The starting line for every successful person is that first sale. For me, it took a lot of trial and error. It wasn’t until I figured out what woodworking projects sold, that I started to see a jump. My early successes weren’t exactly thrilling, but they paid, and when you’re trying to start a small business, that’s what matters most. The quest began with looking at what I was good at and trying those things out. Nothing that I made with my own “artistic” taste sold. It was a frustrating mess, but that’s when I reached for something better. I went forward to get Ted’s Plans, a woodworking bible of sorts. It had blueprints and plans for just about everything you could possibly dream up. But did anything sell? Well, that’s where things got interesting.
Here’s the first thing that really took off, and it was interesting to me, as I never thought about it. Gun cabinets. That’s right, in my area in the Midwest guns are normal. Everyone has one or two, or in fact five or six. So with that in mind, I tackled the build of a good cabinet. I started with something simple, unfinished, but sturdy, and easy to lock up. Then I started to get more intricate with the plans, and they started to sell. I took them to flea markets, and gun shows, and just set them up at a price that I thought was ok. I was absolutely flabbergasted to see people buy the display model and then put in a pre-order for 10 of them in one show. At one local gun auction, I was able to wrangle up 25 sales, and that meant hiring on some help. But the thing that really shocked me was the blueprints that I was able to utilize.
The next big thing that I started to try out was a pool table. I noticed that there were a lot of bars in my area with dilapidated, terrible pool tables that were falling apart. I figured that I could possibly sell them a new one, and a custom one to boot. So with that in mind, I got to work. With the plans of making a custom billiards table in my lap, I went to work and found that these sell for a ton of money. A custom table can pull a few thousand dollars, and that’s when I really started to make some money.
One last thing that I’ve seen sell, especially in areas that are starting to become more gentrified is the chicken house. A chicken house for those that want to raise chickens and have fresh eggs sells quite nicely. It’s a solid build that people seem to gravitate towards online. It’s easy to put together, and while it can be expensive to ship, you can get all the pieces together, and use instructions to put them in place. Otherwise, you can sell them on the road.
The turning point to all of this was getting the plans from Teds Wood Working, and actually testing out options that were popular in my area. From guns to pool to chickens, I was surprised with what sells the most. Oh, and to date, within 10 months of work I have been able to sell through over 300 woodworking projects, and have made a hefty profit out of a hobby.