So you think you can go pro ? :) #2: Until you spread your wings (only then you know how far you can walk )

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Blog entry by sawblade1 posted 11-22-2010 07:00 AM 1175 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Introduction to your new business Part 2 of So you think you can go pro ? :) series Part 3: TIME !!!!! »

Good evening LJ’s,
The smell of sawdust is in your nose, coffee aroma smells the air, those baked pies sure look good, your sure people are going to buy because it’s you right ? Wrong these days people have options (cheap ones to boot) to the small business- You have to sell yourself to people to prove how you can give them value.
What’s in it for me? attitudes come along from most want cheap, fast, and easy greasy lemon pleasey thank you but no thank you types frustrate all of us coming by our booths not buying but nitpicking about price. This is especially true in flea market and lower end craft shows. But how do I get people to buy without frustrating me?, Good customers that pay, that give me referred work? Glad you asked a good friend in marketing really took me under his wing to show me the mysterious side of his work, His words to me were firm but informing- QUIT WASTING YOUR D#$@ TIME AND STATIONARY. Handmade items are a quirky market to understand and if you think everyone will buy just because it’s hand made by you, you are making the biggest mistake that limits growth, opens up more risk, and generally make business miserable.
Customers who buy these items without hesitation usually are people who understand and appreciate what you do, have the funds, and are willing to spread wealth. These people are referred to as a target market they are a group of individuals located in towns,and cities that purchase from people like you and have a history of doing so. Demographics the study and mapping of people helps define who these unique individuals are they are classed by What they make (money), What they buy, and how often they do it. For example high end coffee shops don’t market to someone who is not going to buy a $3.00 cup of special coffee, but they are going to market to coffee drinkers that enjoy specialty cups of Joe, the same is for woodworkers Take for example A Great LJ’s project cutting boards, One thing I see is a lot of people complain they can’t sell them, well craft shows are not good options, nor is general flea markets.
High end flea markets help but most people that buy cutting boards are usually into cooking or prepping food this market is usually restaurants, chefs, and people who are into culinary arts.(cooking) BTW
Selling to the right crowd is one of the key issues and before you even open your doors Do your homework find out where these special customers are and market to them you will be glad you did :)
This is one of the biggest mistakes I made with my business for the past two years and now I love to share this secret with everyone, it helps before even making the first move toward achieving your goals, it save time, stationary, money, and frustration :) I hope this helps those who are willing:) Until next time take care

If your reading this blog series either you started or thinking of starting a business, well welcome back :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

5 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3100 days

#1 posted 11-22-2010 08:27 AM

I have thought about doing a little WW for a buck, but I am doubting I will. Keep it at the tree growing level and abandon the idea & Stick with electrical.

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

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2266 days

#2 posted 11-22-2010 12:57 PM

I have been following this blog series. While I have sold a few of my pieces, I have not started a business and have no intention of doing so. I say that respectfully of anyone who does wish to give it a whirl, but I just don’t see it as a possibility anywhere near where I live. Here, while you’ll sell the occasional piece, like me, you’ll find many frustrations in trying to sell enough to actually make a living at it.
The reason I mention this now is that you did bring up the usual suspects of frustration for me. While I do consider my work to be of a hobbyist, I get the occasional person who asks a price on what I will build them something for. The price is, as always, so low that it barely covers my materia. I don’t wish to make a profit. I do this for the love of woodworking, not for a living. The problem is that my bargain basement price still gets looks of amazement at how high it is from most people.
Let me use a specific example, a picnic table, simply because I have been asked about my building those on mulitple occasions. For starters, as a hobbyist, I have a certain way I like to do things, and that certain way basically consisits of building things to standards that I personally feel are far better than anything you can buy in most stores. Now I won’t go into actual pricing, but I will tell you the response I’ve gotten many times. “WHAT!? I can get one cheaper than that at Home Depot!!!!”
True, the picnic table can be bought at Home Depot cheaper than I will, or can, build it for. This past summer, they were selling them for $79.99. The one’s in question are made in Mexico and would be darn lucky to last through one season if it’s left out in the weather. Well my problem is that its a picnic table. Something like this should stay out in the weather and it should last for many seasons. In order for me to produce that quality of a picnic table, I can’t even buy the lumber for $79.99. That doesn’t even begin to consider other things like screws, bolts, or anything else. I can’t even buy the lumber without eating part of the cost so that someone can have a quality picnic table. I’m sorry. As much as I love getting quality woodwork into the hands of appreciating people, I’ll be $#@%% if I’m going to take a loss on the cost of my materials in order to do so. Therefore, I can not build this picnic table at a cost that these people will pay.
Now I understand the other stuff you said about marketing to the right crowd and all that. I hope you have the best of luck with that. If you live in the right area, I guess it is possible. I don’t se that happening here though and since I love the shop I have I sure aint moving.
I guess the point I wanted to bring to this discussion though is that some of us have no hope of bringing our love of woodworking into the realm of making a living from it. Furthermore, I am only bringing one topic to the discussion here, and there are a vast number of other issues to also contend with. I won’t even get into the topic at this time about how the different aspects of turning this into a business would take the love of it out of it for me, essentially turning it into just any other job. Also the fact that turning it into just another job leads right into the fact that if I were to do that I would make such small amounts of money this wouldn’t exactly be my job of choice.
So, as much as I am enjoying your series, if only to see where you end up in the end with it, I am happy just being a hobbyist. In doing so though, I also have the privilage of carrying a different attitude. I build what I want to build. Oh sure, I stray from my build what I want attitiude often for friends and family. Usually though, if someone wants a particular item built, and I either don’t have it or don’t wish to build it, I just tell them I can’t. Sometimes I’ll be polite and come up with some lame excuse why I can’t, but I can’t none the less. Another mantra of mine is that when I have people ask if I can build something they seen somewhere down the road, I’ll usually just tell them to go down the road.
All that being said, the best of luck to you and yours in your endeavor. I will be reading to see how things go. Thanks for posting your progress with it.


View nate22's profile


453 posts in 2299 days

#3 posted 11-22-2010 07:40 PM

Thanks for this information. It really helps for people like me that have there own business. Keep the posts coming and look forward to your next blog on this topic.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2200 days

#4 posted 11-23-2010 05:03 PM

There are some things that are missing and would like to bring to light. Opening a business is, in a form, bringing a child into the world. A business is for all intensive purposes (for the tax and revenue side of the fence) a living and ongoing being. It has people – internal or external, you have to feed it – supplies, materials, tools, , it has needs – heat and A/C, insurance, receivables, payables – on an on. If you nurture it correctly and it prospers, you may build a retirement off of it.

As you focus on acquiring business to pay for everything you also – and not less importantly – figure out where you want to go with your business. If you looking at building a business to supply other businesses or the wholesale world, you may want to look into a CNC system.
As a business owner, you must continuously evaluate the in as well as the out. As soon as you are comfortable, you need to get up and start over. Comfortable is what you make your employees feel and customers feel. If you think you have streamlined the business to be efficient, that works for about a day, maybe two.

This is the way it works, this is why you are paid almost as well as your sales staff. You have 100% of the risk.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 2658 days

#5 posted 11-24-2010 06:46 AM

Selling to a market is everything. Here’s a great pic for your title,

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

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