In Response to The Mystery: When Will Their Love for Your Business Blossom?




In Response to The Mystery

Thoughts on This Is What’s Holding You Back from Succeeding

It’s a fact that we can royally get in our own way and not even know it. I worked for two years full-time to get my online business up and running. It failed. Now I’m trying again, rebranding, new look, new product line, and it is being better received but still sales are one every few days only. *sigh* It is discouraging at times.

Is it me? Is it the product?

Since moving to Australia four years ago, I went from complete independence, friends, car, communities, resources, unlimited internet – Master of My Own Fate – to complete dependence: living in other people’s homes with all their stuff filling every room, intermittent internet, not allowed to work for half my time here, unable to find work since being allowed to work, no money of my own, no community except online, a twenty year old car with a sketchy transmission, and a new incredible husband who is my raison d’etre and heart’s home but who also has had work and financial losses so we’re looking at a zero cash flow and no savings within the next couple of weeks.

I am knocking at the door of age 56. I have never felt so little mastery over my life and still so fortunate to have found my true love. For goodness sake, when my first husband abandoned me 25 years ago, I took our toddlers and moved to a cabin in Alaska and carved out a new life. I am unbeatable. So I am shocked that this can actually be my real life.

I did everything I had the resources to do for this business and, frustrated by this lack of control over my own life, I took complete control over what I could to grow the business.

I asked, I read, I implemented, I whinged, I rallied, and I worked like a dog because I believed.

And it failed.

BUT I’ve learned a lot and I’m starting over and I know more, thanks to people like Jess Van Den, Karen Gunton, Mayi Carles, and April Bowles Olin who teach and blog and comment and help. I love what I do and I am still hanging on this premise Jess recently immortalized in print: “It’s never been easier to make money from your creativity than it is now…..The only thing you need to spend is time.”

I have had nothing but creativity and time.

There is nothing holding me back except these external limitations so I have to wonder if the above is true. Is it something else? Is it just down to that magical moment when customers find us, start to stream, and then flock to us?

Handmade is a relationship. Business is a relationship.

And no amount of listing on Etsy and tweeting is going to produce that connection. The tipping point seems to be dependent on courting, and as we know, courting can produce a spark when our eyes meet across a crowded room, or it can produce stalking and a restraining order. The tipping point became a mystery to me.

Limitations or no, I now work and watch and wait for the the tipping point. No one among the business gurus has been able to point to it directly, predict it, teach us how to make it happen. They’ve only talked around its mystery, like a Yeti sighting. “Go to Canada. Sit under a tree. The only thing you need is time.” Then they tell us to blog, tweet, post, comment, share, giveaway, host, photograph, list, rinse and repeat.

But no one can really tell us when the love will blossom.

Limitations or no, I now work and watch

Perhaps the last line item necessary, beyond knowledge, money, time, and fear, is love. I am waiting to fall in love and waiting for my customers to fall in love with me. And when I look at it that way, none of the obstacles or successes matter, because there’s something non-quantitative and organic happening and that magic does not depend on any amount of posting, pinning, or pining.

It’s going to happen when it happens.

We know this. We read testimonies of those that put their wares out there and almost immediately had more business than they could handle. And then there are those who churned the cauldron for years before finding the right recipe for their business success.

Being a romantic, which is pretty much how I got myself in this life over which I have so little control – finding my true love who came to the Buddhist retreat center where I lived and served full-time and then moving to another country to marry him – I am willing to, no, I am eager to keep primping and adjusting and touching up my metaphoric lipstick in preparation for the kiss of success.

The cauldron is full of sketches and stories and bits of unusual fabrics and the heady aroma of soft wool fleece. I am making. I am making these things for you, dear lover of play and story. I’ll be hanging out on Etsy with a glass of wine. I’ll be wearing a red carnation. Can you hear the seductive violin in the background?

I will list, and post, and pin, and share, but I am giddy with waiting for my customer base and I to fall madly in love. It will be the magical tipping point. The mystery will be solved and the Yeti found. When we do fall in love, I will order lobster, and my world will never be the same again.

Visit Allison’s Etsy shop here.


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Allison Dey

Allison Dey Malacaria has written 1 posts in this blog.

Allison is a designer of things to play with. Born of a life spent around the kitchen tables and laughter of Louisiana cajun quilters and midwives and Missouri farm wives, Allison's love of story and play are expressed in the toy and doll sewing patterns she designs for other women and their children to enjoy around and possibly under their kitchen tables. Allison now lives and loves in rural Australia.



