Finding Your Productivity Flow

Whether you are an independent image consultant or a corporate executive, you likely relate to one of the biggest challenges facing leaders today: your productivity. There is simply too much that distracts from what you think you should be doing: there’s content to read/watch, meetings to attend, scheduling of those meetings, client work, and more. If the “executive overwhelm” is starting to take its toll on your ability to find professional balance, you should consider these 4 steps, which have worked well for our team members and many of our clients these past few years.

 

Determine Your Top 3 Goals in Business: Your goals should be concrete, measurable milestones. For example, you might seek to increase revenues by 15% by this time next year. Or, you might look to find a new job within a certain period of time. Once you’ve determined your goals, write them out. Place these “Top 3 Goals” on your work desk or in a planning device you visit often, as a strong way to ensure that each task you spend time on or each meeting you attend is one that maps back to one of these 3 goals.

 

Work smart: Stop multitasking! For most people, multitasking is like trying to run all over the place at the same time. Instead, work in 60-90 minute blocks of uninterrupted time followed by a 10-15 minute break. Close your email and alerts during critical focus periods. Use time in transit and travel to catch up on messages/news that doesn’t require as much mental bandwidth, so that when you are at your desk, you have the energy and focus to dive into the bigger tasks.

 

Measure Your Execution: “How am I doing?” is a critically important thing to ask yourself, and being able to answer this depends entirely on how measurable the goals are that you set. As time marches on, be sure to check in with yourself regularly to see how your goals are lining up, so you can adjust your schedule and strategy to ensure optimal success.

 

Always Remember the Value of Your Time: A final consideration to keep in mind is the value of your time.  If your standard rate is, say, $350 an hour and you end up wasting one hour in a meeting that wasn’t productive, you’ll start to recognize that you just lost $350.  Thinking about your time from this perspective each day allows you to focus on what’s really important to reach your goals.

 

You can see more of our productivity tips, as well as our fashion and styling insights, by following us on LinkedIn

#leadership, #productivity, #shanna-pecoraro

Your Digital Presentation

As image consultants, we are in the business of making people look their very best. In keeping with that expectation, it is important to take care of your own appearance and presentation. Nowhere has this been more relevant than in the social and digital sphere.

 

Just as you would utilize a client’s natural gifts to enhance his or her style, you should attempt to be consistent in your looks on a daily basis. Here are 3 important areas to consider for the social and digital sphere:

 

#1. PROOFREAD!

When posting on FB, Twitter, Instagram or another social channel, be as polished as you can with spelling, grammar, and syntax. While everyone understands an occasional autocorrect error, messages with the wrong word in them make you look careless – and autocorrect often replaces the word you wanted to say with a completely different word! So, taking an extra 3-4 seconds to read ALOUD your posts beforehand will help you catch mistakes.

 

#2. APPROACHABLE PROFILE PHOTOS

When selecting your primary profile photo (and any others that are frequently viewed), it’s important they be as polished as possible and have been taken within the last 5 years. Avoid goofy photos, or photos with more than one person in them. Make sure your face is well lit, and that you appear approachable. A smile is not an absolute requirement, but looking smug won’t help you personally or professionally (and in this business, personal networks matter a lot!).  If you’re unsure, send your primary photos to 3 friends and ask for their candid opinions before changing your profile photo.

 

#3. TOPICS TO AVOID

It’s not uncommon to feel compelled to comment on hot-button news topics. The past few years have shown much of the world to be divided on topics, and when you add in elements of religion, politics, or sex, you risk alienating potential references and even friendships.  If you must get political, I suggest picking a single issue that’s important to you and focus 1 or fewer posts per week on the topic, written in an educated tone. You may also choose to keep one account (say Facebook) for personal posts, and another (LinkedIn) for business or public posts.

 

Does your company have a social media posting policy? We look forward to your thoughts or suggestions on this matter!

Finding Inspiration on Pinterest

Sometimes, clients need a little visual encouragement to consider a new look (even when they are desperately asking for it!). It’s not always easy to find what you need for inspiration – and when you do, often times e-commerce sites and links only work for a short time, plus, finding the right INSPIRATION for a look can be researched without having to simultaneously SHOP by colors, styles or price.

