Kavita Dhillon is the founder & chief Image Consultant Of Extra Edge Image &Wellness Management And Consulting, a Gurgaon based professional company specialized in image consulting and soft skill training. Being an Army kid and Army wife, she had the opportunity to live and travel to different places all over the country encountering many cultures and diversities which has helped her in gaining wide exposure, knowledge, and rich experience in understanding these cultures and their people. The very important skill which she picked up being an Army kid and Army wife is adaptability to any situation, place, or life and desire to serve others which stands her apart from others.
She has twelve years’ experience in the education field. She has also worked with a leading garment export house which gave her the opportunity to work with International designers which helped her to gain experience in line, shape, fabric, texture, and pattern. She is an accomplished interior decorator, designer, and event manager. She has the experience of organizing a number of theme events.
Her continued curiosity, interest, and passion in making a positive difference in people’s lives had been appreciated by all and therefore, she decided to re-align her career and chose to become an Image Consultant. Today we got a chance to interview her, let’s know more about her & her inspiring journey.
We hope this can inspire you to become a successful person too! It is worth listening to a successful entrepreneur or to people who share their success stories? We can significantly learn many things from the experiences of them, by listening to their story.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with her:
Q1) Tell us a little bit about your start-up and your journey, please.
EXTRA EDGE IMAGE & WELLNESS MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING is a Gurgaon based professional company specialized in image and wellness consulting and soft skill training. Our methods are customized to client’s needs. Every client and every relationship are unique, so is our plan, which is tailored according to the needs of the clients.
Any form of business, whether it be educational, food services, transport, sales, technical services, entertainment, requires an appearance that makes it special or unique from other competitors. We help individuals and organizations to gain an extra edge over their competitors by offering a wide range of services from personal/corporate/institutional consultation to style makeover to business etiquette to communication and soft skill and NLP techniques.
One may have qualifications, but do they have a personality that is unique with a personal and professional history that at once stands out? We aim at imparting techniques, strategies, and resources in creating a strong personal brand for the clients which will help in establishing them as a natural leader. The boost in image and direction are given by us opens doors and creates unique opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden.
Our services are customized, unique, and tailor-made to the needs of clients. We carry out individual assessments or audits and help the clients to identify qualities and characteristics within to do justice to their capabilities and potentials, so as to bring out the best within themselves.
As for my journey-the creativity factor in me always motivated me to have my own set up one day. It was in the year 2015 that I decided to take a formal plunge into the training industry, as this was what I had been doing informally all these years. I went on to acquire my formal certifications from ICBI after undergoing a rigorous three-year course.
As I started my journey in this field, I realized the Importance of Inner Image, wellness, confidence, and self-esteem. If a person is feeling good and balanced from the inside, they will be able to utilize the resources to present a better image outside. A congruency has to be developed. That led me towards doing my NLP MASTER PRACTITIONER CERTIFICATION. Now I successfully incorporate the elements of the image, soft skills, and NLP to help my client to bring out the best in them which I call A HOLISTIC IMAGE.
I have had the privilege to work with some of the best brands in the market, Govt sectors, Public sectors, and Institutes all over the country. I proudly joined many fellow Army wives who have rewritten the definition of success. However, it does take time, patience, and perseverance to reach a rewarding stage.
Q2) How did the idea for your business/start-up come about?
I have always been a people’s person – interacting with a lot of people. I realized that despite having the best technical skills and knowledge, they are not able to make a mark for themselves in personal, professional, and social arenas. I was always trying to discover the reasons. Why? It is then that I realized what was amiss. I understood the importance of soft skills, better presentation, and Inner well-being that I decided to work on this as my basic idea for a business – Helping the people with their inner as well as an outer image so that they can achieve all-round success in life.
Q3) What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I never appreciated the 9-5 routine. I always wanted to be my own boss. Being your own boss gives you Flexibility, Financial Independence, Work-Life balance, and Professional Identity. And this was the key driving force for me to launch my own brand.
Q4) How did you come up with the name for your business/start-up?
Extra Edge Image & Wellness Management and Consulting is the name that I chose, and it signifies that with my guidance and utilization of all the resources at their disposal, my clients will have an extra edge over their competitors. My sole aim is to bring out the best in each individual.
