Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It is not unusual...

 Just a caddie to hold 2 yogurt containers and some brushes
...for me to make something for sale.  I have been self-employed for over 40 years.  I have never had a regular paycheck, certainly no standard benefits, no compensation for time off, no sick pay, no paid holidays.
There have been other benefits, mostly my time has been my own.  Even when I had a really bad job I knew it would be over when it was finished and I could go on to something else, always hunting for that next great job.
   I did most of my advertising through Home Shows, that one opportunity to "be on stage" and allow the public to compare me with the competition.  I learned the retail trade because of these Home Shows, the space is very expensive.  I learned that the worst possible thing I could do was to sit at a table and wait for them to approach me.  Mostly I sold a service, sort of renting me and my crew out to remodel your home and this could cost thousands of dollars.
   I learned that there was a market for those who couldn't afford or didn't desire their homes torn up and rearranged.  They liked me, wanted something from me, just not the whole big job.
   So I got to thinking, wouldn't it be nice if I could create a product?  Maybe something that would be an advertisement in itself?  Something that would help with the ever increasing cost of doing Home Shows?
   I started pretty simple.  My very first goal was to create something that would feed me during these four day shows.  I had incentive.  I told myself "no lunch" until I made a sale!  At the time I was importing lumber from the Fiji Islands (I could blog about that for awhile!) and I had made some kitchen cutting boards and clip boards out of these exotic woods.  I also made some little toys, something that might attract kids and get their parents to linger.  Well, it was a hit and I ate well that first day but completely sold out my meager inventory on the opening night!  If I had only had more I could have paid for my space!
   Over the years my interests changed and I would be into other things, one year doing nothing but decks and outdoor living, another just kitchens and another I was into bathrooms but I always had a product, something to sell off the floor.  The last few years when I got into steel I could quadruple my space costing me over $3,000 for the very long weekend and pay for it entirely with "stuff" that I brought for sale!
   I got in the habit of making my hobbies pay for themselves.  If I liked it maybe someone else would too?
And then I could sell it allowing me to continue.  My first welder was just a little guy costing me about $300 and on principle I refused to buy a better one until I could pay for the first one through the sale of something I made.  In less than one year I bought the one I have now for $2,400, all paid for with a $300 dollar machine!
   I still have that attitude.  It was something developed over time and is just a part of me now.  In a forty year career I can often go look at a job and find something of mine already in someone's house. That is nice too!

More is HERE

1 comment:

Dan Kent said...

Great approach. I will remember it & try to use it for my own creations when I am finally ready to sell.