Fashion Business Owner Musings: You Don’t Know How To Do Everything, So Stop Beating Yourself Up

startup fashion business owner musings

I have a really hard time accepting the fact that I don’t know everything.

I mean, in relation to my business. I want to be able to do it all and have all the answers. So when I don’t, I get down on myself. Sometimes I actually get pissed off at myself. Ridiculous, I know, but still. There’s no way I can know everything about everything but for whatever reason, I expect myself to.

Take our Community for example. I don’t think there’s anything I enjoy more in my business than interacting with our members. I love to learn about what they’re working on, get to know them, and share advice and insight. I love to help in any way I can.

But it’s when I can’t help, or at least I can’t “solve” everything, that I start to feel bad, like I’m failing them. And myself. When something they’re struggling with is simply out of my realm of expertise I take it to heart and start to worry about how it is I can help. What I can do to make it all better.

This is problem. It’s a problem because I’m setting myself up for failure. It’s problem because I’m putting too much pressure on myself. It’s a problem because I can’t see past my own insecurities enough to understand that I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to solve every problem. I need to see that what I can do is connect our members to other experts or resources for helping them. And this in itself is helping!  I am, in fact, using my network and relationships to help them with their problem.

The reason I’m writing about this because I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only business owner out there with this issue.  Yours may come in a different form but there’s a good chance you’re doing it.

You’re putting so much pressure on yourself to know and do everything, that you’re actually having a negative impact on your business.

Listen, I get it. As an independent business owner, you are wearing all the hats (and shoes, and jackets, and scarves). You are doing it all and when something comes your way that you don’t know how to do, it’s easy to follow all those inspirational quotes: “Obstacles won’t hold you back!”, “Figure out it!”, “You got this!”.  The reality is that sometimes you need help and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I love those inspirational quotes.  And if our Instagram account is any indication, you do too!

But there’s a caveat to those quotes, darling designers, that none of us should be ashamed of.  And that’s…

You don’t need to know how to do everything. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and be OK with asking for help.

It will be a difficult shift, I know. But you got this!… Except when you don’t. And that’s OK too.

All my love and encouragement,

-Nicole
Nicole Giordano
Nicole Giordano
Nicole

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online community and support system for independent designers around the world. She’s a traveler, a weaver, and a foodie. A deep love for the craft of fashion pared with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION were 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!

3 comments
  1. Avatar
    Genevieve

    Great post Nicole! I love your authenticity, it’s great to hear a voice in the crowd stand up and say, “this is dang hard!” I feel the same way a lot of the time, it’s impossible to have everything be perfect. I think this is probably why we are both passionate about helping up and coming designers because we know how hard it is!

    We JUST launched the landing page for Sadie Express so we can now offer high quality product photography for websites, line sheets, wholesale catalogs, etc. for as little as $39.99/month, including models and stylists. I think it’s really important to focus as tightly in on what you do really really well, give yourself a break about the rest, and find a way to get help with the stuff that’s totally outside your wheelhouse!

    Sadie Express- Fashion Product Photography: http://getsadie.kickoffpages.com/

    Best,
    Genevieve

  2. Avatar
    Dara Branson

    I’ve definitely been beating myself up lately for not being able to do everything, so I really needed this today. I work full time in addition to trying to bootstrap a design business, and I recently moved to a new city where the only person I know is my husband. It’s really hard, and it’s nice to know I’m not as alone as I often feel I am.

  3. Avatar
    judit

    I woke up this morning after beating myself up for months about my website, lline sheets, social media presence, catalogues, streamlining my two brands and many other issues and decided, ok so I cant do everything myself so where do I start to unravel the different strands of my business to make it the best it can be without me doing it all and hey presto I open my email and you are saying the same thing, what an inspiration!! I think as women we are taught that we can do everything and maybe we can but not all at once, and sometimes we may not want to do it all and sometimes it is simply more efficient and effective to get someone else to do it. Thanks Nicole, what a great start to my day!
    see a few of my designs on http://www.etsy.com/shop/juditbjewelry

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