Fashion Business Owner Musings: Self-Doubt Never Seems to Go Away

I used to think that once I “made it” I’d stop second-guessing my own abilities. Well,Β  I do have a successful fashion business that pulls in a profit, I get to travel around the world because my business is run online, and feel pretty good about the life I’m leading. Yet, I still have days in my work when I wonder if I’m good enough.

I have self-doubt.

I know I’m not really “supposed to” say this. I’m giving other people advice about building businesses and here I am sharing with you that I sometimes wonder if I’m good enough, smart enough, whatever enough to do the work I do.

Some days I’m all over the place– from excitement to worry, confidence to fear, security to anxiety. And I know, without a doubt, that most of you are too.

The excitement, confidence, and security are the easy ones, right? Profits, growth, these things are magical. They manage to give us a natural high, they remind us of how great it feels to accomplish something we’ve worked so hard for, and they are the fuel that keeps us going when all we want to do is hide under the covers.

But the worry, fear, and anxiety . . . those are tough. I bet you’re saying things like: How can I keep going without making more money? Why aren’t things moving faster? What is going to happen if it all falls apart?

These feelings feed the self-doubt monster and can be so extreme that you ultimately decide to stop what you’re doing, to stop building your dream.

From experience, I know these feelings get better over time.

As we grow and accomplish and learn, these feelings get easier to overcome.

But guess what? I don’t think they ever fully disappear.

Because in order to grow in your fashion business, you need to step into roles you’ve never held before. You need to try things you’ve never tried before.

And when that happens, you will have doubt.

“Can I do this? What was I thinking?”

And you know what? That’s OK.

Self-doubt is natural.

Acknowledge that you’re experiencing self-doubt and then decide how you’re going to overcome it.

You can build and lead the life that you want. You’re smart. You’re capable.

When these self-doubt feelings hit, remember that they are temporary. That whatever triggered them in the moment will pass. That before you know it, something good will happen that will flip that switch and you’ll suddenly feel excitement again.

You know that excitement I’m talking about? Not “I’m going on vacation” excitement.Β  I mean that excitement that is so intense it’s practically nervousness. The buzz in your belly and the racing mind full of ideas and direction and plans and goals.

You know what I’m talking about.

When you’re working on something that you really believe in, that feeling will always return.

So when the self-doubt is there, and the tears of frustration are streaming, remember that feeling of excitement. Remember why you’re doing this (freedom, control, happiness) and zero in on it. Tap into that feeling as best as you can and use it to help you get past the doubt.

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. Cris

    Nicole, it’s so nice that you’re sharing these kind of feelings with us.
    I feel the same sometimes and I think that there are lots of people out there feeling the same.
    When these kind of feelings comes to our mind, we need to switch to another ‘station’. It will be like when you’re listening to a radio and don’t like what they’re talking about it, or don’t like the song you just change the station and choose ‘the one’ that your happy and feel comfortable with.
    So, we have to change the ‘station’, when we don’t want to listen to those kind of thoughts.
    Thank you so much Nicole, you’re Awesome. πŸ™‚

    • Nicole Giordano

      Cris, I love that! I’m going to start saying that to myself. “OK, this sucks. It’s time to change the station.”

  2. penelope

    Oh that stupid self doubt……..can make you so unproductive! I think because most of us work by ourselves, and long hours too that it’s easy to lose perspective and fall into that mind trap. It’s good to have people in the same boat to talk too and snap you out of it!

    • Nicole Giordano

      Yes! I totally agree, Penelope. It can be really isolating. Another reason why I really believe in the Community. πŸ™‚

  3. Billy Bones @billybonestx

    Always look forward to reading your Friday musings. Very motivational. From personal experience, the self-doubt doesn’t go away, but I think if you have a good team it also helps as well. Also if you join a group with other business owners, I think that this also helps as well.

    • Nicole Giordano

      Thanks, Billy. πŸ™‚ I’ so glad you like the Musings. Yep, I totally agree. It’s one of the reasons why I launched the StartUp FASHION membership Community. Being around others who “get it”, is so important. And you’re right, when it time to build your team, reflecting on this need will help guide you as you make your hires. A positive, excited, and strong team is essential!

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