 

The team and I at NYC Image Consultant Academy have recently moved our Polyvore images of inspiration over to Pinterest, and use the collection of thousands of looks, across many boards and pins, for client inspiration. From casual, skinny-jeans-on-the-go vibes to radical, artsy-runway looks, we have been inspired by it all!

 

If you could use a little help for inspiration with your clients, follow us to check out our pins here: https://www.pinterest.com/spimage/

 

 

Want to learn how to become a stylist and a strong, independent image consultant? Or bulk up on color theory?  We have more than 20 years of experience in the fashion and image consulting worlds, and love to share knowledge in our classes and programs! …. Click here to learn more http://bit.ly/1OROobY

#fashion-styling, #personal-style, #professional-dressing, #shanna-pecoraro, #style-advice

Ethics, Clients, and You

If you are an image consultant, you are expected to be responsible. That not only means responding to client calls, incoming emails, and being timely to appointments. It means you hold professional ethics in high regard. And while our current political state might make it seem that ethics can be put to the side, we heartily disagree.

 

As image consultants, we must always maintain our sense of integrity so that we protect the relationship between professionals, who are, after all, individuals.

 

Occasionally, we have observed image consultants using a questionable sense of integrity. This happens when someone uses a credential under false representation; it happens when someone lets a valid certification expire but does not acknowledge a change in her/his professional status.

 

In some cases, these consultants’ ethics have been compromised unknowingly, whereas in others there’s been a blatant disregard for what is right and wrong.

 

Using a credential under false representation is essentially unethical; you can’t say you’re a doctor if you’re not a doctor, and you can’t say you’re an AICI certified image consultant unless you’ve actually been certified. Being certified is a fact, and a fact is something that can be checked. It can be proven, and if you mislead about your credentials, your statement of false-fact may eventually be unproven and your integrity will be compromised.

 

Knowing that your certification has expired yet presenting that you are a professional with the credential anyway is an example of known disregard because you are lying about your professional status.

 

In AICI, we have 3 certification levels.  There is the CIC, or Certified Image Consultant.  There is the CIP, or Certified Image Professional. And then there is the CIM, or Certified Image Master (which is also the most advanced). If you haven’t been credentialed and would like to explore your options, talk to someone at AICI International Board or reach out to your mentor, but do not make use of certifications you don’t actually carry.

 

In case it’s helpful, the link for AICI’s Code of Conduct can be accessed here:

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/aici.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/documents/AICI_Code_of_Accreditation_D.pdf

 

We look forward to your thoughts and comments on this matter!

Dressing Men

Those of us who’ve been in the image consulting business a while remember a time when the average man – and let’s face it, most men – cared less how they looked. From grooming habits to ironing to matching socks, popular culture had us believe that the majority of men were comfortable in baggy jeans and t-shirts and sneakers all the time — and thus, men who actually followed fashion tended to be a little less vocal about it. Gay or straight, wealthy or middle class, it didn’t matter: men were expected to “throw something on” unless their mothers or wives made them change for a special occasion.

 

Boy, those times have changed. A recent article in The New Yorker, The Man Who’s Helped Elon Musk, Tom Brady, and Ari Emanuel Get Dressed, by Sheila Marikar, underlines this change to its fullest. By profiling Andrew Weitz, Marikar unveils Andrew as fashion stylist and owner of Weitz Effect, a consultancy that targets men who sit behind desks most of the day. In Hollywood, those men include managers, agents, and executives who make the music and entertainment industries run. Most of these men don’t like to be “outed” as needing help, mainly because what Weitz does isn’t exactly a “common thing” yet.

 

The article is funny, illuminating, and for any image consultant, it’s an inspiring ride. We highly recommend it. One thing that seemed to come up repeatedly through the story was the effect that dressing well has on a man’s confidence. This confidence, for Weitz’ clients and for other men (like ones we’ve worked with), pays off financially in time. When you dress like a Pro, you start to stand taller – you guessed it, like a Pro, and sooner or later, you are likely to get paid like Pro.

 

How have you seen men dressing more fashionably the past few years?  What are some trusted tips you share with men who could use a little help?

5 Types of the Difficult Clients

“The difficult people who we encounter can be our greatest teacher.” – Eileen Anglin

 We hear horror stories all the time about obnoxious, overly difficult clients who often make things harder than they should be. While it’s not always repeated in self-help programs, we state here that the health and quality of your business life matters! Dealing with crazy-makers proactively will help you in creating the business you want.