Q5) What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
There is a long list of services that we offer. Just to sum it up I implement my image, Soft Skills and Wellness training programs by working on the A- Appearance, B- Behaviour, C- communication skills, and D-Digital footprint of my clients and offer services after assessing trainee needs and evaluating results. However, I am a firm believer that the changes start from within. I first help them to unleash their inner power before working on the outer Image for an overall transformation. I am there from the beginning to the end to help my clients to raise their self-esteem and enable them to be successful in life.
Q6) How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
I use social media platforms to market my business. Apart from that networking is extremely helpful. For open workshops and webinars, Instagram and Facebook ads have been especially useful as it helps you get an audience from all over the country.
Q7) Please share with us some of the challenges you faced in your journey?
Challenges in life are given, and one can use this to your advantage. I take each challenge as an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. The initial challenges were handling difficult clients and technology to some extent and other challenges were investing long hours to establish me in the industry, traveling for work, and continuously updating myself. With the help of my family, I was easily able to overcome these hindrances – and I tried to maintain a work-life balance. As for updating myself – I do not consider it a challenge anymore. It is an ongoing process and now I have started enjoying it.
But you realize that you need to learn from your experiences along the way. I can say that I have trained many people to date – but I have also learned something from each one of them. Ultimately, the goal is to use what you learn as you grow to become the best version of yourself.
Q8) Did pandemic (COVID 19) affect your business? if yes how?
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and use technology. As the world adjusts to its new normal, business leaders need to rethink strategies to drive resilience and emerge from this crisis stronger.
While all business activities that require physical interaction have suffered, the pandemic has presented opportunities for the contactless world of digital business. As far as I am concerned, I have been in regular touch with my clients, having a regular and effective digital presence through various social media platforms.
Conducting value-oriented sessions for my clients online. While there is a necessity to adopt this form of working now, we need to be careful about how we transition into this ‘new way of working’. This cultural change would be driven by respecting each other’s time, being noticeably clear in communication.
Q9) What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
For many of us, the word “entrepreneur” brings to mind nothing but aspirational images. Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, working on only what you want to work on, or maybe even living a glamorous digital nomad life, simply working to find your many travels. But in reality, being an entrepreneur demands far more energy than many other career paths.
Sure, you get to dictate the direction of your professional life, from how much time you actually spend working during the day to the kinds of clients you go after. But being in charge of so much necessitates taking on much more responsibility. At the beginning of my journey as a full-time freelancer, I was just not a trainer, coach, facilitator, and mentor — I was my own marketer, manager, administrative assistant.
It happens with most of us at the beginning, when funds are likely low and your biggest asset is your time, you find you spend much of it taking on the tasks that would be someone else’s responsibility were you simply working as an employee. Put simply, being a successful entrepreneur almost requires being a good time manager. And no one knows this better than women entrepreneurs. Following a system, it the most important thing to success in any business. You have to have a pattern or path to keep you on track.
Q10) How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
Along with being an entrepreneur, I am a proud mother of two lovely kids. So, like any other mom, my day starts by planning the menu for the day and instructing the house help on what needs to be done during the day. I love to spend time with my family and don’t miss any opportunity to do this. I passionately believe in self-care and I am a fitness enthusiast. I spend at least an hour every day on my workouts. Post-workout, I take charge of my work. Every day varies. That is why I love having my own business.
Some days I am busy with online classes, counseling my clients for image makeovers or Inner wellbeing, and webinars, as per the schedule. Other days I am preparing for a corporate presentation. Twice a week, I impart behavioral training to budding lawyers. In the evening, I devote time to preparing for the next day.
Q11) How do you handle the pressure & manage stress?
Quite simple, I use the ABC Strategy.
- Awareness:- What causes stress? How do I react?
- Balance:- There is a fine line between Positive and Negative stress. How much can I cope with stress before it becomes negative?
- Control:- What can I do by myself to combat the negative effects of stress?
How I manage stress?
- Changing Thinking:- Re-Framing and Positive Thinking. I focus on my strengths, learn from the stress I am under, and I always look for opportunities from that situation.
- Changing Behavior:- I always try to be assertive and organized as much as possible. When under stress I believe in Ventilation, Humour, Diversion.
