Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
Episode 55: Email Marketing 101: Or, Why and How to Set Up an Email List for Your Creative Business

If setting up (or enhancing) an email list for your business is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, listen to this episode.

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.

Why should you have an email list?

Here are just a few reasons why having an email list by benefit your business.

  • It provides you with a direct connection to your fanbase without another platform as an intermediary.
  • People check their email regularly throughout the day, so you can connect with them on their schedule.
  • 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).
  • Business report seeing boosts in sales after sending out emails to their subscribers.
  • 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.

How should you set up an email list?

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.

I recommend starting with MadMimi or MailChimp, 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.

How should you approach your email list?

There are several simple options to consider for your email list.

  • RSS feed: 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.
  • Newsletter: 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.
  • Updates: 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).
  • Autoresponders: 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.

Listen to the episode for more details about each approach.

How do you get subscribers?

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.

Here are some other ways to grow your email list.

  • Update your website: Include subscription opt-ins in a sidebar, your About and Contact pages, and even in posts on your site.
  • Update your social media profiles: 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.
  • Update your “thank you” message: Change the automatic reply sent to your customers on Etsy and Ravelry (or other marketplaces) to include a link to your mailing list.
  • Giveaways: Some companies offer giveaways to their subscribers as an incentive to encourage people to sign up.
  • Lead magnet: Offer a free ebook, checklist, or other desirable product “in exchange” for a subscription. Tip: Do not get stuck on this. If you don’t have a lead magnet, you can still start an email list.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Some announcements:

  • I'm bringing back 31 Days to Pod Launch, a 31-day challenge to guide you through a DIY approach to setting up your own podcast, as a free email course in 2016. You can find out the details and sign up here.
  • The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur is now on Facebook. Please stop by and like the new page here. In addition to podcast episodes, I share at least two links every day with information that is helpful for small business owners.
  • Please take a moment to fill out the listener survey and share your feedback for upcoming episodes.

Do you have an email list? What approach(es) do you use? What email subscriber provider do you use?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode55, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, comment on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Facebook page, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

 

Direct download: CYES055.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:35am EST

Episode 54: Time Management for Your Part-Time or Side Business

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.

In this episode, I share my time management approach to being a part-time business owner:

  1. Start by setting your short- and long-term goals
  2. Look for "chunks" of time in your schedule that can be devoted to your business
  3. Arrange the activities required to meet your goals into types of tasks
  4. Organize the tasks into your available time slots
  5. Find a time management system that works for you
  6. Don't compare yourself to other businesses (especially those run by full timers)
  7. Find social support

You can hear more details by listening to this episode.

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.

Some announcements:

  • I'm bringing back 31 Days to Pod Launch, a 31 challenge to guide you through a DIY approach to setting up your own podcast, as a free email course in 2016. You can find out the details and sign up here.
  • The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur is now on Facebook. Please stop by and like the new page here. In addition to podcast episodes, I share at least two links every day with information that is helpful for small business owners.
  • Please take a moment to fill out the listener survey and share your feedback for upcoming episodes.

What time management strategies, tips, and tools have worked for you?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode54, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, comment on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Facebook page, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES054.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm EST

Episode 53: What To Do When You're Not Feeling Inspired for Your Creative Business

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.

  • Work through it
  • Focus on other crafts
  • Do a "mindless project"
  • Take a break from the creative side of your business
  • Express gratitude to someone else

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

You can listen to the episode for more tips on dealing with a lack of inspiration.

Some announcements:

  • Would you be interested in a Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show book club where we would (virtually) read business or creativity books together over the course of a month or two? I would love to start with The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (affiliate link) by Steven Pressfield. Let me know your thoughts.
  • I'm bringing back 31 Days to Pod Launch, a 31 challenge to guide you through a DIY approach to setting up your own podcast, as a free email course in 2016. You can find out the details and sign up here.
  • The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur is now on Facebook. Please stop by and like the new page here. In addition to podcast episodes, I share at least two links every day with information that is helpful for small business owners.
  • Please take a moment to fill out the listener survey and share your feedback for upcoming episodes.

