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Description:

Great ideas for launching, managing, and evolving your indie yarn-related business, and tips for keeping yourself creative, productive, and sane. Share the unique joys and challenges of being an indie in the yarn industry.

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Podcast Episode's:
Episode 71: Managing Subscriptions, Diversifying Your Income, and Growing Your Business at the Right Pace with Stacey Trock from FreshStitches
<p class="p1">Stacey Trock is the owner of FreshStitches. After a technical failure during our interview at The National NeedleArts Association summer show in June, we talked over Skype about the success of her kit club and why she is switching to digital subscriptions. We also discussed how and why she's diversified her income and her perspective on pacing her business growth, customer service, social media, and more.</p> <h2>About Stacey Trock</h2> <div><span class="il">Stacey Trock, the owner of <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">FreshStitches</a>, recently relocated to Los Angeles with her husband and daughter</span>. Stacey started her business in 2008 selling crochet amigurumi patterns as PDFs and has since expanded her business and diversified her income.</div> <ul> <li>She is the author of Cuddly Crochet, Crocheted Softies, and Modern Baby Crochet.</li> <li>She is a nationally recognized knitting teacher (and she explains why in the interview), as well as a crochet instructor of Craftsy/Bluprint classes. She also teaches business classes from time to time.</li> <li>She <a href="http://www.freshstitches.com/category/blog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blogs</a> and sells <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/product-category/kits/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">crochet and craft kits</a> and <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/product-category/craft-animal-eyes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">craft eyes</a> through her website. </li> <li>She designs <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/stacey-trock" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crochet and knitting patterns</a>.</li> <li>And, she recently transitioned her kit club to a <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/club/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">digital ami club</a>.</li> </ul> <div> <div>You can find Stacey on <a href="http://www.freshstitches.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FreshStitches</a> and follow her on <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/FreshStitches" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy</a>, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/freshstitches" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, Instagram (as <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/staceytrock/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@staceytrock</a> and <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/ami.club/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@amiclub</a>), <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/freshstitches/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/stacey-trock" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>, <a href= "https://twitter.com/stacey_trock" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_2FRY1SsgBbozoymFrSITg" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube</a>.</div> <div> </div> </div> <h2>About the Episode</h2> <p>This episode was inspired by a question Delisa Carnegie, the yarn dyer behind <a href="http://apocalypsefriday.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Apocalypse Friday</a>, asked in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group</a>. Delisa wanted to hear from someone who had a subscription club, and since Stacey's club was the most successful one I knew about, I reached out to her. (Since the original request for an interview in the spring, Stacey has actually ended her kit club. You can read more about that and <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/a-peek-into-the-club-thats-coming-next/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">watch the video where she explains this to her audience here</a>. Her new <a href= "http://www.freshstitches.com/club/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">digital Ami Club</a> is opening soon.)</p> <p class="p1">Stacey shared her perspectives on several important business topics in this interview, including:</p> <ul> <li class="p1">How and why she diversified her business from exclusively selling PDF amigurumi patterns in 2008 to starting an educational blog, selling individual kits, a her kit club (which has now transformed into the digital Ami Club), selling craft eyes and other supplies, writing books, teaching, and launching a yarn line;</li> <li class="p1">Managing a club, starting with understanding your customers, determining your price (and cost), deciding between prepaid and month-to-month subscriptions, being strategic about supply orders, technology for managing payments, inventory, packaging, shipping, and more;</li> <li class="p1">Her DIY approach to running her business, how she thinks about scaling, and deciding when and if to bring in contractors and employees to help;</li> <li class="p1">Her business philosophy, including her focus on flexibility, customer service, time management, organization, and social media; and</li> <li class="p1">Mindset, including speaking your business fantasies into reality.</li> </ul> <p class="p2">Stacey also answers questions from Delisa at <a href= "http://apocalypsefriday.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Apocalypse Friday</a>, Angie Doherty at <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/HookedbyAngel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hooked by Angel</a>, Carmen Nuland at <a href= "http://www.asimplehomestead.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Simple Homestead</a>, Angela Plunkett at <a href= "https://littlemonkeysdesigns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Little Monkeys Design</a>, and Anita Bose Natarajan from <a href="http://www.nbnndesigns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">NitaB&NishaN</a>.</p> <p class="p2">Listen to the podcast for more discussion from me and Stacey. </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in November, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 70: Transitioning Your Business from Online to Face-to-Face - Time Management - and More with Kim Russo from Kim Dyes Yarn
<p class="p1">Kim Russo is the yarn dyer behind Kim Dyes Yarn. We met at The National NeedleArts Association summer show in June, and later I spent some time talking to Kim, who shared how her business has transformed over the past 10 years, how she transitioned her fully online business to one that includes face-to-face elements, and her approach to time management.</p> <h2>About Kim Russo</h2> <div><span class="il">Kim</span> <span class="il">Russo</span>, owner of <a href="http://www.Kimdyesyarn.com">Kim Dyes Yarn</a>, lives in Virginia. She is obsessed with gorgeous colors, the way colors look when mixed and matched with each other, and how to achieve the next great idea in her head. She is a life long learner and her work reflects her continuing determination to keep learning about dyeing and color and fibers. Kim also loves baking, cooking, her family, and the Gilmore Girls.</div> <div>  </div> <div><span class="il">Kim</span> Dyes Yarn uses a variety of dyeing techniques on quality yarns and spinning fibers including gradient dyes, semisolids, variegated yarns, and mini skeins sets. </div> <div> </div> <div> <div>You can also follow Kim on <a href= "http://www.facebook.com/kimdyesyarn" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> and <a href= "http://www.instagram.com/kimdyesyarn" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a>.</div> <div> </div> </div> <h2>About the Episode</h2> <p>In this episode, I chat with Kim about her business and we cover many topics including:</p> <ul> <li>How she started in business 10 years ago as a maker of wool soakers (diaper covers), selling her items online as Sit on Knit. </li> <li>How she approached naming her current business.</li> <li>How she used a combination of photography, clear policies, and customer service to build her brand online.</li> <li>How she transitioned from an entirely online business model to one that includes selling yarn at fiber festivals and other events.</li> <li>Why she decided to "put her big girl panties on" to overcome her shyness at events.</li> <li>How she developed and uses online relationships to find business collaborators and to get advice when needed.</li> </ul> <p>Kim also closes the interview by sharing some words of wisdom for shy creative business owners. Listen to the podcast for more discussion from me and Kim.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in October, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 69: Staying Inspired, Being Authentic, and Learning to Say No with Dedri Uys from LookAtWhatIMade
<p class="p1">Dedri Uys is the crochet designer, blogger, author, and teacher behind LookAtWhatIMade. I spent some time talking to Dedri and she was incredibly open and generous in sharing how she is able to work a full time job, be a devoted wife and mother, and still find energy and inspiration for her crochet business.</p> <h2>About Dedri Uys</h2> <p>Dedri Uys is the crochet blogger, designer and teacher behind <a href="http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LookAtWhatIMade</a>.  She is best known as the designer of <a href= "http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/sophies-universe-cal-2015/sophies-universe-cal-2015-information/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sophie's Universe</a>, a stunning continuous square crochet blanket pattern available as a free, 18-part crochet-a-long. She is the author of <em>Amamani Puzzle Balls</em> and the coordinator/author of <em>Big Hook Rag Crochet</em>. Dedri is also a <a href= "http://www.scheepjes.com/en/bloggers/dedri-uys/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scheepjes blogger</a> and <a href= "http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/back-from-south-africa-bag-full-of-memories/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently returned from her native South Africa</a>, where she taught several crochet classes as part of a tour organized by <a href= "http://beinspired.love/inspired-dedri-tour-2016-highlights/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BeInspired.Love</a>. Dedri "believes that crochet is more than just a craft. <em>It is a lifesaving panacea, a necessary creative outlet, a calming tool and a rewarding passion."</em></p> <div>Dedri lives in London with her husband, 3 sons, and a cat. Four days a week, she's a radiotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital. You can also follow Dedri on <a href= "http://www.facebook.com/lookatwhatimade" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "http://instagram.com/barbertondaisy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "http://www.pinterest.com/dedri/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/dedri-uys" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ravelry</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/dedristrydom" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Twitter</a></div> <h2>About the Episode</h2> <p>In this episode, I chat with Dedri about her business and we cover many topics including:</p> <ul> <li>How she started, grew, and diversified her business.</li> <li>The benefits and challenges of growing organically, including how she manages looking back on past projects that may not be "perfect."</li> <li>How teaching keeps her energized, even though she was initially nervous about it.</li> <li>Working full time in addition to being a crochet designer, and her suggestions for time management, involving others in your business, organization, and caring for your loved ones.</li> <li>Building the self-confidence to learn to say no to new opportunities to avoid burnout, stay inspired, and find more time for family, inspired by the C.J. Langenhoven's quote, "Yes is like credit. No is like cash."</li> <li>Learning to be vulnerable and the difference between guilt and shame from Brené Brown. (Dedri especially recommends this interview with Brené on Chase Jarvis Live: <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUuXDZERxrk" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Authenticity and Bravery in a Digital World</a>.")</li> </ul> <p>Dedri also closes the show with 3 things she wishes she knew when she started her business. Listen to the podcast for more discussion from me and Dedri.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in September, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 68: Getting Started with Video and Growing Your YouTube Channel with Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux
<p class="p1">Jennifer Dickerson is the crochet and knitting designer, blogger, author, and YouTuber behind Fiber Flux. I had the chance to chat with Jennifer about how she got started with video and grew her YouTube channel to over 125,000 followers in less than two years. In this interview, she shares her practical tips for working with video, building a YouTube channel, time management, working for free, and monetizing your blog and videos. </p> <h2 class="p1">About Jennifer Dickerson</h2> <p>Jennifer Dickerson is the crochet and knitting designer, blogger, and YouTuber behind <a href="http://www.fiberfluxblog.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fiber Flux</a>. In addition to her blog, she launched the <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV9tshuywXyaTRONzSFy0Ug" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Fiber Flux YouTube channel</a> about two years ago and has grown to 125,626 followers as of this writing. Jennifer is the author of <em>Mini Flower Loom Crafts</em> and has another book forthcoming. You can also follow Jennifer on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/fiberflux/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/fiberflux/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/fiberflux/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/fiber-flux---jennifer-dickerson" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/fiberflux" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a></p> <h2>About the interview</h2> <p>In this episode, I interview Jennifer about getting started with video and growing a YouTube channel, but we also chatted about other aspects of her creative business.</p> <p>Some of the topics we discussed about video included:</p> <ul> <li>Jennifer's practical tips for getting started in video.<br /> <ul> <li><strong>Start by recording your back catalog</strong> so you don't have deadline pressure.</li> <li><strong>Use simple tools.</strong> Her recommendations are to use artificial lighting from a kit with a "natural light" bulb, a camera that has both automatic and manual options (should you decide to experiment with settings), and a tripod. She uses the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/editor" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">YouTube Editor</a> to edit her videos within the interface.</li> <li><strong>Remember that you don't need to film in sequence.</strong> Jennifer credits Celina Lane from <a href= "http://simplycollectiblecrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Simply Collectible Crochet</a> for reminding her that she can film the process in any order and then edit later.</li> <li><strong>Focus on transitions.</strong> You don't necessarily need to film an entire process, but remember to share a transition before moving on to the next step (e.g., "Continue to repeat this step until the end of the row and I'll meet you there.") </li> </ul> </li> <li>Jennifer's suggestions for growing your YouTube channel.<br /> <ul> <li><strong>Use the <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/user/creatoracademy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Creator Academy</a></strong>, YouTube's free resource for creators.</li> <li><strong>Release videos on a consistent schedule</strong> so your audience returns to your channel often.</li> <li><strong>Start each video quickly with a strong opening and link between videos on your channel</strong> to encourage viewer retention. </li> <li><strong>Make the opening of your channel an "event."</strong></li> <li><strong>Remember to promote the channel itself,</strong> not just embedded videos on your other online properties.</li> <li><strong>Ask viewers to subscribe.</strong></li> <li><strong>Remember that your YouTube followers </strong>may be different than your audience on other platforms.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>We also talked about other aspects of Jennifer's business, including how Jennifer...</p> <ul> <li>Monetizes her blog and channel,</li> <li>Approaches her editorial calendar and time management, especially when working on larger projects (like a book),</li> <li>Decides if and when to work for free,</li> <li>Has become a published author, along with suggestions for other aspiring authors. </li> </ul> <p>Listen to the podcast for more discussion from me and Jennifer.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 67: Mailing List and Email Marketing Best Practices with Heather Solos from Feedblitz
<p class="p1">Heather Solos is a director at Feedblitz. I met Heather at the 2016 Snap! conference and we later had a Skype chat about best practices for growing, maintaining, and monetizing your email list. </p> <h2>About Heather Solos and Feedblitz</h2> <p>Heather Solos started blogging in 2004 and became a professional blogger in 2006. She joined FeedBlitz, an RSS and email marketing company, in 2012 where she built the customer service team. She’s now a director at Feedblitz and swims in a sea of email, marketing, and best practices. When she comes up for air, she works for <a href="http://www.home-ec101.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Home-Ec101.com</a>, a site that earned her the blogger dream, a book deal in 2011.</p> <p>Heather is raising four kids, a dog, and a hedgehog with her fiancé in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She runs on spite, caffeine, and wine and recently picked up a crochet hook in an attempt to resist checking her phone in the evenings. She now has more washcloths than dishes.</p> <h2>About the interview</h2> <p>In this episode, I talk to Heather about her own experiences with email lists as a blogger and what she has seen through her work at Feedblitz. (If you're new to the topic of email marketing, you may want to list to Episode 55: Email Marketing 101: Or, Why and How to Set Up an Email List for Your Creative Business.)</p> <p>Some of the topics we discussed included:</p> <ul> <li>Ways to monetize your email list through advertising, sponsorships, digital or physical product sales, and bundles/special offers for subscribers.</li> <li>The email open rate companies will be looking for before sponsoring a list.</li> <li>When to consider opt-in freebies to grow your list.</li> <li>When it's ok to use a more "salesy" approach to your list.</li> <li>Content ideas for autoresponders.</li> <li>How to approach an email list if you don't have your own website but operate out of a marketplace like Craftsy, Etsy, or Ravelry.</li> <li>How to find out the deliverability rate of your email list.</li> <li>What to avoid in your subject line, format, and email text to stay out of spam filters and when to use different email formats.</li> <li>List hygiene and maintenance.</li> <li>Tips for sending emails more regularly.</li> </ul> <p>Listen to the podcast for more from Heather about best practices in email marketing for creative businesses. I also share my experience using with the Feedblitz "test drive" and the service.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in July, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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CYESmmtc2: Make Money Teaching Crochet Virtual Tour Wrap Up/Question and Answer Session
<p>I answer questions about teaching crafts and self-publishing as I wrap up the virtual tour for my new book, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet</em>.</p> <h2>About this episode</h2> <p>In this episode, I share the edited audio of a Facebook Live event I hosted earlier in the week where I answered questions from listeners about teaching crafts and self-publishing. Thanks to <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/designers/rosalba-bassora" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Rosalba Bassora</a>, Novella Bobo from <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadebyNovella" target="_blank" rel="noopener">MadebyNovella</a>, Patrice Walker from <a href= "http://www.yarnoverpullthrough.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Yarn Over, Pull Through</a>, Rachel McKinney from <a href="http://100creations.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">100 Creations</a>, and MG Camacho from <a href= "http://www.mgcamacho.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Booktalk 'n More</a> for sharing questions beforehand!</p> <p>I reference a lot of different resources, which you can learn more about by following these links:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/teach.html" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program</a>: This certification program is a requirement if you want to teach crochet or knitting at a "big box" store. In the book, I talk about other reasons you may want to consider getting certification, or why it may not be necessary for your specific teaching business.</li> <li><a href= "http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php">Scrivener</a>: This is the software I used to convert my book to .mobi files for Kindle and .epub files for Kobo. I also used it to organize writing the book because there is a great "corkboard" feature where you can organize what looks like little index cards for notes on your book. Scrivener has a 30 day free trial, but the days aren't consecutive. You only "use up" your free trial on days when you open the software.</li> <li><a href="https://kdp.amazon.com/signin" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Kindle Direct Publishing</a>: I used KDP to self-publish my Kindle book and my print-on-demand book. </li> <li><a href="https://www.kobo.com/writinglife" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Kobo Writing Life</a>: I used this to self-publish the .epub version of the book.</li> <li><a href="https://www.canva.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Canva</a>: I used Canva to create the cover for the ebook using the pre-sized template, my own selections of fonts, and a photo.</li> <li>Fiverr: <a href="https://www.fiverr.com/bdboss" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bdboss</a> is the Fiverr seller who transformed my ebook cover into a cover for the print book to meet CreateSpace requirements.</li> <li><a href="https://gumroad.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Gumroad</a>: This is where I sell the direct downloads of my ebook. It also has a great affiliate program that is super easy to set up.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in July, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 66: Showcasing Your Creative Business and Pitching to Brands and Clients with Leslie Albertson from Mixbook
<p class="p1">Leslie Albertson is the director of marketing at Mixbook. I had the chance to get to know Mixbook in person at the 2016 Snap! conference and was later introduced to Leslie. We scheduled a Skype interview to talk about the best ways to present your creative business to potential sponsors and collaborators, following up after networking events, and more.</p> <h2>About Leslie Albertson and Mixbook</h2> <p>Mixbook's mission is to help you share and relive life's most important memories through its custom photo products. As director of marketing, Leslie brings her passion as a storyteller to Mixbook's content, community, and customer retention programs across it's portfolio of brands- Mixbook.com, Montage, and Mosaic Photo Books. Her past roles have included driving strategic partnerships with brands including Samsung, Verizon Wireless, and the NFL. </p> <p>Mixbook was founded by Inc 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs from UC Berkeley, and has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, TechCrunch, The Verge, Washington Post, New York Times and many other global media outlets.</p> <h2>About the interview</h2> <p>In this episode, I talk to Leslie about Mixbook's products and brands, networking at in-person events, follow up, and branding your creative business.</p> <p>Some of the topics we discussed included:</p> <ul> <li>Tips for approaching brands or potential collaborators at networking events,</li> <li>Identifying which brands would be the best fit for partnership with your business,</li> <li>How to stand out (in a good way) at your next networking event, </li> <li>Leslie's "rule of 3" for follow up after an event,</li> <li>Becoming comfortable with sharing and pitching ideas, and</li> <li>Ways to use Mixbook products as a portfolio, for packaging, and to brand your business in general.</li> </ul> <p>Listen to the podcast for more from Leslie about branding your business and working with brands. I also share my experience using Montage for a portfolio.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Make Money Teaching Crochet (and Other Crafts)
<p class="p1">I kick off the virtual book tour for Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students by talking about how teaching has helped to grow my yarn-related business and earn me a stable side income. I also share more information about the book and self-publishing. </p> <h2>About this episode</h2> <p>In this episode, I talk about Make Money Teaching Crochet, including...</p> <ul> <li>Sharing how I got started teaching crochet and how it has impacted the development of Underground Crafter, </li> <li>Discussing why I wrote the book and key decisions I made in the self-publishing process,</li> <li>Describing the difference between the different versions of the book, and</li> <li>Providing more details about the virtual book tour.</li> </ul> <p>You may also want to check out <a href= "http://www.crochetersconnection.com/show8/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">when I was interviewed by Priscilla on Crocheter's Connection</a>.</p> <h2>Follow the virtual tour!</h2> <p>Check out the rest of the stops on the tour to read reviews, guest posts, and interviews (and for more chances to win a copy).</p> <div> <ul> <li>6/12: <a href="http://americancrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">American Crochet</a></li> <li>6/13: <a href="http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Crochet Concupiscence</a></li> <li>6/14: <a href="http://www.mooglyblog.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Moogly</a> </li> <li>6/15: <a href="http://yarnobsession.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Yarn Obsession</a> </li> <li>6/16: <a href="http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Oombawka Design Crochet</a></li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/17: <a href="http://www.creativeincomeblog.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Creative Income Blog</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/18: <a href="http://undergroundcrafter.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Underground Crafter</a></span></li> <li>6/19: <a href="http://kaleidoscopeartngifts.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kaleidoscope Art&Gifts</a></li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/20: <a href="http://www.fiberfluxblog.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Fiber Flux</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/21: <a href="http://thestitchinmommy.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The Stitchin' Mommy</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/22: <a href="http://cgoanow.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">CGOA Now!</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/23: <a href="http://www.samedinamicscrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Same DiNamics Crochet</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/24: <a href="http://nap-timecreations.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Nap Time Creations</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/26: <a href="http://rhelena.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Rhelena's Crochet Blog</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/27: <a href="http://jessieathome.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Jessie At Home</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/28: <a href="http://www.rebeckahstreasures.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Rebeckah's Treasures</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/29: <a href="http://crochetkitten.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochet Kitten</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">6/30: <a href="http://poetryinyarn.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Poetry in Yarn</a></span> </li> <li><span style="font-family: arial, sans, sans-serif;">7/1: <a href="http://ambassadorcrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ambassador Crochet</a></span> </li> <li>7/2: <a href="http://persialou.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Persia Lou</a> </li> </ul> </div> <h6> </h6> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 65: Organizing Your Inspiration, Branding Your Creative Business, and Working with Brands with Alexis Middleton from Persia Lou
<p class="p1">Alexis Middleton is the crochet designer and craft blogger behind Persia Lou. I had the chance to meet her in person at the 2016 Snap! conference and we later scheduled a Skype interview to talk about the panel workshop, Generate and Pitch Ideas Like a Boss.</p> <h2>About Alexis Middleton </h2> <p>Alexis is a work-at-home mother of three and a lifelong crafter. She learned to crochet from her great grandmother as a child but put down the hook until a few years ago. She started her blog, <a href="http://persialou.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Persia Lou</a>, as a place to share her crochet projects and it has since expanded to include other crafts and home decor projects, too. </p> <p>You can learn more about Alexis by visiting <a href= "http://persialou.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Persia Lou</a>. You can also follow Alexis online on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/persialou" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/persialou/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/persialou/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/alexis-middleton" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/persialou" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a> | <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbwXTCvSAVd9l5sgf2kcwXg" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube</a></p> <h2>About the interview</h2> <p>In this episode, I talk to Alexis about her panel workshop at Snap!, Generate and Pitch Ideas Like a Boss. (Her co-presenters were Colleen from <a href="http://www.lemonthistle.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Lemon Thistle</a> and Sarah from <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/confettisunshine/">Confetti Sunshine</a>.) Alexis also answers listener questions from Angela at <a href="https://littlemonkeysdesigns.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Little Monkeys Designs</a> and Carmen from <a href="http://www.asimplehomestead.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">A Simple Homestead</a>.</p> <p>Some of the topics we discussed included:</p> <ul> <li>Ways to organize your inspiration,</li> <li>Whether you should consider working for free or for product,</li> <li>How to ask brands to get paid,</li> <li>Creating a cohesive visual brand across your website, Instagram, and other social networks,</li> <li>Staying focused on your business goals, and</li> <li>Taking time off to refresh creatively.</li> </ul> <p>Listen to the podcast for more from Alexis about growing your blog and creative business.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 63: Blogging, Taking Risks in Your Business, and Working with Sponsors with Erica Dietz from 5 Little Monsters
<p>Erica Dietz from 5 Little Monsters had been blogging for less than a year when she started working with sponsors. We chatted at the 2016 Snap! conference about blogging, taking risks, how to work with sponsors, and more.</p> <h2>About Erica</h2> <p>Erica Dietz is the crochet, sewing, embroidery, and craft blogger behind <a href= "http://www.5littlemonsters.com/p/about-me_18.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Little Monsters</a>. She shares designs and tutorials on her blog. Erica is also a stay-at-home mom to (you guessed it) 5 children.</p> <p>You can learn more about Erica by visiting <a href= "http://www.5littlemonsters.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 Little Monsters</a>. You can also follow her online on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/fivelittlemonsters" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/fivelittlemonsters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/fivelittlemonst/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/erica-dietz" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ravelry</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/fivelittlemonst" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a></p> <h2>About the interview</h2> <p>In this episode, I talk with Erica about a variety of topics, including the evolution of her business, how she started working with brands and sponsors, her tips for making connections at conferences, stepping out of your comfort zone, and the importance of follow up. She also shares an inspiring call to action at the end!</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in May, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 62: Bootstrapping Your Business While Knowing When To Spend with Lorraine C. Ladish
<p>If you're like most home-based business owners, you're bootstrapping your business and keeping costs low with a DIY approach. In this episode, I interview author, speaker, and digital entrepreneur, Lorraine C. Ladish, about how she bootstrapped her business. We also discuss when to invest and spend in your business, taking risks, taking care of yourself, and more. </p> <h1>About Lorraine </h1> <div><span class="il">Lorraine C. Ladish is a bilingual author of more than 15 books, and a writer, editor, speaker, and digital entrepreneur. Lorraine is the founder and CEO of Viva Fifty!, a bilingual online community that celebrates being 50+. Lorraine is a contributing writer for <em>NBC News</em>, <em>Huffington Post</em>, <em>AARP</em>, <em>BabyCenter</em>, and <em>Mom.me</em>.</span></div> <div> </div> <div>You can learn more about Lorraine by visiting her <a href="http://www.lorrainecladish.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">website</a> and <a href="http://www.vivafifty.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">VivaFifty!</a> You can also follow her online on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/lorrainecladish" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/lorrainecladish/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorrainecladish" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LinkedIn</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/lorrainecladish" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a> </div> <h1>About the interview</h1> <p>In this episode, I talk with Lorraine about a variety of topics, including the evolution of her own business, taking risks and gaining confidence, bootstrapping vs. working with investors, staying true to yourself and your mission, and knowing when to spend on your business. Lorraine also talks about defining success and setting goals for your business, writing a book, and how her yoga practice keeps her pain free and reduces the stress of being an entrepreneur.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 61: The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) Membership and Trade Show for Newbies with Beth Whiteside
<p>Have you considered joining The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA)? In this episode, I interview knitting teacher, designer, and tech editor, Beth Whiteside, about the benefits of membership, newly formed Business and Creative Services sector, and power tips for getting the most out of the TNNA trade show. </p> <h1>About Beth</h1> <div><span class="il">Beth Whiteside</span> is a knitting teacher, designer, and technical editor whose curiosity has led her to visit many countries (stranded color, EPS, k1b, lace, ...) on the knitting-world map. Originally from New England, she now lives in San Francisco, where mountains, ocean, and Haight Street are always good sources of inspiration. She has been teaching locally since 2003, and nationally since 2005. What she loves most about teaching is finding ways to make light bulbs pop on in her students' heads and helping them grow as knitters.</div> <div> </div> <div>You can learn more about Beth by visiting her website,  <a href="http://bethwhitesidedesign.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Beth Whiteside Design</a>. You can also follow her online on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/bethwhitesidedesign" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/bethwaaa/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/beth-whiteside" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/bethwaaa/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a> </div> <h1>About the interview</h1> <p>In today's episode, I talk with Beth about the evolution of her own business, Beth Whiteside Design, and her involvement with The National NeedleArts Association for the past 10 years. We talk about Affiliate membership, attending the trade shows, and the newly formed Business and Creative Service sector, which focuses on individuals and agencies that offer creative and business services to the needlearts industry including authors, bookkeepers/accountants, copy editors, designers, fiber artists, finishers, graphic designers, illustrators, marketing specialists, photographers, teachers (business­-to-­business and consumer), technical editors, website developers, and those in video production.</p> <h1>Resources mentioned in this episode</h1> <p>You can find The National NeedleArts Association online at <a href="http://www.tnna.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its website</a>. Follow TNNA on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/TNNAORG/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/TNNAorg/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/NeedleartsAssn/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/TNNAorg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <p>Links to other TNNA resources we mentioned:</p> <ul> <li>You can learn more about membership types <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/?Membership" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>. Most regular listeners will probably fall into the <a href="http://www.tnna.org/?Affiliate" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Affiliate member</a> category, with the exception of indie dyers, spinners, and other yarnies (and yarn shop owners). For yarnies who sell directly to consumers, <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/?Retail" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Retail</a> membership is less expensive than <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/?Wholesale" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Wholesale</a> membership, but doesn't allow you to exhibit at the trade shows. There is also a <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/?Student" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Student</a> membership option.</li> <li>You can find a list of upcoming TNNA events, including trade shows and webinars, <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/events/event_list.asp?cid=4571" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</li> </ul> <p>I also mentioned a previous episode that you may want to go back and listen to:</p> <ul> <li>Episode 33: 7 Steps for Pitching Your Ideas for Workshops, Presentations, and Panel Sessions to Conferences and Events</li> </ul> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Being a Mompreneur, Staying Positive and More with Elayna Fernandez from The Positive Mom
<p>I interview Elayna Fernandez, author, speaker, and owner of The Positive Mom. </p> <h1>About Elayna</h1> <p>Elayna Fernandez is an author, international keynote speaker, and a key Latina influencer and storyteller through <a title= "The Positive Mom blog by Elayna Fernandez" href= "http://thepositivemom.com/">ThePositiveMOM.com</a>. She lives with her loving husband and her three brilliant bilingual daughters (and home school students) in Fort Worth, Texas.</p> <p>Elayna’s mission is to encourage, empower, and equip moms to have more influence at home, more impact in the world, and more income to make it happen. Elayna is also an award-winning <a title= "Guerrilla Marketing Course and Certification Program" href= "http://thepositivemom.com/guerrilla-marketing-course-and-certification-program" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Certified Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer</a> and the creator of the Guerrilla Positioning System™ (<a title="Guerrilla Positioning System" href= "http://thepositivemom.com/guerrilla-positioning-system" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">GPS</a>) for mompreneurs or aspiring mompreneurs who want to increase their Credibility, Visibility and Profitability™.</p> <p>You can learn more about Elayna by visiting her blog, <a href= "http://www.thepositivemom.com/">ThePositiveMOM.com</a>. You can follow her online at <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/thepositivemom" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a> | <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/thepositivemom/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a> | <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/thepositivemom" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LinkedIn</a> | <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/thepositivemom/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a> | <a href= "https://twitter.com/thePositiveMOM_" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a> | <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxz1E3sijyaKdJFo9eE5lxA" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube</a></p> <h1>About the interview</h1> <p>I had the chance to meet up with Elayna in person at the <a href="http://www.weallgrowsummit.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">#WeAllGrow Summit</a> by Latina Bloggers Connect in Long Beach, California. She was part of a very inspiring keynote panel. In the interview, Elayna shares her suggestions for involving your family in your home-based business, talks about how she uses her morning ritual to set herself up for success, gives recommendations for dealing with negative feedback and negative energy, and explains the way she organizes her time so she can be more productive.</p> <h1>Resources mentioned in this episode</h1> <p>Elayna recommends the following:</p> <ul> <li><em>The Four Agreements: A Practical to Personal Freedom</em> by Don Miguel Ruiz</li> <li><a href="http://www.5lovelanguages.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The 5 Love Languages</a> website</li> </ul> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 59: An Interview with Kara Gott Warner
<p>Today's episode is a double header. I'm interviewing Kara Gott Warner, host of <a href="http://www.powerpurlspodcast.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Power Purls Podcast</a>, and she's interviewing me! Read on for more details and then have a listen to both episodes.</p> <h1>About Kara Gott Warner</h1> <p>Kara is the Executive Editor of <em>Creative Knitting</em> magazine. She began her career in the yarn industry as a knitting designer in 2002. Kara's designs have been published in several magazines, including <em>Creative Knitting</em>, <em>Vogue Knitting</em>, <em>Family Circle Easy Knitting</em>, and <em>Interweave Knits</em>. Kara has also worked as a technical illustrator, working with craft book publishers such as Random House, Lark Books, Sterling Publishing and F+W. Kara joined Annie’s Publishing in 2008 as knitting book editor, and she became the Executive Editor of <em>Creative Knitting</em> and Annie’s knitting publications.</p> <p>Kara's also a podcast host! Her first show, the <a href= "http://karagottwarner.com/morning-cool-down/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Morning Cooldown</a> is a seasonal program that is currently on hiatus. Knitters and yarn industry folks may prefer her latest show, <a href="http://www.powerpurlspodcast.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Power Purls Podcast</a>, where she loves to dig deep and ask those burning questions about what turned her guests on to the “two sticks and fiber,” in the first place, and what keeps their needles moving.</p> <p>You can find Kara online on <a href="http://karagottwarner.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her website</a>, as well as on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/karagottwarner" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a> and <a href= "https://twitter.com/karaknits" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <h1>About the interview</h1> <p>Kara shares an editor's perspective on the magazine design submission process, along with tips for increasing your likelihood of getting a design accepted, and how to build a strong relationship with a magazine as a freelancer.</p> <p>We also talk about the importance of networking within the industry, developing multiple streams of income, and using morning rituals to increase your productivity.</p> <h1>Resources mentioned in this episode</h1> <p>Kara recommends the following books:</p> <ul> <li><em>The Miracle Morning </em>by Hal Elrod</li> <li><em>Big Magic </em>by Elizabeth Gilbert</li> <li>Jocelyn Glei's <em>Make Your Mark</em>, <em>Manage Your Day-to-Day</em>, and <em>Maximize Your Potential</em>, </li> <li><em>Designing Knitwear </em>by Deborah Newton</li> <li><em>Knitwear Design Workshop </em>by Shirley Paden</li> <li><em>Sweater Design in Plain English</em> by Maggie Righetti</li> </ul> <p>You may want to listen to these back episodes of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show for more discussion about topics addressed in this episode:</p> <ul> <li>Episode 1</li> <li>Episode 43</li> <li>Episode 49</li> <li>Episode 56</li> </ul> <p>You can find <a href= "http://www.powerpurlspodcast.com/022-marie-segares/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Kara's interview with me on Power Purls here</a>.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 58: How To Organize and Participate in Multi-Business Collaborations
<p>This episode is all about multi-business collaborations, including blog hops, multi-designer make-a-longs, and in-person events. I share 4 reasons you might want to participate in such a collaboration, 7 tips for organization a multi-business collaboration, and 5 ways for being an ideal collaborator when you're not organizing the event.</p> <h1>4 reasons you might want to participate in a multi-business collaboration</h1> <p>There are many reasons you may want to participate in such an event, but here are the four major ones:</p> <ul> <li>Introduce your business to a new audience and expand your reach.</li> <li>Network with other businesses and sponsors you may not have access to on your own.</li> <li>Earn more money.</li> <li>Develop friendships with like-minded business owners.</li> </ul> <p>I share more details about each of these in the episode.</p> <h1>So, are you ready to organize one of these collaborative shindigs?</h1> <p>If so, here are 7 tips for successfully organizing a collaborative event.</p> <ul> <li>Manage your fear of rejection.</li> <li>Decide who's in charge.</li> <li>Choose to curate or have open invitations.</li> <li>Get organized.</li> <li>Invite and follow up.</li> <li>Reach out to sponsors.</li> <li>Keep your word and thank your collaborators.</li> </ul> <p>I go into more detail about each tip in the episode.</p> <h1>Hmm, that sounds hard. I'd rather participate than organize.</h1> <p>Here are 6 ways to be an ideal collaborator that gets invited back again and again.</p> <ul> <li>Join groups.</li> <li>Read and follow directions.</li> <li>Ask questions if you're confused or have concerns.</li> <li>Communicate, especially about problems or delays.</li> <li>Promote the entire event/collaboration, not just your participation in it.</li> </ul> <p>And, for bonus brownie points, offer to help the organizer(s). I share more details on each way in the episode.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in February, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 56: 6 Income Streams for Yarn-Related Businesses
<p>I share six different income streams for yarn-related business owners to consider in this episode. Many of us start our own businesses part time and by leveraging our existing skills. As you plan for expansion in 2016 and beyond, consider these different options for earning money for your business.</p> <h2>Six Income Streams for Your Yarn-Related Business</h2> <p>Here are some options to consider. Most successful businesses have a combination of income streams which helps to mitigate risk and to standardize cash flow.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Consumer Products:</strong> This is a very broad category including... <ul> <li>Handmade products you sell directly to the end user (e.g., crochet/knit finished objects, artisan hooks and needles, hand dyed or hand spun yarn),</li> <li>Handmade products you sell via retailers (wholesale or consignment),</li> <li>Items you purchase from a manufacturer/wholesaler and resell,</li> <li>Digital products you sell directly to the end user (e.g., patterns, ebooks), and</li> <li>Services including teaching face-to-face and online.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>Advertising and Sponsorship:</strong> You may work with an ad network (like <a href="Google%20AdSense" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Google AdSense</a>, <a href="http://www.media.net/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Media.net</a>, <a href= "http://rivitmedia.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rivit</a>, etc.) or negotiate your own relationships with brands.</li> <li><strong>Affiliate Marketing:</strong> As an affiliate, you promote another company's products and earn a commission when items are purchased through you. </li> <li><strong>Business to Business Services:</strong> Many yarn-related business owners provide services to other businesses on a freelance or contractual basis. Some examples include writing, designing patterns, tech editing, sample making, social media coordination, and virtual assistance.</li> <li><strong>Membership/Subscriptions:</strong> Magazines, pattern subscriptions, and yarn clubs are some examples of yarn-related membership and subscription options.</li> <li><strong>Crowdfunding:</strong> Crowdfunding can be used in exchange for product pre-orders through <a href= "https://www.kickstarter.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">KickStarter</a>, <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">IndieGogo</a>, and other services, or by allowing your fans to support your business on an ongoing basis through <a href="https://www.patreon.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patreon</a> and related services.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in January, 2016. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 55: Email Marketing 101: Or, Why and How to Set Up an Email List for Your Creative Business
<p>If setting up (or enhancing) an email list for your business is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, listen to this episode.</p> <p>In this episode, I talk about why you should start an email list, how to get started, the different approaches you can take to an email list, and how to grow your subscriber base.</p> <h2>Why should you have an email list?</h2> <p>Here are just a few reasons why having an email list by benefit your business.</p> <ul> <li>It provides you with a direct connection to your fanbase without another platform as an intermediary.</li> <li>People check their email regularly throughout the day, so you can connect with them on their schedule.</li> <li>Your subscribers will have a direct, individual connection to your emails (rather than the feeling of being "broadcasted at" that comes with social media posting).</li> <li>Business report seeing boosts in sales after sending out emails to their subscribers.</li> <li>When your business faces another disruption (e.g., your website goes down), it's a great way of letting your audience know what is happening.</li> </ul> <h2>How should you set up an email list?</h2> <p>The most important thing is to get started, not to develop the most masterful email strategy that ever existed. You can always improve and update over time.</p> <p>I recommend starting with <a href="https://madmimi.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">MadMimi</a> or <a href= "http://mailchimp.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MailChimp</a>, both of which have permanently free accounts for small subscriber lists. Both offer affordable plans for people with smaller lists, as well, so you can grow your list before spending a lot of time researching different companies and features. MadMimi is a bit easier (more "low tech") to use, while MailChimp offers more features in its free plan.</p> <h2>How should you approach your email list?</h2> <p>There are several simple options to consider for your email list.</p> <ul> <li><strong>RSS feed:</strong> If you have a website or blog that you update with some regularity, you can set up an RSS feed so that your subscribers are alerted via email to any new posts on your site.</li> <li><strong>Newsletter:</strong> You may want to write an email to your list on a regular basis (e.g., weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly). This can include links to your latest posts, original content for subscribers, roundups of relevant information you’ve found online, and more.</li> <li><strong>Updates:</strong> You may choose to send sporadic emails to your list when something new happens in your business (e.g., a new product is released, you’re teaching a new class, or there’s a sale).</li> <li><strong>Autoresponders:</strong> You may choose to set up a sequence of replies that are automatically delivered to your subscribers on a schedule based on when they subscribed. For example, the first email can be sent one day after they subscribe and the second email can be sent two weeks after they subscribe.</li> </ul> <p>Listen to the episode for more details about each approach.</p> <h2>How do you get subscribers?</h2> <p>Once you understand your approach, you can start recruiting subscribers. Consider letting potential subscribers know more about your approach wherever they can opt-in to subscribe.</p> <p>Here are some other ways to grow your email list.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Update your website:</strong> Include subscription opt-ins in a sidebar, your About and Contact pages, and even in posts on your site.</li> <li><strong>Update your social media profiles:</strong> Use the “sign up” option on your Facebook page, and include a link to your email list on your Ravelry, Etsy, G+, and other social profiles.</li> <li><strong>Update your “thank you” message:</strong> Change the automatic reply sent to your customers on Etsy and Ravelry (or other marketplaces) to include a link to your mailing list.</li> <li><strong>Giveaways:</strong> Some companies offer giveaways to their subscribers as an incentive to encourage people to sign up.</li> <li><strong>Lead magnet:</strong> Offer a free ebook, checklist, or other desirable product “in exchange” for a subscription. <strong>Tip: Do not get stuck on this. If you don’t have a lead magnet, you can still start an email list.</strong></li> </ul> <h2>Resources mentioned in this episode</h2> <ul> <li>Listen to Episode 27: Connecting with Your Mailing List and More with Vashti Braha to learn more about Vashti's approach to her email list and how it impacts her business.</li> <li>Read <a href= "http://www.forbes.com/sites/constantcontact/2015/09/17/10-reasons-to-use-email-marketing-as-told-by-small-businesses/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Reasons To Use Email Marketing (As Told By Small Businesses)</a> on Forbes</li> <li>Check out <a href="http://amylynnandrews.com/useletter/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Useletter</a> by Amy Lynn Andrews as an example of a curated/roundup approach to an email list</li> <li>Read more about (or sign up for) a free <a href= "https://madmimi.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">MadMimi</a> or <a href="http://mailchimp.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MailChimp</a> account</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 54: Time Management for Your Part-Time or Side Business
<p>Time management can be more challenging for part-time business owners. Whether you work full time, run another business part time, or rely on several part time jobs or gigs, if your yarn-related business is part time, you may struggle to manage your time and stay productive.</p> <p>In this episode, I share my time management approach to being a part-time business owner:</p> <ol> <li>Start by setting your short- and long-term goals</li> <li>Look for "chunks" of time in your schedule that can be devoted to your business</li> <li>Arrange the activities required to meet your goals into types of tasks</li> <li>Organize the tasks into your available time slots</li> <li>Find a time management system that works for you</li> <li>Don't compare yourself to other businesses (especially those run by full timers)</li> <li>Find social support</li> </ol> <p>You can hear more details by listening to this episode.</p> <p>If you struggle with time management, you may also want to listen to Episode 10: Time Management Tips: An Interview with Lindsey Stephens from Poetry In Yarn.</p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 53: What To Do When You're Not Feeling Inspired for Your Creative Business
<p>As creative business owners, we thrive on feeling inspired. But what about those days when you just aren't feeling inspired or creative? I share 5 things that I do when I'm not feeling inspired to keep my business moving forward.</p> <ul> <li>Work through it</li> <li>Focus on other crafts</li> <li>Do a "mindless project"</li> <li>Take a break from the creative side of your business</li> <li>Express gratitude to someone else</li> </ul> <p>Other resource mentioned in this episode:</p> <ul> <li>Interview with Steven Pressfield <a href= "http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/06/18/steven-pressfield/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">on The Creative Penn podcast</a></li> </ul> <p>You can listen to the episode for more tips on dealing with a lack of inspiration.</p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 52: How to Increase Your Blog Traffic for Your Yarn-Related Business
<p>In this episode, I talk about increasing blog traffic in response to feedback from the <a href= "http://goo.gl/forms/NWq1k33F4N" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">listener survey</a> and and email exchange with Lindsay Lewchuk from <a href="http://knitecochic.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Knit Eco Chic</a>.</p> <blockquote> <div style= "color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 1; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: #ffffff;"> I'm listening to <a href= "http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode-48-website-strategy-and-working-with-digital-marketers-for-your-business-with-carol-lynn-rivera/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">episode 48</a> & am a bit bummed that she wouldn't get into particular dollar amounts.  I've got content on my site (content I'm proud of), but I have very little traffic...  I know I haven't done any SEO but am completely lost online with how to do it & what to do.  I want to budget for this, but have no idea.  Do you have any insights of which company I should be looking at and how much I need to budget for it?  Is it really as simple as the yoast plug-in (which makes absolutely no sense to me)?</div> </blockquote> <p>Lindsay was previously a guest in Episode 26, where we talked about niche marketing and eco-conscious knitting. (She also shared a great tip in Episode 47: Best Advice for Yarn-Related Businesses.)</p> <p>Here are my suggestions for increasing your blog's traffic.</p> <h2>First, focus on strategy and measurement.</h2> <ul> <li>Clarify your blog's purpose in relationship to your entire business.</li> <li>Begin tracking your blog's traffic. </li> <li>Analyze what you've tracked, and make changes as appropriate.</li> </ul> <h2>Some of the tactics I've used to increase my blog traffic in the past year include...</h2> <ul> <li>Establishing an editorial calendar.</li> <li>Posting more frequently and focusing on specific types of posts based on my goals.</li> <li>Adding subscription options, including an RSS feed subscription and a weekly email newsletter (with links to that week's blog posts) subscription.</li> <li>Guest posting on other sites.</li> <li>Participating in link parties. (See below for a list of link parties.)</li> <li>Linking your blog posts to projects and stash on Ravelry, and sharing those projects and stash in groups.</li> <li>Sharing old/archived posts on social media daily.</li> <li>Changing social media schedule, frequency, and/or platforms based on analysis of blog traffic.</li> <li>Submitting links to referral sites more regularly (especially the growing network of <a href="http://www.primecp.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Prime Publishing</a> sites).</li> <li>Joining private blogging groups where you can share information with other bloggers.</li> <li>Attending blogging conferences, reading blogging books, and/or taking online blogging courses to further develop skills.</li> </ul> <p>Listen to the episode for more details.</p> <h2>If you're focused on improving your blog and increasing traffic, you may want to listen to these prior episodes:</h2> <ul> <li>Episode 4: 6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community</li> <li>Episode 23: Diversifying Your Income and Boosting Your Blogging with Tamara Kelly from Moogly</li> <li>Episode 32: Journey to 100k Monthly Blog Visitors with Sedie Maruska from Yarn Obsession</li> <li>Episode 48: Website Strategy and Working with Digital Marketers for Your Business with Carol Lyn Rivera</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in November, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 51: Should I Be Using LinkedIn for My Yarn-Related Business?
