1. Your Story
There are times when you have to take a very big step simply on faith and belief in yourself. That’s what I did in 2006 when I decided to re-write my career script. The new chapter began with the process of self-rediscovery and then rebranding myself as an entrepreneur with a global vision. Inspired by a woman who had walked the same path, I launched my consulting firm, KYMS Image International that year, announcing to the world my services in business and personal image management, professional development and etiquette. The mission was to help individuals and companies present their best expression of confidence, credibility and competence through training, coaching, speaking and awareness-building programs. My current focus on civility skills training for the workplace, personal branding and healthy body image for teen girls began to take shape later that year through the inspiration of a book and the creation of a mentoring and enrichment program. The book was, Choosing Civility- The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by Dr. P.M. Forni and the program which I created was, Every Girl Can for pre-teens and adolescents. Image, branding and civility have been the focus of my consulting business for eight years, resulting in unspeakable joy and fulfillment as I help shape and transform the lives of business women, girls, young professionals and college students around the world.
Personal & Business Values:
2. Business & Career
1. What was the most defining moment in your career to date?
The most defining moment was the launch of my teen girl life skills enrichment program, Every Girl Can in 2007 which is now a signature program of my business. It has touched the lives of hundreds of girls and is now international. By helping girls build a healthy self image, raise their self-esteem and embrace the practice of civility,the program has given me an opportunity to make a difference and positively influence the lives of young girls and women while building a business. To fulfill the goal of helping one million girls, Every Girl Can now includes a train-the-trainer program, offered globally, year round.
2. One Marketing Tip that worked best for your business which you would like to share with audience?
Establish a strong visual brand image that helps you authentically stand out with distinction from the competition. Image is everything and whether it is graphics or personal presence it pays to make a professional statement.
3. What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Stay focused on your target audience and remain “on brand” even if it means passing up on opportunities that are outside your area of focus. There is a tendency for women small business owners to operate on the premise that they can do all things for everyone. This is part of our caring nature. When it comes to business, it is more prudent to be brand focused and targeted.
4. Your Thoughts on Positioning & Personal Branding.
Personal branding is the heart and soul of everything I do in my business and personal life. It is an ongoing process that builds your reputation through the relationships you create and grow. Your true personal brand is uncovered after a process of thoughtful self assessment, honest feedback and identification of you strengths, weaknesses, talents, skills and abilities. This helps you clearly define your unique proposition and carve out a niche where you can best express your authentic self in person and online. When it comes to positioning, I am a firm believer in the words of personal branding guru William Arruda “What makes you unique, makes you successful.” Although we live in a high tech everything digital world, make the effort to focus on building relationships based on respect, trust and integrity. My personal mantra is civility augments the human side of personal branding and elevates the quality of our relationships.
5. Your advice on Managing Finances?
This is a challenging area for many women but an important one if you are going to remain successful in business. While every business woman should understand the essentials of budgeting, accounting, taxes and financing, I suggest hiring a professional if this is not your strongest skill set or passion. If you can be disciplined about creating and sticking to a plan and keeping records of expenditures and revenue you are at least half way to achieving success.
6. If you would have to restart your business, what one thing you would do differently this time?
Setting clear goals and objectives for my business with timelines and milestones. Everything I have read in business books speaks about the value of writing down your goals and monitoring your progress. Unless written down on paper, goals are like a dream.
7. Did you start with a business plan? Do you recommend having a plan in place before starting a business?
I did not start with a plan on paper, just ideas in my head. I do strongly recommend creating professional business plan that could be presented as justification for a loan or a contract.
The business plan serves as a map for how your business will grow and develop. This should be on paper and not just “in your head”. Monitor the plan regularly and make changes where necessary to reflect the reality of how you operate. Be prepared for disasters.
8. Your thoughts on Personal Growth?
Owning and managing my own business has resulted in significant personal growth for me. One of the clear messages I deliver in my business training seminars is that there is now professional growth without personal growth. The self is where it starts in terms of nurturing those time-proven values like trust, respect and integrity the build character and healthy relationships with others.
3. Work Life Balance:
1. How is a typical day in your life? Would you like to share your routine/rituals?
My day begins with prayer and visualization of my tasks and responsibilities for the next eight hours. I am a very visual person so creating a mental picture helps me focus and see things clearly. This includes my wardrobe for the day, the places I will visit and people I am scheduled to meet. Mental visualization is part of my process of affirming my goals for success. For me seeing it means I can make it happen. My day is often split between my home and physical business office depending on my schedule. Most days I make time to connect with my Social Media audience. My day always includes meals at the table with family and giving thanks for blessings.
2. Being a Mother and an Entrepreneur, How you keep balance?
This is always a challenge as mother of three. Thankfully I am past the toughest part of that phase which is the pre-college years. There is no perfect balance; it is a constant juggling act. I constantly aim to prioritize and keep my family first. With so many balls in the air, sometimes a few are dropped. I simply pick them up and start over. I enjoy the simple pleasures in life like nature, music and art and make time to give myself a treat even in the smallest way like looking a daisy or steering at the deer crossing my backyard.
4. Tools for Success:
1. Your personal favorite Apps/tools which help you get going?
I am pleased to admit that I am passionate about Social Media as a tool for connecting with my business network. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are my favorite social utilities and I am proud to have grown and nurtured a combined audience of nearly 20 thousand friend, fans and followers. For me it’s all about sharing and showing that you care with like-minded persons. What’s not to love about that?
2. Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
A resource that has helped me thrive in business is a personal branding checklist. You will find a checklist in my Free eBook – Build Your Personal Brand – Power it With Civility. Download it here http://imageandbrandbuilder.com/
“In everything you do, consider the optics of your brand. Even when you are not speaking, it sends messages about you and your business” Tweet #WEPchat
About Yasmin and KYMS Image International:
Yasmin Anderson-Smith, MCRP, CIP, CPBS is an award-winning coach, trainer and author who brings leading-edge experience in the fields of business and personal image management, personal branding and civility skills for life and career success. After fifteen years as a public service management professional, Yasmin re-branded herself as an entrepreneur in 2006. Since then, her consulting firm, KYMS Image International has offered ground-breakiong, impactful presentations, seminars, personal coaching and awareness-building programs for business women, college students and young professionals, across cultures. Yasmin ignites, elevates and empowers her clients, students and audiences to embrace civility in their image and personal brand by building self confidence, credibility, respect, trust and integrity.
In 2007, Yasmin created and launched Every Girl Can™, a life skills empowerment program for teen girls to help them build confidence and embrace a healthy body image. Yasmin is co-author of the books, Executive Image Power and The Power of Civility and a contributor to Expert Beacon, Younique, and AICI Global online magazines.
Follow Yasmin Anderson-Smith