Seila P. Coates, Founder of BYOB

“People form an opinion of you within 30 seconds of meeting you before you even say a word.”

That’s the mantra by which Sheila P. Coates has lived her life and founded her business BYOB (Be Your Own Brand).

While working as a marketing executive in the entertainment industry with celebrities like Mary J. Blige, Monica, Lenny Kravitz and Barry White to name a few, Coates noticed that those who are most successful, know who they are and stick to their image and persona.

“Beyonce has a certain kind of sexiness to her even if she is at a basketball game because she lives her brand,” Coates says.

The same is true for entrepreneurs who want to project a certain message or create a lasting product. But in order to do that, Coates says, they need to understand the connections between their personal and business brands.

Here Coates shares her top BYOB tips for creating your own brand:


This is the hardest part because it’s challenging to look at yourself and accept who you are. You should ask yourself as a company founder: What is your brand and what makes you unique? Creative, analytical, powerful, eclectic, outgoing – there are thousands of words that describe personality traits. Embrace your top three attributes and use them to your advantage. And don’t try to be something you’re not – it doesn’t work. Words are powerful and it’s a fact that we become what we believe. So what do you believe about your brand? Make sure you clearly understand the words you use because with every word there’s an action and look that accompanies it.

As an entrepreneur you’re an extension of your business, so your personal brand and business brand are closely aligned. You represent your company and that should be reflected in everything from the first impression, to your website, marketing materials and business cards. Create one energy that permeates throughout, creates consistency, and reinforce the brand.


An entrepreneur’s personal and business brand/style should speak volumes without saying a word. If Lady Gaga defines herself as “out of the box” then it makes sense to show up in a meat dress at the MTV awards. If she shows up looking like Nicole Kidman, then she’s not looking like the person she says she is. You cant’ say you’re “out of the box” and wear a traditional blue suit.

The same is true for your business. If someone tells you they’re a hairdresser, you immediately look at their hair. If their hair isn’t nice, you instantly think twice about letting them do your hair.

3. BE IT

Project who you are and be consistent. I would love for people to look at me and say: “she is so feminine,” but that’s not going to happen. I don’t possess that energy and people won’t say that in the first 30 seconds of meeting me. If I spent all my time trying to be cute and feminine it won’t work. When people see me they use the word “powerful” a lot. Powerful means: able, ready, shows up, presence. I know that’s reflected in my style, personality, and body structure. I have broad shoulders and a powerful stance, so it’s natural for me. It’s also the reason why my business card is larger than most, with a big bold logo and the same is true for my website. If you went to my website and saw daisies and puppies, it wouldn’t align with who I am or be an extension of my personal brand.

As an entrepreneur, you are the person who connects with your customers and makes that first impression for your business. Make sure it counts. Make an impact with YOU, INC. & ALWAYS, BYOB!

For more tips and ideas on how to dress effortlessly for a business meeting, click here and watch video.