Starting a Woodworking Business #4: Home Alone

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Blog entry by Sam Yerardi posted 09-21-2009 04:10 PM 1869 reads 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Still working at it Part 4 of Starting a Woodworking Business series Part 5: Got some advice & help today »

Well, Friday was my last day at my day job. I got a good severance and have insurance for almost a year so I’ve got that going for me to help out. I have to admit I’m a bit numb as in 30 years I’ve never been out of work, but I’m still focused on woodworking. Right now I’m working on my dishwasher, moving furniture, and remodeling my living room so I will try to post some progress pictures soon. Since my woodworking is focusing on Greene & Greene, that is the style I am remodeling it in. I was going to post some pictures of the Greene & Greene fireplace I built on our patio but in all of the shuffling of furniture, etc., we’ve misplaced the camera. Hope to find that today.

-- Sam

16 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#1 posted 09-21-2009 04:22 PM

Wow! Out there naked and all alone. That is how I felt when I left my job, even though that was by choice.

You’ll make it. Think smart business, work smart business.

Here is a link to Scott Morrison, a friend of mine that has just started releasing videos. He is VERY successful at what he does and he has a video coming out covering the business of woodworking.

What I like about Scott is that we have had some great conversations about the business end of woodworking, not techniques. He is a genuinely nice guy and wants to see others succeed.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 09-21-2009 05:07 PM

Best of luck with your new carreer. I too will possibly be canned soon. Company may be closing their doors soon unless we can find a bank to support us and find a new owner. It will be my first time unemployed/not in school since I was 14. I would love to do what you are doing but I am not ready yet. Maybe in a few years. Anyway keep us posted on your SUCCESS.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3419 days

#3 posted 09-21-2009 06:08 PM

I was well past the usual age of retirement when I finally cashed out.

Even so, it was a little strange not having a JOB anymore. I was 70 when it happened.

I think (six years later) I’m acclimated, but every once in a while I think back to my working career and reflect on the satisfying challenges.
These days I make my own challenges and it feels just as good to work through these ones.

But I make this cautionary statement, “Getting old isn’t for sissies!”

Hang in there. You’ll do well.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3919 days

#4 posted 09-21-2009 06:18 PM

Thanks for being there… You have given me encouragement and a tremendous boost with your postings & responses. I will check out Scott’s video. One thing that is really surprising me is that I have taken a greater interest in learning about business. I’m actually finding it as interesting as the woodworking end. I’m still working on my business plan (I want to have it in some sort of semi-completed state before I go up to the SBA office next week). I’ve narrowed down what my focus is going to be at least initially. I am still doing remodeling, but my major focus is in Arts & Crafts items, in the Greene & Greene style. I’ve been researching the market a lot and I think I have identified some gaps in the offerings/pricing of some items. My business model as far as product lines will be along the lines of the Greene & Greene style craftsmen such as Darrel Peart, Stangeland, and others, but focused on areas that they are not involved in. More like Dale Barnard as I also do stained glass but with a product line as well. There are a lot of items in the accessory areas that aren’t being pursued by any of them. That’s what I am going to target. It will take me a bit to build an initial product offering, perhaps 6 items, but rather than wait and see, I am going to try this market first. I want to try to market through the internet. I fully realize that if anything is going to happen it is going to take time to establish a name and a reputation so I am proceeding cautiously.
Thanks again Todd

thanks! It is scary to say the least but in a strange way it feels liberating.

-- Sam

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3919 days

#5 posted 09-21-2009 06:21 PM

Thanks! I hear you loud and clear. I’m 54, have arthritis in my neck and hands, but I still plod along.

-- Sam

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#6 posted 09-21-2009 06:41 PM

I like your choice of style. First, because I have a penchant for the design. Second, because I know that end of the country and the Amish make all sorts of standard Shaker and Craftsman style pieces.

Don’t try to compete with them. They may not make the pieces as authentically nice as yours but the clients will only see the bottom line, not the difference in details. While this may not be a 100% inclusive statement, the remaining few percent that are discerning will not be enough to support you.

You will be tapping into a lesser exploited design and that will set you apart.

Business plans are good, they give you direction and focus.

