Fashion Business Owner Musings: Get Clear on Your Definition of Success

I once read an Eleanor Roosevelt book called Learn By Living and I want to share something with you.

In the book, this passage really stood out.

Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply to be what is generally called “a success”.

How true this is. And how guilty we all are of being general about what we want in our lives and our businesses!

“I want to be successful.”

“I want to build a successful business.”

“I want to grow my fashion business.”

While I understand the importance of descriptive and sensory language in writing effective copy, it wasn’t until I read this passage that I visualized just how general and ineffective using “success” is.

If we continue to use these statements of general success when we think about what we want in life, we’re never going to accomplish the things we want. Because we’re not saying what we want.

When you talk about your fashion business and what you want from it, how are you defining success?

Are you thinking about how you want to spend your days?

Are thinking about where you want to live?

Are you thinking about what you want for your family?

Are you thinking about the hobbies you want to nourish?

What will your Sunday look like, in detail?

What will your Monday look like, in detail?

When we can get specific about what, exactly, success looks like for us, we can spend our time more effectively working towards that picture. It’s pretty fantastic.

Do you want to launch your fashion business to complement your life? Great! Figure out what that looks like for you.

Do you want to make consistent sales in your fashion business so you can live the life you dream of? Great! Figure out what that looks like for you.

And you know what else? When we know what we really want in life, we suddenly stop comparing ourselves and our businesses to those of others. Think about it. It’s really easy to feel envy when we see fellow business owners reaching exciting goals, making lots of money, or living a personal life of comfort and adventure.

But, if we have a clear picture of what success looks like to us, what we ultimately want our lives to be, and know that we are taking steps every day to reach that picture with our businesses, then the envy is unnecessary. The desire to have what they have is irrelevant. Because you know what you want and you’re doing everything in your power to get it.

So I challenge you to sit down and think about your life and your business. Close your eyes and picture your Sunday and your Monday. Write down the things you value and the way you want to spend your time. Create a vision that’s based on a detailed account of what success is to you, and I guarantee you’ll be a lot closer to getting it.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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. Vanessa

    Wonderful post as always, Nicole! Reminds me of a Marie Forelo episode I watched recently:

    She describes the big rocks as the non-negotiables in your life…the things that bring you joy and make you excited to live (as you pointed out big picture of your business, family, location, hobbies, etc). The sand is everything else (aka the work that never stops and will always be there).

    Creating a life that revolves around what’s most important to you is so essential!! I feel like many of us never reflect on this. What a good lesson.



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