Quiet Success

I want to talk to you for a minute about quiet success.

This is something that started as a conversation between me and Tara Swiger -- she's also made a video on this topic -- because for the past few months I have been feeling really pressured to have a big year long goal. This pressure came about because of a couple different reasons.

For whatever reason, 2016 was the first year that I was really aware of the progress from my friends and peers over the course of the year. I remember really clearly in January 2016 people starting podcasts, or making the intention of focusing on their Instagram account, or starting up a Facebook group. And I watched them over the year really grow and develop on those platforms that they picked. Seeing that growth got me thinking about how I don't really focus on anything for a full year. I mainly do quarterly goal setting and I sort of just pick bits and pieces to focus on and I do that really well for a few months before moving on to something else. And I as I was reflecting on my friends' success, I was kind of maybe even feeling ashamed that I didn't have any huge growth that I could point to and say "oh, in 2016 this is what I did. I quadrupled my Instagram following" or "I finally grew to 10,000 subscribers on YouTube." I didn't have any of those milestones and so I kept thinking in 2017 I have to set a yearly goal.

The second reason why I had been thinking about this was because I had recently read the book Grit. The main thesis of this book is that consistency and sticking with things even when they're tough is what eventually leads to success. It talks about how consistently working hard and improving at something is far more important to success than just pure talent. And so again that made me sort of feel guilty -- have I just given up on everything when it got tough? Have I failed to stick with something? Is that why I have no success story I can point to?

So, I kept trying to put all this pressure on myself that this was going to be the year of a big  goal and I was going to focus on one thing and I was going to have these amazing results that I  could tell everyone about. I just couldn't decide what to focus on. And so as I often do when I'm conflicted, I ended up asking Tara for help. "What do you think I should focus on for the year? What would you really like to see me do?" And as she always does, she flipped the question back on me and asked me about my goals and what I wanted to achieve over the course of the year. But all I could come up with was that I wanted to achieve something measurable, something I could show people.

We kept talking and eventually started talking about how some businesses start out by growing really big on the outside (i.e. on social media). Then usually at some point they have to pivot from focusing on growth to focusing on how to make money. There's nothing wrong with this approach by the way! It's just one kind of success.

However, I realised that's not me. I started with a product and social media has always taken a back seat to growing and selling my courses. And suddenly I saw that I have focused on something for the past year. I focused on my business and in fact I did see measurable results. My profits for my business for the past year tripled over previous years -- that's massive growth! The "problem" was that the growth was not visible from the outside.  I can't, unless I open up my books to everyone, say "look at this! It grew!" It's been internal. The business internally has grown and it's been, what we ended up calling, quiet success.

Quiet success is not measurable or visible to anyone on the outside. I don't have crazy-high Instagram numbers or Twitter followers or even YouTube subscribers and I'm okay with that.

My social media numbers tell you nothing about the success of my business. I don't need 20,000 Instagram followers to have the business success that I want.

What I need is close and meaningful relationships with as many followers as I can and sometimes that means nurturing the relationships I have, nurturing the followers I already have, and not focusing on growing.

I think it's so easy to fall into the trap of comparing just outward success versus outward success and coming up feeling inadequate. The truth is I'm not inadequate and I'm not rubbish at focusing on something for a year. I have stuck with my business -- we're going into seven years now! Have times been tough? Of course! Have I continued to work on my business, growing it and shaping it into something that makes me super-proud and super-happy? Yes, I have! So I need to lighten up on myself and I need to accept that for my business to succeed and for the success that I want, it doesn't make practical sense to just focus on one platform for a year and growing my audience on that platform.

I actually want to focus on finding parts of my business that make me happier than all the other parts and figuring out how I can do more of that and less of the parts of my business that maybe stress me out or I don't enjoy as much.

And so my goal for 2017 is to experiment more.

For a while I've just been very thankful for my whole business because as a whole I love my business. I love what I do. I love that work for myself and I'm super passionate about helping other people realise their dreams, whatever that means for them. And so I want to, on a macro level, keep doing all of that. But now it's time to focus on the micro level and the day-to-day tasks and doing more of the tasks that I really love and am really good at and really passionate about and outsourcing or doing less of the tasks that I don't enjoy. 

The goal for 2017 is to experiment and so at the end of this year I will not come back to you and say I quadrupled my YouTube followers but hopefully I will come back and say I've discovered what really makes me light up and I get to do that all day every day.

That's the dream anyway. 

The Woolly Hub Podcast, Season 1 Episode 2

Welcome to The Woolly Hub Podcast. This podcast was created as a way of bringing businesses in the fibre community together. In the first season we are reflecting on 2016 and what went well and not so well, and we talk about what we are looking forward to in 2017.

You can learn more about Hanna at https://www.hannalisahaferkamp.com and you can find her on Instagram as @hannaontheroad.

