“Just one more tweak and then it’ll be perfect! I’m never good enough at this though.” These thoughts can seem pretty familiar, right? They certainly are for me! As a maker, I’m constantly overthinking everything I do whether it’s my photography, my designs, or my captions on Instagram. I also am constantly comparing myself to others and where they are at in their business. It’s an almost daily struggle to overcome this as I’m consistently pushed to be even more creative each day. It seems to be a struggle that most makers experience.
In today’s podcast episode I got the chance to chat about this with one of my favorite amigurumi makers, Anna, from The Knotty Boss. The two of us struggle with overthinking and comparison a lot, so we were both super happy that we got the chance to talk about it with someone who understands. That’s one reason why I started my podcast, so that other makers can share their advice, experience, tips and tricks with makers who are starting out or are experienced and just want a few tips! It’s also so nice to be able to hear that other makers go through the same things you do as well. So let’s get to it!
The featured maker in our podcast today is Anna, from the amigurumi account, the Knotty Boss. She had been knitting for years when she learned how to crochet 2 years ago, after seeing some adorable amigurumi on Pinterest. After seeing the cute plants that you could make, Anna started trying her hand at designing cacti. When a friend asked her if she could crochet her a Frida cactus, that cactus launched Anna into a crochet cactus journey as she developed adorable cacti that were all sorts of characters. As a graphic designer, Anna loved that she got to have the chance to design things for herself on Instagram and was able to do things her own style. She’s started venturing into designing other items such as a cactus hat and has a lot of plans for the future. Now she’s been crocheting for a few years and has an amazing modern styled Instagram with adorable designs!
As we got into talking about overthinking and comparison we both shared some of the many ways that we struggle with it and how to overcome them.
Overthinking all of the details – This is such a hard thing to not do. As a graphic designer, Anna constantly has to analyze her designs to make sure the details are perfect on each one of her designs. That translates directly into her photography to make sure her photographs are always perfect. Sometimes we think just one more little tweak, a light adjustment, or one more photo will make everything is just right. We both end up with dozens of photos to end up just using one to post on our social media.
- How to overcome it: Anna has found that time and setting deadlines has helped her with not focusing so much on these details. By having a deadline for herself, she’s able to only take a set amount of time to take photos or work on a design, and then is able to finish it easier. If you’re struggling with this, try setting a deadline for yourself or set a certain number of photos that you’ll take so that you don’t end up spending hours on it like Anna and I sometimes do, haha.
Overthinking designs – As a designer, it is a constant struggle to not overthink a certain design. Whether you’re making amigurumi, hats, or garments, there can be a pressure to make sure that you are constantly reinventing a certain design. From using certain stitches to trying to evolve a new shape of a design, it’s hard to not overthink every aspect of a design.
- Overcoming this: Sometimes simple is best! I’ve found a lot of times that simple designs are just as well received as complicated ones. Sometimes people just want a simple design that they’ll be able to make in a week or a weekend, and where there aren’t any new techniques they need to learn. That doesn’t mean that intricate designs aren’t amazing or that you shouldn’t do them! I love seeing the intricate designs people create. If you’re struggling with overthinking a design though, maybe try making it simpler and see what you come up with!
Overthinking pursuing your dreams – Maybe you have a dream to be a crochet or knit designer. You want to make things that people would love to make themselves, and share your designs with the world. It seems to scary though putting your designs out there, and you don’t want to try to do it. Or you dream of having your own blog, but it seems like too much work. Even though it’s something you dream of, it feels impossible to do.
- Overcoming this: Go for it and don’t let your fear stop you! Sometimes dreams can feel like they’d be impossible to make into a reality, but if you work hard and go for it you can get one step closer to making them come true. I’d dreamed of being a crochet designer since I was 13 years old, but didn’t think I was good enough for it. It seemed to scary. One day I decided to go for it though, and now here I am pursuing my dreams! If an opportunity to be a guest designer or be featured somewhere pops up, go for it! So many amazing things happened for me last year because I decided to push past my fear and take a chance on my dream. I believe that you can do it too!
Comparing your Instagram followers to other accounts – We all do it, compare our instagram to other makers who are out there whether they have 1,000 followers or 20,000. We see their seemingly perfect feeds and wonder why our accounts aren’t doing as well, or how we could possibly ever attain that. It’s an almost daily struggle facing this challenge head on as we seem to fight with the Instagram algorithm to get our designs out there. Anna and I both struggle with it all the time, and feel so much tied up in the number of our followers.
- Overcoming this: Don’t stop working at it! Every maker’s journey is unique to who they are, and we all don’t get to the goals we want the same way. Some people find instant success with their accounts, where as others have had to work for 6 years to get to the amount of followers they have. Keep researching how to better your photography, trying new Instagram strategies, and most importantly don’t forget to engage with your community. Sometimes you can have a small amount of followers, and those followers are the most loyal and caring people you have encouraging you to keep going. My followers have become some of my close friends and I have to remind myself to not lost sight of those awesome relationships when I’m trying to compare myself to others.
Comparing your designs to more successful designers – Why is their design more successful than mine? Why do they make money from their designs and I don’t? These are constant thoughts that Anna and I have felt, and you might too. It’s so hard when you work on something so hard, but it isn’t as well received as someone else’s. You think you have to change yourself in order to make more people like your designs, even if that means working on something that you don’t enjoy making. Sometimes it feels like you put all of your heart and soul into something only to have someone else’s designs appear to be better.
- Overcoming this: Know that you have something to offer! Every maker is unique and your style does have an audience that will love it! As Anna said in the podcast episode, ‘Art is subjective, not everyone will like your designs, but others will.’ That part of you that makes you who you are is something that is worthwhile and can bring something special to the maker community. Don’t give up, because you can find your audience out there!
I hope you were able to relate to some of the things that we shared, and maybe felt encouraged that you’re not alone in struggling with them! We all go through them all with one point or another. What’s so special about the maker community is that together we are able to share our struggles and help each other through them! I’m so excited to create more episodes guest staring other makers, and help you continue to grow your maker biz.
One of my favorite things that came from my interview with Anna was her creating some amazing product/price tags for when you sell handmade items at your markets. They’re modern, chic, and can be used for any product that you might sell! You can get her downloadable PDF in her Etsy store here. Anna is so excited that she gets to share her design abilities with you, and I hope that you love them as much as I do!
Be sure to check back next week for our guest, Lee, from the crochet blog Coco Crochet Lee! We’ll be talking about how to start working with yarn companies and how to start designing for magazines. You won’t want to miss it!