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[66] Expectations Vs. Reality

This episode is all about facing the reality of the expectations – both conscious and unconscious – that you may be harbouring about your creative business.

We usually begin our small business journey driven by our love for what we do, and quite often as our business begins to grow we begin to butt our heads against the expectations we harbour about what we should be doing, what our business should be doing, and how our work should make us feel.

In this episode I touch on a number of potentially false expectations you may have about your biz, and I counter them with the reality of the situation, in order to help you avoid disappointment or a feeling of defeat when things aren’t going as you had first imagined they would.

It doesn’t do any of us any good to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of what running a small handmade business is truly like. It’s not all sitting around dreaming up beautiful things and making them!

Sure, turning your biz profitable will ensure you do have the opportunity to do that, but it also brings a raft of other time-consuming responsibilities and difficulties that may be stressing you out because your expectations are constantly being challenged by the reality of running a small business.

I hope this episode helps you to open your eyes, realise you’re not alone in what you’re feeling, and find deeper acceptance of the reality of how your relationship with your craft will change when you turn it into a business, rather than indulging in it as a hobby.


Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • ‘Stress and disappointment often comes from a disconnect between our expectations and the reality of the situation.’ {Jess}
  • 1. The expectation that you will get everything on your to do list done.
  • It is important to realise that it is normal not to get everything done all the time and this is okay.
  • If you find that some tasks are just never getting done you need to work out why so you can remedy that.
  • ‘Get realistic about why things aren’t getting done.’ {Jess}
  • 2. The expectation that you are going to have enough time.
  • We all have more ideas than we have time to complete them.
  • You will NEVER have enough time to do everything you want to.
  • You need to be realistic about how long a task or project will take as this is often underestimated.
  • 3. The expectation of success and profitability.
  • Some people expect their business to become profitable in a much shorter time frame than is realistic for a new business.
  • ‘Just let go right now of the idea that your business is going to be profitable straight away.’ {Jess}
  • It is possible but unlikely so holding that expectation will just stress you out.
  • Small business takes time to grow and for traction to build.
  • 4. The expectation that once your business has reached a level of success that there will never be a dry spell.
  • You have to be accepting of dry spells and use the time wisely.
  • Use the time to promote your business even more or as extra time for business development.
  • Use a dry spell to your advantage to keep your business moving forward.
  • 5. The expectation that you will get to spend all day doing what you love.
  • At minimum 50% of your time is not spent making things.
  • All the behind the scenes tasks take time away from making.
  • It stops being about you and becomes about your customers.
  • 6. The expectation that you are going to be able to please everyone all the time.
  • This includes the expectation to please yourself all the time!
  • No matter how hard you try to make every customer happy it is impossible but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
  • You will come up against people who will be upset, angry or disappointed.
  • ‘It is really important to do everything you can to make sure that customers are completely informed and educated about your products.’ {Jess}
  • Use any of these situations as learning experiences and never let them get you down.
  • Chances are that something along the way will go wrong but you just need to fix it and move on.
  • 7. The expectation that you are always going to love your work.
  • There will be days where you don’t love it.
  • It is important to be aware of this and go into it with eyes open.
  • You won’t love every moment but you can re-frame that moment and learn to look at it in a different light.
  • 8. The expectation that doing what you love will make you happy.
  • Happiness comes from within.
  • Everyone should find work that they love, but that doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time.
  • ‘You cannot rely on any one thing to completely revolutionise your happiness.’ {Jess}
  • Whatever you are bringing to the world through what you create, it is all about the feeling. How are you trying to make people feel? How are you trying to make yourself feel?
  • Make sure you join us for #CTMonthInTheLife Instagram Challenge (starting in August)!


Download or Listen to This Episode

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Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



Thanks Jess! Very good common sense material. It describes things we neglect to think off or are too afraid or embarrassed to admit.

Michelle from Atman Art Studio

This final bit at the end offers a good direction for me at the moment – “Whatever you are bringing to the world through what you create, it is all about the feeling. How are you trying to make people feel? How are you trying to make yourself feel?”. One of my ‘fans’ on insta (yay I have fans 🙂 ) said that my enthusiasm was uplifting. That is something I aim to do not just with my art, but with every room that I walk into 😉 so good that the message is starting to come across….

What say you?