You Want Me To Do What? Be Adaptable.

You made your product lets call it a clock! You are proud of the clock and it can be no better! It sits straight on the desk and shines out in the light like a beacon of loveliness in a room of despair. (Sorry got carried away!)

Sits proud on a table

Shines out on any desk

Then the world spins more slowly for a second as someone sends you an email. They can see potential in your clock but they want to make………changes!!

I hate making changes because once something is done its done and that will do! That is all kinds of wrong though. If you want to sell what you make you have to be flexible you have to give the masses what they want! BUT only if its possible without having to remake the item and therefore making the money you are getting too little for your effort!

I charged this lady another £9 as she wanted gold paint and she also wanted it to be hung on the wall so there is another £6 plus i rounded it up to £20 extra so there is something for my time as the changes only took me 10 minutes. Greed is a terrible thing so do not be greedy charge the client for the changes but keep it grounded in reality!

Making new brackets

Bend and drill or vice versa bit of mig action its all done

Brackets on

Brackets done and straight now time for paint!

Paint is expensive on metal objects but what i did was charge her for the whole tin which means the next item in gold is paid for in advance which is another little tip in making future profit. With Christmas coming gold will be a colour well used.

Up for gold paint

The gold is on and ill let it dry! New hands and mechanism then in the box and away to America! All done with an hour

Try to be adaptable without compromising what you make or what you are trying to achieve! If you accommodate people you may well earn a customer for life rather than just one job!

What product that I make would you like to change?

Click here to see them all! What else would you like me to make?

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Marketing Tips With A Twist!

Console Table

Hand made by me for use in front rooms or to work on or even by the bed as a night stand!

You have made your piece of work and you are proud of it, mine was the table above. There is no space in your house to keep it and you would like to buy that new set of spanners you saw at the shop last week! Well one could pay for the other couldn’t it?

We spoke yesterday about the amount you should price your products at (didn’t read it? never mind here is a link to How Much!!!!? ) The next step is telling people all about what you have made and how you made it but be very careful how you word things as it’s what you say that causes people to buy products they might not have realised they needed in their lives.

Most people write about what they have done and how it affects them. You know what? That only interests you and does not show process it’s probably letting everyone know you are proud of what you have done and therefore excludes everyone else from the scenario! Flip that on its head and write about what it can give the buyer not what it did for you and that starts to make your sales pitch all about them! That is what you want to do.

For example i used to write things like: This wheel stove was simple to make but made me realise what i could do in the future! That is great but its all about me baby and that is not good. What might work better would be something this: The wheel stove, although simple, can give your garden a focal point where you can keep warm, cook or relax in front of an open fire. This sets a scene and involves the reader and suggests a scene that they can picture themselves in. Be inclusive not exclusive.

Language and price are important but what really makes things worth while for you is getting the price you want for these items not setting a price that would be more enticing for the customer. Let me tell you a little secret! People don’t buy on price they buy because they trust you. If you can say the right things and set the right scene then they are much more likely to buy from you what ever the price. (within reason!!!)

Do Not Do This

For your every day stock products do not discount. Only discount for end of lines or something that you don’t mind selling for less as it needs to go!

Discounting may well work for the big furniture shops but they all have a yearly cash flow forecast built on bulk sales that you probably will not have the ability to copy so just don’t do it! If you discount to get sales in you are lowering your price and there is only one way to go from there and that is down! If you have a price that you are happy with and you think is fair then stick to it and work on your marketing skills. There are many out there who say they can help and will take your money without delivering anything but platitudes. Have a look at Vicky Fraser i bought her book and get her free emails every day and they really help to make you understand the way your customers think.

Have a look at her website https://www.vickyfraser.com/ here you can sign up for her emails and also she does a podcast every week that usually involves talking to her husband and drinking gin but more importantly making clear the dos and don’t s of marketing and copy writing.

Even if you only sell one thing a year you are a small business and making yourself heard is hard. Just having the best product in the world is great but the ability to get a good product to the customers is an amazing feeling and creates income!

I often do not say the right things but like i always say I like you am still learning. If you want to sell what you make find the right selling setting IE Etsy and after that use social media to get your message across. Remember, involve the end user more than talking about yourself and you will get sales.

See where you can get an item that will enhance your house or garden? click Here  (see what i did there?)

How Much!!!!?

Dirty Money

It cant be about money when you start up!

The ugly subject of money has to enter into this metalwork bliss at some point I suppose. When you first start you have to learn enough to make sure what you make stays together and is worthy of selling. Took me a while to get there i can tell you.

Everyone tells you there is an equation for working out what your products ‘owe’ you. I’ve taken it from Etsy themselves so I know its right:

The etsy formula for product pricing

Its all good until something takes you a month to build!

