Making Money at My Passion

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Blog entry by amateur posted 03-28-2011 11:31 AM 1972 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Most amateurs (at anything) would love to be able to turn their passion into an occupation. Imagine making your living by getting lost in your hobby! I have never met a dedicated fisherman who hadn’t wondered how they could get a salary out of fishing. Or the would-be chef who had not thought, “maybe there is a way to expand this into a business.
How many hours have I found myself daydreaming of making beautiful rocking chairs or dining tables or woodturnings or blanket chests as fast as the orders pile up? And that is exactly what I have done. Unfortunately, the orders haven’t piled up very fast. As a matter of fact, I awoke from my daydream the other day and checked the order-stackup-spot on my desk. There was a pretty thick layer of dust there.
So what am I to think? Is it that I’m just not a very good woodworker? Is it the economy? Poor marketing? Maybe I just haven’t found the right product yet. All of the above? None of the above?
I think that what I am to think is, that I should enjoy every minute of creative flow that I am blessed to experience today. And to be thankful that my heart, mind and body have the stuff it takes to produce something that brings me (and a few others) so much delight, And that dollars and cents is not an accurate means for measuring the worth of some things.
I think about it a lot, so more on this later.

10 comments so far

View RomDodd's profile


27 posts in 3250 days

#1 posted 03-28-2011 02:25 PM

Those are great words of wisdom. Thanks for the post.

VALUE: “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted” Albert Einstein

-- Romney

View Walt M.'s profile

Walt M.

245 posts in 3006 days

#2 posted 03-28-2011 04:40 PM

How so true.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3740 days

#3 posted 03-28-2011 06:15 PM

You have a good attitude about this. I would think that having the orders piled up, and the headache and worry about getting the work done in a timely manner, would not be something to be desired. I’ve adjusted my life style so that I can make money building furniture, at my pace. I don’t want my passion to become like a job. I want keep the level of enjoyment the same as it was when I first started out. I don’t want to have to cut corners to make a dead line. I treat every order the same, and I’m blessed with a 4 to 5 month lead time on orders. So think about what’s important and adjust you business and life to make things work out that way.

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2688 days

#4 posted 03-28-2011 06:17 PM

Very nice. I enjoyed reading that.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2936 days

#5 posted 03-28-2011 10:40 PM

Keep the faith brother! Dollars and cents is not a true measure of success. I know we have to eat. It is all about marketing, about finding ways to provide a unique product to a niche market. It is possible, I manage and I live in South Africa, supposedly a third world country!

Best of luck to you, I understand fully what you say, enjoyed reading your blog!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View JonH's profile


82 posts in 4082 days

#6 posted 03-28-2011 10:50 PM

You have the skills, you have the passion and you enjoy your time in the shop. It could be that you may have to bring home the bacon other ways until the orders start to stack back up! Having that passion to go to the shop and create will never be gone. You can experience that every saturday/sunday afternoon making things for people. Have you ever tried making things small enough to ship and hit ebay up for customers? Also craigslist is a powerful tool locally.

Good Luck and keep the faith!

View Greg's profile


330 posts in 2869 days

#7 posted 03-29-2011 08:05 AM

Wow Amateur, I hear ya loud n clear. I am blessed that the orders do keep coming in(albeit slowly) and I, much like you, treat each moment in the shop with reverance only a true artist can appreciate. It’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about what Tenontim was talking about: No deadlines, and the ability to get lost in the world of creativity, care, and purposefullness. Life is good my friends and woodworking makes it better.~

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View amateur's profile


91 posts in 2653 days

#8 posted 03-29-2011 11:32 AM

Thanks for reading, friends. I felt pretty sure these thoughts were not unique to just me. You are confirming that.

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2838 days

#9 posted 07-06-2012 04:22 PM


I’ve been checking out your blogs. This one hooked me? Can’t see your projects so I don’t know your style of woodworking. Times are tough for the world right now. Countries have defaulted on loans? Started my “buisiness” about the time disposable income went down the toilet. LOL! Learned a lot about all money and marketing buisness issues through woodwork. LOL! Many woodworkers have given up as they do not have the patience, and financial reserves. I went back to my old vocation, and see woodworking as my passion and that I will stay an “amateur” like Krenov. Like others here have stated it’s great to beable to work in wood.

I wrote a blog on “got no work?” at the request of Charles Neil. don’t know if it helped but it is a way to manage in hard times?

Oh yeah you can’t see any projects on my homepage either. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


219 posts in 2168 days

#10 posted 07-06-2012 04:30 PM

I find myself in the opposite position, having lost my job almost 4 years ago now, I have had to rely on my woodworking for an income.
For me, it has taken some of the joy out of it now that I HAVE to do it to survive, rather than doing it as a relaxing hobby.

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

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