Going Pro (the information most dismiss)

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 01-18-2008 07:09 PM 1628 reads 7 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Inspired by Odie

Odie has been sharing some incredible information with the LJ group. There is more gold in there than many may even realize.

An Oblique View

Here is some information that does not seem directly related to woodworking success and is often dismissed. But one must understand is that it is about business, not woodworking. So that means the principles of business, marketing, and social psychology apply.

Go to the Small Business Administration. They will help you with so much free information and classes on business. They also have business help material that does not cost much and they will guide you to establish a successful business. Successful business means good tax base.

Remember, it is all about business, it is all about the money. No money means not paying your bills. People often comment that I am expensive. What they fail to understand is that I am not expensive, the business of what I do is expensive.

A List of Books

Here are some books that I found very interesting (much to my own amazement).

1. Freakonomics – A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything. Steven D. Levitt & Stephen Dubner

2. Blink – The power of thinking without thinking. Malcolm Gladwell

3. The Tipping Point – How little things can make a big difference. Malcolm Gladwell

4. Small Giants – Companies that chose to be great instead of big. Bo Burlington

5. Small Is The New Big – and other riffs, rants, and other remarkable business ideas. Seth Godin

6. Mavericks at Work – Why the most original minds in business win. William C. Taylor & Polly LaBarre

7. The Art Of Woo – Using strategic persuasion to sell your ideas. G. Richard Shell & Mario Moussa

8. Good To Great – Why some companies make the leap and others don’t. Jim Collins

9. Built To Last – Successful habits of visionary companies. Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras.

No Magic Bullet

The information and understanding in these books will completely change the way you look at business. I can guarantee that it is not just “if you build it they will buy it”. It does not work that way for me or most others that I know.

This is the “secret” inside information that most will not share with you.

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

27 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 01-18-2008 07:13 PM

Great information. Thanks.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3871 days

#2 posted 01-18-2008 07:19 PM

Thanks for the info Todd.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3871 days

#3 posted 01-18-2008 07:25 PM

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3893 days

#4 posted 01-18-2008 07:37 PM

Thanks, Todd. I’m reading Good to Great right now as part of a company push; now I need to go to Amazon and get the others.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#5 posted 01-18-2008 07:49 PM

MyronW – You will have to let us know what you think of Good to Great. I loved everyone of these books. By the title most do not seem to have anything to do with the others. “Blink” sounds like some hokey mind control book that comes with x-ray mind control glasses. Actually all of the books are related.

I kind of boiled it down to this: all business is about marketing. No matter what you are selling or how good or bad it is, it is really all about marketing. Marketing is your real business.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#6 posted 01-18-2008 08:05 PM

ah so woodworking is the hobby and if you go into business you are going into the business of “marketing” :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#7 posted 01-18-2008 08:09 PM

Debbie, that is the perfect summation of all said.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4083 days

#8 posted 01-18-2008 08:10 PM

You might find some of my brothers musings interesting Todd. Most of his clients are big high tech firms but many of the principles and ideas translate to any business.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3936 days

#9 posted 01-18-2008 08:12 PM

It’s good that these topics come up every now and then. As the numbers here grow many will see the information they need and some us who tend to forget will be reminded of what we need to remember. So now not only is my project list growing, but my skills development and my reading list.

Does it ever end? ;-)

Thanks for adding to what Odie is writing. The more information, the better.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3837 days

#10 posted 01-18-2008 09:01 PM

Its so hard to see guys who can do wondefull things with a piece of wood, fall flat on their face wen they try to turn pro. Their is so much to learn about about what happens in the front office of their shop.
I decided this year that I am finally going to take the leap and go Pro. The path I choose was to go back to school first. I am currently attending Seattle Central Comunity Colleges, Cabinetmaking and Fine Woodworking program. I know that I have the skills to design make nearly anything I want out of wood & metal but the wood part was all self taught, through trial and error. In order to give myself the best chance I could I wanted to learn more about how to do things in way that has been proven to work.
Being self taught is sort of like reinventing the wheel, your not totally sure how to do something, so you see if this way works or that way works better. Marc from the Wood Whisperer was speaking with David Marks and David was talking about his younger days just starting out. I think he was making a table with a slab and a peice of driftwood for a pedestle and as trying to figure out the best way to join them. So he came up with this idea of cutting a hole in the underside of the slab to recieve the pedastel, and vola it worked a nice solid joint. He felt proud of himself coming up with this new idea, only later to find he had just reinvented the Mortise and Tenon joint.
Besides learning the woodworking there is so much I am learning about the business side of going Pro. There is the accounting, database management, conflict resolution, and so on,the things you don’t want to learn by trial and error. I feel that it is a good investment to learn as much as you can, prior to hanging that shingle.
Your list of books should be a must read for anyone thinking about going Pro.
Thanks for the list, as well as your other posts, a great contibution to the trade.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#11 posted 01-18-2008 10:27 PM

The interesting thing about the books is the common denominator, which really is the social psychology of the consumer. That determines if the public loves or despises you, craves your product or shuns it, if they accept you as a benefactor to the community, etc.

There is much that can be said about the content of the books. But it boils down to manipulating the consumer to desire your product. That is marketing.

Keep in mind advertising is a part of marketing, not the only component.

There are plenty of stories to tell of good ideas and products that fail, what they lacked was marketing or marketing appropriately.

The small business administration can help in this.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#12 posted 01-18-2008 10:30 PM

Bob Babcock – I just jumped over to your brother’s site and I can’t wait to read through it now! Thanks for the link, it’s all gold!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3848 days

#13 posted 01-18-2008 10:39 PM

Thanks Todd. It only goes to prove that quality comes at a price. I am glad I do it for fun.

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

View Kaleo's profile


201 posts in 4136 days

#14 posted 01-18-2008 11:24 PM


Great stuff, to many of us that want to go pro, are artist first. But we really need to be businessmen and know what it takes to make money and then let our creativity do the rest of the work.

-- Kaleo ,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#15 posted 01-18-2008 11:29 PM

Kaleo – Nothing wrong with being an artist. Learn to apply business savvy to market the artist.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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