2020 In Review and Business Goals for 2021

by Isabella


Posted on January 8, 2021


“It has been a year, ya’ll! “...that’s how I began my recap post of 2019/my 2020 goals. And oooohhhfff, I feel like that more accurately describes this post/this year. I don’t need to tell you that 2020 has been a wild one. I am honestly pretty pleased I accomplished ANYTHING this year- and if you did too, you’re amazing. God bless us, everyone, cause it has been a doozie. But I really like having these recaps as a journal for myself. Please don’t feel that this is a comparison, a brag or a pity party, it’s just…2020. This was my year. Thank you for being here for it!

If you’d care to watch me chatter on about all of the following, here’s the accompanying video to this post!

***2020 in Review***

Yarn Used:

In 2020 I used 126 (new) skeins of yarn (so not counting anything scrappy, of which I used a lot to avoid going shopping!) In 2018 I used 214 and 330 in 2019, but I was actively making inventory for shows those years. So I was honestly super surprised I went through that much this year with just designs and personal projects. But at the same time, with all that I (we) went through, I am also not surprised at all. Crochet, knitting, the fiber arts are a huge refuge for me. Making keeps me sane and this year I know a lot of us were grasping for any sort of sanity. I am so grateful I had yarn to grab on to. I also thought my span of yarn usage- everything from Red Heart Super Saver to Shibui- was interesting too. I always try and push that all the yarns have their place and I think that is pretty well represented in this pile!

Finished Objects:

I am not one to keep track of every project I do unless it’s a design or a test. (If you want to track how many projects you’ve got, I have a video on how to do that in Ravelry here.) I am CONSTANTLY making and don’t want to slow down to add stuff to a list. So I usually just go though my closet and my Instagram feed at the end of the year and give it my very best tally. I probably could do a better job at this but… after a very careful count up I know for a fact I made *at least* 100 items this year. And that’s counting things that came in pairs as one item! Last year I had made 337 item which was INSANE (as I was still doing a lot of markets and needed tons of inventory!) and not at all good for my body. 100 is still a whole bunch but overall I was trying to be kinder to my wrists in 2020 and come to grips with the fact I am not actually a machine.

Youtube:

For YouTube I was able to really see a lot of growth! I was able to reach the 1K mark and monetize the channel which is a huge deal for any youtuber. At the end of 2020 I was at 1,705 subs, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here! I also learned a bit of video editing. Typically my husband JoJo has done all the video editing, but he’s been teaching me and I am sort of kind of getting it. Here’s to hoping.

I was able to put out 57 youtube videos in the year- 22 podcasts, 9 pattern drop videos, 14 tutorials, 8 Vlogs and 4 “others” (like yarn room tours and market set ups!). I feel like that’s pretty good for 52 weeks of mostly chaos! I so appreciate every single one of you who watched along with all of my makings and goings on.

And in case you were curious, my most popular video by far was how to crochet a mask extender/ear saver, with over 41,000 views. Second place was how to make faux fur pom poms. Ya’ll loving the simple tutorials!!

Instagram:

Follower account is not something I use to define my success, and frankly the instagram algorithm has been a beast as of late. Between the launching of Reels and the taking away of hashtags around the election, I didn’t see fantastic growth this year. I went from just under 6K at the end of 2019 to a few over 8K at the end of 2020. I AM happy to see my numbers growing and that I get to continue to grow my lil’ @bellas_custom_crochets (mostly) maker community. Thanks for being there!

Blog:

I put up 43 blog posts in 2020. I had hoped to post at least weekly, but 43 is pretty close, right? Also I made up these goals, and I am trying to give myself grace. We all need more grace these days, right? Again, the ear savers were everyone’s favorite, followed by the faux fur poms!

Mailing List:

Not gonna lie, not great at this whole mailing list thing. I know it is supposed to be your main focus in growing your audience and community but…not my strong point. I usually send out an email from my BCC Buzz when I release a pattern, have a sale, or do something I find generally exciting, but I could definitely do better at serving my audience. I am up to 429 subs (from 250 in 2019), but I would like to see more growth there. I don’t think the fact that I hate Mailchimp is helping…

Pinterest:

Also, I am horrible at pinterest. Horrible. You can view my boards and pins here, but honestly the whole algorithm of it confuses me, the strategy confuses me, the analytics confuse me, and it always gets pushed to the end of the list for me. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at using Canva- or at least improved, but there is so much room for growth. If anyone has amazing pinterest strategies or tips, HELP ME HELP ALL OF US with pinterest content!

