Hey, Duane; great 'question'.
Too major obstacles;
1) foreign imports
2) domestic factory production, especially products and parts CNC produced.
I've mentioned before, a local craftsman up here produces custom chairs. All kinds of chairs and benches.
He was charging upwards of $450 per piece and finding price resistance.
He built a large CNC router and was able to reduce his prices to the $200 range. Every M&T joint is perfect. Every seat is perfectly carved. Every spindle is perfect.
He basically designs and program, loads his material, and goes and does something else while the router does the woodworking. I'm guessing the novelty wears off real quick.
Mike (MT Stringer) seems to have found a ready market for his cabinetry, and I think a lot of potential clients are out there looking for something other than MDF construction...
I used to have a book covering the nitty-gritty of starting and running your own business...all meat and no fat. Excellent book.
Anyway, I digress. One day I did something I never get around to doing; I read his 'Forward' (funny expression, that.). In it he explains that people that go into business, this type of business, are either ARTISANS or ENTREPRENEURS. Rarely both.
His point being that that the artisan takes pride in his work and is less concerned with getting rich. The entrepreneur, on the other hand, isn't generally speaking emotionally attached to his product. His focus is on building a financially successful enterprise, than selling it for a (large) profit, and moving on to start or rebuild another business. In other words his business is business.
We have several happy well adjusted entrepreneurs among our members and I'm guessing they do the hobby aspect of woodworking for pleasure not profit, although it's always nice to get paid for your product.
Incidentally the distinction between "hobby" and business isn't one of sophistication but rather whether it's supposed to actually make money.
One last thing. The son of a guy I know up here, builds ship models for a living. Now that's cool! (Marine Architects usually commision a model for new ships being designed.
Here's the interesting part; he's a meticulous craftsman. He has offshore competition...much cheaper...but the ship owners only go down that route once. The quality can't compare to his
ship models. He's on occasion taken on a commission 'repairing' the crappy foreign models for the same guys that thought his were too expensive!