It has been very different experience for me to work as a designer full-time for the past few months, I have learnt a lot about how to run business and how to actually be a knitting and crochet designer. I expected to learn a lot but what has surprised me are the things that I have noticed about the world around me and about myself since becoming a designer. This post is all about those things that I have observed about myself and how others treat me.
What I have noticed about myself
- My friendship group has got a lot smaller. Since going freelance, I am not in an office anymore and those opportunities to go for a drink after work or go for lunch don’t exist, because I don’t see anyone in my home office (and by office I mean sofa…). So when I meet up with friends to go for a coffee or lunch or drinks, it is because we are have both made the effort to do so. As a big introvert, I appreciate this change and find it more manageable to have a small group of friends. (Old friends reading this – this is your opportunity to message me about that coffee we said we would do.)
- I find it hard to switch off from my work. In the evenings when I am watching TV I end up knitting or crocheting my latest design and when I go for an afternoon stroll I end up thinking about my next pattern launch or a new design. I have decided not to let that bother me for now. I love knitting and crocheting, so I will allow myself to do that in the evening and I won’t get annoyed at myself if my work mixes in too much. What I have found helpful to disconnect a bit, is to unsubscribe from any emails that I don’t read, avoid scrolling social media and to generally use my phone less. At the end of January 2018, I will be going on a holiday for a week and the hotel has limited wifi. I have never felt happier about that and will be making the most of the blackout.
- I love working alone. I knew that I loved working from home when I worked for someone else but I didn’t realise just to what to extent I loved it! I love not relying on anyone else to do tasks for me too. If I want to write a blog post, I do it. If I want to update my website, I do it. If I want to take some pictures of my work, I do it! I don’t need to ask anyone to help me with it or to do it for me.
- I can fix almost anything and I can find out how to do almost anything. When I first bought my first domain (knittwittowo.com) I had no idea about how to run a site because my previous wordpress blog did it all for me. I taught myself how to set up a site by Googling literally everything. When my images kept appearing upside down I Googled that, when my site got bloated I Googled that, when my site kept going down I Googled that too and the list goes on.
- I have become much more relaxed about problems. The first time that I deleted my entire website I did panic for a bit. Then when it happened a few times after that, it became pretty normal. When I have issues now and I find myself feeling stressed about it, I ask myself “will this problem matter in 5 years time? Will I even remember this problem in 5 years time?” if the answers are no then I move on. I also can remind myself that I am starting up my business, so now is the best time for things to go wrong because…well… no one is watching and most people do not care.
- I now know what type of work drains my energy and what work gives me energy. I tried a lot of different things when I first started out, like running my own craft groups and events. But it took time for me to see that that was just not right for me. The type of work that gives me energy is the type of work that involves writing, detail and planning. For example, I often start writing a pattern with the aim to work on it for an hour or so but I end up working on it for 4 hours because this is the type of work that gives me energy. Today I started writing pattern proposals with the aim to do one and I ended up submitting two! and starting another draft one.
What I have noticed about others
- Acquaintances (and some friends!) assume that I quit my corporate job so that I could become super wealthy working for myself and that I want to focus on making as much money as possible. Money has never been a huge motivator for me and that is far from the reason why I decided to go it alone. I decided to become a designer because I felt I had to do it now while I have the ideas. Ideas are not around for long, they come and go and I intend on grabbing them while I can. But also, I am a designer for the lifestyle. When I started my business I was suffering from severe migraines almost every other day, I had severe anxiety and I wanted that to end. Running my own business gave me the flexibility to sleep / work / relax / look after myself whenever I needed. Now I get migraines maybe once a month, I have hardly any anxiety attacks anymore. I find that the more money I make, the more anxiety I get, so frankly, I don’t intend on being a millionaire. My goal is to work in a way that enables me to stay healthy and happy.
- I get new ideas from other people all the time! All I have to do is get chatting to someone and soon enough they start to give me ideas of what to design next – it is brilliant! These ideas come from family, friends and acquaintances. Some of the ideas are pure genius and I appreciate every idea. I like that people suggest ideas to me, it shows that they are interested and they want to be part of something creative. I am very grateful to the ideas and the interest that people take in my business this way.
- Some friends and family are interested in what I do and some really aren’t interested – and that is OK. Setting myself up as a designer has been a huge deal for me as it has changed my life completely and I find it super interesting but not everyone will find it interesting. So when I come across friends and family who are not interested in my designing – that is ok with me, they just don’t get it and I move on. This happens in life a lot but now that my work is so closely intertwined with my dreams and who I am, it takes a little more self discipline not to let it bother me.
- Acquaintances think my job is super cool “OH MY GAWD YOU DESIGN KNITTING AND CROCHET PATTERNS FOR YOUR JOB! THAT IS AMAZING” Don’t get me wrong it is a great job, it is really challenging and I learn new things every day, but it involves a lot of hard work. A LOT. As I shared in my post yesterday, I tend to work 12 hour days 6/7 days a week. I don’t take many afternoons or evenings off and even if I do go for a walk, I guarantee you I am listening to a business podcast or planning out a pattern as I walk. Like any creative job it sounds all dreamy and wonderful if you chat to me at a networking event or at a party, but what I won’t always reveal when we first meet is how I have literally spent days prepping for a pattern launch and so far I only sold 2 patterns…and my hands hurt from knitting, which is why I am able to so expertly hold this mojito with my clawed hands.
That completes my list of what I have noticed for now. I guarantee this list will be ever growing!
Tune back in again tomorrow when I share my final post about what inspires my designs – I am super excited about sharing that one!
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