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{MotiBright} Nothing Will Work Unless You Do ~ Maya Angelou

“Nothing will work unless you do.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Nothing will work unless you do.” ~ Maya Angelou

If you want to run your own business, you need to be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.

There are no paid sick days or vacation days. There are no benefits. There are no free cars/free gyms/free coffee/free pencils.

There is no salary.

Every single dollar you earn will be directly proportional to the work you put into your business.

When you work, you earn money. When you don’t work, you don’t.

You’ll need to plan for downtime and holidays. Make sure you earn enough during your ‘on’ time to fund your ‘off’ time.

To make your business a success, you need to work for it.

Are you a self-starter? Do you chafe at authority – someone telling you what to do, how to spend your time?

Do you dream of waking up every day knowing that YOU are in complete control of your workday – that you can choose to do whatever you want to do?

Do you realise that it’s up to you to bring in dollars, to manage your time and your workflow intelligently in order to put food on the table and keep the lights turned on?

Does the thought of it ALL BEING UP TO YOU fill you with a thrilling joy?

Or does it fill you with a yawning horror?

If it’s the former – awesome. You’re in the right place. You KNOW you need to work your ass off, but you also know that you’ll never be happier than you will be when you wake up and know that it’s all up to you, baby.

If it’s the latter… maybe you’re not ready yet. Maybe you never will be. Some people are more suited to having a job – to letting someone else sit at the steering wheel. There is nothing wrong with this. We can’t all be the same, or the world would implode.

You need to be honest with yourself.

You’re here because you love to create. There’s something you love to make, and you’ve reached the point where you’ve decided that you’d like to start SELLING what you love to make, too.

But do you REALLY, truly, want to make this thing your full-time work? Will that kill it for you? Or can you imagine nothing better than making a living selling what you make?

Because the work of making – the actual creative part? Once you get serious about making money from it, you need to realise that most of your time – especially in the first few years (yes, YEARS) while you’re establishing your business – will NOT be spent on this creative work.

Most of your time will be spent on the business side of your business. The marketing, the blogging, the social media, the emails, the photographing/listing/writing descriptions, the prepping for markets, the tweaking your branding… the business of business.

If you truly want to make a full-time living from selling what you make, that you need to not only love making things… you need to love learning about the art and science of selling them.

I’m passionate about both. I love to create jewellery AND I love learning about business.

If you hate learning about business, you will find it exceedingly difficult to create a successful one.

{click to tweet}

I’m sorry if this is hard to read. I truly am. I am not in the business of crushing dreams.

However, I AM in the business of telling you the truth. Of being realistic.

Dreams are not enough. You need to be prepared to put in the work – the work of learning how to run a business. And then DOING it – day in, day out.

Crafting a successful business can be HARD, HARD work. It can also be incredibly, ridiculously rewarding and uplifting (sometimes in the very same hour).

You need to truly believe in yourself, deep down in your bones.

You need to be truly devoted to learning and growing and evolving your business every single day.

Because your business will never work unless you work on it.


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.



What a lovely inspiring post to get me motivated on a Monday morning. The growth of my fledgling business is never far from my thoughts. I only wish I had the time to do all the things I know I should be doing, I guess I need to work out what is most important for my business growth and focus my energy there.


You’ve hit the nail on the head, Emmaline! There is ALWAYS more we could be doing – the trick is to focus on the stuff that will make the most impact.


Agree, agree and agree! Running your own business is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do and admittedly also one of the most fulfilling. If you are in it for the long run you have to be madly in love with what you sell, can talk about it endlessly without staring off to space and be willing to put in the work to make this dream come true. We have to remember that we create our own happy endings 🙂


Love this line! : ” If you are in it for the long run you have to be madly in love with what you sell, can talk about it endlessly without staring off to space”

Julia @ Pixel Frau

Great post, Jess. I learned this the hard way when I started selling greeting cards and art prints. Serious burn out! I was able to outsource some of the things that were sucking the joy out of it and focus more on the things I did enjoy, which helped immensely. But I ultimately decided to transition to a different type of business and keep the cards/prints as more of a hobby.

Running your own business is AMAZING. But it’s also scary, and hard and a whole lotta work. Being honest with yourself will make it easier in the long run. Even if you decide it’s not going to work for you, it doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you move on to something else. After all, what’s the point of running your own business if it ends up feeling like a sucky day job?


THIS:: “Even if you decide it’s not going to work for you, it doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you move on to something else.” Absolutely, Julia!

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