And then the Kit Club outgrew my car…

This is a happy story with a good problem to have and a solution… but it’s mostly detail-sy insights about how I run the Kit Club. I do these types of posts every so often because a handful of folks find the behind-the-scenes stuff interesting. If it’s not, fear not! We’ll be back to regular programming in no time!

Problem: The Kit Club outgrew my car

I am committed to giving my customers the best prices possible. This means that I ship all of my Kit Club packages via first-class mail, which is a lower shipping cost than mailing via Priority Mail.

kit club boxes

If you ship via Priority Mail, the post office gives you boxes (and delivers them to your house) for free. If you’ve ever wondered why so many companies only ‘offer’ Priority Mail shipping, that’s one reason why.

If you ship first-class mail, you have to buy and pick up the boxes yourself. No problem. I can do that.

So, every other month, I drive my car to Wisconsin and fill it up with boxes for the club.

kit club boxes in car

This photo was taken 10 months ago. Since then, the number of subscribers has increased and the boxes no longer all fit in my car. I don’t have a tiny car, either. It’s an SUV.

How to ship the stuff? Possible solutions!

I want to point out that it’s the empty boxes that won’t fit in my car. I won’t even mention how, on shipping day, I can’t fit all of the full boxes onto my porch for the mailman. There are a lot of boxes.

So, I’ve been brainstorming some solutions:

Switch to Priority shipping. This would come close to doubling my shipping fee for domestic customers and would pretty much make all of my international customers cancel their subscriptions. That hardly seems worth it! Besides, what happens if the post office doesn’t have that quantity of free boxes in stock?

Buy a bigger truck or a trailer I don’t even want to calculate how many kits I’d need to sell to justify that cost! A trailer on the back does seem cool, though!

Have the boxes delivered. This would double the price of my boxes (since boxes are bulky and expensive to ship).

Make two trips to the warehouse. This would not only increase the cost of the boxes due to gas mileage, but I would also be charged a fee because these 2 smaller shipments would be below the minimum order. And, one trip already takes me 2 hours. A second one wouldn’t be fun.

Switch to padded envelopes. Hey… that’s not a bad idea!

The switch to padded envelopes

My longtime customer, Vicki from Australia, was the first to make this suggestion. At first I was hesitant, because envelopes don’t seem as ‘nice’ as boxes. But then I thought about it…

I can fit nearly twice as many envelopes in my car as boxes. Oooh, that’s exciting!

envelopes kit club

And, because the envelope is lighter than a box, I can include more material in the kit for the same shipping price! Ooh! This is sounding better and better!

So, I’m delighted to announce that I’ve made the switch! I know some of you may be sad about the lack of fanciness, so I made an adorable new sticker to make up for it:

new kit club sticker

That makes it all better, right?

Get ready for open enrollment!

New signups for the Kit Club open on July 20th. Although I’ll be be opening the club to some of the highest numbers I’ve ever had, there is still a limit. And if the club hits that limit before August 20th (the close date), then I will close the club early.

So if you want to guarantee your spot (and you aren’t already a member), sign up to receive email updates (in the sidebar). This way, you’ll get an email when the club opens and you can snag your spot!

As always, current members have a guaranteed spot. If you are a member, there is no need to re-enroll. If you do, you’ll end up with two packages coming to your door!

How to Get What You Want

My “working title” for this blog post was: Why you should ALWAYS communicate… but I thought this one was a bit catchier!

Do you feel like you’re always getting stuck in a tough spot? Like nothing comes out the way you planned? I have one tip that is going to change your life. It might not fix every problem, but it’s going to help a lot!

Say what you want aloud

There it is. That’s my tip.

What exactly do I mean? Let me tell you a story.

I order really big quantities of yarn for the Kit Club. Oftentimes, this requires the mill custom-dyeing batches of yarn for me, as they don’t have enough in stock.

