As a professional woodworker many times over the years I’ve had a good number of people ask how they can become a full time woodworker,the answer is not simple. Most of the time my response to their question is “don’t wreck a wonderful hobby by turning it into a business”. I feel their persistence to still become a professional woodworker in response to my suggestion really tests the person to see if they are passionate enough to pursue the woodworking business. Beyond being passionate enough it is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many things to consider while going into business any business near enough the woodworking business. Let’s think about some basics like “personal economics, skill, where, when, what and how” part of the equation.
Are you financially solvent enough to acquire insurance, licenses, bonds or permits variances, to buy any required necessary equipment and or to rent or build a shop, plus financially survive for perhaps 2 years without income?
Do you have the skills to build woodworking products that the types of customer you’re looking for will deem exceptional workmanship. Are you skilled as a business person in such things as advertizing, customer relations, employee relations, book keeping, cost analyses (if your making a profit or not).
Is your geographic area and economics of your area right for the kind of woodworking you want to do? As an example if you want to build an item that requires lots of myrtle wood but the only source is thousands of miles away,does it make sense to have it shipped where you’re at or go pick it up yourself? Will your product have buyers where your located or will it have to be shipped? As an example would you make snow shoes and live in an arid location? Is there an economic basis for your product where you live? You may wish to make high end furniture but live in a economically depressed area where few people have enough discretionary income to purchase your products? Are there woodworkers in your area selling products at or below cost.
Where are you going to do your woodworking ? Do you have a shop or a place to develop a work space? If the only space you have to work is affected by the outdoor temperatures will this prohibit how many days out of the year you can produce a product?
When is it right for you to go into the woodworking business for yourself ?Will it be after you gain more skills, retire, build a shop, after you put your spouse to work, just before a holiday season, after a family member graduates so they can help, after you move to a more high income area?
What product or products will you make?
How are you going to make your product? What machinery or tools will you need that you don’t have? Will you need employees? How will you find sources for your material.
Like any business you can do all the right things and not succeed, or you can totally ignore all of the so called ways to succeed and have a great life long career in woodworking, it all may be luck or the passion and tenacity you have for woodworking and business whether you make it or not. If you decide to try woodworking as a business good luck otherwise enjoy woodworking as a fun and rewarding hobby.
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