Personal Colour Analyst As Successful Career
September 7, 2013 by Christine Scaman
In the article introducing the Luxury Drapes, I inserted a section about the conversations I hear about Bad Economies, Tough Times, This Is A Terrible Financial Climate To Start A Business, followed by my usual too-many-paragraphs stating that I don’t believe a word of it.
And still don’t. The economy is strong, the evening news is theater, just don’t go buy a house you can’t afford.
Of course, that money section didn’t belong in that article so I removed it. Holding back because of bad economies applies to more of PCA than just Luxury Drapes. I get many inquiries about women who would love to be trained but fear that their business will not recoup their expenses. Leaving a paycheck-every-2-weeks job brings fear. The kind of fear that is best ignored.
Projections are something the male brain loves. The charts and graphs can get other male brains feeling exhilarated. They can impress each other. Some women buy into them, and others donâ€™t have clue what they’re talking about and don’t care enough to learn. I’m in the second group. Projections make my eyes glaze over.
Projections are usually wrong, besides being narrow and confining. They set too many terms and conditions on what might happen. They never tell the whole picture. When something new and great comes along, the automobile, the internet, and it always does, or something awful, a tsunami, what use are last year’s charts?
The whole projections and predictions thing is stupendously stupid in my head. A business plan that takes more than a page is a waste of space unless you’re trying to convince a banker. It forces you to map out your future like a game of Twister. If I step left 3 paces, and then I go right 3 hands, I will be there. The problem is that all you ever see is the gap.
Make a wish, cast it out there. Let it come back to you however it wants to. The root of your richest, highest, truest ambitions will not come from feelings of insufficiency. If it fills you with joy, that’s the direction you move in. Fine tune the next wish as the first one becomes part of you.
Don’t think about every reason things could go wrong. Live your best life. Know your own bank account. Have a sense of your net worth and cash flow. Forget what ‘s going on around you. Â Most of it has nothing to do with you.
Expert Advice in Women and Money
Tracy Theemes is the woman that I acknowledge first in Return to Your Natural Colours (blue book, right hand column). Tracy is a huge believer in women-owned businesses, in part because they account for the #1 income earners among women.
She is a financial advisor specializing in women investors in the US and Canada, helping women use their resources optimally. She advises women who own multimillion-dollar businesses, women struggling with divorce or welfare, and all of us in between. She helps her clients balance knowledge, fear, resources, erroneous assumptions, should vs. shouldn’t, and can vs. can’t. In her many years of experience, far too much energy is being given to “can’t”.
She has a recently-launched book that applies to every woman the world over. In it, she suggests kindly and attentively that knowing how to run a house on a budget is not financial empowerment. This book is about defining ourselves as women, why the world buys into the male financial model and how that came to be, and the money language that women are wired to understand. In fact, women are biologically equipped to be better at money than the guys are. Tracy outlines a 5-step financial plan that brings us solid financial grounding whatever our income and savings. The plan provides us with awareness. Awareness of where we are now, where we want to be, and how to have that happen. Letting the men look after this is a weakness. Her explanations make complete sense, no charts, no graphs.
The book is here at Amazon.com
Tracy understands first-hand the exhaustion and distractions of constant juggling – children, career, marriage, self-growth, and physical health. She never stops believing that there is nothing between you and your power to control your money except the kind of fear that is not important and holds us back. You will never meet anyone who sympathizes with your life more sincerely, who believes more certainly in your power to know and own your money, who realizes how hard it is to talk about money inside and outside a family, and who will have your back the whole time.
Her advice is real, possible, and safe. Standing up and embracing our money is better and easier than living in denial of this massively influential energy form. Being free and in control opens up creativity and giving, the only real kinds of receiving.
Below, our conversation.
1. Christine: If we listen to media, especially North America’s paranoid media, we believe it. They feed us that the news is bad because it gets us more excited than good news. It moves us to act and we buy more media, affirming the reason that media is in business.
Worse, we become North America’s paranoid society. Then someone comes along after awhile and says, “Hold on. Let’s take a step back and see what’s really going on here. Well, turns out it’s not what we thought at all.”
Have you read Freakonomics?Â Things are not as they seem. Obvious conclusions are often incorrect. Conventional wisdom is usually wrong, based on legend&lore, and is soon replaced.Â
A person stops getting vaccinated. They don’t get polio. Must mean that vaccines are unnecessary. No, no. It means what it always meant, that disease and vaccination are balanced in populations. If enough people stopped vaccinating, the disease would re-emerge. The person didn’t get polio because enough of the rest of us are still getting vaccinated.
