I Set My Own ‘Corporate Culture:’ Why I Won’t Alter My Image For Anyone

April 2, 2015  |  

Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

One of the biggest perks to running your own show is the ability to call the shots. You don’t have to report to anyone, can turn your ideas into reality without opposition and get to set your own schedule. Of course there are drawbacks that can occur, but who wouldn’t love to be their own boss?

I have quite a few friends who are self-employed and/or work the freelancing hustle. We’re always sharing stories about our journey that includes setbacks and success. One topic however that recently came up was appearance and whether or not we should change up our image to reflect our personal brand.

I guess my question is a simple one: Isn’t your personal image a part of your brand?

My answer would be yes. Who you are sets you apart from your competition. At least to me, there’s something inauthentic about trying to alter your image in order to fit a mold. As a business owner, you’re creating your own mold and working to establish your own path. It’s okay if it doesn’t look like someone else or their company. After all, who the heck wants to work so hard just to be a copy?

This of course does not encourage foolish behavior or being unprofessional. If you curse like a sailor it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, that’s not a good look for building up a clientele.

When it comes to personal image and one’s brand, a topic that constantly comes up for discussion is hair, particularly natural hair. As a “naturalista” myself, I understand how certain environments might not be as progressive as others when it comes to hairstyles and texture. That however will not sway my decision to wear my hair a certain way, or with pride.

A friend of mine (she’s an entrepreneur) will go as far as wearing wigs when she has to take important business meetings with certain people. Call it a fear of losing out on a deal or wanting to conform, but I can’t imagine penciling in an appointment and having to write a reminder to wear a lace front.

She’s also a mother of a young daughter who’s always trying to mimic what she does. Working from a room in her home, her little girl has a smaller version of her desk and “works” beside her mommy before and after preschool. It’s pretty cute. As a mother myself, I’ll never knock another mother’s parenting decisions, but I have to question what message her altered appearance sends to her daughter. Seeing as she would love for her child to be natural when she gets older. Will she handle similar career situations by conforming to an image she thinks others would like to see?

It kinda makes you wonder.

At the end of the day, we all have to do what we think is right for our careers. If that means switching up your appearance from time to time to get your foot in the door, perhaps it’s a good idea?

What are your thoughts when it comes to your business and personal image?

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