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Act Your Age

If you're a youngster-or just look like one-follow these tips for making a professional impression.

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This story appears in the January 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Hey, isn't youth supposed to be a good thing? You're savvy, smart and have a successful homebased business, so why do some clients freak out when they see your youthful face? "I have encountered numerous times when my appearance, although professional, was an obstacle to getting the job," explains Jennifer Grace, 29, owner of Grace Design, a homebased studio in Modesto, . "[Some clients say] 'Oh, are you the photographer?' with raised eyebrows. When clients start to get that look and ask questions about my experience, I can tell it's my age they are uncomfortable with."

Hold on! What are these clients thinking? "Clients are concerned that 'young' entrepreneurs aren't experienced enough to handle their accounts. They're afraid they won't be thorough and they'll neglect important details," explains Kathryn J. Volin, president of Concepts International Inc. in Minneapolis and author of Buff and Polish: A Practical Guide to Enhance Your Professional Image and Communication Style (Pentagon Publishing).

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