This works really well if you are very fast at what you make! Do I follow this way of pricing well er no! But i do try to get close. My wheel stoves would need to have been £100 at least when i first started and that is too much.

So what I did is looked at what it cost me in actuality. So the wheels cost me £5 a piece and the welding wire, gas and the sanding disks to finish it we will allow £10 per stove. Then there is paint which is £9 a can and you use a full can per stove. So before you know it we are at £29 then add an hour of my time even though when i started it took me way longer than that. £39 is what it costs me and i assumed people would pay a little more so i settled at £55 per stove. This gives me £10 for my time and £6 profit to keep the lights on. This keeps the price affordable and also i knew i was going to speed up over time and that would mean in the end id fall in line with my hour allowed for fabrication.

Why make something for £16 its a lot of bother for just that!!? I wanted to learn and it wasnt about the money but i did need to buy tools. My products really just pay the rent on my unit and buy the tools and materials i need. If i can do this now, while covering all my costs then that’s good for me. Remember this is a hobby not my income.

There are times also, like the spider’s web where i will make the item for cost. I wanted to make it and my friends wanted one for their door but didn’t have the time to make one themselves. I got to learn the process and all i have to give for that is a little time!

As i have said in most of these blogs i have a full-time job so this is what keeps me busy instead of getting into trouble!

It’s not about the money at the beginning it can’t be but you may be able to buy some tools to help you progress with what you earn. Even when you get a bit better and faster, you will only be able to charge what people will pay for things.

Have a look on the internet for what people are charging for things and take note of who actually sells their items and be guided by the prices they have. Etsy tells you what shops have sold and how many items so if you can find a similar product online to what you do then you have a guide as to what people will pay.

Once you have a fair price you are happy with, stick to it. Discounting may seem like a good way to raise sales but once you start that there is only one way to go and that is down. I’ll explain more about marketing tomorrow.

See how I price my products Here

The Trouble With Being Me Is…..

Now the mists of stupidity have somewhat lifted from my life IE I am not a musician with a will to drink the world i am finding more and more that i want to please people. This is a total reverse of attitude from when i was Jim Distortion Lead singer of bands. Now i am finding that my calm is providing me the opportunity to see things from the sides of others! This is good and bad there is an upside and a down side to everything of course.

Jim Distortion rock Singer Mode

a different time in my life when maybe i hadnt realised quite how to behave!

With this metalwork i always want to do the best job i can and make the people who will end up with my work as happy as possible but sometimes that can go to far. You have to be careful to know your limits but also understand why you are doing something in the first place! What am i talking about you ask!? I’ll tell you.

When my life was me and a band or me and a bar i didn’t care much what others thought or did as the music was the end product and if people liked the band they would usually tolerate my rubbish wanna be rock star stuff! I never went too far but i had my moments. Now im using my hands to make things i do worry what everyone thinks as im a bit insecure about my talents but also if one person loves what they get then they will show and even tell others what they bought and who made it!

Now caring about all this is great but then it can go to far when you start to obsess about what people think of what you make and by extension what they think of you! That my friends is not healthy! Finding the balance and knowing when to say “Its Done!” is almost as important as doing the best you can.

Why are you telling us this? Well if you are still with me and reading on then ill tell you! Today i stopped ongoing work with a nice man who offered me what i thought would be the occasional welding job to help ease his stress in building his products. What actually happened was i had a sudden and large realisation that it was all too much and that if I was to do this regularly then id have to work before and after my day job every day of every week to keep up. These days with having a wife and a son and also a full-time job all of these would suffer if i kept that on working at that pace.

Above are pictures of the items i made and its a lot of work for a part time metal worker so maybe you can see my point as this was only about half of what needed to be done!

Even though i enjoyed the work and seemed to be doing it well that realisation was important. If you don’t see where you need to draw the line the thing that brought you pleasure would become a chain around your neck and that is when the fun stops!

I value every job I do and if i hadn’t of tried i would have never known my limits but you know what? I am glad i did as now i know what i can and can’t take on and also that its ok to choose yourself over others on occasions. My next project is a Gothic shelving unit for cds and game cases that is shaped as an arch! Keep coming back to see progress on that and all things that i make!

See the things i have made Right Here!

I Delivered Yesterday!

Not only did i make something for a client but i was there when it was put in place and saw the reaction of he people it was made for! This  was great! Sometimes you have to see the end-user and what they are going to do with what you made them and also see if they are happy with your work!

Very often if you make something and sell it over the internet you never hear from the people again. Some people leave feedback on Etsy or Facebook but most are too busy living their lives to remember. They are not ungrateful or rude they are just like you and me, busy!

I know the people I made the spider’s web for and the process of learning on that was great! Working out how best to make the frame and then working out the web construction as well as how to hand bend all the bar consistently.

Me at Rick's Tattoo Shop Gentle Micks

A shake after a job well done! I know Rick and Jed are happy and that makes me happy!

