why I do it
Some people pay me cash, while others reciprocate with cookies or meals or beverage. I don't insist on being compensated for my time, because cutting hair is a hobby for me. It's like knitting a hat and then giving it to a friend because you know it will look amazing on them.
My love of cutting hair led me to beauty school at one point, but I quit after I won a school-wide contest for cut and color.
The pressure brought on by that huge accomplishment was not the reason I left: I realized after winning that competing with other stylists for clientele, product sales, recognition of talent, etc. was going to be a daily part of being a hair stylist. And I don't like the idea of succeeding by stepping on other people, nor do I enjoy the emotional drain of trying to resist other peoples' efforts to step on me. I could go on a long, preachy tangent about what I believe is essential to personal success, but that's a different post. We're talkin' HAIR here. Long story short, I went for four months and learned enough to be able to do it for fun for the rest of my life.
I've cut hair for friends, co-workers and family. Dozens of people have trusted me with their tresses. Every single time a person sits down for me, I get all nervous and excited and can't WAIT to see their reaction to the outcome. It's not the act of cutting the hair that makes me so happy (though I do enjoy the creative aspect of tailoring a haircut to the individual); it's the person's satisfaction with what I've done for them.
It's one of those sacred things: A reward more valuable than money.
Those are so rare these days.