What Should Creatives Be Blogging About?

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I’ve had this blog for about 5.5 years. The first two years I was very dillegent to post 3-5 times a week and my blog’s stats slowly and steadily increased. However, I never could figure out how to monetized this blog, and without that extra motivation, I sort of fizzled out. Especially when my crochet business started taking off. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have to time to exert energy into something that wasn’t going to profit much. Sure, the blog brought extra customers to my Etsy store, but not enough to make it valuable to me.

However, I’m now in a position where I can come back to the blog, with high hopes of monetizing soon! That simply means I am working on earning some money from this blog. It can definitely be done, and I’ve read several articles from blartists (blog artists – can we make that a thing?) who not only earn money from their crafty blogs, but can make a living solely on their crochet blogs! I have the need to be one of those blartists. So, I appreciate your patience as I work on rebranding, and I promise that little space to the left will soon have a shiny new logo in it! And if you also want to glean from their expertise, I’ve listed a few of them below ☺️

Sewrella

Cre8tioncrochet

ThePennyHoarder

During the past years of blogging, I have paid attention to the stats, and what people are looking at, and liking, and linking back to, and commenting on. It’s a very specific kind of post that people are interested in. To be successful, it’s important to focus on creating this kind of content.

Tutorials

People love to read how to do something. Even better is if it’s simple enough that your readers can do it themselves! I have a few tutorials that I wrote a couple years ago, and still have frequent visitors to those posts. It is also important to realize what to include in a tutorial:

  • Tools. Always, always, always include a list of materials needed to accomplish the finished product exactly as you have created it. List specific colors, brand names, and sizes. This is where affiliate marketing makes an impact!
  • Pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Good quality pictures. Show your reader how theirs should be looking every step of the way.
  • Directions. Step-by-step directions of what needs to be done and how to do it. Did you know, that there are so many many people who cannot craft? They can look at a very simple craft project and have no clue how those results were achieved. Write for these people! Precise, clear, to the point.
  • Video. Now, I’m not a video-person. I don’t appreciate my appearance on screen, and I detest the sound of my voice. But there is a great amount of value to be had with videos. Whenever you can, make and use one!
  • Resources. Books, other blogs, additional information. Make it easy for your reader to further explore the kind of craft that you are tutorialing (yeah, that’s a thing). While it’s ok to direct them off sight, try to send them to other blog posts that you wrote when you can.

Freebies

People LOVE freebies. Like, gobble them up as fast as they can. They love to benefit from your hard work without having to do anything themselves. Sometimes that’s ok, but don’t get so carried away that you suffer at a loss.

  • Printables
  • Lists
  • Information
  • Giveaways
  • Cheat sheets

Inspiration

It’s so easy to get discouraged, overwhelmed, bogged down, and just plain wanna quit. If you’ve been living for longer than a year, you’ve definitely felt “the burn-out”. So, include some inspiration and motivation for your readers. Whether that means bible verses to get through life in general, or encouraging quotes from famous people, readers love to be inspired!

Beginner’s guides

So many people are getting the idea that they want to give it a try. After all, if you can be successful, why can’t they? But they don’t even know where to start. More importantly they don’t know how to start. So, create a step-by-step guide for them. Don’t be afraid of sharing your experiences of what worked for you.

Guest Posts

This is an exciting prospect! To have enough of a following to merit the attention and time of someone else. Especially if you are able to bring in an expert who backs up your information. Adds to your credibility. And boosts your stats.

Giveaways

There is much debate on the validity of blog contests. Maybe you can run a successful sweepstakes, but are you bringing in freeloaders or an authentic following? Personally, I find giveaways to be too much work with not enough benefit. But there are some creative bloggers out there who will attest to their usefulness in moderation. I suggest experimenting and find out if it will work for you. I’ll include a few resources for you just because I’m nice like that ☺️

How to Create Social Media Contests That Convert

How to Run a Social Media Promotion and Not Go to Jail

12 Brilliant Contest Ideas

Blogging Giveaway Rules

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There are lots of different kind of blog posts that you can write: memes, narratives, FAQs, works in progress, infographics. While these are useful posts and can add to the validity of your blog, they are not as likely to bring a huge following in a short amount of time. Balance it out and you will be on your way!

