The Process of Setting Goals as an Image Consultant Business


Every goal begins with an expectation for yourself or your business. Those are the only two things you can really control, change, expand and develop. Expectations begin in the mind. Your thoughts, what you take in through your senses, your feelings and values and beliefs all mix together in your brain and you form responses to the world you live in. One response is having expectations. When you make expectations more formal they become goals.

Because your mind is filled with experiences from the past, the present, and yes those you dream of in your future, your goals are molded by those experiences and dreams. By taking an expectation, writing it down with a date in which you want to meet that goal, you have put your goal into motion. Goals need to be written in what is called "behavioral terms." You don't write I want or I wish, but I will do something. And they are specific. You write I will take a training course, I will set up an office in my home, or I will apply to work for an Image Consulting Business in New York. Then you have to set a date for your goal. I will complete an image consulting course from AICI by September 25, 2016. You can make the goal stronger by setting a standard for yourself. I will complete an image consulting course from AICI, attaining an 80% or above, and do it by September 25, 2016. Now that is a complete goal that anyone can read and understand exactly what you expect from yourself. It leaves no doubt. 

Strong goals can guide you forward, can boost your accomplishments and can drive you to success. Sometimes just by writing down a goal, it becomes real. Take a moment now and make some notes of goals you've had in the past or goals you are currently working on. Can you write them down in specific terms, stating the exact behavior you want to have, to what degree, and when you will have it completed? If you can, you probably are good at reaching your goals. If not, you probably harbor more hopes and dreams as opposed to real goals.

A.  Goals are large. They are broad and include many smaller steps. A good goal will require you to work on it in parts.   These smaller parts or steps you take to reach your goals are called your objectives. These are written out as well. Then you can check them off as you complete them and gauge how close you are to meeting your goals. 

Take the goal "I will complete an image consulting course from AICI, attaining an 80% or above, and do it by September 25, 2016." The steps to attaining this goal could be listed as researching training courses, deciding on one, coming up with the money, signing up for it, starting it, completing all work at 80% or above and completing the final at 80% or above. All of these are objectives of one goal. They state exactly what is required for you to meet the goal. 

An easy format to use so you can watch your goals take form along the way is to state the main goal, then beneath it list the objectives, each on a line of its own. You can also add dates on these if you want to stay on a track of your own making. If you make each goal a new page in your business plan you will have a record of everything you do for reference later. It is also nice to look back when you get discouraged and be able to see how hard you have worked, to have a record of all you have accomplished and to find confidence that you can do what you set out to do.

B.  Goals are often called "Smart goals" if they meet certain guidelines. If you keep these guidelines in mind as you develop your goals, you will find the goals will help you be more successful. The word Smart is an acronym. Examine this below.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Specific: If your goal is very specific you will more likely meet that goal. Think of it like this. You sit down and spend a bit of time taking your dreams and writing them into goals and objectives. Then all you have to do is work the steps and meet your goal. Specific means to choose words that tell exactly what behavior is required. It might be to attend, save money, learn, build, buy, talk, set appointments, etc. These words are "behavioral terms."

Measurable: It is very important to establish concrete criteria and if possible in numerical form.   In this way you will be able to say that you did reach your goal. Ask yourself how you will know if the goal is accomplished. Will it be accomplished when you pass a test, earn certification, set a certain number of appointments, open for business, order your brochures? If you don't define the expectation for yourself, you will not know exactly when the goal is reached.

Attainable: When you write down your dreams, what you want to do, you may have to break those dreams down to write attainable goals. The goals will have several steps you will take to reach them, but if they are so big that you have to write more than 5 steps, it is better to break that dream into more than one goal. Attaining goals will give you self-confidence, self-worth and will develop what it takes to meet your goals. If they are so large that it takes years to accomplish, they lack motivational power.

Realistic: A realistic goal is one that you are both willing and able to accomplish. A goal can be one that is realistic and set high at the same time. Your goal has to be high enough that you feel a great sense of accomplishment when it is completed.  A goal that is set high will often create more motivation than one that is too simple. Most people like a bit of a challenge. The best parts of life are those that required a labor of love.

