This study investigated the expectations of older people who chose to participate in a self‐management trial of home aged care packages conducted by COTA Australia. Empowerment theory is used to interpret the findings. All Australian home aged care support packages are delivered using a consumer directed care (CDC) model, and most are managed by an aged care provider. The COTA Australia trial gave older people the opportunity to self‐manage their package and have more control over spending and less constraints on its use. This study examined three questions: (a) what motivated the older person, or an informal carer acting on their behalf, to participate in the self‐managing trial; (b) what outcomes they expected (c) and what was their attitude towards risk. The trial was conducted over 9 months in 2018–2019. Seven registered home aged care providers from six Australian states and territories recruited 103 consumers to the trial, with having an informal carer act on their behalf. Online questionnaires with consumers (n = 103) and informal carers (n = 66), and 18 semi‐structured interviews showed that older consumers and their informal carers had high expectations that self‐management would result in: increased choice and control and more flexible use of funds; lower administration fees and more money to spend on services and supports; improved relations with service providers and the opportunity to select support staff. Participants wanted clear information and guidelines and support from their provider. While wanting to have more control and be empowered, few respondents noted concerns about possible risks. This finding raises questions about consumers' awareness of risks that are documented in the literature, and it challenges providers to balance risk management with facilitating independence and autonomy.