Messy Bun, Ponytail Hat

Ponytail or messy bun crochet hats

Alright, alright, I’m giving in to the overnight fad. While I am very much not a fan of these crochet hats, the amount of interest in them that has been expressed to me is more than enough. I have been convinced that the creations thereof are not only worthwhile, but appreciated. So, your search is over! I now make and offer these hats in several different styles and color combinations! So contact me on Facebook to get one of your own, or check out my Etsy shop to obtain the patterns and make your own. Hope you all enjoy ☺️


It took me a lot longer than it probably should have for me to figure these out. I love the ribbed brim. It has quite a bit of stretch to it so that it will fit snuggly on your head without slipping around as you go about your day. And, one of my favorite features of these hats is how they are long enough to cover the ears, but not too long that they bunch in the back (at the neck).

With so many different textures and color options to choose from, you can be sure that yours is going to be one-of-a-kind, unique to you and your style preferences.

As always, anything made from my patterns can be sold, but please do not copy or redistribute the pattern itself. Thank you very much ☺️

Five Necessities to Grow and Expand Your Crochet Business

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I love to crochet. It’s no secret. When my children were younger, I used the repetitive patterns and motions to relax and calm down at the end of the day (especially those rough days that all infants/toddlers experience from time to time). Now that my children are getting older and our lives are getting busier, I find Crochet to be my primary source of artistic expression. I need that in my life, in some form or other. An added bonus is the extra income that I am able to bring to my family! After five years of working and selling, I have learned how to function as an entrepreneur at peak efficiency. Some of my knowledge has come from the giants that have gone before me, but most of it has been the trial-and-error method to discover what works best with my personality and schedule.

Yesterday, I talked about the bare necessities to start a crochet business. I mean, like,the absolute skeletons needed to sell that first product. It is simple, affordable, do-able, and if you are wanting to start your own business, I greatly encourage you to take the leap and go for it! Today I am going to expand on that list a little bit and talk about what you need to grow and expand your business while still maintaining integrity, quality, and efficiency.

Change

Quite possibly one of the most important necessities to growing your crochet business is your willingness and ability to change. If one kind of product isn’t selling well, try another. When trends change and cycle back, so must your products. 

I was struggling to keep up with custom orders. I was stressed, my house was being neglected, and having to create something brand new with every order left me drained and I burned out quickly. So, I changed, and my business now focuses on crochet patterns. It was a slow change, as one pattern may take me a month to design (from idea to launch). But one that works best for me and my current lifestyle.

Perspective

Being self-employed with a home-based business requires self-discipline of the utmost. It’s not necessarily about “working” on your business 40 hours a week from 9-5. That may not be reasonable, and that mindset goes against the idea of being self-employed with a home-based business. I cannot stress enough, however, that you must consider yourself an entrepreneur and your craft as a business. If you are serious, and want to be treated as a professional, look at your craft as a business. Not a hobby that you work on during your free time, but a JOB that you create time for.

When I first started, I could work while my children were asleep. I was fortunate enough to get all three of them to nap during the same four hours every single day and be asleep at night pretty early. Looking back, I realize that this is not a normal phenomenon and God must’ve been very gracious to my sanity. However, as they’ve become older, naps have been phased out and bedtimes pushed back later, I’ve had to change my perspective. Sometimes, I send them outside to play while I work. Other times, I stay up until midnight to get it done. Crochet is so much more than just a craft or a hobby for me. I make the time to do what I feel like needs to get done, even if that means the dishes don’t get cleaned until tomorrow.

Organization

There are a lot of things that need to be organized when it concerns a crafty business. Sadly only a tiny portion of your business is actually crafting. There are so many hats to wear when creating and managing your own business. If you take the time to figure out how to balance it all, your business will grow and thrive.

