I sometimes forget how my business has changed over the years. Each iteration has developed to allow for my life circumstances at that time and in a direction that made business sense.
When I began it was all about experimentation. I hadn’t really made a decision to become a knitwear designer, I just sort of fell into it. The challenge of learning something new and also putting my maths skills to the test was so much fun. Dreaming of designs in my head and then making them transform into physical objects was just magical. I really couldn’t believe that I was able to make it happen.
Once I began to feel that I knew what I was doing I relished the challenge of getting designs accepted into magazines and then moving on to getting book proposals accepted. Life as a designer fitted in perfectly with my young family. My youngest (of 4) was just a few years old now and my design time was in bite-sized chunks. Usually late at night.
As my free time began to expand my journey took the next step, teaching.
I began getting invitations to teach, first locally, then at international events and finally at the online teaching platform, Craftsy. This was a game-changer for me. It was the first time I started making a more significant amount from my work and it allowed me to imagine a more full-time career in knitting.
When you start a business as a hobby it can sometimes make transitioning difficult. Switching the view just from what you love to one that includes smart business decisions.
I still love designing but it’s fairly limited in the amount you can make from it. Plus it’s very hit and miss. For every hit you have, you’ll have a dozen that you’re lucky to break even with on costs. To move on I really had to make a sideways step.
At this point, my eldest was in college and my youngest was getting ready to move into secondary school. It was time for me to shift things up a gear.
It took me a little while to figure out what that was going to look like but I’m really enjoying the direction it’s going in! What I’m also discovering is that work, like life, is a work in progress. There’s no one fixed destination. When you get there you discover that the horizon has moved and you’re goals are different.
I’ve discovered that I work best under pressure. When I’m faced with challenges I often do my best work and come up with the most interesting ideas. Up to a point. Everyone has a tipping point beyond which they crumble.
I’ve hit that point a few times this year. Once I recognise what’s happening I need to stop, take a deep breath and find a little mental space to clear my head. I’ll slow down for a few weeks, begin to feel like myself again and then start accelerating once more.
There’s a lot about the crazy ways I work that I’ve come to embrace and accept as I get older.
This is me.
I make mistakes, I dust myself off and I get back up.
Maybe next time I’ll make a new, more exciting mistake that will take me down a brand new road? Who knows!