Fashion Business Owner Musings: Own Your Worth as a Business Person

Dear Designers,

Something I see often in startup fashion businesses is the inability for the founder/designer to own their worth as a business person. I get it, it can feel counter-intuitive to think of yourself as having something to offer when it comes to business. You’re starting up and you’re more of a designer, than a business person, or so you think. So you defer to others when it comes to what’s “right” and “wrong” in business.

I think one of the biggest hurdles in the growth of our businesses is our lack of confidence in ourselves as business people. We tend to assume that we need to bend to what others are asking– buyers, bloggers, customers — instead of owning our worth as smart, capable, adaptable human beings.

The thing about not owning your worth as a business person is that it keeps you from doing the things you should be doing in your business– the things that will make you a good business person.

Things like negotiating, saying “no”, and being decisive.

It’s all about mindset, right?

If you don’t believe that you have (or can learn) the know-how to lead your business into growth, then you won’t lead your business into growth. It’s that simple.

I’m not saying that it isn’t important to listen to others’ feedback and ideas or to take into account what your customers are telling you. I am saying that requests and suggestions are just that– requests and suggestions.

These things are meant to make you think. But they’re not meant to question your worth as a business owner or ability to make decisions on the direction your business takes.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

They want me to sign a one year contract. Is a one year contract too long? It feels really long to me. But maybe I should just do it.

I know I need it but should I spend the money on this [fill in the blank]?

I really like the idea of creating just one style to start, but what if I’m not taken seriously?

This buyer has asked so much of me, I’m feeling taken advantage of, but I’m so new…

These are questions that so many of you as designers are constantly posing. Not because you don’t have gut instinct about what you should do but because you’re afraid to listen to that gut instinct  since you don’t believe that you are worthy in business yet.

Stop doing that. You are worthy.

Yes, seek opinions, feedback, and experiences from your fellow designers. But don’t belittle your own instinct and worth as a business person.

Cause here’s the thing, as your business grows, so too will the voices and opinions from others.  You will be bombarded with “musts” and “have tos” and “why the hell would yous”.

So the sooner you get good at being confident in your worth and abilities as a business person, the better off your entire business journey will be.

When you wondering whether you’re capable of business growth or whether you’re able to run this thing like a “real” business, remind yourself….

I bring something to the table.

I am capable.

I have something to offer.

I am a business person.

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!