  • Supplies. As you continue to make and sell, you will acquire a lot of yarn, and hopefully a lot of different sized hooks, and maybe some buttons or safety eyes, stuffing, pipe cleaners, dowel rods, needles, Magnets, Velcro, beads, scrap fabric…that’s just my abbreviated list. While there are a plethora of ways to organize all of these supplies, it should be done in such a way that you know what you have, and do not waste your precious profits purchasing duplicates.
  • Inventory. I know, that’s like a four letter word. Regardless of how you have chosen to do your business, there will be inventory. I have a lot of finished projects sitting around my house and I sell only the patterns. Hats are in a tote marked very clearly by size, scarfs and dolls are in another basket, and dresses and costumes are hanging neatly in a closet with sizes clearly indicated. Keep like items together and make sure you know what size each item is so there won’t be any guess work or unhappy customers later.
  • Paperwork. For tax purposes it is a wise decision to keep track of what you spend on materials, shipping, promoting, and the profits you are earning. You do NOT want to get into trouble with the government later. Also: to analyze growth of your business and success of different products. One of my best selling patterns has been one of the first patterns I ever designed. If I didn’t know that, I may be tempted to take it off the market.
  • Time. With so many different responsibilities resting on your shoulders, it can become easy to neglect different aspects of your business in order to focus on one or two. Don’t do that. Organize your time efficiently so that you can get it all done during the time you have available.

Patience and Perseverence

You’ve created a beautiful work of art, maybe slaved for days getting the stitches just perfect, launch it, and no one seems interested. Don’t despair! Every single one of my patterns have sat in my stores for a month (or longer) before that first purchase. Time is often a very key component to selling. It takes time for people to find your work. Time for them to decide if they want to purchase it. Be patient. While you are waiting, create something else, don’t give up. Could be that you didn’t use the right color, maybe a different product will garner more interest. The more that you make, the more attention you will attract, the more sales you will make. Keep going!

Updates

Do not ever list an item and never come back to that listing. Updating can really boost your business if done consistently. Even if it’s just a picture on facebook, change the wording (include holidays or special sales), add an updated picture, tag certain friends who may have expressed interest in the past. Especially for your earlier products. As you get better creating and photographing and explaining, go back and “fix” your noob mistakes.

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Crochet is not rocket science, selling it doesn’t require a genius. Traveling your journey as a business-person will not always be obvious or easy or fun. There are times when you will want to throw your hands in the air and just quit. But then you will have failed. Maybe you have already encountered your first disgruntled customer, and the discouragement weighs heavy. Learn from it and know that time will heal that wound. If you want to sell your crochet, then you are going to create and profit and nothing will hold you back…I promise!

6 Bare Necessities of a Crochet Business

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Crochet is a PERFECT craft to sell. It is relatively easy, inexpensive, and immensely versatile. People have been crocheting for hundreds of years. Not only as a means of creating something, but for relaxation and therapy as well. Bonus: it is a very portable craft, that can be accomplished from virtually any setting. I have seen several facebook posts recently of people looking to start their own crochet business, and for that I applaud you! It is a fine endeavor to embark upon. As the crochet industry continues to grow and change, the support and encouragement is endless and vast. However, as with all crafts and businesses, there are some things that are necessary not only to function but to thrive at optimal efficiency. In response to all of those people looking to start, I have come up with a two-part series, the first focusing on the few things that you definitely need in order to start. And then, as your business starts to profit and thrive, the second part will expand on the additions and growth needed to there optimize your efficiency.

Material

This seems kind of obvious to me, but I felt it needed mentioned anyways. You need the materials of your craft: hook and yarn. Thankfully, neither of these are very costly, with many hooks costing $2-$3 and while yarns can cost as much as $15 a skein, most range in the $3-$5 department. All you need to get started is one hook, and one skein of yarn.