<p>In this episode, I answer a listener question from Caroline Ruzicka from <a href="https://cherieinwonderland.wordpress.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cherie in Wonderland</a> about using LinkedIn for a yarn-related business.</p> <p>Caroline asks,</p> <blockquote> <p>What about LinkedIn? I didn’t see anything on your podcast about it, so I believe you didn’t cover it yet. I use LinkedIn a lot in my main job environment (which is not related to yarn) but honestly I’m not sure this is really working in the yarn industry or for networking in this creative environment yet. I had a quick look today and it seems to me that most of  the groups are closed and rather small.</p> </blockquote> <p>I actually do use LinkedIn for my yarn-related business, and unless there's a compelling reason not to use it (e.g., you work in another industry full time, and adding it to your profile may harm you professionally in that industry), you may want to use it, too.</p> <p>A few things to keep in mind about LinkedIn:</p> <ul> <li>It's a professional networking site, so language tends to be more formal.</li> <li>You will probably find it more useful as a site for professional networking, professional development, or finding business-to-business prospects, and less useful as a way to connect with consumers.</li> <li>It's alright to talk about yourself in third person or in first preson in your profile.</li> <li>Most yarn-related business owners won't need to share update on LinkedIn as frequently as on other social networks.</li> </ul> <p>Some of the ways yarn-related business owners might want to use LinkedIn are by:</p> <ul> <li>Joining groups on writing, self-publishing, social media, marketing, or other topics that may support the development of their businesses.</li> <li>Writing long-form posts that may help to build a portfolio for freelance writing or coaching. (You can find <a href= "https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/47538/~/publishing-long-form-posts-on-linkedin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">instructions for share these posts on LinkedIn here</a>.)</li> <li>Searching for contacts at specific companies.</li> <li>Building a professional network.</li> </ul> <p>You can listen to the episode for more tips for using LinkedIn for your yarn-related business.</p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in November, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 50: Do I Need to Formalize My Yarn-Related Business?
<p>In this episode, I answer a common listener question: Do I need to formalize my yarn-related business? There are legal, tax, and mindset reasons for formalizing your business.</p> <p>But first, let me mention that I'm neither a lawyer nor an accountant. You may want to consult one if plan to formalize your business.</p> <p>So, why might you choose to formalize my yarn-related business?</p> <ul> <li>You may find it easier to get a business bank account, buy products wholesale, and protect your personal assets in the event of legal action.</li> <li>You may find that you are more accountable to your business once you formalize it.</li> <li>Your customers and family may respond more positively to the formality of an established business entity.</li> </ul> <p>Here are some resources mentioned in the episode:</p> <ul> <li>Find your local Small Business Administration office (U.S. only) <a href="https://www.sba.gov/content/find-local-sba-office" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>Find your local Small Business Development Center (U.S. only) <a href="https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>The Internal Revenue Service <a href= "https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Small-Business-and-Self-Employed-Tax-Center-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center</a></li> </ul> <p>You can listen to the episode for more details about the advantages of formalizing your business and common business entity types for yarn-related businesses in the United States.</p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in November, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 49: How to Submit Crochet or Knitting Design Proposals to Magazines
<p>In this episode, I answer a common listener question: How do I get my patterns published in a magazine? Even if you aren't a designer, you may want to listen as the same process is used for submitting tutorial or article ideas.</p> <p>But first, I shared why I was on a 6 week (!) podcast hiatus and my new philosophy about show notes. (Spoiler alert: They will be shorter.)</p> <p>So, how do you submit your crochet or knitting design proposals?</p> <ul> <li>First, if you haven't already, listen to Episode 1: <a href= "http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode-1-identify-the-right-magazines-to-target/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, and Design Submissions</a> for more information about choosing magazines that are a better match with your goals and design aesthetic. There's also a document with links to many magazines' submission information.</li> <li>Look for design submission guidelines, mood board, or other documents on the publisher website, and/or scan the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/designers" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ravelry Designers</a> group for current Calls for Submission.</li> <li>If you have guidelines from the publisher, follow them closely.</li> <li>If you don't have guidelines from the publisher, email to ask for an editorial calendar or to be added to their designer email list.</li> <li>In the absence of guidelines, share a sketch, swatch, romance text/description of your proposed pattern, along with a short bio and links to your Ravelry design page (or project page, if you've never published a pattern before). Fit this onto one page if possible.</li> </ul> <p>You can listen to the episode for more details about preparing your sketch, swatch, and romance text.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in October, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 48: Website Strategy and Working with Digital Marketers for Your Business with Carol Lynn Rivera
<p>If thinking about your company's website makes your head explode (even just a little bit), you'll want to listen to this week's episode.</p> <p>I talk with Carol Lynn Rivera, a digital marketer at <a href= "http://www.rahvalor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rahvalor Interactive</a> and the co-host of the <a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/podcast/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Web.Search.Social podcast</a>, and she shares great information about how to think about a website for your yarn-related business.</p> <p>You can find also Carol Lynn online on <a href= "http://facebook.com/carollynnrivera" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://plus.google.com/+CarolLynnRivera/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Google Plus</a>, and <a href= "http://twitter.com/carollynnrivera" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <h1>This week's episode</h1> <p>In my interview with Carol Lynn, we talk about different ways to approach your website. Carol Lynn brings many years of experience working with other small businesses on their websites and digital marketing and answers questions like, "Do you need to have your website, or if it's alright to rely on a digital marketplace like Etsy or Ravelry?" and "Should you do your website yourself, or hire someone to do it for you?"</p> <p><strong>Spoiler alert:</strong> The answer to both questions is "It depends" (but it all sounds much more elegant when Carol Lynn explains why).</p> <h1>So, do you need your own website?</h1> <p>Carol Lynn recommends developing an ecommerce site for your yarn-related business <strong>only if it can be done well</strong>. If that is outside of your current capabilities or financial resources, tap into the ecommerce and marketing strength of a larger site like Etsy or Ravelry.<br /> <br /> Even if you don't want, need, or can't manage ecommerce cabailities, what about having a website for other reasons?</p> <p>Carol Lynn recommends thinking about what your website will do for your business. What are your goals for it and what do you want the site to do?</p> <p>Once you have your strategy, you can decide whether it is a DIY project or something that needs additional resources. In general, a site with more complexity will require more resources. If you aren't already familiar with the technology, think about whether you have more time to invest in training yourself, or whether hiring out is the best appraoch.</p> <h2>If you take the DIY approach...</h2> <p>Carol Lynn recommends taking an inventory of other sites to start. Look at websites in other industries as well as some in the yarn industry and your specific niche(s). Examine what is being done wrong (hint: avoid those things) and what's being done well. Try not to copycat, but think about what is appealing and what makes you interested in browsing the site. Are there similar elements that you could incorporate into your own site?<br /> <br /> Don't forget to start with <strong>the strategy and purpose</strong> for your website, but understand that a website will continually evolve. It can't (and won't) be "perfect" on your first try. Start where you are and then build towards your goals.</p> <p>Carol Lynn also reminds you that your website isn't just a visual aid. The content is more important than the design (though pretty looking designs don't hurt). If that isn't something you are prepared to develop yourself, it can also be outsourced (or, you can work with a digital marketing company to develop a strategy that you can implement on your own).</p> <p>There's a continuum between DIY and pay someone else do everything. Based on your budget, available time, experience, and comfort, choose the approach that makes the most sense for your business.</p> <h2>If you decide to hire  someone...</h2> <p>Carol Lynn shares 5 important tips for finding the right company (or individual).</p> <p>1) <strong>You should be able to communicate easily with the company before you contract with them. </strong>Ask a lot of questions so you can understand the company's approach to your site and their services. If you can only communicate via email, that's a red flag. You should be able to have a consultation over the phone or using Skype/Google Hangouts before making a decision. Consider whether your communication styles work well together. </p> <p>2) <strong>The company should have an online presence that you can preview.</strong> If the company is in the digital marketing space, it should have an online presence including a website and active accounts on one or more social media platform. This allows the company to test out new approaches on itself, not on your business.</p> <p>3) <strong>Get it in writing.</strong> Once you settle on a company, you should get a clear outline of the services they will provide and the costs involved <strong>in writing</strong>. Read through the information, ask questions about it, and don't sign anything until you have satisfactory answers. The document can be just as clear about what the company is not providing as about what it is providing.</p> <p>4) <strong>The company should have insurance.</strong> Carol Lynn talked about the prevalence of "day trippers" in the industry - people who have limited expertise but offer digital marketing services. The presence of insurance indicates the company is serious about their business, and also protects you as the client from the negative impact of problems resulting from their work on your website or social marketing activities.</p> <p>5) <strong>You should have access to your site and its analytics.</strong> Even if you plan to be completely hands off and delegate all of your website and social marketing activities to another company, you should have access to all the login details, analytics, and other critical information in case of emergency. This is also helpful if you decide to switch to another company in the future. If you need a horror story to drive the point home, listen to "Don't Hire a Web Developer <a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/dont-hire-a-web-developer-or-marketing-company-until-you-read-this/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Until You Read This</a>," a fascinating episode of the Web.Search.Social podcast where Carol Lynn and her husband, Ralph, interview a business owner who lost access to his website, email, and more. It also includes a link to a helpful (and free) business continuity plan document.</p> <h2>You may also enjoy these additional resources</h2> <p>Carol Lynn has written several related articles that you may want to read.<br /> <a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/how-to-hire-a-web-developer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How To Hire A Web Developer</a><a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/7-things-your-web-developer-will-never-tell-you/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7 Things Your Web Developer Will Never Tell You</a><a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/the-lady-in-the-garage-cant-built-your-website/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Lady In The Garage Can't Build Your Website</a><br /> <a href= "http://www.websearchsocial.com/dear-customer-this-is-what-you-should-pay-to-hire-a-marketing-company/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dear Customer, This Is What You Should Pay To Hire A Marketing Company</a></p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 47: Best Advice for Yarn-Related Businesses: Listeners and Former Guests Share Their Tips to Celebrate One Year of the CYE Show!
<p>This week's episode is a <strong>special one-year anniversary episode</strong> of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show. Listeners and former guests share their best advice by telling us the one thing they've done in the past 2 years that has had the most benefit for their businesses.</p> <p>Before we started on the advice, <strong>I shared the top 10 episodes from the first year of the show.</strong> Can you sense the themes?</p> <ol> <li> <p class="entry-title">Episode 32: Journey to 100k Monthly Blog Visitors and More with Sedie Maruska</p> </li> <li>Episode 8: Affordable Crochet and Knitting Fonts with Adriana Hernandez</li> <li>Episode 1: Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, and Design Submissions</li> <li>Episode 9: Selling on Etsy, An Interview with Ijeoma Eleazu from the Etsy Conversations Podcast</li> <li>Episode 2: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business (In Just Minutes A Day)</li> <li>Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test </li> <li>Episode 23: Diversifying Your Income and Boosting Your Blogging with Tamara Kelly from Moogly</li> <li>Episode 29: Selling on Etsy, Passive Income, and Using Trending Keywords with Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands</li> <li>Episode 21: 10 Habits for Successfully “Owning” (or Working) from Home</li> <li>Episode 4: 6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community</li> </ol> <p>It seems that topics related to blogging, selling on Etsy, and self-publishing patterns are enjoyed by most listeners!</p> <p>And, now on to the advice!</p> <h3>Michele Wang</h3> <p>Michele is a <a href="http://www.mishi2x.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">knitting designer</a>. Michele says:</p> <p><em>"In regards to my design business, the one thing that has been the most beneficial is outsourcing. I’ve found a wonderful tech editor to work with, and have also worked with great sample knitters. It’s increased my productivity and allowed me to focus more on designing."</em></p> <h3>Joy Grise</h3> <p>Joy is a crochet maker and <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/joy-grise" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">designer</a>. Her business is called <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/thejoyofcrochet" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Joy of Crochet</a>. Joy's advice is:</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style= "mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"> <em><span style="font-size: 10pt; color: black;">"Write your patterns!</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style= "mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"> <em><span style="font-size: 10pt; color: black;">Crochet lends itself to improvisation so easy. Many crocheters can see a picture on Pinterest and they make a similar pattern off the top of their head. They assume that others can do the same and do not write the patterns that they come up with. So if you are making the same thing as everyone else, say you make a Minion hat, write up the pattern and offer it for free. If you make a pattern that fills a need that you have noticed so you made the product, write up the pattern so that others can make the item too. Don't be intimidated by your own skill level whether you are an expert or a beginner. </span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style= "font-size: 10pt; color: black;">The examples in my own life are my <a href= "http://coffeewithcrochet.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-ultimate-upcycled-owl-one-of-my.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ultimate Upcycled Owl</a> which is a free pattern and my <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/floral-half-finger-fingerless-gloves" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Half-Finger Fingerless Gloves</a>."</span></em></p> <h3 class="MsoNormal"><span style= "font-size: 10.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family: Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-hansi-font-family: Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black; mso-themecolor: text1;"> Tamara Kelly</span></h3> <p><span style= "font-size: 10.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family: Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-hansi-font-family: Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black; mso-themecolor: text1;"> Tamara is the (mostly crochet) <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tamara-kelly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">designer</a>, blogger, and <a href= "http://www.craftsy.com/instructors/tamara_kelly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">teacher</a> behind <a href= "http://www.mooglyblog.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Moogly</a>. I previously interviewed her on Episode 23. Tamara's advice:</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; color: black;">"</span>I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself, and your own voice. It's important to listen to your readers/customers, but you have to keep going with the stuff that made you passionate about getting into this business to begin with. Otherwise it becomes just another "job" - and burnout will follow along soon enough!"</em></p> <h3>Dana Gervais</h3> <p>Dana is a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/dana-gervais" target="_blank" rel="noopener">knitting designer</a> and owner of <a href= "http://danagervaisdesigns.blogspot.ca/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Dana Gervais Designs</a>. Dana says:</p> <p><em>"I have noticed a shift in my business since I made the decision to approach my business with the same attitude and focus that I gave to my prior careers. I have taken the systems and tools that I used successfully in my previous ventures and adapted them to be applied to my knitwear design business.  This has given my business structure, routine and made me much more productive."</em></p> <h3>Amy Ramnarine</h3> <p>Amy is the blogger and <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/the-stitchin-mommy" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">crochet designer</a> behind <a href= "http://thestitchinmommy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Stitchin' Mommy</a>. I interviewed her on Episode 31. Amy's advice:</p> <p><em>"One thing that I have been doing for the past year or so, that has been the most beneficial to my blog, is sharing my posts across many social media sites. People are constantly on social media. They use it for news updates, to stay in touch, and get inspiration for projects, recipes, fashion, and more. I noticed that by sharing my patterns on different social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon and even Ravelry, I am able to get more exposure for my blog from different groups of people. It has helped me tremendously with my traffic."</em></p> <h3>Anita Bose Natarajan</h3> <p>Anita is the knitting designer behind <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/nitabnishan-inc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NitaB&NishaN, Inc.</a> Anita says:</p> <p><em>"Invest in Yourself!!! Learn financial, business and 'your area of interest' skills.</em></p> <div><em>If you are starting out and have no funds, learn from all the freebies you can find - internet, people, print articles - anything.</em></div> <div> </div> <div><em>If you have some funds, research classes/subscriptions that will really benefit you, check on their pricing regularly and when the prices drop, buy them and learn.</em></div> <div> </div> <div><em>If you have funds you can set aside regularly for investing in yourself, keep a listing of nice to have classes/subscriptions, keep tabs on the pricing, and when the price is within budget, buy them and learn.</em></div> <div> </div> <div><em>I have always done one of the above depending on my financial situation and managed to move ahead - snail pace, but still ahead."</em></div> <div> </div> <div>I agree! I talked more about how I invested in myself and my business in Episode 18: 8 Best Investments I Made In My Business in 2014.</div> <h3>Lindsay Lewchuk</h3> <p>Lindsay is a knitting <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/lindsay-lewchuk" target="_blank" rel="noopener">designer</a> and <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitEcoChic" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">maker</a>, and the owner of <a href= "http://knitecochic.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Knit Eco Chic</a>. Lindsay was my guest in Episode 26. Lindsay's advice:</p> <p>"Let your passion and character shine through each design."</p> <h3>Joanna</h3> <p>Joanna is a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/goddess-crochet" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crochet designer</a> known as <a href= "http://www.goddesscrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Goddess Crochet</a>. Joanna says:</p> <p><em>"My business is fairly new so the conclusion I came up with is: I didn’t quit. Staying motivated to keep going and not give up is a must when you’re dealing with a business that cannot be grown overnight.</em></p> <p><em>There are a variety of ways I keep motivated but the most impacting has been listening to podcasts. Listening to your podcast, small business podcasts, mom business podcasts, affiliate marketing podcasts, SEO podcasts, really anything I can get my ears on. Hearing tips as well as other regular people’s success stories really motivate me to keep going, and to up my game."</em></p> <h3>Kathryn Vercillo</h3> <p>Kathryn is a <a href="http://www.kathrynvercillo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">writer</a> and the blogger behind <a href="http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochet Concupiscence</a>. Kathryn's advice:</p> <p><em>"I thought I'd share my simple-but-true business tip ... The best thing I've ever done for my business is stay true to my heart. It's important and smart to take a strategic approach to business but it's equally important to let your head quiet down so you can hear the beating of your own truth inside, following that towards any changes in business."</em></p> <h3>Ashwini Jambhekar</h3> <p>Ashwini is a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/ashwini-jambhekar" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">knitting designer</a> and <a href= "https://ashwinijdesigns.wordpress.com/tech-editing/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">tech editor</a>. She is the owner of <a href="https://ashwinijdesigns.wordpress.com/tech-editing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ashwini J Designs</a>, and she shared her approach to pattern grading in a bonus episode. Ashwini says:</p> <p><em>"As a newer designer, the two most important things I've done have been to 1) persevere and 2) diversify. I think it's tempting to envision rags-to-riches outcomes in this business, but I suspect that's not realistic, especially in the current climate. Even though sales were dismal at first, continuing to produce high-quality patterns has definitely begun to reverse the trend. There were times I wanted to give up: as I mostly design garments, each pattern is a tremendous amount of time and effort, and there were times it seemed not worth-while. However, I'm glad that I persevered and stayed true to my aesthetic style, as I'm slowly starting to see the pay-offs. Secondly, I've learned various aspects of the business by designing for different formats/ venues. I've published three designs in third-party publications in the last year and half, and all of them have operated a little differently from each other. It has been informative to see how the professional publishers display and promote my work. I also recently completed my first project with yarn support, and the logistics of the promotions and marketing have been different from what I've experienced for self-published designs without yarn support, or for 3rd-party publications. The skills I've learned by designing in each of these settings will be valuable in whichever direction I take my business in the future."</em></p> <h3>Angela Plunkett</h3> <p>Angela is a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/little-monkey-shop" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">crochet designer</a> and <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/littlemonkeyshop" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">maker</a>, and the owner of <a href= "http://www.littlemonkeyshop.blogspot.com/">Little Monkeys Shop</a>. Angela's advice:</p> <p><em>"The tip that has made a daily impact on me is about my tools - If I am going to crochet everyday, I need to use the best crochet hooks out there to keep from getting hand cramps, etc. I’m not sure which of your episodes this is from, but after that show I ordered myself a set of the Tulip hooks and love them! They were expensive, but much better than hand cramps!</em></p> <div><em>I’m know that I have utilized several other tips that you have passed one, but this tip is the one that stands out to me, probably because it’s the one tip I use every day."</em></div> <h3>Vashti Braha</h3> <div>Vashti is a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/vashti-braha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crochet designer</a>, indie <a href= "http://designingvashti.com/index.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">publisher, and yarn manufacturer</a>. She was previously my guest in Episode 27. Vashti's advice:</div> <div> </div> <div><em>"I thought the answer to your question would be simple but I ended up with a list of ten things! Then I realized that five of them are all aspects of the same thing:</em> <div> </div> <div><em><strong><a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/doris-chan" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Doris Chan</a> crocheted ALL sizes of a new design in ALL colors of <a href= "http://www.shop.designingvashti.com/YARNS-New_c39.htm" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">DesigningVashti Lotus yarn</a>. At two <a href="http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">CGOA conferences</a> we had "fitting labs" with them, and had them all modeled at once in the fashion show of each conference.</strong> This ensured that crocheters got to know the yarn in the best possible way: they experienced the yarn's special drape and sheen as they tried on the garments. They saw all of the colors up close as well as on a runway. They gained lots of valuable and inspiring information about crocheting clothing in a memorable way: how more than one size of a well-designed garment fits fine depending on the look you want (for example, a smaller size may look trendy in a cropped, figure-enhancing way, while a larger size on the same person may have a breezy, swingy, streamlining look). How two people who wear the same size but have different body shapes look different in the same size. What good blocking does for a stylish design. Ideas for altering the pattern, for example, add repeats of the edging, or change sleeve length. (Doris also crocheted some simple variations.) And, they experienced all of this while chatting with the designer directly.</em><em>"</em></div> <h3>Danielle Chalson</h3> <p>Danielle is the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/danielle-chalson" target="_blank" rel="noopener">knitting designer</a> behind <a href= "http://makewisedesigns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Makewise Designs</a>. She also happens to be an intellectual property attorney, and I interviewed her about IP issues in Episode 7.</p> <p><em>"For me, the one thing that has been the most beneficial is to learn to trust my gut more. By that, I mean: trusting my instincts when a design idea is working or is compatible with my design sensibilities, but more importantly, trusting my instincts when a design idea is NOT working. It could be the shaping, the yarn choice, a stitch pattern, or the whole design altogether. Learn to trust that inner voice that the idea needs to be tweaked or even abandoned. I think that the more I do that, the more my designs will reflect a cohesive aesthetic or “voice” that is hopefully unique!"</em></p> <h3>I don't suppose I could sneak away from this episode without sharing my own tips...</h3> <p>Since I made the transition from being the full time employee of an organization with a side business in 2013 to being a fully self-employed person, I've found that there are 3 things that have allowed me to be self-supporting without relying on a full time job for income.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Flexibility.</strong> I've had to be willing to make adjustments and course corrections to my businesses (while still staying true to myself, of course).</li> <li><strong>Learning.</strong> I've had to make frequent investments of time and money in myself to keep learning new things to help my businesses thrive.</li> <li><strong>Diversification.</strong> I have more than one business, and within each business, I have activities that lead to multiple streams of income. I've found that each one contributes to the others in unexpected ways.</li> </ul> <h3>Recent review</h3> <p><a href="http://www.ravelry.com/designers/kathy-kelly" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Kathy Kelly</a> from <a href= "https://crochetbird.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochetbird</a> gave the Show a 5 star review on iTunes. She says, "I am always surprised at the amount of useful information included in these podcasts. Definitely worth the time and an enjoyable listen too." Thanks, Kathy!</p> <p>If her name sounds familiar, it's because I responded to questions from Kathy in two past episodes: Episode 4: 6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community and Episode 45: How to Balance Two Creative Businesses.</p> </div> <p> </p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 46: 8 Free and Low-Cost Resources for Professional Development for Your Yarn-Related Business
<p>If you’re in the United States, you’re being bombarded with “back-to-school” advertising. I decided to put my own spin on the back-to-school theme by sharing 8 free and low-cost resources you can use for professional development to help you launch, manage, and expand your yarn-related business.</p> <p>Here’s a preview of the 8 ways you can take advantage of these free or inexpensive resources:</p> <ol> <li>Use your local, regional, or federal small business development center</li> <li>Read</li> <li>Connect with colleges and universities</li> <li>Apprentice or barter skills with a master crafter</li> <li>Participate in a blog challenge</li> <li>Take a video course</li> <li>Listen to a podcast</li> <li>Volunteer or speak at an event</li> </ol> <h1><strong>1. Use your local, regional, and federal small business development centers</strong></h1> <p>As a small business owner, you may be entitled to free support services from the government. These services may include workshops, free clinics with legal or tax professionals, or one-to-one business counseling. Check out the <a title= "Small Business Administration Learning Center" href= "https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Business Administration Learning Center</a> or <a title="SCORE" href= "https://www.score.org/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">SCORE</a> for more information.</p> <p>While often these organizations have limited understanding of the yarn industry, home-based businesses, and online business, they can be very helpful in providing information about “basic” business information that doesn’t feel very basic when you are starting out.</p> <p>You may also want to investigage business improvement districts, economic development zones, or related local initiatives to support small business growth.</p> <h1>2. Read</h1> <p>In general, reading books is an inexpensive way to learn new things, but I’m going to share some tips for saving even more on books.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Use your local library system. </strong>In addition to books, your local library is likely to have a variety of DVDs and audiobooks, as well as access to research databases and other resources for small business owners. Some systems even have a dedicated business branch. You may also be able to request books on business or craftsmanship via interlibrary loan from nearby library systems for free. Additionally, many libraries hold classes on-site. If your library doesn’t have the resources you need, get to know your local librarian. S/he will be more likely to help a valued local branch customer.</li> <li><strong>Use a subscription service like Amazon Prime.</strong> I’m an Amazon Prime customer and affiliate. Amazon Prime is a subscription program that costs $99/year and offers several different benefits including free 2-day shipping, access to free streaming music and video, cloud storage for photos, and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. You can borrow up to one book free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Each book can be kept as long as you’d like, but you have to return it in order to take out another book. </li> <li><strong>Listen to audio books through Audible’s subscription service.</strong> Many crocheters and knitters prefer listening to audiobooks to reading physical or e-books, but audiobooks can be expensive. Audible is a subscription service operated by Amazon, and you can listen to one or two free books each month with your subscription. There are tons of great business books on Audible.</li> <li><strong>Write book reviews.</strong> If you have a consistent following on your blog and/or social media accounts, approach a book publisher’s marketing or publicity department directly to request a review copy, or sign up for Netgalley, which coordinates advanced review copies of ebooks. Ask to review books that focus on the areas you’d like to develop to get the most out of your review experience, and don’t forget to properly disclose your receipt of a review copy as per FTC guidelines.</li> </ul> <h1><strong>3. Connect with local colleges and universities</strong></h1> <p>Colleges and universities frequently have guest speakers, workshops, and conferences that are open to the public. These events may be free or low cost. As a side benefit, you may make connections with potential student interns or professors who might be willing to use a challenge facing <span id="itxthook4p" class="itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap"><span id="itxthook4w" class= "itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap itxtnewhookspan">your business</span></span> as a class project.</p> <p>Your local business school may also have additional opportunities available, including free classes for small business owners. If your local college or university offers majors (e.g., textiles, fashion design, marketing, new media, etc.) that are relevant to your business, consider how you may connect with faculty and students.</p> <h1><strong>4. Apprentice or barter skills with a master crafter</strong></h1> <p>Apprenticing or working closely with a local artisan or business owner can help you improve your skills rapidly under the tutelage of an expert. Approach a master and ask to be an apprentice or intern. This approach is much more time-intensive, so you should consider it more cautiously. You may also barter your skills with this person in exchange for private lessons.</p> <h1><strong>5. Participate in blog challenges</strong></h1> <p>Information on almost anything a small <span id= "itxthook6p" class="itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap"><span id= "itxthook6w" class= "itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap itxtnewhookspan">business owner </span></span>might need is freely available online, but the hours required for research can be daunting. Many bloggers curate this process for you by holding challenges focused on improving your skills. These challenges sometimes convert from free experiences to paid courses once they are archived, so join in when you have the chance!</p> <p>Some of these challenges are delivered via email, while others are posted directly to blogs. These can be difficult to find, so use Pinterest or your search engine to look for “TOPIC challenge.”</p> <h1>6. Take a video course</h1> <p>Video courses are often cheaper than other forms of professional development and you are usually able to learn at your own pace and review the materials, which are added benefits. There are many great options for taking video courses online. Two of my favorite resources are Udemy and Craftsy.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Udemy.</strong> Instructors create their own courses and then add them to the Udemy platform. Although courses have to be approved, this allows a wide variety of styles and options to exist. There are courses on business, computer applications and technology, photography, and more. You can read customer reviews to find the best course for you. Udemy offers both free and for sale courses, and they also frequently have sales on courses, so sign up for their email list to save even more.</li> <li><strong>Craftsy.</strong> Craftsy’s courses are curated and filmed at Craftsy’s studios, so there is a more uniform appearance. The courses are affordably priced and they offer frequent sales, too. Some of the more helpful courses for yarn-related business owners are the advanced courses in crochet, knitting, or spinning, as well as photography courses. They also offer several free mini courses.</li> </ul> <p>You may also want to consider MOOCs (massive open online courses) from colleges and universities. You can find business MOOCs on <a href="https://www.edx.org/course" target="_blank" rel="noopener">edX here</a> and Coursera <a href= "https://www.coursera.org/courses?categories=business" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. These courses are often free but rarely carry college credit.</p> <h1>7. Listen to a podcast</h1> <p>I’m assuming that if you listen to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, you may find listening to podcasts a great way to learn. Here are some shows that I listen to regularly which I think may be helpful for growing your yarn-related business.</p> <ul> <li><strong>The <a href="https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#AskGaryVee Show</a></strong>: This live Q&A format video show also has an audio version. It’s hosted by entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, and covers a wide range of business topics with a focus on entrepreneurship, marketing, and new media. There are several short episodes released each week. Spoiler alert: Gary is known for his colorful language, so if you are sensitive to cussing, this may not be the show for you.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.websearchsocial.com/podcast/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Web.Search.Social</a></strong>: This is a show co-hosted by husband and wife team Ralph and Carol Lynn Rivera. They focus on marketing and other business issues from the perspective of the small local business owner. Their show is muti-format and includes read blog posts, interviews, and conversations. Except for the read blog posts, they tend to be chatty. This isn’t a “quick tips” type of show.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://convome.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy Conversations Podcast</a></strong>: This weekly show features interviews with Etsy sellers and is hosted by Ijeoma Eleazu, who I interviewed in Episode 9. Ijeoma also occassionally interviews service providers who may of use to Etsy sellers. You can learn a lot about Etsy selling, but I find the show most inspiring for its focus on creativity and inspiration.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://sellmorebooksshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Smart Passive Income Podcast</a>: </strong>This show is hosted by entrepreneur, Pat Flynn. It is usually an interview format and focuses on developing passive income opportunities.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/podcast/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Tim Ferriss Show</a>:</strong> This interview show is hosted by Tim Ferriss, the author of <em>The 4-</em><em>Hour</em> <em>Workweek</em>. Tim does a great job of getting his guests to open up, and many of the shows deal with creativity, overcoming adversity, and other inspiring topics that have motivated me in my business. I usually only listen to specific episodes rather than on a weekly basis.</li> <li>I listen to three weekly author/self-publishing podcasts. These share valuable information about self-publishing and author marketing. The first two also talk a lot about creativity and the business side of being an artist or creative indie. <strong><a href= "http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The Creative Penn</a></strong> is hosted by author and professional speaker, Joanna Penn. Her guests often share insights on creativity and the mindset of being a business owner as a creative person. <strong><a href= "http://rockingselfpublishing.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Rocking Self Publishing</a></strong> is a weekly interview show hosted by Simon Whistler. The <strong><a href= "http://sellmorebooksshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sell More Books Show</a></strong> is a weekly roundup of writing, self-publishing, and publishing news and is hosted by Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral.</li> <li>There are two inactive shows with helpful archives you may want to listen to. <strong><a href="http://howtheyblog.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How They Blog</a> </strong>is hosted by Kat Lee. The format is mostly interviews with an occassional Q&A. The show covers all aspects of blogging. Kat is a devout Christian and many of her guests talk about Christianity and spirituality and how that impact their blogging. The show is currently on hiatus.<strong> Oh So Pinteresting</strong> was hosted by Pinterest expert, Cynthia Sanchez, who I interviewed in Episode 30. The podcast, not surprisingly, focuses on Pinterest. While some of the oldest episodes are less relevant with recent Pinterest changes, most share valuable information that you can use in your business.</li> </ul> <h1><strong>8. Volunteer or speak at an event<br /></strong></h1> <p>Most conferences and events are not free or low cost, which is why few of us attend regularly. Most craft industry events (as well as blogger, business, and social <span id="itxthook1p" class= "itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap"><span id="itxthook1w" class= "itxtrst itxtrstspan itxtnowrap itxtnewhookspan">media </span></span>conferences) rely on volunteer staff to help things run smoothly. In exchange for your services, you are typically granted access to the vendor area, demonstrations or lectures, and sometimes even to classes and workshops. You can learn more about this option in Episode 43, where I share tips for getting the most out of conferences and how to save money on attendance as a volunteer.</p> <p>You can also save on events by speaking. I share tips for pitching your proposals to conferences and events in Episode 33. If you already have an existing relationship with a company or brand, you may even be able to get a sponsorship to a conference.</p> <p>Events and conferences allow you to learn while also networking. I think this is a really valuable option for home-based business owners, so try to attend if you can!</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 45: How to Balance Two Creative Businesses - The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
