Fashion Business Owner Musings: How to Know When It’s Time to Move On

startup fashion business owner musings

Have you ever been guilty of trying so hard to make something work, but it just wouldn’t?

I know I have. Sometimes we have a vision; a vision of how something is gong to work or how something is supposed to happen and when it doesn’t, we have a difficult time seeing clearly through all the determination.

It can be especially difficult because, as fashion business owners, we are taught and conditioned to be persistent and to not doubt ourselves too much. We believe that being a great entrepreneur means sticking it out no matter what; it means being dedicated and not giving up.

While it’s important to give our all and work incredibly hard to see our goals reached and our dreams materialized it’s also important to recognize that sometimes you just have to move on.

Depending on what e’re talking about, this can be easy-ish or practically impossible.

Sometimes it’s presents itself in the for of our marketing efforts. Things like a blogging series that, even though you’ve been consistent and dedicated, just does not seem to resonate with your community. Or maybe it’s a type of Instagram post that you thought was such a brilliant idea but ultimately, no one is really engaging with it. When it’s something like this, it’s a little easier to deal with. While you make love it, you’re starting to realize that you’re using precious, limited time and energy to create content that isn’t really helping to grow your business, so you accept it and try a different idea.

Or maybe it’s a sales channel. You had a detailed plan on building out your wholesale business only to find that buyers are not very receptive. You have invested time and money in all that you needed to really pursue this channel so you’re pushing back on the idea of giving up; you’re not sure why it’s not working so you jut keep pushing forward with your fingers crossed. Eventually you realize that something has to give. Either you need to dive deep into what’s not working and create a plan to fix it, or you decide to focus your energy on a different channel, because ultimately, you need to be making money. By no means an easy decision; it’s certainly more difficult than simply changing up your Instagram posts.

Then there’s the big one- your business. It’s not growing as quickly as you’d hoped or expected. You’re worried every day about your finances and your future. You don’t know what to do but you don’t want to give up. This is your dream. When it comes to making a decision, this is the absolute hardest. You’re so in it, it’s practically impossible to see clearly.

What the hell do you do?

I’ve learned that there’s no easy way to determine if and when it’s time to move on. Whether you’re talking about a relationship, a sales channel, a marketing strategy, or the existence of your business, no one can make the decision fo you; you have to create a process for assessing a situation and then make a decision.

Here are some things that I do, when something simply is not working…

  • I ask myself (and am honest with myself!) “Do I believe that I have done absolutely everything in my power to make this work?” This is tricky, because it’s easy really freaking easy to say “yes” to this. But don’t lie! Have you tried everything, event things that would push you out of your comfort zone (I’m lookin’ at you sales calls)? Have you dedicated a lot of time, creativity, and energy to making this work? Have it tried accomplishing it in a different way or ways? Have I exhausted all possible avenues?
  • Then I reflect on how I would feel if I no longer worked towards the goal or if I tried something new. What will I do instead? Would I mourn? Would I ultimately be happier? More successful? Trying to look past the thing itself to what could be instead and paying attention to how that makes me feel, is always helpful.
  • Finally, a take some time off from whatever it is and let myself just be. What happened when I took that time off (whether it was a day, a week, or a month)? Was I thinking about it all the time? Did I have that same excitement that I used to have for it? Did i suddenly have new ideas and that buzz n my belly for how to approach it differently? Or did I not think about it at all? Did something else occupy my time? Was I happy not thinking about it?

These reflections can be really helpful when trying to determine if it’s time to move on from something or if you just need to come at it with fresh eyes. I’m never a supporter of giving up on something you want, but I am a supporter of never being afraid to admit that it no longer is what you want.

Remember, just because something didn’t work, does not make it a failure. You know that whatever it is, you learned a lot.

All my love and encouragement,

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 Comment
  1. Avatar

    Love this <3 So relatable too, I just decided this past week to completely ditch wholesale! It's hard to know when to try harder or to change. Always the struggle.


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