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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Any Pros Here?

I'm fairly new here and I was wondering if there were any here that practiced woodworking as either a primary source of income or a supplemental one. I've been thinking of exploring this on a part time basis at first, and was looking for any advice or caveats. It's taken me a while to trust that my work was good enough to sell. I've gotten a lot of support from family and friends who assured me that it was and are behind me. Up until this point I've made projects that appeal to me. Now it's time to consider things that would appeal to the buying public.

So, any words at all, pro or con are gladly welcome. Thanks.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 06:30 PM
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im not to the point of selling art yet, but the following sums up my feelings

this is my hobby and an enjoyable way to spend my free time.

to me the day i have deadlines and specs to what i need to do becomes just like my day job, drudgery and unenjoyable.

this is just how i feel and there is no right or wrong answer, but a person's point of view, this is mine.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 06:55 PM
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I don't consider myself a "pro", by any stretch but, I've done several sets of kitchen cabinets, 3 beds and 4 entertainment centers for $.
Every jewelry box I've made has sold. Finally, I've made 5 or 6 coat rack/ plant holder wall mirrors of my own design and they've all sold.
All told, over the span of years and projects, I probably made a somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 cents profit. But I've had a lot of fun! And, nearly as important, I've managed to gather some tools along the way.
I'm with Levon on this one, though. Schedules, deadlines and someone else's specs don't appeal to me.

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'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 07:27 PM
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Find a specialty product. I have a Niece that makes beautiful band saw boxes she sells at art shows. Stay away from flea markets. No profit there.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 07:34 PM
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I am with Lavon, I want to enjoy what I do and not feel a bunch of pressure to get it done. I have done things for trade; I made something for them and get something back. If someone wants to pay me for doing something like refinish some item or repair a chair etc they can pay me what it's worth to them. For my part I just enjoy working on things. I just won't let someone pressure me to finish something.

I would like very much to get good enough to build something for a fund raiser. We have an auction at our church to help the youth raise money for missions’ trip. I hope to have a few things to offer at the one next year.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 09:58 PM
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Whilst all the above answers are true, they don't answer your specific question. Setting up a business when times are good can be slow, depending on how the venture is promoted, but in these difficult times it can be a real problem. These remarks are based on the assumption that it is going to be a full time business and your sole source of income. However, if it's going to be a side line or a precursor to a full time business, then that's a different matter. Here in Australia back in 1968, as a TV/audio repairer working from a well equipped home workshop, I placed catchy classified adds in the morning paper every day and had local kids deliver business cards in all the local mail boxes, my cards were postcard size, the theory being that people, especially women, place business cards in a drawer and of course the biggest one stands out! As a matter of interest, the business took off like a rocket! Samples of my adds:

Swap a five cent phone call for a free quote for repairs to your TV or radiogram, it could cost far less than you thought. Phone Harry Sinclair................

Picture tubes replaced in your home today, free quotes, phone Harry Sinclair..........

Take photographs of your previous work to show prospective customers, and finally, have confidence in yourself and don't undersell yourself, an artisan is worthy of his hire.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 11:10 PM
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I was recently watching some videos of Sam Maloof. He delegated most of the business side of his work to others. That allowed him to do what he did best, design and build furniture. Perhaps the OP could find a patron to either buy his work or help in the marketing.
A business plan is the first step to forming a new business and there are templates available, online. Owning a business is not for the faint of heart. Most folks just think of the freedom that owning a business offers but don't really understand that a small business owner doesn't punch out at 5:00PM., doesn't have Holidays, doesn't get paid vacation, and works fo a tyrant, himself.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 09:15 AM
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Lance, I didn't want to dampen Joe's enthusiasm, but all you said is of course true, but building up a sound business can be very exciting, especially if the whole family are participating. Long hours and lack of holidays in the first couple of years is no big deal but once established, that's different, a good income will allow more normal hours and the odd holiday. It's my firm opinion that any tradesman starting this type of business MUST have at least a basic knowledge of business principles with an ability to give sensible quotes which will guarantee a profit.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 11:55 AM
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[QUOTE=jmg1017;121401]I'm fairly new here and I was wondering if there were any here that practiced woodworking as either a primary source of income or a supplemental one. I've been thinking of exploring this on a part time basis at first, and was looking for any advice or caveats. It's taken me a while to trust that my work was good enough to sell. I've gotten a lot of support from family and friends who assured me that it was and are behind me. Up until this point I've made projects that appeal to me. Now it's time to consider things that would appeal to the buying public.ny words at all, pro or con are gladly welcome. Thanks. This type of venture is a " love - hate " relationship and also educational ! ! If you have the heart for it, go for it ! ! I believe you will find it rewarding. I say this in good faith, I have been there- done that (80 yrs old ) Good luck which ever way you go . Frank Lee, Kingman, Az.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 12:08 PM
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Hi Joe,

I have to say this is a topic I have given great thought to. I agree with others that anytime you turn a hobby into a business there is a chance to lose the joy. But I also believe that anything you have a great passion for will never become drudgery. I do love woodworking, but I don't ever think I would be happy depending on it for even part of my income. Now, having said that, I do plan to keep working until the day I pass, and I fully expect to do part time woodworking to supplement my income in retirement. But it is not income I would depend on. Having the freedom to stop, slow down, or even change direction, in my opinion, will make it enjoyable. My other hobby is astrophotography and I've recently started selling prints of my work. I've made a few bucks at it already, but its all fun money, not earmarked for anything, and I think that is what makes it appealing for me and keeps me going at it. Same thing for woodworking. I have discussed an arrangement with a local gal who grooms pets. I made a simple dog feeder for her for Christmas just as a gesture of appreciation for her work and she commented that she could probably sell some of these out of her shop. So, what the hay? Why not? I can cover my costs with a few dollars extra to buy some router bits or other accessories. Seems like fun to me.
Short answer: Let your passion lead the way...that'll be different for each of us...but just the same, "right" for each of us as well. Just my $.02.

- Frank
Woodworking is more than a hobby.
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