Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business? [Archive] - Router Forums

Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business?

Cricket
07-11-2018, 02:42 PM
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The more you work with your router, the more you might think about going into business and making some money with your skills. There’s definitely an appeal to the idea, and some who have pursued similar dreams have found quite a bit of success. Before you rush in and open your shop for business, though, there are a few things that you need to consider. The specific needs of your business will depend on the scale of work you do, the needs of your local area and a few other factors unique to your situation. 5 Things to Consider Before Going into Business (https://www.routerforums.com/articles/5-things-to-consider-before-going-into-business/)

Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business?

difalkner
07-11-2018, 02:50 PM
Have done that a few times - woodworking, photography, technology - and now out of the Technology Sales world and doing contract woodworking out of our home garage/shop. We also opened our Etsy shop in December last year. Fun stuff!!

David

Herb Stoops
07-11-2018, 03:17 PM
Tried that with my wife's Victorian Lampshade business years ago, and never even broke even for 5 years straight. I would never even consider it for my woodworking, I do it for the joy of doing it, not as a job, don't need the money.
Herb

MT Stringer
07-11-2018, 04:40 PM
Tried that with high school sports photography. That was a lot of work. At least I got to use some great equipment.

Gene Howe
07-11-2018, 06:49 PM
Woodworking is fun. Bookkeeping isn't. BTDT. No more.

DesertRatTom
07-11-2018, 07:00 PM
I've posted several times about how to make a CNC small business work, but I'm not very interested in starting something else. My best skill is in making picture frames, but people aren't very likely in my area to pay even the cost of hardwood supplies. I suspect there is a hidden market for this, but I don't really want to do that. CNC is a different matter since we are down the hill from several mountain resort areas where good quality CNC signs (Ollie quality) would do well. I just don't want to do it. There is a guy around these parts who makes band saw boxes in unique shapes. He seems to do OK around the holidays with a kiosk in the mall.

Herb Stoops
07-11-2018, 07:19 PM
Woodworking is fun. Bookkeeping isn't. BTDT. No more.

+4 to what Gene said.
Herb

Gene Howe
07-11-2018, 08:43 PM
Hey Cricket, do you have a photography business. You've posted here and on other forums, some very creative work. You really have a knack for compositions.

Shop guy
07-11-2018, 09:28 PM
In a word, NO! In more words HELL NO! The primary goal of a business is to make a profit which requires commitment which generates stress none of which I need or want.

hawkeye10
07-11-2018, 10:27 PM
I retired from the Nissan plant here in middle Tn. and had to do the same thing over and over and I am through with that. (Forever) I could have continued working instead of retiring and I would make a lot more money working there than I would woodworking.

Woodworking is my hobby and I can go to work when I want, take a break when I want, I can stop when I want, no deadlines, and I don't have to call in sick when I want to take a day off. :grin: I do miss the people I worked with as most were nice hard working people.

Stoneface
07-12-2018, 08:53 AM
I have tried to do some work for pay. One job was to make a headboard taller. Tried many times to get the bed height measurements, but after a year, I cut the headboard up for firewood. Another job was completed, but could not contact the person. Again after a year, I was trying to determine what to do. Lo and behold the person showed up with the money and I learned he had been in jail for a year. Since I am retired and do not need the headaches, I try to stay away from paying jobs.

Frank

sreilly
07-12-2018, 09:02 AM
I have always said I would never, ever turn something I really enjoy into a business. I do woodworking as a relaxing (yeah right), enjoyable, hobby that allows me to learn and share. I can walk away from a problem and give it plenty of thought without pressure, unless it's how to set the load of wood on my should down gently without breaking me or something nearby. If something turns out less than I'm happy with that's OK, I'm not trying to please someone else. If it's for the better half then I'll simply fix what I don't like or start over. There are plenty of people who don't "see" the mistakes and think what you've done is great. I look at one of my 1st Norm Abram book cases and my eye goes directly to that one corner that isn't perfect where instead of redoing the entire piece of molding I only replaced the 3" piece that was less then as good and although you need to get really close to even notice it once you know where to look you always seem to look there first as if it will be different somehow.

No, this is a hobby, not a job. Job usually equals stress and I've had enough of that these past 64 years. I want to enjoy those twilight years to come, however many they may be.

Just my 2 cents worth.....

Garyk
07-12-2018, 09:38 AM
Yes. I t depends on what you expect out of a "business". You have to plan it out and think it through. Do you want to go into the shop when you feel like it or because you have a commitment to a customer ? Do you want to deal with the IRS and have to keep track of every penny you take in or spend ? You can make some money and still have it considered a "hobby". Maybe start that way and get a taste of what giving up a hobby to run a business feels like. Your local Small Business Administration will offer classes on what is involved and is a good place to start your adventure. Good luck

Bushwhacker
07-12-2018, 10:30 AM
I spent 21 years in the US Army Infantry then after retirement, became a Paramedic for another 20 plus years and at the same time had a Mobil Home repair business that kept me busy but never made much of a profit at. Sandra and I are both retired now and travel as much as we can and I work in my shop doing what ever I like. Mostly stuff for the house and projects that Sandra gives me to do.
WE bought this old house 20 some years ago and I striped it down to the studs and replumbed, rewired and installed central air, and new gas lines. Then took a hint from Rainman and insulated the whole house, tore out all the interior walls and rebuilt the whole thing the way we wanted it.
It is a work in progress and may never be completed.


