How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you build a crochet empire? One step at a time.
When I decided to start my crochet business, I just wanted to grab a hook and buy some yarn (especially buy some yarn!) and start creating. I wanted to feel productive. But it seemed like a waste of energy to plow ahead without a destination. So I put down the hook and put on my CEO hat. It was time to step back and consider the big picture: What do I want my business to look like?
These are the questions I asked myself:
1. What are all the ways I can make money with crochet?
Sure, I could crochet a product. But I wanted to expand my thinking. Was there a crochet-related income stream I’d overlooked? Or something that was less labor intensive? I searched “How to make money with crochet” and found some great ideas. I considered my skills, experience, and interests. What was realistic for where I am right now?
Decision: Sell products, design patterns, and teach classes
2. Who is my target market?
I can’t have a successful business without customers! Who is my ideal customer? What are their needs/desires? Why would they purchase from me?
I brainstormed on paper: Target market could be women buying gifts or looking for unique gifts; they have money. Also, women who crochet gifts who have the time (mothers of children don’t have much time). Women who have babies/toddlers in their lives: mothers, friends, grandparents, church family, relatives. Target women in cold/cool climates (don’t need yarn hats in Florida). Hats for what age group? Do I want to make hats for men? (We’ll discuss marketing strategies for my target markets another time.)
Decision: I have three target audiences—women ready to purchase a product, beginning crocheters (classes), and crocheters looking for patterns.
3. What is my niche?
I’d done enough research and listened to enough podcasts to know that my success depended on my finding a niche. Yes, I’m skilled and experienced enough to crochet anything. But I really wanted to become an expert in one area. I can always expand later (after all, I’m building an empire). For right now, I want to specialize, to be the go-to person for a particular skill.
In determining my niche, I considered the following:
- What projects could I charge enough to cover my labor costs? That ruled out afghans! Too labor intensive. I needed something smaller.
- What projects have I gotten a good response from? Hats I made for a mom-to-be prompted the encouragement from others to start this business. They also loved the sweaters and dresses I made for my babies. Dishcloths I gave away always got a good reception.
- What did I enjoy making? I thoroughly enjoyed making those hats for the baby shower. Dishcloths work up quickly. Baby clothes are so precious.
- What about my personality? I love starting projects and get bored easily. I like a challenge. I love designing. I’m patient and perfectionist enough to work on a project to get it right. I also love teaching and like to be helpful. I enjoy being in Facebook crochet groups and especially enjoy helping fellow crocheters who are stuck.
- What inspires me? Downton Abbey. I absolutely loved those hats. I want to be part of a hat revolution!
Decision: My niche is hats! I am currently making hats for young ladies of all ages, but I may want to niche further. I want to become known as a hat expert.
I have visions of expanding my business—I would love to create videos and online courses. But for now, I’m starting from a more manageable position and enjoying the process. And trusting that the money will follow. We’ll see if the riches are in the niches!