Posts

Prioritize

As we start closing out the year, winding down and reflecting, I’ve been thinking a lot about entrepreneurship and resilience.

Because to reach any level of success in starting a fashion business, resilience is virtually a requirement.

There’s no way around it.

And in thinking about this over and over again (even when it comes to parenting my three year old), here’s where I’ve realized we may have gone wrong: 

For most of us, the first 18 years of our lives were spent developing an aversion to failing. 

We were taught that failure is bad and to avoid any form of the pain that comes with it — get the grades, excel at the sport, earn the lead role in the play. 

How many of us were told we weren’t “musically gifted” because we didn’t immediately pick up the recorder at the age of eight?

How many of us were told, “Oh, your sister is the sporty one. You’re more of the artistic type.”

When, in reality, we would have benefited from struggling to learn how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or trying out for the soccer team and experiencing the disappointment of getting cut.

How would those failures along the way prepare us for success down the road?

Because what we all eventually realize is this: 

To reach the levels of success that we strive for as adults — starting the business, launching the brand, scaling the company — it not only requires us to be comfortable with struggle but also, failure.

To achieve anything great, you must at least be willing to fail.

That’s resilience in entrepreneurship.

That’s what separates the true entrepreneurs from the dabblers.

So as we plan ahead to 2022, and begin to set intentions or write down our goals, it would benefit all of us (current and future business owners, alike) to incorporate exercises of resilience into our day to day.

Because, yes, it’s a skill that can be practiced.

And it’s a reprogramming that is absolutely necessary to our mental well being, our longevity as business owners and our future successes.

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget, I’m interviewing Factory45 alum Catherine Huss on Friday at 2pm ET / 11am PT. She’s going to share the highs and lows of launching her sustainable swimwear brand through pre-sales on Kickstarter. Click here to join us.

 


Book Call

set goals

Do you know if you’re a ‘starter’ or a ‘finisher?’

I was listening to a podcast the other day with a business coach who was saying that when it comes to projects, goals and the things we set out to accomplish, some people are ‘starters’ and some people are ‘finishers.’

You’re a starter if you find yourself super motivated in the beginning and make lots of progress until about halfway through the project when your motivation fizzles out.

You’re a finisher if it takes you a while to sit down, focus and take that first step on a project, but once you get going you have no problem finishing the project.

No matter which one you identify with more, it’s very common to struggle with the goals we set out to accomplish.

Especially the big ones, like starting a business.

And that’s why I’m focusing this week’s Live Show on nontraditional goal setting and how to actually accomplish what you’ve set out to achieve.

Because the truth is: it’s not the goal that’s important… it’s something else entirely. 

So, if you find yourself struggling to make progress or you just want to create a plan of action for September that you can look forward to, then join me live on Thursday at noon ET.

  • You can watch, ask questions and engage in our free Facebook group here.
  • Or you can simply stream on YouTube here (make sure you Subscribe to the Factory45 channel here so you know when I go live).

If you find yourself in a “summer slump” in building your fashion or accessories brand, then this will be 20 minutes of inspired action-taking you won’t want to miss. 

I’ll see you there : )

 

P.S. If you missed last week, I introduced Factory45 Live: The Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs. You can watch the replay of the first episode below and learn more about what it’s all about!

Fashion Entrepreneurs

“Okay, so! We’re going to publish three episodes a week… I mean, they’re less than 10 minutes long… so we need to keep up the frequency… otherwise people won’t be engaged… it won’t be that bad… we can probably keep this up for months…” 

This is what my inner dialogue sounded like as I was getting ready to launch The Clean Living Podcast back in October.

At the beginning of February, when I released the finale of season one, my best friend texted me:

“Only an INFJ would commit to 35 episodes in a single season.”

(She was referencing my personality type on the Meyers-Briggs.) 

But do you want to know a secret?

I never planned to have seasons of the podcast, or a season one finale, or a break in episodes at all…

So, why the change?

I burnt out.

I ignored my own advice, I overcommitted and it came back to bite me.

If I had planned out the podcast like a normal person, I would have 35 weeks of episodes lined up.

And truthfully, my listeners would have probably appreciated the time lapse in between episodes instead of being bombarded with three every week.

