As a writer on the woodworking business, I am always reading everything I can find about various ways to operate such a business. That’s why I have been avidly reading all of Jim Hamilton’s posts on getting started and Sawblade1’s efforts to get his business going. These posts contain valuable information and reading them has motivated me to address some of the methods I used to get started years ago in hopes they might also be of help.
I won’t bore you with the details of why but when I got started in woodworking I had no secondary income and needed a prompt and regular cash flow. With meager reserves, time didn’t permit market research to develop products, speculation, or consignment selling. I needed immediate income. I did have almost all the tools needed in a storage building.
Below is an outline of the steps I took and in upcoming posts I will go into more detail about each one.
1. Luckily, the storage facility where I had stored my tools allowed me to use my space as a small (10 X 24) shop and I set up all my tools using the one duplex outlet in the space. This was essential since I lived in an apartment at the time.
2. Having lived and worked in my hometown so many years, I knew many people and I informed many of them about my new woodworking business. Most of them by phone but many by mail. This was long before email and before I knew anything about computers.
3. The major newspaper classifieds were too expensive so I placed small ads in a couple of local weeklies that served the area.
4. I had postcards made and sent one to everyone in my neighborhood whom I was unable to contact personally.
5. I went to the library and checked Cole’s Directory to find area subdivisions with home owners who could afford my services and sent out more post cards.
6. I made some flyers and placed them at any public location that would allow it.
Within a few days I got my first job from a neighbor who was opening a dry cleaning store and needed a new counter and some other cabinets. I had to create a contract form so I could collect a 50% deposit and my cash flow began. More in the next post.
-- Bill, Austin, Texas, http://woodworking-business.com