<p>In this week’s episode, I answer a listener question from Kathy Kelly, a crochet designer and teacher at <a href= "https://crochetbird.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochetbird</a> and a jazz musician at <a href="http://www.kathykellyvibes.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kathy Kelly Vibes</a>! Kathy wants to know how to juggle two creative businesses at once. She says:</p> <blockquote> <p>I’m a jazz musician and a crochet teacher/designer. When I start to have some success in one area, it’s hard to keep things going in the other area, and I’m kind of making lopsided progress.</p> </blockquote> <p>Since my crochet and knitting business isn’t my full time work either, I thought I would answer this by sharing some of the things that I do to balance my different entrepreneurial activities. As you might know, I teach business education at the college and graduate level, and work for a local non-profit organization in addition to being a crochet and knitting designer, teacher, blogger, and podcaster. (For more details about what I’m currently working on, you may want to check out <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariesegares" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">my LinkedIn profile</a>.)</p> <p>I shared four things that have helped me to be successfully in multiple businesses.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Set your goals for each business.</strong> Have a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish with each business in the near and far future. Whether you decide to write business plans, create lists, journal your goals, or speak with a coach, think through this process so you can articulate your plans for each business. Since you are committed to keeping both businesses part time, be aware that<strong> you may reach a ceiling in one or both careers</strong> because you will not be able to devote the time and energy to take one business to the next level while still maintaining the other business.</li> <li><strong>Schedule and organize your routines. </strong>Put structures in place to support each business based on the goals you are hoping to achieve. (I talk more about this in Episode 21: 10 Habits for Successfully “Owning” (or Working) from Home.) You may want to have multiple workspaces and devote specific days of the week to each business. It can be distracting to jump back and forth between radically different types of tasks and activities, and you’ll be less productive in each business as a result.</li> <li><strong>Automate when possible. </strong>Find some activities in both businesses  you can automate to increase your impact and decrease the amount of time you spend on these activities. I automated social media sharing for all of my different businesses and freelance projects this year using <a href="https://hootsuite.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Hootsuite</a> and <a href= "https://www.tailwindapp.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Tailwind</a>. This has increased my focus on what I’m sharing and reduced the amount of time I waste on each social site. It has also increased traffic to my blog from different social sites. You may also find outsourcing helpful.</li> <li><strong>Plan ahead. </strong>Detailed planning for each business allowed me to focus and use slow periods in one business to work on the other. I started using <a href= "http://eliteblogacademy.com/free-blog-planner/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this free blog planner from Elite Blog Academy</a> earlier this year, and I’ve been able to write up patterns to share during the semester when I’m busier. (Tamara Kelly talks about how she uses her planner in Episode 23: Diversifying Your Income and Boosting Your Blogging with Tamara Kelly from Moogly.)</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 43: 10 Tips for Attending (and Getting the Most Out of) Your First Blogging or Social Media Conference
<h1 class="p1">This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m sharing 10 tips (plus a few bonus ones, too!) for attending and getting the most out of your first blogging or social media conference. As regular listeners know, this year I spoke at the <a href="http://www.weallgrowsummit.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#WeAllGrow Summit by Latina Bloggers Connect</a> and <a href= "http://www.blogher.com/conferences" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">#BlogHer15: Experts Among Us</a>. These were my first two blogging conferences, and I have plenty of ideas to share!</p> <p>You may be thinking this episode isn’t relevant to you if you aren’t including blogging as part of your business model, but most of these tips are transferable to any conference or event where both colleagues and potential sponsors are in attendance.</p> <p>The tips are:</p> <ol> <li>Pack thoughtfully and light</li> <li>Dress for your niche</li> <li>Bring business cards</li> <li>Read ALL of the emails</li> <li>Organize and plan before the event</li> <li>Know your purpose</li> <li>Pad your budget</li> <li>Go the expo (or marketplace or vendor area) during off hours</li> <li>Add recovery time to your schedule</li> <li>Don’t forget to follow up</li> </ol> <p>These tips will help you prepare for, navigate, and then get the most value for your business out of the event.</p> <h1>But first…</h1> <p>Let’s talk about saving money on attendance. The primary reason I haven’t attended blogging conferences in the past is because I didn’t want to spend a lot on registration and travel. There are four great ways to save money on any conference you plan to attend.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Register at the Early Bird Rate.</strong> Virtually all conferences have an “early bird” rate for people who register far in advance. This rate often expires prior to the finalization of the agenda, so you may feel anxious about signing up for an event that may not focus on exactly what you need for your business. The good news is that most of these events allow you to transfer your registration for a small fee, so you can sell your ticket to someone else after the early bird period ends for a slightly higher amount without losing any money.</li> <li><strong>Use a promo code.</strong> Most conference speakers and some sponsors will have promotional codes that provide a discount. These may be a bit harder to find (unless you stalk each and every speaker on social media/blog/podcast before the event), but the savings are generally quite significant.</li> <li><strong>Volunteer. </strong>Many events offer free registration to volunteers who may staff registration, the expo, assist with workshops, etc. This option is much more hands on and requires that you do some work! But it can also be a great way to meet people and get on the radar of the organizers before next year’s event. Some of sponsors and vendors may also need help staffing their tables. While these (usually competitive) opportunities are often announced closer to the event, be proactive and reach out to the organizers to ask about available volunteer positions early.</li> <li><strong>Speak.</strong> Panelists and workshop speakers are generally provided with free registration (and some events provide additional compensation including room and board and/or a speaker fee). For more tips for getting started as a speaker, listen to Episode 33: 7 Steps for Pitching Your Ideas for Workshops, Presentations, and Panel Sessions to Conferences and Events.</li> </ul> <p>And, it goes without saying that you’ll save a lot on travel by attending a local conference.</p> <h1>10 Tips for Attending (and Getting the Most Out of) Your First Blogging or Social Media Conference</h1> <p>Once you’ve gotten registration (and travel plans, if necessary) out of the way, let’s talk about the other ways to get the most out of the event.</p> <h2>Pack thoughtfully and light</h2> <p>As yarn crafters, we often travel with yarn, hooks and needles, works-in-progress, and more. I’m definitely guilty of this. However…</p> <ul> <li>You may not have as much “down time” for crocheting or knitting as you expect,</li> <li>You may be picking up quite a few free samples, gift bags, and other items at this event. You’ll need as much space in your bag as possible to bring these goodies home.</li> <li>Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, as you may be on your feet walking and standing a lot</li> <li>If you organize and plan before the event, you’ll know exactly what type of clothing to bring for all the activities you plan to participate in.</li> </ul> <h2>Dress for your niche</h2> <p>Dress appropriately for your niche/brand. Fashion-oriented bloggers will need to dress differently from mommy bloggers. As a yarn-related business owner, don’t miss the opportunity to show off your handiwork. Handmade accessories (or clothing) are great conversation starters and help people to recognize you. There are hundreds (or thousands!) of people at these events, so everything you can do to stand out (while promoting your business) helps.</p> <p>At each of these blogging conferences, someone came up to me and introduced themselves, knowing who I was based on recognizing something I made!</p> <h2>Bring business cards</h2> <p>As an online business owner and blogger, you may think that everything is electronic, on your smartphone, or in the cloud. Actually, a lot of people are still dealing with paper!</p> <p>Here are two bonus business card tips:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Design your own cards with a matte back with little to no text.</strong> This allows people to take notes on the back of your card, increasing the likelihood they will remember (and follow up) with you.</li> <li><strong>Bring a small pouch for your cards and a pen.</strong> While many people use their ID badge holder for their own business cards and those of others they meet, I prefer to bring a small pouch that holds a pen and my cards, with room for picking up other cards. This allows me to always have a pen handy for my own notes. The pouch also keeps everything together once I get home for easier follow up.</li> </ul> <h2>Read ALL of the emails</h2> <p>This is the hardest tip to follow! Most events will bombard you with emails, especially in the weeks leading up to the event. When you are stressed out about taking time off for a conference, it might seem best to skip reading these all together.</p> <p>These emails often include special pre-conference events, opportunities to meet with sponsors, and other activities that may not be on the formal agenda. By deleted or skipping these, you may miss out on a lot!</p> <h2>Organize and plan before the event</h2> <p>Again, with the time pressures before the event, many bloggers just want to show up and dive right in. As an introvert, this strategy doesn’t work for me as I get easily overwhelmed once I’m on site.</p> <p>Instead, I review the emails and the posted agenda and I create my own schedule. This may include workshops or panel events I plan to attend, meetings with sponsors, meetups, sightseeing, or meals with friends. I create two tiers in my schedule – activities that I must attend (like a one-on-one meeting with a potential sponsor) and activities that I might attend (like a workshop that looks sort of interesting). When I get on site, I’m very flexiblle about ditching those activities in the second category.</p> <h2>Know your purpose</h2> <p>So, what are you hoping to get out of this event? Understanding your goal in advance will help you focus all of your preparations and your activities at the conference.</p> <p>Some of the main reasons people attend blogging conferences are to:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Learn. </strong>Are you primarily in attendance for professional development? You may find it important to spend more time in workshops, panels, and other structured activities.</li> <li><strong>Network.</strong> Are you primarily looking for other bloggers to collaborate with? You may find it helpful to keep your schedule flexible so you can spend a lot of time chatting informally. You might also want to connect with some people of interest before the event to set up meetings or interviews.</li> <li><strong>Find a sponsor. </strong>If sponsorship is your primary goal, you may spend more time in the expo hall and at sponsored workshops, and be more thoughtful about the brands you wear or bring with you to the event. You could also reach out to some of the brands in advance to try and schedule one-to-one meetings.</li> <li><strong>Get ideas for your own event.</strong> Perhaps you are planning a local meetup or small blogging conference. In that case, you may want keep a critical eye on the way the event is organized and presented.</li> </ul> <h2>Pad your budget</h2> <p>Conferences can get expensive. If (ahem) you’re also a bit on the cheap side like me, you’ll find it tempting to have a very tight budget. Keep a cushion for a restaurant lunch with new friends (rather than the on-site panel lunch), sightseeing, or to purchase books or other goods from vendors and speakers.</p> <p>If you’re also an introvert, you may also need to skip some of the larger meal events and eat alone, so having some leeway in your budget is helpful.</p> <h2>Go the expo (or marketplace or vendor area) during off hours</h2> <p>If you want to speak to sponsors and vendors, schedule your visits in the off hours. These will be different depending on the conference, but in general the night before the main conference “kick off,” during workshops or popular panels, and early in the morning are quieter times. Avoid the scheduled “expo break” times, if possible.</p> <h2>Add recovery time to your schedule</h2> <p>You may be losing out on a lot of work or family time to attend a conference, so what many people do is work up to the last minute and then try to immediately jump right back into the swing of things when they return.</p> <p>If you’re traveling, you may be jet lagged or have a travel delay. Even if you are in your hometown, you’ll find that you may be exhausted after the conference. You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking, projecting your voice in loud spaces, etc. Be sure to add some recovery time into your schedule. You may find that prescheduling blog and social posts for the week of your return will give you some breathing room.</p> <p><strong>Another bonus tip:</strong> Preschedule some of your social media activity related to the conference, using the official conference hashtag. This will give you more time to focus on the conference and not on sharing while on site.</p> <h2>Don’t forget to follow up</h2> <p>Separate yourself from the pack by following up with people after the conference. Build time into your schedule after the conference for following up with potential sponsors, collaborators, and others that you meet. Even if you do one or two emails a day, you will be doing more than most people.</p> <p>Think about how/if you want to follow people you met at the event. I find <a href= "https://media.twitter.com/best-practice/create-and-use-twitter-lists" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Twitter lists</a> very helpful because I can keep track of people I met at an event without going over my follower limits.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in July, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 42: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 7: Promoting Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m wrapping up the Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about promoting your pattern after release.</p> <p> </p> <h1>Updates from Last Week’s Episode</h1> <p>Since last week’s episode, I’ve been informed that CraftFoxes now offers a digital download option. I can’t find anything about it on their <a href= "http://www.craftfoxes.com/help/section/sell" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Seller Help page</a>, but a quick scan of the <a href="http://www.craftfoxes.com/shop/featured/patterns" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patterns section in the Shop</a> confirms that several sellers are offering digital downloads.</p> <p>Additionally, there has been some concerns raised about selling on Craftsy. In the episode, I share two tips for your PayPal settings that can protect you from both issues.</p> <h1>Promoting Your Patterns</h1> <p>I talk about two different aspects of promotion in this episode: strategy and systems.</p> <h2>Promotional strategy</h2> <p>Promoting your pattern is part of your business’s overall marketing strategy.</p> <ul> <li>Think about your target audience and where they congregate (online, or off).</li> <li>How does your target audience prefer to get information? Are they interested in detailed backstories about how the pattern came to be, or do they just want a pretty picture?</li> <li>If your target audience is very defined (a “niche”), you might find that you should only promote patterns in certain areas where they are likely to congregate. If your target audience is more general, you may want to consider something more like a “mass marketing” approach, where you share information about your new patterns widely.</li> </ul> <p>It helps if your promotion of each pattern – your methods of communication, your “voice,” and your pictures – is consistent with your overall brand as well. Of course, you may need some time to try different concepts out before you settle on your strategy.</p> <h2>Promotion systems</h2> <p>I recently created a checklist to formalize my process for promoting my <a href= "https://www.ravelry.com/designers/marie-segares" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Underground Crafter</a> patterns online. I’ve found that having this system makes things easier because I don’t have to “think” about what to do with each pattern, and I can also track traffic (and potentially conversions, depending on the site) more easily.</p> <p>You can customize this system, or process, to meet your own needs.</p> <h3>Ravelry</h3> <ul> <li>Create a project, including all of your pattern photos. Link to the yarn used.</li> <li>Add the pattern to the Ravelry pattern database, whether or not the pattern is available as a Ravelry download.</li> <li>Link the project to the pattern.</li> <li>Share the project (and yarn, if you received yarn support) with relevant groups.</li> <li>Add the pattern to the appropriate bundle(s) on your Ravelry designer page.</li> </ul> <h3>Blog/Website</h3> <ul> <li class="p1">Write a blog post. If the pattern isn’t available on Ravelry, remind readers to add the pattern to their queue or favorites on Ravelry and include a link.</li> </ul> <h2>Back to Ravelry</h2> <ul> <li>Link the blog post to the project and yarn. Now your pattern will show up (as a project) in your groups as a “recent blog post.”</li> <li>Announce the pattern in appropriate threads. I announce the new pattern in my own group on Ravelry, as well as in the <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups/designers" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Designers</a> group’s monthly new designs threads. If appropriate, add it to a relevant group’s new designs thread, and to one of the “Big 6” boards (both <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/needlework-on-the-net/topics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Needlework News & Events</a> and <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/patterns/topics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patterns</a> have promotional threads).</li> <li>Be cautious about violating Ravelry’s Guidelines: “Posting the same message to more than 2 boards without permission from the group owner/moderators is not permitted. Unreasonable crossposting is considered spam!” Some groups explicitly allow people to cross post, and of course, you always have permission to cross post in your own group.</li> </ul> <h3>Email</h3> <ul> <li>If you received yarn support, email your contact at the yarn company. Thank them for their support and provide a link to the new pattern. You may also want to include a photo they can share on social media.</li> <li>If you bought yarn at a local yarn shop, email the shop and let them know about the pattern, too. You may even want to ask if they want to display the sample in their shop.</li> </ul> <h3 class="p1">Schedule future posts</h3> <ul> <li>Most of us promote once and then forget all about our pattern.</li> <li>If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule some future posts about your pattern. I currently use <a href= "https://hootsuite.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Hootsuite</a>.</li> <li>Or, add a reminder to your calendar in 30/60/90/180 days to remind you to talk about it again!</li> </ul> <h3>Twitter</h3> <ul> <li>Tweet a link to your pattern with relevant hashtags and mentioning the yarn company and/or yarn shop.</li> <li>Share pictures to promote more engagement.</li> </ul> <h3 class="p1">Pinterest</h3> <ul> <li>Pin your pattern to your own board for your designs, as well as any other relevant boards you have created.</li> <li>Pin your pattern to group boards. Group boards have been very helpful in driving traffic to my patterns. Be sure to follow the rules of each group board you belong to about what types of content can be pinned (e.g., crochet, knitting, free, for sale) as well as the frequency (e.g., no more than 3 pins a day).</li> <li>I now use <a href="https://www.tailwindapp.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Tailwind</a> for Pinterest scheduling and really enjoy it. You can hear more about it in Episode 30: Going Beyond the Basics on Pinterest with Cynthia Sanchez. The Interval Scheduling feature allows me to spread out the Pins over a period of days, weeks, or months across the different boards.</li> </ul> <h3>Facebook</h3> <ul> <li>Write a post about your pattern on your own page with mentions to the yarn company and/or local yarn shop.</li> <li>Add a picture to an album of your own designs with mentions to the yarn company and/or local yarn shop.</li> <li>Share the pattern in relevant Facebook groups.</li> <li>Tag your own page when sharing to groups and in the picture so people can easily find you if the post gets shared.</li> </ul> <h3>LinkedIn</h3> <ul> <li>If your full time career is yarn related, or your side business as a designer won’t negatively impact your other career, you can also share the news of your new pattern release on LinkedIn.</li> <li>You can share this information as an update, duplicate your blog post as a post, or in appropriate groups.</li> </ul> <h3>Instagram</h3> <ul> <li>Since I don’t have a smartphone, I don’t use Instagram. However, I’ve heard from many designers who find that sharing pictures of new patterns via Instagram is very helpful.</li> </ul> <h3>Kollabora</h3> <ul> <li>Share your project on Kollabora, whether or not it is being sold there, especially if it is fashion-oriented and/or has great photography.</li> <li>Link to the pattern on Kollabora or another site where it is available.</li> </ul> <h3>Add the pattern to other sites</h3> <p>In addition to Ravelry,</p> <ul> <li>Free patterns can be listed on CraftFoxes, Craftsy, and Kollabora.</li> <li>For sale patterns can be listed on CraftFoxes, Craftsy, Etsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.</li> </ul> <h3>Free pattern directories</h3> <ul> <li>If your pattern is available for free, submit it to one or more free pattern directories.</li> </ul> <h3>Email newsletter</h3> <ul> <li>Let your email list know about your new pattern release. I send out my <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/newsletter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Underground Crafter newsletter</a> weekly, so I add the new pattern to my list of things to share that week. In the past, I used it more like an announcements list, and I would send the email earlier in the promotion process.</li> <li>If you’re new to mailing lists, you may want to listen to Episode 27: Connecting with Your Mailing List and More with Vashti Braha.</li> </ul> <h3>If you’ll also be hosting a crochet- or knit-a-long</h3> <ul> <li>Share the information with <a href= "http://craftgossip.com/suggest-a-link/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">CraftGossip</a> or <a href= "http://craftgawker.com/faqs/#faq3" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">CraftGawker</a>.</li> <li>List your CAL/KAL in Ravelry’s <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/kal-fanatics" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">KAL Fanatics group</a> in the appropriate threads.</li> </ul> <h2>So what link should you share?</h2> <p>If you share the link to your website and you use Google Analytics or a similar tool, it’s easy to track where people are finding your link. This may help you to narrow down or focus in on particular promotional methods. You can also provide links to multiple marketplaces, if you use them, and allow the buyer to choose a preferred site.</p> <p>On the other hand, if your pattern is for sale, a direct link to the shop may increase “impulse” buys.</p> <h2>What about advertising?</h2> <p>I’ve found that Ravelry ads are quite affordable. You can find more information in <a href= "http://skitch2.ravelrycache.com/RavelryProBrochureJan2015.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this brochure</a>.</p> <p>Many craft bloggers also offer affordable options for advertising on a sidebar, in a newsletter, and/or on social media. </p> <h2>Should you discount?</h2> <p>Many designers release their patterns for a discounted rate as a “scarcity tactic” to encourage people to buy it before the price goes up. Others never (or rarely) discount their patterns.</p> <h2>Don’t forget face-to-face promotion!</h2> <p>Wear or use your sample as much as possible. You’ll be surprised about how many sales you can make this way!</p> <h2>Getting others to promote you</h2> <p>If you feel shy about promoting your patterns, consider working with others to get the word out.</p> <ul> <li>Some crochet and knitting bloggers do pattern reviews. You can reach out to such a blogger and gift her/him a pattern for review.</li> <li>If you have a collection, consider organizing a blog tour. You will need to gift patterns for review, write guest posts, be interviewed, and/or offer giveaway prizes for the blogs on the tour.</li> <li>Consider offering the pattern as a giveaway prize in a large or multi-designer event to extend your reach.</li> </ul> <h2>Make this checklist your own!</h2> <p>Create your own checklist so you can routinize some of your promotions to save time and increase consistency.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in July, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 44: Getting The Most Out of Ravelry For Your Yarn-Related Business
<p>If you missed the live Google+ Hangout on Air for getting the most out of Ravelry for your yarn-related business, or you want to watch or listen again, here is the updated post.</p> <p>In this week’s episode, I shared seven tips for optimizing your use of Ravelry. The video (which you can watch <a href= "https://youtu.be/Hy9JPQX2r-M" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>) includes screenshares and walkthroughs, and the audio podcast includes an additional summary.</p> <p><strong>7 Tips for getting the most out of Ravelry for your yarn-related business:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Optimize your profile</strong> to include information about your business, a link to your blog or website, and relevant social profiles. (Bonus tip: Always check your links to make sure they work.)</li> <li><strong>Link to your yarns and/or designs</strong>. If you are a designer or yarnie, be sure to connect your yarns and patterns to your Ravelry profile. Optimize your designer page or yarn company page to be visible to non-Ravelry members.</li> <li><strong>Document your projects</strong> and<strong> optimize your project pages </strong>to feature any collaborators, such as other yarn companies or designers.</li> <li><strong>Connect blog posts to projects and stash </strong>and you can <strong>share your projects with relevant groups</strong> to increase the possibility you will be found by new customers.</li> <li><strong>Save searches </strong>so you can keep track of trends, competitors, and other information.</li> <li><strong>Use bundles </strong>to make it easier for customers to search your work.</li> <li><strong>Consider Ravelry advertising </strong>as part of your marketing plan.</li> </ul> <p>I also answered questions from Anita Bose Natarajan about how to get more exposure for new patterns.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in July, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 41: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 6: Publishing Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m continuing my Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about publishing your pattern. I’ll be exploring six different online marketplaces in depth (Craftfoxes, Craftsy, Etsy, Kollabora, Patternfish, and Ravelry), and will be briefly talking about other self-publishing options (such as your blog/website, ebook vendors, and printing patterns).</p> <p>This episode is longer than usual, so I’m including some time stamps if you need to pause in the middle of the show. You can scroll down past the time stamps for detailed show notes.</p> <ul> <li><strong>0:00 – 17:25</strong> <ul> <li>Introduction and announcements.</li> <li>Feedback on pricing after Episode 40.</li> <li>Factors to consider when exploring different options for self-publishing.</li> <li>Marie’s thoughts on selling directly from your own site.</li> <li>The Alexa rankings of each of the six marketplaces we focus on today.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>17:26 – 33:50</strong> <ul> <li>Interview with Lisa Fulmer, Senior Editor at <a href= "http://www.craftfoxes.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">CraftFoxes</a>, and overview of CraftFoxes.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>33:51 – 52:43</strong> <ul> <li>Interview with <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/stefanie-japel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Stefanie Japel</a>, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Craftsy, and overview of Craftsy.</li> <li>Changes to Craftsy’s affiliate program since the interview. If you sign up to be an affiliate, please let them know I referred you!</li> <li>A “work-around” for non-EU designers selling on sites that don’t collect VAT MOSS.</li> <li><strong>2019 Update:</strong> Craftsy is now Bluprint and is not currently inviting new patterns for its marketplace. </li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>52:44 – 1:08:46</strong> <ul> <li>Interview with Lindsey Ibarra, who manages Editoral, Social, and Trends at Kollabora, and overview of Kollabora.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:08:47 – 1:26:09</strong> <ul> <li>Interview with Julia Grunau, Prime Minister at Patternfish, and overview of Patternfish.</li> <li><strong>2019 Update:</strong> Patternfish is now closed.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:26:10 – 1:32:42</strong> <ul> <li>An overview of selling on Etsy.</li> <li>Marie’s thoughts on patterns as passive income.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:32:43 – 1:35:24</strong> <ul> <li>An overview of selling on Ravelry.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:35:25 – 1:45:28</strong> <ul> <li>The pros and cons of selling on these six marketplaces.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:45:29 – 1:48:22</strong> <ul> <li>Self-publishing through mainstream ebook sites.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:48:23 – 1:50:51</strong> <ul> <li>Self-publishing printed patterns.</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>1:50:52- 1:56:57</strong> <ul> <li>So where should YOU self-publish? and conclusion</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h1><strong>Pricing (again)</strong></h1> <p>There has been some interesting conversation in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs group on Facebook about pricing since the last episode in this series. Many designers noted that their more expensive patterns sell better than their less expensive patterns.</p> <p><strong>Food for thought:</strong> Does that mean you may be underpricing your patterns? Or does it mean that you have correctly gauged the demand for more popular patterns and increased their prices? Let me know what you think in the comments!</p> <h1>Publishing Your Patterns</h1> <p>We’re going to focus on six different marketplaces in this episode.</p> <p><strong>I find these four questions helpful to think about when you consider whether a marketplace is the right place (or “a right place”) to sell your patterns.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Who is your target <strong>audience</strong> and how much does it overlap with the site’s target audience?</li> <li>What is the <strong>cost </strong>of selling on that site? Consider your own time for setting up shop and adding patterns as well as listing fees and merchant charges when sales are made.</li> <li>What kind of <strong>exposure </strong>can you get from this site? Consider both the traffic the site receives and how likely it is that your work will be seen through search or be featured by the site.</li> <li>How easy is the site to use? The <strong>ease-of-use</strong> may be higher on sites that you are already using, or sites that have a better user interface.</li> </ul> <p>I also shared the current (as of mid-July, 2015) <a href= "http://www.alexa.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Alexa</a> rankings for each of these sites. Alexa is a site that ranks websites based on their traffic. <strong>Please use caution when interpreting these rankings. With the exception of Patternfish, all of these sites do more than sell crochet and knitting patterns, and therefore, the overall traffic is not necessarily indicative of the popularity of pattern sales!</strong></p> <p>The sites, ranked in order, are:</p> <ul> <li>Etsy: 43 (US)/157 (Worldwide)</li> <li>Ravelry: 647 (US)/2,156 (Worldwide)</li> <li><a href= "http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=940290&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom%2F" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Craftsy</a>: 828 (US)/2,801 (Worldwide)</li> <li>Kollabora: 31,166 (US)/132,671 (Worldwide)</li> <li>Patternfish: 67,971 (US)/315,301 (Worldwide)</li> <li>Craftfoxes: 70,543 (US)/186,421 (Worldwide)</li> </ul> <p>I also talked about the challenges of selling patterns directly from your own website.</p> <h2>CraftFoxes</h2> <p>I interviewed Lisa Fulmer, the Senior Editor of <a href= "http://www.craftfoxes.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">CraftFoxes</a>, a multi-craft social network with a marketplace. You can find information about becoming a CraftFoxes seller <a href="http://www.craftfoxes.com/help/section/sell" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>Some of the key features to consider about CraftFoxes are…</p> <ul> <li>Their marketplace is oriented towards physical/tangible item sales. They do not support digital/instant downloads at this time. Pattern sellers will need to email the pattern to the buyer, or bundle patterns with a physical item (like a yarn or supply kit).</li> <li>There is a $0.10 listing fee (which lasts for 3 months), but the first 50 listings are free. CraftFoxes also deducts 4% from any items sold. Additionally, PayPal will deduct their standard fees. CraftFoxes is not involved with the collection of VAT MOSS, a tax for digital sales to buyers in European Union member countries.</li> <li>Knitting and crocheting are the most popular crafts on the site. In particular, amigurumi, wearables, and beginner-friendly projects and patterns are very popular.</li> <li>For designers without a blog (or who want to amplify their blog posts), you can also <a href= "http://www.craftfoxes.com/pages/how-to-upload-a-how-to-or-pattern" target="_blank" rel="noopener">share free patterns</a> or projects with links back to your patterns.</li> </ul> <p>You can learn more about CraftFoxes in <a href= "http://convome.com/craftfoxes/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">this episode</a> of one of my favorite crafty shows, the Etsy Conversations Podcast.</p> <h2>Craftsy</h2> <p>I interviewed Stefanie Japel, the Senior Acquisitions Editor at Craftsy, a multi-craft site that features online courses, a craft supply marketplace, a digital pattern marketplace for independent designers, and more. </p> <ul> <li><strong>2019 Update:</strong> Craftsy is now Bluprint and is not currently inviting new patterns for its marketplace. </li> </ul> <h2>Kollabora</h2> <p>I interviewed Lindsey Ibarra, who manages Editoral, Social, and Trends at <a href="https://www.kollabora.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kollabora</a>, a social network and DIY/crafts community. You can find information about setting up a Kollabora pattern shop <a href= "https://www.kollabora.com/faq-vendors" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>Some of the key features to consider about Kollabora are…</p> <ul> <li>The marketplace is curated. Apply to be a brand <a href= "https://www.kollabora.com/for-business" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>. There are no listing fees, but Kollabora collects a 20% commission on each sale. Kollabora is not involved in the collection of VAT MOSS.</li> <li>Seller support is available at partners AT kollabora DOT com.</li> <li>Sewing is the most popular craft on Kollabora and it also has a vibrant knitting community. Crochet is the third most popular craft on the site.</li> <li>Kollabora’s users are younger and aesthetic-oriented. Most are multi-craftual so beginner level patterns do well. Tops and shawls are very popular.</li> <li>Kollabora users can share tutorials and videos and host make-a-longs on the site.Kollabora likes to feature their designers in their newsletters, so if you sign up to sell patterns on their site, be sure to keep them informed of your latest activities!</li> </ul> <p>You can also share pictures of your projects for patterns sold (or distributed for free) elsewhere. Kollabora projects can also include links to your blog or shop, and you don’t need to sign in to see <a href="https://www.kollabora.com/projects" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">projects</a>.</p> <h2>Patternfish</h2> <p>I interviewed Julia Grunau, the Prime Minister at Patternfish, a site exclusively focused on selling crochet, knitting, and weaving patterns.