10 Steps to Turn Your Woodworking Hobby into a Successful Business
There are all kinds of hobbies that can be turned into a business and woodworking is definitely one of them.
How am I so sure? Let me tell you. With a hobby like this, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or just a passionate hobbyist, you don’t need a complex strategy in order to make some cash on the side. Starting a business seems like too much of a bother for most, but I will show you how to do that in 10 easy steps.
My goal here is to present the best and most comprehensive guide that will allow you not only to earn some extra cash, but also be able to start your own woodworking business.
This guide covers the basics including details on how to get the right type of tools besides routing tables as well as discuss the niches of woodworking that are the most profitable and the strategies that work the best. Let’s get started.
Before you are able to sell your hobby, you need to have enough skills to complete a project alone. If you’re a total beginner, getting a woodworking course is a good place to start.
There are two options, accept a small job at a local carpenter’s shop or you can enter a college that has courses you need. There, you will meet people that share the same passion as you and build it up together.
Woodworking is not a practice that you should learn on your own because it is difficult and can be very dangerous.
On the other hand, if you already made a few projects and you know what you want, working with hardwood or crafting things out of tropical wood are great for a start.
After you identify your interest area you can streamline the projects that you want and leave some time to experiment and gain new skills. Sticking to the interest area will help you improve projects and express yourself through woodworking.
As time progresses, you will be able to do a few projects at the same time, but for starters, small crafts that don’t need too much time and effort are always easy to sell.
10 Steps to Become a Professional Craftsmen
Step 1 – Put Your Goals On Paper
If you want to have success in business, you need a good plan. First off, set some goals and always keep them in sight. This will help you figure out which are your strong points and help you develop and grow.
These are some things that you need to keep in mind when planning goals:
Write Your Strengths Down
Woodworking requires many skills and it is very important that you define the ones you know you’re good at. If it’s sanding or cutting control, write it down because that will help with choosing the right project and also help identify the skills you still need to work on.
Investing Your Time and Money
Amateur woodworkers usually don’t have a problem with either time or money. Things change when you plan on making money by selling your products. You need to figure out how much time per week can you spend doing woodworking. There is no need to set high goals, rather choose an easier project.
If you plan on selling you crafts, you need to invest first. This involves costs of raw materials, tools, machines, the cost of operation, advertising and selling.
If you are already a woodworker, you must have some machines and raw material, but that is not going to be enough if you want to expand. New machines and advertising are a good investment.
Picking the Projects You’ll Work On
You need o choose the project or craft you will be working on. It can be something simple like wooden blocks or a little more complicated like a chair or a cradle.
A set of projects will help you improve skills and increase productivity. You will need to update the projects as sales grow.
In order to make some money, advertising and marketing are absolutely crucial steps to make.
I will explain the details later on, but the most important thing is to set an advertising budget and never surpass the limit.
How Much Income Would You Like
You have to think about your ambitions and expectations. A couple of hundred bucks are not that hard to make, but if you want thousands, you’ll need to take your woodworking hobby seriously.
A fixed goal helps you choose the projects that work the best and that will also give you an indication of how much effort you need to put in to get some cash. Having a fixed number as a goal helps you work harder.
STEP 2 – Getting the Supplies You Need
Woodworkers know that wood is the single largest cost of their trade. If you are just getting into woodworking, you’ll need a source of wood and these are some things that help you find the material you need.
The easiest way to get the material needed is to buy it from a vendor. You can just go there and chose the kind of wood that you need and most vendors will advise you on what to choose, depending on the type of work you’ll be doing. Building a good relationship with the vend will get you discounts.
Another way of getting wood is through online ordering. There are many sites available online and most of them have a pretty big collection of wood types to choose from. All you need to do is get online and order the material you need. Some of the websites offer nice discounts.
Buying lumber is another way of getting material and it is the cheapest one yet. You’ll need a thickness planner to cut the wood to the desired thickness, but you’ll lower the cost of production substantially.
Pick the source that you like the most and always make sure you have spares in stock.
STEP 3 – Getting the Right Gear
An indispensable tool whet it comes to making precise cuts. Price ranges from $30 to $50.
Low priced tool which helps greatly with squaring cabinets or in right angle joints. Costs less than $20.
