Knitting used to be something Angelia Robinson did to keep her hands busy while waiting for her kids at soccer practice or doctor appointments. It wasn’t until five years ago, when on a whim she submitted a pattern design to Fresh Designs, that she realized it could be something more.
“My proposal got in,” Robinson says, remembering the wool and felted ninja doll she designed for the internationally known crochet book. “It was at that point that I realized it was something I could do. Crochet and knitting patterns weren’t something I could just consume, they were something I could be paid for — to use my imagination and create things for other people.”
As a knit and crochet designer, Robinson’s patterns include clothing, home decor and toys. She works for publications and releases independent patterns and sells patterns to online crochet and knitting communities like Ravelry.com.
Adding self-employment to her repertoire of daily duties wasn’t a huge leap for Robinson, who before having kids was a lobbyist for non-profit organizations in Washington DC. While the creative part of her new Los Angeles-based business came easily to her, the clerical part caused her stress.
“There have been a lot of moments where things were difficult,” she says, naming stumbling blocks like social media management and creating a budget. “Some things I just didn’t have any experience with when I first started. The only way to deal with them was to go through them, which I think when you’re self-employed, applies to almost everything.”
Overcoming Obstacles with Financial Organization
Robinson’s induction into the crochet design business world started with creating a website. Then she branded herself on social media. And then she figured out how to balance her books. It was constantly one thing after another, she says, and each task was a new experience to tackle.
“You can’t cheat the learning curve,” Robinson claims. “You just really have to buckle down and figure it out. And then the next time something like that comes up, you know what to do.”
From the beginning Robinson knew she needed to organize her finances. For awhile she used a simple spreadsheet on her computer, but the task of manually adding data was overwhelming. If she forgot, procrastinated, was busy or got behind, the task quickly grew to be too great.