In 2004, I started my public relations (PR) business. It was a huge leap of faith. Compared to my peers in the PR profession, I was a late entrant. I started my PR career at the age of 29, after careers in the finance and hospitality industry, and then started my own PR consultancy less than two years after.
One year later, in March 2005, I invested in my first course to become an image consultant (more about that later).
How did I find the courage to start my own PR business? It was because of a book titled “No Job? No Problem!” by Han Kok Kwang. I found it in the library.
When I read the book, it spoke to me. It advocated doing what you do best, by combining your skills with your passion and making products and services that people would pay for. For me, before Ikigai, there was Han’s model! I have been on this journey ever since, and will continue on it.
What did it bring me? PR work and clients in the industries of beauty, fashion, finance, fitness, self-improvement and of course, food!
In 2005, I took another leap of faith: to become an image consultant! Too scared to start straight away, I incorporated the company and started practicing nine months later. My first image certification was in March 2005, with the legend of the industry, Carla Mathis. She was a disciple of Suzanne Caygill who started the personal colour analysis concept in the 1940s.
From that point, I did public relations and image consulting work concurrently. I am the first and only public relations and image consultant in Asia (probably the only one crazy enough to do it!). If you know these industries, you’d know that they require many work days to produce and to get to the results and deliverables.
Fast-forward to 2017, and four image certifications later, I took a board member position as VP of Communications in the local chapter of the image industry’s association: Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). I was asked to take up the position twice before, but didn’t feel ready until this point.
Truth be told, I was so nervous when I took up the position, because although it was a voluntary position, something more valuable was at stake–my reputation as a public relations consultant! It was challenging times too, with Facebook doing a major change to their algorithms eight months into my term. I worked extra hard to get followers on our Facebook page, so that I could report good progress at our regular board meetings and at our AGM.
My biggest leap of faith is happening right now, as I am putting aside my PR work and focusing on image consulting. i don’t know how it will go as a full-time business. When I received a warm PR lead last Friday, I turned it down and offered to provide a referral. This potential client whom I had spoken at length to twice before, expressed surprise.
So, as I jump off the cliff (again)–wish me luck!
With love and gratitude,