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Blog entry by Doug Scott posted 09-05-2010 05:04 AM 1178 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Whats going on in a selfemployed guys life that spends most of the day eather working in the shop or for the shop, I couln’t tell you how many people ask how to get started in their own business, what is it that everyone has a misconception of being selfemployed, It is NOT a 9:00 to 5:00 job. Everyone that asked me about it, I just ask them if they would follow around for a week or more they might change their mind about it. A few years ago I had a young guy asking to see my portfolo. and his emiditly wanted to hire me, Because of my experence and knoledge, But first I wanted to find out his background and finincal situation.
I asked first if his wife was behind him with the plan of him going into business, 2nd, How old his children are.
His asked what age is children have to do with a business, I then told him if he worked the hours that I do at the peak time of his season that in three years or so , the children wouldn’t know how he was, He replied that he didn’t plan on working more than 8 hours a day, I said, You will never make it in business on your own if that is all you think you would have to work a day, Being in Business you live ,eat and breath your work.I do enjoy what every momint and the long hours are rewording at the end of most projects. I see it mostly when a customer find that what they brought to me was so easy to fix. A Business dose not have to be woodwork related eather. My business has worked out very well, Building the up for just a hobbie and after 2000 and 9/11 when the job market went down hill , I was allready doing things for people and after time it fell into a full time gige. For the past 10 months I have had a back log of customers waiting for their number to be called. And another good thing about it all , I work at home and that works great for my Aunt.
I’m now her care taker. I thank GOD that he has blessed me with the talent I’v aquired over the years and am able to put it to good use, for people in need .

-- Doug, Michigan,

8 comments so far

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 2370 days

#1 posted 09-05-2010 05:40 AM

Interesting observations. I’m a telephone guy . . design systems, install, maintain. Guess what, company activities happen during the day, install and fix when the systems are idle, most times at night. Digital systems let you work from home but it’s still work at odd hours. Lots of younger people don’t understand that long, odd hour work is necessary in many jobs if you will succeed. Nice to hear you are a caretaker, I did that with my dad. Hard work but most rewarding.

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2304 days

#2 posted 09-05-2010 05:50 AM

I have a real estate license. It’s ‘on ice’ since the market tanked.

Most folks just see the huge pay check. What they don’t see is what one had to do to make the sale.

You have to become a rain maker. Drum up business. Market yourself, walk’n’talk real estate to everyone you meet. And after you make that BIG money, (or not) you have to pay dues. The local board costs about $1000/year with all the fees, just to have access to the MLS.

How many folks understand that to work at say ReMax one has to pay desk fees of @$1500/month? Where does that money come from? Other shops are less money. Maybe a 70/30 commission split?

And after you make that big check, you are out of a job and you start all over….

I used to work on computers for a medical billing company. You’d walk in on Monday morning and that afternoon you were on a plane to California (I’m in Colorado). So, who’s going to take out the trash and empty the dog? You work at night – after the client closes because you can’t inconvenience them – they have to serve their customers during the day. Get done around 1 am and hit the sack. Drive to the airport 10 am where you ‘think’ you are heading back home, and at the last minute the office calls with a new city to fly to. Change the ticket and another motel room awaits.

You work for yourself, you better LOVE what you do. Hopefully, your family understands.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 2658 days

#3 posted 09-05-2010 06:11 AM

One question? So how do you start up a woodworking business?...... Kidding, I love woodworking but always thought that the joy might get lost if it was a full time gig and have to depend on pleasing customers to feed the kids and keeping the mortgage paid. Having to do jobs that I don’t like just to keep the cash flow. 9 years till retirement then I can choose what I want to do and have the power to say I don’t want to do that. Custom seems like fun being creative but producing a product and putting out there and take it or leave it sounds a lot easier.

I have nothing but respect for self employed, I know it’s tough and a lot more work but very satisfying!