What are favorite things to do when you're not feeling inspired?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode53, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, comment on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Facebook page, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES053.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EST

Episode 52: How to Increase Your Blog Traffic for Your Yarn-Related Business

In this episode, I talk about increasing blog traffic in response to feedback from the listener survey and and email exchange with Lindsay Lewchuk from Knit Eco Chic.

I'm listening to episode 48 & 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)?

Lindsay was previously a guest on Episode 12, where I interviewed the organizers of the Indie Design Gift-a-Long (you can see how 2015's Gift-a-Long is going here on Ravelry) and 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.)

This post contains affiliate links.

Here are my suggestions for increasing your blog's traffic.

First, focus on strategy and measurement.

  • Clarify your blog's purpose in relationship to your entire business.
  • Begin tracking your blog's traffic. (I recommend using Google Analytics. My blog is a self-hosted website with InMotion Hosting and I use the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin.)
  • Analyze what you've tracked, and make changes as appropriate.

Some of the tactics I've used to increase my blog traffic in the past year include...

  • Establishing an editorial calendar.
  • Posting more frequently and focusing on specific types of posts based on my goals.
  • Adding subscription options, including an RSS feed subscription and a weekly email newsletter (with links to that week's blog posts) subscription.
  • Guest posting on other sites.
  • Participating in link parties. (See below for a list of link parties.)
  • Linking your blog posts to projects and stash on Ravelry, and sharing those projects and stash in groups.
  • Sharing old/archived posts on social media daily.
  • Changing social media schedule, frequency, and/or platforms based on analysis of blog traffic.
  • Submitting links to referral sites more regularly (especially the growing network of Prime Publishing sites).
  • Joining private blogging groups where you can share information with other bloggers.
  • Attending blogging conferences, reading blogging books, and/or taking online blogging courses to further develop skills.

Listen to the episode for more details.

If you're focused on improving your blog and increasing traffic, you may want to listen to these prior episodes:

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

Link parties that I participate in regularly:

Some announcements:

  • Happy Thanksgiving to U.S. listeners!
  • The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur is now on Facebook. Please stop by and like the new page here. In addition to podcast episodes, I share at least two links everyday with information that is helpful for small business owners.
  • Please take a moment to fill out the listener survey and share your feedback for upcoming episodes.

What are your thoughts about building blog traffic for your yarn-related business?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode52, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, comment on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Facebook page, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES052.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am EST

Episode 51: Should I Be Using LinkedIn for My Yarn-Related Business?

In this episode, I answer a listener question from Caroline Ruzicka from Cherie in Wonderland about using LinkedIn for a yarn-related business.

Caroline asks,

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.

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.

A few things to keep in mind about LinkedIn:

  • It's a professional networking site, so language tends to be more formal.
  • 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.
  • It's alright to talk about yourself in third person or in first preson in your profile.
  • Most yarn-related business owners won't need to share update on LinkedIn as frequently as on other social networks.

Some of the ways yarn-related business owners might want to use LinkedIn are by:

  • Joining groups on writing, self-publishing, social media, marketing, or other topics that may support the development of their businesses.
  • Writing long-form posts that may help to build a portfolio for freelance writing or coaching. (You can find instructions for share these posts on LinkedIn here.)
  • Searching for contacts at specific companies.
  • Building a professional network.

You can listen to the episode for more tips for using LinkedIn for your yarn-related business.

How are you using LinkedIn for your yarn-related business?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/LinkedIn, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973. I'm also on LinkedIn as Marie Segares.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES051.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EST

Episode 50: Do I Need to Formalize My Yarn-Related Business?

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.

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.

So, why might you choose to formalize my yarn-related business?

  • 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.
  • You may find that you are more accountable to your business once you formalize it.
  • Your customers and family may respond more positively to the formality of an established business entity.

