Imagine giving makeovers to people so they can be more successful in their professional lives! If your friends have always admired how confidently you carry yourself, a career as an image consultant might just be your calling!

But, what exactly is image consultancy?

An image consultant is someone who specialises in studying and modifying an individual’s personal and professional image. Image consultants usually work with businesses and/or individual clients to make changes to their looks, communication skills, and behaviour. Most consultants specialise in a certain area such as social etiquette, clothing or public speaking.

According to Shreya Dhingra, a practicing image consultant, “Image consulting is more of a westernised field. It was a foreign concept a few years ago, but today, you’ll find several practicing image consultants in India. During my time, the focus of the courses that taught image consulting used to be on how you can groom yourself better. But today, times have changed. These courses also teach modules like soft skills, personality development, and public speaking.”

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What is the scope of this career option in India?

Shreya continues, “I started in 2011 when India hadn’t even heard about image consulting. I had no reference and I didn’t know how to go about it. But times have changed now, especially in the last 7 years. The scope is immense. Once you become a consultant, you can end up doing a variety of things. From improving the way you dress to building your self-esteem, a field like this offers a lot of choice.  Some consultants, for instance, only look into dressing and makeovers so they become personal shoppers. A few others get into corporate training and their focus is on boosting professionals. Some consultants work with children and college students and help them develop soft skills.”

People are beginning to understand that with the right kind of image, you can land your dream job, get the promotion you are hoping for, or close that business deal. Image consultants spend time with their clients to understand their motivations and goals. They try to find methods to change the way others view their client. For this, image consultants propose lifestyle changes, diet changes, and grooming tips. As such, an image consultant must understand not only the client they are servicing, but their clients as well.

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Can you earn a living as an image consultant?

Several consultants are self-employed and they spend a great deal of time marketing themselves and finding new clients. According to Shreya, “Freshers can earn anywhere between INR 20,000 – INR 40,000. When I started, I was hardly making money. There were times when I used to make INR 5,000 – INR 10,000 a month. But, if you’re at it and you push yourself enough, experienced consultants can make anywhere between INR 1-2 lacs per month! Some charge on a session basis. But most of us make a package of 2-3 months.”

Which skills and educational qualification is required to become an image consultant?

You will require training to start out as an image consultant. Though no standardized authority exists, private institutions like ICBI provide training and certification. After obtaining your certificate, you will need to make your service known. You can do this by spreading the word on social media. Start by handing out your services at reasonable rates and grow your list of clients from there on. With enough clients and revenue, you can set up your own practice eventually and cater to high profile clients.

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Also, you need to be a people’s person. You should love interacting with people and be genuinely interested in getting to know them. You should also know how to speak calmly, carry yourself confidently, and dress smartly as only then you will be able to increase your clientele.

If you enjoy helping others and improving lives, image consultancy may be a good choice for a career. It is a profession that can have a real and direct impact on the lives of many people. It is rewarding, both emotionally as well as financially and it allows you to have flexible hours. As an industry, it is projected to grow exponentially in India in the near future.

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