The last chapter in My Crochet Career can be summed up in this one comment:
I could have written this myself. I felt every word of this.Kelly
I’ve been sharing different stories throughout My Crochet Career, so if you’ve missed part 1 and part 2:
The main theme in my stories that resonates with the crochet community is that we create because we love this craft; crochet brings us joy, fulfillment, hope, and satisfaction.
It’s what we do to bring love into our lives, and how we show love to others.
But, when we venture from hobby to business, there can be a lot of frustration and regret.
Why is that?
It’s because we’re putting a price tag on our time and hard work, and we’re often left wondering “what am I worth…” in a negative way.
I have one more story to share with you today about my crochet career, and I hope it continues to speak to you, and to move you toward your own success.
What am I worth?
After being paid only $20 for a blanket, I had a lot of negative emotions and feelings about selling the crochet items I made.
That $20 blanket was just one example in a long line of transactions that left me feeling underpaid and unsatisfied.
I love to crochet and create projects for others, but the selling portion of these transactions was absolutely exhausting.
I was not only wondering what I was worth, but if I could actually make a fair wage with my craft.
I wasn’t sure, but I kept repeating the same decisions because that’s what everyone else was doing in this business.
No one makes any real money selling crochet. Right?
In 2009 we moved from Japan to England, and just 2 months after arriving my son was born!
I wanted to stay home with my children while we lived abroad, which was a three year assignment for my US Air Force husband.
I wanted time to adjust, and I also wanted to be there for my family to create a warm and happy home.
This was the first time in my adult life that I wasn’t employed. To say the least, it was an adjustment.
And so, when my son took long newborn naps during those first few months, I crocheted a lot.
I had time to expand my skills and taught myself to make hats, bags, baby clothes, and cowls.
Simple techniques like increasing and decreasing helped me to understand how shaping was possible, so I made slipper sets, toys and lovies!
Any spare moment outside the care and feeding of my kids was spent crocheting.
And, when you’re crocheting in public with a newborn, people ask you to make things.
That happened all the time, so I made business cards.
After all, it was hard for me not to work. I had never done it before, and I wanted to earn my own wage. I needed it, for my own confidence.
And, I came up with a pricing system I thought was reasonable.
Crochet hats were $5 each, and I charged the cost of yarn times 2, maybe 3, for crochet blankets.
With this new pricing structure, I got exactly what I wanted: more orders.
And boy, did those orders come in.
Over a six month period, I went from selling 1 hat a week to crocheting about 3 different items every day, 7 days a week, and having a waiting list of 6 weeks.
I’m not exaggerating.
What a great problem, right? To be so busy with orders that you have a 6 week waiting list?
I wrote all the orders in a desk calendar to keep track, and I still have that calendar today as a memento.
I was taking on any order that came in: Hats, outfits, cardigans, animals, pants, blankets, headbands.
I felt I was expanding my skills, practicing, and getting paid to do it.
That’s awesome. Right?
But, the more my business grew, the busier my son became.
He was no longer a newborn.
He was growing. Crawling. Walking.
And, he was sleeping less during the day.
To keep up with all the new crochet orders, I began sacrificing family time.
I set an alarm to wake up hours before my kids would in the morning.
My husband took over baths and bedtime so I could crochet.
And, I began staying up until midnight, even one, two, or three in the morning to crochet.
I was missing out.
At one point I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I felt like I was hallucinating. And, I crocheted so much that my hand was stiff and my fingers hurt to straighten out.
I was tired, irritable, and constantly preoccupied with the work I was committed to (at least six weeks of it at a time, and it didn’t seem to be slowing down).
Even though I finally had a system to charge for my work, I was mentally and physically exhausted and I knewI had to make some changes.
I thought it would be a “great problem” to be super busy with crochet orders! What a dream, right?
And then I realized something important.
I’m a limited resource.
I was exhausted, discouraged, overwhelmed, stressed, overcommitted, and my mind, body and time is absolutely a limited resource.
I wanted to crochet. I enjoyed it!
But, this was no longer sustainable, or enjoyable.
So, I started to wonder:
How can I continue making crochet items to sell without sacrificing so much of my mind, body, and time?
Especially time away from my family.
And I asked myself again: What am I worth?
And when it comes to pricing crochet, we typically say:
No one will pay me what I’m worth, so I can’t charge a lot
Other people give their stuff away, so I can’t charge a lot
People can’t afford these handmade items, so I can’t charge a lot
Then I wondered why we belittle ourselves with these thoughts. Where does this come from?
Why was I embarrassed, or apologetic, to even think about charging a little more.
Crochet is created out of curiosity, passion, dedication, joy, and love.
So why do we feel embarrassed or apologetic for putting a price on that?
When it comes to a craft, why do we have so much trouble with money?
And then, I thought about what a fair wage could be.
Any job I had outside the home paid an hourly rate, even when I was training and learning how to do the job.
In fact, every job I’ve ever had was guaranteed to pay at least a minimum amount for my time.
Why can’t that be a starting point for the crochet items I was making?
Am I not worth a minimum wage for the work I was doing.
If I took a job outside the home anywhere else, I would earn some kind of minimum hourly amount, so this shouldn’t be any different.
A set hourly amount for my craft, and my time?
That is my fair wage.
This was the start to organizing a better path forward for my business, and it was a great one!
I was sacrificing so much once again, and for so very little.
My time was valuable, and it was worth a fair wage.
I thought a “good problem” was to have so many orders that I had a 6 week long wait list.
But I realized that my time is the most valuable resource I have, and I was ready to make and sell only the things that I loved, stop the burnout, and finally earn a fair wage.
Spoiler alert, I raised my prices and I crocheted way less.
And you know what happened - I earned more money for the time I was working, and I had clients who valued and appreciated my work.
They believed my work was worth a fair wage, too.
This all started with a new crochet calculator, and it helped me to price any crochet item I made all while giving me a fair wage for my work.
This simple formula helped to truly transform my growing hobby of learning and trying new things into a sustainable, enjoyable crochet career.
If you love crochet, but you’re searching the internet with questions like:
How much should I charge for a crochet blanket?
How do you calculate the cost of handmade goods?
How do I price my crochet items?
How much does it cost to crochet?
Can you make money from crocheting?
Please use it.
Please, share it with a friend.
And then, share it with all your friends!
When I see the crochet community asking how to price their goods, it often reminds me of my very long journey filled with wasted time, missed time, hurt, anxiety, sadness, and a bit of regret.
The stories I'm sharing are lessons that have helped me to find success (mentally, emotionally and financially).
I finally created a successful crochet business I love, and I want to share with you exactly what I did so that you can find the same success, without the hurdles I overcame.
Learn from me.
If you're interested in selling the items you crochet…
If you enjoyed this message, can you reply here to let me know? I'd love to hear from you!
Peace, Love & Crochet