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2266 days

#4 posted 09-05-2010 06:36 AM

Some people don’t even understand the people like me who are “hobby woodworkers”. I sell my woodwork just to make some of my money back so I can stay in supplies. I worked a motorcycle rally last year where I was showing one of my motorcycle rockers. I got my wife to watch my booth while I went to the restroom. On the way back, a vendor a couple of booths down from me stopped me with an interesting question. He wanted to know how much I get for one of these motorcycle rockers. $250. Then he floored me by asking, “How many of those do you turn out in a day, two or three? Maybe I ought to make those.”
Then I started explaining what all goes into the 40+ hours it takes to build each one of these toys. I don’t know if he was just shocked or didn’t believe me.
I have a blog that I talk about all my woodwork on for all the world to see. Usually when I do a project I’ve never done, I make sure to post where anyone reading can get the plans to build them for themselves. My brother has often told me I was foolish to tell people where to get the plans. He has it in his head that I’m hurting myself by doing so. I tried to explain to him that I don’t make much money on this stuff. If anyone can build the projects I make and sell them cheaper, by all means, more power to them.
My brother though has the same idea that a lot of people have about my work. He thinks I make a lot of money at my hobby. The part he doesn’t realize is the hours I put into these projects versus the money I make on them. The most expensive item I have for sale right now (already made) is the Armored Horse I posted here a short while back. I have a $500 price tag on it. The things is though, there’s well over one hundred hours work in that piece.
So, I know that my response kind of steers away from your original post. I just wanted to note though that even for some of us “hobby wood workers”, there is way more work that goes into it for the amount of money we make than most are willing to do. When I show my projects, I often get asked how to make a living doing woodwork. My common response usually is, “I don’t know. If you find out, please let me know”.


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#5 posted 09-05-2010 07:17 AM

I usuly tell people, who has the idea in the head that selfemployd make the cach and they allso has the idea
they want to start by themself, that unless they love to work and work hard, are willing to work for the 1/8 of what they earn now , and work 18-20 hours a day 7days a week every single week of the year
without any vacation the first 7-10 years and have the big risk hanging over there head of going bankrupt/broke every time they are not 200% focused
and do what it takes 150% with nursing all those things there is as much importen in the office
beside just work with what they know now,
gess what most of them say ” no I will just be employd and take the ordres from my stupid boss”
but few say I´ll think it over one more time and if any of them start they normely build a good business
becourse they have understood to hire proff. help in those things they don´t know anything about

have a safe day

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2312 days

#6 posted 09-05-2010 10:10 AM

Hi Doug.

It’s easy to work eight hours a day when you’re self employed. Then you go do the woodworking part!
The work part is stuff like bookkeeping, driving to and from clients and suppliers, sitting down with clients to settle the details on a job, making plans for a job, taking those plans to the client for final approval, bill collecting, prospecting for new clients and so on.

Running a self employed business in woodwork reminds me of the comment the chief pilot of Air Canada made some years back. “If someone wants to be an airline pilot, somewhere along the way it would be nice if he took the time to learn to fly. It’s a minor part of the job, but without it, none of the rest matters.”

In the same way, although skill in the craft is a mandatory part of the job, it’s only one small part of the complete package. Sure you put in an eight hour day working wood, but the rest of the job often takes even more time.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 2528 days

#7 posted 09-05-2010 05:45 PM

Doug, I have been doing woodworking as a hobby for 30 years. I often have people ask why I don’t do it as a living. I have a teaching job that pays a steady paycheck and I like teaching. As I approach retirement and am looking at what to do next, I have realized I couldn’t be a full time woodworker and still enjoy it if I was depending on it for a living. People do not have a clue of what I do and the hours it takes. Maybe the ones who will sign a check for my work have some idea. Others still look at a reasonable price for my work and walk away. It’s only a little box- how hard can it be? I tell people that the marketing, production schedule, and long hours are not what I want to do. It’s not as simple as make it and people will buy. Good luck with your business.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Doug Scott's profile

Doug Scott

67 posts in 2384 days

#8 posted 09-06-2010 02:39 PM

Thank all of you for the coments..I didn’t have a good reason for this post , but it did point some good things, Yes, it isn’t easy to be selfemployed in this time of ? ( What ? ) Is this all what the Government says Depression and the media has all us afrade to spend any money only on the nessary things, or did the 9/11 ,war in Afganastand, Iraq put us in this ?

I didn’t go into business just to go into business , it got down to NOT haveing a job or stand on the street corner with a sign that words ( Homeless, Need work ) It would be worded this way if I was holding it, for an example ( HOPELESS MY UNPLOYMENT RAN OUT) , But insted after I come home from the NAVY 30 years ago I look at me Granfather sit in his rocking chair and did nothing, He was a hard worker when he worked for someone , Maybe living through the DEPREESION had something to do with his thought of retirement.
I saw my father build up a nice building for his retirement for his woodshop long before he retired, At 84 years he still dose some woodwork, But not for the money. I was 40 when I stated in business, but I looked at what others did after they retired and that wasn’t what I wanted to do after retiement ( ROCKING CHAIR )
I’ll build them and sit in them to tray them out , BUT! Life is all what U make it , I just looked at it in my younger years for what I wanted of it….

-- Doug, Michigan,

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