So being involved like I was I wanted to see it through to the end. I met Rick at his tattoo shop in London Colney and helped him install the web on his front door! I saw his reactions to the work and got to know him better while i was there. I felt a bit of pride that my work will be on their door for the world to see.

It means a lot to me and to my customers that I am genuinely interested in my products not just for the money paid. That kind of link to the people who buy from you will serve you well for sure!

See what else I have made people like Here!

I Am Struggling To Find The Right Way To Do This!

Often I am looking for a way to make something. The trouble with me is that I am always looking for the RIGHT way to do things. There are always a few ways of reaching the same goal in different manners. Which way is the right way?

They all are! If what you are trying to do has several ways that work for you but Mr Know It All tells you its the wrong way to do it, ask yourself two questions:

1: Can I do this safely and achieve the goal I am looking for?

2: Can I see another way that may save me time without cutting corners?

If the answer is yes to both of these things then how can your way be wrong?

I am not saying that you ignore people who do what you want to do and have been for years. You need to listen to them like your life depends on it but make sure you listen to the right people. There are a lot of know it alls in the world and experience counts when you are doing metalwork and indeed everything in life that you do. You may have sat down and worked everything out for yourself or watched a how to video or listened to old Mick who works in that field all day every day. All of these ways are right but its important you are comfortable and understand the process you are involved in.

Case in point for me. I was making the first table i ever made and i wasn’t sure what joint was best on the metal frame. Either you join the box section flat together or you use a 45 degree cut at each end to have the diagonal weld. Both of these are perfectly functional and easy to do if you have the right chop saw to do it! I knew that i did not have the chop saw but i could borrow one. The thing was i wanted an industrial look so i saw that all the industrial furniture was joined straight. I didn’t ask any one but i got on with it!

Console Table

Hand made by me for use in front rooms or to work on or even by the bed as a night stand!

The end result was a table I am super proud of and its type of tables are still sold in my Etsy Shop to this day. The point I am trying to make is that everyone will tell you a different way to do things but you have to find the way that works best for you while holding the knowledge of others in your hands as it were.

As time goes on your knowledge will grow and your confidence in your abilities will get to a place where you trust how you do things! Always, however good you get there will be times you need to look things up or ask but from the start, trust in the way you have found to do it and remember the two questions!

Want some advice? email me

 

 

Furniture!!!? I Cant Make That!

I sit on a chair most of the day at my job in the tattoo shop when i am not on my feet with clients, talking through their artwork desires. I bought the chair, its ugly but functional! I sit at a desk all the time I am at work when I am not on my feet etc etc. Do you see where i am going with this? We all sit at or on furniture we all have places where we put our books or magazine and indeed places to sit on or at at home to. Furniture is something that you pick for yourself because you like it or it was cheap or it was just something you felt you needed.

I now can make my own furniture. We needed a new table for the entryway in our home and if I was to buy the table i wanted it would be way out of my price range. I said to my wife ill have a go at making it. To her credit she didn’t laugh at me she simply said OK and told me the kind of table she would like and luckily we agreed the design.

It’s a daunting thing making something that will be used everyday by your family or even by a customer as they will be reminded of you every time it does something bad. If it rocks on its legs its your fault! If it is not flat on the table top that is your fault etc etc!

Make sure if you are making steel legged wooden topped tables chairs or anything with a right angle in it you have a few of these:

magnet

You cannot do level straight or true tables or chairs without these guiding magnets! Make sure to keep the edges clean or it wont stay a true 90 degrees!

These magnetic beauties along with a solid metal flat and level surface will mean you can get all your corners the exact angle you want them and that is the key to making great furniture! So now ill show you the table I made. The wood table top was sanded burned stained and waxed so woodwork is even harder than metalwork but the two together I think, look great!

I love the fact that this can now sit in my house and the fact that when someone comes into the place my son stops the person and says “My daddy made that!”

It’s very satisfying to make furniture something people will use constantly and will stand the test of time. I made a console table in the same kind of style to sell which is available should you feel the need to have something now one else in the world has!

Console Table

Hand made by me for use in front rooms or to work on or even by the bed as a night stand!

I haven’t been doing this that long but already I am making things I never thought possible. What ever it is you are doing this shows one thing. If you are serious about your subject you can do it!

I was also asked to make a metal work bench for a customer but that is another blog!

Click on me to see more about the console table and you can own a hand-made piece of furniture that will last for years to come.

You Have To Start Somewhere!

Everything you do needs practice! Unless you are a naturally gifted human that can understand all concepts of a process all at once then practice is the only way to learn. I know, im sorry i dont have any fastrack suggestions.

Someone asked me to make a Darth Vader wood burner as they were and are all over the internet at the time. I said i would try and then avoided starting the job until one week from when it needed to be with that person! With me if i wasnt sure how to do something i would simply hide from it until i HAD to face it! This is not the best way to do things.

