The Chilly Dog - 2016 Highlights

I can hardly believe that it has been five years since I started my crafty, blogging, business adventure! This year has been filled with a lot of ups, downs and lessons learned.

2016 - The ups...

When I started my business in 2011, my plan was to sell handmade items that I had created. I did not envision myself as a pattern designer, but that is what I have become. I will sell my 350th knit/crochet pattern by the end of the year!

And the blog has really taken off. In July I had my 1 MILLIONTH all time pageview. This year the blog is averaging over 2000 pageviews daily and will likely top out with nearly 800,000 pageviews for the year. To me this shows that if you create quality content, readers will eventually find you. 

2016 - The downs...

Even though it was not my primary focus, the online shop where I was selling my handmade items was actually starting to take off this year. Unfortunately, in early November, my web-host discontinued service without notifying sellers and my virtual shop was simply gone. It was basically the equivalent of having a brick and mortar shop burn down. I'm trying to look on the bright side, though. This was my sign from the universe that it's time to stop selling physical items and focus completely on writing.

The lessons learned...

1. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

The online marketplace is constantly changing, so it's a good idea to sell on multiple platforms. That's why I sell patterns on Craftsy, Ravelry and Etsy.

2. Not all social media is created equal.

Since Facebook began throttling how many people see posts created by business pages, my posts there no longer drive much traffic to my blog and shops. This year I had to take a hard look at which social media platforms are used by my target audience and which platforms could be used to reach a new audience. If you want to connect with me online, you'll find me most on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, and less often on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Self-publishing a book is the easy part, selling the book is harder.

Over the summer I compiled my first 30 knitting patterns into e-book form. It took me about two months to write and edit the book and file the necessary copyright protection paperwork. The Chilly Dog's Big Book of Knit Patterns is 118 pages of knitting goodness and is available for purchase and instant downloadable on Craftsy, Ravelry and Etsy. I haven't sold a copy yet, but I am confident that it will happen.

So what's coming in 2017?

On the blog I'll be starting off the year with a new Crafty Saturday Show and Sell link-up (although it may have a new name) to support other artists, crafters and small businesses.

In January I'm collaborating with Clover USA to bring you a fun giveaway and a series of tutorials using their oval knitting loom.

And of course I have a number of knit and crochet patterns that I am currently designing which will be added to my shops throughout the year for your yarn crafting pleasure.

And finally, my guiding principle...

I love to craft and learn new skills that I can incorporate into my creations. I take great pride in my work. Crafting often requires patience and attention to detail but with practice (and maybe some guidance and encouragement) everyone has the capacity to make crafting a relaxing and enjoyable part of their life.

The Chilly Dog is my place to share my crafting experiences, expertise and inspirations and I hope to guide, encourage and promote others in their creative endeavors because happiness is handmade!

LOVE IT? SHARE IT. MAKE IT.

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The Chilly Dog: The Chilly Dog - 2016 Highlights
The Chilly Dog - 2016 Highlights
The ups, the downs and the lessons learned by The Chilly Dog in 2016.
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