Best Foot Forward
Image is key for any business, but it's especially vital for those like Chic Events, a high-end event planning company in Glendale, California. Started by Rachel Hollis, 25, the company plans events for individuals and companies like Disney and Yahoo. "Everything my clients see must be a reflection of what it is to be chic," says Hollis. "If you are a fantastic wedding planner and you show up wearing flip-flops, whether or not you realize it, you're giving clients an impression [about] yourself."
While how you look is important, your demeanor and how you present your business are just as vital. Marketing yourself doesn't mean being pushy. "To make [your approach] to self-promotion inoffensive," says Fredrickson, "you must be authentic and relatable." Share your successes but also your past struggles. And always pursue business like it's something you're offering prospective clients--not something you're trying to get.
Hollis, whose company earns about $250,000 annually, has found success over informal lunch and coffee meetings with clients. "I approach [these meetings] as an opportunity to meet someone new," she says. "I don't put pressure on myself that I have to make a sale today. I try and approach it in a laid-back way, because people respond to that." With over 90 percent of her business gleaned from referrals, she's definitely succeeding.