If We Only Knew … Expectations vs. Reality

(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)

I am so excited to share something fresh and new with you today … a little bit about some of the things we’ve learned along our “untangling” journey. From things we’ve done and learnt from on our own — as a team, from our clients’ experiences, and a mixture of both in hopes to get your hamster wheel turning (since this is our last Digital Glue episode of the year) to help us all start the coming new year off right!

As the current year fizzles halfway out, we all want to create a crystal-clear vision about what we want to achieve in the new year and take a stand for it. Maybe this year was your best year yet! Or maybe you had some virtual hiccups, and you want to take these gifts of imperfections, learn from them, adapt and adjust, and move on. Whatever your current situation may be, it’s TIME to create a plan, get clear on your actions, make some changes, and continue to grow. So, are you ready to DREAM BIG and make it all happen?

Consider today’s episode as a mini mindfulness workshop for yourself for making the coming new year your best business year yet! Because as we all do … I’m sure you want to grow, expand on new ideas and make a success breakthrough. Creating this kind of plan for yourself is only going to happen because YOU are going to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

The overall theme of today really centers in on our inner expectations vs. reality, so let’s dive right on in …

Hindsight is great; we all know that. What can you do about it? Well … there’s no use beating yourself up over things you could have done differently, if only you had known … .

As an entrepreneur, I can think of two reasons to conduct this kind of review where one says “If I only knew this when I started …”

  1. Look back to see where you might have done things differently can give you insight to use in future situations that might be related or similar. As the expression goes, “live and learn”. We hope we learn from our mistakes. Although I would not necessarily call these learning experiences “mistakes” … but room for improvement.

  2. Give advice to those who follow in your footsteps. Are you a mentor to someone who is not as seasoned as you? When you pass along your wisdom, if the person with whom you are speaking is going to retain what you say or understand its significance. You can only hope when they face a similar situation, they will recall your experience and what you learned from it. Can one person truly learn from another person’s learning experience? Yes, I believe so.


I’ve done some virtual digging and here’s a list of some of the things I wished I knew when I open Virtually Untangled full-time.

First and foremost, and maybe even along the lines of the most important …


Fear of making mistakes can be paralyzing. I knew that, on an intellectual level, but I had to learn it for myself on an emotional level.
In the early days of taking VU from part-time to full-time, kicking my 9 to 5 to the curb, I experienced times when I fell into the pattern of hesitating for fear of making a mistake. It took a little while, but I learned to recognize the pattern enough to change it. Instead of staying “stuck,” I developed a process of asking myself what am I afraid of? In most cases, the risk was not too great, and I was able to move forward. Reaching that point was very liberating and my business has grown as a result.


Next up is sometimes a tough one …


Sometimes as business owners we do not want to say “No, I cannot do that.” I have a close business friend who says, “No is a complete sentence.” And oh, my word is she is right!

It’s not that I am a people-pleaser. I did not have this issue in everyday life, but I did in the early days of my business, and now I know why.

When I was in my first couple years of entrepreneurship, I felt it was necessary to accept every opportunity that landed on my virtual doorstep, even if it was not in my best interest. I was building a client list. I knew each client or project could possibly lead to another — and better — opportunity. I was paying my dues. And above all, I needed to pay my bills, but not only for life now, but to keep my golden empire above water.

Now I’ve learned to trust my gut, and if my gut feels like “uh-uh, no way” then I say, “No.” Thankfully this doesn’t happen often, and I can usually give a solid reason, but there have been times when I have simply said, “No, that does not sound like something I can help you with.” Full stop.


Okay next up …


This was probably one of the toughest lessons I’ve ever had to learn. And to be quite honest, still working on it. As a newly minted entrepreneur, I wanted to be nice, no matter what. And when I first encountered a difficult client, someone unreasonably demanding, I wanted to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes that approach has worked for me, and sometimes it has not. Again, it’s all about learning to actually listen to your gut.

If a client is overly demanding or does not keep agreements, a red flag goes up in the back of my mind. Warning!!!! Then at this point I recognize the need to make a decision.

  • Can I work with this person — and will the payoff be worth the effort?
  • Or should I extract myself as quickly and tactfully as I can?

If I happen to decide to hang in there, I have learned that being direct and setting boundaries is an absolute must. It’s alright to say, “It concerns me that you have not kept your agreement about …” or “What you are asking me to do is not within the scope of our contract. Do you want to add that as an additional service, for the rate of ?”

In running your own business, you must stand up for yourself. Remember, you left your crappy 9 to 5 for a reason … You are running YOUR empire, not theirs.


Okay, one of my favourite’s up next …


Why is it always easier to manage your time when you are working for a client as opposed to when you are working on your own business needs?

When attending to a client’s business, I have always been ultra-conscious of using my time as efficiently as possible. If I were to get sloppy with time management, I would be losing money, all the while wasting theirs. So, if I can get the work done in less time, I will actually have more time available to work on other client projects – or start checking things off VU’s hefty to-do list. Attorneys refer to this concept with the term “billable hours.”

However, when I started my business in the realm of full-time, I did not always apply that reasoning to time spent building and growing my business. Creating and following my marketing plan; finding new clients; setting up my infrastructure such as my accounting system; building reports I needed to measure my progress, automating systems and procedures to make life easier … I did not quite see the parallel.

I quickly realized, however, that to succeed, I needed to respect my own time as seriously as I respected that of my clients.


