Don't Quit Your Day Job - An exclusive interview with knotworkshop

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Original Post

bomobob says

Knotworkshop is one of the most successful sellers on Etsy with the least sales, but this famously reclusive artiste has been kind enough to grant us an exclusive interview. I made my way down to hillbilly country last week, and we met in her minivan in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot for this one-on-one.

Q: How did you originally get into the business of making things?

A: Well, I'm a control freak. So making things always seemed the best way to isolate power. I hate having a boss and no one can boss me around with my crochet. They can try to boss me around with my shop, ala the Font Wars of 2010. But I don't have to listen. They get to spew their opinions and I can make fun of them. That's the beauty of making things yourself.

Q: Tell us about your previous working situation:

A: My previous working situation involved lots of compromise and bending over. I won't give any details but if I could come up with a comparison it would be the US Congress. Lots of people had power just because they managed to stick around the longest. Most of the smartest and brightest never bother to start or leave very quickly afterwards. Etsy is like that too. They say if you stick around long enough you will be successful. What they don't tell you is that by the time it happens you could look like Strom Thurmond.

Q: When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?

A: Of course! Who doesn't? But I ran into two problems. One, etsy is also work. So the true name of the game is 'Switch your day job' not 'quit your day job'. Two, not enough people want what I sell. So I can in fact 'switch' my day job. But it will result in going on welfare and/or losing my house.

Q: Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?

A: Not really. I usually fly by the seat of my pants and why should an Etsy shop be any exception?

Q: What are the most effective ways you've marketed your business?

A: Fucked if I know really since nothing has been that effective.

Q: Walk us through your typical workday:

1) Get up, make coffee, walk dogs
2) Get the family out of the house
3) Check that I've not sold anything
4) Lament that I've not sold anything
5) Make things, photograph them, list them
6) Not sell those things
7) Dinner, whining to my family about not selling things
8) Go to bed

Q: What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?

A: As stated earlier, this is only a different day job, and a horribly paid one at that. The upside is that I can sexually harass myself, enjoy it, and not get fired for it.

Q: Knot, how does having a family affect your Etsy business?

A: If anything, it pretty much ruins it. Husbands wondering why the family's extra cash is being spent on supplies instead of on a flat screen TV or trips to the strip club. Children wanting things like meals and clean clothes while you spend time grappling with Google Analytics and sobbing silently in the bathroom with a bottle of vodka. And not top shelf either.

Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

A: Listen to others more, especially all the naysayers. Turns out the bastards were right.

Q: What advice would you give someone else?

A: I once wanted to be a doctor. My sister who is a doctor said, 'This is the hardest thing you'll ever do. If you can do anything at all which will make you happy besides being a doctor, do that instead.' That's the advice I'd give to someone else. Be a doctor instead. It's just as hard, but pays miles better and no one cares about your shop banner when you're saving his or her life.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

A: I just want to say there are many more like me than those who can actually switch their day jobs. We really have the power. We don't have money or success, but in a majority rule situation we'd totally kick the asses of all the day job switchers. So remember that when you drool at their number of sales and how many shops/blogs/etc they've been featured in. Read it and then think, 'we could totally kick your ass if we wanted to.'

Posted at 10:51am Feb 17, 2010 EST


Beebeebee says

Wow Robert! Nice interview. I especially like the typical workday. Did Knot come into my home and observe me?

Posted at 11:00am Feb 17, 2010 EST

hilarity......thats a good interview, lol

Posted at 11:02am Feb 17, 2010 EST

Great interview! Wish you could have done a live interview, but all the fans of Knot would make for one really full minivan!

And Knot --- your avatar really says it all!

Posted at 11:03am Feb 17, 2010 EST

Very eye opening interview that's for sure..

Posted at 11:03am Feb 17, 2010 EST

LOL Bomobob! My coffee almost came out my nose. Great work.

Posted at 11:06am Feb 17, 2010 EST

BebesDecor says


Posted at 11:07am Feb 17, 2010 EST

hahahaha!!! i needed that!

Posted at 11:08am Feb 17, 2010 EST

Tell it like it is! Thanks for my morning chuckle.

Posted at 11:09am Feb 17, 2010 EST

Thanks for the late-morning entertainment.

Posted at 11:09am Feb 17, 2010 EST