Here are some resources mentioned in the episode:

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.

Did you formalize your business? If you did, what business entity did you choose? If not, why not?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/entity, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group,Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES050.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am EST

Episode 49: How to Submit Crochet or Knitting Design Proposals to Magazines

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.

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.)

So, how do you submit your crochet or knitting design proposals?

  • First, if you haven't already, listen to Episode 1: Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, and Design Submissions 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.
  • Look for design submission guidelines, mood board, or other documents on the publisher website, and/or scan the Ravelry Designers group for current Calls for Submission.
  • If you have guidelines from the publisher, follow them closely.
  • 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.
  • 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.

You can listen to the episode for more details about preparing your sketch, swatch, and romance text.

Do you have other suggestions for (or questions about) submitting pattern proposals to magazines?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/magazine, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group,Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES049.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:01pm EST

Episode 48: Website Strategy and Working with Digital Marketers for Your Business with Carol Lynn Rivera

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.

I talk with Carol Lynn Rivera, a digital marketer at Rahvalor Interactive and the co-host of the Web.Search.Social podcast, and she shares great information about how to think about a website for your yarn-related business.

You can find also Carol Lynn online on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter.

This week's episode

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?"

Spoiler alert: The answer to both questions is "It depends" (but it all sounds much more elegant when Carol Lynn explains why).

So, do you need your own website?

Carol Lynn recommends developing an ecommerce site for your yarn-related business only if it can be done well. 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.

Even if you don't want, need, or can't manage ecommerce cabailities, what about having a website for other reasons?

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?

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.

If you take the DIY approach...

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?

Don't forget to start with the strategy and purpose 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.

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).

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.

If you decide to hire  someone...

Carol Lynn shares 5 important tips for finding the right company (or individual).

1) You should be able to communicate easily with the company before you contract with them. 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. 

2) The company should have an online presence that you can preview. 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.

3) Get it in writing. Once you settle on a company, you should get a clear outline of the services they will provide and the costs involved in writing. 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.

4) The company should have insurance. 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.

5) You should have access to your site and its analytics. 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 Until You Read This," 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.

You may also enjoy these additional resources

Carol Lynn has written several related articles that you may want to read.
How To Hire A Web Developer7 Things Your Web Developer Will Never Tell YouThe Lady In The Garage Can't Build Your Website
Dear Customer, This Is What You Should Pay To Hire A Marketing Company

Updates

Have you worked with another company to build your website? What tips would you share with other yarnies? Let me know in the comments at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/48 or in the Facebook group, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

Direct download: CYES048.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:15pm EST

Episode 47: Best Advice for Yarn-Related Businesses: Listeners and Former Guests Share Their Tips to Celebrate One Year of the CYE Show!

This week's episode is a special one-year anniversary episode 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.

Before we started on the advice, I shared the top 10 episodes from the first year of the show. Can you sense the themes?

  1. Episode 32: Journey to 100k Monthly Blog Visitors and More with Sedie Maruska

  2. Episode 8: Affordable Crochet and Knitting Fonts with Adriana Hernandez
  3. Episode 1: Identify the Right Magazines to Target for Your Article, Tutorial, and Design Submissions
  4. Episode 9: Selling on Etsy, An Interview with Ijeoma Eleazu from the Etsy Conversations Podcast
  5. Episode 2: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business (In Just Minutes A Day)
  6. Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test
  7. Episode 23: Diversifying Your Income and Boosting Your Blogging with Tamara Kelly from Moogly
  8. Episode 29: Selling on Etsy, Passive Income, and Using Trending Keywords with Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands
  9. Episode 21: 10 Habits for Successfully “Owning” (or Working) from Home
  10. Episode 4: 6 Ways to Engage with the Blogging Community

It seems that topics related to blogging, selling on Etsy, and self-publishing patterns are enjoyed by most listeners!

And, now on to the advice!

