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Making Money for the Woodworker Hobbyist

There are three broad groups making money from woodworking, full-time woodworker, part-time woodworkers, and hobbyist. Obviously, full-time woodworkers are deriving most or all they’re income from woodworking, and part-timers are deriving some income from their woodwork. But the average hobbyist derives little or no income, it is a hobby.

As a hobbyist you may be thinking (or dreaming) of one day making woodworking your career, or retiring to your wood shop and bringing in some income while still enjoying your hobby, and retirement. When researching this I was mostly thinking of the hobbyist who does it for the enjoyment, makes things for his own use, and might give things away to friends and family as gift. After awhile you end up with pieces cluttering your garage, and it might be nice to turn some of those forgot pieces into cash, for new wood or new tools. Being a hobbyist you can make what you want and spend as little or much time on it as you want, professionals in general have to make what the customer wants, and spend as little time on it as possible to make a profit. You can’t expect to make as much money on a piece as someone making a living at it, but then you don’t have to. “Breaking even” is disastrous for a business in the long run, but for the hobbyist it’s a great way to make your hobby pay for itself.

Depending on what you make, and what pieces already sitting in the garage, will also effect how you should try to market it. Small, lower cost, items are easier to sell, transport, and ship than large expensive piece. But the average woodturning hobbyist will produce a larger number of items than a furniture-maker and that can take more extended effort. First start with the obvious, having a garage sale, or let people know you have piece for sale, or free/low cost ad, checkout local craft show, or church sales.

Think if you know anyone who can sell your items in their shop, or can give you some space in their booth at flea market. Some or all of these may not work for you, but don’t miss low hanging fruit. The internet has opened up all kinds of opportunity.

You can list your item on Craigslist, or similar websites and generate sales much the same as a classified ad. Just more people will see it,
and it’s free.You can list your Item on Ebay.com or Etsy.com or similar sites, they’ll take a commission but they have a huge audience. Or you can open up your own website. It’s fairly easy and can be cheap to market online.There are plenty of free blogs Blogger.com, wordpress.com, blog.com and many more. You don’t need to actually blog unless that something you like doing. You can upload a picture and write a description and have your own online catalog whenever you need it. You can also get a full fledged site online a little cost.

Don’t hire someone to do it, do it yourself.Unless you need something complicated, and why would you, there no reason to pay someone.Think a website would be too expensive or too hard to maintain. You can register a dot com name for $10-$15 a year, and you can get a website without ad from Weebly or Google Site for free. If you are technology challenged you might need help, but it should cost much.The 13 year old kid who mows your lawn can probably do it, and will know you can if he can’t. But anyone who is reasonably handy with a computer can do it.

written by Paul Koch



Note: I recently set up a site for someone. Added the text they had written next to each picture, and then added a contact page. Then we when to lunch. The website was only three pages, but that is all they needed. Yes they already had all the text written, and yes I already knew to put up a website. But I’m no professional, just a hobbyist. How much did it cost, Godaddy was running a special, so it was only $1.68 to register for a year, Webbly is free to setup, and nothing a month. They bought me lunch at $6.99 +tax at IHOP. So for less than $10 they are up and running for a year. Next year they have to spending another $10-$15 to re-register the name. You can set up an unlimited number of web pages at Google Site. You can practice until you get it right; it won’t cost you a cent, then you can register for a website name or just use the Google name, its long but work just fine for many people.

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