Collabs:

I was able to collaborate with 5 different Indie Dyers this year (more on them in the designs section). I am so blessed to be able be able to work with other amazing artisans and I love being a voice to encourage crocheters to not be afraid of indie dyed yarn! I want everyone to crochet with yarn that they love- with whatever type or price point that is- but I do get excited about pushing crocheters to jump into the hand dyed scene, especially when supporting small businesses and artisans is really important these days!

I designed 12 things, and published 10 of them within 2020.

(*in the video I said 11 designed and 9 published- but I forgot to count the ear saver pattern! It COUNTS DANG IT!) I always try and shoot for 12 designs a year…it hasn’t happened yet. Probably because I keep trying to do massive things, make them out of fingering weight yarn, and then frog them several times… but I did manage to design 12 things, and was able to release 10 of them within the span of 2020! 3 garments, 4 cowls, 3 shawl, the Ear Savers, and 1 baby blanket. I talk about them lots in the video, but you can check out the Dandelion Dreams Baby Blanket, the One Skein Wonder Cowl DK, The Puzzlewood Cowl, One Skein Wonder Cowl LITE, the Button Buddy Ear Saver, the Fandeco Vest, Serenity and Shiloh Shawl, the Fandeco Tee, Forgotten Lore Shawl and the 2 versions of the Herringtone Marliday. The Anouk Pullover released 4 days into 2021, so it basically counts as all the work was done in 2020, and the Hope & the Future Wrap is coming soon!

Oh and if you’re curious, The Forgotten Lore was my most popular of the year and it launched in October so I was super happy with that performance!

Pattern tests:

I always think it’s super important as a designer to continue supporting other designers, and learning from them. I was able to due 5 crochet tests and 1 knit. I tested the Lala Beanie for Croknitessentials, Lilac Cardigan and the First Bud Tunic by Woodland Stitchcraft, the Confetti Pullover DK (child) by Nomad Stitches and the Dove Dress by Made by Hailey Bailey, as well as knitting the Beachcomb Tee by Tifneilian Handknits.

I did 2 “shows.

The fact that there were any shows done was a small miracle. They were super small and rona-friendly pop ups in local businesses with me as the only vendor. I am glad I decided to focus less on finished items in 2020…turns out that was a good call cause all the larger ones I would have typically done were very much canceled!

Knitting accomplishments:

I don’t really have a category for this other than “acomplishments” cause I did count knitting in the yarn skeins and finished objects, but for my own memories I wanted to note I knit my first 2 colorwork sweaters: the Salubrious Sweater by @morthunder (in the video I said Sanguine- which is another lovely sweater by Morgan, but I didn’t make it yet!!) and the Uglegenseren by Ingvild Bysting.

2020 was also my year of knitting socks. After knitting my first pair for myself back in Oct/Nov of 2019 I really got into sock knitting in 2020. Again, I meant to make it to 12 pair, but instead I made it to 11 pairs for myself and 1 tiny pair for my daughter- so it counts right!? I will be doing a separate video on my 2020 box of socks soon!

Remaining WIPS:

I am not one to have a lot of wips. I do usually have 3 or so projects in the works at once, one design, one personal/for family, and one portable/mindless like socks. But I HATE having unfinished things. They haunt me in the night and terrorize me by day and bury me under all the self-imposed guilt. So the fact I have any wips leaving the year does give me sorrow. The only remaining project, that is currently in time out and not being worked on cause I’m mad at it, is my Lockdown Blanket. I was doing a project working through my acrylic stash as a way of tracking the lockdown/quarantine/general 2020 situation with a hexagon join as you go blanket. I was doing it in rainbow order, each hexi representing a day, each block of color representing a week. That sounded fun in March but then…you know. We aren’t technically still in lockdown but our state is still very restricted and the governors been under “emergency” powers for going on a year. So keeping track of days got a little a lot sad. And also a made a mistake I didn’t want to think about fixing. And also I ran out of reds and oranges. And then I just quit in September or so. I WILL finish it. But it think it will just be a 2020 commemorative blanket. Also, if I ever try this again, someone remind me I always mess up and quit on join as you go blankets and stop me before I get months in.

Now looking ahead…

***Goals for 2021***

I don’t know what to file this under because it’s currently top secret, but let me just say I have something HUGE (at least to me) coming up in the next couple months. I AM SO EXCITED AND WANT TO TELL YOU ALL THE THINGS. Stay tuned.

