You may have often heard of friends telling you how shy and timid they were when they were in school and how they overcame these challenges over the years. Some may mention about a memorable event, a public speaking course or a mentor who has helped them come out of their shell.
During our growing up years, the only way to gain our self-confidence was to go through a public speaking course and eventually attend personality development courses. However, these were short sighted to a certain extent as it was felt it would help the individual bag that perfect job rather than prepare them for life.
But gradually over a period of time as more and more avenues opened up and the competition increased, being well-groomed, smartly dressed and most importantly, being confident became a top priority. As people now have realised that the only way to go about it is to start from within, they have started understanding the importance of going through an Image Consultant.
The Lifestyle Portal is proud to share the story of Rhea Punjabi, a 27-year-old Image and Self-Enhancement Coach from Mumbai. What we liked about her story was that how she overcame her lack of self-confidence during her college days.
She recalls, “I was diffident during my graduation years. I would go up on stage and present my projects but with a lot of nervousness and self-doubt. Then, when it was the time to appear for my first interview on campus, I was sure of not cracking it. That was the first time I wished I had someone who could help me overcome the false belief that ‘I’m not good enough’. I started attending motivational seminars and workshops and that’s when I knew that this is what I want to do- pull up those people who were stuck like me in a shell.”
Today, her enviable list of qualifications include – Image, Style, Wardrobe Management and Consulting, Soft Skills Training from Image Consulting Business Institute, Train the Trainer certification (by NABET- National Accreditation Board of Education and Training) with an All India All Time Rank 3. Not only that, she’s also an MBA in Retail Management from K.J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai and is a Diploma holder in Business Systems and Information Management from NIIT. Over the last couple of years, this budding professional has worked with eBay, Localbanya and Wipro Technologies to name a few.
How did it all begin?
“Hailing from a business family, business is all that I have heard during my growing up years. It was when I entered my final year graduation, that I started noticing how my friends would anxiously discuss future career prospects. Without thinking much, I followed the herd and landed my first job in Human Resource with Wipro Technologies for barely three months,” recalls Rhea.
After quitting her job, she started freelancing as a Graphic Designer where both Wipro Technologies and Graphic designing made her realise that she had an entrepreneurial streak in her and that she was good at building relationships.
“I ignored this realisation for a few years and went on to pursue MBA, where I became an active part of the entrepreneurship committee of my MBA institute and later on, opted for two jobs. But again, something inside me wouldn’t let me be at peace. I started observing that I found peace when I was around people, teaching students and solving their difficulties in various subjects and being a career and relationship advisor to many friends. It was time to get that fire back and that’s how an Image and Self-Enhancement Coach by the name of Rhea Punjabi was born,” smiles Rhea.
Initial investments made
Her initial investment was of Rs. 5,000 to get her marketing material in place for an event. “But I don’t count only money as an investment, she says. As she explains, “I invested close to a year in self-enhancement so that I could earn the right to stand here today and train individuals. I also invested a lot of my time into ideation and execution.”
Rhea admits, “I wouldn’t say I had challenges handling clients or accounts. But, I had challenges selling my services to institutes. It is during this time that I realised that I needed to change my mind-set. Initially, I used to think that I need to keep approaching institutes and hard sell my services but with time, I learnt that it’s all about understanding the client’s requirements and then, bridging the gap.”
Rhea plots her challenges under two separate categories:
- Image Consulting: This is a sunrise industry. While the potential is tremendous, people aren’t too sure about the role of an Image Consultant. “Many times, people contact me thinking I’m a fashion designer, dietician, personal trainer or associated with finishing schools. How does she handle this? “I tell them that it is all these and much more. I take help of events and digital media to spread awareness about my profession,” explains Rhea.
- Soft Skills Training: There are a lot of Soft Skills Trainers in the industry. Moreover, they penetrate the market with extremely low prices. Some trainers have many more titles attached to their profiles such as NLP, Facilitators, behavioural trainers, Storytellers etc. To stand out of this crowd can be challenging at times especially when you don’t want to compromise on your charges. How does she handle this? “I offer complimentary workshops for one hour so that the client gets a flavour of my training. Once the client is convinced, there is no further negotiation,” adds Rhea.
How her training has helped clients
Her profession is all about relationship building and making the client feel comfortable. Her main clients include students, housewives, young and middle-aged working professionals.
She further adds, “Students who follow my strategies notice paradigm shift in their perceptions and personalities. Housewives are a lot more confident after attending my workshops. I do this by recognising their personal style and suggesting do-able changes to enhance their appearance. Young and middle-aged professionals who want to appear authoritative at work and command respect come to me. With my Image Consulting and Soft Skills packages, I help them bloom in their own special way!”
Rhea conducts several workshops on various topics such as Communication Skills, Body Language, Cracking Interviews, Dining Etiquette, Office Etiquette, Power Dressing, Creating Powerful First Impressions etc. Duration of each workshop ranges from one to sixteen hours depending on the audience. For corporate, some sessions are also spread across a few days.
Rhea also conducts one-on-one image consultations for clients with different needs. These consultations help them with Appearance Management, Understanding and dressing up as per their Personal Style, Wardrobe Management and much more.
In short, I cater to anyone above the age of 6. There is no upper age limit for the services that I offer. I don’t have a fixed set of packages. I customise packages based on what my clients want. So, there is ‘no one size fits all’ approach.
In fact, even students can benefit a lot from her workshops ranging from Cracking Interviews, Dining Etiquette, Communication Skills, Time Management, Goal Setting, Wardrobe Management etc. They get more organised while studying, making goals or even arranging their wardrobes. Strategies shared in my workshops help them to crack important exams and interviews.
Response & journey
Rhea signs off by saying, “It has been a good learning experience for me. Initially, I struggled with the smallest of things such as- Do I set up my website on my own or should I take an expert’s help? Should I get into social media advertising or focus only on organic growth? Should I try the simple word of mouth model or go all out making noise? These and much more kept me thinking all the time. But as they say, it’s all about embracing the journey. It was important for me to get these answers on my own as it is only me who knows what I want from my life. Today, I am in a much calmer space as I have my answers sorted. I want to be the ‘go to’ person for every aspect of Image and Self-Enhancement.
Her vision is to create a life of fullness for all her clients. Her greatest inspiration is nature where she wants to sit calmly and receive much more than she seeks. She now aims to transform a million lives in the next 10 years and we sincerely hope she does.
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