Timely: Setting a time limit in which to accomplish your goal creates more urgency and it brings a focus to the goal. It gives you a date to work towards and brings your goal into your near future. It will feel real, within your reach, and keep you moving.

C.  When you decide to write your goals and actually put the pen to the paper, there is a psychological effect that brings your dream – into your current life. No longer is it a dream. It is now a working goal, an expectation that you have for yourself. You are making those dreams come true. You are doing what you want to do. Writing down your goals validates your commitment to making them happen. Getting it on paper and having it to look over and review is a visual reminder of what you are about and will keep you on the path you have set for yourself. You can see and know that you are going in the direction of your own choice.

Remember the word flexibility. Because you are writing specific goals, there are times you have to change them up a bit as you learn more about the directions you are moving. Sometimes you think you know what you want only to find out later that it really isn't. Be willing to be flexible with yourself. There is nothing better than learning and growing and finding more about what you really want out of life. Life is like that and always will be. As you move from one decade to the next your expectations may change, your values will be adjusted and what you find important in your life might change too. Move with your life as you deepen who you are.

Knowing about S.M.A.R.T goals and how to write them is important and takes some practice. Using what you've learned you should now be able to begin to develop a few goals, for your education, career, your life, or your dreams. Dream big, then write it down and go to work to make them happen. The only thing that can get in your way is your own mind. Things that appear as roadblocks or barriers are just challenges that you have to find a way around. Make the goals. Write the objectives and get to work. It may not be easy but with goals you have a plan, a guide, and motivation to move.

D.  Once you have figured out how to set goals, you might consider setting goals with each client you work with after you begin your business. It will make it clear to both of you exactly what you intend to do, what it will cost and the timeframe. You can also designate in a goal who is responsible for each step. Some of the steps toward a goal might be in the form of assignments for your client to work on. It works like a contractual agreement and gives you a focus when you meet for each session and at follow up meetings. 

If you are working on a basic wardrobe for a woman, you might set an objective toward meeting her goal to build basic outfits, that she will purchase a little black dress with red heels and a clutch bag before the end of the month. Or that the client will have a consultation with a specific hair stylist in the next month and make a decision about a better cut and color. Write them down and both of you take a copy. This gives the client accountability and helps you assess where you are and where you are going with any specific client. Writing goals helps get the decisions made. You can always tweak them or even rewrite them totally. Just write them and it gets you going in a direction. Once you are moving and you know what to do, the doing is the fun and easy part.

Summary: Writing goals is a freeing experience. Instead of worrying about getting something done, or when you will find the time, or getting somewhere in life, you sit down and figure it out, write it down, and then you use it as your plan. Just having the decisions made takes that burden off your shoulders. Most people, given an assignment will do it. But most people given a decision to make will put it off. 

The simple act of writing down a strong goal is more than half the work of doing anything. And in time the planning that happens in the goals can take a creative approach and the experience will become one you enjoy. And you will find that after you get in the habit of writing goals, you will think in goal format!

Expanding into New Arenas

Introduction: As an Image Consultant, you can acquire skills to work with anyone of any age and with any part of a person's image. Too often, instruction on manners and etiquette, teaching appropriate behaviors with children, working with older clients back in the dating scene, and helping business owners and their employees see how body language and dress can change their business image, and life coaching are left in the dust with the focus on wardrobes and fashions.

The reasons for expanding into these less "splashy" areas are varied. The skills you develop in these areas will only be more support those you use with people needing a fashion change. This less exotic clientele can be found in every community; the needs are no doubt there. They can give your business the added income to keep you maintaining between other clients, they can be taught in groups or classes and in an all-day seminars or several 2 hour presentations over time. 