And just because 2 in 10,000 have a negative event related to a vaccine, does that mean we should stop vaccinating populations? No, no. Just like PCA, in the vast majority, the good far outweighs the bad.
Sure, economies downsize. In certain sectors. That’s just making room for the thousands of jobs that haven’t been invented yet. Today, if you can’t get a job, you make a job. You don’t have to slot into an already existing job. That’s how things used to be. Besides, in bad economies, what sells the most is smokes, booze, and looking better. If you can add enough value to your service, Personal Colour Analyst seems to me a win-win career because it’s independent of economic trends, albeit less so than mascara and vodka because they’re cheaper and the gratification is instantaneous. The women I see have matured well beyond the confines of instant gratification anyway. They’re looking for something far more profound.
Â I’ll believe nobody has money when I stop seeing line-ups waiting to pay for $4 coffee.
When women stop saying to me, “Just tell me what to buy.”
When Dollar Stores don’t close down.
When mall parking lots are empty.
When the Hampton Inn is never sold out and the Quality Inn always is.
Seems to me a fine economy for entrepreneurs, those near retirement age, home-based and cash-based businesses, flex hours, people with children…come to think of it, I can’t imagine a better time to join our profession.
Tracy, am I just naive?
Tracy: For 30 years, it seems it’s always the wrong time to start a business. It’s a “bad economy” in every economy. It’s always a volatile stock market. People are still worrying about what they read in ’92.
My advice: Own what you are trying to achieve.
2. C: Is there a right time to start a business, or from a personal perspective, is there a right time to become trained in a new skill?
Tracy: Women are relationship-oriented. For some reason, when we ask the people who form our relationships about new ideas we have, they feel compelled to think of every reason why something might not work out.
It seems to be genetic in women to underestimate our value and ability to own a successful business. Go with those feelings but know they aren’t real. Even established businesswomen second-guess themselves. This is not a good enough reason to avoid pursuing a career you would love. These feelings are not an excuse for not doing something you want to do.
Unless you were raised in a 5th generation business-owning family, you will never be more than 75% certain. Go for it. Don’t wait for 85%.
3. C: Many women communicate to me that they dream of becoming colour analysts but…
Any thoughts about women and risk?
Tracy: Research shows that women are more perceptive to risk than men. Women are much more sensitive to their feelings in general and are able to label them better than men. Research also confirms that once women gain knowledge about a topic such as money, we are much bolder investors than men, whose risk-taking is reduced with greater knowledge.
All people self-medicate with certain ideas they hold, the securities we all need to have around ourselves. We know that there is a type of fear that is simply rebound from big decisions that throw these shelters and protections off balance – and that those who experience that fear and pause before financial decisions become better business owners than those who do not experience any fear. There is an optimal hesitation that we can moderate slowly as we make conscious changes in our lives. Keeping some of it is a good thing.
How we overcome feelings of fear and risk is by practicing with the little things first.Â If something doesn’t work, fix it. We come to realize that there is no end of the world. You hate a haircut? Let the hair grow back and try again. You bought a blouse you regret? Take it back. We can apply this to business and see that no decision is irrevocable. Business is a process. Like health, you are continuously on the path of adjusting and improving.
4. C: I want to see Personal Colour Analyst be recognized as a viable profession, one in which women can support themselves and their families.
We can’t survive on minimum wage. Why is it even called that? Stuff costs too much even if we live modestly. Well, it depends. You can have a fantastic lifestyle and no cash. A surfer. We could point to college dropouts who become dot com billionaires. We stand back and say, “Well, my goodness, isn’t that an interesting part of our world?” They had enough arrogance to believe they can outsmart the system and enough brains to do so. Like fashion models and other meteorites though, this is hardly a strategy for the rest of us.
How do new or experienced analysts set a price for their service?
Tracy: Pick a number that seems reasonable and double it. You’ve already factored your inputs and time in subconsciously.
Everybody thinks their town needs a financial break. It isn’t true. Remember that you are not your clients. Don’t try to think for them. You might not get a $300 haircut, a $300 hotel room, a $300 colour consultation, but your clients would. They do it all the time. They are not your social circle or family, nor do they need to be.
