Congratulations. You’ve done it. You’ve been working late hours for years to establish your fashion business, and you’re now ready to take the jump and go full time with it. You’ve resigned your job, cleared up your desk, and said good-by to your final coworker…
But wait a minute.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you pass through those familiar office doors one last time:
1. Have a plan and set a timeline.
I know… You’re thinking, “uh, duh,” but have you really thought about this? By all accounts, you’ve put a lot of time and energy into the decision to leave your job, but walking out the door is the easy part. The success of your business goes up exponentially if you’ve devised a viable plan. How many months are you giving yourself to get your brand off the ground? How long can you get by without an income? What foreseeable expenses do you anticipate?
In other words…
2. Be honest with yourself regarding your financial flow.
A budget does not lie. The first thing you must do is determine your “run rate.” In other words, when are you going to run out of money? If you’re foregoing a solid income to chase your aspirations, you should have a cushion of cash in the bank. Determine how much of your money will go toward rent, food, and living expenditures, and then determine where the remainder may be allocated for business expenses. Once you’ve decided how you’re going to spend the money, you’ll need to know when your bank account will reach a point of no return. By that point, your business should be producing enough income to pay you, or you should have a backup plan.
3. Working from home is overrated.
Working in your pj’s isn’t all it’s made up to be, as someone who has worked in a home office for the past six years will attest. And you’ll realise it immediately. It takes a certain kind of individual to be able to transition from a regular office setting to working from home. Nobody expects you to be at your work by 9 a.m., there is no formal “end” to the day, and no one stops you from heading to the refrigerator every 20 minutes. There will be an adjustment period so make sure to step outside and smell the roses every once in awhile.
4. Don’t go at it alone.
When it comes to working from home it often means a lot of alone time. And no, your cat doesn’t count. One of the best things you can do for your own sanity and the success of your business, is to find a like-minded support system. Whether it’s joining your local incubator / accelerator, an online program or a fashion community, a network of peers can keep you inspired, hold you accountable and provide valuable advice and insight.
5. There will be times when you’ll regret it.
This is just a fact. There will be nights when you’ll fall asleep thinking, “What have I done?” Remember, it’s all normal and you will get past it. When you hit a low point try to recall why you started in the first place and visualize the big picture. Imagine how it’s going to feel when you’re the founder of your very own clothing brand one day.
6. Don’t be so in love with your original idea that you can’t see the better option staring you in the face.
This is something I say to my entrepreneurs a lot. Oftentimes, when we have our designs down on paper and we create such a clear vision of what we want things to look like, we can often become blinded by the “aspirational” and not see the “realistic.” As an entrepreneur, you have to be open to new ideas, changes and edits, especially if it means getting your product to market quicker and thus getting customer feedback sooner.
7. There’s nothing wrong with a side hustle.
Several years ago when I was launching my clothing brand, both my co-founder and I worked side jobs in the hospitality industry. During the day we would work on our startup and at night I would bartend. It certainly wasn’t easy going to bed at 4am and waking up to be an entrepreneur in the morning, but having a side job gave me the freedom to not worry about money all the time. If you can’t pay your own bills, then your business will suffer.
8. Attitude is everything.
Real success is a series of baby steps and the entrepreneurs who break apart from the pack are the ones who stay “up.” What does that mean exactly?
They don’t let a tech glitch destroy their mood. They don’t let a confusing email from a supplier derail their focus. They don’t let a botched sample force them into the fetal position. Successful entrepreneurs know that every problem can be solved and they do it with integrity, thought and resourcefulness. Remember, when you walk out of that door there won’t be anyone to tell you what a great job you’re doing. You’ll need to take moments to look in the mirror, pat yourself on the back and say, “I’ve got this.”