I’m constantly telling my entrepreneurs in Factory45 to SIMPLIFY.

Instead of developing a collection of 12 pieces, simplify to five pieces.

Instead of trying to be on every social media platform, start with Instagram and do it really well.

Instead of trying to source fabric for five different colorways, start with two.

Because this is what simplifying does:

  1. It lowers the barrier to entry. That means the likelihood of you actually getting the project off the ground is significantly higher. It also means you’ll do it quicker and more efficiently.
  2. It reduces the chance of decision paralysis — for you and for your customers.
  3. It saves you MONEY and time.

In fact, it’s very rare that simplifying isn’t the right answer.

So, the next time you set out to design a 12-piece collection, or dominate TikTok, Clubhouse, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or try to meet the MOQs of five different fabric colors…

Think of me.

Think of me sitting on the floor of my dark closet, chugging water and recording my fifth episode of the day…

It’s true that diamonds are made out of pressure but when it comes to entrepreneurship, you really only need a very solid rock.

 

 



 

accomplishments

Right around this time each year, I traditionally share an “annual review” of what went well (and what didn’t go so well) in life and business.

I wrote this unconventional goal setting exercise last year, having no idea what would be in store for 2020.

And to be honest, it still feels weird to discuss revenue numbers and business accomplishments given the year we’ve all been through.

When I went through this exercise with a couple of entrepreneurial girlfriends at the beginning of the month, my list of “2020 accomplishments” surprised me.

I didn’t think there would be anything of real significance given the lack of consistent childcare and overall mental and emotional upheaval that was happening. 

But when I really sat down to take the time to think about it, my “accomplishments list” wasn’t as meager as I expected.

And if you did this same exercise, I think it would surprise you too.

Because it turns out that what I considered “accomplishments” weren’t what I would have thought of before this year happened.

It included things like:

  • I set up an ongoing monthly charitable donation to Together Rising
  • Gained more awareness around racial inequity 
  • Allocated over $3K/month to Black women business owners
  • Started a free podcast that benefits my friends and family

In 2019, these aren’t things that I would have labeled as accomplishments.

For me, the silver lining of 2020 is that it changed my definition of “success.” 

While revenue and sales goals are, of course, important to any healthy business — they’re not the only measure of success.

Maybe your list of accomplishments looks something like this:

  • Completed two online courses
  • Learned how to create graphics in Canva
  • Built a landing page
  • Joined an anti-racist book group
  • Started painting again

While those may seem like small things, when compared to your original 2020 goals, this year has certainly taught us that anything positive is worth celebrating.

Even if it looks like this:

  • Survived virtual learning with my kids
  • Kept my job
  • Didn’t divorce my partner 
  • Created a plan to start my business in 2021

The point is, if you needed any permission to forget the big 2020 goals you may have set for yourself — this is it.

Instead, take the time to actually sit down and write out anything and everything you accomplished this year.

“Learned how to bake bread.” Done.

It’s a worthwhile exercise (for so many reasons), but it’s also an investment in 2021. 

It sets an intention, rather than prioritizing lofty goals that may seem too uncertain right now.

And maybe an intention is all you need.

Here’s to a new year,

 

 

 

P.S. This will be my last blog post and email of 2020 — I’m wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and will be back on Wednesday, January 6th : )


Factory45 shop

humiliating

So, last week’s post really hit a chord with people.

If you missed the blog post on procrastination, you can read it here.

It got me thinking more about the whole concept behind “low barrier to entry” opportunities.

If we could make things easier on ourselves, how much more would we do and get done?

Take for example the speaking engagement I did at Eco Fashion Week back in 2013.

I was flown out to Vancouver and asked to give a 10 minute presentation. I proceeded to walk up to the podium in front of 100ish people and absolutely choke.

Short of having a panic attack and passing out in front of the whole room, it was a complete disaster.

For 10 minutes, my voice was shaking, my face was red, and I could barely breathe or get my words out.

If you’re thinking it couldn’t have been that bad, the emcee asked the audience if they had any follow-up questions for me and not a single person raised their hand.

They wanted me off the stage as much as I wanted to run out the back door.

So, did I write-off speaking engagements for the rest of my life?

