You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Sounds like something we have all heard and also know it's completely true! I've learned so much from Sylvie di Giusto about how to make the best impression with my actions, my appearance, and my words. In fact, you can download her free e-book, "100 Ways To Make a Powerful First Impression" to start putting your best foot forward. After meeting Sylvie through another Leading Lady, Shauna Mackenzie, I have been amazed at the information Sylvie shares on her social channels, feedback from events where she speaks, etc. This is one lady you need to follow as well! You can find Sylvie on Twitter as well as her website.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
I originally worked for about 20 years in HR for various corporations. I eventually came to a point where I wanted to be independent because I had gotten married with kids. I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom so I just I did it. I also wanted to be my own boss, rather than having to answer to anyone else. I wanted the ability to create my own schedule. I made a leap of faith to start my own business. Many entrepreneurs have the problem where they don’t do it. You think you have to think through everything but at one point you have to jump right into it and do it. Just do it. I encourage you to just get started. Don’t wait. Sometimes we make the mistake that we need everything figured out to start but I truly encourage you to just do it. You will never know if it would work out if you don’t do it.
WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?
Everything! Everything is a risk when you go on your own and if you don’t have a monthly paycheck like I was used to having when I worked with corporations. I risked my corporate career, my family, my friends, and my health. You will never know if it’s going to work out if you don’t risk those things.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?
I am scared that one day I my children will look back and tell me that they didn’t have a happy childhood. Everything I do and my highest and biggest value in the world is their happiness. This means that they also need to have a happy mom. I had to admit to myself that I needed to work to have my happiness. I am constantly having to balance things with my children, making them believe that I don’t work too much but showing them as a role model that I do something that I love. Right now, I think that balance works out very well but I will definitely not know until they look back in 20 years.
LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?
A major turning point for me was to find out that I cannot be everything to everybody. Learning to say “no” was hard for me. I had to find out that I needed to go into a niche market with image consulting. I thought I could offer everything- I could be a wardrobe consultant, fashion stylist, soccer mom, CEO… my thought was “Just buy one of my freaking awesome services, and give me money!” However, I had to learn that positioning yourself this wide does not make you an expert. If I have a heartache I go to a heart specialist not just a doctor. If I have teeth pain I go to a dentist, I don’t just see a doctor. When I started to say no to a lot of services I offered and people who reached out, I developed a clear niche. I worked with executives and corporations. Focusing on a niche market has made me an expert and people now identify me as that. Don’t be everything to everybody. Identify your perfect client. Mine was even found in the name “Executive Image Consulting.” I gave them a clear picture of what I do and it was easier to describe what I do and hunt down my perfect clientele.
WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
- “Don’t be cheap, be the best.” This is something Jeffrey Hayzlett yelled at me when I asked him a very smart question about discounting my services. Don’t discount your services and products, instead always deliver the best quality in everything you do and people will accept that they have to pay the price for it.
- “Be amazing. Always.” This is something that Shep Hyken told me and something that I truly believe in. I usually under promise and over deliver to my clients. Always keep in mind that you have to be ahead of your competition and the easiest way to stand out in the market is to be amazing at everything you do. First and foremost with the customer service you deliver and the way you make your clients feel should be amazing too. “Would I buy my own service?”
- Scott McCain, “Don’t miss the good stuff.” He reminded me as a business owner it’s easy to think that the world won’t exist anymore if you don’t do this the very next day. But I have this amazing family to tend to, I have children who need me and friends too. Your health is important and your fun is important. Don’t miss out on that. There’s a lot of good stuff we shouldn’t miss.
My biggest mistake was not going into a niche immediately. I wasted two years of my business this way. On the other hand, I’m thankful for that time because it taught me so much on what I can do and what I can’t do. It made things so clear about me, my product, and my services that I truly don’t want to miss that the mistake worked for the greater good of my company.