I have a pretty tight turn-around for the Kit Club, so I need to have the yarn by a certain date. The last time I placed my order, I said, “I need this color as soon as possible, and this other color can wait”.

yarns for Dog Pattern Club

Was I being bossy? Telling the dyer how to do their job? Actually, no! The company said, “I’m so glad you told us that! It’s a lot of yarn, and this will help us prioritize the dyeing”.

Many of us are very timid about saying what we need. But when you say what you want aloud, then others can alter their actions to better help you out. It doesn’t mean you’ll get exactly what you want every time, but by saying what you want, you’re giving others information that will help guide their decisions.

You’re actually helping others when you say what you want!

State your preference, then let it be

Do you love the color orange? Maybe you want to mention that when your mom is asking about birthday presents.

Love pasta? Toss the suggestion into the ring when your friends are brainstorming about dinner.

It’s important to say what you want, but to avoid being pushy, in most cases, you’ll want to let it go after that. If your friends have no opinion about dinner, then they’ll tend toward the place you suggest. But if your 5 other friends want steak, a steakhouse is going to win the vote.

And that’s okay! You’ve done your job by mentioning your thoughts!

Do you have a story to share? A time when you failed to mention what you wanted and regretted it later? Or a time when you were really glad you shared your desires? I want to hear!

Other Articles you May Enjoy:

How to Prioritize like a Pro: Schedule your Hardest Tasks

I know this has happened to you: you have sincere plans to do insert important thing here. And then, you have a little spare block of time. But it’s not the right time to do that important thing. So time slips by and that thing never gets done.

How do I know? It used to happen to me!

basic sock pattern crazy colors

It happens a lot in life, but particularly with crafty projects. Like, you’re not making progress on your knitted sweater because you haven’t gotten past that pesky part where you separate the sleeves and really need to concentrate!

I’ll tell you my trick for managing my time more effectively!

Schedule the Hardest Parts

Most craft projects have some hard parts and then lots of mindless hours. Take knitting a sock for example: you have to pay attention for the heel and toe, but unless you’re doing a fancy pattern, most of the sock is just hours of knitting in plain stockinette.

knitting socks

The trick is that you want to make sure to line up the easy part of your knitting with when you have mindless knitting time… which means that you may need to schedule the tricky parts!

If you’re planning a trip, for example, do the cast on before you leave. Then, you’re set to work on the mindless part while you’re traveling (and maybe can’t concentrate so well).

It’s a little counter-intuitive because it means treating your hobby a little like work (put it in your calender), but you’ll be rewarded with making fast progress in your spare moments!

Seen in this post…

Is teaching knitting or crochet right for you?

I love doing yoga. I’ve been attending classes regularly for years.

When I mention this, people often ask me, “why don’t you teach yoga, then?”

yoga

Do you know what a yoga teacher does during class? They walk around telling people what to do. They don’t actually do yoga. That’s what teaching is. And I enjoy doing my yoga, thank-you-very-much.

How to decide if teaching is right for you

Teaching knitting or crochet is exactly the same way.

Teaching isn’t an excuse to sneak in more knitting. Frankly, you might not knit a stitch the entire time you’re teaching, since you’ll likely be either talking or helping your students.

How do you decide if you might like teaching? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you enjoy explaining things to others? Let’s say that you’re in a conversation about a semi-confusing current event. Do you find it interesting to explain what you understand to the group? Or do you just wish they’d hurry up and ‘get it’?

Do you often come up with ways of simplifying complex ideas? Do you find yourself thinking that the standard way of explaining things is very complicated? Are you often coming up with easier ways that your friends understand and appreciate?

Are you patient? How do you react when a grocery store teller takes a million years to ring up your purchase? Do you smile and wait? Or get instantly grumpy?

Are you able to explain how to do something a number of different ways? If your husband is confused about the kids’ after-school schedule, do you come up with a new way to present the information so that it works for him? Or do you just keep repeating yourself over and over again?

