directors. Having classes at a convention center in Chicago is a huge expense and if they see something not moving, they don’t have much time to make sure we don’t lose money.

I have not heard back yet, but I will let you know first thing in the am. I do apologize for the inconvenience and I do understand your frustration.

Hi Michael
The class is back up. Anyone can register now and the registration code is CE 4030.
I need the numbers to go past ten no later than Tuesday of next week for us to keep the class. If it falls below, we will cancel and give attendees the ability to be refunded or moved to another class. 
Unfortunately, the classes are extremely expensive, around $2500 in expense per educator, so we need to break even. As a not for profit association we don’t need to make money, but we can not lose it.   
We know that our professionals don’t start buying classes until the last two weeks and sometimes longer for business classes, so it’s a tricky thing and something we do not review as much as possible. We don’t like canceling classes either. I don’t especially as it is never my decision, but I need to tell the educators I have contracted. 
If we do end up canceling and you choose not to come, we will reimburse you on the cancellation fee for airfare.   You are welcome to stay, but we can not cover air but will cover your hotel per the one night in the contract. I had booked 5 nights for this trip based on me doing a minimum of 2 days of classes. I would have expected at least 2 night’s hotel covered.
You are welcome to attend the show. 

I apologize for this situation as it is not something I enjoy about this job. OK, so they do this all the time?
I’ll keep you posted on the registrations. 

At this point, I’m done and not interested in dealing with these guys anymore. They are now acting like they are doing me a favour by doing what they had agreed to do in the first place.
Hi Christie,

Tell them to cancel me. I’ve never been treated so unprofessionally in my life. This is going to cost me several hundred dollars not to mention the time.
You guys cancelled my class without telling me and making me look stupid when  I’m promoting it.
I can’t believe what I’ve experienced from  you guys.
Michael Levine

Hi Michael,
I’m sorry you feel that way. Feel that way? Seriously? You think this is normal and acceptable?
I’ll let registration know. Let me know if you want us to reimburse your cancellation fee.

Christie Smaidris

UPDATE- The show’s CEO Paul Dykstra called me when he read this and tried to smooth it over by making some really over the top and unnecessary offers. He had also explained how my experience is not how they do business and I just happened to have slipped through the cracks, but I have now talked to so many people who say that ABS treats independent educators very poorly and this is absolutely normal for them. My assumption was they had no idea I was a blogger when they pulled their nonsense with me. I just wanted to do my classes and have certain expenses covered like we had agreed to. I’m actually very low maintenance.

I declined the offers as there was a sour taste in my mouth about it and instead we had agreed he would reimburse me for the cancellation fees for the trip. Now these fees actually totaled $1000 because we had bought airline tickets for our children to stay with grandparents out of town, but we only asked for half that, the fees for my wife and I. Paul absolutely agreed.

So far there has been nothing sent to me and I don’t expect there will be. I don’t need the money but it would have absolutely been a nice gesture and cooled a bit of the negativity I felt about them. Which is fine by me, because I like being fueled by anger. I think it makes my writing and videos better.