Grow Your Image Business

Unleashing your inner confidence: Tips for overcoming imposter syndrome

Confidence is the magic ingredient when it comes to growing your personal styling business.

f we can turn up in our businesses and be 100% ourselves, speaking as we would to a friend, it’s magnetic. People, especially clients, are drawn to us. Confidence gives us the power to be magnetic.

Would you like more confidence?

What would you do if you had more confidence?

Call to mind what one thing you’d be able to do if you had more confidence.

What’s that one thing which would make a big difference in your life.

Would you go out there and ask for more money for your services?

Would you ask for more clients?

It doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your work. Maybe you’d ask that man you really like to go on a date?

When I asked the same question in one of my Facebook lives, I got responses like:

“If I had more confidence, I would step out of my comfort zone and not look for validation from others”.

“I would have more courage to show my passion for colour to more people”.

“I would be more comfortable selling my services”.

What would you do?

Pick one thing.

It might sound odd, so bear with me, but if you want more confidence, you must start doing that one thing you just identified.

Taking action and doing the thing will give you more confidence.

You have to do the thing despite the fear and your doubts. Everyone in business has to do this.

We have to keep exercising that feel the fear and do it anyway muscle!

The very thing you’re afraid of doing is the thing that will bring you more confidence.

You might be sitting there thinking, “Oh, it’s alright for you Aileen. You’ve got loads of confidence”. True. I’m loads more confident now than I used to be, but I’ve had years of practice! I wasn’t always the confident stylist and business mentor you see today.

So let me tell you a story.

Before I trained as a stylist, I worked in manufacturing. I originally trained in colour analysis through an online home study program. To get my certificate I colour-coded all my friends and family which was easy because they wanted to support me in my new venture.

Once I’d finished the course, I started trying to promote myself but found it extraordinarily difficult. I felt awkward and out of place. Yes, I was qualified in colour analysis, but there was absolutely no training on the vital next steps of turning my skills into a business!

I was so doubtful about my ability as a colour consultant because the course was short. I was qualified within a few months but had little practical experience and no support to call on for second opinions and guidance. I was completely alone.

Leaving a well-paid job for the new world of styling is a massive step for anyone to take, and setting up your own business while everyone watches on judging you is next-level frightening. I know. It was exactly the same for me!

It was suggested on my colour course that a good way to get clients was to build relationships and collaborate with local boutiques. Luckily for me, there was a lovely lady in my local mall in Singapore who designed and made exquisite tunics. She invited me to her shop to do a colour demonstration at an evening with some of her clients.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity but was absolutely terrified.

I wasn’t very confident in my colour skills and I certainly wasn’t confident about standing up to speak to a group of strangers and demonstrate colour analysis!

The thought of being so exposed and on show made my blood run cold. I remember going to the toilet as all the guests for filing into the shop, and my hands were shaking, my palms all sweaty. I wasn’t at all sure I’d be able to speak when I stood up in front of everyone and was worried I’d faint!

Somehow, I got through it. I don’t remember anything about it. My mind has blocked it out! I do remember people coming up to me afterwards to talk about the demo so it can’t have been that bad.

Nobody booked my services at the time, but people did trickle slowly into me over the next six months, and Rashmi, the boutique owner, was so pleased I’d joined her that evening.

My point with the story is, you can’t learn how to be confident by reading a book, watching videos, or taking more courses. You need to get out there and take action. Over time, the more action you take, the easier it gets and the more your confidence grows.

I survived my first demo. I got through it by the skin of my teeth. The next talk I did was still terrifying, but less so. Eventually, over several years, I started hosting my own events and got good at them. My fear subsided because I practised over and over again.

Here are some pointers to help you get into action:

Six things to help you take action and increase your confidence

1) Break down the scary thing you want to do into small steps.

If you want to do a colour demonstration, what steps do you need to take? List them all down and start with the first one.

If you want to take your colour analysis services online, what steps do you need to take? Work out the first step and take it today.

2) Identify your fears.

When you think about taking that first step, what fears come up for you? Write them down, and acknowledge them, but know that they won’t kill you, they will make you stronger.

3) Seek out support.

You can ask a question at any time in my Savvy Stylists Facebook group. It’s free to join if you’re already a member. Check out my website too for details on how we can work together so I can support you.

4) Become an expert in a particular area.

I chose colour analysis as the focus of my styling business and became known as the colour lady of Singapore. It became my niche area and other stylists would come to me for support. I also chose to work solely with women who were starting their own businesses, and this narrow focus really helped me with my marketing because as a new business owner myself, I knew what other women were going through. I understood their problems and fears and could give them specific advice in my marketing messages.

Being a generalist and not an expert is the main problem that so many stylists have. They try to serve everyone – women, men, young, old – and the information they put out is very broad because they’re trying to please everyone all the time.

Getting specific with who you help enables you to become really detailed in the info you publish on your social media, and the particular people you help will start to pay attention. Over time you’ll find that your content becomes refined because you’ll get to know the inner workings of your particular person’s mind. Refined messages attract more clients, more clients bring you more experience and your confidence increases with each one!

5) Adopt routines.

When I first set up my Facebook group, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough content to share. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to show up enough in the group, and I worried that no one would be interested enough to join. So, what I did to help combat the doubts, was to fix a routine, which is to go live in the group every Friday.

Some weeks I feel more confident than others, but my routine is to turn up however I’m feeling. It’s a commitment I made to myself and my group members. Going live is the main interaction I have with my audience, so it’s a non-negotiable.

Working through your routines keeps you in control of your business and fosters greater confidence.

Where can you build routines into your working week?

Have a think, schedule them into your diary, and stick to them every week.

6) Read ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’.

It’s a book by Susan Jeffers, which is super short but a brilliant resource that got me started developing and growing my confidence. Don’t use the reading to avoid taking action though!

Remember what I said earlier, the fastest and most reliable way to increase your confidence is to get out there and do the thing you’ve been putting off.

Life is short, so don’t hang around. You have so much talent and there are people out there who need your help. They need to hear from you, so it is your duty. Get out there and do your thing! ❤

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