How to Teach Amigurumi

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, there’s a good chance that you would enjoy (and be good at) teaching. One of the keys to teaching is breaking ideas down into small, concrete steps, a skill that is quite rare. You will have students that think completely differently than you do, so an ability to describe things in new and creative ways (with patience!) is essential.

Resources for Teaching

If you’re thinking of teaching knitting or crochet, I highly recommend Gwen Bortner’s class on Craftsy: How to Teach It.

Gwen Bortner's teaching class on Craftsy

You’ll want to pop over to this blog post to read the full review… it’s an entire class on teaching! It includes information about the business of teaching and applying to gigs.

I’ve also discovered these great posts from Lion Brand with 7 tips for teaching kids to knit and crochet and 9 secrets to helping a beginner knitter or crocheter. Such great advice!

Knitting with Karbonz needles from Knitter's Pride Review

If crocheting is your thing, then you’ll love my series on teaching amigurumi… there’s loads of good info in there!

What do you think?

Have you tried teaching before? How did it go? Was it right for you?

Any tips to share?

2014 FreshStitches Year-end Wrap Up!

I started FreshStitches in 2008, and it’s been my full-time job (and main source of income) since 2010. Every year since then, I’ve posted an end-of year wrap-up to share a bit about how the business works. I highly recommend having a peek at the previous years, they contain some useful business-y tidbits! Here are the posts for: 2010, 2011, 2012, mid-2013 and 2013.

Other wrap-ups you might like

My hope in sharing this information publicly is that folks who are running a craft business or thinking about starting one can get their hands on a bit of information. Every business is different, but I think it’s important to emphasize that it’s possible to make a living from a craft business. You can read a bit more about my thoughts on that issue in The Pragmatic Designer’s Income Report

  • Abby Glassenberg’s 2014 Income Report (and click through to see each quarter!)
  • Pinch of Yum’s Income and Traffic Report (even though it’s a food blog, it’s worth reading!)
  • How was 2014?

    2014 was absolutely amazing for FreshStitches. The number of members in my Kit Club tripled. Knock me over with a feather. Profits were up 174% over 2013.

    shipping Kit Club

    I gained close to 600,000 fans on facebook (more on that, later!). The FreshStitches Ravelry Group now has over 2500 members. I even joined Instagram.

    I traveled to 16 states. And made 3 international trips. It’s been a crazy year, but I loved every minute of it!

    Okay, let’s get started with this review!

    Overall Income Sources

    I teach. I write books. I blog. And I run FreshStitches.

    While FreshStitches (that’s the patterns and kits) is my main source of income, it’s only a percentage.

    Income by source

    This is pretty similar to last year.

    I still haven’t figured out a way to monetize the blog that I’m happy with. I attempted sponsorship in 2013, but it was time-consuming to hand-curate sponsors. I don’t think generic ads are right for this blog. While it appears I’m still getting a nice chunk in 2014, a fair bit of that was from Sulia, which has since gone out of business.

    FreshStitches Income

    FreshStitches sells patterns, kits and eyes. The FreshStitches website runs the Ravelry shopping cart, so it’s not easy to tease apart the source of all of my pattern sales. Here’s what we’ve got:

    sales by source

    As you can see, the largest percentage of earnings comes from physical sales: the kit club, kits, eyes and magic balls. Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy way of breaking income down into these categories, but my back of the envelope calculating suggests that the Kit Club is well over half of these sales.

    You’ll notice that Etsy is a pretty small percentage of sales, which is good news, because I’ve had to shut down my Etsy shop for 2015. Good thing I’m not losing too much!

    It’s interesting to me to look at my best selling patterns. Here they are as a percentage of total sales:

    percentage sales by pattern

    It’s amazing to me that Nelson the Owl, a pattern I designed in 2008, is 11% of my total pattern sales. But you’ll also see that over half of my pattern sales aren’t from the top 10… which means I’m earning a lot by having lots of patterns that aren’t individually very popular.

    And here’s how it breaks down by month:

    Ravelry Sales

    You’ll notice that there are three peaks: the one at the start of the year is due to a boost in facebook referrals, August was when we had our Mystery CAL and the peak in December was due to my birthday sale.