The business owner is not her target market. She is not the example for how her clients think. You can find clients, many clients, who will do what you won’t. There is plenty of wealth, even if it’s not where you hang around.
Charge your full price 80% of the time. Sometimes, when starting out or well established, give your work as a gift, for experience, referrals, or pro bono in the community. Never discount the service. A reasonable hourly rate is $100 to $140, which grows as you develop credibility in the community.
Women must stop seeing themselves as part-time earners to help the family. We should think of ourselves as business owners, as the makers of our own retirement, and as the source of support for our family.
5. C: How can a woman know the right time to take the training? As a financial advisor, if a client were considering a new business venture as a colour analyst, what would be your thoughts?
For me, it was when life gave me no other choice I could live with. The opinions and judgments of others were irrelevant, positive or negative. They felt outside me, as if their words were not even about me, but some stranger.
Tracy: You are taking an economic jump that your family and friends are not. Only listen to the advice of other business owners.
From that point of view, this career offers you full control of your investment. You are the pilgrims of a new profession. It will be as great and wealth-producing as you make it. There is no paradigm, no glass ceiling, no pattern or model you need to fit into. As a community, you are making it up as you go along.
I want to underline the importance of having nothing to break through, as so many other professions have required women to do. The value in this must not be underestimated. If all colour analysts charged $500/hour, then that would be the accepted starting fee. Psychologists just started talking. Now they earn 250/hour.
The most lucrative investment you can make is in yourself. It’s the only thing you have 100% control over. Especially as a sole proprietor, you completely determine how hard you work, how much you advertise, what innovations you offer, your brand, and your fee.
Invest in yourself. You can’t go wrong.
A prospective student asked:
I want to know whether this career is a scalable business or best enjoyed with the support of a second occupation (since I noticed you are a part-time vet). A PCA [is about $250]. But how do you build the business over time given its not a repeat business business?
After 4 years as a colour analyst, I have retired from the veterinary profession, hopefully to meet new successes elsewhere. I live in a small farming town, near larger professional cities. I learned to travel to gain exposure, which I no longer do. Not every analyst will need to do that. People are very willing to drive an hour or two. Word spreads fast.
Will it matter if it doesn’t work out? Not even a little bit. I will have tried. I can easily go back to earning money with cats and dogs, or in a brand new way I haven’t even seen yet.
PCA is very much a repeat business, in that once you’ve done Mom, you’ll see daughter, Grandma, son, husband, son’s fiance,…. The secret is to do such a brilliant job with each client that they want to come back, see someone they know be analyzed as a refresher for themselves, ask you a few more questions. Take such good care of every client that they wouldn’t dream of severing the connection.
Never in any field make assumptions about what you’d pay or what you’re worth. This is a deadly bad habit. As Tracy said, you are not your client. You are spending your money now in places others would not. What I’d spend on my dog as a veterinarian is nowhere near what my clients at any income level might spend. The software developer is not the teenager. The pharmaceutical company owner is not the woman choosing toothpaste for her family. Focus your attention on how to make your service spectacular. Exceed all her expectations in that way, not by being the cheapest game in town. That never impresses anybody.
During the training, we do discuss growth through excellence, surprise, individuality, and variety, as well as how to grow yourself in your community. Â Your training guide manual includes a big section about it.Â The possibilities are literally endless with nobody writing your own story except you. What’s more empowering than having so much say in your own future?
There are admittedly many unknowns in a business like this. Moving them all around like puzzle pieces, hoping they’ll snap together and make a clear picture, is not going to happen. If you feel anxiety and hear alarm bells warning you to protect your borders about how it’s all going to turn out, I respectfully suggest that the time is not right to jump in.
The financial doomsayers will never say, “Yes, this is going to happen!!” But listen, what if the US recovery is real? Think of all the pent-up demand out there!
Lower the bar on what you’re willing to worry about. Believe that it will all turn out fine. That’s what the students so far have had in common. They will grow their colour analysis business exactly how they grow the rest of their life: by expanding what they love and getting less caught up in what makes sense.
Feel your way into it, don’t think so much. The outcomes you project might be stale white bread compared to what could happen. Leave room for some of the mainstream, run-of-the-mill magic that’s standing around, waiting for you to notice. Life’s best things come in when we don’t have the controls.
Have you answered the most important Q? This is the A you most need to know. What do you want?