Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Balance your business with your craft

The truth of it all is, people who have talent with hands-on skills aren't usually the most technologically inclined. At least that is the case with me.

I can build just about anything out of wood; I know many different joinery techniques and when to use with for the best use; I know what wood to use for what result; but sit me in front of a computer and most kids can do better.

I've gotten better over the years, but it's just not a skill set that suits me.

The first time I started my shop I believed I could do it all. I was prepared to build custom furniture for people. I quickly figured out that being in business for myself meant I had to do it all. I had to make the bid, I had to buy the materials, I had to make the invoice, I had to collect the payment and I had to pay my bills. And that was just basics when jobs came in. I also realized I'd have to advertise and do my own sales. Eventually it was just too many hats for me to wear. When those doors closed, I promised myself I wouldn't do it the same when it came time to reopen.

I met my partner about 9 years ago. We were friends and, as we got to know each other better, I realized she had the skills to wear the other hats I needed. So, a few years later, I asked her to be the "Office" to my "Shop".

She can't build the furniture, but over time she's learning this industry. What she can do is all of the accounting, advertising (to include photographing the finished products), some drafting/ design for bids, and she's learning enough to start doing more sales and buying. But she's someone that is good with a computer and office skills and, in direct contrast to the original point, she's just not that hands-on inclined.

My recommendation to all considering making a go of this industry - or similar industries - stick to your strengths and find someone to fill in where you are lacking!

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