No… not exactly.

What I realized is that I’m pretty good at open Q+A-style panels or casual conversations with a moderator or interviewer.

What I’m not good at is solitary speeches or presentations.

So instead of passing up every opportunity for a speaking engagement, I committed to choosing the lower barrier to entry option.

I decided that I would still say ‘yes’ to public speaking, but I would limit my commitment to off-the-cuff Q+A style, multi-person panels or I would take on the role of moderator.

By making that deal with myself, I’ve gotten the chance to have some great speaking opportunities that have allowed me to market my business, meet like-minded people and further my message.

So, let’s say in your case, you hate being on video.

Instead of forcing yourself to do on-camera Instagram Stories, maybe you start a podcast to document your entrepreneurial journey instead.

Maybe you don’t feel confident about your writing skills so you’re hesitant to start a blog. If you love being on video, then you could start a YouTube channel instead.

Let’s say you clam up when being interviewed, maybe you ask the interviewer to send you the questions ahead of time so you can plan out your answers.

In 99 percent of cases, there is always an easier alternative that will better set you up for success.

That’s not to say you can avoid discomfort or vulnerability 100 percent of the time.

There will surely be some cringe-worthy or embarrassing moments.

I remember last year when I was hosting an Instagram Live for Maker’s Row. It was a 30-minute live session that required me to be alone on camera, sharing my tips about apparel manufacturing to their Instagram audience.

In the middle of my talk, something caught in my throat and I started to choke — for real.

I couldn’t get my words out because I was too busy coughing and drinking water in a fit of panic.

Again, this was a live session and no one else was on video with me, so it was quite literally an audience of people watching me gag for air.

So embarrassing.

But you know what?

I had five or six other Instagram Lives with Maker’s Row that went really great. 

And I had over 20 people join Factory45 this year because they found out about me from those Maker’s Row live sessions.

Imagine the opportunity lost if I had decided to completely write-off Instagram Live because of the fear of that embarrassing moment happening again.

There are so many instances in entrepreneurship when things don’t go as planned and the only thing we can do is learn, adapt and try again.

As in life, you will miss out on some pretty great experiences by not attempting them at all.

So, I’ll ask you again — what is one thing you can do today to take more action by choosing the easiest route to get there?

And if things don’t go exactly as planned… 

How can you learn and adapt, so it goes better when you try again?

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTERS It’s more important than ever to strengthen our immune systems and gut health. In this episode, I’m sharing three cheap and easy foods to add into your cooking that will naturally boost the immune system of you and your family.

FRAGRANCE When my son was an infant I worried like most new moms do. Was he getting enough calories? Was he sleeping enough? Would he ever eat solids? But as I’m sharing in this episode, I worried about one thing in particular…

PSA Back in September, I attended CleanCon — a virtual conference hosted by the Environmental Working Group — that was focused on clean beauty and personal care products. Throughout the event, there was one message that I kept hearing over and over…


CTA-YouTube

more action

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why it’s so hard for some people to take action.

This is, by far, the biggest obstacle I see stopping entrepreneurs from getting a business off the ground.

We fall victim to procrastination — which in essence, is fear.

When we’re afraid of doing something, or afraid of the potential result of doing something, then we stop ourselves from taking action.

The threat of what could happen paralyzes us from doing anything at all.

Personally, I have 99 problems but taking action isn’t one.

So I’ve been trying to analyze what it is about my strategies or methods that empowers me to move forward on an idea even if I’m scared or unsure of the outcome.

And I was able to boil it down to two things.

The first one is confidence. 

Because I’ve taken action on enough ideas over the span of my life, I’ve built up the confidence to take action on the next one.

I recognize that this stems from a position of privilege, but it’s true nonetheless. 

Even though some ideas haven’t worked out, I’ve still been able to maintain the confidence from the ideas that have.

The second method is more interesting and was less obvious until I listened to a podcast with a behavioral scientist who studies habits

When I think about most of the ideas I’ve taken action on, they all have one thing in common:

I’ve chosen the lowest barrier to entry.

Let me give you an example.

When I created the Factory45 program for the first time in 2014 I didn’t have the fancy portal and online content that I have now (six years later). 

