Fashion Business Owner Musings: A Lesson on Setting Priorities

Biz owner musings

Figuring out what to spend time on next in our businesses is one of the hardest things to do. Everything feels important and urgent and necessary. I think that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to practice the art of setting priorities.

Priorities come in two forms — the big, life and work goals kind and the day-to-day growth kind.

If you’ve been reading StartUp FASHION for a while, you know how much I believe in setting your life priorities and goals and then building your business around those.

But for this post, I’m talking about the day-to-day stuff. The work that tugs at us to get done, some of it important, some of it not. It’s the practice of figuring out what falls into that “important” folder and what doesn’t, that will help us to really grow our businesses and thrive.

So you know how you wake up every day to a task list that seems to have grown overnight while you were asleep? And you sit there looking at it wondering how the hell you’re going to get everything done? So you start chipping away at the small stuff because at least that way things are getting checked off the list? And then you blink and it’s 6pm and you have responsibilities that you can’t ignore. So you walk away from your desk with the feeling that you  didn’t actually get anything important done? And then you wake up the next day and do it all over again?

It sucks, right?

While I’m not a productivity expert by any means, here are some things that I’ve learned over the past few years that have really helped me to make real progress and experience real growth in my business.

Important and Urgent are Different

Something I learned from a Productivity expert was this. Important and Urgent are very different, and we usually confuse the two. Just because something has a deadline or needs to get done right away, doesn’t mean that it’s something you need to spend time on. Important things are those things that will help you grow your business. Urgent things are often things that have a deadline but not one that needs to be met by you.

I know, you’re most likely a one person show. If you don’t do them, then who will? That brings me to point two…

You Don’t Need a Team in Order to Delegate

There are two things I want to address here.

  • You can hire a very part time virtual assistant (say 4 hours per month at $25/hr) who can take those urgent but un-important things off your task list. You can spend $100/month, not much at all, and have someone handle scheduling your social media posts and email newsletters. Those things are urgent since they need to be consistent, but they are not something you need to do by yourself.
  • If hiring even a super part time VA is out of reach (and even for those things you don’t give a VA), you can delegate to a time slot. Meaning, you’re still handling these things, but you’re not even thinking about them until the allotted time slot. That way, you can have a clear head and focus your creativity on the truly important things.

The Task List Will Never Disappear

Just be OK with this. I don’t care what anyone says, you will always have a task list. Mainly because you’re a business owner with a constant stream of exciting ideas. Don’t freak out about it. Just try to practice the important vs. urgent method I mentioned above. All will be fine.

We Tend to Avoid the Stuff That Should be Priority

I learned early on that, if’ I’m avoiding something, then I should most likely be doing it. A lot of us tend to avoid the important stuff because that’s the stuff that requires our most creative selves. It’s the stuff that asks us to leave our comfort zone. It’s the experimentation, the scary phone calls, the crazy ideas.

Imagination is Important for Productivity

I can’t tell you how much it’s helped my productivity  to imagine what it will feel like when I finally do the thing that needs to get done. I close my eyes, picture it done, let myself feel the satisfaction, excitement, and sense of accomplishment. If you can imagine yourself completing that important task, I think you’ll be more motivated to get it done.

These are some of the things that have helped me a long the way. But here’s the thing. I want you to also take the time to appreciate all that you’ve done so far. It always pains me to see my StartUp FASHION designers get down on themselves about how they’re not where they want to be right now. I get that. But it’s so important to also appreciate the work you’ve so far — building a business is ongoing. There’s always more to do and new ideas. Don’t let that make you feel behind. Try instead to enjoy it!

Lots of love and encouragement,

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!