Lindsay VanSomeren - The Penny Hoarder

Calling all knitters!

Did you know you can make some great passive income just by doing what you already love to do -- knitting?

I’ve created three knitting patterns in the past three months, and earned up to $35 per month. It’s not hard: All you need to design and sell knitting patterns is a creative mind, reasonable writing skills, attention to detail and -- of course -- decent knitting skills.

If you’ve got those things, and you’re willing to put in some upfront time and effort, you can easily design and sell your own knitting patterns online.

Once you have the system up and running, you don’t have to do anything else. The money automatically comes into your bank account -- no further input required.

How to Sell Your Own Knitting Patterns

Here’s the process I’ve used to create and market my three knitting patterns -- with more coming soon.

1. Decide What to Make

The first step is to come up with an idea.

Shoot for something you think would be useful, pretty, would teach someone a new skill or could make for yourself or someone you know.

Bonus points: Make a gift for a friend or family member -- then sell the pattern for extra cash!

2. Knit a Sample Item

Once you have an idea, the next step is to actually make it.

Take extensive notes about everything you do as you go, so you don’t miss any steps or key advice. Think about what you’d find in a typical knitting pattern.

This is the trickiest part of the process -- but fear not! There are lots of resources to help you.

Craftsy offers several amazing classes about the more difficult parts of the design process.

If you want more guidance, Marie Segares at Creative Yarn Entrepreneur has a whole series of podcasts devoted to each step of the process, from start to finish.

3. Write the Knitting Pattern

Once you’ve worked out the first sample and taken lots of notes about the process, it’s time to write the pattern.

Write down in sequential order the exact instructions for recreating the knitted item, down to the most minute detail.

You’ll also need to include other info, such as what size needle you used, the amount and type of yarn used, the gauge, etc -- basically, everything you see in a normal knitting pattern.

4. Get Your Knitting Pattern Edited

Once you have your first draft (and you’ve triple-checked it for errors!), have it looked at by a technical editor.

This highly experienced knitter will go through your instructions with a fine-toothed comb, checking for errors.

They won’t knit the pattern, but will go through the pattern line-by-line, making sure everything makes sense and is in the proper place.

Typically, technical editors charge around $15 per hour to look at your pattern. Most patterns take between 30 and 90 minutes to look at, depending on their complexity.

5. Get Your Knitting Pattern Tested

It’s also a wise idea to have a group of test knitters go through your pattern to ensure your pattern is bomb-proof.

This step isn’t required, but it’s smart. I do it to save myself the embarrassment and wasted time of having to come back later and edit a pattern a bunch of people bought.

You can find test knitters in your own network, or online. Ravelry even has groups of test knitters set up. Just post your pattern with all the details and requirements you’re looking for in test knitters.

Most test knitters work for a small fee. Some will work for free in exchange for a copy of your pattern, plus another free pattern of their choice from your already existing (or future) inventory.

6. List the Knitting Pattern for Sale

List a PDF copy of your knitting pattern on your favorite knitting sites. Ravelry and Craftsy are the most popular options, but smaller sites like Kollabora, Patternfish and Love Knitting are good, too.

Plus, you can list your knitting pattern for free! If you list with Craftsy, you keep 100% of your earnings. Ravelry only charges a small percentage once you hit a certain sales number.

When someone buys your pattern, the site sends your PDF automatically and deposits your payment to your PayPal account. So once you list your pattern, you don’t have to lift a finger -- it’s all passive income!

How to Keep Making Money From Your Knitting Patterns

You don’t have to do any more work with each knitting pattern once you’ve listed it, but there are a few things you can do to keep a steady cash flow.

Promote your pattern within certain groups in Ravelry, and on social media. I’ve never done it, but you also can take out ads on the site.

The market for knitting patterns can be somewhat seasonal because more people tend to knit around the holidays.

Releasing patterns at regular intervals helps keep people coming back to your sales page, where they can find your other patterns -- which helps even out your sales.

I’ve been releasing about one pattern a month, working on small knitting projects in my spare time. I price my patterns at $4.99 each. Every time someone buys one, I get an automatic deposit of $4.99 into my PayPal account.

