As a Mad Men fan (and someone who is constantly marketing my own business) I’m also a fan of the AMC show, The Pitch. If you haven’t watched The Pitch, let me break it down for you:
Two advertising agencies compete for the business of one, big brand. The show follows each agency for a week as they craft a marketing and branding pitch they’ll reveal at the end of the show. It’s totally entertaining in that you get to see all the drama that happens in a creative agency, egos and all.
But there is something about this show that I love to hate – and it’s the way these creatives dress.
If I could have just 5 minute with one of these ad men or women, I’d tell them point blank: you’re a hot mess. From knit beanies in the bull pen to t-shirts in the boardroom, you’re giving off a really bad impression about your industry. One that thinks you’re above dressing to impress your clients (and competitors).
I don’t care how creative you are, wearing casual sportswear to a client presentation is just lazy. So lazy, in fact, it’s offensive. Nobody wants laid back – not when they’re paying you tens of thousands of dollars (or more) for the pleasure of doing business with you.
See, like I said – love to hate.
So, where do you and yoga pants fit into this? I’m glad you asked.
If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, entrepreneur or solopreneur, you’ve got to live, eat, sleep and wear your brand every damn day. When you’re draping yourself in a generic costume, you’re not living your brand. If you start to let your wardrobe slide into wearing yoga pants or something else really blah, you’re letting apathy take over.
And apathy is fatal for your business.
I’m not exactly saying you should have a Mad Men-worthy outfit each day. But the truth is, at best, putting your Lululemons on repeat says you’re overwhelmed. And, at worst, it says there’s nothing happening that’s special enough for you to get dressed up for. Which is directly counter to every intention you have with your website, Facebook page, Twitter account and every ounce of effort you put into marketing.
And that’s what it really comes down to is intention. If you’re constantly saying, “I want more sales/customers,” then that needs to be reflected in your daily look.
And, even if you’re like one of those people who have enough clients (and love to tell others about it every chance you get), then – sorry – a phoned-in look is still bad for your bottom line.
It’s like that quote (often attributed to Ghandi) that goes:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Are yoga pants your destiny?!
I hope not! Don’t go mistaking apathy for comfort.
But, wait, maybe I’m being a bit tough on you. Here I am, giving you the business on setting your intention with how you dress, but I haven’t mentioned how to do that.
As a solopreneur, myself, I understand your challenges. You may be a one-woman-show, or leader of a very small team. You have limited time for any kind of self-development because you’re too busy building a business. Your day probably starts very, very early and it’s much too easy to start work without putting the effort into making yourself look and feel great.
So, the first step to creating a personal brand that matches your business brand is to make it a priority. Declare it to your friends, write it in your journal, calendar out a morning routine that does your look some justice – whatever works for you.
The next step is to ask yourself, “what do my clients want to see in me?” This goes directly back to your brand and what you do for your clients. What are you providing them – support, creativity, encouragement? You’ve created a character that they’ve hired (or are thinking of hiring) and they need to see that reflected in your look every time they have an interaction with you.
It’s your job to foster a strong sense of confidence in your brand with your clients – but it’s not just about impressing your clients. For your own sake, you need to have even greater confidence in yourself. Because being successful requires that you believe in yourself – which is impossible to do if you don’t feel and look confident.
If you’re ready to get out of your yoga pants and messy bun rut, check out my free webinar on March 21st. Jessica Kupferman from Lady Business Radio and I will be talking all about how to take your personal brand from frump to fab.
It’s free! Register here.