Hi guys! This post is for anyone who has ever felt “less than”, when they are confronted with people who do not see value in their crochet business.
Like many art forms, crochet is viewed as something fun to do in our downtime. So when people hear the word, “crochet”, they immediately think, “that’s not real work”. Even though crochet is a hobby for some people, it does not make it any less “real” when someone chooses to do it for a living.
Crocheting for a living is real and valuable work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
A Lack of Understanding
Most people who talk to us about our business, do not mean us harm. They simply don’t understand.
Crocheting for a living, or having an online business, is a new concept to a lot of people. Because of this lack of understanding, they don’t always know what to say, or what questions to ask, so the conversation gets awkward.
This lack of understanding can even cause people with the best of intentions, to say things that hurt our feelings.
The “Do you work?” Conversation
Have you ever had a similar conversation with someone (friend, family member, loved one, or stranger)?
Someone: “Do you work?”
Me: “I don’t (insert previous job/career here) anymore, but yes, I do work. I have a small business.
Someone: *Eyes light up with interest.*
Me: “I crochet for a living. I (design crochet patterns / sell finished crochet items), like blankets and pillows.”
Someone: *Smile fades, and they start to squirm as they try to come up with a response.* “That’s nice. Well, you don’t have to work. You can just do your crochet stuff and take care of the house, while your husband works.”
Me: *Wonders if I should be offended or just laugh.*
How Should We Feel or Respond to this Conversation?
Conversations like this are always awkward, and no matter how many times I think of a perfect way to answer the, “do you work?” or “what do you do for a living?” question, the conversation usually plays out the same way.
I often wonder if I should explain how the business works, how much time goes into it, or that it’s profitable. Maybe then it will be considered “real” work, or “something of value.”
But then I remind myself that further explanations wouldn’t make a difference. An opinion has been formed and the conversation has ended with no follow up questions.
It’s hard not to feel ashamed after having these conversations because in a society that values hard work, hustling, money, earning your keep, and living up to your potential, it has been implied that you don’t contribute or work hard. And therefore, you are less than.
It’s hard not to internalize these feelings of “less than”, and let them stop you from achieving your goals. I think deep down we all want to be accepted, valued, and seen.
So I want you to know that I see you. I see how hard you work. And despite being a hard worker, and an amazing creative, you are enough by just being you. Your business, career, job, and accomplishments, do not define you.
And if we ever meet in person, I’d love to ask you questions!
What Should We Do When We Feel “Less than”?
Despite our best efforts, chances are that these conversations and implications will cause us to feel badly about ourselves.
It’s easy to let the negative feelings take over, and start believing that we don’t work hard, we don’t contribute, and we don’t make enough money, so we are nothing. The hard part is trying to move past these feelings, once they have seeped into our minds.
Even as I write this post, I am feeling the effects of the conversation above. It happened a few weeks ago, and it stuck with me because it came from a friend. While I know that this person did not mean to hurt my feelings, and everything was said with the best of intentions, it still hurt my feelings.
Unfortunately, these feelings won’t go away until we learn to validate ourselves, instead of seeking validation from others. This is WAY easier said than done.
Seeing Value in Yourself Exercise
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Little things add up to big change?”. Well, they do!
Look back on your business, and remember where you started. You took little steps, and accomplished small tasks, until you made a big impact on your business.
I think part of seeing value in ourselves, is celebrating the little wins each day.
For example, if you posted on social media today, celebrate! If you got a listing up in your Etsy Shop, celebrate! If you sent an email to your subscriber list, celebrate!
Speak Kindly to Yourself
Apparently, the fake it ’til you make it strategy actually works. We might feel silly saying these things to ourselves, and we might not believe them yet, but it’s proven that the more we say things to ourselves, the more we start to believe them. So speak kindly to yourself!
- I work hard every day.
- There may be days when I am not as productive as I would like to be, but I still work hard on those days.
- I see value in what I do because I am happy, and I make other people happy with my (crocheted items, my patterns, my posts, my comments, my responses, etc.).
- I am proud of myself for everything that I have accomplished so far.
- My business and the services that I provide are valuable.
- I am successful, regardless of how much money I make.
- I am an amazing person who is not defined by what I do for a living.
Videos for Extra Support
Sometimes, all we need is for someone to say, “I’ve been there. I’ve experienced that too. It hurt my feelings as well,” to make us feel less alone.
Pam from The Crochetpreneur shares videos, blog posts, and paid courses for crochet business owners. She recently shared a video called, “Self-Care for Handmade Sellers: Dealing with the Doubters.” It helped me when I needed it, so I hope it helps you too.
My second video recommendation is Cam from Struthless, who is a graphic designer that talks about mental health, creativity, and overcoming mental blocks. His videos always kick me back into gear, and inspire me to keep trying. I hope you enjoy the video below, as well as some of his other ones too!
This wraps up another 365 Day blog post. Please let me know in the comments if you have experienced a similar conversation, and how it made you feel. <3
Read and explore more topics in the 365 Day Blog Post Challenge here.
Have a wonderful day, and remember, you are not alone.