The Designing Process – Part Five: Going Professional

Here we are, at the end of this series! I’ve had a great time writing about the exciting process of designing your own crochet patterns, and I hope you have too.

In this last issue I’m going to top off the series with the discussion of whether to go professional. If you’ve missed any of the past posts in this series, I have them listed at the very bottom of this post.

Should you go professional once you’ve had some experience? 

That’s a fair question because crochet designing as a profession is not for everybody. There’s a lot to consider before making the decision to go that route, one of which is that it can be hard work.

You may be thinking, “Hard? It doesn’t consist of getting up with an alarm clock, I can work whenever and however long I want, at any hour of the day or night. I’m the boss and I can make my own rules. What’s so hard about that?”
Well, all of that is true, but there is more than just the benefits to take into account. I am not trying to discourage you, only urge your to see the full picture.

The Discussion

There are two sides of the coin when deciding to make a job out of your hobby. One side says doing what you love for a business is a sure way to eventually hate it. This is partially true. It is easy to let the drive to be successful, meet your deadlines, and make a profit overcome your initial joy. But it’s something that you will have to keep in mind and guard against, not avoid all together. And don’t let your focus get out of joint. Remember why you wanted to do it in the first place.
The other side to that coin says you should do what you love because it will make you happier and more motivated. You work harder and with more motivation when you are doing what makes you happy, even if it doesn’t make you as much money, than you would if you had a typical job making good money. Granted, the subject of money is a hard one, because, after all, it’s necessary.
I was taught to follow my interests when looking for work. Don’t settle for second best just because it’s a job. Find something that fits your interests and get busy working hard.

Making the Strawberry Patch Garland for Crochet Spot

What it Involves

As you can tell from previous posts in this series, it can take some time to create a new pattern. I’m not going to say that you can’t work your day job and design professional too, because there is a lot of variation to consider. It all depends on what you do, how much time you have to commit, and whether you can get it done.

When I first began designing for Crochet Spot, I designed a pattern a week, occasionally two, making sure every other weeks pattern was slightly more involved. This was good because at the time I didn’t have much else I was doing.

However, things have changed to where I design one pattern a month for Crochet Spot. The monetary benefits are less, of course, but this is better in this stage of my life because it allows me to put a lot more time and creativity into my own business, while still receiving outside exposure.

Scheduling and Planning
The more intentional you get about going professional, the more you will have to pay attention to scheduling. Scheduling time to get the project done, thinking in advance to give yourself enough time before the deadline, as well as taking advantage of special days for related themes.

The first few years of designing were fairly uncomplicated in terms of scheduling. And yet I didn’t do much planning and would often scramble as my deadline drew near to finish time. I soon came to realize I would need to give it more forethought than I had been to keep myself from cramming each week. It took me a while to reach an understanding with myself on just how much time I would need but today I do less cramming and have a clearer mind.

This is the key. Commitment to do what you said you would, devote the time you need to get it done, and not give up when the going gets rough. This is a quality to have in everything you attempt in life. When people see your commitment they will know you are a designer worthy of respect. You can eventually build for yourself a reputation and consequently, a flourishing business.

And also, you must have a commitment for quality. As I always say, do your best and don’t settle for half-baked.

Diplodocus Dino Mini Pillow | Free Crochet Pattern

Designing for Others or Yourself

If you decide to go professional, there are at least two obvious ways to go: designing for someone else or designing for yourself. Meaning, you can take a job where you work as part of a design team, like I do with Crochet Spot, and work to smaller degrees.

Then there is always the option to set up your own business and sell your own patterns. This takes considerably more work and attention, so be sure you know what it entails before jumping headfirst into it. I won’t get into the details because there’s hardly enough time to cover it all here anyway.

I am at the present doing both, making sure I give the most attention, however, to my own business.

No matter what anyone says, the decision of whether to go professional is entirely up to you. You know what you can handle and can’t, and you know if this is for you. But even if you don’t, take it from a slow decision maker, you can try for a while at least. No harm in that.

I hope this post, and this entire series, has been helpful. I do not mean it to be exhaustive, and I am sure there are many points that I didn’t cover. However, I do feel I have covered the basics adequately, so if you have any questions be sure to let me know! Leave me a comment below or check out my Contact page for more information.

Thanks for stopping by Ginger Peachy! Come back at the end of the week for my craft post.

Intro: Crocheting From Scratch
Part One: Developing an Idea
Part Two: Planning and Supplies

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