Looks and Success as an Entrepreneur : Under30CEO Looks and Success as an Entrepreneur : Under30CEO
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Looks and Success as an Entrepreneur

| December 4, 2009 | 9 Comments

lebron-james-covers-gqGreasy hair, chipped fingernail polish, scuffed shoes . . . Though they may seem like minor details, they’re all part of a larger picture — the one you’re presenting to colleagues on a regular basis. Whether we like to admit it or not, our looks play a part in our success. We don’t all have to have supermodel good looks, but we do have to pay attention to the details that are crucial to making strong and lasting impressions. More than that, it’s about feeling the confidence you need to rock that presentation, stand out at the conference, or sign-up that first client.  Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to using your looks to get ahead at work:

Do put in a little extra effort. If each morning you ask yourself “What’s the least possible amount of energy I could put into making myself presentable today?” you’re going about it all wrong. Dressing up and looking good is a powerful confidence booster. Each day you spend hiding in your cubicle hoping no one will catch a full glimpse, an opportunity is wasted to show off your star potential.

Don’t try to be something you’re not. Can’t keep up with all the designer trends your co-workers are flaunting? You don’t have to force yourself to like new styles or wear a full face of makeup if it’s just not you. But you should always strive to present the best version of yourself.

Don’t be too comfortable. If it’s a step above what you wear to bed, it’s not going to cut it. Of course you want to wear what you feel comfortable in, but you’re deciding between flats or heels, jeans or a dress, opt for the heels and the dress. Choose clothes that fit well and you’ll have no excuse!

Don’t go overboard on the sex appeal. I like to go by the rule of “one.” Choose a single item to give your look that little bit of sexiness or flare — whether it’s an eye-catching piece of jewelry, red lipstick, a pencil skirt with a back slit, or a killer pair of pumps. Any more than that and you’ll start to turn heads for the wrong reason.

Do take a clue from higher-ups. If you’re coming in for a job interview or just started in a new position, study what mid-to-upper management is wearing and follow suit. Dress for two (not one) positions ahead and people will always associate you with where you want to be.

Tips to Maximize Your Appearance

Check the mirror when you get to work. After a hectic commute, your makeup could be running, your hair could be disheveled, you could have a coffee stain on your blouse and you’d never know it. Make a bee line to the bathroom first thing each day to be safe.

Freshen up before meetings. Re-visit the mirror and add a coat of lip gloss, reapply powder, and run a comb through your hair before you’re about to spend an extended amount of time with colleagues. Nothing will drown out your voice like broccoli stuck between your teeth.

Find a good tailor. Poorly fit clothing can make an expensive outfit can look dreadful and a bargain buy look like a million bucks. No matter how much you spend on your clothes, take everyday pieces to be tailored — it’s an investment that will pay off.

Check your posture. Nothing about your appearance makes you look more unenthusiastic and unprofessional than slouchy posture. Standing up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high adds a whole new level of confidence that will command attention and force people to take you seriously.

Author Bio
Nicole Williams, author of Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, is the best-selling author of Wildly Sophisticated: A Bold New Attitude for Career Success and Earn What You’re Worth, and the founder of WORKS by Nicole Williams, the first media and content company marketed toward young professional women. Her advice is featured regularly in major media outlets including Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire, theWall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. Nicole also regularly appears on The Today Show, ABC’s Primetime, Good Morning America, Fox News, and CNN.

You can visit Nicole’s websites at www.NicoleWilliams.com and www.GirlOnTopBook.com.


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Category: Startup Advice

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  • http://www.beginnerblogger.com/ Sarge

    Confidence I feel is the biggest factor you need to be successful. You can be the best dressed person in the world but if you're not standing head up and appearing confident people will start doubting your abillity and may not trust you.

    I think you should feel as comfortable as you can while still representing a positive image for yourself. I don't think you shouldn't feel too comfortable. If you're feeling good about yourself then you're able to perform at your peak.

    It's like people trying to teach others how to make money when they don't have money themselves. You need to be in a world where you're feeling good about yourself in able to help others. Sounds a bit selfish but if you're not completely comfortable with who you are and what you do I don't believe you will be able to help others to your potential.

    Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com

  • http://www.unchained-entrepreneur.com Seth Elliott

    I've often encountered younger business people and entrepreneurs that disdain a focus on appearance as inauthentic…

    It's important to recognize that appearance in business is a signaling device. As Nicole notes, you don't need to try and be something you're not – but you do need to show colleagues, clients, etc. that you have devoted some time and thought to your appearance – signaling (perhaps unconsciously) that you are likely to do the same when it comes to your work product.

  • http://boots-to-suits.com Drew Peneton

    “What's the least possible amount of energy I could put into making myself presentable today?” – I couldn't even imagine thinking like that! While Sarge is right that confidence is an important factor, being presentable sets the stage. A professional appearance that is APPROPRIATE for your venue is the key.

    Do you want to make a pitch to a bunch of rock stars in a $10K Italian suit? Sure, you look nice, but you don't fit. I like where Nicole says “Dress for two (not one) positions ahead.” This is the philosophy I have employed and encourage others to do the same; the only people I ever get grief from are the ones who are perfectly happy with the amount of effort they put into their appearance. They are the ones in jeans and a polo.

    No wonder they haven't moved up.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Confidence is the most important thing is the world from making a sale to dating. It's all about confidence and I guarantee you the most successful people are some of the most confident people…even before they were a success.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    You really do have to be comfortable and be who you are. But even for someone in jeans and a t-shirt you can tell who thinks twice about what their wearing and that they care about it. Your industry can also play a lot into what someone wears.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    I think entrepreneurs lose site of appearance a lot because they think part of the working for yourself thing is not putting a suit on everyday and going to the office. While you don't have to go all out like that it still does a ton to put the extra effort with appearance even if your only working at home.

    I honestly think I get more done when I spend the time getting dressed even if I never leave the house that day or meet with anyone.

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Dressing for success if essential, but try not to be a poser. People can pick up on when you are faking it. I don't subscribe the fake it till you make it mindset. It's a bad idea.

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Dressing for success if essential, but try not to be a poser. People can pick up on when you are faking it. I don't subscribe the fake it till you make it mindset. It's a bad idea.