Ideas

You’ve gotta know what you are making before you can make it: a scarf, hat, poncho, slippers, purse, sweater, doll, toy, pillow, blanket, wall hanging, etc. Virtually anything can be made out of crochet. Some things really shouldn’t be, like men’s shorts, I mean…really? Even in the 70’s those are pushing some serious “hippie” boundaries, but I digress. You can peruse Pinterest, google, ask your children, or maybe someone has requested something. You just need one tiny idea to get started with.

Customers

Again, duh! You can’t sell something is there isn’t someone willing to buy. Many entrepreneurs will encourage you to know your customers and cater to their desires. While this is very true for your success, to start off, you only need one eager person willing to support you.

Pricing

Quite possibly the trickiest part of selling handmade goodies is figuring out how to price your work. There are lots of algorithms available for figuring it all out. My personal favorite is to get on Etsy and compare similar items. However, be careful not to price your items as the cheapest just to “beat” the competitors. You might suffer a huge loss by doing that. Yes, there may be a scarf marked at $5.00, but most likely, it is a very poor quality scarf with uneven edges, ends sticking out, and all manner of wonky-ness going on. Be fair to yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for some $$ as well. I’ve seen a simple headband priced at $30 (and selling out like crazy!). Use your best judgment and don’t be afraid to change prices accordingly as your business grows and changes.

Currency

A necessity that is easy to overlook is what kind of currency will you be accepting, and how are you going to handle it? For your very first item, exchanging cash or personal check from the sellers hand to your hand is perfectly acceptable. Keep it local, deliver it face-to-face. No fees, no shipping, no concerns if the seller will receive within a reasonable time, no wondering if the card is going to go through on both sides. Keep it simple, and enjoy the full rewards of your time spent.

Marketplace

The last thing you need to sell your crochet is a place to sell it. Facebook, Etsy, boutique, craft show, your own website. The choices are vast and endless. Pick one, a simple one, maybe a free one. I think facebook is a great place to start. So you take a picture of your product, post it to your page, and get tons of interest…congratulations, you are now an entrepreneur and you only spent a few dollars to get there!

Now What?

Now that you have sold your first product and are a business person, don’t forget to keep growing and changing to become better and polished and take over the crochet world! Check back tomorrow to find out what you need in order to do just that!

History of a crochet business

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Five years (and two months) ago I started selling my crochet pieces on facebook. Within the next few weeks I opened up my Etsy shop and sold my first hat. That first hat was terrible! No, seriously, it should not have sold. My first customer may have been an “Etsy stranger”, but the next several were friends and acquaintences who were going the extra mile to show their support. My first crochet products were so poorly constructed, the seams were obvious, the tension was not equal throughout, there were way too many dropped stitches and increases to fix the count. I was a noob, having only just learned how to chain, and it was so very obvious.

I have never thanked those first customers, and I really must! They were not buying hats to keep their heads warm, they were supporting me as a crafter and investing in Family Bugs as a business venture. I may not have recognized it then, but looking back at those horrendous things I made five years ago, how can I not see it? So, thank you. To all of you who stood by my beginning, assisted in my learning curve, and tolerated all of the gifts and wonky scarfs…THANK YOU! For funding my next project by purchasing my current one, thank you. For all of the “that’s so cute!” and “you are so talented!” compliments, thank you, it was often encouragement enough for me to keep going with the creating. For all of the brave individuals who requested custom orders with no knowledge of my capabilities, thank you for giving me the outlet to further my skill set and talent. Thank you for all of the pictures and memes posted on my facebook wall, I cherish them all! I would not have even started if it were not for all of you, and now I have celebrated five years!

So much about Family Bugs has changed. What started out as hats, turned into photo props for newborns, warped into costumes for toddlers, shifted into patterns for costumes, morphed into patterns for dolls, and has become a happy mix of  pretty much all of the aforementioned. I shared my Etsy shop with my mom while she got her feet wet with embroidery (check her out at Letter Me Cute). I tried to add some other little crafty things to my shop (fabric hair flowers, and homemade fairies) to no avail. I added my crochet patterns to a few other popular sites (Ravelry and Craftsy). For about a year, familybugs.com existed and never flourished. I added Pinterest, instagram, and a plethora of other sites into the rotation. All part of the journey to discover the Family Bugs brand.