    Blog Hits

    The nature of blogging is changing, and in mid-2013, I stopped blogging daily. As I mentioned, I don’t earn much income from blogging, so it was a decision I had to make due to the limited amount of time in a day!

    That said, my hits have continued to increase over time.

    blog traffic

    There’s a huge spike in early 2014, which is mostly due to facebook (I’m going to get to that!).

    I can’t say much else stats-wise. Google has begun to hide a lot of referral information from searches, and investigating hasn’t been a big business priority for me. But, I do love blogging!

    Facebook

    In late December 2013, FreshStitches had about 10,000 facebook fans. Facebook changed their algorithm, and at the end of the month, I started getting a lot of new fans. I think we hit 100,000 by the end of January. It was crazy!

    However, things are always changing with facebook! The algorithm has since changed again… to the point where I would say that it’s nearly useless for me. Facebook would like to charge ‘big companies’ (which I guess, is now FreshStitches) to promote their posts, which means that posts don’t get put in front of many fans.

    An example is this one where I’m sharing the coupon code for my birthday sale. Notice, it’s been shared over 70 times and liked by over 1000 people… but only seen by 3% of my fans:

    facebook 2

    I have the option of paying $3000 in order to have it seen by all 600k of my fans.

    boost

    Even though these are people who already liked FreshStitches, and presumably, want to hear about a coupon!

    Sigh.

    In case you think more comments on a post would help, it really doesn’t. The post where I announced Maddie’s arrival has 174 comments, and still reached only 4% of fans:

    maddie facebook 1

    Anyway, all of that is to say that facebook posts are viewed by an incredibly small percentage of fans, and is no longer working very well as a referrer to the FreshStitches website.

    Bring on 2015!

    I chatted about my 2015 goals in this blog post, and I’m really interested to see what the year will bring.

    I expect my income to be down a fair chunk, since I’m on partial maternity leave for most of the year. I’m still working on FreshStitches (and shipping lots of kits!), but at a pace that’s more amenable to spending quality time with a little one!

    I hope this little wrap-up has been interesting for you! And let’s do this again, next year!

    14 Things I'm Really Proud of Accomplishing in 2014

    Happy New Year!

    I love starting a fresh new year! It’s a great time to think about how the last year has gone and think about what the next year may bring. Every year, I publish a financial wrap-up (see 2013’s here and here and chat about my goals for the coming year (2014’s post is here). This year, I’m adding to that roster by sharing a list of things I’m really proud of accomplishing.

    1. I said “no” It’s really hard to say no: you feel like you’re letting someone down or skipping out on an opportunity. But there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. This year, I focused on saying “no” to opportunities that didn’t suit me. And I’m happier for it!

    2. I took a risk This year, I began selling animal eyes. It was a huge risk- purchasing an entire line of eyes is a huge financial investment, and I had no idea whether it would pay off. But, I listened to my customers and took a leap of faith… and it worked!

    eyes from FreshStitches

    3. I started Coffee with Stacey One of my 2014 goals was to continue adapt my blog. I’ve been really proud of the increased number of tutorials and higher quality of photos, but I’m particularly happy with the Coffee with Stacey chats. I know some folks wish I did them more often, but keeping them spontaneous allows me to focus on topics I’m really jazzed about and also fit them into the busy FreshStitches schedule.

    4. I kept learning This year, I took a woodworking class, a beading class as well as a number of online business and craft courses. Learning new things has helped me stay inspired and fresh!

    wire wrapped necklace

    5. I asked for help I’m the sort of girl who tends to tackle challenges all on her own. It’s hard for me to ask for help. My persistence is a strength, but I’ve been known to push myself to my absolute limit, which isn’t a good idea! This year, I asked for help when I needed it. My mom visited to help me with a Kit Club shipment. I’ve reached out to others when I needed to.

