Last updated on October 19th, 2020 by Samuel Ryan, copyright reserved
Success stories, even those as modest as our own, can demoralise, rather than motivate. The fact is, success in any field is often a result of many elusive factors, so me telling you just how hard we worked, doesn’t really explain our success.
However, I think I can explain our modest success in a straight forward way: We were both creative people before we started a crafts business, and had dabbled in many of the areas necessary for success, beforehand.
Anyway, here’s our story:
Art & Design
In our younger years, my wife (Ling) and I were creative people. For my part, I drew pencil drawings, created computer based art, and dabbled in programming. For her part, she made 3 dimensional objects, from Jewellery, to woodwork, to crochet. We were both creative, but in completely different ways. However, as life unfolded, we put down our tools and reached for a pay-cheque instead.
Soon, we were both working awful jobs, and barely scraping by. We lived in a shoe-box sized, one-bed house, and paid a hefty price for the privilege. Then in 2008, the housing market collapsed, causing a world-wide recession. For us, it meant negative equity – a new debt which outweighed our total life savings.
It’s the sort of event that makes you grateful for the soul destroying job you have, because ‘at least you have one’.
The recession was life changing for us. We were trapped in these shitty jobs, and debt laden to the hill. But, despair not dear reader, because the path we would take, would lead us to freedom…
From that point on, the goal was to free ourselves from the burden of money.
Money Money Money
We focused on saving money, and everyday was an exercise in frugal living. We reduced the budget, and put all our energies into paying off the debt. With every pay-cheque, we’d pay a little more of the debt. Then one day, the overhang was gone. But, we decided to continue paying into the mortgage, as if the debt were still there.
We were on the road, the very long road, to early retirement.
And, life was like that for a time; every financial decision revolved around the goal of freedom: Freedom from money. Money was our problem -our enemy. Money was the reason we went to work, -and work was a soul destroying place. The maths was simple. Beat the money, buy our freedom.
Then a breakthrough occurred: We decided to start a business, instead of saving for early retirement.
Next, in the short version, my wife took up crochet and began selling crochet patterns at Ravelry. She called her shop, Hooked On Patterns.
Escape The Rat Race With A Blog?
At first, we started a simple website that housed pictures of her crochet patterns. It stayed that way for a year or so, with us just plodding along, not really sure of what we were doing.
But slowly, we began to develop a strategy, and then it became clear; create a crochet blog and grow a business from it.
Soon, we were working together, realising that we had creative skills that complimented each other.
After a few years of growing, Hooked On Patterns was earning enough of a stable income for me to go part-time at work. Then one day, I didn’t have to go to work at all.
It had taken about 2 and a half years, from that first crochet pattern sale, to the day we had both quit our jobs. Our small blog had changed our lives.
Now, instead of counting pennies for our freedom, we spend our days doing what we enjoy most: I’m free to work with code, stats, and websites, while Ling is free to make, build and create.
If you’re interested in the details; the how to blog, how to sell, and how to promote, subscribe.