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Starting a Woodworking Business: Essential Tips for Success

Have you ever considered turning your woodworking passion into a source of income? In today’s economy, there are plenty of ways to monetize your hobbies, especially hobbies like woodworking that result in actual, tangible products. Plus, there are many business models to choose from — from occasional gig jobs to launching a full-scale onsite business. Whatever it is, here are the top things to consider before you start, along with a few essential tips you will need to succeed.

Objectively evaluate the market and competition 

It seems apparent that woodworking can be monetized, but market demand still needs to be investigated. Everyone indeed needs furniture, but it is also true that not everyone is prepared to pay for genuine wood — and custom-made at that. On the other hand, there is always a category of people who want higher quality than the mass-produced fiberboard items can provide. 

So, the first step before launching any business is researching the market. How many people are ready to pay extra for unique woodwork? Are there any other companies in your area that offer such products already? What exactly do they offer? Is there a spot for you, too?

Figure out your unique selling point 

To stand out from other offers and attract customers, your product will need a competitive advantage, that is, a unique selling point. Of course, very few products are truly exceptional these days, but still, every offer on the market has something special — something that attracts buyers. Of course, offering custom-made woodwork may seem like a unique selling point. But it is not always so. 

Dig a little deeper when thinking over your business offer. Will you specialize in creating some particular items, i.e., baby cribs from lightweight materials, such as fir or cedar? Or perhaps it will be kitchen tables made from water-resistant wood types, such as teak, oak, or maple? These are some rough examples of what a unique selling point could be —something special, thought-through, and made with a customer’s comfort in mind.

Define your business model 

After you’ve figured out your market odds and a unique selling proposition, it should not be too hard to define a business model that would work for you. For example, you can work from home on a gig basis at first to see how it goes. Or, you could open a full-scale business right from the start. Both options can be legally registered as a sole proprietorship. But there is also a partnership option if you’re not ready to take all the risks alone. Whatever you choose, both are functional, logical legal models for a woodworking business.

Consider all necessary infrastructure 

Even if you want to work alone on a gig basis, you may need to invest time and money into building the necessary infrastructure. You may need more than a small home workshop for full-scale professional work. The same goes for tools — you have enough already to meet your household needs, but do you have enough to work on custom orders? Perhaps some tools need replacing with more professional equipment —something that will save you time and effort? Even if you work part-time, it is no longer a hobby but a paid job. And paid jobs require professional equipment.

Start searching for qualified employees 

If you really want to make money with a woodworking business, you should be prepared to treat it as a business, not as a side hobby. You may need extra help, especially if the market demand is strong. The good news is that you can find your team members online today — plenty of dedicated platforms feature professionals you can contact. And, of course, you can always place your job ad online. Better yet — do both; this way, you will have more candidates to consider, which is very important if you plan to work with these people long-term.

Investigate ways to market your business 

No matter how great your products may be, few people will find out about them unless you bring your message to a broader audience. Today, there are plenty of ways to advertise your business, but the good old classics are website, social media, and email marketing. 

Website

This may sound time-consuming and expensive at first, but in practice, plenty of platforms like Wix or Brizy can help create your own website from ready-made blocks — no programming knowledge necessary. The subscription rates differ but generally remain reasonable. 

The biggest perk of having your website is that you can also launch a Google ad campaign in your area. So, whenever someone in your city area googles’ for custom furniture,’ your ad may appear on top of search results. You will only be charged when a potential customer clicks on your ad. The payment range can differ greatly depending on your location and the keywords you set for displaying your ad. But generally, this is the most affordable and effective way of advertising your business. And the best part is — once you set it up, you do not have to do anything else — just sit and wait for the people to come to you!

Social Media 

Unlike Google Ads, social media marketing is a continuous process that needs your regular attention, but the potential of spreading your message is way higher. The first thing to do before you start posting pics of your amazing products on Facebook is to figure out who your target customers are and which social sites they use. 

It does not necessarily have to be a central platform like Facebook. Everyone uses it, yes. But everyone is also advertising on it, so it may often take time to have your message heard. Pinterest might be a good choice, too. You can, for example, target people interested in interior design or garden planning — if they visit those boards, there is a chance they are looking for new products for their home or backyard. And you may have something to offer them!

Email marketing

You may be surprised, but email marketing has the highest return on investment rates. You can generate up to $42 of revenue for every dollar spent on email marketing. Crazy, right? Especially considering that so many promotional emails end up in the trash — some even unopened. But that’s only because many companies send these letters without properly targeting customers. Luckily, tools like SignalHire can help you build an email marketing database with contacts of people who might want to buy your product. The trick is to figure out which search parameters to give to the system. But targeting potential customers is a topic for a whole other article — or even a dozen, to be honest.

Be prepared to adjust to your customers’ needs 

The last word of advice is to brace yourself for a change and the necessity to learn on the go constantly. No business ever goes smoothly — especially in the initial stages. Customers may be more interested in coffee tables and garden furniture, not beds and wardrobes, as you had hoped. Or, you may notice that your beloved redwood and oak are not quite as popular as birch or fir. Whatever it is, be ready to adjust when necessary and put your customers’ needs first — that is indeed the backbone of any successful business. 

The provided points are just a basic list, of course, but they form the basis of a successful woodworking business. There will be a lot of other details to consider at each stage of the process — details that will depend on your business specifics alone. And the most important tip for an aspiring entrepreneur is never to stop learning! Do not be afraid to try new, explored ways of creating and promoting your products — perhaps one day, you will find something that truly sets you apart from the crowd!