How to Build a Successful Colour Analysis and Personal Styling Business

I’ve just reached 20 years in business, which is a pretty big milestone (since all the statistics seem to say that most small businesses don’t make it to 3 years, I feel like I’ve achieved something great over the past 2 decades).

I’ve thought a lot about what makes some people succeed and others falter at the first (or third) hurdle and wanted to share some of my insights.

In Adam Grant’s book Hidden Potential, he talks about how opportunity can’t knock if you haven’t built a door, and let opportunity know that the door exists and invites them to come and knock on it.

You have to build the door for opportunity to knock.  Let’s look at how you can build that door and invite opportunity to come knocking on it!

My Formula for Business Success

Sadly my formula for business success isn’t as simple as “send these exact three emails and do these 4 social media posts and the world is your oyster”.  If it was only that simple, way more small businesses would succeed.

Instead, it’s a formula that requires a dash of planning and strategy, some serious skill acquisition, the right mindset as well as taking action.

Strategy + Skills + Mindset + Action = Success

Strategy + Skills + Mindset + Action = business success

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

Business Strategy and Planning

You absolutely don’t need the most complicated business plan to succeed, but you do need some planning and a strategy behind it to make sure that you’re on the right road, going in the right direction.  There’s no point in spending lots of time, energy, and money going down the wrong path.

Before you start posting random things on social media, you want to have a plan:

Who is Your Niche?

Who are you talking to exactly?  Have you defined your niche (and word on the street is that the smaller the niche, the better the cut-through in the noisy social media world) so who are they?  What are their needs, their pains, their desires?

What websites do they visit?

What social media do they frequent most frequently?  There’s no point in spending time on TikTok if your ideal clients are on LinkedIn!

How can you find these clients in other ways than social media channels (there are other options – in-person networking, speaking, podcast guest, blogging, etc.).  You have to let people (opportunity) know that you’re open for business, pitch to podcasts to be a guest, promote yourself in the media, be a thought leader, and share your ideas so that those who resonate with you can come and find you easily.  There is no point in being the best-kept secret. As much as putting yourself “out there” can feel daunting, if you nobody knows you exist you can never build a business.

What Action Do You Want them to Take?

Where do you want to direct them to?  Do you have a website that gives them the relevant information so they can easily book your services?

Do you make it easy for them to contact you?

What Services Do You Offer that Provide a Solution to Their Specific Issues?

What services do you offer?  How do you offer them?  Do they fit the needs of your specific niche?

How do you deliver those services?  Online? In person?  Combination?

How are you following up with your clients to find out if they have further needs?

Can you provide ongoing packages for your clients?

How Many Clients Do You Need?

Based on your desired income, how many clients do you actually need each year?  How have you priced your services?

When you know this, you can then start figuring out your marketing strategy.

Do You Have a Sales Delivery Strategy?

What happens if something you do goes viral and you’re inundated with people wanting to work with you? Imagine suddenly having 100 people knocking on your door, how does this make  you feel…. excited and energised or overwhelmed and scared?  Do you have the business processes set up that means you can handle this?  If not, what business processes do you need to set up?

Now these are just handful of things you need to think about as far as the strategy and planning for your business, and they are a great place to start.

But, as important as planning is, there is more to success than just a plan.

Expert Skills – Master Your Craft

Hone your skills and get as good as you can.  When you WOW people they talk about you behind your back (in a positive way).

Put a huge emphasis on delivering an excellent experience.  When you help people, when you provide a great service, money follows.

Serve your clients as best you can.  Give them such a great experience they want to tell all their friends, family and colleagues about it.  Word of mouth is the very BEST advertising that you can’t pay for!  Word of mouth builds a business faster than any other means.

Rather than putting your attention on what you want to get out of running a business (a certain income, internet fame and fortune etc), instead focus on what you can GIVE.

If you want to make six figures, then you have to give at least this amount of value.

When you give a fabulous service, you get lifetime clients rather than “one-off” clients.  High client retention means you don’t have to spend all your time on social media trying to find new clients.   Plus clients who love you spread the word and have others coming to you knocking at your door.

If you want a successful long-term business, get great at what you do.

One of the things I teach in my training courses and talk about in my Student and Graduate Mentoring calls is that after each consultation you do, you need to figure out what you learned from that experience.  It may be something that worked really well (so you can repeat it) or it could be a lesson learned that you don’t want to repeat.

Make it a priority to be the best at what you do for your specific niche.

Get the best training (and I can tell you that I’ve had more than a handful of students who had trained with other image and personal styling schools who felt like they hadn’t got the knowledge they needed to give their clients that excellent experience and they wished they had come to us first).

There’s no better way to promote yourself than having ecstatic clients tell everyone about you, as well as keep on coming back to you for help year after year.

Invest in yourself and your education so that you can become an expert.

Mindset is Key

I’ve met plenty of aspiring image and colour consultants over the years who have great potential, yet it’s never realised.  Sometimes because they never got out of the planning phase or figure out their strategy.  Most frequently it’s because of their mindset.

Mindset is key to creating business success.

You have to know your why (so that when an obstacle or challenge jumps in your path you can figure out how to get around it, over it, or just move it out of the way).

I remember when the financial crisis of 2009 was going on and business was slow, I remember thinking “Well I can always go and get a job somewhere” and I felt ill, sick in my stomach and I realised that I could NEVER go back to working for anyone else again.  I knew that what I did had a positive impact on my client’s lives and that has kept me going through the hard times as well as the good.  Knowing that getting an education in colour and style has change my life has made me passionate about sharing all my knowledge with those who are also keen to have the same kind of positive impact.


