Want to learn how to grow your fashion business next year?
How many of you have made bad decisions already in your business? We all do it – I’ve even done embarrassing things in my own business. I’m hoping that you will not make the same mistakes though and that you will learn from these mistakes. I want you to use these tips to help grow your fashion business. They can literally help you 5x your business in 2019, so who wouldn’t want an opportunity to skyrocket? Here are the 13 things I wish I knew when I got started.
#1 Don’t spend too much time or energy writing a formal business plan
Somewhere along the way we have all kind of been conditioned that in order to start a business, the first step is to write a formal business plan. I remember taking this business plan writing course in college and that’s everything we did for the entire semester. It was geared around this business plan writing thing and I just feel like every time you talk about business, you hear everyone say business plan. Yes, it’s really important to have a business plan if you plan to get investors, apply for a bank loan, or you are trying to get grants or some kind of scholarship. But really, in general, you don’t need a formal business plan to get started in business. That was a mistake that I made. I was so burnt out at the end of writing my business plan that literally I did nothing with the business.I really don’t want you guys to burn out, I don’t want you to feel the need that you have to write a formal business plan. I teach you how to do all of the things required to start a business in a really smart way and to know who your target customer is and who your competition is, but not in a formal business plan setting. So, I don’t want you to get burned out and I don’t want you to have analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is going to kill you. I am that type of a person where I’m an information gatherer, but sometimes you spend so much time gathering information that you are not doing anything with the information that you’re gathering, so it’s not good – you need to take action. At the end of the day, it is way better to take action than to sit there collecting data and information. Hence when I started my actual real fashion line, the MultiChic by Christine D’Angelo line, I didn’t have a business plan because I didn’t need one. I wasn’t going after investors or seeking a bank loan or anything like that. I really just had a desire and a passion to get my products complete and out there because I already had a buyer lined up, so that was kind of my fuel to get me going to make sure that I would get this line complete and not sit around gathering information. So whatever you have to do, light a fire under your butt and just do whatever it takes and don’t be analysis paralysis or collecting data all the time – actually take action.
#2 Don’t try to do everything yourself
You don’t want to really be all alone in business. You really need a support group and a network of like-minded people. In the beginning of my business, I was like I’m a superwoman, I can do everything, I don’t need anyone’s help, I don’t need to talk to anybody – and that’s really not a good attitude to have. You really need to have a great community which is why I created this amazing Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Group, it is also why I include a Private Mastermind Group inside of our Fashion Startup Intensive Online Course. I know the power of having a group of like-minded individuals that are on the same boat that can help you and encourage you and get you to where you need to be. It’s great to have that community to ask questions, to bounce ideas off of and all of that stuff, so don’t try to do everything yourself.
#3 Get everything in writing
I will first say that I’ve always been a big proponent of this in business. However sometimes, we get a little too relaxed or trust others too easily, so we really need to make sure that we can’t let this happen. You really need to get everything in writing from the beginning, as I learned from my own personal experience. I don’t agree with bartering services and it’s not something that I do in my business or will ever do. You should want to get paid as you’re doing something that’s requiring a lot of work and a lot of your time. Long story short, I was crunched on time and going crazy in my business at the time, so I agreed to do it and it was a complete disaster. It was just a really bad situation and all this could’ve been avoided if everything had been in writing. So please, whatever you do, get things in writing.
#4 Be consistent
At the beginning of my coaching business, I was not consistent at all. I was working a 16-hour a day six days a week job, so I would literally try to fit things in whatever I possibly could. I think I was doing blog posts once every six months, I was doing YouTube videos whenever I could fit them in – there was no consistency in my business whatsoever. I love this quote that my mentor says all the time, “consistency separates the amateurs from the pros,” so you need to be consistent. You really need to be consistent with everything that you do – your newsletters, blog posts, videos, Facebook Lives, etc. The key to being consistent is to not wait until the last minute. Try to plan ahead as much as possible and stay organized with calendars, documents, and spreadsheets.
#5 Create multiple streams of revenue from the beginning
Now I always say you don’t want to have too many streams of revenue because you will drive yourself crazy, 2-3 are usually good. I would say four maximum, but in the beginning of my business, I really only had one way I was making money. As a coaching business, you make money coaching, you make money with one-on-one clients, so in the beginning of my business that was the only way I was making money. Then I quickly realized there are so many hours in the day and there’s only one of me, so this is not going to be sustainable for very long. Therefore I started to add things like online courses, different live workshops, fashion tours, and affiliate marketing. It’s good to diversify and not have all of your eggs in one basket. There’s a few things you can do to help diversify your fashion line and create multiple streams of revenue. You could wholesale other lines, teach workshops, become an influencer, be a guest blogger, or get paid off your YouTube videos.
#6 Figure out a way to duplicate yourself
You can’t do everything by yourself forever. In the beginning of your business it’s just you – you will be doing everything probably for the first 1 to 2 years maybe three. However, that’s not really sustainable long-term and hopefully you’re thinking about how your business is actually going to grow over time. So, for me, that means things like creating online content and training up other coaches. For you guys as designers, that means finding someone that can be an assistant designer, and they can start out as an intern with you and then grow with you over time. It doesn’t have to be that you hire someone tomorrow, but start to think about who would you hire. Do you want to start working with someone that you can start training now and getting them ready to kind of take things over for you? Maybe you love doing the design, so you don’t really want to hand that off, but you hate doing sales so then you would rather hand that off. Think of ways you can actually duplicate yourself so that you can really scale your business long-term.