Allison, I’m right there with you! I worked wholeheartedly on my little business for almost two years, while also teaching full time, and wore myself out. Since I’ll have to keep teaching for who knows how long, I’m just going to keep plugging along at a more leisurely pace, not get stressed about it, and enjoy the journey. It almost feels like I’m doing nothing to make it happen, but that’s just by comparison to what I was doing before and getting completely burnt out. Of course, if sales had started pouring in that would have been a different story, success rather than burn out. But as you express so eloquently, it’s quite discouraging to work so hard and it just doesn’t happen. Thankfully, I don’t have to depend on it for money because all I’ve done is spend money to get it up and running–not going to do that anymore either–well, I may buy some labels to sew into my linens, but that’s it! I’m hoping to set up shop at the farmer’s market this summer, that may or may not happen, but at age 63 I’ve decided not to put so much pressure on myself. If I can’t retire at least I can make my life as pleasant as possible. I’m delighted for you that you’ve found your true love! I’m still waiting for mine. And your writing is exquisite! Maybe that’s what you should be doing…..just a thought. Please leave a link to your Etsy shop in these comments because I would love to see what you’re making and hear more about your life and work. All the best to you in this bright and beautiful New Year!

Allison Dey

Thanks Jess for posting the shop link!

Joy, thanks for sharing your story. The wisdom to remove that self-imposed pressure on ourselves is a beacon of shining brilliance. We are so hard on ourselves, and I believe you are absolutely correct about infusing the path with enjoyment. I do hope you keep making and I sincerely wish for both you and your business to fall head over heels in love! It seems that sort of thing happens when we least expect it. 🙂

julie @ tractorgirl

Oh Allison! Your story resonates with me so deeply. Pouring your heart and soul into something, and you’ve tweaked and primped and agonised and you KNOW that what you offer is beautiful, and searching and searching for that ”thing” that will make everyone fall in love with what you do.

Perhaps it IS just like falling in love – maybe it will happen when you’re not looking for it. Just keep doing what you do and enjoy the journey for the beauty and the lessons it has to offer you.
(And yes, I’m with Joy – your writing is beautiful! And so are your dolls.)

Allison Dey

Oh, Julie, I’m so glad for your support and kind words. You always have such a positive outlook and always look to inspire and cheer others on. I feel like I’ve had such emotional downs on this journey, and I’m really learning to listen and be more present with the waiting as I work. There’s no loss then, just colours running together to create a new palette of possibilities. Thanks for you being in this awesome community!


Allison, Your “never give up” attitude is very inspiring. I’m still in the planning stage of my business and I appreciate real life stories like yours that show that everything isn’t always roses but it’s how you take what happens and what you do next that really matters. Best of luck with your business and as the others have said your dolls are truly lovely. You should put them into a craft “how to” book. Wishing you a great 2015.

Allison Dey

The fact that you have or are developing a plan is miles ahead of what I did so I think you’ll fare well. I certainly wish you the best and while there will be ups and downs, it sounds like you have reasonable expectations attached to your dream. May we all have the best year ever!


Allison, your story sure struck a chord with me. I too am waiting for the tipping point, for many to find me. I go for days without sales on Etsy and I get plagued with self-doubt and insecurities. Your strength is inspiring to me to continue and press onward. Also, before I read Joy’s comment, my thoughts were your writing is such a strength of yours. You have a wonderful way with words.
May you be blessed abundantly in 2015,

Allison Dey

Nancy, your embroidered letters are a wonder! They actually tickled me pink. I started seeing words like DELIGHT and WONDER and UP YOURS BUDDY across my walls. Sorry for the last one, but sometimes a little wrath is a good thing.

Loving words I also love letters. They are like paints to a writer. My family is stuffed to the gills with writers. I just never went there. I’m too critical of my own words. And with them. That’s why I love sewing so much. It requires a quieter mind. Unfortunately the quieter the mind, the more the insecurities can be heard. But we are so valuable and our work is an amazement that no other species can quite hold a candle to.

So keep going. Label the world with your letters. There’s yarn bombing. Maybe there should be banner bombing (with your business label attached.) I envision a street art installation with your banners, proclaiming truths all over Grand Rapids. I promise to bail you out when you’re done but only after I’ve taken loads of photos.

Good luck and thanks so much for being a Create & Thrive reader. It’s a great place!

What say you?