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Thousands of people have taken their favorite pastime and turned it into a lucrative full time or second income. If you're considering taking this path and turning your woodworking hobby into a full time business, consider these points:
Every business needs space. If it is a home based business, working out of your garage or basement, the next question is “How long will this amount of space be adequate?” Also, there are particular tax advantages to this situation that you need to discuss with your accountant.
If you're not using your home, then do you lease, rent, buy, or build? What is your timeline for starting? These are all important questions when opening your custom woodworking shop. Remember, regardless of where you setup shop, it is wise to check local zoning codes for your particular type of business. This may play a big factor in where your business is located.
Money matters. If you're like thousands of other people who are starting a small business and don't have $1 million dollars to invest, then borrowing the money is a reality. But, where do you go? Between friends, family, and taking out a second mortgage on the house, your choices are often scary and complicated. But don't despair - your situation will dictate a solid business plan and it's always wise to consult a banker or financial planner. There are free resources in your community to help prepare you for going into business, including retired business executives who can share their experience and knowledge. To find them, utilize your local government offices.
You are a skilled tradesman, but how are you at running a day-to-day business? If you aren't quite sure, consider taking a business class. Even though you may have experience at side jobs this doesn™t necessarily qualify you as a business owner. There are a lot of ins and outs - and dos and don'ts - that you can only learn in a structured business course. Your local joint vocational school or community college can offer great adult classes that are worth the investment for hobbyists starting out as business owners
Before you open your own business, consider your equipment and whether or not you're equipped to open a full-time woodworking business.
If you are just starting out in your new woodworking business, advertising and marketing initiatives can get costly. Of course, your best advertisement is your work. Your customer service and the way you go about solving customer problems will aid in word-of-mouth referrals. Remember, customers can make or break your business. There are some avenues of advertising that are more economical than others.
For example, newspaper flyers, community bulletin boards, and of course the Internet. Be sure that before you cut the first piece of wood that you have invested in the proper insurances for your new woodworking business.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|