I’m often asked how to become a business etiquette expert. The simple answer is, “Start!”
It’s not necessary to become certified, licensed or earn specific credentials — unless, of course, you want to be taken seriously in this business. If you want to earn a reputation as an etiquette expert, there are a few steps I recommend you take as you start your business.
Join professional organizations. In addition to business associations in your city, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, there are a number of national groups you should consider joining. These organizations offer excellent conferences as well as opportunities for networking and continuing education. Here are some of my favorite professional organizations:
- Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)
- National Speakers Association (NSA)
- American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)
- Toastmasters International
Set your business up for success. There are a few critical decisions to make before you take on your first client. Here are a few things to get you started:
- Pick a name. What do you want to call your business?
- Decide on a business model. How do you plan on making money? Research what the competition is charging.
- Establish a key market. Do you want to train children, teens, college students or corporate executives? This will determine how you market your business.
- Set up your business’s legal structure. Consult your state’s Department of Commerce or the Small Business Association (SBA) to find how to legally start your business. Decide whether you want to be a sole proprietor, form an LLC or incorporate.
- Hire a good accountant.
Seek out educational opportunities. Your best opportunities for learning will come in the form of books, research, networking and formal training.
- Attend etiquette workshops, classes and conferences. If you haven’t already done so, attend a reputable train-the-trainer program with someone in the industry with whom you admire and respect.
- Hire a business coach. Many business etiquette experts, including myself, offer training and private coaching opportunities for new etiquette professionals who want to develop a solid business model. Find a coach that suits your style, personality and goals.
- Become a certified business etiquette consultant. Seek out opportunities to access specialized training and get certified. For more information on my certification class, click here.
- Join a Mastermind group. Mastermind groups, such as The Consultant’s Connection, provide business owners a comfortable environment to discuss challenges and successes with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
If you’re interested in becoming an etiquette or image consultant, I recommend my home study course. It will give you time-tested tools and strategies for launching a successful business etiquette business. You’ll learn everything from which services to offer to how to market and run your business. Interested? Contact me to learn more.