</p> <ul> <li><strong>2019 Update:</strong> Patternfish is now closed. </li> </ul> <h2>Etsy</h2> <p>Etsy declined to be interviewed, but you can learn more about opening an Etsy shop <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/sell/?ref=ftr" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>. You may also want to listen to these previous episodes to learn more about Etsy:</p> <ul> <li>Episode 9: Selling on Etsy, an Interview with Ijeoma Eleazu from the Etsy Conversations Podcast</li> <li>Episode 28: Indie Craft Fairs, Negotiation, Freelancing, the Hazards of Etsy and More with Grace Dobush</li> <li>Episode 29: Selling on Etsy, Passive Income, and Using Trending Keywords with Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands</li> </ul> <p>Let’s talk about Etsy’s fees.</p> <ul> <li>There is a $0.20 listing fee (which lasts for 4 months). Etsy also deducts 3.5% from any items sold. Additionally, PayPal will deduct their standard fees and Etsy will deduct additional fees if the customer uses Direct Checkout instead of PayPal.</li> <li>Etsy has taken an unusual position on VAT MOSS, which you can read more about <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/update-european-union-rules-on-digital/22233107846" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. Essentially, they are taking legal responsibility for it, so as a seller, you do not need to worry about it.</li> </ul> <p>While Etsy has a huge volume of traffic, it can be difficult for a buyer to navigate. For this reason, I’ve observed that shops with superior, staged photography and where the sellers do a lot of promotion tend to be more successful than those who assume that keyword optimization with drive all of their sales. I would also surmise that beginner-friendly patterns would do the best, as many visitors are casual crafters or DIY enthusiasts who aren’t necessarily master crocheters or knitters.</p> <h2>Ravelry</h2> <p>Ravelry also declined to be interviewed, but you can learn more about getting started as a Ravelry designer <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/wiki/pages/DesignerQuickStartGuide" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. (You must be a member and logged in to view this page.)</p> <p>Let’s talk about Ravelry’s fees.</p> <ul> <li>There are no Ravelry fees for pattern sales under $30/month. For sales from $30 to $1,500/month, Ravelry collects 3.5% of your sales. There is a discount for designers who sell over $1,500/month. In addition, PayPal collects their standard fees.</li> <li>Ravelry is now responsible for the collection of VAT MOSS. They previously had a partnership with Love-Knitting for VAT MOSS collection, so you can choose to sell your patterns to EU customers on both sites.</li> <li><strong>2019 Update:</strong> LoveKnitting is now <a href= "https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-us/?country=US" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LoveCrafts</a>. Sign up <a href= "https://designers.lovecrafts.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a> as a LoveCrafts designer.</li> </ul> <p>You can list all of your patterns in Ravelry’s database, whether or not you choose to sell or make them available for free on the site. You can have both free and for sale patterns available for instant download in your pattern shop on Ravelry.</p> <p>Ravelry is the only site with the opportunity to easily wholesale your patterns local yarn shops. You can learn more about the In-Store Sales program <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/wiki/pages/InStoreSales" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>I suspect that Ravelry is the only one of these six sites where more complex patterns could be popular.</p> <h2>Mainstream ebook sites</h2> <p>You may also want to consider selling your patterns on mass marketplace/ebook marketplaces for use on ereaders.</p> <p>You can learn more about becoming an ebook publisher on each of these sites by following the links below.</p> <ul> <li>Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing <a href= "https://kdp.amazon.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>iBooks Author <a href= "https://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>Kobo Writing Life <a href= "https://www.kobo.com/writinglife" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>Nook Press <a href="https://www.nookpress.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>Smashwords <a href= "https://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</li> </ul> <p>My assumption is most crafters are not seeking highly specialized patterns on these sites and that beginner-friendly projects would be more likely to succeed on these platforms.</p> <p>These sites require different file types, and formatting images for non-PDF can be challenging. Pricing standards are also quite different for ebooks when compared to individual pattern prices on the six marketplaces discussed earlier.</p> <p>I would recommend starting with the craft-focused sites using PDF patterns and later expanding into these other marketplaces after further research unless you have prior experience with formatting .mobi or .epub files.</p> <h2>Self-publishing print patterns</h2> <p>These days, it seems the demand for single, print patterns is waning. Many yarn shops are moving towards Ravelry’s In-Store Sales Program. However, if you do wish to self-publish print patterns, I know several designers use print-on-demand services like <a href="http://www.magcloud.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MagCloud</a>.</p> <h1>So, where should I sell my patterns?</h1> <p>As I mention in the show, I think that most designers will have more success if they can list their patterns on multiple sites. While there is certainly overlap among the dedicated crocheters and knitters, there are many potential buyers who may use only one of the sites but not the others.</p> <p>However, when you are first starting out, you may want to choose one or two sites that you seem the most suited based on the four criteria (audience, cost, exposure, ease-of-use) mentioned earlier. Once you feel more confident, you can expand into other marketplaces.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 40: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 5: Pricing Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m continuing my Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about pricing your pattern. I’ll be exploring the advantages and challenges of offering all of your self-published patterns for free, all for sale, or some combination of free and paid.</p> <h1>The subtitle for today’s episode is “To free or not to free?”</h1> <p>Let’s start by examining 3 strategic approaches to pricing your self-published patterns. (By the way, your pricing strategy for your self-published patterns might be the same as the pricing strategy you use with third-party publishing, or it might be different.)</p> <h2>Offer all of your self-published patterns for free</h2> <p>You may choose to only self-publish patterns for free. Here are some reasons why you might take this approach.</p> <ul> <li><strong>You are a hobbyist designer:</strong> You haven’t yet set up legal and financial structures for your business, so the logistics of accepting payments for pattern are too challenging to navigate at this time.</li> <li><strong>You use a contribution model:</strong> Some designers self-publish patterns for free with hopes that their audience will feel a desire to reciprocate by contributing, either to the designer using a “pay what you wish” model, or to a charity the designer has designated.</li> <li><strong>You monetize through the use of ads, affiliate relationships, and/or sponsorships: </strong>In this case, your patterns are free because your time is compensate through other means, most of which are dependent on traffic.</li> <li><strong>Your patterns support another aspect of your business:</strong> If you are primarily generating income through another aspect of your business, such as selling yarn or supply kits, you may use free patterns as a bonus for your customers.</li> </ul> <p>Some of the benefits of self-publishing your patterns for free are because free patterns…</p> <ul> <li>Present a low barrier for customers. You can easily hook them in.</li> <li>May be easier to promote online (e.g., through Pinterest group boards, participation in link sharing, etc.)</li> <li>Don’t require any additional thought about pricing, thus saving you time and thought.</li> <li>Are more consistent with the general expectation of consumers that web content will be free.</li> </ul> <h2>Offer all of your self-published patterns for sale</h2> <p>On the other hand, you may choose to only self-publish patterns for sale. Here are some reasons why you might take this approach.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Your social-political beliefs and values.</strong> Some designers feel very strongly that offering patterns for free devalues the work of women and the importance of crafts. Since many patterns with this view point are quite outspoken, you may also choose to self-publish all of your patterns for sale to align with this vocal group of fellow designers.</li> <li><strong>You don’t want to have your own website.</strong> If you don’t want to manage your own website or blog (for financial, time management, or technology reasons), you will not have many other options for monetizing your patterns, so you will need to sell them. You may also prefer to benefit from the traffic on a publisher site (like Ravelry) rather than to build your own traffic to an external website.</li> <li><strong>You want to wholesale patterns to yarn shops.</strong> If you’d like to create a symbotic relationship with yarn shops without spending a ton of time building relationships, you may want to use Ravelry’s In-store sales feature or work with a distributor to sell your patterns to shops. Free patterns are eligible for the in-store feature and many reputable stores are leery of sharing free patterns.</li> <li><strong>You believe that selling patterns will reduce the likelihood of piracy.</strong> It may also be easier to track the source of the theft of a for sale pattern.</li> </ul> <h2>Offer some of your self-published patterns for free and others for sale</h2> <p>Hopefully, by combining approaches you will get “the best of both worlds.”</p> <p>In the self-publishing book industries, this approach is common for ebook series. The first title may be “permafree,” allowing customers to try it out and then pay for the rest of the series if the would like to continue.</p> <p>You may prefer to offer your patterns for sale, but want yarn support from a company that only works with self-publishing designers for free pattern releases.</p> <p>This option also allows you to test out both methods and make adjustments that increase your income. The primary disadvantage is that you will need to spend more time considering which patterns should be available for free and which should be for sale (as well as what price is appropriate for your paid patterns).</p> <h1>Let’s talk pricing</h1> <p>If you decide to offer some or all of your patterns for free, how will you price them?</p> <ul> <li><strong>Uniform pricing</strong>:  You can save time and energy by establishing a set price for your patterns and spreading it across your entire line of paid patterns.</li> <li><strong>Scaled pricing</strong>: You can establish multiple price points for different types of patterns. For example, many designers price garment patterns (especially if they are in multiple sizes) higher than accessory patterns.</li> </ul> <p>In the audio recording, I discuss some reasons why these different approaches might (or might not) work for your business.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 39: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 4: Photographing Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m continuing my Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about photographing your pattern. I’ll be focusing on 3 topics: the photographer, the model (or backgrounds/props for non-wearables), and tutorials.</p> <h1>Let’s talk about the photographer!</h1> <p>As the online world has shifted to becoming more and more visual, pattern photography has become increasingly important. As a self-publishing designer, you may be your own photographer or you may choose to work with another amateur or professional photographer.</p> <h2><strong>Designer as photographer</strong></h2> <p>If you take your own photos, you have complete control. You control the styling, the framing, the editing, etc. of each photograph. (If you don’t happen to be a professional photographer, this may not always be a good thing, though!)</p> <p>Other benefits of taking your own photos is that it is cheaper (in money, though not necessarily in time) and you can photograph on your own schedule.</p> <p>If you decide to take your own pictures…</p> <ul> <li>Be sure to read the manual for your camera (or smartphone or tablet or whatever you use to take pictures) so you understand all the features and how to use them.</li> <li>Use natural lighting when available, and/or consider investing in a light box. You can buy one affordably and there are also many online tutorials for assembling your own light box.</li> <li>Take many, many pictures, and then choose the best ones.</li> <li>Get some professional development. Here are some suggestions. <ul> <li>Read <em><a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Crafters-Guide-Taking-Great-Photos/dp/159668626X" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos</a> </em>by Heidi Adnum (which I reviewed <a href= "https://www.amazon.com/review/R1UQLKE9OPTBV3/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>). Though it is mostly geared towards product photography (i.e., of toys and home decor items, not wearables), it is a great photography resource.</li> <li>Craftsy has a vast array of photography classes. </li> <li>There are many online photography courses <a href= "https://www.udemy.com/courses/Photography/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">available on Udemy</a> as well. I took <a href="https://www.udemy.com/jp-nikon-dslr-for-beginners/?dtcode=8Qkm8rd356pg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Beginner Nikon DSLR Photography</a> and found it quite helpful.</li> <li>I have several Pinterest boards with links to photography resources that you may find helpful. <ul> <li><a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/photography-general-how-to/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Photography: General How To</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/product-photography-how-to/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Product Photography: How To</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/photo-editing-how-to/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Photo Editing: How To</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/photographing-people-how-to/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Photographing People: How To</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/photography-classes-books/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Photography Classes & Books</a></li> </ul> </li> <li>And of course, these days most large fiber festivals offer photography classes.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>Since your photographs will form the first impression most people have about your designs, if you are your own photographer, make those impressions as good as you can by investing in yourself and your skills.</p> <h2>Amateur photographer</h2> <p>Some designers rely on a spouse, partner, family member, or friend to take pictures. This has the benefit of being free (or very inexpensive/paid with barter), but it has all of potential disadvantages of being your own photographer. To make the most out of one of these partnerships, ask your amateur photographer to get more training and make sure the emphasis is on the samples, not on you or the models.</p> <h2>Professional photographer</h2> <p>Working with a professional photographer will likely lead to the highest quality photos. This can be a worthwhile investment in your business. If this photographer isn’t familiar with handmade items, you may need to be more involved with styling or be more explicit about your needs.</p> <p>Some designers are able to work out barters or trades in exchange for professional photography services if paying a photographer is outside of their budgets.</p> <h1>Let’s talk models!</h1> <p>If you design wearables, you will have to decide whether to be your own pattern model, have other (human) models, use a dress form/mannequin, or take flat product photography.</p> <h2>Designer as model</h2> <p>The advantages of being your own model are keeping costs down, making scheduling easier, and associating your face with your designs and brand. You will definitely need to become comfortable with posing, and if you are also your own photographer, you will need to become very familiar with your timer and have an excellent tripod.</p> <h2>Working with amateur and professional models</h2> <p>You may choose to work with models for sizing reasons, diversity, or because you are camera shy.</p> <p>When working with models, a release form is critical. The <a href= "https://asmp.org/tutorials/forms.html#.VXpXCFVViko" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">American Society of Media Photographers</a> has several release form samples that you can customize for your business.</p> <p>Friends and family are often a first choice for designers, but they may not be comfortable in front of the camera. Consider bringing another friend along as a stylist or to chat up your camera-shy friend while you or your photographer take pictures. Taking breaks to switch accessories or change outfits can be helpful in allowing your model to relax and look more natural.</p> <p>These days, many people have concerns about sharing images of children online. If you work with child models, consider taking photos from behind or the side so the full face isn’t in view.</p> <p>I have had good luck photographing local college students. Their rates are generally reasonable.</p> <p>You may want to make recommendations to your models about what to wear, or bring clothing props.</p> <h2>Working with dress forms/mannequins</h2> <p>Your dress form or mannequin presumably doesn’t have an active social life and is always available when you or your photographer have time to take pictures. If your dress form/mannequin fits into your light box, then you are also able to take pictures even when no natural lighting is available.</p> <p>Some people feel that models are preferable to dress forms, but I’ve heard just as many people say the opposite. When in doubt, go with the preferences of your target audience.</p> <p>Consider the “look” of your mannequin/dress form, as well. Do you want something with a neutral background and/or no face, or something with decorative fabric and/or a “lifelike” appearance. Ideally, you would make a choice that both fits your brand and budget.</p> <h2>Taking flat/product photography</h2> <p>If you primarily design home decor items and toys, this option may be right for you. However, if you primarily design wearables, consider whether flat photographs do your designs justice.</p> <p>Think carefully about what is in the background of your photos, especially when taking flat photos. Having random junk in the background can be distracting, but having some common decorations can help support your brand.</p> <p><strong>2019 Update:</strong> You can find my <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2019/07/23/how-to-photograph-handmade-crafts-with-flat-lay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 tips for how to photography your handmade crafts with flay lay photography here</a>.</p> <h1>Let’s talk tutorials!</h1> <p>Some designers never shoot tutorials, some only shoot tutorials when they are deemed necessary (by the designer), and others include tutorials with all of their designs.</p> <p>If you never shoot your own tutorials, you don’t need to worry about the photography of tutorials.</p> <h2>Considerations for tutorials</h2> <p>Whether you create tutorials occasionally or always, here are two things to consider.</p> <ul> <li>Will you only include specific elements (e.g., a difficult stitch or unusual construction method) or a complete project in your tutorial?</li> <li>If your tutorial is photographic rather than video, will you include your hands in the shots?</li> </ul> <p>If you plan to include tutorials for each pattern, you may want to develop a cohesive format (akin to a style sheet). What size photos will you use, and at what distance? For video tutorials, will you introduce each one face-to-camera, or will the video start with a product shot or yarn in your hands?</p> <h1>Final thoughts on photography</h1> <p>Consider bringing a stylist if you are the photographer. Not only can this person serve as a second set of eyes, but s/he can also help the models feel pampered!</p> <p>Post-production (photo editing) is also important. This can be even more important as you are developing your photography skills.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 38: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 3: Polishing Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m continuing my Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about polishing your pattern through editing and formatting.</p> <h1>If you’re new to self-publishing, or your current approach to editing isn’t working as you hoped…</h1> <p>You may want to listen to these two earlier episodes.</p> <ul> <li>Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test, and</li> <li>Episode 25: 8 Tips for Contracting with Your First Tech Editor.</li> </ul> <p>Each of these episodes outlines strategics, tactics, advantages, and pitfalls of using testers and/or tech editors to edit your patterns.</p> <h1>4 Approaches to Editing</h1> <p>In this episode, I share 4 different approaches to editing your self-published patterns. Each has advantages and challenges.</p> <h2>Self-editing</h2> <p>Many self-published designers edit their own patterns. The obvious advantage is that this method is free (although you may be surprised by how much of your own time is used for editing). You may also be able to edit more quickly since you aren’t reliant on anyone else’s schedule.</p> <p>If you are not particularly detail oriented, if you have a lot of distractions in your work area, or if math is not your strength, you may find self-editing particularly difficult.</p> <p>Some tips (borrowed from writers) that may help you remain objective while editing are:</p> <ul> <li>Review the pattern from the final row/round to the first row/round. This will help you look at the structure of each part of the pattern in isolation.</li> <li>Give yourself a break. Try not to edit the pattern just after writing it or making the sample.</li> <li>Find a workspace that is distraction-free.</li> </ul> <h2>Using pattern testers as editors</h2> <p>In a previous episode about pattern testing, I talk about the challenges of using testers as editors. Many, many wonderful testers have no specific talent for editing. They may not be very detail oriented, or they may not be articulate enough to describe pattern problems and suggest alternatives.</p> <p>If you do use testers for editing, seek out testers who are very detail oriented and willing to share feedback. I recommend soliciting online testers through <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-testing-pool" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry’s The Testing Pool group</a> and hosting online tests in your own Ravelry group.</p> <p>I also respond to questions about other challenges of working with testers,  including how to address copyright/piracy concerns, how to turn down or reject a tester, and how to deal with problem testers. Thank you to <a class= "ProfileHeaderCard-screennameLink u-linkComplex js-nav" href= "https://twitter.com/HookedbyAngel" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@<span class= "u-linkComplex-target">HookedbyAngel</span></a> from <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/hookedbyangel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hooked by Angel</a> and to <a class= "ProfileHeaderCard-screennameLink u-linkComplex js-nav" href= "https://twitter.com/hookabeeCrochet" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@<span class= "u-linkComplex-target">hookabeeCrochet</span></a> from <a href="http://hookabee.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hookabee</a> for sharing your questions!</p> <p>I also challenge designers to think about their expectations for testers in relationship to what they are offering to their testers. While an individual pattern is worth a lot of money to you as a designer (because of both the passive income potential over your lifetime as well as the time and expenses you have invested in the pattern), an actual pattern is worth about $5 to a consumer. Are your expectations for pattern testers in alignment with the value of your pattern to an individual consumer?</p> <h2>Skill sharing</h2> <p>Some designers trade editing services with other designers. The advantage of this approach is that it is free. There are quite a few (potential) disadvantages, including the possibility that this designer will claim your pattern as his/her own. The other disadvantages are the same as those for self-editing, with the addition of potential delays in turnaround time. And, of course, you have to do more work, too, since you’ll need to edit your colleague’s pattern.</p> <h2>Tech editing</h2> <p>I’ve found that tech editing works best for me as an approach for editing patterns. The benefits are that you have an objective and skilled set of eyes looking over your pattern. The primary disadvantage is cost – you will need to pay a tech editor before you’ve earned any income from your pattern.</p> <p>With that being said, there are challenges to using tech editing. It is critical for a designer to work with a tech editor that you can trust and who has tech editing skills. Chemistry/personality fit is also important. I share more details about my approach to working with a tech editor in Episode 8.</p> <h1>Formatting your pattern</h1> <p>When I talked about having a style sheet in the first episode in this series, we didn’t explicitly discuss the formatting of your pattern from a graphic design standpoint.</p> <p>I suggest choosing the software that you are the most comfortable with and that you can manipulate easily. I know designers who use word processing software (most commonly, Microsoft Word or Google Docs), PowerPoint, and InDesign. If you are thinking about how to visually brand your patterns to match other elements of your business, you may find Episode 6: Free and Low Cost (Visual) Branding Resources helpful.</p> <p>I also recommend that you allow other people – perhaps your pattern testers – look over your format before distributing patterns. You may get valuable feedback about readability and visual appeal.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in June, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 37: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 2: Drafting Your Pattern
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I continue the Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series with a focus on Drafting Your Pattern. In today’s episode, I talk about drafting the written pattern (including pattern grading) and creating the sample.</p> <h1>But first…</h1> <p>I wanted to mention that Dianne from <a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Same DiNamics Crochet</a> recently completed a Crochet Design Series. I was one of ten crochet designers she interviewed. Most of the information is also applicable to knitting. I have linked up her posts below.</p> <ul> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/crochet-design-series-meet-the-designers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Meet the Designers</a></li> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/crochet-design-series-1-in-the-beginning-design-inspiration/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1 In the Beginning… Design Inspiration</a></li> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/crochet-design-series-2-the-writing-phase/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2 The Writing Phase</a></li> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/crochet-design-series-3-the-testing-phase/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">3 The Testing Phase</a></li> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/crochet-design-series-4-the-modeling-of-your-project-phase-2/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">4 The Modeling of Your Project Phase</a></li> <li><a href= "https://samedinamicscrochet.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/crochet-design-series-5-the-marketing-phase/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">5 In the End… Marketing Your Pattern</a></li> </ul> <p>You may find it interesting to hear the perspectives of multiple designers as you consider which approach works best for your business.</p> <h1>Drafting the pattern</h1> <p>There are three major approaches to drafting a pattern.</p> <ul> <li>Reverse engineering: Designers who take this approach create a sample first and then attempt to deconstruct it, write a pattern, and make a second sample. This is a more organic design process and the designer can “test” the efficacy of the reverse engineering process while making the second sample. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to accurately determine the pattern through this technique and it may produce projects where the patterns are not easy to follow. Additionally, it isn’t very scalable.</li> <li>Write as you go: Designers who take this approach stitch one row/round and then write the instructions. This method tends to be more accurate than reverse engineering, but it may not be very scalable.</li> <li>Write first, then create the sample: With this approach, the design is thought through first and written up. The designer or sample knitter/crochet then checks the pattern while creating the sample. This is very scalable because the sample isn’t dependent on the designer and it can be tech edited faster. This method can be very challenging for a difficult pattern because the designer may be trying new techniques and/or stitches and will be pulling back frequently.</li> </ul> <p>Consider your current method and whether it fits with your business at this time. Should you introduce another method of drafting the pattern instead?</p> <h1>Creating the sample</h1> <p>Most designers start out creating their own samples. Some eventually outsource the production of samples to sample crocheters/knitters. Sample makers are not quite the same as pattern testers. Here are some key differences.</p> <ul> <li>Sample makers (in general)… <ul> <li>Are provided with yarn and compensated financially,</li> <li>Do not own the finished sample and have to return it to the publisher, and</li> <li>Are required to work the pattern exactly as written, at the same gauge, and in the publisher’s required size.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Pattern testers (in general)… <ul> <li>Supply their own yarn,</li> <li>Own the finished sample,</li> <li>Choose the sample size,</li> <li>Often make “tweaks” or customizations to the pattern, and</li> <li>May not meet the required gauge.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>Several years ago, <a href="http://www.krwknitwear.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Karen Ratto-Whooley</a> shared a questionnaire for sample crocheters on her mailing list. It was designed to assess the makers technical skills and attention to detail in reading a pattern, so consider both if you plan to outsource your samples. Sample makers are often compensated by the yard, and you can generally find out about prevailing rates by asking around in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/indy-pattern-designers-resources" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Indy Pattern Designers’ Resources group on Ravelry</a>. The group even has a “stickied” discussion thread called <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/indy-pattern-designers-resources/66755/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sample knitters/crocheters</a>.</p> <p>You can learn more about pattern testers in Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test. I’ll also talk about testing in more detail in next week’s episode.</p> <h1>What about pattern grading?</h1> <p>Pattern grading is a process of sizing the pattern up or down sizes and keeping the design integrity the same.</p> <p>Many designers start by creating multiple samples in different sizes. Unless your designs are very small (like hats), this isn’t very scalable because it adds much more work and time to your self-publishing process.</p> <p>Grading involves both math and art. Formulas can be used to adjust the stitch counts proportionately for various sizes, but in many instances, design elements will not work the same way in every size. For this reason, some self-published designers limit the size range of their patterns, while others make change to design elements to maintain the integrity.</p> <p>If you haven’t done pattern grading before, or would like to improve your skills, here are some resources you may find helpful.</p> <ul> <li>In a bonus episode, I talked with knitting designer and tech editor, <a href="https://ashwinijdesigns.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ashwini Jambhekar</a>, about using percent difference – rather than a flat different – between sizes when grading. The examples included in the episode are applicable to crochet as well.</li> <li><a href="https://crochetkim.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Kim Guzman</a> frequently offers a Crochet Pattern Grading course online through Crochetville. I took it a few years ago and found it extremely helpful and well organized.</li> <li>A crochet designer introduced me to <em>Sweater 101: How to Plan Sweaters That Fit… and Organize Your Knitting Life At the Same</em> Time. Cheryl Brunette includes detailed schematics for 30 standard sizes, from 6 months to men’s size 50, for drop shoulder, raglan, and set-in sleeve sweaters. The book also thoroughly explains the math behind sweater design and has worksheets you can use to organize your sweater designs.</li> <li>Many designers use the <a href= "http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/sizing.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Craft Yarn Council size charts</a> to guide their grading decisions.</li> <li>Faina Goberstein teaches Sizing Knitwear Patterns on Craftsy. I have not taken this course, but I have heard good things about it from knitting designers.</li> </ul> <p>Another approach is to ask your tech editor to do the grading and/or to walk you through the grading process. This will likely be more expensive than just a pattern edit.</p> <p>You might also want to try grading a smaller project (like a hat) or a project with minimal shaping (like a blanket) as your first grading experience.</p> <p>Ask yourself where you want grading to fit in during the pattern writing process – before you make the sample, at the same type as making the sample, or after finishing the sample.</p> <p>Next week’s episode will be all about Polishing your pattern. We’ll talk about testing and tech editing.</p> <p><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></p> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in May, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 36: Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series 1: Planning Your Pattern
<div class="entry-content"> <h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I launch the Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series with a focus on Planning Your Pattern. In today’s episode, I talk about style sheets and yarn support, as well as aligning your style sheet with your ideal customer’s preferences and needs.</p> <h1>But first…</h1> <p>Thanks to Angela Doherty from Hooked By Angel (on <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/hookedbyangel" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy</a> and <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/HookedbyAngel" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>) for sharing the first bit of audio feedback on the show! Angel had some wonderful things to say about the show (thank you!) and she also reminded me that I like to say, “That makes sense” a lot during interviews. (I also seem to like to say “So” but that’s an aside.)</p> <p>Angela was one of the people who inspired me to take the leap into starting a Facebook group for friends and fans of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show. You can join the group, Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h1>Let’s talk style sheets</h1> <p>What in the world is a style sheet? Think of it as a template for formatting your crochet and knitting patterns.A style sheet can benefit you by making the process of writing up your patterns faster as well as by setting a consistent tone for your customers. As you create your own style sheet, think about…</p> <ul> <li><strong>Your ideal customer.</strong> Does this person need more or less detail? Does this person prefer pattern abbreviations or stitch symbols? Do they want or need lots of photos and tutorials, or do they prefer very condensed, print-friendly designs.</li> <li><strong>Abbreviations.</strong> Will you use the Craft Yarn Council standard abbreviations for <a href= "http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/crochet.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">crochet</a> or <a href= "http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/knit.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">knitting</a>, or will you develop your own variations on these abbreviations? Will you use US or UK abbreviations, or both?</li> <li><strong>Stitch symbols.</strong> If you plan to include international stitch symbols in your patterns, will you design your own charts or pay a tech editor to do this for you? If you’d like to create your own, you may want to check out <a href= "http://stitchesnscraps.com/2014/09/11/tutorial-how-to-make-a-crochet-chart-using-inkscape/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this tutorial</a> by Pia Thadani from <a href="http://stitchesnscraps.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">StitchesNScraps</a> about how to use Inkscape to make crochet charts. You may also want to listen to Episode 8 where I interview Adriana Hernandez from AdriPrints about her affordable crochet and knitting fonts.</li> <li><strong>Writing style.</strong> Will your patterns be recipe style, conversational, formal, informal, optimized for printing, filled with detailed tutorials, or…?</li> <li><strong>Phrasing.</strong> Are you writing sentences or phrases? How will you explain special stitches or techniques?</li> <li><strong>Yarn.</strong> Will you recommend a specific yarn for each pattern or just describe the type of yarn that is best suited to this project? Will you provide recommendations for substituting yarn?</li> <li><strong>Skill levels.</strong> Will you use the Craft Yarn Council standard <a href= "http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/skill.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">skill levels</a>, will you create your own skill levels, or will you list the specific stitches/skills required for each pattern? Will you including tutorials within the pattern or direct your customers to another source? Or, are your customers more experienced or adventurous (and therefore, don’t need tutorials).</li> <li><strong>Grading.</strong> Will your patterns be graded with specific instructions for each size? Or, will each pattern be for one size? Or, will you make a sample in one size and then explain to your customers how to adjust the pattern to fit?</li> </ul> <p>These are just some things to consider as you develop a style sheet. I recommend looking at other designer’s style sheets to see what components you like or don’t like before you develop your own template. Here are two of my free patterns, which use the same overall format of my for sale patterns:</p> <p>You may also want to check out some traditional magazines, books, and online magazines for ideas.</p> <h1>What about the yarn?</h1> <p>As I mentioned back in Episode 34, yarn support is when a yarn company provides a designer with yarn for free in exchange for the designer listing this yarn as the sole recommended yarn in the pattern and in the Ravelry database.</p> <p>When possible, secure yarn support for your self-publishing patterns. Not only does this save you money, which allows you to grow your business faster, but it also makes it less likely that the yarn you feature in a pattern will be discontinued around the time of publication. Believe it or not, there are many crocheters and knitters who try to make their projects using the same yarn as the designer.</p> <p>If you can’t secure yarn support, or choose not to, consider whether or not using a discontinued or other stash yarn is acceptable for your pattern and target customers.</p> <h1>And don’t forget your audience, your goals, and your mission</h1> <p>As Lindsey Lewchuk from Knit Eco Chic mentioned in her interview in Episode 26, she always checks her idea for a new pattern against her foundational philosophies to see if it is a good fit.</p> <p>Even if you don’t have a mission statement or articulated philosophy, before you get started think about whether this design will resonate with your target audience or if it fits into your short or long term goals.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in May, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> </div>
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Mini series on designing and self-publishing your crochet & knitting patterns!
