DIY Woodwork as a Home Business — How to Thrive in a Small Shop Space in 2021 (Part 1)

I recently joined a few beginners, and, DIY Woodwork forums and found the passion for their woodwork genuinely inspiring. There is something to be said for enjoying what you do, though, as Mike Rowe attests, passion won’t likely make you rich. Here’s the thing, Artists and Art in General really do make the world a better place. In my mind, that is a good enough reason to pursue your passions. As an artist with more than 30 years in the craft, I am sharing some thoughts and inspiration that hopefully will help you thrive a little more quickly than I did. 

Let Your Space Dictate Scope of Projects

You are working in an 8×10 garden shed, maybe, building dining room tables and bookcases is not what you should be building.  Cutting boards, bee boxes, turnings, or wood sculptures might be a better idea.  

diy woodwork cutting board

I am a huge fan of scaling. Make a few bucks off small things, then, progress to larger projects. You may find that you stumble on a big seller as you try out ideas. 

woodwork art small shop
The Key to Thriving in your woodwork side gig is CREATIVITY!

If you have a larger space to work within, it might be viable to take on larger fabrication projects. As long as you can fit larger projects into your schedule, try one out. In my experience, everything takes longer the first time you do it. As you start going through the motions more and scratching your head, less, things get more efficient. What I am trying to say is, even if you make less per hour on the first project, you will double up profit on the third as it gets easier.

Pergola Plans
This Pergola was prefabbed in our small shop about 2002

Larger projects are done best by setting up an assembly line. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Rafter tails can be cut on-site if they don’t fit in your shop, however, all the other parts like post cladding, and, knee braces are easiest done in a shop. This Pergola is one of our Designs.. to learn more(click)

Who Will Buy Your DIY Woodwork?

Networking

Have you considered how to market and sell what you make?  If you work at a large company, you may find that through networking or some well-placed gifts to upper management, you could do well augmenting your income with your side gig.  As more people at your company learn about your hobby, you may find yourself with an order list.  Don’t discount your friends on Social Media–you could find your work marketing itself. 

Specialty Stores

Gifted Stores for Woodworking

There are tens of thousands of stores that buy local woodwork and retail to the public for you. You will have to keep pricing sharp–but that is often a fair exchange for selling your product for you. Check out my Sister In Law’s Store in Waterloo called Gifted! She actually has a brick and mortar store, however, I know she takes on many things on consignment. Think of it as free storage!

On-Line Portals

Everyone has heard of Etsy.com, but, there are numerous others as well. Many of them are free to use. Etsy does charge for the service, but, they do have the traffic, so it may be worthwhile. 

Signage 

Small Business Sign

Depending on where you live, signage or even putting your products out front on a sunny day may spur sales. Vehicle wraps can also be worthwhile. 

Subscribe to our feed for the next article that will get into the marketing aspect. In a future post, we will also get into pricing your services and products.

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