Fashion Business Owner Musings: Get Good at Asking for Help

A great habit is to sit down every month to review your business over the last 30 days and then make plans and set goals for the next 30 days.

One of the questions I suggest asking yourself is, “What worked well for me this month and why?”

Sometimes, when you respond to this question, you’ll find that your answer is something like, “I just asked.”

By that I mean, you wanted something so you asked for it.

Some people are very reluctant to ask people for things. That’s understandable because it’s easy to worry that you are taking advantage or that you’re not respecting their time and expertise.

Other people tend to feel unworthy. Like, “Why in the world would this person be willing to help me?” So they don’t ask for help.

Here’s the thing.

Most people are inherently kind and will offer their help if you respectfully request it. So stop feeling like you can’t request the help of someone without them feeling completely put out and taken advantage of.

Now, let’s chat about the word “Respectfully”.

You have to be respectful. I mean it.

This isn’t just in reference to how you phrase your request in the email you send, though that is certainly part it. I have received my fair share of emails from designers that looked something like this (lack of greeting and all):

“I’m starting my line, I need help. What do I do first?”

I don’t respond to emails like that. I hope you know why.

Anyway, in addition to how you phrase your email, there’s also the need to respect someone’s time. Whatever your request is, make it as easy as possible for this person to help you. Ask clear, focused questions that don’t require a short novel to answer. Make the process simple.

You also need to respect their expertise. If you’re asking for someone’s help with something that they are usually paid to do, be very careful of what you’re asking and don’t go overboard.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

If you’re looking for help with launching your fashion business and want to email me with questions, start by watching this free class that I host. That way, some of your questions might be answered. And for those that aren’t, you now have a very focused/concise question you can ask based on what you learned in class.

If you keep these rules of respect top of mind, then you can more confidently reach out to people for their help.

I try to give 3 times as much as I get in life and in work. I heard this approach somewhere in the past and I realized how much I loved it. Give, Give, Give, Get.

When you live your life like that, the act of asking suddenly doesn’t feel so wrong or inappropriate, does it?

The lesson here is that we all need help in life and business. No one makes anything happen without the help of others. If you become someone who gives to others, you will find that others (even those who you haven’t yet directly helped) can sense that about you and are happy to offer you their help.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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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!

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