Michele Wang

Michele is a knitting designer and owner of Gauge + Tension, a pop up yarn shop in Brooklyn, NY. I previously interviewed her on Episode 13 about how (and why) she started Gauge + Tension. Michele says:

"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."

Joy Grise

Joy is a crochet maker and designer. Her business is called Joy of Crochet. Joy's advice is:

"Write your patterns!

 

 

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. 

 

 

The examples in my own life are my Ultimate Upcycled Owl which is a free pattern and my Half-Finger Fingerless Gloves."

 

Tamara Kelly

Tamara is the (mostly crochet) designer, blogger, and teacher behind Moogly. I previously interviewed her on Episode 23. Tamara's advice:

"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!"

Dana Gervais

Dana is a knitting designer and owner of Dana Gervais Designs. Dana says:

"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."

Amy Ramnarine

Amy is the blogger and crochet designer behind The Stitchin' Mommy. I interviewed her on Episode 31. Amy's advice:

"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."

Anita Bose Natarajan

Anita is the knitting designer behind NitaB&NishaN, Inc. Anita says:

"Invest in Yourself!!! Learn financial, business and 'your area of interest' skills.

If you are starting out and have no funds, learn from all the freebies you can find - internet, people, print articles - anything.
 
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.
 
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.
 
I have always done one of the above depending on my financial situation and managed to move ahead - snail pace, but still ahead."
 
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.

 

Lindsay Lewchuk

Lindsay is a knitting designer and maker, and the owner of Knit Eco Chic.Lindsay was one of the organizers of last year's Indie Design Gift-a-Long I interviewed in Episode 12, and she was also my guest in Episode 26. Lindsay's advice:

"Let your passion and character shine through each design."

 

Joanna

Joanna is a crochet designer known as Goddess Crochet. Joanna says:

"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.

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."

Kathryn Vercillo

Kathryn is a writer and the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence. Kathryn's advice:

"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."

Ashwini Jambhekar

Ashwini is a knitting designer and tech editor. She is the owner of Ashwini J Designs, and she shared her approach to pattern grading in this episode. Ashwini says:

"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."

Angela Plunkett

Angela is a crochet designer and maker, and the owner of Little Monkeys Shop. Angela's advice:

"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!

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."
 

Vashti Braha

Vashti is a crochet designer, indie publisher, and yarn manufacturer. She was previously my guest in Episode 27. Vashti's advice:
 
"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:
 
Doris Chan crocheted ALL sizes of a new design in ALL colors of DesigningVashti Lotus yarn. At two CGOA conferences we had "fitting labs" with them, and had them all modeled at once in the fashion show of each conference. 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.
 
Attached is an image of Doris the Blur, in constant motion! This was her newest Lotus Lattice design in our booth on the show floor in July 2015."
 
Doris Chan at the DesigningVashti Booth at the Knit and Crochet Show 2015.
 

Danielle Chalson

Danielle is the knitting designer behind Makewise Designs. She also happens to be an intellectual property attorney, and I interviewed her about IP issues in Episode 7.

"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!"

I don't suppose I could sneak away from this episode without sharing my own tips...

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.

  • Flexibility. I've had to be willing to make adjustments and course corrections to my businesses (while still staying true to myself, of course).
  • Learning. I've had to make frequent investments of time and money in myself to keep learning new things to help my businesses thrive.
  • Diversification. 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.

Recent review

Kathy Kelly from Crochetbird 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!

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.

Updates

What's your best advice for another yarn-related business owner? Let me know in the comments here or in the Facebook group, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

You can subscribe to the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show on on iTunes or Stitcher. Please leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher and join the mailing list. I’ll let people on the list know in advance about special guests and topics so you can share your questions.

 

Direct download: CYES047.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EST

Episode 46: 8 Free and Low-Cost Resources for Professional Development for Your Yarn-Related Business - The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show 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. Here’s a preview of the 8 ways you can […]
Direct download: CYES046.mp3
Category:Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show -- posted at: 2:37pm EST