I’m a frustrated engineer. I took what in my opinion was conservative advice when I graduated high school, and made the “smart” move into engineering. I have never liked it. It pays the bills. And, yes, I know many of you can/will quickly point out how difficult it is/can be to make a living building furniture and cabinetry, but I was talked out of heading down the “craft/trade” path almost 20 years ago and I have regretted it ever since.
I am aware that most professionals start their career when they are in their teens with apprenticeships, furniture trade schools, etc, and before they have families and more important responsibilities (like raising three children and paying a mortgage). I know that the smart move is to do this as a hobby. To not let my inspiration turn into a stressful day-to-day grind that kills all the love I have for this craft. I have spoken to a handful of well known pros, and they have told me that you can’t only be a skilled craftsman, you must also be a good business person, good at sales, and especially at marketing.
All that aside, I live in the Midwest where there are no schools. The idea of picking up the family and moving to a region where I could go to school is intoxicating, but not practical. I’ve spoken with local shops about providing free labor in exchange for training, but none seem interested (understandably). My wife and I have discussed downsizing our lives to try to accommodate an apprenticeship somewhere. That would be a very difficult decision.
So my first topic/question is to get your input. You pros. What would you do? Put yourself in my shoes. Think about the passion and desire you have, the work you have to put in to making a successful business. Help me on my path.
Feel free to be brutally honest, but also please try to be constructive and not dream crushing, which is all too easily done.
And thanks for reading.