Since I released my first pattern three months ago, I’ve been making a steady income of around $35 per month with just a few patterns.

It’s awesome to make money doing something I love -- and I’m planning on creating a lot more patterns!

Your Turn: Do you knit? Would you consider selling knitting patterns to earn money on the side?

Lindsay VanSomeren lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She enjoys hiking, fishing, learning languages and drinking fine brews.

If you have a pet, you know how expensive it can be to take care of them, especially when it comes to veterinary care.

Recently, I found out about a unique way to help cover veterinary costs for my own sick dog, and help improve veterinary care for other dogs.

The average American spends $611 per year on vet care for a normal, healthy pet. As our furry friends age, they sometimes develop chronic health conditions like arthritis, kidney and liver disease.

These conditions can require medication for the remainder of the pet’s life, and that comes with an even heftier price tag. In fact, vet costs shoot up to $935 per year once pets are diagnosed with a chronic health condition.

Obviously, there’s an enormous economic incentive for pet pharmaceutical companies to develop new and better drugs to help pets. This is where companies need your help, and they’ll pay handsomely for it.

Juno’s Story

Enter my dog -- Juno.

She’s only five years old, but she has a chronic health condition. It’s not at all debilitating or very serious, but she’ll be on medication for the rest of her life.

Recently, I got a call from her vet saying there’s a new medication to treat her condition, and the drug company is recruiting volunteers for a new clinical study.

One of the vet techs at my clinic was helping to coordinate the study, and made it very clear that her first priority is to Juno. She said the clinic only participates in studies that will have a definite benefit to the animals.

She went over the study process and all the risks and benefits of the clinical trial with me, which I carefully considered.

The biggest factor I had to consider was whether or not it’d help Juno.

The new medication has the exact same side effects as the ones she’s currently taking, and it’s expected to be more effective in the long run. In this case, it was a no-brainer.

Plus, the drug company would cover all the study’s costs for vet care and medications ($75 for the medication she’s currently on). By the end, they’d also tack on a $400 credit for future veterinary expenses, which I could also use for our two cats, as well.

How Clinical Trials Work

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers work with local vet clinics and hospitals all over the country to test new medications.

At each location, one or several people are designated as study coordinators, who enroll pets and work with pet owners to ensure the study goes smoothly. These are the people who will help you.

Usually, your pet needs a health exam before being enrolled in a clinical trial. Once deemed fit for the study, the coordinator will go over the requirements and answer your questions.

Once everything is clear, they’ll give you the medication for your pet -- or administer the treatment.

They usually require a few other things, as well. You’ll usually need to bring your pet back a few times (or many) for follow-up checkups. You might also need to fill out daily health logs and forms to take note of abnormalities, when the medication was given, how it was given, etc…

At the end of the study, your pet’s given another exam to make sure they’re still OK, and you’re done.

You’re usually left with some kind of compensation for your time, and the knowledge that you and your pet helped bring new medications to the market to help animals everywhere.

Are Clinical Trials Right for Your Pet?

If your pet has a medical condition that needs to be managed, it’s well worth your time to see if there are any studies in the pipeline that could help them.

These studies often are the best place to find the newest, cutting-edge drugs and treatments to help your pet. They could even save your pet’s life -- especially from serious diseases like cancer.

Before you sign your pet (or yourself) up for any trial under the sun, you’ll need to consider whether or not it’s worth it. Ask about side effects, requirements, compensation and ultimately if the trial will really help your pet.

Where to Find Clinical Trials for Pets

Ask your vet if they participate in any trials that might be relevant for your pet. If they don’t, ask them if they know any other local vet clinics administering any trials. Veterinary teaching hospitals at universities are also great places to find trials.

Many websites can help you find clinical trials for yourself, but generally isn’t the case for pets.

The Veterinary Cancer Society is one exception. It operates an online database of all veterinary cancer trials currently looking for volunteers.

Your Turn: Do you have a pet with a health condition that requires medication? Have you participated in any clinical trials that might help your pet, and others?

Lindsay VanSomeren lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has a household of semi-geriatric animals who help keep her young.