A Craftsperson’s Coat of Arrogance


Most craftspeople suffer from a lack of confidence, they are naturally quiet people  emotionally engaged  in their work and fear the world’s reaction to it.

Selling makes you uneasy,  you are not sure how good your work is, even in the face of compliments You try to protect your work from criticism by charging very little.

A bit of you knows that your lack of confidence is unjustified but that alone does not resolve the problem.


Did that make you smile? Did you like that? See, confidence is attractive. You felt comfortable and happy as I am going to help you.

And I am, just stay with me

I am going to help you  slip on a

Yes, that’s it at the top of the post, its body armour.

Doesn’t look very comfortable does it? That’s because it is not a perfect fit for you. It wouldn’t be. It’s like high heels, you have to get used to wearing it.

The point of this coat is to achieve things you want to achieve. I am not asking you to change your personality, you have a perfectly good one. I am just suggesting that there are times in a maker’s life when this is appropriate dress.

Just hang it on the hook on your workroom door and put it on when you need it.

It’s okay I am going to give you a whole lot of practical  dressing tips which will make it easier to wear.

And then I am going to give you a sniffer dog trail to check that there are no traces of your pre-Coat of Arrogance days.

I know you are a bit worried. You don’t want to be arrogant, you just want to be confident, but its okay because this coat is going to make you attractively confident. You see, you start as an underconfident person, a Coat of Confidence would just bring you up to everybody else’s level and I think you may need just a touch more than that. But you will still be you, but without the misplaced  insecurity.

All good isn’t it? Yeah, so off we go…

What we need to do is to take a look at the confidence destroyers, recognise them and know what to do

Leaches confidence. Recognise it. Duvet it.
Watch your mood if you are feeling negative take a break .

Do not try to explain depression Never say I am depressed because … my business is going badly/I hate my partner … You are depressed, because you are depressed: that’s all there is to it. If you observe yourself you will probably discover  your most creative phrase comes after a whiff of depression, it’s a cycle; so work with it.

Stress is a concentration killer with your brain whirring on empty chambers

Its worry about worry

The stress that comes from too much going on is helped by a to do list but you have to do the worst first

Stress can also be evasion A way of not facing something you should

Hope can be destructive  because it can crash into disappointment

Crafts businesses tend to make a spurt, then plateau.Think of it as building a sandcastle. The sea will keep coming in, leaving you with nothing, but that is the nature of finding your way. One day you will  build  further up the beach.

Remember  “Nothing is a bad as it seems nor as good as you think”

Also known as jealousy.

You are seeing their work and their accomplishments from the outside, from the inside you’d be surprised how shitty it looks to the owner

  Your viewpoint is skewed you can’t compare yours with theirs accurately.

Shit happens, it’s how you deal with it.

Accept that a disaster will happen from time to time, it isn’t avoidable.

Just know the  rules about handling it; fearing it is pointless.

Some  Stanford Graduate School of Business students came up with these pointers:

“Your natural reaction when something really bad happens is to think about the worst-case scenario.  But, that’s usually counter productive.  Think about the most likely scenario and solve based on that.

Try and make a realistic determination of how important it is to respond quickly.  Often, when something really bad happens, entrepreneurs make the mistake of assuming they have to respond immediately.  In many cases, that’s both unnecessary — and risky.

Don’t  compound a bad event with panic-induced mistakes.      If it makes you feel any better (it should), know that most entrepreneurs (even the successful ones) have near-fatal events happen.”

If it’s a customer disaster then  a simple straightforward “my fault, sorry” goes a long way, topped off with a freebie.

On tech stuff, buy from a small local shop who will come to your rescue swiftly when things crash.

If its wind fire and earthquake insure sensibly.

The rule is Scream>Think & think again> Act (don’t react)

 Things have a way of being ok in the end

You will be ridiculed, everyone is, some visitors at craft shows say the stupidest things and they assume we are deaf. So what? Two minutes in their company would show you how idiotic these people they are, so there is no need to worry about their views. If someone you know and respect says something that makes you feel bad, talk to them as you probably misunderstood.

If people don’t like something you have made it doesn’t mean that they wont like anything you make. Finding the right products is a long unending process.

You create, They choose.

If you go into a shop and buy nothing you’d think the shop owner a lunatic if he felt ridiculed by your visit. So careful what you think. Try and stay this side of psychosis

It’s okay to be shy, lots of people are and they are more comfortable with other shy people.

Shyness does not preclude you from success unless you avoid people.

Talking to people is a kind thing to do, if you think of it that way, it’s easier.

In a face to face situation you will be more comfortable if you concentrate on showing people your work and telling them a bit about it, don’t worry about selling it, you just need to get them to look.

The Mitford sisters’ nanny used to say to them “Nobody is going to be looking at you”  and she was right; people are so self-absorbed they rarely take in anything about any one else. Shy people imagine everyone is watching and judging them but the reality is nobody is that interested.