    6. I kept my work hours under control It’s a continuing goal of mine to get off of work by 5pm. It’s a task that becomes more and more difficult as FreshStitches grows. But on most days, I stuck to it!

    7. I kept cool while traveling This year, I visited 16 states and took 3 international trips. It’s a lot of traveling… and being smooshed on an airplane isn’t always fun. But I’ve worked on optimizing my travel projects and spacing my travels so they work for me. Success!

    8. I’ve kept a yoga routine Did I mention how much I travel? And of course, for most of the year I’ve been pregnant, meaning that my body has been continually evolving. This year, I joined a yoga studio and practiced consistently. I told myself that I didn’t need to be amazing, I just needed to go. And I did. And I’m proud of that!

    9. I’ve maintained an awesome Kit Club! In 2014, Kit Club membership has more than doubled. I’m so excited! It’s been hard work, but I couldn’t be more proud of it.

    Puppy Snips

    10. I focused on teaching If you read my financial reviews, you’ll know that my income comes from a variety of sources: pattern sales, book royalties, teaching and physical good sales. I love each component of my business, but I was delighted to spend some time this year to focus on teaching. I’m very proud of the classes I offer and my students seem to love them, too!

    11. I ran a half-marathon This July, I ran a half-marathon. I registered for the race before becoming pregnant, and even though I love running, training while experiencing morning sickness and sleepless nights took extra dedication and willpower. I even ended up beating the goal I had set for myself!

    12. I put family and friends first My family and friends are scattered across the globe. Keeping in touch means a lot of travel, phone calls and skyping. And hosting a plethora of visitors. With a busy business, it can be hard to take a weekend off to give a friend a tour around town, but it’s an important priority for me. There’s always more work to do… so I urge you to take the time to develop your relationships!

    13. I innovated with my pattern designs I’ve been designing stuffed animals for 7 years now, and I’m always trying to balance accessibility and design. While I’m always making new stuff, I feel like I really rocked it this year. Check out my Sally the Snowflake. Totally new shape and so much fun!

    plush crochet snowflake

    14. I honed my social media plan I’m on twitter, facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Ravelry… it’s a lot to manage! And it’s important to me that my followers aren’t just getting the same-old, same-old on each platform. This year, I feel like I really hit my stride: distributing different types of information on the different platforms. You can read a bit more info about my strategy in this blog post.

    What are you most proud of?

    I want to hear about your 2014! What are you most proud of accomplishing?

    Do any of these things help you set some goals for 2015?

    Bye, Bye Stitches East!

    This week, XRX announced that Stitches East 2015 will not take place. And it may be the end of Stitches East forever.

    Stitches East

    It’s a very sad announcement (East was my first Stitches!), but also a very understandable one. Market attendance was down by 23% over the previous year.

    Your attendance makes events happen!

    When I browse the announcement thread, I can tell there are a lot of people who are sad and hurt about the decision. I think it’s important to take a moment to remind ourselves that yarn events, designers, yarn companies & dyers are all businesses. They need to be profitable to survive.

    View of the market session

    We can’t take events for granted. Or expect a designer who only releases free patterns to stay in business.

    I’ve heard many people over the years say, “Oh, I’d love to go! Maybe next year!”. Well, without enough support/attendees, there might not be a next year.

    Support what you Love

    Did you know that, as a teacher, I’m hired based not only on my evaluations, but on whether or not I’m profitable? Yup! If I offer a class that only 2 students sign up for, then I’m costing the venue more than I’m earning, and I probably won’t be hired by that venue again.

    What am I getting at? If you love something, then support it! Maybe it means asking for a skein of hand dyed yarn from a dyer you adore rather than something from a big box store for Christmas. Or, recommend an event you love to others to keep the word spreading.

    We can do it!

    p.s. It’s not too late to sign up to take a class with me at Stitches South!

    5 Tips for Working from Home Successfully

    I love working from home. It’s flexible. I can grab a coffee whenever I want. I can meet up with a friend for lunch. I can hang out in my pajamas all day long.

