I neglected my crochet design business for over two years and still made a steady stream of passive income. Today, I’m going to peel back the curtain and give the exact numbers and share the lessons learned in this passive income report from a crochet designer.

Why I Walked Away from Designing Crochet

While the world struggled to deal with the pandemic in 2020, my husband Kevin and I set out on a life-changing adventure. In what felt like supernatural synchronicity, we felt called to the wilderness (and if you know Kevin and I, it is pretty supernatural for us to easily agree on something so radical).

Within just months of making the decision to leave the city, we sold our home and bought some property in the mountains of Colorado. We left our comfortable 3,400-square-foot home and moved into a 300-square-foot trailer – finding ourselves in unfamiliar territory, both physically and figuratively. That first week in the camper, it got to negative 5 degrees Farenheit and we had no electricity or water on the property!

I eventually came to understand that my crochet design business would have to take a back seat while I dealt with the many obstacles presented by this new off-grid living situation. Since we were 45 minutes from the closest town and had to rely on our own resources to survive, homesteading and constructing our house took precedence.

I still stayed active inside my Crochetpreneur Business Academy but just didn’t have the emotional energy or time to focus on both businesses. Thankfully, in spite of my reduced involvement, the design side of things continued to bring in passive income throughout this time, adding a cushion of security during an unpredictable time.

We did it – we sold everything and move to the middle of nowhere.

The Passive Income from my Crochet Design Business

I didn’t know how long I would be out of commission when it came to design, but just hoped that things would be OK since I am the sole provider for my family. Ultimately, it’s been almost two and half years since the move (just for ease, I’m sharing the numbers from all of 2021 and 2022) and, while the numbers are on a downhill slide, walking away wasn’t the catastrophy that it might have been. This is, in large part, due to the strategy I’ve used over the years to develop multiple streams of income from my love of crochet.

By that time we moved, I had a well-established pattern stores set up on Etsy, Ravelry, and Shopify, where I offered about 80 different crochet patterns. These channels maintained steady revenue generation throughout 2021 and 2022. In addition, the monetized Made with a Twist site, with Mediavine ads, brought additional design income.

Finally, bundle sales contributed to income from my designs even though those sales were a little less passive than the rest. Really, though, a couple of emails was all it took to generate bundle sales.

The breakdown for the two years is as follows:

Etsy: $17,776.47
Ravelry: $3,545.22
Shopify (2021): $651.66
Bundles: $5,379.16
Ad revenue: $8,681.10.

This brings the gross passive income from crochet designs to $36,033.61.

Keep in mind that pattern design hasn’t been my main source of income or the focus of my business since 2017. So, the great news is that, even when working on a design business part-time, you can bring in residual income for years to come…and, with even more strategy and attention, that income could be significant!

The Expenses for Generating Passive Income

Here’s a quick rundown of the business costs associated with these income streams over that two-year timeframe:

Etsy: $4,157.24
Ravelry: $131.92.
Shopify (2021): $492.43
Website: $797.87
Virtual Pinterest Assistant (2022): $480.00

The total expenses were $6,059.46.

This brought the net passive income to $29,974.15.

After looking at the 2021 numbers, I decided to pull the plug on my underperforming Shopify store – to which I rarely drove traffic. This change helped me save money and devote more attention to profitable avenues.

The Importance of Diversifying for Passive Income

The value of having multiple sources of income in a handmade business cannot be overstated. By diversifying my income streams, I was able to reduce my risk and ensure long-term risidual income.

Having this variety was really helpful throughout the pandemic and created a cushion for us during uncertain times. I was fortnuate not to have to rely on this income to pay the bills, though, as the Crochetpreneur Business Academy® was my active income stream and the financial backbone that supported my family and even grew during a time when many businesses struggled.