You will be cleaning lots of joints, and a chisel set is there to help you out. Buy yourself a decent set for around $50.
Nothing is more important for assembling than clamps, that’s why you should invest around $60 in a variety of different sizes.
This handheld power tool has many cutting applications, and you will be using it on stock sheets like MDF or plywood. It will cost you from $50 to $150, but I would highly recommend you to invest in a good circular saw.
You won’t do any work without a hand drill, and I can recommend a ½ inch one. More expensive models are highly customizable, and you won’t go wrong if you buy one of them, but basic models will do their job just fine. A good hand drill will cost in the range of $50 and $75.
A thickness planer is an absolute necessity if you are getting rough lumber for your projects. It will help you out with getting the desired thickness. The prices go from $300 to $600. Since it is a big hit on one’s budget, the planer is more of a personal choice.
While the table saw is a big investment, it is also a worthy investment. Table saws come with many cutting adjustments which give you more precision for your craft. Beginners should try finding a tabletop saw which sells for around $300.
A highly useful tool for cutting with a large variety of blades. While there are some very expensive models around there, you can buy a good one for around $60.
A good wood router is a highly useful tool commonly used in woodworking. I highly recommend getting one if you are serious about woodworking. If you’re a beginner, buy a 1.5 horsepower one.
Air Cleaner – Air filtration systems keep workshops clean and healthy. It is very wise to invest in an air cleaner because they aren’t very expensive, and they are very useful. A good air filtration system.
Random Orbit Sander
If your projects require sanding, then it is an excellent idea to invest some money in a good orbit sander. Decent models cost around $100.
STEP 4 – Picking Up a Niche
Sticking to one or two niches will help you make money more effectively. You will streamline your workflow, the raw materials won’t change, and you will always have the entire operation in check, which will leave more time for selling than production.
The desired niche should be in your interest zone, otherwise, you can lose the love for woodworking doing things that you don’t like. That is why you have to choose to make something you enjoy building. Also, ask the local shops which products are popular in the area. That way, you can reach out to the customers and sell your crafts easily.
Social networks are a great place to find groups dedicated to woodworking where you can exchange ideas and projects as well as crafts.
STEP 5 – Profitable Craft Ideas
If you have problems with choosing a project to work on, these ideas are currently the most popular woodworking crafts. Do them right and with a little advertising, it is possible to earn four times what you invested.
Wooden toys sound like a cliche, but they are very popular. Most toys on the market are cheap products from China and that is why wooden toys are always in high demand.
Some parents have concerns regarding plastic toys because of the harmful chemicals and safe wooden toys are just what they are looking for. It is a lucrative market that is easy to jump into.
Believe it or not, birdhouses are a very high-profit project. They are a little more complicated to make, but that raises the selling price. Birdhouses are among the most profitable crafts and it is easy to modify each one according to the customer’s wishes.
Everyone knows that bookcases never run out of style and the demand for them is always high. You should experiment and implement your own style into the product.
This project isn’t meant for the creative ones. You can also customize the product by a customers specification and earn cash without too much work.
As beards became popular, the demand of beard combs drastically increased. They are fairly cheap and fast to make. A pleasant smelling wood will allow you to sell them at a good price, some of them are sold for as much as $60.
If you want to start small, you should make picture frames. They are very easy to promote mouth to mouth and you can also place them in a gift shop to increase sales.
Wooden Spoons and Bowls
The demand for wooden crockery is on the rise. They are very easy to sell and ship to the customer. You can always add a personal touch to your products and the production cost for these items is low.
Designer Wooden Clocks
Wooden clocks are a great project because one can design and create interesting patterns and also sell them for a high price.
STEP 6 – Offline Selling
After sorting out the supply chain and choosing the project to work on, you have to concentrate on making a sale, otherwise, all of your work will go to waste.
Many hobbyists struggle to find ways to put their products on the market and sell them. Selling offline is great for beginners that are looking to establish themselves on the market.
Direct interaction with people will allow them to learn more about your products and about you as a person too. These are some of the ways to place your projects on the market.
Friends and Family
Selling your crafts to friends and family is a great place to start because it gives you a solid foundation for a professional woodworking career. The profits are low, but this will grow your business by word of mouth. You should also take testimonials from your friends and strengthen your brand because positive reviews are the best advertising.