If you want to join our community you can find that at www.facebook.com/groups/thewoollyhub.

The Woolly Hub Podcast, Season 1 Episode 1

Welcome to The Woolly Hub Podcast. This podcast was created as a way of bringing businesses in the fibre community together. In the first season we are reflecting on 2016 and what went well and not so well, and we talk about what we are looking forward to in 2017.

You can learn more about Francoise at www.arohaknits.com and you can find her challenge at www.5shawls5days.com.

If you want to join our community you can find it at www.facebook.com/groups/thewoollyhub.

Learning To Tech Edit: Sarah Inskeep

I'm taking on clients! You can find and/or contact me on: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

I'm taking on clients! You can find and/or contact me on: WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter


Hello, I’m Sarah! It has always been my dream to run my own business in the knitting and fibre arts industry. I love details of any kind and I’ve always been fascinated with understanding how garment construction works. I also love everything about knitting and enjoy analysing the patterns that I knit. Additionally, technical writing is a big part of my job and one that I really enjoy. So when I came across Joeli’s Learn To Tech Edit course I thought “What could possibly be better then technical editing combined with knitting?”

At first, I hesitated a little bit due to the cost. But as I searched for information, tools & resources, I found that there was hardly any information out there on technical editing as applied to knitting. Joeli's course is the most complete, thoroughly organised, and best presented resource available. Her open and professional manner were very reassuring and after finishing the course, I believe I may have gotten the better end of that bargain!

One of my biggest takeaways from this learning process was: Math is my friend! Although I studied accounting as part of my degree in college, and work in the financial services industry, I was never a natural at higher math and therefore have always felt a bit intimidated by math in general. In technical editing, however, math is your most essential tool and I've found it to be a comforting constant rather than an obstacle! All in all, I find it very empowering to use math so effectively.

The most difficult thing for me about the course was finding the time to do my homework. Since I work full-time, live out in the country in the middle of nowhere, and have a husband (and, at the time, a pet angora rabbit) to take care of (like having two kids!)... time was at a premium. I found that I had to give up most of the little downtime I have every week to work on my homework, but it was totally worth it! I found the homework to be interesting as well as fun, and the skills and experience I gained are invaluable! 

I was so relieved to learn that being a technical editor does NOT need to put you in opposition to designers. It is working FOR designers to HELP them verify and polish their patterns for publishing. I had been a little concerned at first about coming across as a bossy know-it-all, or that my comments might make designers feel I was attacking their work. Joeli not only teaches but demonstrates how to interact with designers professionally in a way that communicates respect but is also helpful and accurate. I found that both exciting and reassuring!

After completing the course, I feel that I have options and an opportunity to start making my dream of running my own business in the knitting industry come alive! I am still working full-time but I do technical editing on the side and plan to expand in the future. To anyone considering taking Learn to Tech Edit I would say: "If you're serious about learning technical editing, then Go For It!" This course is worth the time, effort, and money because it really does give you not only the skills and knowledge you need, but actual practice as well as a supportive community and additional resources for the future!

Questions from the audience (these were sent in as suggestions for students to answer):

Q: In magazines [and all editing jobs], there is always the danger that the tech editor makes the pattern worse by editing [or introducing mistakes, or missing things] – how would you prevent that?

A: Some of the best tools for preventing/catching any mistakes that I may make or miss as a tech editor include: Being an avid knitter my self, I do have a good solid knowledge of how knitting techniques and patterns work. This is essential for good tech editing. Also, a designer is never required to accept any of the edits I may suggest. Power rests with the designer, as the pattern is, after all, his/her work. If something seems off about one of my edits, the designer is absolutely free to ignore it, and/or, contact me to ask about it if he/she wishes. Communication is always vital and I welcome questions and interaction with designers regarding the edits I suggest for their patterns. Further, it is my practice once I've completed an edit, to take a break and then go over the pattern one final time in order to catch any mistakes I may have made or missed. And let's not forget that there is inestimable value in utilising the community of knitting pattern tech editors Joeli has built. If I have a question about some aspect of a pattern, I have a direct line to others in my field who may have more experience with that particular item than I do.

Q: Do you think tech editing is necessary? Why do you think it is useful?

A: Anyone can write a knitting pattern, but not all patterns are created equal. Tech editing is not required, however, I do believe it is essential to producing a professional high quality, highly sought after pattern. This is because tech editing provides another perspective on the information - a second set of eyes looking, a second brain thinking, asking questions, and evaluating options. Often, when I write my own patterns, I am so ready to be done that I don't have the patience or focus required for the detailed analysis needed to perfect a pattern. Patterns that have been tech edited are more accurate, polished, and professional. This gives them greater value, which in turn boosts both the designer's reputation and revenue.

Have you got a question for students/tech editors? Send it in!