Going Pro

I'm looking to hear from folks who earn a living at woodworking on hiring or working with hobbyists who want to change careers. Specifically, if a guy has 5 or 10 years as a hobbyist, has a good portfolio that shows his skills, and is really motivated and loves woodworking, it seems to me like he would be a good risk. Or maybe you're a hobbyist who has made the switch to some kind of woodworking as a career and you would be willing to share your experiences.
I ask this because everywhere I go I'm looking at furniture and millwork and I can't concentrate on my job. Like today, I'm with a client (I'm a consulting network engineer) and she's sitting behind this gorgeous solid cherry desk. Simple design, not to old, beautiful figure and patina. Not an antique or anything, just a well executed design and sensitive choice of boards. We finally left her office to go into the data center, all white and plastic and metal, and I was able to focus on my job It was really weird, but pleasant.
TIA
Kevin B.
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Was it the desk or the secretary? :-)

experiences.
millwork
an
and
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Hi
I would definitely seek out the opinion of professionals who have made that jump and know how it works. They can provide you with advice and tips considering they've done that before.
You defintely need to make sure you have money saved away that will let you basically survive on your own for a couple years. I don't know if you want to open up a small shop or work out of your basement, but either way you are going to pay the bills probably off your savings, at least for a while. If you have a wife and kids, that can get pretty hard.
Maybe starting out by continuing your job and focusing on woodworking during the evenings and weekends will let you get a foot in the door.
I hope this helps.
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Go over to www.woodweb.com
There are good forums about people making this decision, and lots of positive and negative feedback. I have spent hours reading the different views on this (as I have been debating going full-time in woodworking)
Good luck, James Hendrix
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Toolman2k4) wrote in message

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Fri, Mar 5, 2004, 1:28pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Toolman2k4) says: <snip> starting out by continuing your job and focusing on woodworking during the evenings and weekends will let you get a foot in the door.<snip>
Which is what is meant when someone says, "Don't quit your day job".
Years ago I read that 90% off all startup businesses fail within the first year. Then about 50% of those left, fail sometime in the next five years.
Keeping your day job, until you know you can make it, beats the Hell out of quitting your day job, dumping a bunch of cash into a shop, going broke, then having to get another job, maybe losing your house along the way. Of course, it's up to you.
JOAT That the peope have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state. - Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKEVOCALS /
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On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 15:12:25 -0500 (EST), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Some people also find that the day job isn't that bad after all.
Either way, try to avoid debt when starting a business. Buy big stuff used whenever possible. RENT it if you're not sure you'll need it. Some operations may make sense to outsource at the beginning. You may make less of a profit, but you'll avoid buying equipment that isn't paying it's own way.
A low debt load can help you weather the ups and downs.
I know some landscapers that bought a brand new Kenworth dump truck and all brand new machinery. These guys HAVE to keep a day job because the business barely pays it's own bills. They could easily rent certain pieces when they need them. As soon as interest rates creep up and home equity money dries up, I see these guys as good as gone.
I also know a husband / wife flooring crew who work out of a paid for 20 year old bread truck. They clear a ton of money and will easily pay cash for the next, much newer, truck.
Barry
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