Figure out a statement of what you do. Define who you are. Focus on who you are and what you do. Scott told me, when someone in the elevator asks what you do, you should be able to tell them on the ride between the 2nd and 3rd floors.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3919 days

#7 posted 09-21-2009 07:19 PM

Thanks. I like the suggestion about the comment of who we are and what we do. I’ve thought about the competition from the Amish. One thing I don’t see from them as much if at all is table, wall, floor, and ceiling lighting.

-- Sam

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3393 days

#8 posted 09-21-2009 08:05 PM

Sam, your not alone, I myself, being 53, will be “retiring” from a company I have worked for for almost 31 years. The part of my company that I have been working in is being sold to another smaller company, and we have been told in order to make sure we have our retirement package in a lump sum and recieve retirement benefits, we must leave before the new company takes over. So I will be gone by 6/30/10 if not sooner, so I know how you feel. I unfortunatley was born good looking and not rich, so I will also be looking to suppliment the income. Go for your dream of woodworking and good luck. Wishing you much sucess.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 09-21-2009 11:38 PM

Soirry to hear the news Sam. Take care.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3919 days

#10 posted 09-22-2009 03:23 AM

Thanks Grumpy.

-- Sam

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

362 posts in 3612 days

#11 posted 09-22-2009 01:38 PM

Good luck Sam – It can be scary out there – but if you love what you do – I think you will do well

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4111 days

#12 posted 09-22-2009 02:19 PM

Different viewpoint About 35 years ago I got fired from a job. Said to myself at that time, that ain’t happening again and I started working for myself.
So I’ve never had the feeling of “security” from having a “job” for thirty years and then having to fend for myself.
On the other hand, I’ve had the “security” of having a “job” for thirty-five years by fending for myself. It hasn’t always been the same job. I’ve been a flight instructor, an international ferry pilot and a lawyer

Change is good. If you don’t like what you are doing you can always change again.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3589 days

#13 posted 09-22-2009 07:23 PM

Sam, wishing you the best of luck on your new venture.

Lee, I like your style. I’ve had several jobs, and the last one before my current one left me, vs me leaving them. I’m looking a couple of years down the road right now, and I’m expecting that I’ll have to make my own way when I move to VA. To that end, I’m working up my business plan to open a new wedding and portrait studio. I’m going to do that while I’m still employed here in NY, but my goal is to have the studio up and going by the time I move.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3419 days

#14 posted 09-22-2009 08:17 PM


I wish you success in your new enterprise.

In years past I worked for studios and had my own studio for a short while.
Why so short?
The big money is in weddings, but I don’t like that part of the business.
I had a few sour experiences that were the result of the clients expecting things that weren’t part of the package they ordered. In one case the client refused to allow me to give them a price in advance. They said I was the one they wanted and the price was no object.
When all was said and done the new groom accused me of being crooked and a gouger.

Making enemies is contrary to my nature and I’d rather run than fight.
Well, I still work in the industry, but not that part of it.
I’m a freelance guy and I take the art photos I want to take.

If a friend wants me to do their wedding I do it, but only under these conditions:
Invite me as a guest and treat me that way.
I take the pictures I want to without directions from anyone.
I print the ones I like and give them to the bride and groom as my wedding gift.
That’s it.

I’m a lot happier, and, as it turns out, so are the wedding parties I shoot.

I guess all that just says I’m more of an artist than a photographer!

Well, anyway, I wish you prosperity and happiness.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3699 days

#15 posted 09-24-2009 07:49 AM

Good luck Sam, I sorta know how you feel about starting a new business. I was never laid off but was out of work in the construction trades a few times. They just let me set home until I quit ;-)) Then they usually had something to do:-) I quit and bailed out on my own in the mid 80’s when an electrician out of work would be on the books for a year!! Everyone said I didn’t have to show a profit for ‘x’; number of years according to the IRS. I told them I had a wife who had never worked out of the home and 2 kids to feed so the ‘bank’ says I’d better be showing a profit in about 3 months !! I was very fortunate to have a good following in my little niche doing control work and trouble shooting machine tools and equipment. That niche is what you need to identify. Sounds like you have the right track in mind, where the Amish don’t go! Best wishes for your venture and the adventure of a lifetiime:-)) I have never regretted not having a boss or employees to report to every morning.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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