The skills you need to teach etiquette, manners, appropriate behaviors, dating challenges, and to work with smaller businesses can be learned free on line or in a formal course. If you are an Image Consultant these are things you really need to know. You are the Amy Vanderbilt of your community. Develop your reputation by how you personally dress and act. But don't go overboard and act superior to others. In small communities your good manners, etiquette, and clothing needs to reflect how those things are defined in your community culture.

These kinds of contacts can provide the opportunity to gain clients who need a wardrobe change. Remember that when you offer many services, your clients who sign up for one service are some of your best potential clients for a different class or service. Broadening what you offer will broaden your skills, your reputation, your contacts and your finances.

A.  Working with children is an art in its own right. Knowing the characteristics of children at different ages will inform how you teach them and work with them. The following chart can be used as a guide in designing lesson plans and understanding expectations.

Characteristics of Preschoolers (ages 4-6)

Increasingly independent, still somewhat egocentric

Cooperative with resolving conflicts

Verbal with a good vocabulary

Coordinated can balance on one foot, hop and skip

Can play with others

Likes to help

Inquisitive, curious, love to learn new things

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Image Consultant course?

Can use symbols that stand for other things

Has an identity as a person and as member of a family or class

Like predictable routing

Not good at transitions, change in schedule and feel a loss of control

Teacher requirements for this age

Respect and ability to negotiate with this age

The need to validate a child's feelings

Provide a safe environment with challenges in play

Children learn through


Dramatic play

Hands-on opportunities


Talking to others who listen

Exploration time and materials without adult direction

Physical play


Holistic learning (learning that is not divided up but taught in relationship to what they know)

Characteristics of Ages 7-9

Want to be recognized as "growing up"

Want encouragement but not praise

Want your approval

Like activity and small groups as well as individual work and adult one on one attention

Enjoy projects as opposed to worksheets or smaller less creative assignments

Wants access to books, music

Need teachers to recognize that if they aren't learning they need it taught in a different way

Want fairness

Want adults to supervise and keep them safe but also to recognize they are independent and private

Characteristics of Ages 10-12

Increased independence

More mature


Want fairness and justice

Enjoys teams and groups (needing peer group identity)

Physically active

Longer attention span

Beginning to think abstractly/but still quite concrete

Want to be helpful and valued

Girls and boys like to separate and express negative feeling toward other gender.

Teacher requirement for this age

Given opportunities to form groups

Know the rules and help make them

Recognition of the student's individualism and independence

Recognition of their unique talents and interests

Children learn through

Active involvement

Hands-on as well as thinking challenges

Talking to others who listen

Exploration of new concepts and materials without adult direction



Small groups

Teaching children how to improve their image has to do with learning good health care and grooming for their bodies. You should address skin care, cleanliness of the body, hair and nails, oral health, healthy eating, exercise, posture, how to stay emotionally healthy and dressing in clean and well-kept clothing. Even learning to sew on a button can be helpful toward maintaining their own clothing as can be learning how to do laundry.

Behaviors should deal with how to talk appropriately with others of all ages and authorities, understanding self-control and how to use it, showing respect in all circumstances, being kind, honest, knowing how to do the right thing, responding when someone is unkind to your, admitting mistakes, being diligent, use of appropriate language, body language, manners and etiquette when dining, meeting people, leaving a room and making requests.

If you decide to work with children either purchase, write or get someone to write a lesson plan booklet with activities geared to appropriate age and grade levels.

B.  Working on manners and etiquette and personal grooming is a delicate issue to teach so you have to look at it from the point of good health care. A person's skin, hair and nails, make-up, body odor and use of scent, teeth and oral health, sleep, diet and exercise, and posture all make up the curriculum for teaching grooming. With adults grooming can be related to gaining confidence with their healthy teeth, fewer wrinkles, and with weight gain.

As with children, adult behaviors, often called deportment can often be lacking. You have to think about how people interact, introductions and greetings, social situations, body movement and body and facial language, how a person communicates, has a conversation, makes a request and replies to a request are all included. Appropriate use of technology, knowing how to dress for different occasions, how to apologize, deal with criticism, give criticism or complaints, manners for eating both formally and informally, rules for tipping, traveling, ordering at a restaurant and using transportation in larger cities can be incorporated into a class.