You have to have internal discipline to sit down and do the work.  If you want a full-time income, you have to put in the effort and take action to achieve this.   You’ve got to build that door.

Self-discipline is something you need to cultivate, and it’s way easier to do when you have a strong “why” and you are passionate about what you do.

Motivation comes with doing and achieving.

Get Help When You Need It

This is something that I wish I’d done so much sooner in my business and has completely changed and helped me grow my business.

If you feel overwhelmed, how do you expect to get to the next-level of success in your business?

Help comes in many forms:

  • Virtual Assistant who can do social media marketing for you, help clear your inbox
  • A cleaner to clean your house so you can concentrate on building a business
  • A nanny or au pair to look after your kids so you have the time and energy for your business
  • Technical support – to keep all those tech wheels spinning
  • Bookkeeping support, because unless you were an accountant before you became an image consultant, you don’t have the skills to do this for yourself (and who wants to spend their time learning about tax implications and the like).
  • Business mindset support – you need to feel held and supported so that you can keep expanding and growing.

If you don’t feel held and supported, you’ll block your success in business because subconsciously you’re telling yourself that you don’t want to take more on.

Other ways you may want to get support:

  • Regular massages so  you don’t feel stressed
  • Regular exercise so that you are well.  I was reading Steven Bartlett’s book Diary of a CEO and in it, he talks about how without your health, you have little else.  It’s like the foundation on which everything else sits.
@steven We are nothing without our health 🙏🏽👏🏽 #stevenbartlett #health #healthiswealth #healthyhabits #healthylifestyle ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Put what matters to you in your diary so that it doesn’t get missed.

Get help when you need it (and often before that needs starts screaming at you). I wish I’d got help sooner. Back in 2016 I was on the phone daily to internet help desks trying to overcome issues with websites that kept crashing.  I was weeping on the phone, so frustrated and not knowing what to do.  It was then, I was a breaking point when I got my first technical assistant who came in, and took all the techical issues off my plate so that I could concentrate on what I do best (being an image consultant and delivering great programs and services and training programs) rather than fixing website issues.

Why didn’t I do it sooner?  It wasn’t until I did an equation on what it was costing me to not get help (and the cost of the help) versus what I could make per hour doing the work I loved to do.  When I realised that investing in the right help would free up my time and I could make way more doing what I loved, that I saw the benefits of getting as much as help as I needed.   As soon as I got help, my business more than doubled as I was freed up and felt supported.

Getting help is an INVESTMENT, not a COST.

If you can’t afford to invest in yourself and your business you’ll end up in burnout and you’ll block all future success.

Invest in yourself as you’re the most important asset in your business.

Don’t kill the golden goose (in your business, you’re the golden goose, if you haven’t already figured it out).

When you invest in yourself, and grow your skills, and make your mindset a priority (because it’s the doorframe of that door that opportunity can knock on, without the frame, the door falls down), you’ll find it much easier to succeed as your confidence and self-worth increase.

When you know that you can deliver exceptional results for people this will act like a magnet and help attract more of the right people for you.Opportunity can only knock after you’ve built the door and you’ve invited opportunity to come over

Taking Imperfect Action

Without action, you have nothing.

I was lucky, one of the messages I received growing up was “You can succeed at anything that you set your mind to, get the knowledge you need, and take imperfect action.”

That’s right – imperfect action is the key.

Nothing will ever be perfect, so launch the website (and go back and fix the typos), put out some social media that will turn people off whilst attracting your ideal client, and go and give a talk to a networking group before you feel you’re ready.  Pitch yourself to a podcast that’s aimed at your specific niche.  Make the live video on your social media channel.

Yes, it’s scary.  But you’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway.

And the fear never goes away, it’s just that your comfort zone grows larger so things that initially feel scary stop feeling that way, and other bigger challenges are what scare you instead, but you know because you’ve overcome your fears before you can keep going.

As long as you keep refining along the way, taking action will get you somewhere.

What if you stopped trying to write the perfect website or social media post?  What if you stopped trying to find the perfect idea and simply focused on the best idea you have right now?

Remember that you can always pivot and change, nothing you do is set in stone.

What you focus on is what you’ll get back.  Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Take baby steps every day and you’ll end up scaling the mountain, but if you never start because you don’t think you’re fit enough, you’ll never get to the top.

Image consultants often compliment me on my huge body of work on Inside Out Style – my blog that has become an encyclopedia of image consulting concepts, yet I started at zero – with nothing, and just took small actions day after day to create what is now an incredible resource to so many people around the world.

Play the long game because very few people are overnight successes.

Business isn’t all unicorns, sunshine, and rainbows, it’s both hard work and working smart, and when you succeed you feel great as you know the results are down to you (and your team of people who help you).

Making a Success of Your Business

Whether you’re starting out and looking for the right training (we’ve got you covered), or you’re already working but want ongoing support and mentoring, investing in yourself is the fastest and easiest way to get you on the right path.

Have you figured out what is stopping you right now?  Are you scared of taking action?  Are you needing more training as you don’t feel like you have the knowledge you need?  Or is it that you have realised that you need help and support in some way?

If you’d like to chat with me about training options to get certified in colour and personal styling click here to make a time.

Or if you are already trained and looking for a higher touch mentoring and support environment, then our Visionary Image Consultants Incubator could be the right next step for you, make a time to chat with me about this option here.  Inside this mentoring, you’ll get support and guidance on each aspect of my formula for business success.

© 2024 Academy of Professional Image

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