<h1>This Week’s Mini Episode</h1> <p>In this week’s mini episode, I announce a new series on designing and self-publishing your crochet and knitting patterns that will start next week. So far, I’m expecting the series to include episodes focused on:</p> <ul> <li>Planning and drafting your design,</li> <li>Polishing your pattern,</li> <li>Pricing,</li> <li>Publishing (including an exploration of different online marketplaces like Amazon, CraftFoxes, Craftsy, Crochetville, Etsy, Kollabora, Patternfish, and/or Ravelry), and</li> <li>Promoting.</li> </ul> <p>I shared some questions from <a href= "https://goddesscrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Goddess Crochet</a>, <a href= "https://www.juneebdesigns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Junee B Designs</a>, Patterns Tried and True, and <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/hookedbyangel" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Hooked by Angel</a>, but I’d love to answer other questions you have about self-publishing in this series. Also, if you have a favorite online marketplace, let us know what it is (and why) so I can share that during the publishing episode.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in May, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 34: How to Source Yarn (Inexpensively) for Your Business
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I’m talking about ways to source yarn inexpensively (or for free) for your yarn-related business. </p> <p>Getting your yarn for less (or for free) can have a huge impact on your profits as a yarn related business! In this episode, I’ll be sharing 4 ways to source your yarn for less money.</p> <p><strong>The 4 ways are:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Establish a wholesale, maker, or professional crafter account with a yarn company</li> <li>Apply for yarn support for your crochet and knitting patterns</li> <li>Shop for discounts</li> <li>Use  discontinued yarns</li> </ol> <p>Not every one of these ways will be right for your business, but hopefully one or more is!</p> <p>By the way, I know nothing about the world of spinning (sorry spinners!), so I don’t share any resources for fleeces or roving. If you’re a spinner and know more about discounted options, let me know so I can update this page!</p> <h2>Establish a wholesale, maker, or professional crafter account with a yarn company</h2> <p>Many yarn companies will establish wholesale, maker, professional crafter, or teacher accounts with indie businesses who aren’t yarn shops. There may be a lower order minimum for these smaller vendors than for a yarn shop, and the yarn prices will be substantially below retail..</p> <p>In general, your business will need to have a <a href= "http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tax ID</a> and permission to collect sales tax through your state to take advantage of these discounts. If your business isn’t already formalized and you are located in the U.S., you may want to check out the <a href= "https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Business Administration Learning Center</a> or contact <a href="https://www.score.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SCORE</a> for advice and mentoring.</p> <p>If you’re a dyer, you may want to check out <a href= "http://www.hayarns.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Henry’s Attic</a>. Although I haven’t worked with them directly, I’ve heard good things about their yarn. (Full disclosure: I previously worked with <a href="http://galleryarns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Galler Yarns</a>, which is owned by the same family.)</p> <p>You can also reach out to your favorite yarn companies through the website contact page and ask if they provide discounts to makers, teachers, dyers, or whatever your type of business is.</p> <h2>Apply for yarn support for your crochet and knitting patterns</h2> <p>Yarn companies will often provide “yarn support” to designers/authors who are creating samples in their yarn. Typically, the company will provide the yarn at no cost (or at a substantial discount) in exchange for being listed as the only yarn in the pattern and/or on Ravelry.</p> <p>Some yarn companies will only provide yarn support for patterns that are published by third parties (i.e., magazines or traditionally published books), while others also provide yarn support for independently published (i.e., self-published) patterns.</p> <p>If you’d like to pursue yarn support for upcoming designs, reach out to yarn companies and ask about their process for requesting yarn support. Some companies have a form to complete while others want to see a magazine-style design submission with a sketch, swatch, and description. There are also companies comfortable with just a description of the design and a link to your Ravelry designer page. If you like working with independent yarn companies, check out the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/designers/2843858/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yarnie/Designer Connection Thread</a> in the <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups/designers" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Designers group</a> on Ravelry.</p> <p>To maintain your relationship, remember to notify the company when your pattern is published. It doesn’t hurt to mention the company when you announce or share the pattern on social media, either.</p> <p>I maintain a spreadsheet with contacts at the different yarn companies that I have worked with (or plan to work with in the future) for yarn support, and I include notes on whether they support independent designs, too, or only third-party publications.</p> <h2>Shop for discounts</h2> <p>If these formal methods for sourcing yarn inexpensively don’t work for you, another option is to shop for discounts. Perhaps your business isn’t formalized or your portfolio is small. Shopping for discounts on currently available yarns is another way to save money. Sign up for the email lists of big box stores and local yarn shops in your area, as well as for the major online yarn sellers, like WEBS, Jimmy Beans, and Loopy Ewe. Although you are still paying retail prices, you will be still be able to buy the yarn at a discount.</p> <h2>Use  discontinued yarns</h2> <p>Discontinued yarns are often available at a substantial discount. While some designers may find that pattern sales will suffer if their samples are made with discontinued yarns, makers may find that their customers aren’t concerned about using a yarn that is no longer in production. Another challenge of working with a discontinued yarn line or color is that you may only have access to a limited range of colors and it can be difficult to match dye lots. <a href="http://www.smileysyarns.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Smiley’s Yarns</a> is a shop that specializes in selling discontinued yarns at a deep discount.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in May, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 33: 7 Steps for Pitching Your Ideas for Workshops, Presentations, and Panel Sessions to Conferences and Events
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>Today’s topic was suggested by last week’s guest, Sedie Maruska. I’m going to share a 7 step process for pitching your ideas to conferences and events. This process is what I use both for yarn-related events, like regional fiber festivals, and for other types of venues, like blogging or social media conferences.</p> <p><strong>The 7 steps are:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Define your goals</li> <li>Identify potential venues</li> <li>Find the speaker or workshop guidelines and understand the compensation practices</li> <li>Choose your pitch</li> <li>Refine your pitch</li> <li>Submit and wait</li> <li>Follow up (maybe)</li> </ol> <h1>Some Background</h1> <p>As a teenager, I was part of a pilot program to train youth as HIV prevention peer educators. As a result, I received a lot of training in public speaking. This was very helpful because I’m a very introverted person (and was even more so as a teenager). I ended up entering into a career path which involved a lot of public speaking as a result. Pitching workshop ideas to professional conferences has been part of my career since way before I entered the yarn industry, and I wanted to continue that practice for my yarn-related business.</p> <p>I’ve presented workshops at several local and regional fiber festivals, including the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival, the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival, and the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. This year, I began presenting at blogging and social media conferences, including the We All Grow Summit by Latina Bloggers Connect, Social Media Week New York, and the upcoming BlogHer15.</p> <h2>1) Define your goals</h2> <p>There are many different reasons you might want to speak at an event. Some common goals are…</p> <ul> <li><strong>To build your platform.</strong> You may want to grow your reputation in a certain niche, or more firmly establish the association between your brand and certain topic areas. If this is your primary goal, you may want to narrow the topic ideas you pitch and the events you approach. You may also be soliciting potential clients or students for existing courses, books, and other products and services.</li> <li><strong>To share the love.</strong> Perhaps you want to spread your love of knitting or crochet or meet new friends. Your reasons for speaking are more altruistic.</li> <li><strong>To travel.</strong> Some speakers want to find a reason or a pathway to attending far flung events so that they can expand their travel opportunities.</li> <li><strong>To gain free admission.</strong> You may have a specific event you’d like to attend, but the admission to the event is outside of your budget. Most venues provide free admission to their presenters, so this might be one way of making a specific conference affordable to you.</li> <li><strong>To make money.</strong> Spoiler alert: Most conference speakers don’t make money speaking, at least not initially. In many cases, your time and/or travel will be only minimally compensated. Typically, a speaker must have a large existing platform to command high speaking fees. However, we all have to start somewhere, so if this is your eventual goal, you may want to begin by building your speaking portfolio.</li> </ul> <h2>2) Identify potential venues</h2> <p>Once you have a clear idea of your immediate goals, you can start to identify potential venues. You can then narrow your focus to the events and conferences where you could most easily and quickly meet your goals by being selected as a speaker.</p> <p>My favorite resource for finding fiber related events is the <a href="http://www.knittersreview.com/upcoming_events/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Knitter’s Review list of events</a>. Larger, more established events may be looking for speakers as far as one year in advance, while smaller, local events may be refining the speakers list just a month or two in advance.</p> <p>If you’re more interested in presenting on topics related to blogging or small business issues, She Owns It has a regularly updated list of <a href= "https://sheownsit.com/conference-listings/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Retreats for Women, Entrepreneurs, and Bloggers</a> that I’ve found very helpful.</p> <p>You can find out about other local or regional events through your crochet or knitting guild chapter, your local yarn shop, the local U.S. Small Business Administration field office, your area’s chamber of commerce, or any face-to-face business or professional associations you belong to. You might also hear about events from LinkedIn groups, podcasts you listen to, or blogs you read. Don’t forget about local themed events like Social Media Week or heritage events in your area!</p> <p>New events are often more open to accepting speakers without an established background. Keep your eyes open on Twitter and other social media networks for announcement of new conferences and events.</p> <p>Colleges and universities often host events and conferences. Students often organize these events and are looking for outside speakers. You can find more information through the college’s events calendar.</p> <h2>3) Find the speaker or workshop guidelines and understand the compensation practices</h2> <p>Review the event website looking for sections for teachers or speakers or information on workshops or the agenda.</p> <p>Sometimes you will find a call for speakers, an email list sign up for prospective speakers, or forms to fill out with a clearly stated deadline and compensation. More often, you will need to reach out to the organizers via email and ask for more details.</p> <p>If it isn’t explicitly stated, don’t forget to ask about compensation practices. I share some tips for pricing for events where you are asked to determine your own course fee.</p> <h2>4) Choose your pitch</h2> <p>Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential venues, consider your goals as you decide what to pitch. You may want to consider different formats (e.g., a hands on workshop, a multi-speaker panel, a presentation/lecture). You will also have to decide whether to pitch one idea or multiple ideas. Some of this is decided for you by the venue as fiber events in particular often prefer to have each teacher offer multiple workshops, thereby requiring multiple pitches.</p> <p>It’s important to follow directions for submitting your proposal. This is not the time to shine for your individual creativity :).</p> <h2>5) Refine your pitch</h2> <p>Conferences and events usually use a juried process to choose speakers, teachers, and presenters. For that reason, I often ask a colleague to look over my pitch before submitting it. (If that’s not possible, spend some time self-editing.) Consider whether the tone and content is appropriate to the venue as well as if you’ve clearly “sold” yourself as a great presenter.</p> <h2>6) Submit and wait</h2> <p>Submit your proposal following the event’s guidelines and wait to hear back. Some events have a clear timeline for responding to speaker proposals.</p> <h2>7) Follow up (maybe)</h2> <p>In some cases, gentle follow up may be helpful to your submission. Rather than contacting the organizers to ask about the status of your application, you may want to share targeted updates that serve to highlight your expertise or skills as a teacher/speaker.</p> <h2>Other Tips</h2> <ul> <li>Be aware of any non-compete clauses for speakers. Some events require speakers to sign non-compete clauses agreeing not to present on the same topic and/or in the same geographical area for a certain number of days before or after the event.</li> <li>Consider “add on events” when traveling. If it doesn’t violate your speaker clause, consider setting up additional workshops, trunk shows, book signings, or other events in the local area at local yarn shops or related venues when traveling.</li> <li>If you don’t have a background in public speaking or lack confidence in public speaking, I recommend you check out your local Toastmasters chapter. Although I have never personally worked with them, I have heard good things from many members. Toastmasters is an affordable alternative to public speaking coaching.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 32: Journey to 100k Monthly Blog Visitors and More with Sedie Maruska from Yarn Obsession
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this episode, I shared an interview with Sedruola “Sedie” Maruska from Yarn Obsession. Sedie is a crochet designer, blogger, and crochet business consultant. I wanted to talk with her about <a href= "http://yarnobsession.com/road-100000-monthly-visitors/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">her public journey to 100,000 monthly unique visitors to her blog</a>. We also chatted about pricing, empowering women business owners, prioritizing different elements of your business, and more.</p> <h1>About Sedruola “Sedie” Maruska</h1> <p>Sedie started Yarn Obsession as a hobby and eventually started selling her finished crochet items as a maker. Later, she started designing but noticed she was getting a lot of questions from other makers and crochet business owners, so she started offering crochet business advice and coaching services. Sedie continues designing to keep current in the industry so her consulting services are always up-to-date. Because pattern design isn’t her core business, she uses an unusual pricing tactic. Yarn Obsession is Sedie’s full-time business, but she does have a part-time job.</p> <p>You can find Sedie online at <a href= "http://yarnobsession.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yarn Obsession</a>, as well as on <a href= "http://facebook.com/yarnobsession" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "http://instagram.com/sedruola" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a>, <a href= "http://twitter.com/sedruola" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/user/sediesells" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">YouTube</a>.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>I invited Sedie on the show to talk her plan to increase traffic to 100,000 visitors per month to her website. (You can read more about her goal <a href= "http://yarnobsession.com/road-100000-monthly-visitors/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> and you can find her monthly progress reports <a href= "http://yarnobsession.com/category/journey-to-100k-reports/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.) Sedie was inspired by blogger Neil Patel’s post, <a href= "http://www.quicksprout.com/2015/01/12/how-transparency-is-the-new-marketing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Why Transparency Is The New Marketing</a>, to share this journey publicly. It also helps her to stay accountable for moving towards her goal.</p> <p>We also talked about empowering women to find their voice and confidence so they can be successful in their businesses, dealing with negativity online, distributing your time between different income streams in your business, and pricing. Sedie also shared some tips for getting started with video for your yarn-related business.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Bonus Episode: Managing Your Business While Being a Mom with Lane Kennedy
<h1>This Bonus Episode</h1> <p>I’m sharing an interview with serial entrepreneur Lane Kennedy today as a bonus episode. Although Lane isn’t involved in the yarn industry, she has a lot to share about managing your business while being a mom. Since I’m not a mom, I thought her perspective would be helpful for listeners who are! I also thought this episode would pair nicely with my interview with Amy Ramnarine earlier this week about how she planned out her maternity leave.</p> <h1>About Lane Kennedy</h1> <p>Lane is a serial entrepreneur who is also a coach and a podcaster. Her message is all about empowering women and living a straightforward life. </p> <p>You can find Lane online on her <a href= "http://www.lanekennedy.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">website</a>, on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/lanekennedylevy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, and on <a href= "https://twitter.com/lanekennedy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>. </p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>Lane is the daughter of an entrepreneur and has had an interesting series of careers and businesses that have brought her around the world. Later in life, she unexpectedly became pregnant while in the middle of launching a business. In this interview, we talked about the changes she made to her life to manage both her entrepreneurial endeavors and her family life.</p> <p>Lane took 18 months off after her son was born and then slowly returned to her career. She shared several suggestions for moms who want to making the most out of their working time.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Find support.</strong> Lane started with 15 hours of child care weekly from someone she trusted as she transitioned back into running a business.</li> <li><strong>Connect with other mompreneurs. </strong>Lane organized a local group of mom entrepreneurs for nearly 5 years. The group met monthly with a focus on networking and business development. Although the members were moms, the group focused on entrepreneurial topics rather than family life.</li> <li><strong>Optimize your schedule and prioritize your time.</strong> Lane uses a shared calendar to chart out her week and separates family, personal, and business time. She also schedules tasks based on her natural rhythms so she can be more productive.</li> <li><strong>Don’t forget to take time for yourself.</strong> Lane recommends taking a vacation alone at least once a year.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 31: Preparing for an Absence from Your Business, Collaboration, Blog Monetization, and More with Amy Ramnarine from The Stitchin' Mommy
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this episode, I shared an interview with Amy Ramnarine from The Stitchin’ Mommy. Amy is a crochet designer and DIY blogger, and a fellow New Yorker. We met up at Martha’s Country Bakery in Forest Hills, Queens back in March. (By the way, Amy recommends the Strawberry Shortcake which is made with real strawberries.) I wanted to talk with her about her plans for maternity leave. We also chatted about collaborations that expand your business, blog monetization, customer service, and more.</p> <h1>About Amy Ramnarine</h1> <p>Amy is a full-time crochet and DIY blogger. Her background is in finance, but she worked as a pre-school teacher before her first daughter was born. As a stay-at-home mom, she launched  The Stitchin’ Mommy as a maker. She later became a designer and expanded her blog beyond crochet to include additional DIY topics and tutorials.</p> <p>You can find Amy online at the <a href= "http://thestitchinmommy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Stitchin’ Mommy</a>, as well as on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/thestitchinmommy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://www.instagram.com/thestitchinmommy/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a>,  <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/stitchinmommy/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/the-stitchin-mommy" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>, and <a href= "https://twitter.com/stitchin_mommy" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>I invited Amy on the show to talk about how she’s planning for maternity leave. While you may not be planning a pregnancy in the near future, Amy shared a lot of information that can help any yarn-related business owner who anticipates a break from the business.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Plan ahead.</strong> Amy started planning her leave about 4 months before she was planned to take off time. During the planning period, she increased her workload to meet her goals for her absence.</li> <li><strong>Create a content calendar. </strong>Amy created a calendar for about 3 months of blog posts with her typical release frequency to include the types of content that she has seen success with in the past, such as free patterns, book reviews, pattern roundups, and more.</li> <li><strong>Connect with other small businesses.</strong> Amy reached out to her network of bloggers and designers and asked for guest posts and designer spotlights to supplement her own original content.</li> <li><strong>Find and train support.</strong> Although Amy hasn’t used a virtual assistant before, she started to train one who can maintain some of the social media accounts of her business while she is on maternity leave.</li> </ul> <p>We also talked about collaboration. Amy’s inspiration has been <a href="http://carlahall.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Chef Carla Hall</a>, who often says “There’s power in the yes.” This philosophy has helped Amy to expand her business by reaching out for opportunities and collaborations. One example is the Link she co-hosts with Rhondda from <a href= "http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Oombawka Design</a>. (We even teased Rhondda a bit about her fear of Skype.) Amy talked about how she grew her blog with collaborations, posting frequency, customer service, and by submitting content to free pattern directories like AllFreeCrochet. We discussed the different ways Amy monetizes her blog and the support she gets from <a href="http://www.rfehosting.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">RFE Hosting</a>. Amy also talked about her approach to customer service.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in April, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 30: Going Beyond the Basics with Pinterest for Your Yarn-Related Business with Cynthia Sanchez
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>Back in February, I had the opportunity to meet and interview Cynthia Sanchez at the <a href= "http://www.weallgrowsummit.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">We All Grow Summit</a> by Latina Bloggers Connect. Cynthia is a Pinterest marketing expert, so in this interview, we talked about taking your Pinterest use to the next level for your yarn-related business. (If you’re just getting started on Pinterest, you may find Episode 2: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business helpful.)</p> <h1>About Cynthia Sanchez</h1> <p>Cynthia Sanchez has a background in healthcare as a nurse navigator. In 2011, she was interested in using social media to get the word out to patients, but since she didn’t have an established online presence or a background in marketing, she decided to start up a personal blog first. Cynthia had recently begun using Pinterest and was finding that it was transforming her life, so it seemed like the perfect topic for her to explore through blogging. Cynthia soon became a recognized Pinterest marketing expert. In addition to hosting the Oh So Pinteresting podcast, she also speaks regularly at national conferences social media events.</p> <p>You can also subscribe to the Oh So Pinteresting podcast on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/oh-so-pinteresting-podcast/id600145220?mt=2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">iTunes</a> and <a href= "http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-oh-so-pinteresting-podcast-pinterest-tips" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Stitcher</a>. </p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>In this interview, Cynthia shared her advice for going beyond the basics in using Pinterest for reaching your target audience. Here are some of her suggestions.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Take the time to develop a Pinterest strategy.</strong> Consider who you want to reach (your target audience), and then create boards populated with the types of images they want to see. Once you have established your overall strategy, you can think about the posting frequency/schedule that works for you.</li> <li><strong>Consider different approaches to Pinterest boards based on your business’s size and brand.</strong> Solopreneurs/micro business owners might share more personal interest boards than larger businesses, since the owner’s personality may be considered part of the brand. Owners who have a business serving both B2B and B2C audiences might consider creating separate accounts to focus on different audiences. Businesses of all sizes may want to consider using more secret boards for interests that may divert attention from their core business activities.</li> <li><strong>If you have multiple accounts, establish group boards to share crossover interests with both audiences. </strong>I do this with my <a href= "http://nofrillssmallbusiness.com/feed/podcast/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crochet Business Tips</a> board, which is shared through my <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/ucrafter/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Underground Crafter</a> and my <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/cyeshow/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show</a> business accounts.</li> <li><strong>Browse boards and pins in categories unrelated to your business.</strong> Yarn-related busienss owners may want to check out sports or history to see Pinterest with fresh eyes. Discover what appeals to you visually, and incorporate that into your own boards as well as into the images you share online.</li> </ul> <p>Cynthia also shared several recommendations.</p> <ul> <li>The <a href="https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pinterest for Business blog</a> is Cynthia’s favorite resource for staying on top of Pinterest changes.</li> <li><a href="http://www.tailwindapp.com/features" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tailwind</a> is the Pinterest scheduler and analytics tool Cynthia recommends for small businesses and bloggers. It is an approved Pinterest third party app and it has affordable pricing options.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 29: Selling on Etsy, Passive Income, and Using Trending Keywords with Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I interviewed Alexandra Tavel, a crochet and knitting maker and designer. Alexandra owns the Etsy shop, <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoOfWandsShop" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Two of Wands</a>. We met up in person in New York City (where we both live) to talk about how she launched her shop, how it became her full time income, and what she enjoys about the platform, as well as other topics related to owning a yarn-based business.</p> <h2>About Alexandra Tavel</h2> <div class="entry-content"> <p>Alexandra Tavel earned dual degrees in fashion design and costume construction technology from Indiana University. After graduation, she moved to New York City with plans of entering the fashion industry, but she ended up working in a nonprofit organization for 8 years. In late 2013, a series of life changes led to her launching an Etsy shop, <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoOfWandsShop" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Two of Wands</a>, where she sells her finished knit and crocheted projects as well as instant pattern downloads.</p> <p>You can find Alexandra online at the <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoOfWandsShop" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Two of Wands Etsy shop</a>, on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/TwoOfWands" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://instagram.com/twoofwands/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a>, <a href= "https://www.kollabora.com/users/378161/alexandra-tavel" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Kollabora</a>, and <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/alexandra-tavel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>. You can subscribe to her newsletter <a href= "http://etsy.us8.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=c95498fd6bea585bdc22b16e3&id=3a4aa3d242" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. Additionally, Alexandra was recently profiled <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/en/2015/featured-shop-two-of-wands-shop/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> as a Featured Shop on Etsy.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>Alexandra talked about how she studied Etsy’s blogs and newsletters before opening the Two of Wands Etsy shop to sell finished knit and crochet items in November, 2013.</p> <p>Alexandra’s signature photographic style actually developed by happenstance. After Etsy launched digital downloads, Alexandra read an <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/en/tags/quit-your-day-job/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy Quit Your Day Job</a> post that inspired her to begin to sell her patterns in her shop as well. Alexandra’s designs started with simple design and construction so that she could easily create and finish finished items, but as she began to see her pattern sales allowing her business to scale, she is reconsidering this approach.</p> <p>In this very conversational interview, we covered a variety of business topics including</p> <ul> <li>Selling patterns on other platforms, like Ravelry, and the target audiences available on different e-commerce platforms,</li> <li>Incorporating mainstream and pop culture ideas into your designs (and keywords) without infringing on the intellectual property of other businesses,</li> <li>Optimizing workflows, dealing with seasonality, and creating passive income streams for handmade businesses,</li> <li>Pricing,</li> <li>Providing customer service,</li> <li>Designing for children, and</li> <li>Analyzing website traffic and ordering trends, and using that information for planning.</li> </ul> <p>Now, this interview was recorded several weeks ago before I interviewed Grace Dobush for Episode 28, read Grace’s article in WIRED, “<a href= "http://www.wired.com/2015/02/etsy-not-good-for-crafters/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">How Etsy Alienated Its Crafters and Lost Its Soul</a>,” and learned about Etsy’s announcement that it <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/news/2015/etsy-has-filed-a-registration-statement-for-an-ipo/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">filed papers for an Initial Public Offering</a>. If I had a time machine, I would have asked for Alexandra’s feedback on these issues.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> </div>
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Episode 28: Indie Craft Fairs, Negotiation, Freelancing, the Hazards of Etsy and More with Grace Dobush
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I interviewed Grace Dobush, a full time freelance writer and part-time crafty business owner, in this week’s episode. Grace and I talked about many topics including prepping for your first indie craft show, deciding whether Etsy is the right online marketplace for your craft business, tips for starting up as a freelance writer in the craft scene, negotiating for a higher rate, and more!</p> <h1>About Grace Dobush</h1> <p>Grace Dobush is a freelance writer and a part-time crafty business owner. She is the organizer of the <a href= "http://craftysupermarket.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crafty Supermarket</a>, an indie craft show in Cincinnati, Ohio; author of the <a href= "https://craftysuperstar.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener"><em>Crafty Superstar</em></a> craft business guides for part-time business owners; and the maker of <a href= "http://smileypoop.bigcartel.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">smiley poop emoji ephemera</a>.</p> <p>You can find Grace online at the <a href= "http://gracedobush.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Grace Dobush website</a> and on <a href= "https://twitter.com/GraceDobushToGo" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>. <em>Crafty Superstar</em> has its own website, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/craftysuperstar" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook page</a>, and <a href= "https://twitter.com/craftysuperstar" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter account</a>, and is also available through Grace’s <a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Dobush/e/B002C4SPPY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">author page on Amazon</a>. <img src= "https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=ur2&o=1" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /></p> <h2>About the Interview</h2> <p>I’m a volunteer book reviewer for the <a href= "http://www.crochet.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crochet Guild of America</a>‘s <a href="http://cgoanow.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blog</a> and late last year, I received a review copy of the <em><a href= "http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440239789/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">2015 Crafter’s Market: How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living</a><img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1440239789" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /> </em>from Fons & Porter/F + W Media. Since this book is the first <em>Crafter’s Market</em>, I wanted to interview one of the contributors, and Grace was happy to oblige.</p> <p>In our interview, we talked about the topics covered in Grace’s two chapters in the <em>2015 Crafter’s Market</em>, “Indie Craft Shows” and “Pricing Your Work.” We also discussed Grace’s February article in WIRED, “<a href= "http://www.wired.com/2015/02/etsy-not-good-for-crafters/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">How Etsy Alienated Its Crafters and Lost Its Soul</a>” and Etsy’s <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/news/2015/etsy-has-filed-a-registration-statement-for-an-ipo/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent announcement about filing a registration statement for an initial public offering (IPO)</a>. I referenced a recent discussion about whether Etsy is the best online marketplace for yarn crafters, as well as an interview I did with Alexandra Tavel from <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoOfWandsShop" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Two of Wands on Etsy</a> that I’ll be sharing on the podcast next week.</p> <p>Grace also shared her tips for getting started as a freelance writer in the crafting space, as well as her philosophy on negotiation.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 27: Connecting with Your Mailing List and More with Vashti Braha
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>I share an interview with Vashti Braha this week. Vashti has been in the crochet business for over ten years. She has experience as a freelance designer, a self-publisher, a publisher of another designer’s work, and now, as a yarn company owner. I invited her on the show to talk about something else: her mailing list. Vashti created an email newsletter, <a href= "https://www.designingvashti.com/newsletter/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations</a>, in late 2010, and she shared what she has learned about email marketing and how her newsletter impacts her business.</p> <h1>About Vashti Braha</h1> <p>Vashti Braha is the crochet designer, publisher, and yarnie behind <a href="http://designingvashti.com/index.html" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Designing Vashti</a>. I had the pleasure of <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2012/01/31/interview-with-crochet-designer-vashti-braha/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">interviewing her on the Underground Crafter blog in 2012</a>. (Vashti shared some great tips in that interview for people entering the crochet business, some of which I excerpt in today’s episode.)</p> <p>You can find Vashti on the Designing Vashti <a href= "http://designingvashti.com/index.html" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">website</a> or <a href= "http://designingvashti.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">blog</a>, and on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/pages/DesigningVashti-Crochet-Inspirations/156608107685576" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/vashtibraha" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LInkedIn</a>, <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/vashtibraha/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, Ravelry (as <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/people/vashtirama" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">vashtirama</a>, in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/vashtis-crochet-lounge" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Vashti’s Crochet Lounge</a> group, and on <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/designers/vashti-braha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her designer page</a>),  and <a href="https://twitter.com/vashtirama" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>In this interview, I talked to Vashti about her crochet career. She started it unexpectedly when she attended the <a href="http://www.crochet.org/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochet Guild of America</a>‘s annual ChainLink conference in 2004. There she met several people, including <a href="http://dorischancrochet.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Doris Chan</a>, <a href= "http://thecrochetdoctor.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Marty Miller</a>, <a href= "http://www.creativepartnersllc.com/About_Us.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rita Weiss, and the late Jean Leinhauser</a>, and launched her career as a freelance crochet designer after attending the Designer Meet and Greet. </p> <p>A few years later, Vashti started blogging as a way to continue the conversation with fellow designers and crochet professionals between conferences, and to build an online portfolio in the days before Ravelry. She launched her newsletter in late 2010. In the interview, Vashti explained her approach to <a href= "https://www.designingvashti.com/newsletter/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations</a> and indicated that it does reliably increase sales. We also talked about the yarn lines she has recently launched. Vashti will have a booth with yarn and kits at <a href= "http://www.tnna.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The National Needlearts Association</a>‘s summer show.</p> <p>I also asked Vashti if she had any updates to her recommendations she gave for new designers in a blog interview from 2012, and she shared some additional perspective.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in March, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 26: Eco Conscious Knitting & Niche Marketing with Lindsay Lewchuk from Knit Eco Chic
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>This week I share an interview with Lindsay Lewchuk, the owner of Knit Eco Chic. I invited her to talk about her business, which is entirely focused on using organic, natural, or sustainable yarns. She shares her insights on both managing an eco-conscious business and on marketing to a smaller niche of knitters and crocheters, knit-a-longs, social media, and more.</p> <h1>About Lindsay Lewchuk</h1> <p>Lindsay is the knitting designer and maker behind <a href= "http://knitecochic.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Knit Eco Chic</a>. She began knitting in earnest while hospitalized about a decade ago. Her medical condition limited her to the use of organic cellulose fiber yarns and bamboo needles. Her personal values also support using sustainable materials, and eventually Lindsay launched Knit Eco Chic.</p> <p>You can find Lindsay on Ravelry as <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/people/KnitEcoChic" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">KnitEcoChic</a> or in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/knit-eco-chic" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Knit Eco Chic group</a>. Lindsay has both an <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/knitecochic" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy shop</a> and a growing <a href= "https://ecohabitude.com/stores/knit-eco-chic/products" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">EcoHabitude shop</a> where she sells both patterns and hand knits using organic, natural, or sustainable yarns. Lindsay is KnitEcoChic on both <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/KnitEcoChic" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Pinterest</a> and <a href= "https://twitter.com/KnitEcoChic" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and you can join her mailing list <a href="http://eepurl.com/QFuo1" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>. Lindsay is also <a href= "https://www.elance.com/s/tjspecialties/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">TJSpecialties</a> on Elance, where she does freelance graphics, web design, and writing (including those pesky knitting pattern layouts). And, in case you are also a fan of Puddles, you can find his Facebook page <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/PuddlesTheGreatDane" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</p> <h1>About the interview</h1> <p>In this episode, I spoke with Lindsay about Knit Eco Chic’s <a href="http://knitecochic.com/about/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">foundational philosophies</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Knit Eco Chic…provides the highest quality hand knits and knitting patterns featuring organic, natural, socially responsible, sustainable, and alternative fiber yarns for the modern age.  Knit Eco Chic embodies three foundational philosophies:<br /> 1. Use of eco yarns<br /> 2. Knits that fit curves<br /> 3. Unique and intricate patterns<br /> These foundational philosophies are supported in both of the divisions: knitting patterns and custom hand knits.</p> <p>Knit Eco Chic also has a dedicated baby department! Knit Eco Chic Baby specializes in hand knit to order baby hats featuring organic, natural, sustainable, or alternative eco yarns.</p> </blockquote> <p>Lindsay talked about why she developed her business philosophy, how she uses it to guide her everyday decisions, and why she shared it on her website.</p> <p>Lindsay also shared her tips for other yarn-related businesses that focus on eco-friendly and/or ethically-sourced materials. (By the way, she has a great list of organic cotton yarn companies in her Ravelry group <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/knit-eco-chic/pages/Organic-Cotton-Yarn-Companies" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.)  Lindsay talked about many of her marketing tactics which can apply to any business focusing on a niche or subset of yarncrafters.</p> <p>We also talked about knit-a-longs and a <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/knit-eco-chic/3143192/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">new mystery knit-a-long Lindsay is launching on March 20, 2015 for a non-pi circular shawl in organic cotton and bamboo yarn</a>. And, we touched upon #wearyourknitting, <a href= "http://knitecochic.com/wearyourknitting-campaign/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a social media campaign Lindsay is spearheading</a> to encourage people to showcase their hand knits online.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in February, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 25: 8 Tips for Contracting with Your First Tech Editor
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this week’s episode, I share 8 tips for contracting with a tech editor for the first time for your indie patterns. Even if you have worked with tech editors in the past when your work was third-party published, you may find the experience of finding and hiring a tech editor for your self-published patterns daunting.</p> <h2>8 Tips for Contracting with Your First Tech Editor</h2> <ol> <li>Ask yourself why are you getting your patterns tech edited and what you expect from a tech editor</li> <li>Always check references</li> <li>Find out what the rates mean</li> <li>Choose someone who responds promptly</li> <li>Get an estimate</li> <li>Start with one pattern</li> <li>Check your pattern before sending it out</li> <li>Review the experience before contracting again</li> </ol> <p>These tips will help make the experience of working with a tech editor for your self-published patterns more manageable and also will minimize the costs.</p> <h2>Ask yourself why are you getting your patterns tech edited and what you expect from a tech editor</h2> <p>There are many reasons to use a tech editor. Some of the most common ones are to:</p> <ul> <li>Reduce errors and inconsistencies,</li> <li>Develop a style sheet with assistance,</li> <li>Get support with pattern grading,</li> <li>Produce symbol charts or graphs,</li> <li>Convert symbol charts or graphs to written patterns, and</li> <li>Meet an external requirement of a co-publisher.</li> </ul> <p>Not all tech editors provide all of these services, so having an understanding of what you want and expect will help you choose a tech editor who can meet your needs. You may also want to consider whether you are seeking a tech editor who specialized in crochet or knitting, or one who is able to edit both types of patterns.</p> <h2>Always check references</h2> <p>If you know other designers you can trust, ask for recommendations! You may want to specifically ask for a tech editor who has worked with them on self-published patterns, especially if your pattern writing style is unconventional.</p> <p>If you don’t know a designer who can make a recommendation (or, more likely, their tech editor is booked!) scour the threads in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/indy-pattern-designers-resources" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Indy Pattern Designers Resources group on Ravelry</a>. When you reach out to prospective tech editors, be sure to ask for (and then check) references.</p> <h2>Find out what the rates mean</h2> <p>Tech editors generally bill at an hourly rate. The rate varies quite a bit but $15-$30/hour is not unusual. Some tech editors charge the same rate for the entire project and others may charge a different rate for grading or producing charts.</p> <p>You should also know what increments of time the tech editor bills in. For example, do they only bill in 1 hour increments, or in 15 minute or 30 minute increments?</p> <h2>Choose someone who responds promptly</h2> <p>A tech editor may have wonderful references, but if s/he cannot respond to your introduction in a timely manner, it’s likely that you will get a delayed response to your editing requests. An overbooked tech editor will reduce the spontaneity you have in self-publishing.</p> <h2>Get an estimate</h2> <p>Ask for an estimate and ask the tech editor to contact you before incurring additional costs. Let’s say the tech editor estimates it will take 3 hours to edit your pattern, but soon discovers a major error or inconsistency. If s/he doesn’t contact you first, you can easily go outside of your budget. You may want to take a pattern with many errors back and make adjustments before returning it to the tech editor. Or, you may opt to have the editor fix it. Either way, you should be allowed to make a choice that impacts your budget.</p> <h2>Start with one pattern</h2> <p>It can be very exciting to work with a tech editor for the first time, but to minimize costs and ensure a good fit, start with just one pattern. Choose something that is typical of your tech editing needs. Consider this a test run – if it’s successful, it will be the beginning of a great partnership. You will probably learn a lot from the experience of having your pattern edited, and you may want to make changes to your next pattern before sending it along to the tech editor.</p> <h2>Check your pattern before sending it out</h2> <p>Although you can send out your rawest work to a tech editor, it will likely cost more than you want to spend for them to edit the pattern into the right shape. To minimize costs and get the most out of your tech editing experience, check your pattern over before hand. You may want to review it yourself, line by line; ask another designer to review it (and do the same in return); or conduct a pattern test. </p> <h2>Review the experience before contracting again</h2> <p>Once you’ve received the pattern back and published it, review the experience and decide whether this tech editor is a good fit for you. Some things to consider are timeliness, overall communication, and accuracy.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in February, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 24: Using Live Facebook Chats to Connect with Your Audience with Lorene Eppolite from Cre8tion Crochet and Kathy Lashley from ELK Studio Handcrafted Crochet Designs
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this week’s episode, I interview Lorene Eppolite from Cre8tion Crochet and Kathy Lashley from ELK Studio Handcrafted Crochet Design about the weekly <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/504797669597030/events/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Crochet Business Chat Live event</a> they co-host on Mondays at 12 noon Eastern in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/504797669597030/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ELK Studio Crocheters Facebook group</a>. We also talk about connecting with your audience and the crochet industry as a whole.</p> <h1>About Lorene Eppolite</h1> <p>Lorene Eppolite is a crochet designer, blogger, and owner of <a href="http://cre8tioncrochet.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Cre8tion Crochet</a>. In addition to her website, you can find her online on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/CrochetedCre8tions" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/crochetcre8tion/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/lorene-haythorn-eppolite--cre8tion-crochet" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>, <a href= "https://twitter.com/Cre8tionCrochet" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp4OeIWONDI1gPlg-9ez6GQ" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube</a>. Lorene started as a maker, but people would often ask for the patterns for the projects she shared on Facebook.</p> <p>Lorene soon converted her blog to be focused on designing. After meeting <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/designers/corina-gray" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Corina Gray</a> from <a href="http://stitch11.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Stitch11</a> in a mommy group, she began monetizing her blog. Lorene runs Cre8tion Crochet full time, and is also the mother of three children.</p> <h1>About Kathy Lashley</h1> <p>Kathy Lashley is a crochet designer, blogger, and owner of <a href= "http://www.elkstudiohandcraftedcrochetdesigns.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">ELK Studio Handcrafted Crochet Design</a>. You can also find her online on <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/kathylashley" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy</a>, Facebook (on the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/elkstudio.lashley" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">ELK Studio page</a> and in the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/504797669597030/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ELK Studio Crocheters group</a>), <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/kathyplashley/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, and <a href= "https://twitter.com/ELKStudio_" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>. Kathy is a sonographer who recently earned a Master’s in Business Administration from <a href="http://www.auburn.edu/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Auburn University</a>.</p> <p>Kathy also started her crochet business as a maker, but grew bored of making the same things. She had been blogging for some time on advice from a class speaker, and later set up the ELK Studio blog to promote her crochet business. She started monetizing her blog in March, 2014. After earning her MBA, Kathy decided to continue her crochet business. She now works part-time as a sonographer and manages ELK Studio as a part-time business.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>In this interview, we discuss about how Kathy started the weekly <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/504797669597030/events/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Crochet Business Chat Live event</a> in the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/504797669597030/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ELK Studio Crocheters Facebook group</a>, and how she teamed up with Lorene as a co-host. We also talk about the information they both share about the business of crochet on their blogs and through social media. Listen to the episode to hear more about how designers and makers can work together, advice for connecting with your audience, pricing and wholesaling for makers, and how Lorene and Kathy view branding, competition, mentoring, and more!</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in February, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 23: Diversifying Your Income and Boosting Your Blogging with Tamara Kelly from Moogly