There are few people who know the rules and procedures for all of this and many who would love to learn. You will learn it through training, going to events, learning to do it on your own, talking to other image consultants, research and reading. Often people in a smaller community who will be traveling will gain confidence with a bit of training. Be creative. Look around at what people in your community are doing and offer your services in specific ways to fill those inches.

C.  Working with small businesses offers clients in any city, town or rural area. Small businesses are everywhere and they can improve their bottom line by employing your services. Knowing how to ask employees to dress, to talk to customers, to use their time wisely, become better organizers, and using good grooming and personal care is always necessary. When a small business offers services to your community, help them do it with care, respect, and integrity. Help them demonstrate honesty, kindness, community involvement and represent the local people. You can teach the business owner, his employee or employees either individually or in a class. You can reduce cost if you give a general small business class and offer it to all of the small business around town. You might even find a small business grant to pay the cost to you.

D.  Working with the dating crowd does not mean youth and college kids, necessarily. Today older people are dating like wildfire. Many are on websites and others are finding partners at senior centers. Develop teaching plans that focus on a specific generation and offer group or individual rates. You can help a person dating know how to dress, be well groomed, understand personal hygiene, have discussions, learn where to go, how to incorporate their hobbies into dating and teach them how to group date. You can even help them set up a profile on a dating service. You might want to work with your local community groups to set up dances, movie nights, and casual social nights for people who want to be more social but won't use the internet or find that meeting people in person works so much better for them.

There are articles, books and training everywhere to assist the adult dating scene. You might help a person understand how to take fewer risks, danger signs to watch for and how to check out another person on-line. This is a growing phenomenon that is found everywhere and you can give support and offer services that work in your area, region or culture.

E.  Life Coaching is a service that helps any person of any age to gain control of their life. That can involve many different things or aspects of a life. Often a person is recommended by a counselor or a psychologist because they lack in confidence, self-worth or self-esteem. Sometimes they continue to get involved in relationships that are unhealthy and dangerous. People who are facing a career change or businesses that are looking to increase productivity in their employees and need to consult with a professional in the working environment of their business can use your help. Sometimes a person needs to learn how to care for themselves and meet their own needs.  Maybe they've been in an accident, become disabled or faced a traumatic situation and cannot deal with the stress of daily life.

Then you have the person who wants to learn how to manage anger, frustration and stress, grief, loss, sadness and change. Sometimes you have parents who aren't coping well and are looking for help. Others may want to change their lifestyles, develop a creative streak, or change the way they eat and are unsure how to go about it or need to know how to manage in a world where so much is pushed at them. This service can be a very fun and satisfying work. It is interesting because the needs are so different and from such different individuals. 

Remember that you are a consultant. That means people pay you to figure out how they can learn to manage their problems and it does not mean that you can solve their problems. You have to have resources of experts that you use to support what you do. Your support will be to teach an individual what you can teach them, and to get them to experts for things you are not able to teach.

In your notebook, make a page for needs you see in your community that the career of an image consultant might meet.

Summary: Expanding your Image Consulting business is a matter of observation and learning about your own community, it's people and it's struggles. There are opportunities everywhere and creativity is a big part of what you do. You create services to meet needs. You create ways to meet needs and resources you can use. It doesn't matter if you are helping a person feel better by teaching them how to dress for their career and body style, to learn appropriate hygiene to gain friends, to find confidence to step out of their shell, or to develop a new image. You offer hope, know-how, and different ways of doing things.  

Remember that every time you step outside your door, you are advertising your services in how you talk, walk, dress, move, smile, and interact with others. You are your own best marketer, cheerleader, and example of success. You have to live what you do. You have to believe what you do matters. You have to learn, stay sharp and confident and seek out support from other Image Consultant Experts when you have questions, need training, or begin to question yourself.