Self-employment as a woodworker provides independence. It enables the unique situation where you are able to create wood products, furniture and cabinets at a pace you are comfortable without anyone looking over your shoulder. You essentially become your own boss. If you are tired of the rapidly changing job market and the increasing demand for technology workers, then woodworking provides a degree of technical stability. The woodworking industry evolves very slowly and unless you are involved in the highly computerized and mechanized CNC end of the market, the woodworking industry is very traditional. There are many types of tools and machinery used in conventional woodworking which date back to a century or more ago, to give you an idea of how relevant any knowledge you gain will be useful in the future.
You will also need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a self- employed woodworker in comparison to holding a day job. A day job often provides stability and a regular source of income without the need to worry about the next pay cheque. Of course, we know this is not always true especially in today’s rapidly changing economy and the threat of a downsizing or loss of a job is a reality. Until this happens, however, a day job is a reliable source of income. However, the disadvantage of spending forty hours a week at a day job is dependent on the type of work you do and most importantly, do you enjoy what you are doing? If you are as many people out there in the workforce that gain little to no satisfaction from your work then you should follow your dream and investigate the idea of becoming a part-time or full-time woodworker.
Being in business for oneself involves more than just woodworking. There are other aspects to a business you need to take into consideration. Other aspects you to concern yourself with aside from woodworking include: accounting, inventory control, equipment and tool maintenance, purchasing, marketing, advertising, and shipping. These aspects of a business take valuable time away from the core woodworking but are necessary for the business to survive and thrive. You will however learn to manage these other business related tasks with due time and once again revert to woodworking as your primary focus.
Important questions to ask yourself if you wish to begin woodworking as a business:
Have you successfully made furniture or wood products before?
Are you comfortable dealing with clients?
Are you familiar with the joinery used in woodworking?
How skilled are you at applying finishes to wood products, furniture and cabinets?
How long does it take you to make a wood product or create furniture?
Are you capable of working within deadlines?
Can you handle business that detracts from woodworking?
These and other questions are the core of any woodworking business and you will need to cope with these issues at one time or another
I haven’t touched on the immense satisfaction derived from the independence and freedom derived from being a self-employed woodworker. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that the freedom gained is unparalleled. There is no more need to dress up and commute back and forth to a workplace which perhaps provides little satisfaction but mostly only financial security. Guaranteed jobs have also become a thing of the past. The often reduced and irregular income which is part of being a self-employed woodworker is well worth it in my opinion. You will also need to determine if you can survive as a woodworker at this point in your life however by weighing your monthly costs which include housing, family expenses, etc.
More information about the woodworking business topic can be found at: http://www.woodskills.com/Courseware/WoodworkingBusinessCourse.html
The author, Norman Pirollo, through 20 years of woodworking experience; has written a Woodworking Business Course available at: http://www.woodskills.com/Courseware/WoodworkingBusinessCourse.html
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