Crochet Income and Real Life
Can we talk about making money with crochet? Because that's the dream, right?! When you have a talent that not everyone does it stands to reason to think that you could use your talent to earn a bit of extra income. Right? Sounds logical?
I want to start by saying that I am in no way trying to dissuade you from trying to:
- Sell crocheted items (whether at craft fairs or via social media)
- Publish paid patterns
- Start a crochet blog
I could never say that I don't recommend you try these things! Heck...I've tried all three! But lately I have seen a lot of information (valuable information!) about how to do all three of these and I just want to let you know that It. Takes. Work. It is wonderful, gratifying and fulfilling work, but before you jump into the commitment of running your own business let's talk about what that entails:
- You are your own designer or maker. You spend the time designing patterns, writing content, taking photos, making products etc.
- You are your own book keeper. You keep track of your expenses and income for when tax season rolls around.
- You are your own advertiser. This one is huge! If no one knows how to find you, then your business probably won't pan out. So you have to spend a lot of time finding the right networks that work for you and to get your name out there.
- You are your own researcher. You take the time to figure out what to make or design next, what is trending, what works/doesn't work for your business model. If you are a blogger, you look at your metrics to figure out what drives in the most traffic, etc.
- Time, Time, Time!: When you are responsible for all of those things, it take a LOT of time to run your own business.
Sound fun (it is!)? Sound hard (it is!)? Sound like a lot of work (it is!)?
I want to start a conversation about real life. It is so simple to make things sound easier than they are, and truthfully speaking it will take you a lot of time and effort (and possibly some blood, sweat and tears) to start a successful crochet business.
Let me re-emphasize though. I am not trying to dissuade you from following your yarn-y dreams on whatever tangled path you want them to take you! Like I said, I have tried ALL of these things. And obviously I am having a great time blogging (I LOVE it! You can find all my free patterns here). But there is one more thing that I have tried (and still do!) to make money with my crochet talent. I TEACH others how to crochet.
Since I have vowed to be very honest in this post, let me tell you exactly how I became a crochet teacher…
Rewind to about a year and a half ago. I was sitting at my desk at a job I just couldn't stand to work at anymore, and all I could think about was how on earth could I figure out a way to make enough money to allow me to be a stay (work)-at-home mom! I had already tried selling my crocheted items on Facebook and Etsy, and although I had made a few sales it wasn't "taking off" like I thought it would even though my friends and family were constantly telling me to sell my work. I'll be honest, I wasn't the most organized seller with the adorable display table at craft fairs. That's just not my forte. And so I was not destined to sell my finished items...
So in the midst of daydreaming about ways to reach my goal, I had a thought. So many people complement crochet pieces and say they "wish they could make that"...maybe people genuinely want to learn how to crochet also?! A quick Google search led me to a webpage of our local Community Education and an email address for the director. I'm a bit impulsive when I get excited, and I emailed the director that day! I was nervously trying to sell myself and my idea to a person I had never met before. It felt like a job interview in a way. It felt BIG.
Truth be told, it wasn't even a little bit hard. I got an email back that same day essentially saying "Great! Send us your course descriptions and we will get your classes into the next catalogue. This is how much we will pay you per hour." Easy peasy, I now had a teaching gig! In fact I was a little nervous about how easy it was. How did they know I was qualified?? I'm left handed-what if I'm not good at teaching right handed students?? What if I'm just not good at teaching, period?? A year and a half later, I am happy to report that I am still teaching! My classes often have waiting lists and I have had a lot of return students come to my more advanced classes. I have to say, I love it. I chose what I want to teach, chose my own class times and days, and I get a paycheck each month which adds a decent amount of money into my SAHM "salary" . I also love being able to share my knowledge with others and seeing their skills improve.
Now I am not saying that you will get as lucky as I did and get a teaching gig the day you decide you want to try it, but I am saying that it is something to consider looking into! If you are looking for a bit of side income it is a great option to consider because you will typically be working for another organization or company (more on that below). That means they will take care of your paycheck and advertising. You just take care of your class material and actually teaching the classes. Teaching crochet (probably) won't replace your salary, and it won't be for everyone, but if you want to earn a little something extra without the huge commitment of running your own business, it is a great option to explore!
Finding Places to Teach
The following is my list of suggestions for places to check into if you are interested in offering crochet courses. Find an email or phone contact and pitch them your idea! It may help to see if they have a course catalogue or course descriptions online to make sure you are not suggesting a class that they already offer:
- Community Education - this is often found via a local school district (I teach in Minnesota in case anyone is wondering)
- Local or City Parks Districts
- Local Libraries
- Local yarn or craft stores
- "Big Box" yarn stores like Michaels or Joann Fabrics: They typically require you to take a certification class
Becoming a Certified Instructor
As I stated above, I have been teaching for a year and a half without any particular credentials. But if you want to make yourself even more marketable as a teacher (perhaps you live in a bigger city where there may be some competition for these types of positions) there are a few programs you can take to build your skills!
- Crafty Yarn Council: They have certification in crochet instruction for "Level 1-Instructor" and "Level 2-Teacher"
- The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA): They have a CGOA Masters Program that intermediate and advanced crocheters can enroll in. This program teaches advanced stitches and techniques. However, I don't think this is specifically related to teaching.
I was originally going to make this one big post, but as I have been writing I am realizing there is a lot of information! So there will be a Part 2 coming it a few days that will cover writing your course descriptions and planning your class. I will also share a free pattern that I use for teaching along with a few PDF handouts that you will be able to download and use in your classes.
Have you ever taught crochet? I'd love to add your advice to these posts! Send me an email with your suggestions for other aspiring crochet teachers!