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Ryan Mack

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Fashion With Common 'Cents': 5 Tips to Start a Business

Posted: 06/26/2013 3:26 pm

There are two types of people in this country. There are those who wait for their ship to come in, and there are those who learn how to swim out to the ship. In this volatile economy, we need many more of the latter. We need people who have decided that their fate is not written for them, but written by them. Among these are the entrepreneurs of this country.

Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people. They refuse to see the obstacle in a situation, but instead see it as an opportunity. They acknowledge their problems, but they never allow themselves to feel they are smaller than their problems. They possess a very unique blend of idealism, realism, as well as optimism. They strive for the most ideal situation, believe that it can become real, and if life knocks them down they see it as nothing more than a temporary setback.

Many people may wonder if they will ever be able to start their own business. I am writing this for those individuals who are working a day job, but need a little extra push to start their dream job. There are five tips for those who are working a current 9 to 5 job but who would like to begin working their dream job:

1. Don't quit your day job
1. Be selective about your day job if possible
2. Find the free resources
3. Involve your friends and family
4. Be fiscally responsible

There is nothing better than a real life scenario of a business owner who is in the process of making it happen in real time so allow me to give you a real life example. Kristian Lopez is a fashion designer who has always wanted to start her own fashion line, Kristian Lorén. However, at the age of 26 and away from her family in NYC, she has limited resources. So like most Americans...she found a job to help her pay the bills until she could one day start her journey to start her real dream. One day she decided that she didn't have to wait any longer so she started to swim out to her ship and started her own company while implementing the five steps written above.

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Kristian decided that she would use the income from her day job as an agent at Major Models for not only her rent, but to turn her apartment into a sewing studio slowly purchasing all that was necessary to build her clothing line (sewing machine, clothes racks from Craigslist, fabric, and other raw materials). Every day she would work her 9 to 5, and then she would come home to work on her second job which began at 6 and went until 10, 11, or even two in the morning. She was doing what she loved to do -- designing and sewing beautiful clothing.

If you have a day job, and you want to create your own dream job, then the work starts as soon as you get home. No sleep for the weary as the future entrepreneur, just like Kristian, had to forgo a few nights of sleep to get a kick start for her dream. Many people quit their day job only to find out that it takes a lot longer to create your dream than expected. So before you quit make sure that you have substantial savings in the bank (at least 9-12 months of living expenses) and a predictable stream of income from your business. Then you can afford to leave that cushy, predictable salary check from your day job.

Be Selective About Your Job If Possible

One day Kristian was offered another position for more money. She took the job, but then she realized the gold mine of resources she had working for Major Models. So although she was not making as much as she would have liked, she returned to her previous position at Major Models where she could do the following:

• Unlimited access to models, agreed to model her clothing for look books
• Network with fashion photographers to shoot her look book, editorial and website
• Keep her ear to the ground for different fashion events, editorials and premiers

She even was able to get her designs shown in independent films because of her connections. Using the resources at your current 9 to 5 might be beneficial in helping you to create a solid platform for your dream business. Then again, perhaps you don't have the luxury of being as selective about your 9 to 5 job as Kristian and therefore must continue to work your 9 to 5 in order to keep your lights on. If this is your case, then be sure to maximize your off hours and save as much money as possible!

Find the Free Resources

Kristian sought out free resources that are available for anyone to use.

• She researched a website at www.etsy.com where new fashion designers can show their clothes.
• She created a free website and put up pictures of her clothes.

She didn't have the money to build a storefront, so she created her own store front. What resources do you have at your disposal? Perhaps you should be going to www.wix.com to build your free website, going to caffepress.com to sell your t-shirts, or going to squareup.com so you can accept credit card payments using your phone. Don't worry about what you don't have, focus on what you DO have and make it happen!

Involve Your Friends and Family

Kristian has actually partnered with her sister supermodel Sessilee Lopez and they're showcasing their line on July 13that BVI's Summer Sizzle fashion show. With Kristian's Fashion Design degree from F.I.T. and Sessilee's experience in fashion, there could not be a more perfect union. This is in addition to their many friends who are models along with her mother who helps her with the graphics design of the website and sales. In addition she has her many other friends who help publicize her new venture.

Many times we overlook one of the most important resources we have which is our family and friends. It only makes sense because they are the ones most likely to support you!

Be Fiscally Responsible!

Kristian is very frugal with her budget saving as much money as possible while using her savings to invest in her business. She is also very crafty and resourceful with how she designs her dresses to maximize fabric, sometimes going as far as to design a "dress of pennies"! This was one of my favorite designs that came about because she became frustrated with the price of beads and garnishes often put on dresses. Kristian thought, "What if there were some beads that only cost one penny." Hence, there you have your "penny dress" -- a combination of fashion and cents... literally!

Using your money wisely is crucial when starting your business. Liquidity doesn't grow on trees and if you are spending all of your excess on Starbucks coffee, eating out for lunch, and financial splurges, the result will obviously be less capital for your business.

What will happen to Kristian's business? There is no guarantee of success. However, just like the mentality that I hope you have, she didn't start her business because she was guaranteed to be a success...she started her business because she recognized that if she didn't at least try she was guaranteed to fail. The state of our economy depends upon those entrepreneurs believing they can be successful, and taking the steps necessary to become a success. Kristian is just one example of many who are daring enough to try... what are you waiting for?!

I talked to Kristian and Sessilee Lopez about their clothing line.

 

Follow Ryan Mack on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ryancmack

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