I’ve been going back and forth on what topic I should “attack” when writing my first article and suddenly I realized that the readers here would either be the young & hungry industry individuals who have the passion and the ideas, or the hungry that are working on a start-up while not sure why it’s not really working out, or maybe it is working out – but not working good enough.
The first thing you need to focus on is patience. A lot of people fail to understand that we are building businesses, and it’s not an easy task – you will need to work hard, and you will waste a lot of your money and it will take years to accomplish. My good friend Henric Jogin from IDG had explained it best, “It might take us 1 year to reach 95%, but the other 5% will take another 3 years to complete.”
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Most fashionistas that I met over the years had the passion to make things happen, not knowing really how the industry worked, just simply being passionate – being passionate is just one dot off the triangle that needs to happen before it gets merged. What most of you don’t understand is that this entire industry (The Fashion Industry) is built on Smoke and Mirrors. You’ll see popular editors dressed in Givenchy or Balmain and you’d think to yourself if I continue to work hard one day I’ll be able to afford that – well, that’s not how it works. Perhaps, one day you will – but perhaps one day you’ll just realize that these clothes are not ours and that we have the connections to pull. Either we get this stuff for free or to rock them during shows. And while I’m at it – you don’t buy a nice car and get rich, you get rich and buy a nice car. Save your money.
Most businesses fail because too many people give up. You give up because you have no direction. You must have a direction, you must have a proper business plan – you must network, and network a lot. Set business goals and remember that a goal is not always meant to be reached – it can serve simply as something you can aim for.
Define roles and stick to them. Don’t get mixed with other people’s jobs – especially if you are working with the team. Let them do their job, you do yours and you have to trust them fully. My entire team at Bloginity is built on respect and trust – I hire people because of their visions, although I am the Editor in Chief & the CEO, and most of the business decisions come from my voice – I still tell each one of them – trust your gut, do what you’re about – I hired you because I like what you see and I want you to bring that vision to our magazine.
Utilize the people you’re working with, utilize friends, family members, work hard and be nice to the people you work with. Don’t burn any bridges – but if you do, let the bridges you burn light your way.
September 15th marks the 7-year anniversary of me being in the states. 7 years ago I was making sandwiches at a local deli in New York City. Five years ago I was doing import/export. And almost 4 years ago I decided to learn code, and I realized that my passion was not invested where it should have been – so I began designing and working with people that inspired me. It took me 3 whole years to come to the point that only now I think that yes, we really do have a shot, we really are making it and I pride myself for never giving up.
Throughout the years Bloginity had evolved but we always had a missing piece. At certain times we were bringing over 5M unique users to the site alone, and then it dropped to 800,000 users, and suddenly the average time peaked from 2:00 minute on the site to 8:00 minute. Nowadays, we’re pulling an average of 20:00 minutes for a new user and 1 hour 30 minutes for returning users. At times we had the traffic – but no advertisers, at times we had advertisers but no traffic. Other times we had the “branding” but no advertisers and no traffic and that just goes on.
I learned my lessons, by making mistakes. You should make mistakes too – because only when you make mistakes you’d know where you should turn and where you shouldn’t. Prove it, don’t just say to yourself “it’s not going to work.” Trust your gut, and make things happen. Hustle, hustle hard, and hustle every day.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln.
This article originally appeared on Open Source Fashion, an active community of helpful innovators working in fashion, retail, and technology. Join OS Fashion on Meetup to attend future discussion series events.
Photo Credit: Ashton Pal