“What ever you are bad at you can improve. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability .Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable”
Harvard business blog

As a craftsperson you have so much ground to cover, so many skills needed that you are going to have an uneven distribution of ability.

You mustn’t give in and just concentrate on what you are good at.

You must hack away until you have gained any skill you need

The language you use affects the way you react to situations

So, if  you try for a big show and they don’t take you, you are not REJECTED you MISSED OUT

 The labels you use affect your handling of situations, so watch which word you pick.

Now you have absorbed those Dressing Tips  you will now find that the Coat of Arrogance fits beautifully

While  wearing It you are going to be great company.

Your customers  will have confidence in your advice and pride in their purchase and be glad they found you. You will have a little more money to pay your bills so its  win win.

In wearing that Coat you have done nothing underhand or dirty you have simply increased the happiness in the world. With the coat on, you know your stuff is good and the price realistic.

You should wear your Coat for any thing to do with marketing  also for pricing and  negotiating.  If you start thinking negatively at other times march over to the back of the door and slip your Coat on

Think back to your school teachers, they wore Coats of Arrogance in the classroom, so you know how it plays. Its useful, sensible and helpful. Whats even better its free. Its going to make you grin with pleasure when you handle things so much better. You will no longer think I can’t, you will think why not?

So one more bit of housekeeping to be done and then I shall leave you to your delicious new way of being. We just need to check round your empire to identify any little bits of pre Coat under confidence which might need a bit of an overhaul.

Those dogs are fully trained for the task so lets see what they turn up…

UP a minimum of 50%

HARD with everyone you deal with

Concise, Organised and Confident on website and market place

Relaxed, interesting, entertaining ,  on your blog, Twitter and Facebook


Not in third person.

Not about your kids /pets/ health

No arts speak

No exclamation marks they are so under confident !!!!


Stop telling people why they should buy

Stop offering alternatives, they get what you offer

Size, Materials, Price That’s all

Stop setting yourself MAKING targets, set SELLING targets

Don’t pay for it.

Get editorial mentions for free ( involves persuasion which Coat owners are good at)

It’s your livelihood, so don’t rush to do what other people say.

 Assume  you are right, then think and decide.

Now I think I have done a very fine job for you

Enjoy your new Coat and please tell other people where you got it

cartoon person wearing body armour

More help? try these

 Craftsperson Types

Help! Not making a living

 Craftsperson’s Seven Deadly Sins

Will your business succeed?

56 thoughts on “A Craftsperson’s Coat of Arrogance

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  2. Cocoa & Heart says:

    Not completely convinced by everything you said, but it’s very thought provoking. Love the last bit about the ‘police cheks’. Note to myself – check the wording on my profile and go over my prices !

  3. Texas says:

    May I? In the spirit of your own words, “It is always easier to see whats wrong from the outside, the difficulty lies in getting someone to tell you.” I would like to tell you. I would really like to follow your blog and may do so with a Reader app that takes away your design features because no one has told you that the theme you have chosen for this wordpress blog is quite frankly, very hard on the eyes.

    A simple biz tip – Do NOT try to re-invent the wheel. When you are looking for good marketing practices – see what the Pros are already doing – and keep your eye on how they change. When they change – you should change – because that is how quickly the visual and virtual world works. If you are looking for a wordpress theme – copy what the Pros do. Good Free Themes are out there. Put your creative energy into your craft work, leave the rest to the Pros. COPY THEM.

    Example: I want to create a new blog for my business. What questions should I be asking about my blog design?

    Well, what do the Top Ten Blogs look like?

    Google Search the Top Ten Blogs ex:- http://technorati.com/blogs/top100/ – then visit them – and use your keen artistic eye – to evaluate them:

    – what colors are they using?
    – how much white space do they use?
    – what side are their menus on?
    – how many columns do they typically have?
    – how do they use images?
    – how much space do the images take on a page?
    – what do their headers look like?
    – what font is used?
    – what size font is used?
    – what color is their header?

    Successful blogs have spent a lot of money on usability studies – do not reinvent the wheel.

    Hmmm…. what is it about black, red and white? Lots of white backgrounds with black type and red type. Ooo….light blue, or shades of blue are often used to highlight topics of interest, or shades of gray for news items. Wow! Black is usually only used in boxes – not as an entire background, and often in conjunction with blue and white. Okay. View at least 30 or so of the Top 100 sites – if you want to make money – and you don’t want to waste your time – DO NOT REINVENT THE WHEEL. You can save all of your truly creative energy for your real craft work.

    Dixie, I love that you are a straight-talking, tell-it-like-it-is Arts & Crafts Booster. – Tex

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      I only just unearthed you from my spam, don’t know why you were sitting there, thank you for taking so much trouble it was really generous of you.
      As you can see I listened. Maybe not completely and utterly but quite a few steps in your direction.
      I had realised it had all got a bit busy so I have calmed it down so I hope you now like it better Please do tell me.

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