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>In this week’s episode, I share an interview with Tamara Kelly from Moogly. Tamara’s crochet and knitting business is quite varied, and I talk to her about how she got her start, how she diversifies her income, and her tips for blogging and time management.</p> <p>You can find Tamara online on the <a href= "http://www.mooglyblog.com/">Moogly website and blog</a>, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/mooglystore">Facebook</a>, <a href= "http://instagram.com/mooglyblog">Instagram</a>, <a href= "http://www.pinterest.com/moogly/">Pinterest</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tamara-kelly">Ravelry</a>, <a href="http://mooglyblog.tumblr.com/">Tumblr</a>, and <a href="https://twitter.com/mooglyblog">Twitter</a>. I previously interviewed her on the Underground Crafter blog <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2014/03/31/interview-with-tamara-kelly-from-moogly/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h2><ins class="adsbygoogle" data-ad-client= "ca-pub-9111798887804268" data-ad-slot="8839149038" data-adsbygoogle-status="done"><ins id="aswift_0_expand"><ins id= "aswift_0_anchor"></ins></ins></ins>About Tamara Kelly</h2> <p>Tamara started crocheting when her oldest child was young. After her other children were born, she hoped to make some side income by selling her crocheted items. She sold her finished projects informally through friends and on Facebook. Soon, she converted a mommy blog she had started into a platform to support the sales of her crocheted items.</p> <p>Tamara discovered that the free patterns she shared were some of her most popular posts, and since she preferred creating new designs to crocheting the same projects over and over, she decided to change the focus of her blog, and her business.</p> <p>In addition to income from advertising and affiliate relationships on her blog, Tamara recently began working as a freelance designer for magazines, teaching a Craftsy course, and writing sponsored posts on Moogly.</p> <h1>About Moogly</h1> <p>In this interview, Tamara talks about the evolution of her own business and shares several tips for other yarn industry indies.</p> <h3>Diversify your income</h3> <p>Tamara adds new income streams when she feels confident about her schedule and processes related to her existing income streams. The internet changes quickly, so she takes a trial and error approach. She regularly rotates affiliate partners based on earnings. She tries to remain open to new opportunities. Tamara also repurposes content when possible.</p> <h3>Network online and in person at industry events</h3> <p>Tamara encourages bloggers and other small business owners to network within the industry. When possible, she encourages attendance at industry events. Tamara also suggests carrying your business cards everywhere since you’ll never know who you may meet. (And, she shares her tips for navigating the <a href= "http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/">Knit and Crochet</a> Show Designer Meet and Greet in the audio interview.)</p> <p>Tamara also shared several ideas for powering up your blog.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Network with other bloggers with a similar style and audience. </strong>Tamara recommends doing this online and in person when possible.</li> <li><strong>Develop a working schedule including an editorial calendar for your blog.</strong>Tamara developed her own schedule and calendar system.</li> <li><strong>Focus on photography and photo editing because blogging and social media are very visual.</strong> Tamara emphasizes using natural lighting, taking lots of pictures, and using PicMonkey for photo editing when necessary.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in January, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 22: Google+ Hangout with Forensic Coach, Carlota Zimmerman
<p>On this week’s show, I share a recording of the second live episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show! During this Google+ Hangout, I talked with Carlota Zimmerman, a forensic coach, author, blogger, social media expert, and entrepreneur. We shared our thoughts and answered questions on time management, productivity, budgeting, and social media.</p> <h1>About Carlota Zimmerman</h1> <p>Carlota Zimmerman is the forensic coach, social media expert, blogger, and writer known as the Creativity Yenta©. Carlota helps her clients articulate their professional goals — from writing a book to starting a small business — and then helps them create the opportunities necessary to bring their dreams to life. She writes for the <a href= "http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carlota-zimmerman/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Huffington Post</a> and <a href= "http://thoughtcatalog.com/carlota-zimmerman/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Thought Catalog</a>, and was listed as a social media expert by <em>US News & World Report</em>.</p> <p>You can find Carlota online on <a href= "http://carlotaworldwide.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her website</a>, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/carlota.zimmerman" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook page</a>, Twitter (as <a href= "https://twitter.com/kittenmagix" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@kittenmagix</a>),<a href= "http://www.pinterest.com/creativityyenta/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, and <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlotazimmerman" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LinkedIn</a>. She previously joined me for a live episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show last year.</p> <h1>About the Google+ Hangout</h1> <p>Carlota started off by talking about creating a mental framework that values your work and your business. I shared some of my home office productivity tips, including several that I spoke about in more detail in Episode 21. We both talked about choosing the right time of day for you for challenging tasks based on your own internal clock, having access to appropriate workspaces, and prioritizing based on activities that generate income.</p> <p>I save time by having a different bag for each offsite activity (e.g., for each class that I teach). I don’t need to spend time packing materials or looking for things before I leave for classes. Carlota mentioned that she schedules “off” days where she doesn’t meet with clients or spend time on social media/online. These days allow her to catch up on other tasks.</p> <p>We both talked about creating realistic objectives for productivity and the dangers of comparing yourself to “perfect” or “super” small business owners.  I suggested turning off notifications on your computer or smart phone when you need focused concentration, and talked about the joys of living without a smartphone.</p> <p><a href="http://www.christinasofina.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Christina Sofina</a> asked how to minimize “getting caught up in life” and avoid skipping your small business routines, particularly blogging. I suggested that if you are still building an audience, it might not be noticeable; if you have a large audience, they usually understand. Carlota and I talk about how it may benefit you to take time off from creating content rather than putting out lackluster content. We give several suggestions for getting back into a routine after your blogging has been interrupted, including guest posts, creating a content calendar, pre-scheduling posts when you have time, and forgiving yourself for stepping away from the blog.</p> <p><a href="http://www.acreativebeing.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Marinke Slump</a> asked about how to create the balance between work that will pay off in the future and work that pays off immediately. It is challenging, but if you only focus on the immediate payments, it is difficult to create a cycle where you can have a balance of cash flows. It may be helpful to create a budget and be sure to always include a mix of activities that includes some that pay off in future. Carlota talked about trying to do at least one thing a day that creates an opportunity for future income. (She also recommends doing one thing a day that terrifies you in terms of your business.)</p> <p>Beate from Patterns Tried and True commented on the increasing expectations for free content. I talked about my decision to monetize the <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Underground Crafter blog</a> in 2014 and how that connects to my overall budget for my business. Carlota talked about the importance of valuing your work. She suggested thinking about seeking sponsors once you’ve developed relationships through your small business.</p> <p>Marinke wondered about increasing your professionalism. I recommended outsourcing to other professionals. My crochet tech editor, <a href= "https://www.ravelry.com/designers/juanita-quinones-2" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Juanita Quinones</a>, was on the Hangout and I mentioned working with her as an example. Depending on your business you may want to consider working with editors, photographers, or technical support professionals. I also suggested getting professional development/training. I shared several tips for accessing professional services and training at a lower cost when your business budget is tight. Accessing these skills will definitely help you to bring your work to the next level.</p> <p>Carlota recommended apprenticing for free or as part of a skills exchange with a professional with certain skills. You could also consider bartering services.</p> <p>We talked about dealing with negative comments. I mentioned adding a comments policy to my blogs this year. Beate commented about negative reviews on Facebook. Carlota and I shared some suggestions for creating positive engagement on your social media outlets so that negative reviews are less visible.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in January, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 21: 10 Habits for Successfully “Owning” (or Working) from Home
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>Happy New Year! In response to feedback from the listener survey I shared with the email list, I’m sharing 10 habits for successfully ‘owning’ from home. </p> <p>I’ve been a full-time solopreneur for about 15 months, and I had to learn some new habits and modify others. Owning a home-based business has some interesting challenges and isn’t quite the same as working from home.</p> <h1>10 Habits for Successfully “Owning” (or Working) from Home</h1> <ol> <li>Shower and dress</li> <li>Prioritize weekly (or more frequently)</li> <li>Establish work areas for different tasks</li> <li>Structure the schedule</li> <li>Minimize distractions</li> <li>Find and use appropriate audio and visual aides</li> <li>Stay hydrated</li> <li>Eat regularly</li> <li>Schedule time with peers</li> <li>Don’t forget to take days off</li> </ol> <p>These habits help me stay productive and focused, and allow me to face the many challenges of operating a home-based business as a solopreneur.</p> <h2>1) Shower and dress</h2> <p>I start the morning off just as though I would be going to work in a traditional setting by showering and getting dressed. Although I do wear very casual clothes when working from home (in the tradition of the housedresses my grandmothers wore), the process and structure of these morning rituals help me to have a more defined day, and to get myself mentally prepared for work.</p> <h2>2) Prioritize weekly (or more frequently)</h2> <p>On my most productive weeks, I review my to-do list, my future plans, and recent emails on Sunday night to develop a list of weekly tasks to complete. I may even specify the days when each of these tasks should happen, or set an internal deadline within the week.</p> <p>During the year, I tried another tactic I read about online. Instead of listing specific tasks for the week, I listed the projects I planned to focus on during the week. This method is supposed to reduce the feeling of overwhelm that is sometimes associated with long to-do lists. I didn’t find this tactic to be helpful, but I mention it in case it might work for you and your business.</p> <p>I also include habits I’m trying to develop on my to-do list. For example, when I was first getting back into regularly posting on Pinterest, I would write down “Pin 5 things” and list each day of the week so I could cross off each day as I posted my Pins. Once I have developed a habit, I no longer list it on the to-do list. (So, I don’t list “check email” on my list, but the list is otherwise quite detailed and specific.)</p> <p>I may adjust the list during the week as priorities shift, but I still find it helpful to maintain.</p> <h2>3) Establish work areas for different tasks</h2> <p>Although many articles I’ve read about working from home stress the importance of creating a work space/desk, I find that having multiple work areas is more effective. Each space should be optimized for the type of work you do from that location. For example, I prefer to podcast from an area that has better sound, do accounting at a desk with a larger monitor, and crochet my samples from a cushioned chair.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean that each area is the size of an entire home office, but rather that you consider what spaces are the most appropriate for certain tasks. I also have some out-of-home places that I enjoy working from on occasion. One of my local libraries is very quiet, has a large communal desk next to a window that I can work from, and is well staffed and well lit. It makes a great location for writing without distraction.</p> <p>Working from different spaces can also help to break up the monotony of working from home, which may lead to a creative rut.</p> <h2>4) Structure the schedule</h2> <p>On a related note, consider choosing specific days of the week or times of day to do specific types of work. As you set a structured schedule, consider when you have the most energy, when you can work with the least interruption, and the length of blocks of time you have available on different days.</p> <p>When I’ve done this, I’ve found that I’m much more efficient because I’m not constantly switching back and forth between different types of skills, energy, and workspaces. For example, you may want to cluster your writing activities on a certain day when you have few distractions and during the time of day when you feel mentally alert.</p> <h2>5) Minimize distractions</h2> <p>I don’t have a smartphone, I don’t have any alerts set up on my laptop, and I usually keep my cell phone on vibrate. This lack of electronic distractions helps me maintain focus and determine when I will be interrupted. I can maintain more control over my day because <strong>I choose</strong> when I will check my email, voice messages, Facebook notifications, etc.</p> <p>There are other types of distractions as well. Perhaps you own/work from home and you have caregiving responsibilities for children or other family members. Consider how to structure your day to minimize distractions or to work on demanding tasks that require more concentration when you’re least likely to have interruptions. Or, ask for help with caregiving responsibilities when you have important deadlines or need to focus on a concentrated business task.</p> <h2>6) Find and use appropriate audio and visual aides</h2> <p>I find that listening to instrumental music allows me to maintain an energetic pace without the distraction of lyrics. When working on simple crochet or knit samples, I enjoy watching streaming shows or catching up on video tutorials. While commuting and doing errands, I enjoy listening to podcasts. You may have similar preferences for audio and visual aides.</p> <p>I use a secret Pinterest board to organize tutorials I plan to watch. I have queued films and shows on Netflix. I subscribe to the podcasts I listen to regularly and make sure to download them at least weekly. And, I maintain a list of internet radio stations I listen to regularly and keep a few instrumental playlists on my laptop. This way, as soon as I’m ready for a specific type of audio or visual information, I don’t need to waste time searching for the right content.<img src= "http://adorama.evyy.net/i/105726/70905/1036" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /></p> <h2>7) Stay hydrated</h2> <p>Staying hydrated keeps me alert and keeps my skin healthy so I don’t have too much dryness when crocheting or knitting my samples. Drinking water at regular intervals also provides a reason for me to get up multiple times during the day, which is critical when you are sedentary for most of the day.</p> <h2>8) Eat regularly</h2> <p>I make sure not to skip meals during the day so that I can keep my energy level high and my mental focus strong. Even when I’m “in the zone,” I will step away from an activity to prepare a meal so that I don’t fizzle out later.</p> <h2>9) Schedule time with peers</h2> <p>People who work in traditional work settings interact regularly with peers and co-workers, and most home-based business owners don’t have such frequent interactions with peers. I recommend you schedule time (face-to-face or online) to talk with other home-based business owners.</p> <p>Specifically, I’m referring to private settings online where you can have honest discussions with your peers about concerns or challenges in your business. So, I’m not including Ravelry groups, for example, but private Facebook groups. </p> <p>If you can find creative entrepreneurs or, better yet, other yarn industry indies, you can talk even more specifically while also networking with your peers.</p> <h2>10) Don’t forget to take days off</h2> <p>It’s easy to fall into the trap of working all the time when you own a home-based business, but taking time off to relax, spend time with family and friends, and just to regain focus can be critical to your business success. If you are feeling unmotivated or burned out, taking a day off can give you time to recharge so you return more productive.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in January, 2015. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Bonus Episode: Interview with Knitting Designer, Ashwini Jambhekar
<h1>Bonus Episode</h1> <p>I’m sharing an interview today with Ashwini Jambhekar as a bonus episode! I temporarily misplaced the recording (gasp!) while organizing files and, since I also skipped a week of podcasting this year, I thought I’d add this interview back into the fold as a bonus.</p> <h1>About Ashwini Jambhekar</h1> <p>Ashwini Jambhekar is a part-time knitting designer with a background as a scientist and ballet dancer. Ashwini has designed her own projects for years, but she got her start as a published designer back in 2011. She frequently shared her finished knit projects on Facebook, and a friend from dance class referred Ashwini to her mother-in-law, who was writing a knitting book. Ashwini ended up submitting the design for the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jive-sweater" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Jive Sweater</a>, which published in <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312612001/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters: A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn, and Life</a><img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0312612001" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /></em> by Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza.</p> <p>Ashwini can be found online as Ashwini J Designs on <a href="https://ashwinijdesigns.wordpress.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">her blog</a>, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/AshwiniJdesigns" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, Ravelry (as <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/people/AshwiniJ" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">AshwiniJ</a>, on her <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/ashwini-jambhekar" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">designer page</a>, and in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/ashwini--sashka-designs" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Ashwini Sashka Designs Group</a>, which she co-moderates with my knitting tech editor, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sashka-macievich" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sashka Macievich</a>). Ashwini is currently participating in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/indie-design-gift-a-long" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry Indie Design Gift-a-Long</a> through December 31, 2014, and she was recently interviewed about it on <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-jordan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sarah Jordan</a>’s  blog <a href= "http://paknitwit.blogspot.com/2014/11/gift-long-designer-interview-ashwini.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. Ashwini also recently got started as a tech editor, and you can read more about her services <a href= "https://ashwinijdesigns.wordpress.com/tech-editing/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h1>About the Interview</h1> <p>In this interview, Ashwini talks about how the perspective and skills she learned through her training and career as a scientist inform her knitwear design. In particular, she talks about the concept of grading patterns using a percent difference (or “fold difference”) rather than a flat difference in measurement.</p> <p>Ashwini also writes her pattern instructions in different ways and then chooses between them considering which write up is clearest, what may be lost by being more concise, and understanding her audience. Because Ashwini targets intermediate to advanced knitters, she places value on in her patterns, but she also includes notes in the Ravelry pattern pages to indicate difficulty.</p> <p>She doesn’t use a formal style sheet for her own designs but she adapts her writing from previous patterns. Ashwini doesn’t see an intrinsic value to sticking to a very specific style sheet nor to always changing your format.</p> <p>Ashwini also talks about what she enjoys about collaborating with third party publishers on her designs, as well as the benefits and potential challenges of sharing Ravelry group with another designer.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 18: 8 Best Investments I Made In My Business This Year
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this week’s episode, I share the 8 best investments I made in my business in 2014. While the topic may seem oddly personal, I talk about why each investment added value to my business and what you might take away from the list to support your yarn-related business in 2015.</p> <h1>8 Best Investments I Made in My Business in 2014</h1> <ol> <li>(Improved) Web hosting</li> <li>A (more reliable and faster) computer</li> <li>Comfort tools</li> <li>Monthly massage therapy</li> <li>A (multi-functional and higher quality) tripod</li> <li>(New) tools and training for business expansion</li> <li>Conference (or face-to-face event) attendance</li> <li>Time for networking with other solopreneurs</li> </ol> <h1>Why invest in your business on an annual basis?</h1> <p>Even when you are operating on a shoestring budget, it’s really important to invest in your business on a regular basis. You might use earnings from your business activities or money from your savings. It’s virtually impossible for your business to expand and improve in today’s economy without making periodic investments in it.</p> <p>This week, I’m sharing the 8 investments I made in 2014 that added the most value to my business. I’m also including substitutes that may be relevant for your yarn-related business.</p> <h2>1) (Improved) web hosting</h2> <p>I had been using the same web hosting company since 2008. When I first started <a href="https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Underground Crafter</a> as a business, I didn’t know much about web sites, web hosting, or small business services so I didn’t adequately research the company. I had increasing technical and customer services problems with this company over the years, and in 2014, I finally made the switch to another web host.</p> <p>In 2014, I upgraded to use InMotion Hosting. Their service is much more reliable, and, equally important, they have better tech support and customer service. I actually ended up <strong>saving money</strong> by pre-paying for a 2 year plan, but switching web hosts was a major investment in time and energy. It look literally weeks for me to transfer the files and databases and to rebuild the Underground Crafter website, but it was totally worth it!</p> <h2>2) A (more reliable and faster) computer</h2> <p>I’ve been using the same laptop since 2007, and it started to slow down, make unusual sounds, and, even worse, occasionally shut down. I knew that if I was going to launch the podcast this year and focus on my photography, I would need a more reliable and faster computer.</p> <p>I set a target at the beginning of the year to publish a certain amount of patterns through external publishers so that I could raise the money to buy a new computer. I met my target and was able to buy an Apple MacBook Pro<img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0096VDM8G" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /> in May.</p> <p>You may not need to spend as much as I did on a computer, but if your business is partly or fully online, having the right hardware has to be a high priority. Even on a small budget, you should be able to identify the hardware (whether a computer, netbook, tablet, or smart phone) that performs all the functions you need for your business. Unreliable hardware can stop your business in its tracks. You may want to dedicate the device for business use only, especially if you have limited funds. (Also, don’t forget to back up your data, whether you use hard drive(s) or cloud based file storage.)</p> <h2>3) Comfort tools</h2> <p>I currently crochet and knit all of my own samples, so preventing strain allows me to increase production. I bootstrapped my crochet and knitting business using my existing supplies, but as I’ve been making more and more samples, I started to worry more about comfort.</p> <p>I currently use my Tulip Etimo crochet hook set<img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00BL8ZVUY" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /> for most of my crochet projects. This year, I upgraded to the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz interchangeable knitting needle set<img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00D1CAN38" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" />, which feel smooth and soft like wood handles, but have metal tips, and the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz interchangeable crochet hook set<img src= "http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=creativeyarnentrepreneur-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B005WZ945K" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" /> for Tunisian and double-ended projects.</p> <p>If you plan to be in this business for the long haul, find tools to help you reduce stress injuries and make repetitive tasks more pleasurable. You may want to consider things like ergonomic chairs, desks, safety materials, or supplies that are more specific to your craft, as a substitute.</p> <h2>4) Monthly massage therapy</h2> <p>I suffered for years from the recurrence of an old back injury. This worsened when I began crocheting, knitting, and blogging more often because I would sit for long periods. About 17 months ago, I started to see a massage therapist, <a href= "https://jennyhallbodywork.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Jenny Hall</a>, and the results have literally changed my life. Having monthly “tune ups” have improved my mood and keep my body operating at a more optimal level – both have allowed my business to grow in 2014.</p> <p>You may want to substitute with another routine care activity to optimize/maintain your body. Some possible options include yoga classes, acupuncture, visits to a chiropractor, or gym membership in addition to or instead of massage therapy. While you are moaning about how expensive this investment is, consider how much income you may loose if you are prevented from working due to an injury.</p> <h2>5) A (multi-functional and higher quality) tripod</h2> <p>I want to highly recommend the Manfrotto 190xPROb, or something similar. This tripod has an adjustable horizontal bar that makes photographing tutorials (or filming tutorial videos) much easier. It is a full sized tripod, so it’s also useful for self portraits, and it can hold the weight of a DSLR without tipping, even in the horizontal mode.</p> <p>This has allowed me to sell more tutorials to magazines in 2014 and take better self portraits for my designs, so I’ve been able to earn more money and also save on models and the inconvenience of scheduling photo shoots.</p> <h2>6) (New) tools and training for business expansion</h2> <p>I wanted to improve my photography and add the podcast to my business in 2014, so I needed to get new tools and then learn to use them.</p> <p>I asked for a DSLR as a gift from my family last year, and I now use the Nikon D3200. For about the past 20 years, I have been using a point and shoot, and I didn’t really remember the purpose of all the functions on this type of camera any more. I started by taking the Beginner Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Photography course by John Pullos on Udemy. The course was free when I took it, but it’s now $27 (and worth it).</p> <p>I needed more, though, to encourage me to take my photography to the next level, so I took Digital Photography I with <a href= "http://www.photokaboom.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jim Beecher</a> at the <a href="http://www.icp.org/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">International Center of Photography</a>. (This course is also <a href= "https://registration.icp.edu/wconnect/ace/ShowSchedule.awp?&Mode=GROUP&Group=OL" target="_blank" rel="noopener">available as an online course</a> if you aren’t in the New York City area.) In this class, I learned how to use Adobe Lightroom, and ended up buying this software to use on my new computer.</p> <p>To launch the podcast, I needed a microphone. I generally use the Blue Snowball (in purple). I also purchased ecamm Call Recorder for Skype for $29.95. I had a more difficult free set up with worse audio quality, and decided that it was worth it to upgrade.</p> <p>I’m able to use these devices for other purposes that what I originally intended – to create videos, to host live Google+ Hangouts, and to do virtual consulting – so the investment was worth it. The training helped me to consider other ways to use the tools, so it was also valuable.</p> <h2>7) Conference (or face-to-face event) attendance</h2> <p>This year, I attended the <a href= "http://podcastmovement.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Podcast Movement</a> in Dallas in August. Although I considered attending the Knit and Crochet Show or one of <a href="http://www.tnna.org/events/event_list.asp" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">The National NeedleArts Association events</a>, I chose this event for three reasons: it was shorter and less expensive to attend, I needed more training/professional development in podcasting than in crochet/knitting/yarn industry topics, and I didn’t have an established network in podcasting.</p> <p>The take away here is to try and get to a face-to-face event to help your business move forward. This may be for professional development or for networking – or, ideally, for both. You can also learn a lot about teaching (the good, the bad, and the ugly) by attending workshops.</p> <p>On that note, I’ll be presenting at the <a href= "http://www.weallgrowsummit.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">#WeAllGrow Summit</a> by Latina Bloggers Connect in Los Angeles in February. If you’ll be attending, let me know, because I’d love to meet you there. I’ll keep you posted as I add conferences and events to my 2015 schedule.</p> <h2>8) Time for networking with other solopreneurs</h2> <p>As solopreneurs, we have unique challenges. I used to work at a full-time job and my crochet and knitting business was a part-time evening and weekend gig. Although my crochet and knitting work is still only one part of my income, when I shifted to being a solopreneur I realized how important it is to connect with other indie business owners.</p> <p>By putting aside this time, I can commiserate, receive coaching, and stay accountable to someone else. I do some activities online via Facebook groups, and some in person. You may find that this is a time investment only, or it may also be a financial investment, depending on whether you choose to work with a coach or join a mastermind group. The solopreneur I connect with most regularly in person is <a href="http://carlotaworldwide.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Carlota Zimmerman</a>, who has co-hosted episodes of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show with me.</p> <p>Having another contact can help you avoid the feeling of isolation that sometimes comes with being a solopreneur. This person can also serve as a sounding board for new ideas or pitches.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 17: 5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Crochet-, Knit-, or Make-a-Long Online
<h1>This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>In this week’s episode, I share five tips for hosting a successful crochet-, knit-, or make-a-long (also known as CALs, KALs, or MALs, respectively). For ease of communication, I’ll refer to these as C/KALs hereafter in the show notes.</p> <h1>5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Crochet-, Knit-, or Make-a-Long Online</h1> <ol> <li>Test or tech edit the pattern before the event</li> <li>Engage sponsors and supporters</li> <li>Seek out a co-moderator</li> <li>Choose an appropriate length</li> <li>Share the projects</li> </ol> <h1>Why Host a C/KAL Online?</h1> <p>There are many great reasons for hosting a C/KAL online. First off, they are incredibly fun! As a designer, C/KALs can generate interest in a particular pattern or your whole portfolio. As a yarn company, C/KALs can bring some attention to or highlight a particular yarn. C/KALs can help you engage with fans and introduce new people to your work online, and they are a great way to build community.</p> <p>Here are a few tips I’ve learned from the ten or so C/KALs I’ve hosted for myself and on behalf of other companies online.</p> <h1>1) Test or tech edit the pattern before the event</h1> <p>Whether your C/KAL is free or paid, getting it tested or tech edited before launch helps you avoid disappointment, anger, and possible social media disasters related to errors in the pattern. (Similarly, if you are using another designer’s pattern, you may want to try it out before launching your C/KAL.)</p> <p>If possible, you may want to consider having the pattern both tested and tech edited. A tech editor looks for mistakes, inconsistent formatting, and non-standard language, while testers may highlight points of confusion to the typical crocheter or knitter when reviewing the pattern. Since many C/KAL participants may be beginners or casual crafters, feedback from testers may allow you to make the C/KAL experience more pleasant all around.</p> <h1>2) Engage sponsors and supporters</h1> <p>If you’re using giveaways or other incentives to encourage participation in your C/KAL, engage prize sponsors. Sponsors can also help spread the word about the C/KAL and introduce your work to another community.</p> <p>Since sponsors may be more generous than you would imagine, approach one at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Consider adding “an easy out” to your request (such as a deadline for responding to provide a prize). Ask for prizes you feel good about promoting so this sponsorship can be a win-win-win situation (for your company, the sponsor’s company, and the participants).</p> <p>Other supporters may help spread the word about the event. You may want to engage bloggers you know, or “news” bloggers like the <a href= "https://craftgossip.com/meet-your-editors/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">appropriate editor at CraftGossip</a>. And, of course, you can reach out to any other individual or company involved in the creation of the pattern or sample, such as the designer, yarn company, hook/needle/tool manufacturer, tech editor, or testers, to help spread the word in their groups/communities on Ravelry, Facebook, etc.</p> <h1>3) Seek out a co-moderator</h1> <p>Participants can get anxious if you don’t respond to questions quickly, so having a co-moderator is very helpful, especially for long running C/KALs or if you work another job and/or have family responsibilities. The co-moderator doesn’t necessarily need to “have all the answers,” (though that helps!), but if s/he can allay concerns or respond while you’re sleeping because s/he’s in a different time zone, it will help the C/KAL run more smoothly.</p> <h1>4) Choose an appropriate length</h1> <p>Consider the amount of time a typical crocheter or knitter will need to complete a project as you set your schedule. I usually add some extra time to that to allow for greater participation. Even people excited to participate may have other projects to finish up, or have to wait for yarn to arrive before getting started. A C/KAL schedule that’s too short can hinder participation if people don’t feel they can finish in time to qualify for prizes, and enthusiasm can fizzle out fora very long C/KAL.</p> <h1>5) Share the projects</h1> <p>I usually share selected pictures of completed projects on my blog at the end of a C/KAL. (<a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2013/02/02/chubby-sheep-cal-january-giveaway-winners/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Here’s a sample post</a> from a CAL for my free Chubby Sheep pattern.) This can be exciting for C/KAL participants who aren’t bloggers. It also highlights the featured pattern (or yarn or tool) again for your audience.</p> <p>Consider promoting C/KAL-specific tags (on Ravelry) and hashtags (on Instagram and Twitter) so you can easily find projects. I ask participants to post a picture of a completed project for a chance to win a giveaway prize, and I often request permission to share those pictures from within that same thread.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 16: Turning Your Passion Into Your Business with Carlota Zimmerman, the Creativity Yenta
<h1 style="text-align: center;">This Week’s Episode</h1> <p>On this week’s show, I share a recording of the first live episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show! I talked with Carlota Zimmerman, the forensic coach, author, blogger, social media expert, and entrepreneur behind the Creativity Yenta<strong>©</strong>. We shared our tips for starting or expanding your business in the New Year and responded to questions from the audience.</p> <h1 style="text-align: center;">About Carlota Zimmerman</h1> <p>Carlota Zimmerman is the forensic coach, social media expert, blogger, and writer known as the Creativity Yenta©. Carlota helps her clients articulate their professional goals — from writing a book to starting a small business — and then helps them create the opportunities necessary to bring their dreams to life. She writes for the <a href= "http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carlota-zimmerman/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Huffington Post</a> and <a href= "http://thoughtcatalog.com/carlota-zimmerman/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Thought Catalog</a>, and was listed as a social media expert by <em>US News & World Report</em>.</p> <p>You can find Carlota online on <a href= "http://carlotaworldwide.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her website</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/carlota.zimmerman" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook page</a>, Twitter (as <a href="https://twitter.com/kittenmagix" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@kittenmagix</a>), <a href= "http://www.pinterest.com/creativityyenta/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, and <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlotazimmerman" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">LinkedIn</a>.</p> <h1 style="text-align: center;">About the Show</h1> <p>Carlota started off by sharing her recommendation that entrepreneurs avoid feeling pressure to make 2015 “the best year ever!” She suggested starting the year off with manageable goals and by creating commitments (with yourself). When you meet these goals, you can build your own confidence as an entrepreneur. On a related note, I suggested building habits and structures for growing your business. We shared our stories about the challenges of working from home for the first time, and Carlota shared her tips for building the confidence you need for your business to be successful.</p> <p>I shared some suggestions from my interview with Lindsey Stephens from Poetry in Yarn, who I interviewed in Episode 10: Time Management Tips. One of Lindsey’s tips was to know how much time each task takes. This can be especially critical when you are switching from having a business “on the side” to becoming a full time entrepreneur.</p> <p>Carlota suggested creating a content cheat sheet or calendar to use when you aren’t feeling creative. This list is something you can go back to you when you aren’t feeling inspired or need to feel more in control of your business. She also mentioned that to be successful, you need to find strategies and habits that work for YOU.</p> <p><a href="https://www.christinasofina.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Christina Sofina</a> asked about how to generate traffic to your blog or videos. I had several suggestions:</p> <ul> <li>Join online communities of other entrepreneurs in your field (such as Facebook groups or niche social media communities within your field). If you’re in a community of likeminded entrepreneurs in your field, you can get support and share each other’s content on social media.</li> <li>Find your voice on the different social media platforms, and take a slightly different approach on each platform (even when promoting the same content).</li> <li>Share consistently (while being realistic about your time).</li> <li>Reach out to other colleagues and comment on their posts, Tweets, and shares to start a conversation. Their fans may be interested in your work after seeing your interactions.</li> <li>Connect with influential bloggers who aggregate or curate content in your niche. Many fans look to these bloggers to curate content for them (making you more discoverable), and these bloggers need regular content.</li> </ul> <p>Carlota added several additional pointers:</p> <ul> <li>Show, don’t just tell. Use multimedia content when possible.</li> <li>Differentiate yourself. Share your background, journey, and lifestyle with your followers. This creates a sense of interest among your audience.</li> <li>Observe people you admire online. Consider what they are doing and what you may want to incorporate into your own social media behaviors.</li> <li>If you speak multiple languages, don’t forget to Tweet (or participate in other social networks) in both languages.</li> <li>Use relevant hashtags.</li> <li>Join and participate in relevant niche online communities.</li> <li>Be patient. It’s better to have a small number of engaged fans than a large number of uninterested followers, and it takes time to build your own community online.</li> </ul> <p>We talked about trolls (or hostile, negative people) for a bit, since they tend to become more noticeable as you get more traffic to your content. Feel free to delete those comments! While it’s ok to commiserate for a few minutes, you should not let negative responses stop you from reaching your goals. The fact that trolls are even contacting you means that you are becoming more noticed!</p> <p>Carlota mentioned that the stress of “being a success” can prevent you from learning from your own failures. Striving for perfection can hamper your development as an entrepreneur. We both discussed the importance of learning from your failures and mistakes so you can improve your business.</p> <p><a href="http://www.acreativebeing.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Marinke Slump</a> asked about time management. Carlota’s suggestions included:</p> <ul> <li>Prioritize 1-3 tasks each day that will create opportunities for the next day (or in the near future).</li> <li>Focus on your priority tasks during the time of day when you feel the most alert and creative.</li> <li>Work backwards from major goals.</li> </ul> <p>I added some tips:</p> <ul> <li>Don’t let your work expand beyond your capacity. A solopreneur’s work can continuously expand, especially when your business is launching or in a growth phase.</li> <li>Outsource some of your work, specifically the work that doesn’t produce income, that you don’t enjoy, and/or that you aren’t very good (or efficient) at completing. If your financial situation isn’t yet strong enough to support hiring, you might consider high school or college student interns, bartering with related professionals, or working with a retired volunteer.</li> </ul> <p>Christina asked about the balance between making money and taking lessons to improve your skills. Both Carlota and I believe that continual improvement is critical to the long-term success for your business.</p> <p>We suggested several ways to finance improving your skills:</p> <ul> <li>Consider bartering with teachers. Do you have a skill that your teacher might be interested in learning?</li> <li>Take on a freelance gig or part-time job specifically to earn money for your training and professional development. Ideally, the job should be high paying, utilize skills you want to highlight, and/or be simple and not energy-draining.</li> <li>Reach out to authors, online teachers, and other sources for free review copies/courses that you can review on your blog or elsewhere online.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in December, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 14: Self Care for the Indie Business Owner with Vanessa Laven
<p>I interview Vanessa Laven, who has been using knitting, sewing, and her love of mixed martial arts to kick cancer’s butt and grow her own indie artisan business, <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/survivalorgans" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Survival Organs</a>. Vanessa shares her simple rules for self care for the indie business owner. Although this interview was recorded in September, I held it until the late fall because I know this is a season where many business owners in the yarn industry (and crafters in general) stop taking care of themselves and focus on production for the holiday rush.</p> <h2>Vanessa’s Tips for Self Care for the Indie Business Owner</h2> <ol> <li>Listen to your body</li> <li>Outsource when appropriate</li> <li>Don’t skip meals</li> <li>Set a stop time — and stick to it</li> <li>Keep mobile devices in your workspace (and don’t check email before bed)</li> </ol> <h1 style="text-align: center;">About Vanessa Laven</h1> <p>Vanessa started her blog, Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts, in March 2011 as a public service to talk about life after chemotherapy. As a survivor of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, she knew there were limited resources and supports available for young cancer survivors and she wanted to share her story to help others.</p> <p>She launched her <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/survivalorgans" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Survival Organs</a> shop on Etsy in August, 2013. Initially, she featured crocheted survival organs but quickly moved into sewing. Sewing the organs with cotton fabric allows her to create inventory faster to keep prices lower for her customers, and friends can also use a fabric marker to write inspiring notes to their friends before gifting the organs. Vanessa currently features breasts, gall bladders, kidneys, livers and pancreas, lungs, lymph nodes, ovaries and uterus, testicles, thyroids, and white blood cells in her shop.</p> <p>This interview was originally recorded in September, 2014, when Vanessa was in New York City for Stupid Cancer‘s OMG East Cancer Summit for Young Adults. </p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">1. Listen to your body</h2> <p>Vanessa remind indie business owners to always listen to your body. Specifically, rest when you feel tired rather than pushing yourself forward. Similarly, she says if it hurts, don’t do it. This simple advice can help you avoid repetitive stress injuries and illness, and also allow you to be more focused when you are working. Vanessa also reminds us to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">2. Outsource when appropriate</h2> <p>Although outsourcing is sometimes a dirty word for DIY types, Vanessa reminds us that outsourcing tasks to other indies – such as your graphic design work, photography, web development, and more – allows you to “put your money where your mouth is” by supporting other indie businesses while clearing some unwanted tasks off your plate. She suggests that you stick to the unique work you do to makes money for your business, rather than spending a lot of time on tasks that you may not excel in or which are too time consuming for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">3. Don’t skip meals</h2> <p>Vanessa talks a lot about lunch, but for the part-time indie business owner who may be working primarily at night or in the mornings, breakfast and dinner are also important. Setting some time aside for a meal allows you to recharge while also providing nutrition to power your brain through important tasks.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">4. Set a stop time — and stick to it</h2> <p>As Vanessa is a full-time indie business owner, she advises others to stop working by 5:30 or 6 p.m. A part-time indie business owner should similarly set a hard stop time in the evenings or mornings to allow time for resting, recharging, and spending time with family and friends.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">5. Keep mobile devices in your workspace (and don’t check email before bed)</h2> <p>Vanessa leaves her laptop in her office and doesn’t check email before bed. She reminds us that there’s always time in the morning to package items for postal pick up or respond to emails. No one (or, at least, no one reasonable) expects an indie business owner to be open and operational 24 hours a day. </p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Vanessa’s Bonus Tips</h2> <p>Vanessa also shared some bonus tips for specific indie scenarios.</p> <h3>Self care during craft shows</h3> <ul> <li><strong>Always get someone to help you. </strong>Vanessa advises asking a friend, partner/spouse, or relative to help out. This person may help with set up or break down, or provide much needed bathroom breaks in the middle of the day.</li> <li><strong>Bring a cooler with snacks.</strong> Vanessa always brings two large bottles of water and some healthy snacks like nuts. Since she knows her friend will cover her for some bathroom breaks, she can stay hydrated without worry. This is especially important as talking can dehydrate you, as can being in a space that is very warm or cold (as most craft fairs tend to be).</li> <li><strong>Take the next day off.</strong> Vanessa considers the day after a craft show as her own “introvert recovery day.” She recommends sleeping in, doing things you enjoy (rather than running errands or working), and staying flexible about scheduling.</li> </ul> <h3>Self care when facing unwanted business tasks</h3> <ul> <li><strong>Cluster unpleasant tasks.</strong> Vanessa suggests clustering unpleasant tasks and thinking about the business rationale as you complete them to help you move through these tasks more easily.</li> <li><strong>Outsource.</strong> Consider outsourcing duties that you really can’t stand to other indies.</li> <li><strong>Make it fun. </strong>One of Vanessa’s least favorite tasks is photography. She blasts her favorite music in the background while taking pictures.</li> </ul> <h3>Self care for new business owners</h3> <ul> <li><strong>Create consistency.</strong> Vanessa’s top tip for new business owners is to create structure for your business through scheduling. A regular schedule makes things more predictable and reduces uncertainty while helping with time management. Similarly, if your business is operating out of the home, a consistent schedule allows you to set boundaries with others in your household to clarify when you are working and when you are available.</li> </ul> <h3>Self care during business expansion</h3> <ul> <li><strong>Reassess your business. </strong>Vanessa recommends examining your business as it expands to explore what tasks may be outsourced or phased out if they are no longer profitable. She also suggests getting back into balance by following the original tips she outlined for self care.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in November, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 10: Time Management Tips: An Interview with Lindsey Stephens from Poetry in Yarn