Every company has a beginning, a story, a history. I want to encourage you to keep working on yours. Family Bugs is prospering now, but there were seasons when I lost more than I made. They say that 80% of businesses fail within the first year and a half. Not just fail, but crash and burn! One of the joys of starting a crafting business is the fact that the only way you can fail is if you quit. So, change as you need to. Flow with the fads, even if you think they are ugly (ahem, messy bun hats). Take notice of what is in the stores, what people are buying, what they are pinning, what they are sharing with you. Make gifts. Splurge on the fancier yarn. Be patient with the smaller hook. Be fair without selling yourself short. Most importantly: don’t quit learning how to be better!

Happy New Years!


Whew, boy! The last several months have been stuffed, and I am only now getting a chance to sit down and relax and create a business plan for this next year. I have been stressed beyond my max and even had a few meltdowns (which is pretty rare for me since I overcame my postpartum depression four years ago). There have been two days, TWO, in the last four months that we didn’t have somewhere to go or something to do.
The dog has mange that requires 2-3 special baths weekly, and spraying twice daily. We added some guinea pigs to the family, and while they are old they desperately need a larger housing unit, and require full cage cleanings twice a week. Mr. Beetle is PTO president and Fundraisers were back-to-back and even overlapped a little. There were Halloween costumes and parties, thanksgiving feasts and activities, Christmas gifts and crafts, secret sister get togethers. School programs and functions and performances. And a little girl that I’ve been keeping 2-3 days a week (I’m tempted to call her “little flea” on this blog, but for kindness sake, you will know her as “Tiny Ant”) up to this point she’s been real high maintenance and has hindered my productivity greatly. Ladybug has been a real trooper, though, trudging along with me everywhere, but even she hit her overflow point a few times. Grasshopper even felt some of the stress as he struggled with insomnia (a 7/yr/old needs a lot more than 6 hours of sleep at night!) which resulted in melt-downs at school. He wore my Fitbit for two weeks while we worked with him to get him to sleep at night. I’ve not been able to make it to the gym once since school started, and I’m feeling the pudge and tightness for sure! What little time I’ve had available, I’ve been crocheting as fast and furiously as I am able…to the point of irritating my wrist. So, now I sleep in an immobilizing brace. The house had to be completely spotless, because the charming Dragonfly (my MIL) was not able to take care of our pets while we traveled for Christmas, so we had one of the college students house-sitting.

Are you done listening to me complain yet? Because I certainly feel a lot better for having written that all out. Thank you for listening 😀. It sure is good to be home, and to be sitting in my own space, with no upcoming responsibilities looming over me, with my sweet Pixie Dust curled up at my feet (her fur is growing back in, btw, and she doesn’t itch hardly at all anymore). 

Christmas was good to me this year. Or should I say that my cherished ones were good to me for Christmas? I got some clothes, and some house decorations, and pretty new yarn, and new running shoes, and the most surprising thing: Mr. Beetle got me an iPad Pro 😍😱 So while I should be taking Christmas down this morning, I am playing, and planning, and utilizing my new business investment! My 10-yr-old MacBook is on its way out the door, and I now am “burdened” with the task of transfering all of my crochet patterns/images/research to my iPad. I suspect it will be a slow and laborious process, but a necessary one so I do not lose all of my hard work from the past five years.

So what’s in the plans for this upcoming year?

  • An overhaul of all of my existing patterns
  • New patterns
  • A YouTube channel
  • More regular blog/instagram posts
  • Increasing my email list/newsletter
  • Maybe some facebook live if I get brave enough

It’s gonna be a great year full of tips, tutorials, advice, and you don’t wanna miss out!