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Fashion Business Advice

Fashion Business Owners Musings: Check Out So You Can Check In

Dear Designers,

It’s 9am on a Tuesday as I’m writing this and we just wrapped up a week long open enrollment for the StartUp FASHION Community. I’m exhausted. Because even though I always prepare for launch week, pre-write all the content, schedule the social media posts, all that stuff, it still drains me. There are always things that pop up from tech issues to unanticipated questions– that need to be addressed in the moment. I actually feel the strain on my body and mind, and so I’ve decided to check out.

We’ll sort of. As you know, when you run a business and you’re a solo or small team operation, checking out completely for a long period of time is close to impossible. But I don’t feel as though checking out has to be an all or nothing situation.

So what do I mean by checking out?

Well, let’s start with social media. In particular Instagram. I love it and hate it. And all year long I look at it at least once a day, usually much more. Engaging with our followers, trying to expand our reach, browsing the feeds of those we follow (mostly our Community members) to see what they’re up to… it never ends. And while I think it’s a great platform, I am realizing that I need a bit of a break. Not completely, I’m still posting but I’m giving myself a time limit for how long I spend on there each day, for the next month or so. I’m checking out a bit.

Next, email responses. I’m never at inbox zero and honestly I don’t think I ever will be. And I’m making myself be OK with that. I’m also calling myself out when I am too quick to run to respond. I can take my time, it’s cool. I don’t need to respond within an hour. I’m checking out a bit.

Last, I’m giving myself some more alone time to think and relax. As a business owner, how much time are you giving yourself to think? To listen to your body and mind? After this week, I realize that I really need it. I’ve got a cold that I can’t kick and knots in my back from stress. Not good. I’m checking out a bit.

So this is what I mean about checking out. It’s not meant to be that you should close your computer for a month, respond to no one, remove all apps from your phone, and completely disappear (unless you want to, and then, more power to you).

Checking out as a business owner can mean anything you want it to mean. The key being that it should be about what you need.

Ask yourself:

  • what are the things in my business that are draining me?
  • where could I use a little break in my work or in my life?
  • what could I do to help me relax and de-stress from the demands of my work?

It’s not an all or nothing scenario. It’s about checking out so you can check in with yourself. It’s about figuring out what you need at this moment so that you can be a better business person. And it’s about doing it without the guilt.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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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!

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