David

Danman1957
07-12-2018, 10:58 AM
This year I started giving woodworking classes from my garage workshop. So far I had 2 students for the beginner course and only 1 continued for the intermediate level. I have another that wants to start in September. I am not earning a living at this and I don't think I ever will, but it is fun to be in the shop and pass on some knowledge. The look on their faces when a project is completed and looks good, is worth it.

RainMan 2.0
07-12-2018, 12:19 PM
Well I’m going to be looking for a new occupation next year ,and was hoping to make enough to stay alive making and designing 3D wood engravings , signs etc , with a CNC router table .
I don’t think it’s a viable plan from the research I’ve done , but I’d like to own one regardless , as the potential is probably there to make a few bucks. But I suspect I’ll never pay the machine and software off itself after spending 20K .
Will have a cool looking machine though ,and it’s also about learning and having fun to .

I’m also a little concerned with the cost of materials here, as things are pricey in western Canada .
There is a private wood mill about 20 minutes from my house , so that may offset costs a little .

If it doesn’t work out , I’ll find some other part time work in my field , and maybe make a few bucks with it at some point .

Gene Howe
07-12-2018, 12:30 PM
You might surprise yourself, Rick. I know guys making 50+K per year making signs. Some aren't even using a CNC. Just a router.

MEBCWD
07-12-2018, 01:00 PM
357679



Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business?

Sounds like work to me!

I am retired and I do make a little money in woodworking but it is work when you have a project that someone commissions and you really don't like the project. You are always thinking about projects you would rather be doing that you have designed but can't find the time to do projects for yourself.

When one of the local woodworking stores gives a customer my contact information I usually try to make sure they get their project made. When they have been turned down by every other woodworker in the area because they do not want the headaches of a complicated project it makes it hard to turn down the project.

If someone has been referred to the CNC User Group to get a project made I try to make sure they get the work done. If no one else in the group wants to take on the project I usually do it so the club keeps a good standing in the community.

I do have regular customers that I do work for but they know that it is not a drop everything for their project situation. I do custom inlays for one customer for his end-grained cutting board business and these are usually a quick job that can be done between other jobs. Two or three times a year I do several standard inlay boards at a time and that goes quickly, design are already finished and toolpaths already run and tested. Always have a nice long leadtime on these stanard designs so I don't feel backed into a corner.

I do CNC design files for other people that don't like the computer time, just don't want to learn the software or need help to resolve problems with design files. These jobs are usually done with the knowledge that they will be done after current jobs are finished and not be done as priorities over current jobs.

It is surprising how easy it is to build something you want to make and the feeling you have at the end of the day in your shop is a lot different than the feeling you have if you have to make something.

honesttjohn
07-12-2018, 03:29 PM
I sell stuff just to get rid of it. We'd never use or give away everything I've made. Then there's a little bit if the challenge thing. Keeps the mind busy, the body limber going up and down the stairs 30-50 times a day, and helps pay for the materials to make what I really want to.

Learning this new stuff ain't easy for an old mind. But it helps to keep in the loop, if even a little bit.

But ............. there is that little inner glow when someone wants what you have made, and actually wants to give you money for it.

RainMan 2.0
07-12-2018, 04:47 PM
You might surprise yourself, Rick. I know guys making 50+K per year making signs. Some aren't even using a CNC. Just a router.

I’d be more than happy to make half that. Anything beats being a door man at Home Depot .
Disclaimer: If any of one our members are employed at Home Depot , I’m sure it’s a nice place to work :D

Terry Q
07-13-2018, 09:43 AM
I’ve often thought that opening a “storefront” business because it’s a hobby has always been a silly thing to do.

If you are a fisherman and enjoy fishing, why would you want to own a retail business that would tie you down to your store at the peak of the season when everyone expects you to be open.

Same with skis, bikes, golf and lots of other hobbies.

Woodworking would allow more flexibility and there is no “season” and no set hours so it would be a slightly different circumstances, but there are plenty of hobbies that would suffer if you turned them into a business.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.

Garyk
07-16-2018, 10:47 AM
If whatever idea you come up with catches fire you can bet you will have a competitor in China that can make it quicker and cheaper to sell at Wal-Mart. We came up with a few unique ideas when we tried craft shows but it didn't take too long for the competition to duplicate our product (a cheaper version of course) and kill our market. You can make some money but staying ahead of the curve is difficult. A lot depends on your personal "aggravation" level.

DaninVan
07-16-2018, 09:07 PM
I'm with the 'When Hell Freezes' group.
I turned my business into a hobby. Less work, less stress and most definitely less money.

RainMan 2.0
07-17-2018, 06:46 PM
If whatever idea you come up with catches fire you can bet you will have a competitor in China that can make it quicker and cheaper to sell at Wal-Mart. We came up with a few unique ideas when we tried craft shows but it didn't take too long for the competition to duplicate our product (a cheaper version of course) and kill our market. You can make some money but staying ahead of the curve is difficult. A lot depends on your personal "aggravation" level.

That’s my concern also . Even if you patent a product , there’s no protection from overseas ,just America .

MEBCWD
07-17-2018, 09:03 PM
That’s my concern also . Even if you patent a product , there’s no protection from overseas ,just America .

If you did have a patent on a product that someone decided to copy inside the US you still have to take them to court so you can protect your product and possibly gain part of the profits they made selling the item. I know one person that did patent a product and had 2 different people try to copy his design. He did take them to court and in one case was given all documented sales form the item plus damages, in the other case they gave him damages with nothing related to lost sales because that individual did not keep any records of his sales. The lawyer also requested court costs and his fees be paid by the defendant.

So remember the patent will not be any good unless you go after the individuals that are copying the design and sometimes you will have to pay attorney fees.