Do you have the talent and passion to do something of your own? Are you a people person with an eye for fashion and style? You have got two options. You can stay in your comfort zone and take up a job. Or, you can turn your dreams into reality by becoming an image consultant.
What is image consulting?
Image consulting is the profession of educating, guiding, and mentoring people on managing their appearance. It is a process of evaluating the impact of a person’s appearance on their professional image. It will give you:
- Financial independence
- Work-life balance
It is one of those interesting small business ideas that can be started from your home.
What does an image consultant do?
An image consultant is a professional who enhances the images of his or her clients by changing their internal and external traits like appearance, behaviour, communication, etc. Whether the client is an actor, a politician, or a successful businessman, image consultants work on the ABCs of their image. They are usually knowledgeable in fashion and marketing and train their clients to improve their image for any event.
An image consultant’s main focus is on the personal style of the client, including their clothing, body language, and etiquette. In this article, we will tell you how to start an image consulting business, which is one of the best business ideas requiring little money to start.
How to be an image consultant?
1. Get trained
Several institutes offer image consulting training, and after completing the course, you can start your business. You can also join an online course and get trained as a stylist. Another option is to attend workshops that last from four to twelve weeks to help you in this career.
You must have a passion for fashion, and stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and colour schemes. You can attend art classes to understand colour theory. An understanding of body and face shapes is also necessary.
There is some software available that can help you create a client’s look before a haircut or makeover. You can get trained in this. This will be very helpful in avoiding any disaster!
This is a practice-what-you-preach business. You have to be always well dressed, wear polished shoes, and look sharp. Also, be sympathetic to your clients, many of whom would have been hesitant to approach you in the first place.
2. Gain experience
You probably won’t get a job as an image consultant right away, but there are several opportunities in related fields that can help you get valuable experience. You need to gain experience in the retail side of the business. You can develop some of the skills necessary by working as a stylist in an upmarket clothing boutique, or a beauty consultant at a make-up counter.
You can start as an image consultant on a part-time basis so that you have a steady income while building your client base.
3. Understand the market
Conduct extensive market research to find out the demand for your line of job. Almost all celebrities, rich, and famous people require professionals to manage their image. This is the most profitable segment of the market, and your ultimate target would be to reach there.
4. Write a business plan
For your image consulting start-up, write a short business plan. Address the following issues in your plan:
- Cost of setting up the business.
- Pricing plan.
- Target customers.
5. Decide on the clients you wish to target
Your potential clients can include senior executives wanting to move ahead in the corporate ladder, actors, or news personalities, trying to project a successful image. Young graduates stepping out for job interviews often need tips to dress properly, maintain the correct posture, and exude confidence. You can work with them and help them get the coveted job.
6. Get Licensed
You should get licensed with the local government authorities. Get a GST registration done, and apply for the GST number. Open a current account with a bank. Choose a catchy name and a logo for your business.
7. Reach your audience
You can help your target audience achieve a positive image by conducting presentations, seminars, or workshops. You can also consult from home, and meet clients on an appointment basis. You can advertise in local newspapers, and also send emails to potential customers.
Network with professional organisations and wedding consultants. Remember that most of the work that will come your way will be from referrals and word-of-mouth. So, you have to maintain a high standard in this field.
8. Decide on the Services you can offer
You first interview with the client to determine their personalities and goals. Your role is to provide assistance and counselling in image enhancement that can include appearance, attitude, and branding. Schedule a wardrobe review to decide what clothing to keep and what to discard. Coach them in the right style so that they can project the image they want.
You have to go on shopping expeditions with the clients and maintain a database of their preferences and sizes. You need to know the current trends to help them replenish their wardrobes. You need to see that the clothes they wear fit properly and are flattering to the eye. Other areas in which you have to guide them are what accessories to wear, and special etiquette tips that will help them make a great first impression.
You are also expected to give hair and make-up advice, tips for self-confidence, and instructions on effective body language. Apart from these general skills, you can also specialise in specific areas.
You can form partnerships with other professionals like hair stylists, dieticians, and make-up artists, and let them improve your client’s appearance.
After becoming an image consultant, you can don the following hats:
- Corporate and Personal Stylist
- Wardrobe consultant
- Etiquette and grooming coach, and more.
Try to acquire corporate clients by teaching them better tactics like body language, leadership, and sales.
9. Establish an image consulting firm
After getting established as a professional image consultant, you can form an image consulting firm. You can offer your services to big companies or large groups. Many businesses feel that their employees do not project the right image to the public. So, you can work with them and help them out by re-designing their uniforms, polishing their soft skills, etc.
Hurdles in an image consulting business
Though it has got numerous benefits, an image consulting business has its fair share of cons also. In a recessionary economy, getting good, paying clients might be a problem. Also, it is a difficult field to get a toehold. You need to stay up-to-date on all current fashion trends, which, at times, can be a little overwhelming.
Nevertheless, it is an exciting line of work to be able to help clients present their best image to the world by advising them on their physical appearances like hair, wardrobe, and makeup. It is one of the exciting new business ideas because nowhere else you will get the chance to interact with celebrities on a day-to-day basis. We hope that this article will inspire you to help clients project a positive image.
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Q. What specialty can I choose in my image consulting business?
Ans. The most popular niche in image consulting is fashion and style consulting. A chic hairstyle and makeup tips are also in demand with clients.
Q. How important is dealing with people for an image consultant?
Ans. In this line of work you have to handle the client’s emotions, fears, and flaws; in some cases the celebrity’s tantrums. So, you have to maintain a calm and cool temperament, and learn to manage people really well.
Q. In which magazines should I place ads for my image consulting business?
Ans. Bridal and fashion magazines are a good place to start to attract would-be brides and the young crowd. Further down the line, you can place ads in the financial magazines to pull in the corporate bigwigs.
Q. Do I need any equipment in this line of work?
Ans. If you are looking for asset-light small business ideas, this is it! You would need some basic things like mirrors, colour swatches, magazines, and a make-up kit.
Q. Vocal communication is an important part of improving a client’s speaking style. What does it cover?
Ans. Many institutes offer the course on vocal communication. It covers areas like grammar, voice modulation, vocabulary, etc.