Fashion Business Owner Musings: Situations Are Not Always Ideal, So Find a Way

Dear Designers,

Right now I’m sitting on my bed writing this post because it’s far enough away from the rest of the house where construction is currently taking place. Jigsaws, hammers, drills, the sounds are a clunky orchestration of invasive noises that not only cause distraction but also cringing and goose bumps (or cold blood for those of you who phrase it that way).

I happen to have four important documents I need to write today. This one included. I need to be creative and thoughtful and (mostly) grammatically correct. And I’ll just say that I’m famous for proclaiming, “I can’t concentrate!” when a truck is backing up for 12 seconds making that Beep Beep noise as it does so.

Needless to say the construction symphony is posing a problem.

Around 20 minutes ago, I found myself spending my day washing dishes, folding socks (something I never do even on my best day– our home embraces the messy sock drawer approach), and contemplating the absolute perfect location of a new soy candle my mom recently gifted me. And that is a problem. There’s work to be done and I need to do it.

I had two options, I could continue to tell myself there’s no way I can focus and write in this construction zone, or I could stop giving myself an out and just sit down and do the damn work.

When you run a business, especially a small business or a business that is run from your home, distraction and less-than-ideal circumstances are more common than not. And there’s no boss waiting for the results of your efforts. So it’s super easy to zero in on the imperfection of the situation and do minimal business work. There are chores to be done, bickering kids, noisy neighbors… shit, uncomfortable chairs have kept me from being productive!

But it is our job as the business owners to find a way to make it happen.

We can either buckle to the circumstances or we can call ourselves out for not doing what we know we’re capable of doing.

It’s all about determination. 

How determined are you to make this work? How determined are you to be productive? How determined are you to hold up your end of the entrepreneurial bargain and complete the projects and tasks that you know need to be done?

Even as your business grows, you will continue find yourself in less than ideal situations. Your assistant quits with minimal notice, or maybe you’ve outgrown your apartment or garage studio but can’t seem to find a space that will work. It’s easy to let that be an excuse for things not getting done or goals not being reached.

But really, who are you hurting when you do this? You.

Because it’s your goals that aren’t being reached. Your business that’s not growing.

If we don’t hold ourselves accountable to what needs to get done and only allow ourselves to be productive when things are “perfect”, we’re not going to get very far.

So the next time you find yourself saying, “I can’t write that email campaign today, the kids are home.” or “I can’t finish that business plan, my neighbors are ripping up dead trees in the backyard.” or “I can’t sew those samples until I can move my machine out of the dining room and into a yet-to-be-found studio.”, stop.

Stop waiting for ideal circumstances and situations. They’re rare. And you’ll only find yourself three months done the road in exactly the same place you are right now — without those finished samples, without the sales that could have come from that email campaign, without the completed business plan.

You may, however, have a very neat sock drawer, glistening dishes, and thoughtfully styled candle arrangement.

Which would you rather have?

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!