No, I am not whining. It is just a cold, hard fact that being an entrepreneur can be difficult. To some, it may be the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

I have chosen to be an entrepreneur and I would choose that route day in and day out. The reality is I didn’t realize quite how hard it would be sometimes, and the important word there is sometimes. Especially in the beginning stages when I worked many long hours — longer than I’d like to admit out loud.

I found myself doing tasks I had not expected to be doing such as learning new platforms on the fly to accommodate new clients, weird requests, and tight deadlines. I felt not only frustrated but isolated. I had to identify what training I needed and where I could find it. But … with the help of an excellent career / life coach, I have met each obstacle and I continue to do so. Now, I know to expect that this virtual path and everything that comes bundled up in it will be difficult at times. Would I have made a different decision for my career path, had I known? No, I most certainly would not.


And last but certainly not least …


  • Does everyone encounter self-doubt at times? Of course.
  • Do we sometimes tell ourselves we suck and feel like quitting? Most definitely.

Are either of those things truthful and necessary? Not at all.

As I have written about in an earlier VU blog post, when I was starting out, I did not always recognize my own worth as an artist, a designer, a creative individual, a tech-preneur, and a virtual assistant. In making the leap from part-time entrepreneur (aka freelancer) to full-time entrepreneur, I had to really learn how to talk myself up on those excruciating hard days and out loud acknowledge my abilities, my strengths, and my willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. It’s all about putting your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest of acts. That’s the real secret of success.


Being an entrepreneur is a mindset. You must see things as opportunities all the time. And that’s how to prepare yourself for what I like to call “Business Years 2.0+” which is what we’re about to dive into next as it piggybacks off the things, we personally wished we had known in order to bring to the forefront, expectations vs. reality.

Before we dive into the 2.0+ … Did you know that statistics indicate that the first five years are considered “survival years”? Sounds kind of harsh if you ask me but realistically one out of every twelve businesses shut their doors each and every single year. (Recent pandemic aside of course.) Now, of course, not all those businesses that close are failing. It’s all about strength, survival, and resiliency. New technology, changing patterns, adapting to algorithms, shifting trends, and the list goes on.

So, by now you’re probably wondering if that statistic is you and how to avoid those first five extremely hazardous years. It’s not always about “survival of the fittest”. Sometimes those who seem right for “the job” don’t have the right tools. So, it’s really about survival of the fittest with a plan. A survival plan that is!

Now, now. I’m not trying to freak you out. I’m just trying to remind you how important planning and organization is during these early stages of entrepreneur-land.

During all stages really but most importantly the first five years are crucial as not doing things with a plan could literally make or break your business. Which could possibly even make or break you as the amazing human you are. And nobody wants that. Especially not you.

So, we want to help you find the steppingstones you need to keep your plan afloat (or build one if you haven’t already done so).

That being said, here’s the shortlist of 6 very achievable milestones to keep you focused and on track:


This is where you get to tell you story. The one that counts. This story should have focus placed on a few questions, such as: who is your customer? What are their pain points? What do they value? What do you value? How do you deliver those values and pain point solutions?


Yes, this is the happy story where you’ve made the pitch and landed your first client. You’re filled with entrepreneurial confidence that even your toes are smiling. Now, how do you land your second? Third? And so on. This takes time, consideration and understanding of exactly who these customers are, how and where they spend their time, what they received in value from you, and how you can exceed their expectations. Then simply, rinse n’ repeat.


This is what I like to call the bloodline of your business. You can’t just sit around and wait for clients to fall like rain. You must work for it, earn it, and have a brand that stands out. One that matters. Of course, working with the right people will help you … building an awesome and reliable team will help you … and taking advantage of online marketing will help you. All these things I just mentioned WILL HELP YOU … all the way to the bank!


Remember, how I just mentioned that having a team will help you … all the way to the bank? It’s the truth. Learning to delegate is certainly hard, but a must!

Recently I was at a networking event and the extremely talented lady-preneurs who were presenting kept stressing how even if you can’t afford the team right now, you still need the team. Having a handful of reliable and talented individuals working with you will help you grow your business even quicker. Why? Because for once in your life you won’t have to do everything by yourself!


Okay, so you’ve been working hard. You’re moving along, have a team in place to help you out, and making some good coin. You’re probably wondering what’s next?

Well, it’s time to up your branding game. It’s time to create more content, better content, eye-catching content … Content your industry needs. Your clients, customers and audience will see over time that you’re knowledgeable and then WHAM, you’re considered a pro. A guru. A brand that has authority. And that’s the real end game here … creating memories by making yourself (aka. your brand) memorable.


And once again, last but not least …


Ugh numbers! Something a lot of entrepreneurs avoid talking about. Myself included and numbers, they’re not my friends. But you’re on a path to lasting success so it’s really the final milestone: setting specific financial goals.

Without any goals in this area, how do you plan on growing? You can’t. So, quit procrastinating the calculations. Set a number, inform your team members, and make it something you can work towards … together.


In the end, as you build your golden empire and work towards every dream, no matter the size, if you’re ready and willing to put in the hard work to not become a statistic, don’t let anyone stand in your way — including yourself. Do what you do best and let your team and the ways of the world take care of the rest. After all, you’re more likely to succeed if you’ve tripped and fallen a few times rather than if you’ve never tried!


Let the digital “untangling” BEGIN … Just pop in your earbuds and hop onto one of your favourite channels by clicking any of the links below!


You can also find The Digital Glue Podcast HERE on our website, or by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

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Picture of Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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