Do you have your own crochet business or are you thinking of starting one? Do you have any other kind of indie small business? When you run a business on your own, you have to wear a lot of different hats. You need tools that will help you get your work done as quickly and easily as possible. Have you ever needed a tool to make your life easier, but you don’t even know what tool you needed? We’re here to help.
Yes, we have lots of pieces to our online Crochetville presence (website, online community, pattern store, Facebook page, YouTube channel, you get the picture), but there are still only two of us managing it all. We had to find tools that would help us maximize the use of our time. We’ve spent countless hours researching the best software resources to help us run the many pieces of Crochetville.
Want to save yourself a lot of time, effort, and aggravation? Check out the options we have listed below. We are currently using many of these resources, others came in a very close second, and others we’ve just heard a lot of great things about. We hope some of these resources will be exactly what you need to make running your crochet business much easier.
Disclosure: Some options listed below are available for free; others are available for purchase. Some of the links below are affiliate links. Crochetville will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Take the time to see which options will work best for your needs. You may find that some free options meet your current needs. Should one of the affiliate links offer the perfect solution for you, we appreciate your support if you purchase through our link.
Quickbooks: The #1 rated and best-selling small business financial software.
Google Adsense: Set up a free account so you can place relevant ads on your website.
Google Adwords: Use your Google account to advertise on Google by selecting keywords and locations. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
Blog and Website Creation:
WordPress: We believe WordPress is the absolute best platform for publishing a traditional blog and even a fully-featured website that doesn’t look like a blog at all. What’s really great: It’s totally free! You can create a blog on the WordPress site and let them host it for you. If you want more freedom and customization ability, you can install it on your own website. (We’ll recommend some hosting sites below.) You can find all sorts of free themes and plugins, too.
You can also find a number of premium (paid-for) themes that offer even more special features. Most premium themes also come with a full support team behind them should you run into any problems. The following companies offer some excellent themes that are easy to use even if you’re not a WordPress expert.
WPZoom themes offer incredible flexibility and feature clean and easy to understand code. If you have experience making adjustments to css and php files, check out their themes.
Elegant Themes provides beautiful themes that you can easily adjust from within the control center. Very easy to customize without using css or php files.
My Theme Shop also offers clean, elegant themes that are easily customizable with no knowledge of css or php.
Beautiful and professional WordPress themes. Felix is readily available to answer any questions and solve any problems you may have. Extensive documentation.
Another terrific collection of WordPress themes.
More WordPress themes and plugins.
Document Management and Sharing
Dropbox: Dropbox is a free cloud-based service that makes it super-easy to access important files wherever you are and even to share them with others. Save photos, docs, and videos to your Dropbox account and access them from any computer, phone, and the Dropbox website.
Email and Newsletter Marketing Management:
GetResponse helps you create and send beautiful email newsletters in minutes, track results, and automate your marketing. We use GetResponse because it fully integrates with other software we are using. They’re also based in Tennessee, right up the road from Amy!
Images and Photos
Flickr Creative Commons: Good source for free images for your website. Different attribution rules apply to different photos, so be sure to read the attribution rules thoroughly.
iStockphoto: Good source for purchasing royalty-free images to use on your site.
Stock.XCHNG: Another good source for free photo images. Again, different attribution rules apply, so read the rules carefully.
LegalZoom: Get help with incorporating your business, filing a trademark, privacy statements, and more.
Payment Processing and Shopping Cart
E-Junkie: Good for digital downloads and very reasonably priced.
Clickbank: Another digital products retailer.
Paypal.com: Accept credit card payments online through Paypal.
Square: Accept credit card payments at craft shows and consumer events for a flat rate of 2.75% per swipe. Payments are sent to your account each day in batches. Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Fabulous Register app for iPad. We can’t say enough good things about Square!
Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool.
Crochetville: Online social community just for crocheters with 125,000-175,000 unique site visitors each month. Take advantage of our free advertising options for indie crochet businesses, as well as our discounted prices for banner advertising. If you want to reach large numbers of crocheters, this is the place to be.
Facebook: Set up a business page in addition to your personal page.
Pinterest: If you sell patterns, let people pin images of your patterns. When they link back to your site, it’s a great source of free publicity.
Ravelry: Wonderful pattern and yarn database. You can even sell your patterns here.
Twitter: Not as important as Facebook, but a useful addition. Send 140-character messages to stay in touch with your customers and fans.
Trade Show and Craft Fair Supplies
Nashville Wraps: Terrific source for gift bags, gift boxes, shopping bags, and tissue paper. Fast shipping!
Store Supply Warehouse: Display materials for your booth.
ScreenFlow (for Mac users): Screen capture software for recording webinars.
Camtasia for PC (Camtasia Studio): PC-based screen capture software.
Omnidazzle: Free program that lets you draw on your screen.
Bamboo Pen and Tablet : Excellent for hand-drawing graphics.
When you need a dedicated server, LiquidWeb is absolutely the best. We’ve been a happy customer since 2007!
For your first site, when you don’t have enough traffic and activity to require a dedicated server, you may want to consider Bluehost. They offer 1-click automatic WordPress installation and excellent customer service.
When You Need to Look Good
When meeting with editors at conferences or working in your booth at a consumer event, a professional appearance is very important. Check out these sources for fashionable, up-to-date shoes and basic clothing.
Tip: Dress in black, white, or other neutrals to show your crocheted garments and accessories off to their highest potential!