I started with Google docs, a free Basecamp account and Apple Keynote (or PowerPoint). 

If I had tried to create the customized WordPress site or high production videos that I have now, it would have been too overwhelming and expensive as a jumping off point.

This sense of overwhelm applies to so many things you may be facing: getting your social media going, setting up a website or launching a first collection.

So, what’s the lowest barrier of entry you can take?

Focusing only on an Instagram account instead of managing Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and SnapChat and TikTok.

A simple above-the-fold landing page instead of a full-on website.

One signature piece for your launch instead of seven pieces.

What I’ve discovered through personal experience is that it almost always works out better by paring down, simplifying and making things easier for yourself.

This has applied to my entrepreneurial journey back in 2010 when I was starting my sustainable fashion brand up all the way through last month when I launched The Clean Living Podcast.

Nearly every example I have is a testament to doing less — not more.

And not-so coincidentally, the podcast I mentioned about forming habits confirms that. 

After surveying 40,000 people, the research found that successful habits are formed by taking the smallest action possible.

Want to start flossing regularly?

Start by flossing one tooth every day.

Want to start exercising every day?

Start by doing one push-up every day.

Want to start meditating every day?

Start by taking five deep breaths every morning.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or someone who wants to improve their oral hygiene, the strategy is the same.

Do less so you can do more.

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

SHAMPOO Personal care is one of the most toxic categories of household products. Shampoo is no exception. What are you actually lathering into your hair every time you shower and why should you be extra careful about the shampoo you use? In this episode, I’m sharing the top reasons to switch to a clean, paraben-free, formaldehyde-free hair care routine.

COOKING OIL Did you know that the oil you use to cook with can impact your long-term health? And it’s not so simple as just switching to olive oil. In this episode, I’m sharing the cooking oils to avoid, the oils to use on low heat and the oils that are safe to use on medium to high heat.

DOGS & GUT HEALTH This episode is uplifting and helpful, especially if you’re trying to convince your partner to get a dog. If you’re already a puppy owner, give that pooch a big kiss on the mouth because this episode is for you.


CTA-Factory45 SHOP

Accomplish Big Goals

Do you know what’s nerve-wracking?

Announcing that you’re starting a podcast… 

And not having a single episode recorded.

It’s true, two weeks ago when I was teeing myself up to announce the launch of The Clean Living Podcast I only had a spreadsheet of ideas.

I talk all this game about starting before you’re ready, setting small goals and taking baby steps to do big things… 

But it’s scary.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, I’ve launched big projects before and I’ve pushed my comfort zone more than once — imposter syndrome is something you simply can’t escape.

So, what did the past two weeks look like?

A series of very small and deliberate steps.

There was one day dedicated to the podcast trailer and intro, another day to write the first three episodes, another day to write the podcast description and landing page… 

Then there was an entire morning and afternoon that I spent sitting on the floor of my closet to record the episodes I had written.

And repeat.

As of right now, I’ve finished the trailer and the first 10 episodes and sent them to my podcast manager for editing.

But do you know what my first thought was when I sat down to record for the very first time?

“Oh, shit.”

And then: “This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.”

I often say that if we knew how difficult it was to launch a business idea, new project or any unfamiliar venture, then we wouldn’t ever start.

And that’s exactly what I was thinking as I hit record for the 70th time: 

What did I get myself into?

Whether it’s something as daunting as starting a new fashion brand or something smaller like a podcast, it’s time and persistence that are the antidotes of the unfamiliar.

I spent all day sitting in that closet and by the time I emerged, with a sore back, hoarse voice and tired eyes, I had done something I was very worried I wouldn’t be able to do.

And that’s the name of the game.

Want to tackle a big goal?

Declare it to the world.

Want to actually accomplish that big goal?

Break it into baby steps, give yourself plenty of time, expect it to be difficult and persist anyway.

We’re about a month out from the launch of The Clean Living Podcast and next week I’m going to ask you to vote on what you think the podcast thumbnail should be. 

This is the image that you'll see on iTunes or Spotify next to the podcast name — and I’d love your opinion on it.

In the meantime, I want you to remember: We can do hard things

I’m right there with you.

 

 

 


CTA-Factory45 SHOP