This is part 2 of 3 in a series where I share details about my crochet career.
This part of my crochet career is how I learned to separate a crochet hobby that I loved into a crochet business that I didn’t resent.
Before I share this next chapter in My Crochet Career, I would like to thank everyone who read part 1 and sent a reply.
Of the dozens of responses, here are a few I have permission to share:
You perfectly described how I feel every time I take on a project. Even as a gift(although I don’t charge for gifts)😉Wanda
OMGosh! Salena! You hit the nail on the head! I always feel like that when someone asks me for an item. Crazy emotional. Excellent post. ♥️Teri
Awesome story, I think every person who enjoys making things has gone through this.John
Great story. I relate to the anxiety and feelings. Sometimes I still feel that way. I definitely struggle with on the spot pricing. Through following you over the last several years I’ve learned a lot on how to price as I did some of the courses you have in the ACA.Leanne
Great story! I totally relate to your emotions and questions. What is so wonderful is that you didn’t give up. You persevered and conquered. Today you’re very successful and helping others along the way. Great job!Mary Ann
What a lovely read, felt so many feelings reading it (a very good thing!) well done, I’m wanting more nowBarb
I love the way you shared your experience instead of making it text book. You sure have my interest in the next chapter.Judy
I’m so proud that my words resonated with so many of you.
Thank you for reaching out, and sharing to help this story become a conversation!
I hope you enjoy what I have to share next just as much.
And now, here is a bit more about My Crochet Career…
Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Sure, I can crochet that
Crochet has always been a part of my identity: it’s my hobby, something that defines me, and something I can do really well.
Crochet brings me joy.
After selling my first crochet blanket, a lot happened in life: I graduated high school, got married, moved overseas, became a Marketing and Psychology student, and worked a long string of jobs.
At every point in my life, I crocheted: At night, on the weekends, and whenever I had a bit of spare time.
While sitting in a psychology class one day, a fellow student who was pregnant asked me to crochet a baby blanket.
I was really flattered and excited to be chosen to do something that I loved, and from a stranger!
This confirmed it – crochet really was my identity!
I said yes.
She brought a bag of yarn that she had picked out, and told me to make whatever I could with it.
The yarn was thick, one ply, and had a halo.
It was awful, and I was not at all excited to work with it.
We did not discuss price.
There was enough yarn to make a small blanket, maybe 24”x30”, and I probably made a chevron pattern or filet squares because I was really into those stitch patterns for a long time.
Our psychology class met once a week, and I remember wanting to impress her by bringing the blanket to our very next class.
I probably finished it in under 5 days.
I was always early to class (the first one most days, because I liked to sit in the front row).
Her blanket fit into a plastic grocery bag that I proudly put on top of my desk.
I wanted her to have it before class started because I couldn’t wait to hear and see her reaction.
She walked into class, saw the plastic grocery bag, and was thrilled.
As we took it out of that bag, I could see the happiness on her face – she was so excited about the blanket her baby would soon have. I really do remember that happy moment.
Whatever you think it’s worth
Then, she asked how much I wanted.
There it was again. How much do you want?
She did say she would pay for the blanket, but I still didn’t really have any kind of equation that would help me to come up with a price.
So, when she asked how much I wanted, I said something like “whatever you think it’s worth.”
She didn’t have money that day, so I waited a whole week to agonize over what I had said.
“Whatever you think it’s worth…”
I didn’t need the money.
I wasn’t going to starve, and this wasn’t going to affect my finances.
That wasn’t the point.
I had just exchanged so much of myself for this one project.
My time, my thoughts, my energy.
And now, someone I barely knew was going to determine the value of it all.
I felt absolutely deflated.
One whole week passed, and I was once again early to claim my front row seat in Psychology.
She was late, and we didn’t get to talk before the lecture.
After class, she handed me a twenty dollar bill and thanked me once again for the blanket.
She really appreciated it, but I was floored.
I blamed myself
I had just exchanged so much, for so little:
Weeks of thinking about this project.
Weeks of contemplating the design, her reaction, and the worth.
Time away from my daughter
Time away from my husband
Time away from my friends
Time that I was not focused or present in MY LIFE
For just twenty dollars I received a terrible mental disposition, and a lot of anxiety.
Now, this was not her fault and I don’t blame her. I’m not mad at her at all!
I blamed myself.
After all, if I wasn’t comfortable giving away my work, I should not be taking on requests.
That’s what we tell ourselves.
You shouldn’t ask for money, right?
Crocheters say that the agony of pricing their projects is so great that they just give their work away.
Is this the answer?
Should I just be giving my work away, or not take requests at all?
I love to give crochet to friends and family, and I don’t expect any payment in return. That’s not where I have issues.
But, who doesn’t want to be paid to do what they love?
I had to understand why these circumstances were causing me to be so emotional.
I love crochet
I crochet because I love to do it
I crochet for people that I love
I crochet things that I love
I crochet with yarns that I love
I crochet because creating things helps me to focus my time and energy, and gives me something tangible to make me feel that I’ve accomplished something of value.
Crochet makes me feel valued, accomplished, and loved.
That’s what I’m looking to receive when I crochet.
Those are the feelings I strive for.
There it is.
I realized that if I wanted to turn my passion into a paycheck, (and still keep my passion) I had to be honest about how my expectations were driving these negative emotions.
Set some boundaries
If I was going to have a successful crochet business (mentally, physically, financially…) I could no longer rely on others to give me “whatever they think I’m worth…”
I needed a change, and quitting wasn’t the answer.
I decided I needed to separate my crochet hobby from my crochet business.
So, here’s what I did:
Time blocking has been revolutionary in creating my business. Essentially, I block out hours and days that I can commit to working.
For example, I worked on orders Monday – Friday two hours after I put the kids to bed, because that was something I could schedule and commit to.
What To Sell
I enjoyed making a few specific blanket designs, so that’s what I would market.
Those were my specialty, I knew how much yarn I needed and the cost, how to alter the size, and about how much time each one took.
Know Your Value
This was the hardest part, and the best realization I had. I decided that I was worth an hourly wage for my work.
And so, if a blanket took 8 hours, I would charge for those 8 hours.
These three realizations helped to completely change my mindset, and separate my hobby from my business.
When I started to apply these simple business strategies, I could:
Crochet on my own terms, when I wanted to.
Crochet what I wanted to, and found clients who loved my work.
Actually get paid for all the time I spent working on an order.
Once I realized how to define a fair wage for my work, my feelings changed.
No more anxiety.
No more fear.
No more negative emotions.
Fair wage for crochet
And, I figured out how to create a fair wage that anyone can define for themselves.
Every crocheter can create a fair pricing system for literally any project they make.
And, I can help you to find yours.
I have more to share, so look for My Crochet Career: Part 3.
In the mean time…
What do you think about my story so far, can you relate to any of it?
Reply here to share your thoughts, or, start a conversation in the community.
I’d love to hear from you!
Peace + Love + Crochet