How Business Owners are Saving the World!
Joanna Gaudoin of Inside Out in conversation with Christine Southern
What is the focus of your business and what is it you are trying to accomplish?
My focus is helping individuals and organisations with image and impact: appearance, communication skills, body language. I ensure the person knows how to be their best self in whatever it is they want to achieve.
I spend time understanding the person, where they are in life, their lifestyle and personality before I make any recommendations.
Why and how did you decide to start your business?
I have a degree in Management and French and I was working in a marketing consultancy role which I enjoyed but found less satisfying, even after freelancing. I engaged a career coach to help me find a new direction, undertook extensive training and in 2011 won my first client.
What influenced you with this decision?
I have a strong desire to engage with people. I love those “aha” moments when I am supporting people and they move forward. I embrace the unexpected and thrive on varied days. I enjoy planning but love the flexibility my business offers me.
What changes and trends have affected your business?
Clearly the ongoing economic conditions affect personal and company budgets but I focus on those individuals or businesses who value improvements in appearance, body language and communication. Those that understand that what I do helps them with a life skill are still keen to invest in themselves.
What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you have overcome?
One of the biggest challenges is in communicating the value of what I do. The impact on a client’s personal and working life is considerable and deeply felt – often you have to experience it to believe it. A person has to be at the right stage and ready to commit to make changes.
The benefit to corporate clients of the workshops I run is significant: subsequently employees are so much more tuned into what the business needs in terms of communication and image. Finding those businesses that need an image consultant and appreciate the value can be a challenge.
One of my biggest learning curves has been ensuring I work with the right people in terms of associations with other businesses – the right personalities to ensure we can work together for mutual benefit.
What, if anything, is holding you back today?
Time to do it all! There is so much to do when running your own business, as well as working with clients, time must be spent on marketing, service development and admin.
If you could wave a magic wand what would you change?
I would like there to be more appreciation of what I can offer – what it is and what it can deliver. It is a real profession which delivers significant personal and corporate change.
What are the most stimulating aspects?
The workshops I run are really stimulating – the questions I am asked can sometimes be challenging but I do enjoy the questions and discussions when people are contributing. Managing the room can sometimes be interesting!
It is really satisfying when an individual I am working with really “gets it” and what we are doing together makes a real impact on their life.
I receive much of my work through referrals and this is really rewarding when I know a client is so pleased that they take the time and trouble to tell others.
What skills and personal qualities are required to be successful?
Listening skills are key, as is being amiable and friendly – at the same time I am tactful but confident when challenging the person’s perceptions. It is important to know how to interact with and adapt to different people and show empathy in often quite sensitive, personal situations.
What motivates you in your business, right now?
What motivates me is in making a real and positive difference to a person’s life. I feel energized when people respond with interest.
What is your greatest success?
When I receive testimonials and referrals and I know I have been successful. So far, I have had all excellent testimonials and feedback and these have a real positive impact and lead to referrals.
My greatest success is when the client continues to implement my recommendations and sees my service as money well spent.
What is your greatest contribution?
One of my greatest contributions is a recent talk I did for the London Metropolitan University Alumni. It consisted of over 50 professionals in their late 20s/ early 30s who were really responsive to my approach. I really “felt the love from the group!” There was a great deal of discussion and interaction and I felt I had contributed something of considerable value to them.
How you look and feel influences your confidence, your performance and how others perceive and respond to you in everyday life, particularly your professional life. Impressions are made in less than 10 seconds, we make assumptions about simple things like the job someone does or where they live but also come to more in depth opinions about their credibility, personality and competence – important factors in deciding whether or not to interact with someone and how.
It’s vital to communicate the right things about yourself in the best way and feel confident doing so. Knowing how to do this is a life skill and one that Inside Out helps you achieve. Joanna Gaudoin works with individual and corporate clients across London and the South East on the three areas that most affect how you come across and communicate to others: Appearance, Body language, Communication.
After working with Joanna, either one-to-one or in a group setting you will understand how to improve your image, know what works best for you and exactly how to present your best self to the world. Joanna Gaudoin Inside Out http://insideoutimage.co.uk/