How do I run a micro business…and Homeschool

Short answer: Dan.  You knew I was going to write that, right?

About 3 years ago, we’d settled the basic co-op procedures, and I didn’t know it, but I wanted a new research project.  The push came when my friend committed suicide.  Dan sent me out to have some quiet time to think at a bookstore, and there happened to be a knitting group there.  My love of knitting, crocheting and designing patterns had been dormant for a while – carpal tunnel syndrome and a preschooler who threw himself in my lap without checking for pointy things were a big deal.  But these ladies were doing such cool work, and they told me about


On Ravelry, I discovered a design forum, and Shannon Okey’s book about the design business.  I started to read blogs about becoming a knit wear designer.  I borrowed library books from my gap years – socks, shawls and indie yarn dyers were new to me.  I decided that I wanted to learn how to write patterns, not just design things, make a chart or two in my cryptic handwriting, and leave it in my notebook to look mysterious.  That was my research project for that year.

The next research project was how to set up a business.  I was afraid of the tax paperwork.  But if I was going to sell patterns that had been technically edited and professionally photographed, I needed to have some money coming in – and for that, I needed to be able to do tax paperwork.  Maybe I’ll break even – sometime next year?  The business project led to the setting up a website project, and learning HTML and CSS.  I’m currently stuck on PHP – I know I have to make more template based, because the way it is now, it’s a pain to add new patterns, get all the links to work, and get it consistent, but learning PHP is a pain too.  I know there are other languages I can learn to do it, but it makes my head hurt to think of learning them at the moment.  If I were starting up again, I’d just put the patterns up on Ravelry, Patternfish and Craftsy instead of on my own website.  I would have a design blog though, just not host my own patterns there.

None of this actually answers the question about how I’m doing this while homeschooling: lets see, I’ve never been a good housekeeper.  I don’t decorate the house – it’s the lab for making projects in, it isn’t itself a project.  The kids have chores.  I followed Noel’s advice from the Paperclipping Roundtable and started to exercise (it didn’t hurt that my doctor gave me a dire speech last summer).  We already don’t watch TV (we get dvds out from the library, but they don’t have as many commercials on them to make me feel discontent, and we don’ t have the habit of TV on all the time.) Not that sample knitting or crocheting doesn’t go spectacularly well with movies.   I only write at the computer while the kids are in bed, or they are upstairs playing with the neighbor kids, Dan likes seeing me explore new things, and he gave me the tax return in 2011 for start up costs.

Christine's hands as she begins a tutorial photo shoot of the Christmas Tree Increase while baby K plots to grab the needles in the background

Does this interfere too much with homeschool?  Since we school in the mornings, maybe not, but it does make dinner late sometimes.  M must have picked up something, either from me or watching Biz Kids at Grandma’s house; he saved his allowance money and bought a cotton candy machine.  His goal is to sell candy to the teenagers that stream past our house at 2PM when the high school lets out.

That sounds a whole lot more profitable than selling patterns to me!

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