    Unfortunately, that flexibility is exactly what makes working from home so difficult. It’s easy to see a whole day go by without accomplishing much. It’s also easy to let work creep into your personal life so that you feel like you’re never getting a break.

    5 tips for working from home

    Today, I’ll share a few tips for working from home successfully!

    Tips for Working from Home

    1. Get dressed. Every morning, I wake up and put on jeans and a shirt and put in my contact lenses. It’s not glamorous, but it’s what I would dress like if I needed to run out to the store.

    working at a desk cartoon

    I have some friends who would include ‘put on mascara’ to that list, and others who might have the goal of ‘putting on clean pajama pants’. Whatever works for you is fine, but it’s important to have a clear delineation between sleeping and getting to work.

    2. Make a to-do list. What needs to get done this week? It sounds simple, but making a list will help you stay on target. I prefer a weekly to-do list over a daily one, as it allows me a little bit of flexibility in my day.

    3. Train your family members to respect your work. Everyone’s family is different, and you may have some family members who don’t take your “I’m working” statements very seriously. To work from home successfully, you’ll have to come up with a system that works.

    Do not Disturb Sign

    Ideas include: negotiating with your spouse for a certain number of child-free hours per week, getting an office with a closed door or wearing headphones. Working from home doesn’t mean you’re available at any time.

    4. Set a schedule, and set limits. Think about your natural energy level and external commitments, and set a schedule that works for you. I like doing computer work in the morning, and doing ‘fun’ work (like crocheting a sample) in the afternoon. I’m generally free for lunch and able to meet up/skype with friends if the opportunity arises.

    Having a schedule may mean saying ‘no’ to your mom wanting to have coffee during your peak work time. Or you may tell her it has to be on Friday. That’s okay! (Read Tip #4).

    5. Have an end to your work day. Do you find yourself checking email at 11pm? That might not be so great for your personal life.

    Do not Disturb Sign

    Having a business is great, but it also can take over your entire life. Be sure to set aside times where you’re really not working… not checking email, not on twitter… just enjoying the life that you have! You’ll find that after a relaxing dinner with family, you’ll have more energy to focus on your work when it’s time!

    You might enjoy this blog post on striving for work-life balance.

    You may also like…

    How to Find Balance in your Day

    Last weekend, I went to California for a friend’s wedding and was delighted with the chance to meet up with friends I haven’t seen in years.

    california wedding photo

    My friends know what I do for a living, and are always curious to see how it’s going. Especially since being a professional blogger, designer and crocheter is so different from their jobs!

    When I chat about how successful FreshStitches is and what my day looks like, one question inevitably comes up: why don’t you hire help?

    I’ll tell you why.

    The Image of Success

    Many business blogs recommend hiring employees so that you can grow. And get bigger. And be more successful.

    The goal for many, it seems, is to not touch any materials or do any ‘manual labor’.

    Thinking of others in the industry, I have friends who hire: assistants to do their shipping, virtual assistants who answer emails (and write blog posts and pin on Pinterest!), sample makers to crochet/knit their samples, photographers, graphic designers and editors who format their patterns.

    FreshStitches boxes

    There’s nothing wrong with that! And, since we only have so much time in the day, it’s a natural direction to go in order to get all of the work done.

    But I always ask myself: what’s the end goal? Is my fantasy to sit at my computer and advise a staff of 5 people? And never touch any yarn myself?

    For me, it’s not.

    Finding balance

    Instead, I find that tasks like winding yarn and shipping packages (while often delegated to an employee) are relaxing. They don’t take a lot of mental energy. I often listen to a podcast or read blogs while I do them. And it gives me space to think.

    shipping Kit Club

    I come up with some of my best ideas (including this blog post!) while winding yarn.

    If I spend 8-10 hours a day formatting patterns, I get cranky. I like mixing up the computer-y parts of my job with a little bit of manual labor. That’s what makes my day complete.

