A new season is upon us and with it new opportunities for business success.
But how does this relate to my style and wardrobe you ask?
Quite a lot actually! I like to see this change as a way to usher in newness and freshness into your life and more importantly your style and wardrobe too.
No, I’m not just talking about running out and buying a whole load of new pretty items just because the magazines say so.
I’m talking about re-establishing in your mind, how you want to present yourself and seeing where the disconnect maybe in your wardrobe and fixing it. Sometimes unknowingly our wardrobe blocks us from rising to new challenges that occur with the ebb and flow of business.
Whether you are a newbie entrepreneur or have been in your business for a while, it’s really important to make a note of how you ‘show up’ to the world and your customers.
A case of vanity
Often people confuse their presentation and dress as a bit of a vanity exercise.
‘Oh no I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about what to wear’
‘It’s all a bit vain fussing about with clothes, people are buying my services’
But it is more important than that. It’s about owning all of who you are; your business savvy-ness and your appearance. Showing your clients and customers that they can confidently invest in you, as you are investing in yourself inside and out.
Your wardrobe is a reflection of your inner thoughts – the good and bad. It’s an expression of you, where your confidence levels are and your business & life.
Your mind set about your wardrobe, could be holding you back from taking the entrepreneurial leaps you know you should be taking.
I’m on a mission to get female entrepreneurs to be more ‘visible’, to be ‘out there’ and confident to grab whatever comes their way. So I’ve put together a little 4 STEP PLAN to get you and your wardrobe springing into success (and your business too)
Step 1 – What’s the message?
Everything you wear communicates a lot about what you want to say about yourself. Are you wearing items that are really authentic to who you are? Entrepreneurs I’ve worked with often feel they should wear clothes they think people/clients want them to wear but actually these items really jar with who they are as a person. You are doing yourself an immediate disservice when you don’t dress for who you really are. As an entrepreneur you aren’t subject to ‘office rules’ anymore. Especially in these times, people are investing more and more into PEOPLE and all their nuances. Now is the time you can visually sell yourself, just the way you allow your marketing copy, blog posts, tweets to sell your business.
I talk about becoming aware of your ‘Style Sleeve’, giving your personality a clothing life of it’s own. Just understanding who you are can help you create a wardrobe that matches your authentic personal brand. Try to look at what you love in your wardrobe and why you wear it often, what does it say about you? What pieces do you just feel ‘uncomfortable’ in? Do you feel awkward and fidgety when out in those clothes? Why is that? When you wear clothes that are out of sync with who you are, you just can’t perform in the best way you want to, you are always holding back subconsciously.
Step 2 – My Wardrobe, My Life
Your wardrobe may still be filled with clothes from previous jobs and you may be strapped for money and time to buy new clothes.
Some clients I’ve worked with in the past felt their wardrobe had nothing that said –
‘Hello…this is me’ when they are networking and they always batted it off with statements like;
“I can get by with what I have though”
“When more money comes into the business I will treat myself and my wardrobe.”
But this is a bad strategy, that keeps you in a vicious cycle of not moving forward; let me explain why.
It’s important to identify where you are spending the bulk of time as an entrepreneur and where your wardrobe fits this. No two entrepreneurs are the same…on one hand you maybe the lady who is seeing clients face to face every day, corporate dinners in the evenings or holding workshops frequently. Or you could be the lady coaching clients on Skype, the school run in the afternoon and only bigger adhoc speaking engagements. Each woman will need clothes to work for different pockets of ‘visibility’ in her life.
If you need to get out there to network/speak/meet clients to grow your business, not having the right items that enable you to do this is a limiting factor for your business growth.
Where have you been spending a lot of money in one area but neglecting another? When you don’t align your business life and wardrobe you are hampering your confidence and business development.
Step 3 – Streamline your life and plug the gaps
Life throws you spontaneous challenges and especially as an entrepreneur you have to be able to ride the waves. But is your style up for the fast-paced changes?
I really advocate a ‘be ready for anything’ mentality when looking at your wardrobe and your entrepreneurial style.
As an entrepreneur you will wear many hats in your business as well as all the personal roles too – it’s not easy. But with these different hats, I strongly believe it helps to comparmentalise and streamline your wardrobe to reflect this. Divide it up into sections that work for you…business casual/formal, then pleasure casual/formal.
Then create ‘grab and go’ outfits for each, especially for special biz events, talks or other occasions that you know sell you at your best. By creating your success ‘grab and go’ looks you also take the time to identify what is missing in your wardrobe i.e. ‘This dress could do with a jacket to go with it’ or ‘I love this skirt and shirt combo but I don’t have shoes to match’. Making a note of this allows you to start making shopping lists of where you need to ‘plug the holes’ in you wardrobe. It also helps to even out the shopping spend.
That way when you are asked to meet with a new client off the cuff or pitch for a new contract you aren’t running off to the shops, panic buying for a new dress to impress.
Step 4 – Get out there and shine
As an entrepreneur, you are always marketing yourself (and your business), whether you are on a Saturday afternoon shop or at a networking meeting. You never know when your next big opportunity is about to appear just in a passing conversation. Whether you are in flats or in a smart outfit, your clothes need to communicate who you are and what you are about.
It is good to be conscious about who you are and how you show up so that you are always the best version of YOU. It’s not about lots of expensive designer labels and being polished and smart all the time… you are simply more confident in clothes that feel good, work for you and look good too.
So take some time and engage with your wardrobe. Align it with your entrepreneurial life and mission…and spring into success.