I’m often asked by up and coming image consultants and personal stylists how I’ve managed to achieve all that I have done, This blog with its thousands of posts, image training programs, books, videos, 16 Style Types …. what are the secrets to my success?
And my answer always is – baby steps. I just take one little action after another. Day after day. Year after year.
- I too started off having never having had a paying client.
- I too was completely new when I started.
- I too had never written an article or blog post
- I too, hadn’t written a word of a book.
But each day, by taking a small action, one baby-step after another, and frequently with a sideways shuffle too, my business has grown, my output has reached over 15 million people and aspiring consultants are drawn to me to help them achieve their dreams.
When you think about any kind of business, there are some things that are undeniable truths.
- You need to market your business so clients can find you.
- You need to have administration processes that keep your business running, from product ordering and client confirmation processes to invoicing and bookkeeping.
- You need to be able to provide the services you are offering.
- You need to have sources for the products you are selling and know what your turnover requirements are, and lead times for delivery.
- You need to find people to do the things you’re not so great at and don’t enjoy, so you can spend your time doing the high-value work that you do love that will grow your business.
To create a sustainable business, it’s worth noting that marketing never stops. Look at all the major brands – the most successful ones are doing marketing and they never stop. You have to, to get your name out into the world, and become top of mind.
Find the way to market your business that is the best for you, and the one you enjoy the most, as this will make it a sustainable effort. If you’re doing things you don’t love, the minute you get a bit too busy, or lack motivation, it will be the first thing knocked off your list and your business will suffer.
Work to Your Strengths
Find a way of working, using your image and colour skills, that you really enjoy. Take your skills and adapt them to the environment that you enjoy being in, in a way that works for you. You don’t have to be self-disciplined or have lots of willpower to keep working when you love what you’re doing.
Working with your strengths makes it so much easier to get up each day and start working, not letting yourself be distracted by other stuff. Graduates of my training program use their skills in many ways
- One who loves sewing helps people choose the patterns and fabrics that flatter them.
- One who loves retail works in stores as a personal shopper and finds it so easy to make sales as she really gets her clients, their body, colouring and personality, and they love her for it
- One who is an ex-teacher who adores holding group workshops and classes to help people discover their authentic style
- One who loves corporate works with businesses helping their employees present the most positive image and align with the business brand.
- One who is a mother of young children spends her time helping other mothers discover their best style that works with their casual lifestyle
- One is a hairdresser who now has the knowledge to find her clients their perfect hair colour and to help them discover their ideal colour palette for clothes and makeup.
- One is passionate about recycling and runs a consignment boutique and helps create a more sustainable fashion world.
What I know is that there is no one right way to run an image business.
What are my strengths? I’m independent so I’m happy to work alone. I’m able to explain complex concepts in a simple way, which makes me a great teacher. I’m an introvert, so I enjoy spending long periods working alone. And I’ve got an overactive brain that loves turning ideas into something concrete.
I realised early on that educational marketing was (rather than going to networking groups or spending hours on social media) my forte. I discovered that I loved writing blog posts, sharing my knowledge and educating women in the secrets of colour and style, which is why for me blogging is my best marketing tool and also helps me improve my skills and knowledge as an image professional (and I recently won the 2019 AICI Jane Segerstrom Award for all the work I’ve done here on the blog helping others feel more empowered and find a positive image of their own).
I love developing new products, processes and ideas. For me, this is the really fun stuff. This is why I’ve created image and colour consultant training programs and tools, a personal colour analysis system of 18 colour directions, online style programs and most recently been a part of the 16 Style Types team that gives you an insight into how your personality (Myers Briggs Type) influences your approach to style.
I work to my strengths as it keeps me motivated and excited. So, what do you love to do? What ignites your passion? What are you excited about?
When you work to your strengths, the obstacles that appear in your path just become things you work around, rather than letting them stop you completely.
Keep Taking Actions
To become successful, you have to keep taking actions. The first action might be to get the training you need to follow your dream (whether it’s becoming an image consultant or a scientist… this applies to us all). And then it’s using that knowledge, consolidating it, and practising your skills and learnings.
