Last week was my 24th birthday and I like to use important dates like this one to reflect over years past, to see how far I’ve come from where I started. I’ve been designing for two years now, but only really have been a fiber “entrepreneur” for about a year. The difference and growth I’ve seen from when I was designing as a hobby, to now, designing as a career is as clear as night and day.
Today I would like to share three lessons I’ve learned since I’ve become a Fiber Entrepreneur; something I hope aspiring and beginner fiber bosses will be able to take to heart when they start their brands!
1. Patience + Action = Momentum
My motto for everything is “Just do it!”: act on your fears and desires and you have a higher chance of achieving success. However, the reality is action alone isn’t enough for a sustainable business. You need patience. Success doesn’t come overnight, and the designers that you admire and adore have been working on their careers for YEARS. While you have to put your plans into action, you also have to realize that it takes time for that action to pay off. Consistent, persistent action only comes to those who are patient.
2. You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Get someone to talk to - to bounce ideas off of; to hold you accountable to your goals; to cheer and motivate you when you are feeling down. I have both an accountability partner and a mentor. My accountability partner whom many of you know as Chelsea Fitch of KnitFitch, and I are on similar levels in our brands, so we can understand what the other is going through when times are tough and we bounce ideas back and forth to help each other grow and think outside the box.
My mentor, on the other hand, is ten steps ahead of me, at a place in her career to which I aspire. My mentor has been through what I’m currently going through, so I know that patience + action will get me to where I want to be, while making sure I don’t make detours and know which actions will get me there more successfully.
If you need a partner or mentor, just reach out! Interact with people online or in-person to develop a relationship to see who best jives with you and then take it to the next step. That’s why Chelsea and I created the Fiber Boss Collective Facebook Group, to make this process easier. With likeminded people, at all different levels of their careers, you’ll be sure to find someone who is willing to pair up with you!
3. The More You Give, The More You Get
In Gary Vanderchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook he shares his secret to his multi-million-dollar company’s success. He spent more time giving away value than he did selling to his audience. Why? To develop relationships with his audience. It builds trust, but not in the way that many would expect. Sure, the audience is able to trust HIM because they can see what he provides so freely, but actually, the trust is in the audience continuing to support him by purchasing his full-scale products. If they found value in his free goods and enjoyed him as a person, saw him as a friend, they would want to support him so that he can continue the cycle. They became his patrons of sorts, by giving back to him financially as they saw and felt fit.
The moment I started to implement the same type of thinking, my business has grown immensely. I give value through limited free patterns, articles like these that motivate, inspire or educate you, remaining transparent about social media growth, the challenges and rewards of being a knitwear designer, etc., or helping aspiring or beginner knitwear designers to publishing their patterns onto Ravelry. And in return, I trust that my audience supports me a little bit in return by purchasing my designs (or coming very soon in the future, my e-book and e-course).
The moment I shifted my mindset from “Give me your money” to “I will help you”, the rewards grew exponentially, not just financially, but also emotionally from all the relationships I have formed. Want to make money? Give value first.
So, those are three lessons I’ve learned since becoming a fiber entrepreneur! I would love to hear your thoughts on the tips I’ve shared, as well as what lessons you’ve learned as a fiber entrepreneur, no matter what level or stage you’re at. We all have golden nuggets of knowledge to share! If you found this post useful or enlightening, please share it with your friends or your audience!