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Author: julie muenster

diagram of crochet business options

Riches in the niches (fingers crossed!)

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!

girl in crochet hat with butterflies

Five reasons you should start your crochet business as a side hustle

I am inspired, motivated, and energized to grow my crochet empire. I’ve listened to podcasts, read blogs, and googled the hours away to plan and prepare. I’m ready to go. But I’ve decided to start small and begin this business as a side hustle rather than a main source of income for five reasons:

1. It reduces the pressure of having to make money.

I began a website business a couple of years ago. I enjoyed the work and made a little money but struggled to gain traction. The pressure of having to make money with my business did not motivate me—it actually depleted and overwhelmed me. The pressure to make the best decisions paralyzed me.

Pressure also takes the joy out of pursuits. It’s a lot more fun to crochet when it’s not Mother’s Day/baby shower/Christmas tomorrow. If I don’t have to rely on the income from my crochet business, I can relax and take the time and steps necessary to build what I want.

2. It gives me an opportunity pursue excellence (as a recovering perfectionist).

I want things done right, and there are a lot of things to get right when it comes to building a business: Product, supplies, website, social media, marketing, multiple income streams, etc. I don’t want to quickly throw things out there and hope they’ll stick. I want a professional face to my business. When it’s a side hustle, I can take the time necessary to do it well. Or to redo it, or try a different direction. I can experiment and reiterate until I’m satisfied.

3. It provides another income stream.

I don’t have all my eggs in one basket, and there’s security in that. I am a single mom, so having a variety of ways to make money provides security.

4. It works with my personality.

I am a multipotentialite; I have a wide variety of interests and talents. It is impossible for me to narrow my career down to that one thing. So I do multiple things, including crochet. That works for me.

5. It gives my free time a purpose.

Working on my crochet business feels more like fun than work. It’s more rewarding to work on my business than to play on my phone or scroll through Facebook. I can still take all the time I want for family and other pursuits, and at the end of the day, I am much more content than if I’d wasted time on mindless pursuits. (I have decided Ruzzle is not mindless.)

 

This side-hustle mindset gives me the freedom to write this blog. It takes time to write. I don’t know if anyone will ever read it. But I enjoy the process, it helps develop my writing skills, and maybe one day it will help position me as an authority in the field. You know, confirm that I am indeed a crochet empress.

P.S. I highly recommend the Side Hustle School podcast with Chris Guillebeau. It’s practical and inspiring.

Respect the empress

“Crochet crap has taken over the house!” my son exclaimed. Display tables filled the living room in preparation for a craft show. Works in progress cluttered every horizontal surface in the house.

“Someday,” I replied, “you’ll wish you’d been more respectful to the future crochet empress.”

That was the first time the idea swirling in my mind expressed itself. And words have power. I am building a crochet empire. 

Until this time, I’d been playing with the idea of a crochet business. I was keeping my cards close, hedging my bets, unsure of the wisdom of this venture. But I wondered, at the end of my life, will I regret not trying? Will I wish I had pursued my dreams? My crazy dreams?

Yes. I am on a journey to building a crochet business. Join me on this adventure?