    Of course, this balance comes at a cost. My kits often sell out quickly because I, as one person, can only wind so many. Customers are unlikely to get an email response within 30 minutes because I’m probably doing something else right then.

    But it’s a lifestyle and business model that’s sustainable and keeps me happy. And that’s important, too, right?

    How do you find your balance?

    What do you make sure to do each day to find a little balance? Can you tell that your life is better for it?

    And are there downsides to your balanced life?

    I’m not saying that I won’t ever hire employees. But, I’m going to make sure to keep the balance of my day in mind, if I do!

    5 Tips: How to Avoid Burnout

    I’ve been in the yarn business since 2008. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of designers and yarn companies come and go. The reasons for businesses ending are varied, but the most common is burnout.

    burnout definition

    I’ve heard of countless designers and yarnies working 12 hour days without taking a day off… and a couple of years later, they leave the industry. They’re burned out.

    Burnout is avoidable!

    As I enter my 7th year of doing business, I’m more energized and passionate about what I do than ever! One of the secrets to my success is discovering a work/life balance that allows me to succeed for years on end.

    cartoon lawyer

    Like life, business is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to take care of yourself for the long haul if you want to succeed. Here are a few of my tips!

    Tip 1: Picture your fantasy day

    On my fantasy work day, I: have time to take a run in the morning, pack a few boxes to ship out, crochet a new design, answer emails and poke around on social media.

    Notice… my perfect day doesn’t include managing assistants, winding hundreds of kits or interacting with subcontractors for my designs.

    office worker cartoon

    In a recent reader survey, there are always requests for more kits, more designs or more blog posts. But I know that it’s important for my longevity to do what’s manageable. That means I don’t sell as many kits as humanly possible: I sell as many as I can practically make and be happy.

    Tip 2: Know when to say ‘no’

    I wake up every morning happy and ready to do my job (except on weekends… more on that, later!). One reason for that is that I’m doing things I truly enjoy.

    Recently, my publisher talked to me about doing another book. And I said, ‘not right now’. It would make my life too hectic to do one right now. Even though it’s turning down an opportunity, I didn’t take the offer.

    It’s easy to think you have to take every opportunity that comes your way, or else you’ll be missing out. But that logic puts you on the fast track to burnout.

    Tip 3: Take time off

    I don’t work past 6pm on weekdays or on weekends unless there is some special event going on (such as the Kit Club shipment or a weekend teaching event). Taking this regular time off is important for recharging.

    Road Trip

    I also put up an auto-reply on my email and go on vacation.

    Yes, I earn less money when I’m on vacation. But, I don’t lose business or customers. I think that’s an important distinction.

    My readers & customers know that I’m a human, and they understand that I need to take a break. They don’t unsubscribe from my blog because I’m on vacation for a week. And the benefits of coming back recharged are well worth it!

    Tip 4: Identify where the pressure is coming from

    Why do you feel compelled to work 12 hours a day without weekends? Does it come from deadlines? Your customers? Or yourself?

    And take a little time to chew on this question: where will your business be if you continue on this path?

    You may think you’re doing your customers a service by working your hands to the bone, but if you end up quitting in a year because it’s too much… that’s sad!

    stressed worker

    Just to be blunt: customers will make requests without end. They will ask for more yarn to be posted. They will beg for more blog posts. They will request extra designs this month. These are compliments! But they shouldn’t be taken as demands on your schedule… only you can decide which requests will fit into your life.

    Tip 5: Realize next week is no different

    How did last week go? Did you feel like a million things snuck up on you and you were struggling to catch a breath?

    What’s going to make next week different?

    Many of us get into a habit of accepting too many projects and then running like crazy to get them all done… thinking, ‘oh, it’ll clear up soon’. Your schedule isn’t going to clear up unless you make it (see tip #2 and say no to those extras!)

    Are you in it for the long haul?

    These tips don’t just apply to business… they apply to a volunteer job, your housework, your hobby… anything!

    Have you experienced burnout from going full throttle? Or do you have tips to share for avoiding it?