- Changing Lifestyle:- I know my lifestyle and how it is affecting me and what changes I need to make.
Q12) What comes first for you- money or emotions?
I think a balance needs to be maintained. Although, everything starts with emotions. If you want to accomplish great success in life, learn to love yourself, your work, and the people around you. When you are passionate about yourself, your loved ones, your work, you will be happier and are able to perform better results.
And when you perform better in life, you will achieve more. When you achieve more, you will earn more and as a result, you will have more money. This is why emotions are important and it can make you rich.
Q13) Tell us about your early life & How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
I grew up in a healthy Army family and this provided me with additional opportunities to learn what I yearned for. My family has supported me in everything to bring me to a place where I now stand. Throughout these years, my family, especially my parents always stood by me as I tried to find a forte in life. Academically bright, I had the opportunity to study in the best schools and colleges including Sophia College, Ajmer.
Being an Army kid, I have had the opportunity to live in various places all over the country. Military children on average make more moves than their civilian counterparts. Therefore, they encounter many cultures, and this experience helps them to appreciate the diversity in our country. Besides, Armed Forces afford the environment to acquire all-important skills called Adaptability, an essential ingredient for success in life.
I am married to an army officer and when it comes to Army wives pursuing their careers, the challenge is twofold: geographical as well as cultural. There are limited career opportunities for Army wives in Tier II and Tier III cities where their husbands get posted. Also, in small cities, the surroundings are not too encouraging for working women; so, unless one is self-motivated, it becomes exceedingly difficult to pursue a serious, full-time career.
But the spark in me to carve out my own identity as a professional continued to ignite and I ventured out into the field of entrepreneurship. However, it does take time, patience, and perseverance to reach a rewarding stage. Being an entrepreneur has only affected my family life in a positive way as I am not tied up to a 9-5 routine and my work hours are flexible. I passionately believe that it’s impossible to achieve professional success without its counterpart of personal success.
After all, you, as a person – your beliefs, your happiness, your goals – they all influence your professional path. It all has to be congruent and conducive with one another if you want to succeed in either area. I am here to tell you that a fabulous and flexible lifestyle isn’t just possible… it’s a must. I wear a lot of hats, including mom, wife, businesswoman So, trust me when I say I understand that balance and how to live this fab life. You just need to prioritize things and follow a simple planned routine to attain that balance.
Q14) What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
Thousands of bright-eyed, ambitious graduates will walk out of the hallowed halls of institutions of higher learning and into the larger world. But before turning down a steady job or packing away the interview suit, recent grads need to evaluate if they truly have what it takes to start a business. My entrepreneurial advice for the college graduates would be-
- 1) Follow your passion
- 2) Do the research
- 3) Learn from seasoned professionals
- 4) Find mentors
- 5) Network constantly
- 6) Figure out your finances
- 7) Understand that failure is part of the process
Apart from this, Taking Responsibility for Your Life-By taking responsibility for our lives we not only gain control of what happens, but it also becomes natural to feel like you deserve more in life as your self-esteem builds as you do the right thing more consistently. You feel better about yourself. You feel improved.
Understand the limits of your responsibility– “Make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens.”
Taking responsibility for your life is great. But that is also all that you have control over. You cannot control the results of your actions. You cannot control how someone reacts to what you say or what you do.
At the same time, it is important to know where your limits are, failing which you will create avoidable problems and waste energy.
Q15) What are the business mantras you have embraced as you sought to establish your success story?
Getting the right opportunity and performing to the best of your capability when you get that opportunity.
To get that opportunity, I present myself as a brand. I prepare myself to give in my best shot at each and every opportunity that comes my way. My mantra is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – PERFORM AND ENJOY.
The ability to achieve anything you want in life is inside you only, at your disposal. People will help you and guide you but you yourself have to walk through the door. So, take responsibility and fulfill it to the best of your ability.
StartoCure is the online entrepreneurial magazine platform, where the team brings you Interview & Stories of Entrepreneurs, Inspirations, Influencers, Startups eco-system & Change-makers. StaroCure also committed to bringing resources, research reports, funding reports, and analysis of the startups, as well as profiles of great businesses & entrepreneurs from all over the world.
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