One of the best pieces of advice I tell people who are starting a business is that if they have no or few clients, and they want a full-time income – that they have to spend any time they are not with clients, marketing their business. This may mean writing blog posts, social media marketing, networking both online and in-person, creating marketing materials to give away, cold-calling potential joint venture partners, creating relationships, asking for testimonials from past clients, creating and updating their website to reflect their experience and include any new testimonials …. and the list goes on.
Watching TV, going to lunch with friends, spending your time doing the household chores (as much as they need to be done, they are not during business hours at my place), are all great, but are they moving you forwards towards your goals?
So many people let the fear of failure stop them from doing anything. Too frequently I hear people tell me that they are perfectionists. In reality, this is just a way of procrastinating and not moving forwards (nothing is ever perfect, so stop trying!).
Perfection is the enemy of action, and action is what moves you towards your goal.
One of my other keys to success is that I never stop learning. In fact, I’ve learned something from every single client I’ve ever seen, after each consultation I think about what I could do better, and what that person has taught me. My clients bring the theories and principles of colour and style to life, right in front of my eyes.
I’ve learned something from every workshop, presentation or seminar I’ve ever attended (even the train-wrecks, the terrible ones that you think are a total waste of your time, from them I learn what not to do).
I am a member of my professional association (AICI) and attend educational conferences and events to keep me learning and growing, plus I put myself forward as a speaker to share what I have learned (and this also makes me solidify my thoughts and ideas, to be able to share them with others, and makes me keep growing too). And even having to create my monthly educational webinars for image consultants makes me stop and think, consolidate my thoughts and prepare a presentation that will be content filled, useful and actionable for other image professionals.
If you think you know everything and there is nothing left to learn, then you’re not going to be giving your clients the best consultation possible. I’ve been working away at this full-time for over 15 years, and I’m still learning and improving!
Keep on Track
It’s very easy to be diverted off your desired path. Having a strong mission and vision of what you want to do and achieve will help to keep you on track and working towards your goals. Knowing what you want to achieve allows you to look at opportunities that arise and will tell you if they are right or wrong for you. There are a million network marketing companies who want you to sell their makeup, skin-care and clothing lines and you need to know if this is something you do or don’t want to do, if this kind of opportunity will help you to get to your goal, or divert you onto a path that is not where you want to go.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
And last, but certainly not least, getting out of your comfort zone and saying yes to opportunities that arise is so key to creating a successful business.
Every time an opportunity has come along that I’m not prepared for, I say yes, because this forces me on a steep and fast learning curve, to get prepared and make it work! Sure it scares me and I may worry I’ve done the wrong thing, but looking back, I’ve never regretted saying yes to opportunities that align with my mission.
If you say no to opportunities, then you are saying no to growth and potential to improve your skills and become an even better image professional.
Things as small as making your first YouTube video can feel huge and overwhelming to start with. Just doing it, having a crack, and putting it out there will get you out of your comfort zone and keep you on track. My first videos were nothing special, and neither were my early blog posts. Keeping on doing them, pushing myself, has made sure that I improve.
Just like having kids (for anyone who has done it), you’re never completely ready. But once that baby is born, you go on a steep learning curve and make yourself as ready as you can be!
There is No Secret to Becoming Successful
The reality is, there is no secret, it’s about working hard, and working smart. Finding your passion and then pursuing it. Here are the 8 qualities you need (in my eyes) to be successful.
Keeping on going when life throws curve balls (and boy I’ve had a few of those over the years, when quitting would have been the easy thing to do).
Instead of seeing obstacles as insurmountable, to know that you can go around them, climb over them or find a new way.
For me, quitting has never been an option. The thought of ever working for someone else again makes me feel physically ill.
I’m all about moving forward and taking all those small steps to keep on down this path that I’ve chosen.
If you’re interested in pursuing colour image consulting (personal styling) as a career, then check out my classroom and online training options which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to turn your passion into a career. I don’t hold anything back in my training so that you get the expert, in-depth information you need.
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Imogen, you are the epitome of a successful business woman, hard work, perseverance, doing something you love. Your trainees are learning from “the best” and your grateful followers, like me, enjoy your generous heart. I am a much better person just having you in my thoughts and my life every day.
Thank you now and forever,
Your faithful fan,
Agree with Pat — am just so grateful for you, your work, and your generosity of spirit!
Very well said! You hit on many wonderful points. Great spirit, advice and attitude. Thank you for your insight and input.