Success Story: Alba Gomez, Alba Gomez Image Consultancy
Alba Gomez was working as an engineer for 14 years until she had a moment of clarity and realised it was time to quit her job to pursue her passion. Read how she made her transition out of corporate and her success and branding tips for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
LT: What were you doing before you started your own business?
AG: I worked as an engineer for 14 years. Even from the beginning I realised it wasn’t my passion but I stuck to it because I was in a country (Colombia) where you go to university and go to work and that’s it. I had two sisters who were engineers as well and I did what I was supposed to. I changed jobs two times; I had good salaries and positions. It had a good side to it.
When I moved to Australia I realised the mentality is different, people were more open-minded and I saw people doing what they wanted to do. I saw people taking risks and women owning businesses and I got inspired and thought maybe I could do what I am passionate about.
LT: What process did you go through to quit your job?
AG: I knew I had a gift when it came to helping people look and present their best. I was helping friends and family do this my whole life – like buying power suits for interviews and so on. It was a hobby. I was passionate about make up, clothes, colours. I realised image consulting was a profession and I started to looking into it. I researched the Association of Image Consulting International. I did courses out of curiosity.
I got to the point where I started hating waking up to go to work. I had a supportive husband at the time who said that I could do what I wanted. He introduced me to this woman who was a life coach who was running retreats in Bali for women in business.
So I went to Bali on the retreat and one of the questions was: ‘What would I do if I was brave?’ The first thing that came out of my mouth as ‘I would resign from my job’. One of the women said: ‘Then do it!’
From that second onwards it was all about me resigning. Other women I spoke to who had their own businesses told me I could do it. When I really got clear on my life purpose, no wonder I was unhappy. By the end of the retreat I realised I could do it. I resigned the next day without thinking much. My ex-husband was saying he would support me financially and emotionally.
I was a foreigner, I didn’t know many people, I spoke the language 60% and I had something in my heart telling me you have to change. I went to work part-time for 6 months and in that time I was working out what to do, the name, logo and website and clarifying what I wanted to do. It has been 6 ½ years now.
LT: What was your biggest fear in leaving corporate?
AG: I guess because I had support from my ex husband it was less about financial insecurity and more my fear of not succeeding, not get clients and not knowing enough. I felt what if I’m not good enough with what I know to help people. [How did you overcome that?] I had a business coach and it was all about keeping taking action no matter what, keeping on meeting people and reflecting on all the people I had helped in the past. It was realising that I had a natural gift for it. The fear never goes away even after so many years, but it’s about acting in spite of that.
LT: How did your business develop?
AG: The leap wasn’t hard but I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I jumped into doing, so my business has changed quite a bit. Initially it was just image for women, then men, then working on first impressions in businesses. I was working with everything and everyone so I realised I needed to reconnect with myself.
You need to stay true to you and what connects with you because you will be your best. I realised my passion is women and I enjoy working with professional women because they can benefit the most. I also realised it felt superficial just to do image.
I saw that self-confidence and image was something I had to work through myself and that and all women are like that. You can change your clothes but if you don’t change the mindset, the changes won’t have the same impact. Personal branding includes everything and I’ve developed my system around that.
Your image is an integration of how you are connected to your essence and values and your purpose in life. It’s about who you are and what you want to achieve in life – then you can relate to people through your personality and that comes through in your communications and image.
LT: What do you see as the key success factors in setting up a business?
AG: It has to come from your heart. It has to be authentic. If you are starting your business you are going to be the business. So you have to do something you believe in and that you love. You have to be persistent because things don’t happen overnight. As much as you have to be very organised and follow a system, your mindset needs to be in the right place. You have to make sure you are doing work on your mindset (like if your mind is telling you, ‘You are never going to succeed’), because that will be as much of a factor of success as the systems you are working on.
The more you can tell your story and how you got to your business the better. That is what makes you different and unique in the market because no one else has that – you stand out.
LT: What advice would you give to women thinking about leaving corporate?
AG: If you feel like you want to make a change you can stay in fear and do nothing or you can jump. I felt like I was falling from a cliff. If you are having doubts about staying in corporate it could be the universe telling you to make a change – don’t stop because of fear because everyone has that. If it is too big and financial, get started organising your ideas while working full or part time.
LT: What do you miss about corporate?
AG: Getting your salary paid just for showing up. The stability. At the beginning you may not have the stable income. But it doesn’t compare to all the things you do get having your own business.
LT: What are the biggest advantages of being your own boss?
AG: I get to live my life purpose, have freedom, I can work from anywhere in the world, take holidays when I want, I get to meet lots of people, I can be in control of my income, I get to be creative, make a difference – so many things!
LT: What keeps you going when times get tough?
AG: It happens. It’s not all flowers and happiness. One thing I remember is why I am doing what I’m doing and why am I passionate about it. Then I go back to my rituals. Reading a book that inspires me, meditating more and spending more time on the why. Then it doesn’t matter if it gets hard because there is a bigger purpose. I come back to gratitude and meditation.
LT: What resources or books would you recommend?
AG: Look for someone you admire and read their story. Or surround yourself with people in similar industries – other women entrepreneurs. I like reading Marie Forleo’s blog. Books I recommend: ‘Secrets about life every woman should know’, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and books for meditation.
LT: Any other final thoughts for the woman who is thinking of making the leap?
AG: You just need to trust yourself. It’s you and your head telling you can’t do it. It’s better to regret something you did try than something you never got to do.
It’s you and your head telling you can’t do it. It’s better to regret something you did try than something you never got to do. A friend of mine set unrealistic expectations for the first year, she pushed herself really hard and her mindset wasn’t in the right place and she wasn’t clear on the offering. She went back to work after a year. She still says, ‘That is the best year of my life. I learned so much about me and business and I met so many great people, so I’m so glad that I did it.’ It is the biggest development program you could ever do and you grow so much.
You can learn more about Alba’s personal branding consulting at www.albagomez.com.au.
For my FREE step by step guide on how to create a business out of your talents, desires and values and make the leap like Alba did, click here.
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