Ultimately, within the umbrella of my crochet-centric corporation, we have the following sources of revenue with pattern sales being just a small part:

  • Digital Pattern Sales
  • Digital Product Sales
  • Handmade Product Sales
  • Drop-shipped Product Sales
  • Monetized Blog (Mediavine)
  • Monetized YouTube Channel
  • Monetized Social Media Accounts
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Bundle Sales Events
  • Courses
  • Memberships
  • Coaching (1:1, Group, and Mastermind)
  • In-person Events
  • Virtual Events
  • Sponsorships/Partnerships

Don’t let this overwhelm you. 2023 is my 10th year operating a business in the crochet niche and these streams of income have developed over time. If you are someone who wants to incorporate more income streams into your business, I suggest starting slow and building over time so you can get each stream systematized and running well.

Lessons Learned Along the Way

The process of developing a system for earning passive income involves both discovery and correction. some lessons that I’ve learned and continue to incorporate into my business over time are:

  • SEO optimization was crucial. It’s important to put in the effort required to provide searchable content that will drive customers to your online storefront and readers to your blogs even when you’ve stepped away from the business.
  • Delegate tasks that drive traffic. Having someone who can help with Pinterest and social media outreach while you’re away from your business is helpful in order to maintain passive income.
  • Analyze and tweak regularly. Each source of revenue has its own strengths and weaknesses, and I’ve learned that it’s important to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments on a regular basis. My Shopify store wasn’t performing well, so I made the strategic decision to shut it down and focus resources elsewhere.

Preparation and Strategy are Keys to Passive Income

If you’re a crochet business owner thinking about implementing a passive income model, I recommend getting the ball rolling as soon as possible. Having a plan for generating passive income in place long before you need it might provide you with peace of mind that you’ll be covered in the case of emergency or in knowing you can take a mental-health break from your company without jeopardizing your revenue.

In retrospect, I see that I could have done more to boost my earnings during this time frame. I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice, digging further into the numbers, and coming up with innovative ways to increase my passive revenue even while I continue to grow my business.

Pardon the mess…landscaping and styling the porch come next.

The Plan for Moving Forward

Now that our house is finished and we’ve found a new routine, I’m ready to get back to work on growing the design side of my business. As a part of this reinvestment, I’ve decided to give my blog and YouTube channel the attention they deserve.

Before my channel was monetized, I didn’t create very many tutorials, but now that it is, I see it as a fantastic opportunity to earn more passive revenue. I’m also revamping my blog’s search engine optimization and formulating fresh Pinterest plans.

I also continue to devote a lot of time and energy to the Crochetpreneur Business Academy® and Crochet Biz Lab. I’m excited to use these venues to share what I’ve learned about passive income and income diversification in order to support the efforts of other crochet entrepreneurs.

Passive Income in Retrospect

Looking back, we can say that our homesteading adventure was one of the best times of our lives. We’ve found that the independence and calm that passive income can bring are well worth the effort it takes to adopt this lifestyle. It is our sincere wish that our experience may encourage other makers and sellers to investigate the possibilities of passive income and to enjoy the independence it affords.

Remember that the choices you make today will have lasting effects on your crochet business tomorrow. Take the long view, exercise patience, and always look for fresh possibilities. After all, our company overcame significant difficulties and subsequent modifications to become successful. Its durability even surprised us along, so building a sustainable business just might do the same for you.

What do you think? Are you ready to get started?

Resources to Help

Crochet Biz Lab

The Crochet Biz Lab (formerly Maker Boss Lab) is a low-cost, entry-level course for crocheters who are interested in turning their hobby into a business. In it, we explore three phases of growing a business: Stepping into Your Role as Business Owner, Identifying Your Ideal Customer, and Start Selling Online. This course includes the Etsy Bootcamp as a bonus for becoming a member.

The Crochetpreneur Business Academy®

The Crochetpreneur Business Academy® is our signature course that encompasses all areas of growing a crochet business. Build for both product sellers and designers, the course walks you through the Crochetpreneur Success Roadmap and includes a multitude of resources, tutorials, checklists, spreadsheets, and video replays of guest masterclasses. Currently the academy is enrolling on an invitation-only basis. If you’d like more information, request an invitation, below.

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