Fashion Business Owner Musings: The Struggle is Real But There’s a Way to Make It Better

startup fashion business owner musings

I think it’s bullshit when business owners say that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. What?! I love what I do. And I also work really really hard at doing it.

Some days I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Some days I don’t want to open my computer or talk to another living soul or look at a task list.

Other days I practically leap out of my bed with ideas I want to implement, discussions I want to have, and people I want to meet.

Most days are somewhere in between.

There’s really no consistency here; every day as a fashion business is different. I’m sure you agree.

So as I write this (about a week before you’re reading it), I’m in the middle of something big for the business. We recently changed our Independent Designers Community to be a closed community- where we only open up membership twice a year for one week at a time. The rest of the year we focus totally on helping our members build their fashion businesses.

This is a scary change and there is so much freaking work that has gone into it. Some days when I wake up all I want to do is take my beautiful indigo-dyed bedspread that I got on a recent trip to Thailand and wrap myself up in it straight-jacket style.  {That way, even if I get out of bed, I can’t open the bedroom door. So, oh well, might as well go back to bed.} I’ve thought about this. Clearly.

Seriously though, guys, this change is so big for our business model that it feels like just as much work as when we first launched a few years ago and, while I’m so very excited for this change and the positive impact it is having on our members’ businesses, some days I just don’t want to do it. Or anything. At all.

So to remedy this situation, I started doing something cool that I want to share.

I started beginning my “I don’t wanna” days with a focus on what I want personally that I know I will achieve as my business grows.

Sometimes this focus comes in the form of a discussion with my life partner. This is my favorite- to sit with him over a cup of coffee and talk about the dilapidated home we someday hope to buy and renovate, and the seasonal expeditions we plan to take more often where we escape brutal winters and set up life for a month or two at a time in cities around the world.

Other times, like when he’s not having one of the “I don’t wanna” days, this focus comes in the form of scribbling in my notebook. Doodles of the kind of kitchen I see in the house, list of of cities I plan to inhabit…it’s fun.

This process has helped me so much with the struggle. And I think it could help you too. That is, assuming that you’re not one of those bullshitters who claims to love every single minute of every single day you’re working on your business! 😉

Anyway, the point is this.

The whole reason we built our businesses in the first place is to have the lifestyle that makes us happy, right?

Sure we have brand values, and problems we want to solve, and all that good stuff. But that comes later. That comes after we say to ourselves, I want to build a business doing what I love. I want to control how I spend my time. I want to travel a lot. I want to have more time with my family. I want to ….

It’s reasons like these that we decide to enter into the crazy, exhausting, thrilling, and exhilarating world of entrepreneurship.

And these are the things that we tend to forget about once we’re in the thick of our businesses. We wake up everyday with lists of things to tackle. Some days we’re totally pumped and ready to go, other days we’re struggling to get to our desks and feel absolutely no motivation to accomplish anything. Either way, we’re working. Hard.

So I challenge you to do this:

On days when you’re feeling the struggle, close your eyes and start thinking about all those reasons you wanted to do this crazy thing called building a fashion business.

Think about it in detail. Picture the house you want to buy or the family dinners you want to host; picture the exotic lands you want to visit or the 11am on a Tuesday yoga classes you want to breath your way through.

Picture all the things that got you to this point and how much they mean to you. Then open your eyes, sit down at your desk, and start the day.

I promise you that the buzz in your belly will put a smile on your face and motivation in your day.

All my love and encouragement,


P.S. I mentioned the change in the Independent Designer’s Community and I don’t want to leave you hanging with that. If you’d like to join us in there the next time we welcome new members, head over to the Community page to get all the details right here.

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

    This post made me smile and made me very emotional, because I want so much to build my brad and I am working so hard on it. I am full time worker and my job is to pay my bills and get me where I want in a future, this means to have my own fashion business. Every morning i force my self to come to work only because I hope to achieve what I really dream of.

  2. Avatar

    For the past few months, I’ve found myself going through my “reasons for doing this” every single day! Thanks for this article!

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