View Full Version : Tips for a Newbie???
01-15-2002, 01:32 PM
First, I'm thrilled to find this website! I was beginning to feel like I was the only woman who liked to play with tools and build things.
I currently work as a business analyst and sit in a cube all day. But what I really love is getting out in the garage and building stuff! I finally found a Woodworking class through my city's adult education program, but it's a bit like the woodshop class I took in junior high.
I live in Orange County in Southern California. Does anyone know of any serious Woodworking programs available in my area? I've looked, but haven't found much.
Also, for those of you making a living at this, how long did it take for you to be able to give up your day job in order to do what you really love? I would die to get out of this cube, but I think that day may be well down the road.
Any hints/tips/advice from anyone would be much appreciated!
01-16-2002, 10:14 AM
Welcome! We're glad you found us.
Just thought I'd let you know that our sponsor Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has a store in Orange if that is in Orange County. It is located on N. Tustin. north of the Mall of Orange. They are offering a variety of classes and demos. You could call to see if there is anything of interest to you. 714-685-9184. As to hints and tips I'll leave that to the rest of the forum participants.
01-16-2002, 11:10 AM
Hello Ms. Number Cruncher... I prefer chocolate crunching but, that's another women's group with another bullitin board...
I can only speak for myself and the way I came about earning a living by doing what I love to do. No, not sex or by eating chocolate, I mean working with wood.
My enjoyment with wood was found years ago as a teen. My passion for wood wasn't found until my mid 30's.
I always seemed to have a project on tow but never feeling as if these items would be worth losing job security, even though I hated my many jobs prior to working with wood. I traversed from working as an Assistant Buyer for the May Company to running an electronics repair shop to many other jobs before ending up here working with wood.
I think in your case, you NEED a safe means in which to regress from what you do not want to do, while at the same time, move in to a possition of mutual job security. You might have to start by producing several item, stock piling them, and possibly selling them though consignment, flea markets, ebay, newspapers or any medium that will support your market for your product.
NOTE: What sells and what you want to do are probably not the same thing. So now you have to figure out if you are willing to be somewhat flexible or not. Also, I have noticed that in lower economic areas nicknacks and brick-a-brack flys off the shelves. Conversely, in higher economic areas, hand made artsy / folksy things seem to succeed. Find your market and produce for that market. sSpend a day at the flea market, craft shows and artisian shows. See what sells and see if you have any interest in producing any of these items.
Your personal knowledge, training and experience will also dictate where you should concentrate your energies. Tackling a big project (for sake of making more money) may sour your interest in making a career change if that project is beyond your level of expertice. Choose your projects wisely.
DO NOT become to diverse to quickly with different projects unless your workshop can support these actions. Minimize project setup time by trying to produce one good line of product. As you grow in your business, then so may your inventory of diverse projects. Setup = Time = Money that is hard recoupe on a single item.
The more people you know and get along with ( shop owners and such) the better the chance to market your product to various markets and people. I do not suggest lowering your price to a specific person because they say that they can sell more for you if they had one at a discounted price. Make them proove their words. Tell them to buy the item from you at "X" price and that you will refund $10 of their purchase (or what ever price you deem fair) for every contact that leads to a sale. Refund up to the total cost of the item. This way they "Earn" their reward and you lose nothing. Why buy the cow if the milk was "discounted".... or something like that.
Good luck and don't forget to come back and fill us in on how your venture is progressing.
Carol the Router Lady
01-19-2002, 08:07 PM
Cerritos Community College has a big woodworking program. Lots of classes geared for those who wish to pursue woodworking as a vocation.
Palomar College in San Marcos has a good woodowrking program as well. Used to teach there myself.
BTW, I still teach. Just in small classes in my shop in North San Diego County.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on educational opportunities.
01-19-2002, 09:39 PM
Well, I'm certainly not a woman :) but here are my thoughts:
First, be sure that what you ask for is what you want. Very often, a great hobby is ruined by having to make a living at it. Woodworking because you want to and working late hours and trying to meet deadlines because you HAVE to are two very different things.
That being said, a career in woodworking does not nessesarily mean making wood products. I went from a shop into sales of woodworking equipment. I loved it, and sales can be VERY rewarding financially. Also, I got the opportunity to see hundreds of shops, big and small, making virtually every type of woodworking. I attended all the local trade shows and even the big Atlanta show. These days I teach router classes at the local Woodcraft and write for Woodworker's Journal in addition to making things in the shop. My "real" job is installing and teaching CNC routers to wood and plastics shops around New England. I kind of have the best of both worlds. I work in and around the industry, but also have a hobby that pays for itself and even a bit more.
Hope this helps,