Galleries and Furniture Shops
Local galleries are a good way of expanding business because they already have regular clients and if your work is good enough, it can generate money quickly. There are many professional woodworkers who sell their crafts through furniture shops and galleries. If you build a good relationship with one of them, you can expand your business much quicker.
If you really want to increase sales, traditional advertising methods are the way to go. Handing out flyers and posting ads in newspapers can really do wonders. Before doing so, browse through woodworking magazines to see how professionals promote themselves. This method is not recommended for beginners. If you are one of them, try the ones I’ve already mentioned.
One of the best ways to grow a woodworking business are in fact the woodworking fairs. These fairs usually attract lots of customers as well as craftsmen. You can set up a stall to showcase and sell your product. You can exchange ideas and learn a lot about the craft by talking to other woodworkers. Attending these fairs is an absolute must. Visit woodworking sites or read magazines to find out the dates of these fairs.
The Local Community
Promoting woodworking projects through the local community is always interesting and fun. This will allow the customers to notice you and your work much easier.
STEP 7 – Building Tour Woodworking Website
Before you can sell projects online, you need to build a website because that is almost mandatory these days. There are two ways to build your site.
If you want to create your own brand, you need to think of an interesting name and then build a website around it, or you can create a site with your own name and develop your portfolio on the go. These methods are both very effective, so you can just choose.
Hiring a web designer to build you a site is fine, but since you’re a started and you don’t have that many projects to show, you can do it yourself using wordpress. When the business and sales grow, just hire someone to upgrade the site.
You should set up social media accounts, parallel with your site because that will increase your presence on all medias. This is the best strategy for a hobbyist.
Overall, you need a strong presence online along with a nice digital portfolio.
STEP 8 – Selling Online
Selling online is a recommended way of advertising because it doesn’t require a big budget. These are the best methods for online sale.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook advertising targets a large number of users and can bring many sales. Select the desired group of people based on the product you are selling. You need to create a website and redirect users from social media to it. A landing page will suffice, but you can hire a marketing agency if you have the budget.
Selling via E-commerce Platforms
There are some e-commerce platforms that mostly promote woodworking crafts. Millions of people visit those sites so that can expand your targeted customer base very quickly. Social medias are an important part of this system.
Selling Though Your Own Website
After developing your own site, you can sell online by yourself. The first thing you need to do is set up the payment gateways and strike a deal with a shipping partner. Only now you can bring in some sales via Facebook advertising.
You can create a list of the projects you are working on, set up an ad on social media and wait for the clients to come to you. This brings various results, but if you hire some marketing experts, you can create a great sales channel.
Many hobbyists and amateurs generate sales through their own sites.
Another strategy for bringing in sales is the Search Engine Optimization or SEO. This will rank your website for certain phrases and increase the traffic.
Setting up a working e-commerce platform can be hard and time-consuming, but you can make a great way to make sales if you stick to it. Hiring experts to do it for you is a much easier and safer route to take.
STEP 9 – Moving to Complex Projects
Once the sales start coming in through your first project, it is time to step things up. The next, more complex project should be your own personal choice depending on you ambitions regarding the woodworking business.
When you want to grow and move to complex projects, you need a woodworking plan. These plans are detailed and easy to use. You can find many such plans online. Check out the homemade router table plans we selected for you.
You can also accept a part time job at a professional woodworker’s shop to get more insight into the craft. After some time, you’ll become able to take on complex projects on your own and that will give you the opportunity to make your hobby a full-time business.
STEP 10 – Scaling Your Business
Woodworking has no limits if you work hard enough. Success depends on how hard you work and how you manage resources. Going full time will require some changes.
The first thing you’ll need to do is hire workers to increase your production. This will need a woodworking shop. Also, your advertising expense will rise and you will have to take the role of the manager.
Most woodworkers like to work alone on their own projects, but if you want to live out of this, you will need to make some decisions and scale things up.
Final Words Of Motivation
This report tried to cover all of the basics of turning a hobby into a business. The goal was to give hobbyist a direction with this step by step guide. In order for this to work, you have to take action. The guide has lots of information that may seem too much at first, but if you have motivation, start with the program today.