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>In today’s episode, we talk all about time management. As creative business owners, we all struggle with time. Many of us “juggle a lot of balls” by balancing multiple revenue streams and roles in our business.</p> <p>My guest on this episode is Lindsey Stephens, the owner of Poetry in Yarn. Lindsey juggles her roles as a crochet designer, tech editor, crochet and knitting teacher, and web designer for Poetry in Yarn with her part-time job as a math teacher at a Yeshiva elementary and middle school in Connecticut, and her responsibilities as a mother and a wife. Lindsey can be found online at the <a href="http://poetryinyarn.com/blog/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Poetry in Yarn website</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PoetryinYarn" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a>, Ravelry (as <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/people/Leebah" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Leebah</a> and on <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/lindsey-stephens" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her designer page</a>), <a href= "https://twitter.com/PoetryinYarn" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/user/PoetryinYarn/videos" target="_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube</a>. I previously interviewed her on the Underground Crafter blog <a href= "http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2013/03/04/interview-with-lindsey-stephens-of-poetry-in-yarn/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <h2><span style="color: #cc99ff;">Lindsey’s Tips for Time Management</span></h2> <ol> <li>Know how much time you have</li> <li>Know what you need to accomplish</li> <li>Know how much time each task takes</li> <li>Work with your habits, not against them</li> <li>Delegate (or partner) to get some of the work done by others</li> </ol> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">About Poetry in Yarn</span></h2> <p>Lindsey Stephens started her yarn-related business in 2009, when she began submitting designs to magazines. Her (mostly) crochet patterns have been published by <em>Crochet 1-2-3</em>, <em>Crochet World</em>, <em>Knit 1-2-3</em>, <em>KnitCircus</em>, and in <em>Curvy Girl Crochet</em> and <em>Debbie Macomber: Blossom Street Collection Book 3.</em></p> <p>Shortly thereafter, she took the Designing for Print Publication course by <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/mary-beth-temple" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mary Beth Temple</a>. She launched the <a href= "http://poetryinyarn.com/blog/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Poetry in Yarn site</a> in 2010, and began self-publishing her own patterns. She began accepting clients for crochet tech editing (including symbol chart creation) as well as web design services in 2011 or 2012. Her background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and additional courses on garment grading.</p> <p>Her business has expanded primarily through word-of-mouth and by collaborating with a graphic designer for mutual referrals. She now provides tech editing services for publishers, and <em>Fresh Designs Crochet: Toys</em>, a booklet she tech edited, was recently released by Cooperative Press. As the other elements of her business have expanded, Lindsey has decreased her design submissions to external publishers.</p> <p>In this interview, she shares her tips for time management, particularly when you are managing diversified tasks and multiple income streams.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">1. Know how much time you have</span></h2> <p>Lindsey’s first suggestion is to be conservative in estimating the amount of time you have available. While you may seem to have a three hour time slot to devote to working on a particular project, in fact you may use part of that time period to eat, shower, commute, do household chores, etc. If you start by being clear about how much time is actually available for working, you will be more likely to properly schedule your duties.</p> <p>Similarly, pad your internally imposed deadlines to account for possible emergencies or shifts in your schedule.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">2. Know what you need to accomplish</span></h2> <p>Lindsey recommends tracking your tasks/duties externally, using a system that works well for you. She suggests that you should clear your brain space by relieving yourself of the responsibility of remembering all your tasks – by listing them, you can sharpen your focus on <em>completing</em> the tasks, rather than on <em>remembering</em> what the tasks are.</p> <p>Lindsey forecasts her tasks and sets a preliminary schedule on Sunday. Lindsey uses a spiral notebook, but others may prefer electronic task management tools. She uses a large spiral notebook, so her list of tasks looks smaller, and recommends starting a new list periodically on a clean sheet of paper. This makes her list look more manageable and less intimidating, so it relieves stress while allowing her to see patterns in her schedule and decide what can be delegated.</p> <p>Lindsey also recommends being aware of your own rhythms. For example, communicating and sharing on social media comes naturally to her, so she doesn’t add it to her task list or schedule. However, if you are not as comfortable with social media, you may want to include it on your task list.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">3. Know how much time each task takes</span></h2> <p>Lindsey recommends being realistic about what can be accomplished in a given timeframe. She uses a combination of tools to increase her understanding of how long specific tasks take to complete. Lindsey uses Toggl, a free time tracking software, when she’s working on computer-based tasks, like tech editing or blogging. When she’s designing or creating samples, she observes start and end times on a clock or by counting a number of television episodes she watched.</p> <p>Lindsey notes that the more often you do something, the more realistic you can be about the amount of time required. (So if you are just launching your business, don’t worry! This will be easier to understand over time.)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">4. Work with your habits, not against them</span></h2> <p>Once you have clarity on how much time you have, what you need to accomplish, and how much time each task takes, Lindsey recommends working with your own habits and preferences, and not against them. She was first introduced to this idea in <em>Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life</em> by Julie Morgenstern. Specifically, Lindsey suggests that you don’t adopt any “system” of time management, but rather use different time management tools that fit into your own lifestyle for maximum success. </p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #cc99ff;">5. Delegate (or partner) to get some of the work done by others</span></h2> <h3>Consider what you can delegate or partner with others to do in order to maximize your time. Lindsey uses a contract crocheter, a part-time bookkeeper, and a virtual assistant that she met through word-of-mouth and social media. This allows you to expand the amount of work you can do within the limits of your available time.</h3> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 9: Selling on Etsy, An Interview with Ijeoma Eleazu from the Etsy Conversations Podcast
<h2 style="text-align: left;">This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>I’m excited to share an interview with a fellow podcaster this week. Ijeoma Eleazu is a calligrapher who is also the host of the <a href="http://convome.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy Conversations Podcast</a>. You can also find Ijeoma on <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/EtsyConversationsPodcast" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "https://twitter.com/ConvoMePodcast" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12873191" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">BlogLovin</a>. I discovered Ijeoma when she spoke on a panel at the <a href="http://podcastmovement.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Podcast Movement</a> conference in August, and I invited her on the show to talk about selling on <a href="https://www.etsy.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy</a>.</p> <p>After the interview, I share my experience selling crochet and knitting patterns as instant downloads on <a href= "http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=940290&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom%2F" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Craftsy</a>, <a href= "http://crochetville.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochetville</a>, <a href="https://www.etsy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy</a>, <a href= "https://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode-9-selling-on-etsy-an-interview-with-ijeoma-eleazu-from-the-etsy-conversations-podcast/www.kollabora.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kollabora</a>, and <a href= "https://www.ravelry.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ravelry</a>.</p> <h2>Ijeoma’s Tips for Etsy Success</h2> <ol> <li>Read the Etsy Seller Handbook</li> <li>Join Etsy Teams</li> <li>Set goals based on your motivations for selling on Etsy</li> <li>Brand your shop and optimize your listings</li> <li>Engage with the Etsy community</li> </ol> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Why Etsy?</h2> <p>Etsy is an online marketplace focused on handmade and vintage goods, along with supplies for making handmade projects. Etsy currently has over 1 million active shops that collectively sold $1.35 billion in merchandise in 2013. An <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/news/2013/etsy-statistics-november-2013-weather-report/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy “weather report” from November, 2013</a> reported that over 7.4 million items sold during the month ($147.5 million of goods sold) and there were 2.15 billion page views.</p> <p>In addition to being a great marketplace for crochet/knitting/weaving makers, yarnies, and sellers of supplies and notions, when Etsy introduced instant downloads in spring, 2013, it became more interesting to authors and designers who want to sell PDFs. And, Etsy now curates a separate <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/news/2014/etsy-wholesale-a-new-sales-channel-for-growth/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wholesale marketplace</a>.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">About Ijeoma Eleazu</h2> <p>Ijeoma Eleazu is the current (and third) host of the <a href="http://convome.com" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy Conversations Podcast</a>. I first heard about the show when I attended Ijeoma’s panel at the <a href= "http://podcastmovement.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Podcast Movement</a> conference.</p> <p>About eight years ago, Ijeoma learned calligraphy through a friend who is a wedding coordinator when she was tasked with helping out with wedding invitations. Ijeoma later took additional classes and now has a part-time calligraphy business (primarily focused on weddings) in addition to her full-time job.</p> <p>Ijeoma first became an Etsy seller to destash vintage sewing patterns she bought at an estate sale. Occasionally, she sells her calligraphy services through Etsy, too. In 2013, Ijeoma discovered podcasts through the <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podcasts/id525463029?mt=8" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Podcasts app</a> on her iPhone. She soon became a heavy listener of both the <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/etsy/id274681115?mt=2" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy by Etsy</a> podcast and the <a href= "http://etsyconvo.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Etsy Conversations Podcast</a>. She listened to a whole year of episodes in the Etsy Conversations Podcast, but realized it had stopped airing new episodes.</p> <p>In the meantime, Ijeoma took the <a href= "http://podcastanswerman.com/atoz/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Podcasting A to Z online coaching cours</a>e with <a href="http://podcastanswerman.com/about/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Cliff Ravenscraft</a>, host of the <a href= "http://podcastanswerman.com/category/podcastanswerman/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Podcast Answer Man</a>. She contacted the Etsy Conversations Podcast show host, and then the show founder, and eventually became the host in September, 2013. (You can hear more details in <a href= "http://convome.com/angela-j-holden/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Episode 21 of the Etsy Conversation Podcast</a>, where Ijeoma interviews show founder, <a href= "http://angelajholden.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Angela J. Holden</a>.)</p> <p>In my interview with Ijeoma, she shared several tips for Etsy sellers.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">1. Read the Etsy Seller Handbook</h3> <p>The <a href="https://blog.etsy.com/en/category/seller-handbook/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy Seller Handbook</a> is a frequently updated category on the Etsy blog, and the posts walk you through every aspect of setting yourself up for success on Etsy. Ijeoma recommends reading the Handbook first so you can understand the way the platform works. In particular, she thinks their tips on branding, naming your shop, setting up listings, and optimizing keywords for their search engine are helpful for new shops. (You can find an indexed version of the Handbook archives from 2013 <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/en/2013/the-seller-handbook-archive/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> and the wholesale guide for Etsy sellers <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/en/2014/wholesale-guide-for-etsy-sellers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.)</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">2. Join Etsy Teams</h3> <p>Etsy has literally hundreds of teams, organized by region, product type, and function (e.g., marketing). Ijeoma recommends listening to <a href= "http://convome.com/the-laughing-cabin-north-georgia-etsy-team/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Episode 35 of the Etsy Conversations Podcast</a>, where she interviews the owner of the <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLaughingCabin" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Laughing Cabin Etsy shop</a>, who is also the co-captain of the <a href="http://northgeorgiamade.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">North Georgia Etsy Team</a>, for more information about Etsy teams.</p> <p>An active team can help an Etsy seller in several ways, including</p> <ul> <li>Clarifying updates to Etsy policy, search, or site functionality,</li> <li>Providing shop critiques to members to help sellers optimize listings to increase views,</li> <li>Taking a critical look at product presentation and sharing feedback to help convert more visitors to buyers, and</li> <li>Engaging in collaborative marketing efforts.</li> </ul> <h3 style="text-align: center;"> 3. Set goals based on your motivations for selling on Etsy</h3> <p>Consider your goals in opening (or maintaining) an Etsy shop. Understanding your motivations can help you to gauge your success. Is your shop there to provide side income, cover the costs of a cherished hobby, replace a full time income, and/or to support a charity?</p> <p>If you understand why you are getting onto the platform and know your goals, you can work towards achieving them more easily. Additionally, knowing your goal for your shop helps you to clarify your time commitment which is important because finding success on Etsy usually requires a substantial investment in time. You need to make your handmade goods or instant downloads, take shop photography, understand the platform so you can optimize your listings and tags, and market your shop.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"> 4. Brand your shop and optimize your listings</h3> <p>Branding can help you get noticed in Etsy’s crowded marketplace. You want to ensure that when people browse a category, they recognize your brand through your listings for future purchases. Decide who you are marketing your Etsy products to and speak their language to help them find your items. (Etsy shares 6 Tips for Defining Your Target Customer <a href= "https://blog.etsy.com/en/2014/6-tips-for-defining-your-target-customer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.)</p> <p>Other important elements for optimizing your Etsy listings include photography, proper use of tagging, and descriptions. Tagging with keywords is critical on Etsy. Ijeoma recommends searching for similar items in another tab on your browser so you can use common and relevant keywords.</p> <p>There are many great articles about branding and optimizing your listings on the Etsy blog, and teams and the Etsy forum discussions are also a resource.</p> <p>Etsy sellers also have the option of opening multiple shops, which may be helpful if you have different target audiences. Ijeoma mentioned that it is always possible to correct your course on Etsy and to start over with your acquired wisdom.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">5. Engage with the Etsy community</h3> <p>Etsy has a supportive community environment that is different from other online marketplaces where Ijeoma has sold her crafts. Sellers often work together collaboratively rather than in competition. Many Etsy sellers are also Etsy buyers with an interest in “shopping handmade,” but for various reasons. Some may be supporting local businesses or cottage industries, others aim to move the handmade movement forward, while still others may be seeking eco-friendly products.</p> <p>Ijeoma interviews Etsy shop owners in every episode of the Etsy Conversations Podcast. Here are four that I found particularly relevant to yarn-related business owners:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://convome.com/patterns-tried-and-true/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Episode 9</a> with Beate from <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/Patternstriedandtrue" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patterns Tried and True</a>,</li> <li><a href="http://convome.com/creative-glo/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Episode 25</a> with Gloria from the <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/CreativeGlo" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Creative Glo</a>,</li> <li><a href="http://convome.com/she-makes-hats/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Episode 28</a> with Robyn from <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/shemakeshats" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">She Makes Hats</a>, and</li> <li><a href="http://convome.com/ozetta/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Episode 29</a> with Hailey from <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/ozetta" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ozetta</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Ijeoma also invites Etsy shop owners to <a href= "http://convome.com/etsy-conversations-podcast-guest/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">contact her</a> if you are interested in being interviewed on her show.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"> Marie’s feedback on marketplaces selling instant pattern downloads</h3> <p>In response to questions that <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/beth-graham" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Beth Graham</a>, a (mostly) crochet designer and teacher, shared with me, I talk about my experience selling crochet and knitting patterns as instant downloads on <a href= "http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=940290&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom%2F" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Craftsy</a>, <a href= "http://crochetville.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochetville</a>, <a href="https://www.etsy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy</a>, <a href= "https://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode-9-selling-on-etsy-an-interview-with-ijeoma-eleazu-from-the-etsy-conversations-podcast/www.kollabora.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kollabora</a>, and <a href= "https://www.ravelry.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ravelry</a> after the interview.</p> <p>I’ve found that easier patterns that would appeal to general crafters are more likely to sell on Craftsy or Etsy than on Ravelry. Patterns for women’s fashion accessories or garments with an easy difficulty rating seem better tailored for the Kollabora audience. And, obviously, Crochetville is specifically for crochet patterns, but I don’t think most of their users exclusively use the Crochetville marketplace for buying patterns. I find Ravelry to be the best marketplace for “die hard” crocheters and knitters, although I don’t have experience with <a href= "https://www.patternfish.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Patternfish</a>.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Thanks for joining us for an interview, and for sharing what you’ve learned, Ijeoma!</h3> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in October, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 8: Affordable Crochet and Knitting Fonts with Adriana Hernandez
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>This week, I’m interviewing Adriana Hernandez from AdriPrints. Adriana is a creative entrepreneur whose business includes knitting design and font design. Adriana can be found online on the AdriPrints blog, <a href= "http://adriprints.blogspot.de/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Adri Makes a Thing or Two</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/adriana-hernandez" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>, Twitter as <a href= "https://twitter.com/adriprints" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">@adriprints</a>, and <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/AdriprintsPress" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>. Her font collections, including StitchinCrochet, Stitchin Crochet Pro, and three variations of StitchinKnit, can be found on her <a href= "https://www.myfonts.com/foundry/Adriprints/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MyFonts</a> page.</p> <p>We talk about her multi-faceted business, her crochet and knitting fonts, and Adriana’s tips for using her crochet fonts.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">About AdriPrints</h2> <p>When Adriana relocated to Germany in 2008, she couldn’t bring her printing press. She started diversifying her business away from printed illustrations and began focusing on textiles. Her business currently includes many income streams, including knitting design and font design. (I interviewed Adriana about her knitting design earlier this month as part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series on the Underground Crafter blog <a href= "http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2014/09/18/interview-with-adriana-hernandez-hispanic-heritage-month-series/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.) She began designing fonts because of her love of typography and lettering.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">StitchinCrochet and Stitchin Crochet Pro</h2> <p>Adriana developed two crochet symbol fonts, StitchinCrochet and Stitchin Crochet Pro. When she designed StitchinCrochet, she assumed most designers/crocheters would use it with a vector drawing program like Adobe Illustrator. She even developed a series of YouTube tutorials demonstrating how to use StitchinCrochet with Illustrator to create a circular crochet motif pattern. (Watch the videos here: <a href= "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncqZ0gV6DK0&list=UUO7z6A__ZHTi4KiOlDavhiA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Step 1</a>, <a href= "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdb--JoFajI&list=UUO7z6A__ZHTi4KiOlDavhiA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Step 2</a>, <a href= "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX2l4M_aytI&list=UUO7z6A__ZHTi4KiOlDavhiA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Step 3</a>, <a href= "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOGITMkZ7WA&list=UUO7z6A__ZHTi4KiOlDavhiA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Step 4</a>, and <a href= "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCHyDAOJzGw&list=UUO7z6A__ZHTi4KiOlDavhiA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Step 5</a>.)</p> <p>She later learned that most people were using the font with non-vector programs, and as a result, the symbols didn’t always scale properly. She made some updates to the font in Stitchin Crochet Pro to enhance scalability when used in non-vector programs, and also included symbols requested by users. Both fonts are available with five licensing options, with a price range from $3 – $40, based on your choice of license. (Most designers and authors would spend $8 or less for their licensing option.)</p> <p>Although Adriana has developed several other fonts, she has only received feedback about her crochet fonts. She hears back from users about once a month. She wanted crochet chart design to be as accessible as knitting chart design, and she priced her fonts accordingly. Adriana receives only a percentage of each sale.</p> <p>Adriana’s creative process requires that she understand how to create the stitch before designing a font glyph. For this reason, she hasn’t yet expanded her crochet font library to include symbols for Tunisian crochet or broomstick lace. However, she did love reading Renate Kirkpatrick’s <em>Freeform Crochet and Beyond</em>, which encouraged her to include bullion stitch and other symbols common in freeform crochet into StitchinCrochet.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">StitchinKnit</h3> <p>When Adriana designed StitchinKnit, knitting pattern/chart software like <a href="http://www.stitchmastery.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">StitchMastery</a> and <a href= "http://www.envisioknit.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">EnvisioKnit</a> weren’t yet available. While there were other knitting fonts, she decided to create her own series – StitchinKnit Regular, StitchinKnit Chunky, and StitchinKnit Hand Condensed Thin – that appealed to her own aesthetic. All three versions are available with the same five licensing options as StitchinCrochet and Stitchin Crochet Pro, and the price for each ranges from $6 – $60, based on your choice of license. (Most designers or authors would spend $12 or less for their licensing option.)</p> <p>Because there are many other knitting fonts on the market, Adriana feels her StitchinKnit series is really targeted at font connoisseurs or designers who are really drawn to the design aesthetic of the font.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Adriana’s Tips for Using Her Crochet Fonts</h2> <p style="text-align: left;">For crochet chart designers, Adriana has some additional tips.</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: left;">Use StitchinCrochet or Stitchin Crochet Pro with a vector software so that the font(s) can be scaled without looking pixelated.</li> <li style="text-align: left;">She has received positive feedback from users about using <a href="http://www.inkscape.org/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Inkscape</a> as a free alternative to Illustrator. Once you are familiar with Inkscape, <a href= "http://adriprints.blogspot.com/p/tutorials.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Adriana’s video tutorials</a> about Illustrator may be helpful.</li> <li style="text-align: left;">Become comfortable with your vector drawing software before you start charting. Specifically, familiarize yourself with your software’s process for duplicating in a series along a path.</li> <li style="text-align: left;">Create your chart over a schematic or a shape of the design so the pattern charts neatly and clearly. You can design the schematic or shape in the vector drawing software, or scan in a hand drawn image.</li> <li style="text-align: left;">Use color, symbols (such as arrows), and appropriate spacing to make your symbol chart readable for your audience.</li> <li style="text-align: left;">Adriana does offer crochet chart design services as part of her business, but reminds people that she lives in a Euro-based economy so prices may be higher than in your local area.</li> </ul> <p>Adriana also recommends checking out her <a href= "http://adriprints.blogspot.com/search/label/font" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blog</a> and <a href= "http://adriprints.blogspot.com/p/tutorials.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tutorials</a> before contacting her with questions about using her fonts, especially since she is currently on maternity leave.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Adriana!</h3> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in October, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 7: Intellectual Property for Indies with Danielle Chalson
<h3>This Week’s Episode</h3> <p>This week, I’m interviewing Danielle Chalson from Makewise Designs. Danielle is a knitting designer, as well as an intellectual property lawyer.  Danielle can be found online on Ravelry (as <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/people/makewise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">makewise</a>, on <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/danielle-chalson" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her designer page</a>, and in the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/makewise-designs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Makewise Designs group</a>), her <a href= "http://makewisedesigns.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">website</a>, and <a href= "https://twitter.com/makewisedesigns" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>.</p> <p>Key points from this episode:</p> <ul> <li>Develop an intellectual property mindset.</li> <li>Take advantage of free and low cost resources.</li> <li>Review your contract.</li> <li>Speak to an attorney when appropriate.</li> <li>Postpone a rush to judgement.</li> <li>Treat your business as a business.</li> </ul> <h3>About Makewise Designs</h3> <p>Danielle operates Makewise Designs as a part-time business and doesn’t currently plan to expand to full time. She self-publishes her (mostly) knitting patterns and designs for magazines a freelance basis. Danielle is also an intellectual property lawyer.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Develop an intellectual property mindset</h2> <p>When interacting with another business or customer, ask yourself if you are doing anything that may impact on their rights, as well as if they are doing anything that may impact on your rights. If you approach business interactions with this mindset, you may anticipate and prevent problems.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Take advantage of free and low cost resources</h2> <p>Danielle suggests these free informational resources for U.S. based businesses:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.copyright.gov/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The United States Copyright Office</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.uspto.gov/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The United States Patent and Trademark Office</a></li> </ul> <p>Danielle also mentioned several free and low cost organizations that may be able to advise indies about their intellectual property rights, or refer them appropriately:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://vlany.org/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts</a>, an organization that provides “arts-related legal aid and educational programs about the legal and business issues that affect artist and arts organizations” in New York.</li> <li><a href="https://www.freelancersunion.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Freelancers Union</a>, a national organization that provides insurance and other services to self-employed people.</li> <li>The local <a href="http://www.bbb.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Better Business Bureau</a> may be able to refer you to a lawyer that has experience working with freelancers, home based businesses, or indie businesses.</li> </ul> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Understand your contract</h3> <p>Danielle recognizes that often indies receive contracts from companies they freelance for and are not always the initiator of a contract. She recommends reviewing the contract carefully to consider:</p> <ul> <li>Possible areas for negotiation, including compensation and timelines.</li> <li>Assignment or transfer of ownership. Danielle says, “the more rights you assign away, the less control you retain.”</li> <li>Licenses.</li> <li>Term (how long the contract lasts).</li> <li>Breach provisions.</li> <li>Errors or differences from an initial/prior conversation or agreement.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;">If you approach the contract with the intellectual property mindset and review the contract carefully, you can frame any questions or concerns you have in a way that isn’t confrontational or combative and benefits both parties. </p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Speak to an attorney when appropriate</h3> <p>Most indies prefer to take a do-it-yourself approach to as many business operations as possible. While hiring an attorney may be the right choice in a variety of situations, Danielle suggests that you consider obtaining legal representation when dealing with a much larger company that is likely to have a team of lawyers; when you begin hiring employees for the first time; or when your business has been confronted with an intellectual property or contract issue that you haven’t been able to resolve it on your own.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Postpone a rush to judgement</h3> <p>Some seeming violations are misunderstandings or related to poor communication. Danielle advises taking a deep breath and trying to stay calm before engaging the other party. At the same time, she mentioned the importance of keeping notes with dates: what is the other person/business doing, how long has it been going on, and how widespread is the problem? What communications have you initiated and how have they been received? If you still can’t resolve the issue, consider seeking legal advice.</p> <p>This same approach can be helpful if other indies (or their fans) are leveling accusations at you.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Treat your business as a business</h3> <p>Danielle recommends understanding the business implications of your work in yarn industry while still keeping in touch with your creativity. If you treat the business end <em>as a business</em> and understand your own rights and responsibilities, your confidence will grow. You will feel more comfortable negotiating contacts, dealing with violations, and staying level headed if you are on the receiving end of an accusation of intellectual property violation.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Danielle!</h3> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in September, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 6: Free and Low Cost (Visual) Branding Resources
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>The inspiration for this episode, free and low cost branding resources, is Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa. (Read on for details!) In this episode, I talk about free and low cost resources related to color, font, and logo design that you can use to visually brand (or rebrand) your yarn-related business.</p> <h2>Background</h2> <p>I’m hosting my third annual <a href= "http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/tag/hispanic-heritage-month-2014/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hispanic Heritage Month series</a> on the Underground Crafter blog, featuring interviews with 14 crochet and knitting designers and bloggers. I decided to add a free pattern to my series this year, and chose a <a href= "http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2014/09/15/free-pattern-el-guaba/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">one-skein project I designed over the summer</a> for the <a href="http://www.stitchjones.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Stitchjones</a> yarn <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/listing/198901567/yarnageddon-2015-yarn-fiber-gift-club?ref=shop_home_feat_1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">club</a>. Stitchjones had the theme of “Real World Wild Women,” and my design was inspired by <a href= "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celia_Cruz" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Celia Cruz</a>. (If you’re not familiar with Celia Cruz, you can find out more about this remarkable woman by watching <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuiombHG2eI" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">this 3.5 minute video bio</a>.)</p> <p>While researching images of Celia for inspiration, I came across an article from a few years ago called “<a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140220180031-15757055-celia-cruz-and-the-art-of-rebranding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Celia Cruz and the Art of Rebranding</a>”  by <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/in/abeldelgado" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Abel Delgado</a> on <a href= "http://latinlink.usmediaconsulting.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Latin Link</a>. The article shares a very interesting perspective on Celia’s innate knack for marketing and has a lot of ideas that are applicable to a yarn industry indie. Specifically, Delgado highlights Celia’s cross-media promotion, her success in introducing her work to new audiences without abandoning her loyal audience, and how by staying true to her core values and maintaining quality control, she was able to have a long and successful career.</p> <h2>Free and Low Cost (Visual) Branding Resources</h2> <p>There are many free and low cost resources you can use to create a cohesive visual brand for your yarn-related business. In this episode, I share a few, with a focus on color, font, and logo design.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Naming</h3> <p>This episode really focuses on visual branding, but I took a moment to talk about naming. There are three prevailing theories about naming online, each with some advantages and disadvantages.</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Consistent naming:</span> If your user name is consistent across all social sites (and also associated with your business name), your business is easier for customers/clients to find, and your brand messaging is more consistent across sites. Consistency in user names can be challenging to do because of differences in user name length requirements, or if you started accounts before your business existed, or at different times in your business’s development.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Brand splitting:</span> If you serve different customer groups (such as consumer and businesses), you may want to split your brand identity across social media by maintaining multiple accounts. This makes each company/brand more defined, and makes your presence less likely to annoy customers (when you are sharing irrelevant-to-them information). On the other hand, it can be more time consuming and difficult to maintain a strong presence across multiple accounts.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Using only a personal account:</span> By merging your personal and business identity, you share a more authentic experience of you as an indie with your customers. On the other hand, you lose out on privacy and risk offending people by sharing personal/political information that isn’t directly related to your business.</li> </ul> <p>In this episode, we aren’t focusing much on naming, so the debate continues on! Instead, we’re focusing on 3 visual elements to your brand: color, font, and logo.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Color</h3> <p>These tools can help you to identify and present a consistent color palette throughout your business, including across social media, in your packaging, and on your stationary and other materials.</p> <p>These three sites (<a href="https://www.design-seeds.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Design Seeds</a>, <a href= "https://www.colourlovers.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Colour Lovers</a>, and <a href= "https://www.color-collective.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Color Collective</a>) present free color palettes that you may want to choose from to represent your business.</p> <p>Both Design Seeds and Colour Lovers include the “hex number” or “html number,” a numeric value that is used to represent a specific color for the web.</p> <p>Once you find a palette you like on Design Seeds, hover over the small color boxes on the right to see the hex numbers.</p> <p>On Colour Lovers, choose Palettes from the upper left Browse drop down menu.</p> <p>After browsing palettes, choose one you like and click on it to get more details.</p> <p>After clicking on a palette, you will find hex numbers for each color in the palette listed.</p> <p>Color Collective presents palettes without hex/html numbers.</p> <p>If you already have a specific palette or main color in mind, these two sites can help you develop a web palette.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.colorhunter.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Color Hunter</a> allows you to upload a photograph or link to an online image (such as one from Color Collective) and it will identify the hex/html numbers for you. I find that Color Hunter tends to “flatten” colors and make things appear more pastel than they seem to be.</li> <li><a href="http://paletton.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Paletton Color Scheme Designer</a> allows you to pick a color from a color wheel and then create a palette using several options (such as monochrome, complimentary colors, etc.). It also identifies the hex/html number.</li> </ul> <p>Once you have the hex numbers for your color palette, you can use them in graphic design programs and websites to create backgrounds, banners, business cards, etc.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Photoshop</h4> <p>In Photoshop, first click on the appropriate color box.</p> <p>Enter the hex number in the lower left corner of the pop up color selection box and then click “Ok.”</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">PicMonkey</h4> <p>There are several locations where you can enter hex numbers in PicMonkey.</p> <ul> <li>Enter hex numbers in the Design menu for Canvas Color.</li> <li>Enter the hex number in the overlay menu.</li> </ul> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Canva</h4> <p>In Canva, you can add new colors to your color menus. From the background or text menu, click on the plus sign.</p> <p>Once the pop up opens, enter the hex number in the color code box. It will be added to your standard colors for the rest of your session. You can also save up to 3 brand colors in a free account.</p> <p>Once you’ve identified a color palette and its associated hex numbers, you can consider different font options.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Font</h3> <p>Not all fonts that are pre-installed on your computer or with software are available for commercial use. Two great sources of free fonts available for commercial use are <a href= "https://www.google.com/fonts" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Google Fonts</a> and <a href= "http://www.fontsquirrel.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Font Squirrel</a>.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.google.com/fonts" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Google Fonts</a> have open source licensing for commercial or non-commercial use.</li> <li><a href="http://www.fontsquirrel.com/%20" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Font Squirrel</a> allows you to download free fonts to your computer. Those fonts can be used in Photoshop, or in PicMonkey through the option to use “your” fonts in the add text menu.</li> <li>If you use Canva for your graphics, you may want to choose a font in their collection because it allows you to be consistent across your graphics, and because Canva’s free account allows you to store graphic templates for re-use. However, it’s more likely that the font you choose will be less unique.</li> </ul> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Logo design</h3> <p>Once you have identified a color palette and fonts for your business, you may decide to develop a logo. While logos provide great visual branding, I would encourage you to delay your logo design until you are really confident that it will represent your business conceptually and aesthetically.</p> <p>If you choose to design your own logo, you can use design software such as Photoshop, or the design features in PicMonkey.</p> <p>Unless you are very skilled in graphic design, you may want to outsource your logo. Four great options for affordable graphic design are Etsy, 99 Designs, Fiverr, and Ravelry.</p> <ul> <li>A recent search for <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/search?q=custom%20logo" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">“custom logo” on Etsy</a> brought up over 41,000 results, ranging from $25 to $1,500 for a graphic logo (rather than signage). The average range was $50 to $150. <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/search?q=premade%20logo" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">“Premade logo” designs</a> are usually less expensive but more generic.</li> <li><a href="http://99designs.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">99 Designs</a> is a site where multiple designers submit logo options and you can choose your favorite (or have people vote to determine the most popular option). Their price range is $299 to $1,199, but you can sometimes find discount codes online.</li> <li><a href="https://www.fiverr.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Fiverr</a> is a website selling a variety of services/products for $5. However, most logo designs on Fiverr include many add on services and cost more than $5. You may find that it ends up being the same price as Etsy or another source, or that the quality of an inexpensive design is low.</li> <li>The Ravelry <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/design-donors" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Design Donors group</a> provides free banners for Ravelry groups. They do have a roll call thread where graphic designers can indicate their availability for commercial design work <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/design-donors/1444942/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. In addition, many of the commercial groups on Ravelry, such as the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/designers" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Designers group</a>, frequently have ads for graphic design services.</li> </ul> <p>You can also take the opposite approach and work with a graphic designer <strong>first</strong> to develop a logo. The designer can help you identify a color palette, fonts, and other graphic elements for your brand.</p> <p>I don’t have a logo for <a href="http://undergroundcrafter.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Underground Crafter</a>, my crochet and knitting design, teaching, and blogging business, but I do use a consistent set of colors. For the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur, I have a logo for the podcast and a consistent set of colors and fonts.</p> <p>I found both color palettes on Design Seeds. The palettes are related but each contains distinct colors.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in September, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 5: How to Grow Your Facebook Following: An Interview with Lauren Brown from Daisy Cottage Designs
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>I’m very excited to share my first interview this week, with Lauren Brown from <a href="http://daisycottagedesigns.net/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Daisy Cottage Designs</a>. Lauren is a crochet designer, blogger, and maker, and you can find her on <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/DaisyCottageDesigns" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Etsy</a>, <a href= "http://www.daisycottagedesigns.net/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">her blog</a>, <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/daisycottagedesigns" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/designers/lauren-brown" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ravelry</a>, <a href= "http://www.pinterest.com/daisycottage/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest</a>, <a href= "http://instagram.com/laurendaisycottage" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Instagram</a>, <a href= "https://twitter.com/LaurenCrochet" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Twitter</a>, and <a href= "http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3543283" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">BlogLovin</a>. (Lauren also has a great series of posts with tips for new Etsy sellers <a href= "http://www.daisycottagedesigns.net/search/label/etsy%20101" target="_blank" rel="noopener">called Etsy 101</a>.)</p> <p>Lauren and I are in a crochet blogger group together, and I invited her to share her tips for increasing Facebook engagement. Lauren’s Facebook following grew by over 27,000 (!) in just 6 months, and she has had the traffic to her blog almost double during the same time period. </p> <h2>Lauren’s 6 Tips for Growing Her Facebook Community</h2> <ol> <li>Add a Facebook conversions box</li> <li>Be consistent</li> <li>Track and evaluate</li> <li>Join groups</li> <li>Interact with fans</li> <li>Be patient</li> </ol> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Why Facebook?</h2> <p>If you’re like me, maybe Facebook isn’t “your thing.” Perhaps you prefer Ravelry or aren’t much a fan of social media at all. Here are some important things to keep in perspective, though, as you consider if and how your business should engage on Facebook.</p> <ul> <li>Facebook has over 1.3 active monthly users.</li> <li>48% of users log in to Facebook <strong>every day</strong>, spending an average of 18 minutes a day on the site.</li> <li>50% of 18-24 year olds go to Facebook upon waking up.</li> <li>20% of all page views in the United States occur on Facebook.</li> </ul> <p>Kind of makes Facebook hard to ignore, from a business perspective. Another tidbit – Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the peak usage days, so if you’re just dipping your toe into Facebook, start with end of the week posts. (You can find the sources for these statistics on <a href= "http://www.statisticbrain.com/facebook-statistics/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Static Brain</a> and <a href= "https://zephoria.com/social-media/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zephoria</a>.)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">About Daisy Cottage Designs</h2> <p>Lauren started crocheting in 2010 after her daughter was born. She’s self-taught from YouTube videos. She started by post pictures of her creations on her personal Facebook page and soon began selling finished objects to friends. In December, 2010, she opened an Etsy shop, <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/shop/DaisyCottageDesigns" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daisy Cottage Designs</a>. In January, 2011, Lauren started the <a href="http://daisycottagedesigns.net/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daisy Cottage Designs blog</a> after reading that many successful Etsy sellers have blogs. (Today, her business is more focused on designing and blogging.) Lauren’s <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/daisycottagedesigns" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Facebook page</a> was started soon afterwards.</p> <p>In the beginning, Lauren’s Facebook page growth was slow. The way she promoted it was by connecting her Etsy shop to her Facebook account. Etsy sellers can find instructions for linking their shop(s) to both Facebook and Twitter <a href= "https://www.etsy.com/help/article/1439" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>In March, 2014, Lauren had 2,600 Facebook fans. As of September 9, 2014, she has 31,209 likes! Lauren decided to focus on Facebook this year, and she shared several tips for growing your Facebook following in the interview.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">1) Add a Facebook conversions box</h2> <p>Lauren started with a Facebook badge on her site, which you get directly from Facebook <a href="https://www.facebook.com/badges/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>When she started focusing on her Facebook growth, Lauren added a pop up conversions box, which allows someone to like your Facebook page while still visiting your blog.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">2) Be consistent</h2> <p>Lauren originally only shared links to her blog posts and Etsy listings on her Facebook page. In March, 2014, she increased her posting frequency. She schedules 3-4 posts a day, and may end the day with up to 6-8 posts. She schedules her posts via Facebook directly each morning. (You can learn how to use Facebook’s scheduling feature for your page <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/help/389849807718635" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.) When traveling, Lauren may schedule for several days in advance to allow her more time away from Facebook.</p> <p>Lauren schedules her posts throughout the day, starting at 8 a.m. She shares content from other sources in the morning; a link to a roundup of free crochet patterns that she’s curated in the middle of the day; and links to her own Etsy listings or blog posts in the evening. She then has the flexibility of adding in a few additional posts during the day – either from other bloggers she networks with or from her own blog. She rarely shares paid patterns.</p> <p>Lauren uses different methods for sharing content from other sources. When the source has a larger Facebook following than hers, or more people talking about it, Lauren uses the Facebook share feature. (You can learn how to do this <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/help/163779957017799" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.)</p> <p>Her share may be visible to that larger page’s fans, who can be introduced to her Daisy Cottage Designs page. When the source has a smaller Facebook following, Lauren instead pastes the link into her post.</p> <p>Lauren uses a template for her posts, and generally formats the information in the same way. She also posts regularly throughout the day. Lauren thinks this consistency has been an important part of her expansion.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">3) Track and evaluate</h2> <p>Lauren uses a notebook to track her Facebook postings. She lists her daily posts and then tracks the interaction using Facebook insights.</p> <p>Lauren learned a lot from Holly Homer, the blogger behind <a href="http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Kids Activities Blog</a>. You can find all of Holly’s YouTube videos about Facebook <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/user/JuneCleaverNirvana/search?query=facebook" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> on her YouTube Channel, including this interview with <a href= "http://lemonlimeadventures.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Dayna Abraham from Lemon Lime Adventures</a> called <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLD6mkf2RVw&list=UUVEqRdzI22BuX6zdUiNP1-w" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Growing a FB Page from the Beginning</a>. Lauren got ideas about formatting posts and increasing interaction from these videos. (Holly is also interviewed on the <a href="http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Social Media Examiner</a> podcast <a href= "http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-organic-growth-with-holly-homer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> about how she organically grew her Facebook page from 7,000 to over 500,000 likes in 8 months.)</p> <p>Her daily posting schedule is based on information she learns from Facebook Insights (tracked in her notebook). She chooses to schedule posts that link back to her own content during the busiest times for her page, so they will be seen by more people. This has contributed to her blog traffic nearly doubling in the last 6 months.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">4) Join groups</h2> <p>Lauren really recommends joining groups. (I do, too!) She relies on Facebook groups for bloggers and Etsy sellers for information, cross-promotion, and networking. Lauren can learn about Facebook’s ever changing algorithms, find content to share (including getting permission for sharing images), and can talk about challenges and opportunities she’s experiencing with colleagues.</p> <p>In order to get the most from these groups, you have to be willing to support other bloggers/sellers as much as you’d like to receive support.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">5) Interact with fans</h2> <p>Lauren interacts with her fans by asking questions and responding quickly to questions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">6) Be patient</h2> <p>Growing a big Facebook following doesn’t usually happen overnight. Lauren recommends being patient and keeping track of your successes so you can refine what you’re doing.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><span style= "color: #8962b3;">Thanks for joining us for an interview, and for sharing what’s worked for you, Lauren!</span></h3> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in September, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Episode 4: 6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community
