Working as an image consultant can help you fetch anywhere between USD 50-99 an hour. If you want to cash in on this lucrative business, here are few useful tips to start an image consultant agency.
Get a certification from The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) to get listed in their directory, gain credibility, as well as earn more business.
If you are looking for a business that is profitable, fulfilling and requires minimum initial investment, you should start your own image consultancy. As more and more people feel the urge to improve their personal branding, the requirement for image consultant agencies has gone up drastically. Many people approach professional image consultant agencies to guide them in aspects like body language, etiquette, communication skills, attire, personal and professional presentation, etc.
These image consultant agencies also offer a complete makeover and change of personality. They help enhance your self-belief and boost your confidence. If you think you can offer your services to interested clients, to begin with, you will have to register your services or business. Remember that there are many individuals interested in improving their image, and offering consultation can be highly lucrative, provided you know how to start an image consultant agency. Here are few things to consider while starting an image consultant agency.
Education and Experience
While education in this field is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you undertake courses which will enable you to work as an established image consultant. Also, you may not command much fees initially, but as and when your client base expands, you will be able to earn better. Your experience will also matter. Hence, it is always suggested that you gain experience under an image consultant for a few years before starting your own venture.
Know Your Customers
First and foremost, you must know your target customers. While there are several niches, initially, you can choose a few categories. For example, decide whether you are going to deal with students, professionals, new moms, cancer survivors, beauty pageant hopefuls, etc. Let us assume, you choose beauty pageant hopefuls, then you will have to design your course module accordingly. It will include body language, presence, interview skills, personality development, communication skills, confidence building, dressing and grooming, etc. Likewise, you will have to design course material for other niches as well.
Know Your Services
Image consultants provide a number of services which include personality development, body language, confidence building, performance management, makeovers, etc. Not only this, they also carry out custom color analysis to understand which colors will suit an individual based on his ethnicity, complexion, personality, etc. They may also moonlight as personal shoppers and wardrobe consultants. In fact, if required, they even conduct an analysis or audit of an individual’s wardrobe, and suggest changes accordingly. Apart from that, image consultants help you hone your interview skills and overall presence. You must decide what you are willing to offer, and how you intend to charge for it. Decide after having thoroughly studied your competitors’ rates.
Decide Your Business Plan
Having a business plan is extremely essential. You must decide whether to work as a stylist, life coach, makeover expert, image consultant, business and career coach, etc. You can also undertake a mix of activities based on client requirement. Decide whether you plan to deal with individuals or groups. Apart from offering consultancy for groups and individuals, you can also conduct corporate seminars. If your clients are based in other states or countries, you can provide your services online and even conduct webinars.
Beware of Your Expenses
Though this business does not require huge initial investment, there are a few expenses which you will have to bear. Buy a video camera to record the body language of people, and help them improve it. Not only this, but getting a good virtual makeover software can help your clients select a new look for themselves. Apart from this, you will also have to invest in mirrors, books, videos, classroom setup, etc. You may also have to bear your own traveling and transportation expenses if your customer does not stay in your city/state.
One of the best ways of promoting this business is to network and socialize with the right people. Have contacts with wedding planners, event planners, councilors, doctors, etc., so that they can recommend your name to individuals who are seeking image consultancy services. Get in touch with fashion photographers who may refer you to aspiring models who want to participate in beauty pageants or make a career in modeling.
e-presence is Essential
Having a strong e-presence is must for the kind of services you intend to offer. Have a suave and trendy website which will provide details of the services offered along with your consultancy charges. Do not forget to upload before and after photos of makeovers. In this business, seeing is believing, and your clients will definitely feel impressed with the drastic change they see. You can also add testimonials to your website. If you have testimonials from senior management people from your corporate sessions, it will add great value. Apart from this, do not forget to put up logos of all the A-list brands you cater to. Although, you will need their permission to do this. Also, feature regular pod casts, blogs and articles on your website to keep the visitors informed and interested.
Invest in Brand Identity
Invest in a good communication agency to design your brand identity. Explain the goals of your business so that they can design a smart brand identity accordingly. Design your logo, and ensure that it is visible on all your stuff, like brochures, leaflets, business cards, etc. All these collaterals are important, because they will act as the first window where your prospective clients will judge you.
Project Yourself in a Positive Light
Suppose you were looking for an image consultant agency, would you consider a consultant who does not look the part at all. In fact, if you go for a client meeting in disheveled hair, casual clothes, and do not look confident enough, you will never get the client interested enough. You represent your business, hence, you should always walk the talk. People will have a difficult time believing your business claims and offering.
Business Location Requirement
Initially, you may not require an office space in an commercial area. You can always start your office from your home. Visit the clients for consultation, this will save you the huge cost of investing in an office space. Also, you can hire space for seminars whenever and wherever you want. If you plan to offer online consultancy, you can also save on traveling time and money. Once your business is up and running, you can think about investing in your own office and workshop space.
Know About Other Business Partners
This is one business where you will have to liaison with other parties to provide excellent services to the customer. Hence, you should be able to forge business partnerships with hairstylists, fashion consultants, makeup artists, fitness trainers, voice modulation experts, etc. Apart from this, you may also require services of dentists, dietitians, and cosmetic surgeons. All these business partners will help you in offering a total makeover to your clients. However, remember to partner with reliable and experienced professionals to avoid any kind of problems to the clients.
Undertake Marketing and Self-promotion
Based on your targeted market, undertake focused marketing and advertising efforts. Have pages for your business on various social networking websites, and keep your followers engaged. Also, get paid Facebook ads and online banners to reach directly to people who are searching for image consultants. Maintain good reviews on online reference websites. Pay for online listings. Place ads in local magazines and newspapers. You can even sponsor radio slots. You must grab every single opportunity to promote your business. Remember to keep in touch with your old clients as they become a good source of word of mouth publicity.
Many people even undertake dress alterations and shoe repair assignments for their clients. As clothes and shoes are expensive, many prefer to have them repaired. Also, keep abreast with current industry knowledge and trends so that you are able to cater to your clients in a better way. After your business flourishes, you can decide to expand so that your brand or name becomes familiar. Now that you know how to start an image consultant agency, hope you design a fool-proof business plan to evolve your business further.