I started selling my crochet a month before my youngest daughter was born. In retrospect, that was probably the most stupid decision I have ever made. I had a 2-yr-old, a 1-yr-old, and a however-many-months-old and trying to crochet for a profit. There were weeks when the housework just did not get done, and the meals did not get planned, and the kids watched way too much Netflix. But, I became very good at crocheting and at selling. I never gave up, and seldom slacked off, doing the research, and developing the skills. Now, almost six years later, my children are all in school and I am a very successful and professional pattern designer. So, what are my secrets? How did I manage a creative business while also raising three children? In retrospect, there are five key ingredients that I implemented from the beginning to get me where I am today.
- Prayer. While that may seem irrelevant to a business, and I’m sure several entrepreneurs try to keep religion and work separate, I am a strong believer that God is carefully intertwined in every aspect of our lives. I found a very direct and obviously noticeable correlation to my prayer life and the success of my crochet business. When I was more zealous in praying and studying the Bible on a daily basis, my business was much more successful. And when I say much, I mean immensely. I don’t mean that you should read the Bible and pray every day for the soul purpose of growing your business, that is not how it works. Putting God first, however, puts everything else in perspective, and I like to think that He was blessing me accordingly.
- Patience. I’ve spent almost six years working to get where I am today. It didn’t happen in a week, a month, or even two months. My etsy shop was open for three months before I got my first sale. And it was a very LONG three months. I did get sales through Facebook much quicker, and I remember rushing to fulfill Christmas orders in the hospital just hours after giving birth to my ladybug baby.
- Tools. Well, duh! But more than just having the right tools for the job, use quality tools. It may be tempting to create with red heart super saver, but your product is not going to be very high quality. Yes, it will last forever, and never unravel, and be washable, but the end result is just not very pretty or comfortable. Besides, everyone and their dog has access to red heart super saver, using that common yarn will not make you a top crochet artist no matter what you make with it. Invest in some good fiber, and then mark up your prices accordingly. It will be so very worth it! While you’re at it, don’t forget to use smaller hooks. I have seen so many Amigurumi dolls that were made with too big of hooks, and after they’ve been stuffed, there are white gaping holes throughout where the stuffing can easily squeeze out.
- Change. Of course there is changing trends that you need to keep up with. It is ok to make “yet another owl hat”, I promise. Just make sure that you are making the best owl hat that you can. Also, change according to what you are selling. When I first started making dolls, they were big, floppy, and did not sell well at all. But I LOVE making them, so I adapted, changed, used better yarn and a smaller hook, used safety eyes instead of button eyes, gave them names and a personality (read THIS post), and now they sell like hot cakes. If you’ve got a product that you just really enjoy making but it isn’t doing as well as you would like, change it up. Maybe try different marketing methods, or advertise differently. Don’t give up just because one thing isn’t working.
- Perseverance. When I first started, my husband spouted off a whole bunch of business related statistics. Like, how 50% of businesses don’t make it past the first year. Well, I was determined to make it. And that is the joy of a crochet business – as long as you are creating and selling, you are still “in business”. If you keep going, you’ll have to get better, and make more sales, and earn more income…it’s a spiraling up effect that is so much fun. It takes 100,000 hours of experience or practice to become a professional. Keep on swimming 😊
It doesn’t require a business degree or an artsy education to be the best. Do the work, stay on top of trends, update and adapt as needed, and use your common sense. Have you discovered any amazing secret to being the best? Please, share the wealth, and we will all succeed together!