Podcast: 6 Tips for Entrepreneurs From Hannah Fettig
By: TNNA Editor
Hannah Fettig has done it all, and then some. She’s the designer of countless knitting patterns as well as the Knit Bot app. In addition to her seven published books and an impressive following on Instagram, It’s safe to say she has been a force in the knitting community over the years… and isn’t done yet.
During her recent podcast chat with Amy Small, of Knit Collage, the two dove deep into specifics on how Hannah got to where she is today and what’s in store for the future. She also left Knit Collage listeners with a lot of thoughtful advice, which is why we’ve rounded up six things we found important for those who are in the midst of, or looking to start, a career in needlearts.
It’s Hard Work
On the podcast, Fettig shares that getting started was easy for her because she always has, and always will be, a risk taker. At the time, though, she felt all over the place and noted, “I’m still all over the place, but it’s a little more directed now.”
Unlike years ago, when there wasn’t nearly as much popularity surrounding knitting or as much material to wade through, it has become increasingly more difficult to establish yourself or your brand. She really feels like it was just the right place at the right time for her.
I just kind of fell into it and figured it out as I went, and figured out what worked. If I figured out something that worked, I just kept doing that thing.
Money can play a massive role in your business and creative processes, as well. Fettig adds that one of the trickiest parts of running your own business is learning to balance the amount of money you put into your work versus practical expenses like buying groceries or paying taxes.
Fettig didn’t hide that the hardest thing to maneuver around is having to decide when you must “start sacrificing your creative flow” over more pressing issues, such as making the choice to launch a project early — not because you’re happy with your finished product, but because you just need a new revenue flow.
While bumps in the road can become overwhelming, Fettig states that “you just have a sense of humor” as you are gaining experience and figuring out how to build your brand.
Stay Off Social Media While You Work
In today’s society, we use technology for virtually everything. Social media is vastly important in our personal and professional lives; however, it can also lead to distraction. Over the years, Fettig has come to understand that if you’re constantly checking your social media, no matter the reasons, you won’t create the work you really want to. “It’s a struggle for all of us to…stay off our phones and stay off social media. [But] I think if I’m really going to be creative, I gotta put that away.”
Don’t Take Your Work — or Self — Too Seriously
There will be obstacles and challenges that you’ll undoubtedly have to face, and Fettig shares that it helps if you don’t take things so seriously. It’s important to have a clear routine, schedule and focus. Being aware that something can, and probably will, change should always be expected. Planned or not, “you just ride the wave” and take everything as it comes.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves and it’s hard to not compare yourself [to others]. And, I’m not saying I’m really good at that, but it’s […] what I’d like to strive for.”
The Creative Process Isn’t Always Pretty
With creative businesses, social media is often utilized as a main marketing tool. Fettig remarked that “you paint this certain picture […] but it’s like, the reality is so far from that that it’s funny.” Your work environment doesn’t have to be picture perfect, organized and put together like your Instagram account may allude to. As long as you’re able to get your work done, that’s all that matters.
You might want to be able to predict what’s going to happen, but Fettig knows that’s just not the case. “You think you can and you can’t.” You have to make creative choices, while always looking around the corner for what’s next, what’s new.
Focus on Your Work, Not the Opinions of Others
Feedback, good or bad, should always be anticipated. Not every person is going to feel the same way as you on every design you create or project you pursue, and that’s okay. Fettig expressed that when you’re younger and just getting started “you’re more sensitive about your work and it’s more precious.” When others give you feedback, sometimes you can be crushed.
With time, though, she has learned to try not to pay as close attention as she used to. If you’re always checking what everyone else wants and what everyone has to say, you’ll always be distracted because “it’s just not practical” to think you can, or should, please everyone. If you focus on your own work and what you want to create, you’ll be much happier with the outcome.
Think Outside the Box
A last bit of advice she left us with was to “think outside the box and try new things.” Fettig said to try not to worry too much. It’s important to “just have fun with it.” She acknowledges that everyone may not be as risky as she is, but to “try in small ways to put yourself out there” because one small step can lead to much greater things.
Listen to the full episode here. Keep up with the Knit Collage podcast, “Collage Creative with Amy Small,” for more interesting perspectives and inspiration.