Believe it or not, a lot of people pay good money for woodworking arts and crafts. We’re not talking about beer money here. We’re not talking about money that can buy you a pack of smokes from time to time.
We’re talking about real money. We’re talking six to seven figures. That’s a big money. In fact, if you make quite a name for yourself in the industry, you can make even more. The key here is to go from commodity to brand.
Believe it or not, in the arts and crafts industry involving woodworking, a lot of home-based artisans crank out commodities. If you don’t believe me: when was the last time you saw a spherical chess piece?
Or, a completely round piece of wood that’s nice, soft and shiny with a chessboard pattern on it? Chances are you’ve seen this design quite a bit. Guess what? Not all those are items were made by the same person or company.
In fact, they’re probably made by a lot of artisans distributed all over the United States. What’s going on? Well, people realized that this design is very popular. So, they just jump in with both feet and come up with their own version.
Well, the moment you do that, you drive down the price. You’re not really creating a brand. You’re not creating a name for yourself. You’re not creating much of anything at all, except the fact that you are just doing a money grab.
I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing. You got to start somewhere. The problem is, if you’re doing what everybody else is doing, don’t be surprised if you don’t get paid all that much.
Of course, the more complicated the artwork, the higher the price tag. But still, you’re dealing with a fixed range of income. In many ways, you’re kind of trapped.
So, it’s a good idea to cut your teeth on generic or saturated types of woodworking products. And, then later transition to something more unique.
This is where your brand shines out. You must understand that when you create your own brand, or you develop a reputation, you can pretty much write your own paycheck. Seriously, at that point, you’re no longer competing with the generic commodities that other people are doing.
They’re cranking out the same design over and over and they’re really training the market to price such items within a narrow price range. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you’re just going to stick with that industry.
Instead, you should use the money that you make producing generic designs to pay the bills, save some, and pay for further training. You must plant the seed for a brand that is distinct from other creators. This is how you eventually achieve the kind of breakthrough that will help you earn the money that you deserve.
As the old saying goes, “if you are doing what everybody else is doing, you are creating commodities.” And, guess what’s wrong with commodities? The only way you can compete is through price. That’s the bottom line. So, it’s a race to the bottom.
You may think that you have the best prices but guess again because it doesn’t take for some new player to show up in this increasingly globalized marketplace to undercut you. Before you know it, somebody undercuts them, and it gets worse and worse.
Pretty soon everybody is making pennies. Not exactly a very uplifting scenario. So, do yourself a very big favor. Start out in the woodworking business, creating generic works of art, but don’t stay there. Quickly work on creating a brand.
Once you’re able to do that, you will be able to write your own paycheck. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck in a race to the bottom. It’s not going to be pretty because there’s always going to be somebody out there who will undercut you.
You may think that your rates are cheap. It’s going to get even cheaper by the time you deal with competition from places like China or India or Southeast Asia.
Woodworking is a lot of fun, but as a home-based business, you must have a long view. You must think in terms of brand products instead of commodities.
Another way you can build a solid brand in woodworking is to offer customized work
Go on social media and ask people for their ideas. Come up with test designs and wow people by your ability to create amazing wooden works of art on command and based on personal specs like pictures or memes. Since these are small, you can ship them pretty much to all parts of the world. Also, if you use the right type of wood, you don’t have to get killed by shipping fees.
Most important, by offering custom woodwork, you stand out from the competition. Don’t be surprised if you get more orders than you know what to do with. A little bit of specialization mixed with personalization and a customer-centric touch can go a long way. In fact, it can mean all the difference in the world. Let’s just put it this way, people will pay extra to be made to feel special and one of a kind.
Make no mistake about it, if you want to be successful in the world of artisan woodworking you have to bring something different and extra special to the table. You can’t offer commodities. If you do, you’ll get eaten alive. Seriously.