So what is the #1 reason why your wasting your time and working towards nothing?
Mass Production (I call it “The Ikea Effect”)
The problem that most at home welding entrepreneurs run into is the mass production of just about anything you can think of. Now don’t go and get all discouraged and quit.
Here’s the trap, and I’ve fallen into it more times than I can remember. Let’s say you create an amazingly beautiful, original candle holder. One like no other. Lets say it takes you 2 hours from start to finish (getting materials, cutting materials, welding, finishing, etc.). Now you have 2 hours of labor plus the cost of materials to consider into your selling price. Your current hourly rate is $30 hr (which I think is low) and your material costs are $25. So far your up to $85. Would “you” buy a candle holder for $85? Of course not, you’d just say,”I can make that”, and go home and make it. But I think you get my point.
There was a time when people appreciated fine handcrafted art and were willing to pay for it. The appreciation is still there, but in todays fast pace, economically worried society, people want it cheap, quick, and easy and places like Ikea and Target are making a killing because they have the ability to supply stylish products cheaper and faster than anyone else.
So What Should I Make?
Keep making your original pieces. I’m not saying there useless, not by any means. I’m just saying that you cant expect to make good money for your time that way. Even if people don’t want to spend the money on something original, they can’t ignore originality and talent. Use those attention grabbers to bring in the bigger customers. At every little local festival I’ve set a booth up at, I’ve had anywhere from 15 to 50 all original pieces (candle holders, little mirrors, card holders, horseshoe art, etc.) Usually I’ll sell enough to pay for the fees and whatever food we eat while sitting around. However, after every festival I’ve done (yes every one) I get a call from someone that picked up my card and would like a custom railing or gate. And that’s insanely good money for the work involved.
Learn what the money makers are in your area. For mine (and probably most) it’s railings.
Find a couple of local festivals or free events going on in your area and set up a table. Take your pieces and also include at least little section of railing (or a sample of whatever your money maker is). I realize this doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend your weekend, but spending two days getting feedback about your creations could bring $1000 or more. That doesn’t sound so bad.
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