I’m an empath, which means I’m a feeler, so I’ve always felt the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders. I’m also a Pisces, which means I’m generous with my time, I put other people first, I want to heal anything and anyone that hurts, and I’m a bit of a dreamer. Roll all those personality traits into one human being, and what you get is a woman who thinks it’s her responsibility to change the world, to help anyone who asks for it, and to put herself and her own needs - last.
That was me, for most of my business career, up until about five years ago. It felt humbling to give without getting, help without expecting anything in return, funnel my money into good causes, and spend every waking moment dedicated to changing the world for the better through fashion. But, as good as it felt giving so much to the world, I was exhausted, I was tired, I was stressed and I was over-committed.
I was also broke, because I wasn’t paying myself a wage, and I had a really strange relationship between doing good and making money. I thought that because children were starving in Africa, I shouldn’t make lots of money. I thought that because women were working in slave labour conditions in the fashion industry in India, I shouldn’t make lots of money. I thought that because I was running a social enterprise that existed to make the world a better place, I shouldn’t make lots of money.
So I gave and I gave and I gave my time, my money, my dedication and my energy.
My business looked like a shiny, award-winning, staff-paying, successful, money-making machine from the outside, and for the most part, it was, but when the day came that I couldn’t pay my house rent, I knew something had to change.
I was paying out $4500 in wages a month for my multiple staff. I was paying for office rent in the middle of Melbourne. I was paying for all the normal business operational expenses. I was covering what I needed to cover in the business, except for the single most important thing – my own wage.
And because I wasn’t paying myself a wage, I couldn’t pay my own rent when my savings ran out. I also couldn’t afford the things I needed for mental and physical wellness like a gym membership, doctor appointments, reiki, psychologists or osteopath sessions – which I so desperately needed because I was so stressed and run down from all the giving and doing that my whole body hurt.
I will never forget the day I walked out of my office in tears, leaving my staff at their desks without an explanation, to call my mother and ask for money for rent. I was too embarrassed to tell my now-fiance. I was too ego-driven to cut the hours of my team to shuffle some finances for the month. I was too ashamed of what it looked like to my followers, customers and fans and take things down a notch and move the office from the city to my home.
That was my ‘business rock bottom’ and it was the same time the doctors told me that my heart palpitations, fatigue, chronic headaches and all my back problems – were a result of extreme stress.
And at that intersection in my life, instead of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I changed things.
I started my journey into personal development and dug into my relationship with money. I set fierce sales goals for my staff. I set boundaries with my time. I started saying no to things that didn’t serve me. I started managing my books and set clear, measurable goals for myself that would move me towards paying myself a wage. And within three months of making that phone call to my mother, I was finally paying myself a consistent, weekly wage.
With my wage, I could pay my own rent and I could support myself mentally, physically and emotionally with little luxuries like a gym membership, doctor appointments, reiki, psychologists and osteopath sessions. Because I was supporting my mental, physical and emotional well-being with the appointments I needed, I was more grounded, less stressed, more focused and more productive. Through the process of paying myself a wage, I became a better, healthier, less-stressed version of myself, which showed in my work and my business, because I worked smarter, not harder, and started to make more money - a lot more money.
I then realised that the more money I made, the more good I could do. Over the next 12 months, I overcame three major pain points of my own that had been holding me back for years...
I thought that because I was running an ethical and sustainable fashion business, I had to choose purpose over profit. I was wrong. You need both. As a business owner, you can make ethical and sustainable choices, but you need to profit in order to deliver your purpose. That means making money, and lots of it. The more you make, the more good you can do. There’s a way to run your business ethically and stay true to your purpose at the same time while increasing your profit. Let me show you how.
I thought that because I was running a purpose-driven fashion business, it was greedy to make lots of money. I was wrong about that too. I make the world a better place every single day through my business. I plant a tree with every order. I donate to charities and good causes. I reduce plastic in the world. I inspire people to make a difference. I do a whole lot of good things, but I also make money, and it’s not greedy or wrong or bad. Why? Because the more money I make, the more I can donate. The more money I make, the more trees I can plant. The more money I make, the bigger the marketing budget I have to inspire more people to create positive change with their own fashion businesses. Making money ethically is a good thing because it means making a bigger impact.
I thought that I shouldn’t make money when there are so many people suffering in the world. Yep, I was wrong about that too. It’s ok to want to make lots of money because there are a lot of things that need fixing in the world – and money fixes those things. If you’re running a purpose-driven fashion business and making the world a better place, you should make more money, you should be one of the wealthy people because the world needs more wealthy people with the desire to change it for the better.
See, if you’re running a purpose-driven, ethical, sustainable, circular or slow fashion business that you launched so that you could change the world for the better, but you’re not paying yourself a wage, you haven’t got a business. You have a very expensive hobby.
If you want to learn how to change that, let me show you how, here.