If you’re starting to notice that your clients are making you crazy, consider watching for these signs as you engage with people. If they act a little too shady a little too often, it might be time to fire the client!

Here are a few crazy-inducers you may recognize:

 

  1. The late or never-paying client. They promise to pay, they may even have a contract, but the check just doesn’t arrive. They pretend they didn’t get your invoice, or your emails, or your phone calls, and might finally pay after you chase them for what feels like the eternity.
  2. The interpreter: They “remember” everything you say, and later, will tell you that you stated (and meant) something completely different than your actual words. They take all your words and interpret them in their own way, especially when it’s not possible for you to remember everything you’ve ever said.
  3. The Grumbler: They tell you about their terrible life over and over. Also akin to an “Energy Vampire”, every time you encounter them, you walk away feeling drained, exhausted and debilitated.
  4. The Balance-shaker: This crazy client starts off praising you. They say things like “You really get me,” or “I like your work”. In the next sentence, they rip you apart, accusing you of double-dealing, sub-standard work, or unethical behavior on your part, completely unexpected. This “give then take” approach makes you unbalanced, which is the whole point.
  5. The Racer: Always in a hurry, the racer is known to never care if you’re busy with other projects or clients. They say things like, “I need it yesterday,” or “I know you’re booked, but I need you to sneak me in first thing in the morning!”

 

There are many other crazy clients out there – and some switch personalities from time to time! Unless your business is psychology or psychiatry, you are likely not trained to fully diagnose the crazy. But if you notice yourself thinking about problem clients over and over, it’s probably time to first set boundaries. If that doesn’t work, you can distance yourself – and then, if things still don’t improve, you may have to find better clients.

 

How do you handle difficult clients?  Share https://www.facebook.com/SpImageConsulting/

Building Confidence Like A Pro

Projecting confidence in your professional life is sometimes easier to think about than to actually practice. Many of us truly know most of the answers, know when and when not to ask for help, and generally know our stuff when it comes to our business and the tasks we are responsible for. Sometimes, having to prove those abilities comes down to being confident. As any successful salesperson or longtime executive will tell you, “acting the part” is 50% of success!

 

So, thinking of yourself inhabiting the shoes of the role you want can build your confidence tremendously. If you get stuck, it may help to remember these other confidence-building tips:

  • Build upon the image you want others to witness in you – Your image is all about your confidence – your swagger! – and not the price tag of your shoes or the balance in your checking account.

 

  • Say “No” when you must – You can’t always meet everyone’s expectations or behave in a fashion that matches the world’s apparent plan. If you know you can’t reach a goal, say it as soon as you know it. You will all be better for it.

 

  • Think of yourself as a business owner, even if you work for someone else -“Owning it” like it’s yours gives you confidence like nothing else, as it will allow you to advocate on behalf of your product, sell through your service, and stand up for yourself confidently when you need to.

 

  • Express Yourself in Practice – Through your writing, reading, and listening skills. Write to the point, with an eye for the memorable. Read with an open mind and take notes. And listen without abandon, more than you speak: this is how we learn most rapidly about what’s great (and not so great) in the world; listening well also shows respect to those you are working with.

 

  • Spend most of your time with people who support you – It’s hard to hear sometimes, but you dishonor your mind and spirit when you cohort with people who criticize, condemn or downplay your importance. Instead of letting your friends, colleagues or clients dictate who you are, build your self-confidence by tuning into YOU. If this is difficult to practice, consider working with a therapist or life coach for a period, to help you recognize what anxiety, dread, disappointment, joy, contentment, and relief actually feel like – and then notice how you feel when you’re with certain people. If people close to you bring you down consistently, find new friends, and figure out a way to connect with positive clients and colleagues to build back your confidence.

 

  • Define what “taking risks” means to you – and take a little one every day — When you distrust yourself, or don’t reach out to others, or remain closed to vulnerability, or stop making waves, you miss too much! Take a small risk each and every day to get out of your comfort zone and start making bigger waves with your confident self!

 

How do you maintain confidence? Share with us on https://www.facebook.com/SpImageConsulting/

#image-tips, #professional-dressing, #self-development, #shanna-pecoraro