Fashion Business Owner Musings: The Importance of Helping Others
I’m part of three private groups for entrepreneurs. One is the StartUp FASHION Community obviously, and the other two are focused on female entrepreneurs in a variety of professions, one NYC based, one global.
In all three of these groups I give freely. If there is something I can help with, I do. If there is insight I can give or feedback I can offer, I do.
I think in the crazy environment of business ownership, we all need friends and supporters. And if I can be that for others, I am happy to do it.
I’m not saying this to get a pat on the back, I’m saying this because I think that so many of us are so completely hyper focused on our businesses that we forget to help others. We forget that it’s not just about us. We forget that our own experiences can be such an incredible asset to others.
And we forget one other thing. One super wonderful side effect that comes along with being generous with our time and knowledge. And that is this:
This isn’t necessarily the intention, but it is very often the result.
In giving to others, we demonstrate that we are caring and thoughtful people; that we are willing to share what we know, and that we want to offer what we can to help other entrepreneurs and business owners succeed.
That’s a really powerful reputation to have.
The lack of selfishness and the ability to see others’ success as an important piece of the bigger picture will have an incredibly positive impact on our own lives and businesses. We will start to receive that same support from others. We will benefit from the experiences and insight of others.
There is just one caveat here. We have to be smart givers.
There is certainly a balance when it comes to giving. We have to be smart givers who don’t allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. Author Adam Grant does a great job of explaining this in the book Give and Take. If you haven’t read it, you should. I learned a lot and think you probably would too.
Before reading Give and Take, I often prioritized others needs over my own; helping fellow business owners at the detriment of my own business. I’ve since stopped doing that, but I haven’t stopped helping.
I wanted to write about this because I think this is such an important topic particularly in our industry; fashion has notoriously been such a cut throat, “you can’t sit with us” clique, rather than a helpful, giving community. One reason we created the StartUp FASHION Community is to change that.
When I see how our members help one another, offering advice and guidance and support, it reminds me of how important it is to give to others.
I know it can seem like you have so much to do, how could you possibly find the time to help other people with their businesses? But I have found that the simple act of being there for someone, ready to listen and happy to share your own experiences is really powerful.
I was in an accountability group with some pretty damn (financially) successful women recently. I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated. While StartUp FASHION is certainly successful, these women had built multi-million dollar enterprises. I was concerned that I would have nothing to offer; that I couldn’t possibly support them in any way that is truly helpful. But I was wrong. The simple act of listening and sharing my opinion was really impactful. Others’ perspectives can be an amazing tool in growing a business and by being willing to share ours with others, we are helping.
Are you making yourself available to your fellow business owners? Are you happily sharing what you’ve learned and gladly giving feedback and support to others who need it? Or are you so completely focused on your own needs that giving to others is off your radar?
I challenge you to do a little reflecting. Think about how you can offer help to others and make it a priority. I’m not saying this to sound like a bossy know-it-all, I’m saying this to help open all of our eyes to the possibilities that could present themselves if we all took an occasional step out of our own little worlds and offered some time to others, myself included.
Lots of love and encouragement,