Publish MORE patterns, and definitely 1 or 2 more garments.

In general I am very hesitant to set any hard goals for 2021 cause WHO EVEN KNOWS AT THIS POINT. If I learned anything in 2020 it was that things can change very quickly and I can do absolutely nothing about it other than pray a lot. So I’m not going wild with goals and plotting out my whole year. But I do know I will continue to focus my business on designing. And spoiler, it’s probably a lot of neckwear and garments cause that’s my jam. I would like to release at least 2 size inclusive garments and keep that momentum going.

Also: I took this garment design course in 2020 that was recommended by my tech editor (whom I also recommend) and it was super helpful for anyone who is also looking to dive into making gorgeous crochet garments.

More Collabs!

Again, not throwing out hard numbers, but I would love to continue collaborating with local artisans and indie dyers. Supporting local/handmade/small business is something I am passionate about, and even more so after the year we just had. I know indie dyed is not in everyone’s budget, but I am going to continue to pursue collaborations with dyers and encourage the crochet community to dip their hooks into the hand dyed scene if and when they are able!

Monetize this blog.

This was actually last years goal, but we didn’t quite make it (and that’s okay). I don’t think it’s any secret that people make money blogging. A big reason designers include free patterns on a blog is because that drives traffic, and with the addition of ads and affliate links (of which I did work on some in 2020), more traffic equates to more income. As of right now when this post is being written, this blog is making me $0.00 /year. And I would very much like to change that. Everyone starts somewhere and I have been so pleased with this as a starting point. The main goal of this blog space is for me to create a haven for like minded, fiber-loving makers like yourself, and to encourage you on your own maker journey, whatever phase you may be at! (most of this is actually a direct quote from last year’s goals blog post…and I’m keeping it, as the goal remains the same!

Grow my Youtube Channel.

Again, you can make money via Youtube, which I was able to achieve in 2020. Not the big bucks, but it is so exciting to see hard work and hours putting together videos equate to income! I’d love to see the channel hit 5-6 thousand subscribers this year. Maybe that’s too high? To low? I haven’t been at this long enough to really be able to predict growth paths, but I do know I will continue to aim for weekly crochet/fiber arts content and I guess we will see where that takes us!

Hit 10K on Instagram.

Instagram following definitely doesn’t equate to success and doesn’t necessary convert to sales (cause that algorithm is a mysttterrrry), but there are certain perks that unlock to business accounts when you hit 10,000 follows. (This was also last year’s goal). I think I can manage that in 2021. I’m over 8k now, so I am near certain this is doable! Bring on those swipe up links!!!!

Host a make along:

I want to invest in the community we are building with at least one make along. Online community has become increasingly important since no one really has knit nights or yarn shops to hang out in any more. I would love to create at least one make along this year where we can work towards a goal together and have some fun. Maybe win some prizes? Yes.

Improve my pinterest skills:

Because: horrible. Maybe I need a course. Or an automation. Maybe I need to just not procrastinate it until it absolutely must be done. Ugh. I don’t even have a goal for numbers or pins or views or anything concrete really other than to just try this year. Tips?

Launch my online store.

(another 2020 goal that didn’t quite happen, so keeping it in there): This is another thing the husband is working on- not like add a shopify, like he is determined to BUILD a shop with his computer programming wizardry. I don’t understand how that works, but he built this whole website situation thus far and hasn’t failed me yet so… I’ll keep him.

I’ll be keeping my Etsy and Ravelry as pattern sales platforms, but I also want to be able to sell my pattern designs off my own website. And hopefully we will also be adding a finished items/ready to ship/custom order online store to the website eventually as well.

Not in the video cause I did it after filming, but also a big deal: I enrolled in the Crochetpreneur Crochet Business Academy as an investment in myself and my business. Kinda have that pit in my stomach feel about it cause now I have to LEARN and implement things that might be scary… but I totally trust Pam Grice and cannot wait to have her as a mentor and guide for the next 12 months. I will definitely update you next year/soon!

If you made it through all that, God bless you, I know that was a long one. I hope you’ve also had a chance to reflect over your maker year as well. I think you might be encouraged my sitting down and looking out what you DID get done. And honestly, if you don’t like those numbers, be gentle with yourself. We made it through 2020 and we all need several merit badges just for that. You’re amazing and I hope your 2021 is marvelous.

Here’s to 2021!!

about me , boss lady , business goals , collaboration , crochet business , maker life , maker mama , my crochet business , my maker life , my maker story , pattern design , pattern designer , selling handmade

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