Fashion Business Owner Musings: Sometimes Things Suck, It’s OK

startup fashion business owner musings

You know those days when everything just sucks?

When every time we turn around there’s a new freaking problem to solve, there’s a technical issue that we don’t know how to fix, there is too much money going out and not enough money coming in, there’s disappointment about something we thought would be but wasn’t, there’s frustration about the speed at which things are going.

We know in our hearts that we are the lucky ones. We are here, we are working on what makes us happy.

But it doesn’t change how we feel some days. When things aren’t working the way we want them to. When we have issues to address and problems to solve but feel like all we want to do is fold ourselves in half and hide under the bed covers.

Dealing with this shit is most certainly something that gets easier at as we continue to build our businesses. But it doesn’t mean it goes away.

Here I am, 2 years into StartUp FASHION being an actual business (we used to be a blog with no revenue streams), and there are still days I want to stay in bed and talk to no one. There are still days I cry out of frustration. There are still days I get pissed off and create entire dialogues in my head around what I plan to say (though never actually say) to this person/company that is pissing me off so badly. There are still days I doubt what I’m doing. Days I wonder at my own abilities. Days I feel so exhausted that my brain actually feels like it shut off.

For a long time (and still every now and then) I let these thoughts and feelings and doubts impact my abilities, my drive, and my confidence. I let myself think that maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing with my life. Maybe I need to focus my energy elsewhere.

But over time, I’ve learned to say fuck you. Fuck you doubt, fuck you lack of confidence, fuck you bed covers.

Over time I’ve learned that these feelings are natural. That when you’re working on something so different than what is conventional, expected, and accepted, you are going to hit walls, feel discouraged, and wonder if it’s all worth it.

Well I’m telling you– it is.

Over time I’ve learned that it’s OK to have a good cry and let it out.

Over time I’ve learned that in order to do my best work, I can’t do only work.

Over time I’ve learned that while feeling sorry myself will get me no where, cutting myself some slack will go a long way in helping me grow.

I do hate those days when everything is overwhelming and discouraging and putting my sanity into question. I do. But it’s taken me time to realize that days like these are necessary. They’re actually necessary for my sanity. They balance me.

I believe it’s my body and my mind and my spirit telling me to chill the hell out. You have a great life. It’s OK to take breaks. You can binge watch game of thrones from your couch for a day and your business will not fall apart. You are not alone. You are doing great things.

Having guilt about being emotional has got to stop. There is no way that we’re all going to embark on this journey of building our businesses without mountains to climb and disasters to avert. So we have to be OK with that. We have to give ourselves a break, we have to stop judging ourselves unfairly.

The life we have all chosen to lead is one if uncertainty and questions, rethinking and revising, wondering and trying. Not everything we do is going to work. Not everything we do is going to be right.

So stop beating yourself up when you have a day with no motivation. Stop second guessing yourself when things go wrong. Stop feeling silly for needing a good cry. Stop thinking you have to work all the time or otherwise you aren’t really trying.

Honestly, it’s OK if sometimes things suck.

You got this.

Nicole Giordano
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!

  1. Avatar
    Achu Blessing Ebere

    Hello Nicole,
    I am working towards setting-up a fashion designers Co – working space here in lagos Nigeria. I want the place to where technology meets fashion but my challenge is that I am technology business development manager I have not done anything in fashion. Please do advice the steps to follow to avoid too much mistakes.

  2. Avatar

    Nicole, thank you so much for writing this. I have been following you for about a year now and I really appreciate this article as a start up handbag designer. I was feeling this exact way last week after a few things didn’t pan out the way I expected, and I was really questioning myself and what I am doing. But then I started seeing quotes on social media about all the great business owners and inventors who failed multiple times and kept working at their craft and that is what I am going to keep doing. This was a great morning inspirational read! You are really helping others by what you are doing I’m so grateful I found you. Thank you Nicole!

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      HI Jovanna,

      I’m so glad to hear that the post helped you! Thank you for following along for a year!


  3. Avatar

    After seeing this, I feel so relieved that I’m not the only one feeling this way. Most days, I think to myself that “I can do this”! Then the next I’m thinking “what are you doing and how will I ever accomplish such big tasks”. I’m just at the beginning stages of doing my samples for my collection and can’t help but to feel a bit overwhelmed and overcome by the other details ahead that have to be done in order to get my collection at green light. Either way, I’m glad you put your musings out there for us to know that we’re not alone! Thanks Nicole!

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      I’m so happy to hear this post helped you, Erica. What you describe is what every single business owner goes through on a regular basis. You are certainly not alone.

      I know it seems like a never-ending list of “stuff to do”, but you’ll start to see progress soon. And when that happens, it puts all your hard work into perspective and you’re able to see what you’ve been working towards.

      – Nicole

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    Hear hear! Just the other day I had to remind myself that it was perfectly ok to be in a pissy mood. It happens. It’s fine.

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Yep. When I’m finding myself in a pissy mood, I walk away form work for a while. It helps me relax and that break ultimately is a good thing for my business.

  5. Avatar

    Hi Nicole, thank you for this post. Everything you said its how I feel sometimes.. sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing with my life. I do know what I want, and I hope I’ll get there one day..

    Thank you,

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Milena, knowing what you want is often the hardest part of all! We all have moments of wondering what we’re doing with our lives. When this happens, I take some time to remember why I do what I do. And then I’m immediately brought back to my mission and feel driven and focused once again.

  6. Avatar

    If u know what you want, you are luckier than those who don’t know what they want. If you are pursuing what u love, you are braver than those who haven’t taken that step. Start up phase sucks..Feels good to know I am not alone. Lets embrace the roller coaster!

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Certainly true, Veena. It’s an interesting balance of feeling incredibly lucky to have what we have but at the same time being OK with the fact that everything isn’t perfect all the time.

  7. Avatar
    Billy Bones @billybonestx

    Great post Nicole! What you described is very real and something that all entrepreneurs go through. I know I can definitely relate to everything that you said in this post. Your site is great and provides a lot of value to not just fashion start-ups, but start-ups in general. I hope to be able to connect with you in the future.

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Thanks for your comment, Billy! This is my first “musings” post and I was certainly a little nervous to put it out there, as I feel a lot more vulnerable than when I write other posts. But I thought it was important to start talking about the stuff that is not always so easy when it comes to entrepreneurship.

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