I couldn’t agree with you more that once you want to make money (really with any hobby) then it becomes a business.
There’s that fine line between being a hobby and being a business and for a lot of woodworkers that line can get pretty fuzzy.
It’s a whole lot easier calling it a hobby (even if you’re selling your work for money) for a number of reasons.
1. Hobby is suppose to be fun………..Business is hard work!
2. Hobby doesn’t matter if you make a profit, or at least anything you sell it for over cost of materials you can call a profit.
3. In business, if you don’t make a profit you fail.
4. Hard to fail as a hobby.
5. 6 out of 10 businesses fail and most don’t like to risk failure.
6. Like Frenchy just stated in his post; most woodworkers are not businessmen.
7. As a self employed businessman, you do have to be willing to put endless hours in your business if you would like to be successful.
8. As a hobby, you work at it only when you want to and most everything else in life carries a higher priority.
As a professional woodworker, there where many times I was jealous of the hobbyist for all the above reasons and also over the years I’ve had a lot of hobbyist tell me they wish they could do what I did for a living. (I guess the grass is alway greener on the other side of the fence) lol.
It’s all good as long as we’re doing what we love.
Getting back to talking about making money though, I really wanted the average woodworker that is trying to make some money selling their work to take the time and give some thought about what they would like (or expect) to achieve from selling their work.
You can make money doing woodworking whether you’re a hobbyist, a part-time woodworker or a full time professional. The important thing is, it will depend on how you price your work and how you market yourself and your product.(assuming you know how to built a quality product).
Thanks for the post and you brought up some really good points.
The reason most woodworkers fail as a business is exactly what you stated; most are not business people. Knowing how to do woodworking is just a small segment of running a successful and profitable woodworking business.
I’ll try to talk about that more in my upcoming series.
John @The Hufford Furniture Group