#7 Focus on only one thing
For some entrepreneurs, we have this issue – I call it the shiny object issue. You see something blinging and you are like “Oh, I want to do that, let’s go do that job, let’s start a business over here and we are so creative, we have so many ideas in our head going on at one that we can’t like just focus on one thing.” Then all of a sudden, you’re not doing anything because you are trying to do everything. Therefore, we need to get out of this shiny object syndrome so we can focus on one thing. I put so much time and energy into another business of mine, that it burned me out and at the same time it was kind of a seasonal business so it didn’t really make sense for me to continue it. Then at the same time, I was also continuing with my coaching business Fashion Angel Warrior and I was also launching my Multi Chic fashion line, so I literally was going crazy and I always say starting a business is like launching a rocket. 95% of your energy is going to be burned in the launch, in the beginning phase. The beginning phase is the hardest – it’s the most amount of work because you have no systems in place, you’ve never done this before, you have no idea what you’re doing, and it’s going to take a lot of your energy to get started. Now, I was very passionate about all three things, but honestly, after nine months of trying to run three businesses, I was completely utterly like disgustingly burned out. Sp please, do not make this mistake. Focus on one thing, master it, have your systems in place, and if the business can get to the point where it’s running without you, then you’re allowed to start another business. Otherwise, you are not allowed to start another business.
#8 Learn how to say no
As my mentor says, we need to get on the no train – especially us ladies because for some reason women like to please everyone. We put ourselves last – we are like the mothers, we are taking care of our children, we are taking care of our husband, we are taking care of people at church, we are doing everything for everyone else and then we never do anything for ourselves. Then we wonder why we are so burnt out and we have all these grey hairs, so you need to say no to opportunities that are not really beneficial for you or for your business. We need to start saying no way more than we say yes. Every yes that you say means you’re actually saying no to something else because we only have so much time in the day. Thus if you’re spending your time doing one thing, it’s taking you away from doing something else that could really be what you need to be doing in your business to really push your business forward. You don’t want to be wasting your precious time, and it shows maturity when you can say no to something. When you know deep down that this isn’t the right decision for you to make, it’s not the right thing for you to do in your business and understand also that a lot of the time what’s really behind saying yes, all the time is FOMO. If you have never heard a FOMO, it stands for Fear of Missing Out – we are scared that we are going to miss out on an opportunity. We need to start to learn how to make decisions and judge whether something is actually a good opportunity or not for our business. You also really need a system in place in order to do that, so definitely try to start saying no more to things than yes and get on the no train.
#9 You need to have boundaries
I always state my boundaries upfront from the very beginning so that everyone is on the same page. This goes the same for working with clients or buyers. Buyers are going to come to you and they are going to want to start changing everything around and making all these crazy requests. Therefore, you need to decide early on in your business whether you’re going to bend over backwards to accommodate every single buyer because trust me, it is not worth it at the end. Sometimes you will bend over backwards so far and you’ll jump through all these hoops just to please the buyer, that it’s not actually going to be beneficial for you in the end. When I worked in the industry, I thought about how much energy and time and fabric and all the stuff we had to reorder and cancel and go through just to get these buyers what they wanted. It’s like, are you even making any money at the end of the day? You need to make money in your business, and it’s not always about pleasing every buyer. You really want to make sure that you don’t get burned in the end.
#10 Figure out the best tools to use as fast as possible
Have you ever done something in your business and you’re like, “there’s got to be a better way,” “this is taking way too long,” “how is everyone else doing this,” “why can’t I figure this out.” I’m sure you probably all have. It was just taking me way too long in the beginning of my business, and that’s why it’s really important to have a coach, mentor, support group, or someone that you can talk to that you can really ask. They can really show you the right tools to use and the right way to go. I definitely saved a huge chunk of time on my business with my mentor’s recommendations. Thus, you really want to figure out the right tools to use from the beginning so that you can be on the right track and save a lot of time. Then, really use that precious time for more important things, and a coach can help you do that.
#11 Focus on building your email list
I say this over and over again and those of you who know me, I drill it in your head because I know that it works. In the beginning of my business, I had only 500 contacts on my email list for the longest time and it was painful because my business wasn’t growing that fast. It wasn’t until I hit like around 1500 emails on my contact list that things really started to shift in my business and believe it or not, email marketing is still 40 times as effective as social media. The nice thing about email marketing is once you have their email, you basically own them. You don’t own your followers on Facebook or your followers on Instagram – they are both owned by Facebook, so they can shut down your page at any time and you will lose all of your followers. So please, if you haven’t started email marketing, start building your email list now. You can try MailChimp – it’s free and we can help you do it.
#12 Get a coach sooner rather than later and take more risks
This is something I really wish I would’ve done in my business sooner rather than later. I have a coach now, but I didn’t have a coach in the beginning and you really want to have a business coach or a fashion coach or someone that’s going to help you with the things that you need help with in your business. You are your biggest asset – the more you’re learning, the faster your business is going to grow. I also would have invested in more programs. I spent a lot of time and money investing in programs but I always made back way more than I’ve ever spent as a return on investment. I definitely would have taken way more risks, worked with a coach way sooner, and have invested way more in coaching programs and courses. Investing in yourself and your business will lead to better success in the end.
#13 Be original
God created you all individually, unique, and different for a reason. Don’t try to copy what someone else is doing. In the beginning, I was so nervous about doing things wrong that I just looked to what others were doing and tried to really copy. Now, I just look at what others are doing as a form of inspiration, and I turn it around and change it into what is me. I make it mine and my own – I put my own personality and my own spin on everything. So please be original and don’t copy anyone. Just be yourself – you’ll thank me later.
I hope you enjoyed everything I wish I knew before I had started and these 13 tips to grow your fashion business. I promise they will help you to 5X your business in 2019 if you really take them all seriously.
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