What are you up to right now?
I am the Founder, Image Consultant and Lead trainer at Brand You. Brand You provides consultations and training to organisations and individuals on image and personal branding.
We are excited that you have set up your own business. Can you tell us a bit more about your business and what prompted you to start this?
Whether you are an individual or an organisation, you need to present your best personality, professional and social image. An image training company helps individuals and organisations transform their appearance, their behaviour and how they communicate to achieve their greatest potential. Brand You is Myanmar’s first image training company, founded in 2015. We offer consultation and training for our clients to help them portray a consistent and powerful image to achieve their personal, professional and social goals.
After attaining my MBA from JCU, I worked as a sales and marketing professional for a company based in Singapore. Being a regional manager for almost four years, I had to liaise with partners and customers from ASEAN countries as well as the US and Europe. While working with international partners, I realised that the image of a person or an organisation is a crucial factor to achieve success in the competitive business world. When I was planning to start my own business, I found my passion to be in image training. I then pursued the Diploma in Image Consulting at AIM (Academy of Image Mastery, Singapore) and London Image Institute.
After becoming a certified image consultant and practitioner, I wanted to create a platform for Myanmar professionals to be able to utilise image technology in their lives. Setting up Brand You starts with passion, followed by a vision of creating positive differences in people lives and in society as a whole.
Why do you think Personal Branding is important in Myanmar?
Myanmar is transitioning. Opportunities are abundant but at the same time, competition is high. The market needs professionals who can brand themselves as reliable, effective and empowering individuals. Personal branding makes a great difference.
Investing in positive image and valuable branding will help our people stay ahead of the competition globally.
Seminar by Brand You (Htet Yie Win - top row, 10 from left)
What was the overall experience of managing your own business?
I would be lying if I say it’s easy and straight forward. Even though I had made plans more than 8 months ahead, there were still many unexpected challenges. Ranging from staff recruitment challenge to having to take care of my son for a full week because my son’s nanny was sick.
However, my passion always keeps me going. I am lucky to have strong support of my family, friends, mentors and coaches. After all, there are no good or bad experiences. They are either results or lessons to learn. Every encounter has helped me to grow.
If you could highlight one memorable encounter/experience with the startup, what would it be?
There were many memorable experiences. During one of my public training programs at the Sky Star Hotel with 120 participants, the audio-video system malfunctioned in the midst of the session, right when the participants were supposed to give their group presentations. The breakdown lasted for a whole 10 minutes. I was worried. Luckily, most of the participants were engaged in planning for the presentation, only a few people noticed the glitch. I had to apologise for the breakdown but it was fun.
Lesson learnt: Stay cool no matter what happens, stand strong no matter what it takes!
What would be some of the lessons learned or challenges faced?
Lots of lessons learnt. All lessons came from challenges. I would like to share a few.
1. Planning is very important. However, being adaptable, going with the flow and make things happen are more critical.
2. Creating income from own business is great. But greater sense of achievement come from hearing clients remarks on how my contribution has helped them changed their lives.
3. It is very important to get advice from lots of people. However, most important is I have learnt to trust myself.
How do you feel studying at JCU Singapore has helped you?
Studying at JCU has helped me throughout my professional journey. Studying in a multinational environment has helped build my confidence in communication. Doing assignments together provided the cultural and knowledge exchange. Presenting class projects was stressful but the experience trained me well and now I have become a public speaker and trainer! I find that some of the branding theories and practices I learnt from the branding class are still useful now. School activities and events taught me the essence of teamwork and I am still keeping in touch with my classmates and we support each other in every possible way.
What's next for your start up and for yourself?
I aspire for Brand You to become the number one "Image Training Company" in Myanmar, empowering people to look better, feel better and build confidence from inside out.
Any career advice?
In my opinion, every professional should have a career development strategy as well as image and personal branding strategy. A career development strategy gives a person clarity in choosing the right career path and moving forward without deviation or stepping off the track. Image and personal branding strategy helps in creating first impression, higher self-esteem, earning trust from people and getting an advantage in the competitive world.
Thanks to the networking events which JCU organises, we continue to strengthen our friendship as well as expand our network. Currently, I'm working with another JCU alumnus to organise a seminar on career development and personal branding in May 2016.
I would like to thank JCU for providing a great environment for me to grow and I'm proud to be part of alumni stories. I wish JCU great success in the future and I wish for all JCU alumni and students to create a brighter future and challenge them to make a difference in the world.