<h2>This Week’s Episode</h2> <p>Before I launched the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, I sent out a survey to a few online friends for feedback on show topics. <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/designers/kathy-kelly" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Kathy Kelly</a> from the <a href= "http://crochetbird.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochetbird blog</a> asked about ways to engage with blogging community. Thanks for the suggestion, Kathy! In this episode, I share 6 suggestions for engaging other bloggers. </p> <h2>6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community</h2> <ol> <li>Commenting</li> <li>Participating in challenges</li> <li>Joining link parties & blog hops</li> <li>Finding blogger groups</li> <li>Attending blogger events and meetups</li> <li>Connecting with bloggers on other forms of social media</li> </ol> <p>Each of these different ways of engaging has its own benefits and challenges. Deciding which ways work best for you will depend on your goals.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">1) Commenting</h3> <p>Commenting on other blogs is a great way to engage with bloggers. Unfortunately, due to spam, trolls, malware, etc., some bloggers don’t allow comments or have so much security to cut through that it makes commenting near impossible.</p> <p>Include a link to your blog in the comment form, and, if appropriate, include a specific link to a post that’s relevant. When possible, include a substantive comment. Try not to include links within the comment unless they are highly relevant to the discussion and/or you already know the blogger. (The best analogy I’ve heard about this is that including links in the comment is like a party guest jumping up in the middle of dinner to shout, “Come on over to my house for dinner instead!”)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">2) Participating in challenges</h2> <p>There are several types of popular blog challenges, including:</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Daily blogging challenges</span></li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">DIY challenges</span>, like <a href= "http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com/p/about-me-made-may.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Me Made May</a> or <a href= "https://sew-seamless.com/the-pledge/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">the Seamless Pledge</a>.</li> <li><span style= "text-decoration: underline;">Yarn-related challenges</span>, like Knit Picks’s <a href= "https://blog.knitpicks.com/52-weeks-of-dishcloths/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">52 Weeks of Dishcloths</a>. </li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Blog improvement challenges</span>, like <a href= "https://problogger.com/31-days-to-build-a-better-blog-the-podcast-series/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog</a> or the <a href= "https://ultimateblogchallenge.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Ultimate Blog Challenge</a>.</li> </ul> <p>You can join in a current group challenge, or follow along with another blogger’s personal challenge, or work through an old challenge. Challenges can help you improve or diversify your blogging skills while engaging with other bloggers.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">3) Joining link parties & blog hops</h3> <p>Link parties and blog hops are organized activities that take place on a regular basis. A host (or hosts) write a blog post and participants can add links to their blog post directly in to the post. Link parties come and go so ask for recommendations or use search to find a party.</p> <p>Each link partu has its own culture and rules. Generally speaking, you are expected to visit several of the other posted links and comment. It’s often the norm to visit every blogger who comments on your blog as well.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">4) Finding blogger groups</h3> <p>You can find blogger groups on every social media platform, so choose a setting where you feel comfortable. Some of these groups are private or secret, so you can discuss some of your blogging concerns more privately. Others are public. Most of these groups combine elements of blog support (discussions about tech issues, posting ideas, etc.) with cross-promotion. Some are open to all bloggers and others are focused on specific types of bloggers.</p> <p>Some groups you may want to consider are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups/blogging" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Blogging</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-blog-hub" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The Blog Hub</a>, <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/french-blogs" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">French Blogs</a>, and <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/self-hosted-wordpress-blogging" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Self-Hosted WordPress</a> on Ravelry.</li> <li>Facebook groups with the words “blogging,” “bloggin,” or blogger in the title.</li> <li>HubSpot shared a list of <a href= "http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/linkedin-group-marketers-list" target="_blank" rel="noopener">20 LinkedIn Groups Every Marketer Should Join</a>. You can also click these links to find LinkedIn groups with <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/vsearch/g?keywords=Blogging&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tarId%3A1409768563192%2Ctas%3Ablogging%2Cidx%3A1-1-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blogging</a> or <a href= "https://www.linkedin.com/vsearch/g?type=groups&keywords=Blog&orig=GLHD&rsid=34073551409768565960&pageKey=voltron_group_search_internal_jsp&trkInfo=tarId%3A1409768587378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blog</a> as keywords.</li> </ul> <p>There are also blogging communities for specific cultural or social groups. You can also ask your fellow blogger friends for recommendations or see which groups they promoted on their blogs.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">5) Attending blogger events and meetups</h3> <p>In person meetups and events can be a great way to connect with bloggers. Events can be the places to introduce yourself to a blogger with a large following or finally get to meet your online friends face-to-face.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://sheownsit.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">She Owns It: Celebrating Supporting & Connecting Women Entrepreneurs</a> has a great list of events, most of which are relevant to bloggers, <a href= "https://sheownsit.com/conference-listings/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">here</a>.</li> <li>If you live in or near a major metropolitan area, you can probably find a local group of bloggers via <a href= "http://www.meetup.com/find/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MeetUp.com</a> or <a href="http://craigslist.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Craigslist</a>.</li> <li>You can also engage with other bloggers at yarn industry events, like <a href="http://www.tnna.org/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The National NeedleArts Association</a> trade shows.</li> <li>You can meet bloggers from your region through local or regional fiber events. You can find a calendar of such events <a href="http://www.knittersreview.com/upcoming_events.asp" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> on <a href= "http://www.knittersreview.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Knitter’s Review</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Large events may include workshops or other training opportunities that can help you improve your blog. Face-to-face meetings, especially the larger events, may involve more costs. Some very large events can be overwhelming for introverts.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">6) Connecting with bloggers on other forms of social media</h3> <p>Most bloggers have a presence on other forms of social media. You can engage bloggers on whatever platforms you are mutually involved in, including Ravelry, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.</p> <div style="margin-left: 2em"> <ul> <li>Engage authentically with the bloggers you follow by commenting, sharing/reTweeting their posts, and writing feedback via social media. It’s nice to include links when you can (though, for space reasons, that can be a challenge on Twitter!)</li> <li>Some blogger groups have their own hashtag. For example, Blogs by Latinas and Latina Bloggers Connect use <a href= "https://twitter.com/search?q=%23LatinaBloggers&src=typd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#LatinaBloggers</a>. Using a hashtag can help other bloggers in your group identify your Tweets to share and comment.</li> </ul> </div> <h3 style="text-align: center;">Before you engage with other bloggers…</h3> <p>Consider why you want to engage with bloggers.</p> <ul> <li>Are you trying to improve your own blogging? Groups might be best for you.</li> <li>Do you want to monetize your blog or become a pro blogger? Events and meetups might be best for you.</li> <li>Are you looking for new blogs to follow? Link parties/blog hops and challenges might be best for you.</li> <li>Do you want to increase your following? Commenting, link parties/blog hops, challenges, and connecting with bloggers on social media may be the best way.</li> </ul> <p>You may find that just one, or a combination of these ways works well for your goals, comfort level, time restrictions, and budget.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in September, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test
<h3>This Week’s Episode</h3> <p>Are you considering organizing your first pattern test? Even though this topic is aimed at designers, there are many other indie yarn-related businesses that might want to do a market test for a new physical or digital product who might find these tips helpful.</p> <h3>8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test</h3> <ol> <li>Decide what you want from the pattern test</li> <li>Choose the right online or offline setting(s)</li> <li>Format your pattern</li> <li>Set the guidelines</li> <li>Create a survey</li> <li>Incentivize your testers.</li> <li>Organize and use your feedback</li> <li>Track the test</li> </ol> <p>It goes without saying that you’ll need to be available to your testers during a pattern test. In addition, these 8 tips will help you to organize (and enjoy! and get a lot out of!) your first pattern test.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">1) Decide what you want from a pattern test</h3> <p>Most designers have several goals in mind when conducting a pattern test. Knowing what’s important to you will help you set the test up in a way that gets you the feedback you want.</p> <p>Some reasons for testing are:</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Editing</span> – If you’re relying on testers instead of a tech editor, be sure to select testers who have specific skills (e.g., copyeditors, proofreaders, mathematicians, etc.). Of course, having another designer or even a tech editor participate would be ideal. Relying on testers to edit patterns can be tricky, as many people aren’t as detail oriented as a tech editor would be while working on a pattern.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Market testing</span> – You can find out a lot about how you describe the pattern, your pattern format, and your photography from your testers to make improvements before launch. You may also be targeting a specific market (e.g., beginners) to see if the pattern is written at the right level. You can also use a test to decide what kind of additional resources (such as tutorials) to include based on what your testers struggle with.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Building buzz</span> – Having completed projects for your pattern when it’s released provide a form of social proof that the pattern “works.” You might also have a pattern that isn’t very successful, and adding more projects can increase the level of interest. Think about how to motivate testers for an existing pattern (especially if it’s available for free). You may want to retool it by offering different sizes, more customization options, or additional tutorials or educational resources, which may motivate people to try an already available pattern.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">More or better pictures</span> – Getting pictures in different sizes or better pictures for your pattern release. Choose testers who have great project photography, bloggers with great pictures, or local testers where you can photograph their samples. Don’t forget to get permission to use their photos BEFORE the test to avoid disappointment.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Growing or engaging with your community</span> – You can find new fans by allowing them to try out some patterns for free. Existing fans might be excited to be invited to a secret test or to access a new pattern before release. Balance your options for engaging your community – is testing the best way, or should you consider a knit- or crochet-along?</li> </ul> <p>Based on your goals for the test, you can organize it so that you can get what you want from it.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">2) Choose the right online or offline setting(s)</h3> <p>Offline testing is a great option if you want to grow your local community of fans or to photograph testers’ samples in different sizes or colors. Some places to recruit offline testers are:</p> <ul> <li>Local crochet or knitting guilds, such as chapters of the <a href="http://www.crochet.org/?ChapterList" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Crochet Guild of America</a> or guilds of <a href= "http://www.tkga.com/?page=FindGuild" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">The Knitting Guild Association</a>.</li> <li>Local meetups, which you can find on <a href= "http://www.meetup.com/find/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">MeetUp.com</a> or through <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/browse/location" target="_blank" rel="noopener">location-specific Ravelry groups</a>.</li> <li>Crochet/knit night at your local yarn shop.</li> <li>Through referrals from existing students or friends/family who crochet or knit.</li> </ul> <p>Online testing can allow you to recruit from a large pool of testers from all over the world! You can find pattern testers online through:</p> <ul> <li>Posts on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Ravelry group.</li> <li>Online groups or forums for specialty projects/techniques, including <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups" target="_blank" rel="noopener">groups on Ravelry</a>, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, and <a href="http://www.crochetville.com/community/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crochetville</a> and <a href= "http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Knitter’s Review forums</a>,</li> <li>Ravelry’s many free pattern testing groups. Each has it’s personality and set of guidelines. Some popular groups are <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/free-pattern-testers" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Free Pattern Testers</a>, the <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-happy-hookers-hangout" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Happy Hookers’ Hangout</a> (crochet only), and <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups/open-for-testing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Open for Testing</a>. I use the <a href="http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-testing-pool" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Testing Pool</a> when I’m looking for new testers. You can also announce tests for blanket designs <a href= "http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/afghans--blankets/2822497/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">in this thread</a> on the Afghans & Blankets group.</li> </ul> <p>There are also many places online to host a pattern test. Some options are:</p> <ul> <li>Your own Ravelry group or one of the Ravelry testing groups listed above – Your own group may be the best place to engage your existing fans, but it can be difficult to publicize if you’re a newer designer or have a small group. Most of the testing groups allow you to host a pattern test in their group (and some require it). Each group has different rules, but there are large pools of testers available. Testing on Ravelry allows your testers to easily link up projects to the pattern, but it also means that feedback and comments about the test will be available to people who search for it.</li> <li>Your own Facebook group, or a group that allows pattern tests.</li> <li>A Google or Yahoo group.</li> <li>Via email – This is usually the most private option and it can be easy to sort and compile feedback, but your testers won’t be able to interact with each other.</li> </ul> <h3 style="text-align: center;">3) Format your pattern</h3> <p>You can get great feedback if you share a version that is completely formatted with your testers. Testers may share their thoughts on your font (readability, size, and color), layout, the way you order your information, and other elements of your format.</p> <p>If you use pattern testing in conjunction with tech editing, there are different view points on whether you should test before or after it is tech edited. Tech editing first can provide your testers with a clearer and more technically correct pattern. Tech editing after the test can potentially save you some money on editing if testers find some errors that you correct before sending it to your tech editor. At minimum, check your pattern over before sending it out to testers. Even if you are looking for editing feedback, you don’t want to leave the impression that you are sloppy and careless with your patterns.</p> <p>Decide whether or not to share project pictures. It can generate excitement for the test, but it can also allow testers to read the stitches and use the picture as a guide. This may reduce the amount of feedback you get about problems in the pattern. Without pictures, you’re likely to have to answer more questions since people aren’t sure what the finished project will look likely.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">4) Set the guidelines</h3> <p>Your testing guidelines set the parameters for your test and let testers know what to expect from you. You may want to address:</p> <ul> <li>Yarn – Do testers need to use the same yarn you did? What types of substitutions are acceptable? Will you need to approve substitutions before a testers stars the pattern?</li> <li>Gauge – Is the pattern gauge dependent? Is a gauge swatch required? Many crocheters and knitters don’t check their gauge, so think about how to emphasize gauge if it is important for the successful completion of the project.</li> <li>Deadlines – Be considerate of your testers. Think about the size and complexity of the final project when setting a deadline.</li> <li>Testing setting – Share a link to the test thread if it’s online.</li> <li>Communication – When do you expect to hear from testers – at regular intervals or only when they have a question or finish the project? If you’re holding the test in a testing group, follow their established guidelines for best results.</li> <li>Sharing pictures – Can testers share pictures online during the test, after the test, or only after publication?</li> <li>Survey – Are there specific questions you need the testers to answer about the pattern?</li> <li>Photographs – If you will use testers’ photographs, ask for permission up front and indicate where the pictures will be used (e.g., on your website, Ravelry, Etsy, etc.) and ask how each tester would like to be credited (by name, by Ravelry name, by Twitter handle, etc.)</li> </ul> <p>Below in italics is a sample pattern test announcement. Change the information in all caps to meet your needs.</p> <p><em>I’m looking for up to INSERT-NUMBER testers for a CROCHET/KNIT PROJECT-TYPE. This pattern will be SELF-PUBLISHED/PUBLISHED-IN.</em></p> <p><em>SHARE SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE PROJECT (ROMANCE TEXT, INSPIRATION, ETC.) INCLUDE PHOTO IF YOU ARE SHOWING PICTURES.</em></p> <p><em>Testers will need:</em><br /> <em>YARN REQUIREMENTS. SHARE SUBSTITUTION GUIDELINES.</em></p> <p><em>HOOK/NEEDLE REQUIREMENTS, or any size needed to obtain gauge. GAUGE IS NOT CRITICAL TO THIS PROJECT/ALWAYS CHECK YOUR GAUGE FOR BEST RESULTS. INCLUDE GAUGE INFORMATION AND WHETHER GAUGE IS BEFORE OR AFTER BLOCKING.</em></p> <p><em>LIST OTHER NOTIONS (e.g., Yarn needle, Cable needle, Stitch markers)</em></p> <p><em>The deadline for finishing the test is DATE.</em></p> <p><em>This PROJECT is available in ONE/SEVERAL SIZES.</em></p> <p><em>(LIST SIZES AND MEASUREMENTS)</em></p> <p><em>I ask testers to complete the pattern, answer some questions about the pattern, and to take pictures of their final project. You can post pictures online (or to your Ravelry project page) AS YOU WORK ON THE PATTERN/AFTER THE PATTERN IS PUBLISHED. I will also need you to link your Ravelry project page to the pattern page when the pattern is published.</em></p> <p><em>If you are interested in testing please POST HERE/EMAIL ME/SEND ME A MESAGE. If you haven’t tested with me, make sure to include your email address so I can email you the pattern. (IF YOU HAVE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS, LIST THEM HERE - E.G., DOES THE TESTER NEED REFERRALS, LINKS TO THEIR COMPLETED PROJECTS, ETC.)</em></p> <p><em>We will conduct the pattern test in LINK TO THREAD/GROUP/VIA EMAIL.</em></p> <p><em>Testers who successfully complete the test on time will get the updated copy of pattern when it goes live, and will be entered into a giveaway for their choice of any one of my self-published patterns.</em></p> <p><em>Thanks for your consideration!</em></p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">5) Create a survey</h3> <p>Add a few simple questions to the email or post where you share the pattern with testers. Think about why are you doing the test when deciding what questions to include. Some sample questions are:</p> <ul> <li>Was the pattern clear/correct/understandable?</li> <li>Do you have any feedback on the format (font, layout, etc.)</li> <li>What type of yarn did you use? How much did you use?</li> <li>What size hook/needles did you use? What was the size of your finished project?</li> <li>Approximately how long did it take you to finish the project?</li> <li>Do you have any other feedback to share?</li> </ul> <p>Including open ended questions allows you to get great “sound bites” that you might want to use for marketing your patterns.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">6) Incentivize your testers</h3> <p>The issue of compensating pattern testers is a bit controversial. Many people feel you should pay your testers since too many crocheters and knitters “work for free.” I don’t rely on my testers for editing and so I feel comfortable about not paying them. However, I do include some incentives.</p> <ul> <li>Free copy of pattern when it’s complete and incorporates all the feedback.</li> <li>I mail a small token gift with a thank you card to my first time testers. I use a giveaway that I already use for my business.</li> <li>I often host giveaways (for stash yarn, books I’ve received from publishers for review, or free copies of my PDF patterns) specifically for pattern testers.</li> </ul> <p>Other designers may provide a tester with a complete ebook even if the tester has only tested one of the ebook patterns. At minimum, send a personal thank you to your testers, via messaging, email, or snail mail.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">7) Organize and use your feedback</h3> <p>Unless you’re testing only to add more photographs, you probably want feedback on your pattern. While you may not make changes based on every piece of feedback, you will still consider each comment that you get from testers. Some tips for organizing the feedback are:</p> <ul> <li>Create a document where you cut and paste all the feedback you’ve received.</li> <li>Highlight and group similar comments.</li> <li>Save the document near the pattern so that you can find it later when updating your pattern.</li> </ul> <p>Once you have the feedback organized, decide what feedback is relevant and should be included/addressed in the final/updated version. Look for marketing ideas in the comments. These can be used in the pattern description or when you are promoting the pattern.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">8) Track the test</h3> <p>Keep track of each tester. This can help you to recruit (or avoid) testers in the future. Some information you may want to track:</p> <ul> <li>Name,</li> <li>Contact information (email and/or snail mail),</li> <li>User names on the sites where you recruit or hold tests,</li> <li>The name of the test(s) the tester is currently participating in or has already completed, and</li> <li>Notes on the type of feedback the tester provided, their timeliness, or other information.</li> </ul> <p>I also periodically send out a survey to my former testers to ask about their preferences in terms of project types and contact.</p> <h3>Other Things to Consider For Future Tests</h3> <ul> <li>Think about when it’s time to bring in fresh eyes. It can be easier to recruit from your existing testers, but they may not provide the most objective feedback.</li> <li>Reward your longtime testers when appropriate with random acts of kindness.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p> <p> </p>
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Episode 2: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business (In Just Minutes A Day)
<h3>This Week’s Episode</h3> <p>Whether you’ve struggled to maintain a presence on Pinterest without indulging in hours of procrastination, or if you just haven’t dived into Pinterest yet, this episode has 10 great tips for staying active on Pinterest in just minutes a day.</p> <h3>10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business (in Just Minutes a Day)</h3> <ol> <li>Establish a small number of pins per day</li> <li>Pin as you’d like to be pinned (The Golden Rule)</li> <li>Alternate between pinning new content from other websites and re-pinning</li> <li>Use “Also on” to find new people and boards to follow</li> <li>Join group boards</li> <li>Refresh your boards periodically</li> <li>Use secret boards</li> <li>Convert to a business account</li> <li>Take better pictures</li> <li>Make it easy for people to find you if the Pin gets separated from the link</li> </ol> <p>Following these 10 tips takes just a few minutes a day, but allows you to grow a following on interest and engage with your fans and colleagues.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">1) Establish a small number of pins per day</h3> <p>Pick a number of pins (5, 10, or 15, depending on your schedule) that you will commit to each day. Pin binges are still ok – in moderation! – but approach your visits to Pinterest with your target goal in mind and leave when you’ve reached it.</p> <p>If it’s too difficult to visit the Pinterest website without getting lost in the visual beauty, rely on a Pin It button in your browser. You can find instructions for adding the button to various browsers <a href= "https://help.pinterest.com/en/article/save-pins-with-the-pinterest-browser-button" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">2) Pin as you’d like to be pinned (The Golden Rule)</h3> <p>When pinning content, be sure to include the source in your text. When re-pinning, this may require a visit to the original link to get information that the first pinner didn’t include. Share enough information in the description to make the original material sound interesting and to encourage people to click through to the original post. Don’t copy and paste so much information that visiting the original source is no longer necessary.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">3) Alternate between pinning new content from other websites and re-pinning</h3> <p>Re-pinning is a great way to engage with your Pinterest community and meet new (to you) pinners. It also adds diversity to your Pinterest content since you may not be exposed to the same websites as someone else. It can also prevent you from being spammy and pinning too much of your own content.</p> <p>To stay within my number of pins per day, I alternate, focusing on pinning new content on some days and only re-pinning content on other days.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">4) Use “Also on” to find new people and boards to follow</h3> <p>After pinning content that is already on Pinterest, the Also on screen will pop up.</p> <p>It’s a great way to find new pinners with similar interests. You can grow your followers, find great content to re-pin, and engage with other pinners. I especially checking out boards that have the same content I’ve pinned organized differently. For example, they’ve pinned the same pattern I have on a crochet board to a photography board. I can usually find interesting information to diversify my pins that way.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">5) Join group boards</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Group boards can be a great way to engage with other pinners or cross-promote content with other businesses. <a href="https://pingroupie.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">PinGroupie</a> allows you to search for group boards in different categories and sort them based on several different factors. You can also find group boards through Also On, or be invited to join based on your pins. Be sure to follow the guidelines established by the group (usually listed on the group’s board in the description) about how often and what type of content can be pinned.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Once you join a group, the board will appear as an option in your drop down menu as you pin new content.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">6) Refresh your boards periodically</h3> <p>You can refresh your boards by reordering them, splitting larger boards into multiple smaller boards, and/or optimizing your board titles and keywords.</p> <p>Feature your own content prominently at the top if you have a lot of boards, since most people won’t scroll all the way down. (Also, most mobile devices only display the first two boards on the screen.) As you add new boards, these automatically move to the bottom of your list, so refreshing periodically is a great way to make sure the most important content for your business right now is at the top.</p> <p>You can find instructions for adding, editing, deleting, and reordering boards on a variety of devices on Pinterest <a href="https://help.pinterest.com/en/article/edit-a-board#Web" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">7) Use secret boards</h3> <p>Secret boards are a great way to pin content privately. Secret boards can be converted to public boards, and can be shared with collaborators.</p> <p>There are three great reasons for using secret boards:</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">To create your mood boards, or to compile research and information.</span> These boards may never become public, but are a way for you to organize visual content for yourself.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">To organize collaborative projects.</span> You can share a secret board with a collaborator (or collaborators) to share visual resources for a group project.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">To (slowly) prepare for a launch.</span> You can pin content slowly over time to a secret board that will be ready to turn public when you launch a new product, website, or design, rather than trying to put together a new board in a mad rush to coincide with your launch.</li> </ul> <p>You can find instructions for creating, using, and sharing secret boards on Pinterest <a href= "http://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/secret-boards#Web" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">The next 3 tips are specifically about using Pinterest as a business and making your own content more pin-able.</h2> <h3 style="text-align: center;">8) Convert to a business account</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">In the beginning, you weren’t supposed to use Pinterest for business reasons. If you want to convert your existing personal account to a business account (or create a separate business account), visit <a href= "http://business.pinterest.com/en" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Pinterest for Business</a>. You’ll get access to improved <a href= "http://business.pinterest.com/en/pinterest-analytics" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">analytics</a> and you won’t run into problems when pinning your own content. You can also verify your website, which allows other people on Pinterest to see you own it (and you aren’t some shady business).</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">9) Take better pictures</h3> <p>For most of this, taking better picture is a constant struggle or growth process. But the fact is that better pictures are more likely to be pinned. Here are some basic tips to help you get on your way (in a just minutes on day!) to being a better photographer.</p> <ol> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Know your camera.</span> Read the manual, or at least download the PDF version so it’s easily searchable when you run into a problem.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Use indirect natural lighting when possible</span>. Direct lighting can be really harsh, and indoor lighting can introduce unusual colors to your projects.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Take many pictures.</span> Avoid the urge to “take one and (be) done!” Take a lot of pictures so that you can choose the best ones to share online.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Take test pictures to test settings.</span> Take a few sample pictures and look them over on your camera before you start taking your “real pictures.” This may allow you to fix settings for lighting, exposure, white balance, etc., or even to move your model into a better position to avoid weird shadows or backgrounds.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Practice!</span> Your photography will definitely improve with practice. You’ll become more confident with your camera and, if you reflect on what you’ve done, you can make corrections to improve your photography going forward.</li> <li><span style= "text-decoration: underline;">Post-production.</span> You can use post-production to improve your pictures. Even small adjustments like cropping out backgrounds, adjusting exposure, or changing the level of color saturation can greatly improve your pictures.</li> </ol> <p>Remember that portrait and square images fill an entire column on Pinterest. Landscape pictures look very small. This can be updated in post-production. This doesn’t mean you can never take landscape pictures, but try to include at least a few portrait or square pictures in each post.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">10) Make it easy for people to find you if the Pin gets separated from the link</h3> <p>Sometimes, Pins get separated from links. Maybe the person who originally pinned your content linked to your main blog page, and now the post with that image is buried. Or, perhaps they didn’t write a description and you changed your permalinks, so no one can find the original post.</p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Add unobtrusive watermarks or logos to your pictures.</span> When possible, include your website’s name and the title of the post or project so people can Google the information if the link is separated from the image. You can use <a href="http://www.picmonkey.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PicMonkey</a> or <a href="https://www.canva.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Canva</a> to do this.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Use Canva to create infographics or graphic text for web content that doesn’t have other images.</span> <a href="https://www.canva.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Canva</a> is a great, free online graphic design program. You can use it to make infographics, add watermarks to images, or create images of quotes or phrases (such as the title of a blog post). You can store images that you upload or access free stock photos and illustrations. You can also purchase images for commercial use for $1. Canva also has pre-sized templates for all types of social media, so you can easily make banners for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. profiles.</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Label your pictures when you upload them.</span> Most people don’t take the time to write great text when pinning content. Give them a head start by writing text that brings people back to your site.</li> </ul> <p>For other sites, try to pin your own content. What shows up in the text? Is it the image title, the caption, the description? That is the text you want to optimize for future uploads.</p> <h3>But wait, I thought this was in just minutes a day?!?!</h3> <p>Remember the first tip, which is to limit your total time on Pinterest. I’m not expecting you to go back through all of your pre-existing content and optimize it for Pinterest, or take 10x more pictures for your blog. If you make these adjustments as you add new content, you will only spend a few minutes a day while using Pinterest to grow your business.</p> <h3><strong>If you enjoyed this episode</strong></h3> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/designit">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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Episode 1: How to Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, or Design Submission
<p style="text-align: left;">Welcome to the first episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, hosted by <a href= "https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/about-me/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Marie Segares</a>.</p> <h3>About The Show</h3> <p>This podcast is focused on the unique challenges and joys of being a creative indie business owner in the yarn industry. Whether you’re a crochet or knitting designer, blogger, maker, podcaster, publisher, tech editor, or author; or a yarn spinner or dyer; or you make crochet hooks or knitting needles or accessories; this show will be all about how you can grow your business while hopefully staying productive, creative, and sane! The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show format combines solo shows and interviews.</p> <h3>About This Episode</h3> <p>This week’s episode is about how to identify the right magazines to target for article, design, and tutorial submissions. The publishing industry has changed so much in the last few years and you may not be thinking about submitting to magazines anymore. There are a lot of reasons you might want to periodically revisit whether submitting proposals to magazines is a good fit for your business, and if it is, which magazines make the most sense for you to consider as possible publishers.</p> <p>This episode originally included a downloadable chart with crochet and knitting magazines, but since it first aired in 2014, many things have changed. Create your own list by visiting each magazine's website and searching for design guidelines, submissions, or editorial calendar. When proposal guidelines aren’t posted, you can reach out to the contact email and ask to join a proposal call list and/or to submit an unsolicited proposal. </p> <p>Another great source for current magazine calls for proposals is the <a href="https://www.ravelry.com/groups/designers" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Designers group on Ravelry</a>.</p> <h3>Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, or Design Submission: 10 Factors to Consider</h3> <ol> <li>Distribution Channels and Customer Base</li> <li>Magazine’s Overall Aesthetic</li> <li>Editorial Calendar, Mood Board, and/or Call for Proposals</li> <li>Submission and Pre-Publication Process and the Publication Supports Available</li> <li>Compensation</li> <li>The Team</li> <li>Copyright and Exclusivity Terms</li> <li>Confidentiality/Pre-Publication Social Media Policies</li> <li>Deadline/Timeline for Current and Near Future Issues</li> <li>Cost of Submission</li> </ol> <p>Considering these factors helps you decide if a particular magazine is a good fit with you values, your business goals, and your current schedule. It should also lead to a higher acceptance rate since you aren’t targeting magazines that don’t fit your style, and more satisfaction with the terms of your publishing agreement.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">1) Distribution Channels and Customer Base</h4> <p>Print magazines are available in local yarn shops (LYS), book stores, grocery stores, big box stores, and other places an indie may have a hard time accessing. Digital magazines may be available on a particular platform that you aren’t working with already. The magazine may expose you to a different (or larger) audience than those who have already been introduced to your work. You may choose a magazine that reaches your existing audience to reinforce your presence among future customers.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">2) Magazine’s Overall Aesthetic</h4> <p>Besides the magazine’s website, blog, or Facebook page, Ravelry is a good source for looking through past issues. Some questions to ask to see if the magazine is the right fit for your business are:</p> <ul> <li>How does the overall aesthetic of the magazine connect with your (current or future) work?</li> <li>What type of yarn is used? (Large vs. indie brands, fiber types, weights, price points.)</li> <li>How do you feel about the styling, photography, and layout?</li> <li>What types of projects and articles are featured?</li> <li>What skill level(s) are targeted?</li> </ul> <h4 style="text-align: center;">3) Editorial Calendar, Mood Board, and/or Call for Proposals</h4> <p>Do you feel inspired to propose something in response to a mood board or posted call for proposals? If not, you may want to target this magazine at another time. When mood boards or call information isn’t publicly available, try to find out about the editorial calendar so you can submit proposals that are timely.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">4)   Submission and Pre-Publication Process and the Publication Supports Available</h4> <p>Are you pitching an idea and then moving forward if it is approved by the editorial team? Or, are you sending in the completed content (the complete article or tutorial with photos, or the pattern with photographs of a completed sample) as the proposal?</p> <p>What types of publication supports are available? Some examples include:</p> <ul> <li>Editing and tech editing,</li> <li>Styling and photography,</li> <li>Pattern layout and formatting,</li> <li>Content curation,</li> <li>Yarn (who selects the yarn, who arranges for yarn support),</li> <li>Promotion and marketing.</li> </ul> <p>Decide what balance you are seeking between control and support. The more control you want to maintain, the less support you may need from a magazine. The more support you need, the less control of publication supports you may need.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">5) Compensation</h4> <p>What type of compensation does the magazine offer?</p> <ul> <li>Monetary compensation (fixed payments that provide an expected level of cash flow for your business or royalties or a percentage of sales that provide the possibility of income with some uncertainty).</li> <li>Advertising within the magazine (such as an ad for your blog or Ravelry page).</li> <li>Featured promotion via social media.</li> <li>Contributor copies of the magazine.</li> <li>Ability to use photos or edits after publication.</li> <li>Giveaways for your fans.</li> </ul> <p>How does this fit with your business’s current financial and marketing needs?</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">6) The Team</h4> <p>Is there someone on the team (an editor, tech editor, or photographer) that you want to work with in the future? A magazine project can be a great introduction. If the magazine is a new venture, what do you know about the team – do they feel trustworthy and reliable to you? Conversely, are there people on the team that you’d like to avoid? Perhaps you’ve had problems with this person in the past, or you don’t like how this individual presents herself on social media.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">7) Copyright and Exclusivity Terms</h4> <p>What copyright and exclusivity terms would your agreement with the magazine include?</p> <ul> <li>Does the magazine purchase all rights to the article/tutorial/design, first rights, or just the right to publish?</li> <li>Does the magazine have the permanent right to publish this work, or only for a specific time period?</li> <li>Does these terms include print and digital, print only, or digital only?</li> </ul> <p>How do these terms balance out with other aspects of the agreement, particularly the compensation? </p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">8) Confidentiality/Pre-Publication Social Media Policies</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Can you keep a secret? If not, look for a magazine with a more liberal pre-publication social media policy! Consider whether you can mention that you are working with the magazine, will be included in a particular issue, share the yarn or products you will be using, post “sneak peak” photos, or even have the same content available online or in print prior to the publication of the magazine issue that would include your work.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">9) Deadline/Timeline for Current and Near Future Issues</h4> <p>Even when you have a identified a target magazine that is a great fit for you and your business, there may be times when the deadlines and timelines don’t fit into your schedule for personal or business reasons. Be sure to consider deadlines before submitting proposals, because if your work is accepted, you won’t want to back out or miss a deadline, especially if you haven’t worked with that magazine in the past. When submissions and/or the final work will be physically mailed, think about how much time you’ll need to add to the deadline to accommodate shipping times, especially if the magazine is in a different country and your package will need to pass through customs.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">10) Cost of Submission</h4> <p>This includes a combination of the costs for the proposal submission and the final work. If the submission process is very detailed or involved, you may spend more time/money on the proposal. When the proposals and final projects are submitted electronically, the costs can be relatively lower, assuming you are able to provide all of the content (including photographs). When you are dealing with physical submissions, consider the costs for expedited services or international mailing if appropriate. This is particularly important if your business is currently strapped for cash. </p> <p>Many of these factors are interrelated. Considering each factor will help you decide which magazines you want to target in general, or at a specific time in your business’s evolution. Finding a magazine that is a good fit for your business can lead to a great partnership.</p> <h3><strong>Additional Resources</strong></h3> <p>Here are some helpful links I’ve put together about submitting proposals.</p> <ul> <li>If you design garments but aren’t the best illustrator, a croqui template can help you show how your garments will fit on a body without having to draw a really sad stick figure. <a href= "https://www.designersnexus.com/fashion-design-portfolio/fashion-design-croquis-template/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Designer Nexus</a> has free croqui templates, and <a href= "https://www.pinterest.com/prodesign/fashion-croquis-templates-illustrator/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Prestige Pro Design has a wonderful board on Pinterest</a> with lots of links to croqui templates.</li> </ul> <h2>If you enjoyed this episode</h2> <p>The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show is no longer broadcasting. Episodes are available as a service to the yarn community. This episode originally aired in August, 2014. Be aware that content may be outdated.</p> <p>If you'd like to chat with other yarn-related business owners, join the <a href= "https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeYarnEntrepreneurs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook</a> group. Support Marie's work by buying one of her books, <em>Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Crochet-Business/dp/0990683419/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Amazon</a> | <a href= "https://gumroad.com/l/iaaVg/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Gumroad</a>) or <em>Design It, Promote It, Sell It: Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns</em> (<a href= "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTBVZ9P" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://gumroad.com/l/designit" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gumroad</a>).</p>
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