Be Professional - Dress the Part!
What does professional dress
mean? For some it means three-piece suits, silk ties or scarves,
and shiny shoes.
Perhaps you've been lured by
ads like this?
"Work from home in your
PJs and slippers (or boxer shorts, birthday suit, etc.)."
To some this might say, "Dressed
for 'success' 'cause I'm working from home!"
Many of you who work in a home
office may never see your clients (or prospective clients) -
so you say "Why does it matter how I dress as long as I
You've heard it said, "Clothes
make the man (or woman)." But, have you stopped to consider
that the clothes you choose to wear (or not wear) can affect
your work attitude and your bottom line?
Now, I'm not saying you must
dress in a three-piece suit or a dress and heels, however, consider
this: there you are, sitting at your desk at 3:00 p.m. and you
are still in your PJs. But how much did you really get accomplished?
When your clients call to ask how
their project is going, do you hem-haw around because you aren't
getting it done? Wouldn't you agree that you aren't as motivated
when you look as though you are ready to go back to bed?
I know from working in the corporate
world that clothes definitely affect the attitude!
I worked in a sales/call center
for a health insurance company. One summer they enacted a "casual
dress" environment. Now, don't get me wrong, I like casual
dress just as much as the next person does; I enjoy being comfortable.
But as the summer progressed
some employees began to 'REALLY DRESS DOWN' and some began to
wear halter-tops, and jeans with holes!
The attitude became "party
time" and it was obvious that the thought of work was far
from everybody's mind. The company had to set guidelines for
appropriate "casual dress."
This company still has Business
Casual dress through the week and Dress Down on Fridays; often
you see an attitude of "party time" on Friday that
indicates they have lost their motivation to work productively.
I know from experience if I get
up and dress as if I am "going into that office environment,"
I have a mind set of getting down to business and working as
if my bottom line depends on it! I feel more business like.
That comes across not only in
what I accomplish in a day, but as I talk with clients (prospective
or current) they sense my businesslike attitude.
As we talk about professional
dressing, what do your business cards and letterhead/envelopes,
and marketing materials say about you? They can also be too casual
and project an "I'm not professional" attitude.
Most materials are too sparse
- not enough information. Your business materials should say
more than just your contact information. They should say what
you do. If your business name is just a variation of your personal
name (i.e., Your Name, LLC or Your Name & Associates) this
does not say what you do. For instance, I am a virtual assistant,
therefore my business name, "Assisting You Virtually",
says what I do.
Do you have a catchy slogan that
spells out what you do? My slogan is "Administrative solutions
for small and home based businesses." I include that slogan
on all my materials. Can you think of a picture, which at a glance
lets people know exactly what you do? This would work in place
of a slogan.
Are your materials formatted
in a pleasing, eye-catching manner? Choice of color, layout,
and quality of print reflects your attitude as well. If you are
not experienced or talented with desktop publishing, then it
is worth the extra expense to have good quality business materials
created for you.
It is human nature to want to
project the best possible image of ourselves when we know we
will be seen. So why not project that image when the only thing
the client sees is the attitude displayed in your voice and on
your business materials?