When you get a job in start as soon as you can! It may seem simple but there are always a thousand excuses not to start the job and before you know it time has gotten away from you. If you use all the time you have then any mistakes that are made can be fixed or you may even have time to start again, learning from your mistakes.

I made two with differing eyes to see what would work

I made two burners at the same time, slightly different eyes and doors to see which would work best. I didnt know anyone, or so i thought, with a plasma cutter then so i had to cut all the pieces with my drill and angle grinder. Making two gave me the chance to try out the same bits in a different way!

Now i have made about 10 of these and everyone slightly different due to finding better ways to make them or just trying out new things. There will always be variations when making things by hand but i like that. Everyone gets a one off item is the way i look at it! 

Each time i make one they turn out slightly different but that is what i like about making things by hand!

This is the last one i made. The process goes alot quicker now as i practiced alot. Its not perfect but its what i make and im proud of it! 

Take the time to practice what you want to do well and i promise you will get there!

Get your vader Here!

There Are Not Enough Hours In The Day!

clocks.gif

I found myself in a weird place the other day. Metaphorically speaking!  I was sat on the sofa at home talking to my wife about what we need to do and how much time there is to do it. I suddenly realised that i had no clue how I was going to get everything i needed to do done.

There comes a time in all things, be it pleasure or work where you have to step back and have a look at the big picture. How you are going to move everything you need to make happen into a time line and please the people depending on you?

First thing is DON’T PANIC!! like Arthur Dent in The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy you need to not be overwhelmed with it all! I had a rising feeling of panic when i saw my hobby, the metalwork becoming something that would take over my life and stop being fun. I already have a full time job as I am a partner in a Tattoo shop Madhouse Tattoo . The metal work is done every morning and one evening a week and i have to get the jobs done in that time. The reason for my panic was that i had taken on too much and did not know when or even how to say no!

My wife told me two things. The first was that i just needed to organise my time and do the jobs that were ordered first. Secondly i needed to get a white board in the work shop to keep a visual list of what  has to be done and for when. This way when i walk in the door and turn the lights on i know whats needed first.

Like all women she is wise, I am yet to buy the white board but i do have a list of jobs and deadlines and also how much time these things should take. This works to calm you down and inform you of your next task.

The final thing i realised this very morning. You cant work in a mess. So my first job on the to do list is to tidy the workshop and get it into a state where all things are easily accessible and jobs can run smoothly.

Who would have thought i would finally realise after all these years that my mother was right, it does pay to clean your room!!!

Want to see whats happening in my world? Click Here to see my face book world!

Metalwork Commissions

These are what you are aiming for! Commission work makes life variable and keeps the world from standing still. I love the fact that one day I am making a wheel stove and another day I am making a spiderweb that is a lot taller than me, something the world will see! Well dwellers in London Colney will see it anyway lol!

Yesterday i went to our friends Kerry and Spencer to have Sunday Dinner, which is always massive and amazing whenever Kerry is doing the cooking. I have made a lot of things for this family from tool chest shelves to wine racks. I knew i would be asked to do something! Whats great is these people have ideas and know what they want but sometimes they are not sure of a design or even how to make it. That is where i come in!

They want a garden bench long enough for them both to sit on with a small drinks table built into the middle of it somehow. Now I have made tables etc etc but never a bench. You should never take on jobs you cant do!!! I have however made enough tables and stools and chairs to know this is a job i can do!! So i get to design and create a one off piece of furniture for my friends to! We agreed a budget and ill be showing you in future blogs how I am doing!

The last thing i made was a huge spiders web for Gentle Mick’s tattoo shop in London Colney and I am pleased with the reaction from the clients who love it so far! Its all about making the people that want things happy. That means you have won on two levels you have succeeded in making what they wanted and overcome the problems of actually creating something new!

All done just needs final welding and paint!

Weld i. The web while its hanging as that was you can see right away if it looks right!

Use a hammer to make the bends a bit deeper to keep the pattern going

Workong out the shape of the web

The straights are in the frame

See the bottom picture first and swipe up as that is the order they roll. I enjoyed the process! I did not know how to do it so i found a way to roll the re bar i was using into a round shape and cut the pieces to fit. There is always a way to so something and i found the best way for me using what i had.

The rim of this old wheel holds 6mm bar well so then you bend it in by hand till it wont go any further and any stubborn pieces you hit with a hammer! Works a treat!

Learning new tricks like using this wheel is what makes diversity of jobs important at the start! This wheel made it possible to bend the bar consistently making the web look better!

Learn from all your jobs push yourself and keep your head down! You will learn faster than you think!

Do you want something bespoke made for your house or garden? Drop me an email Here and you can find out the costs or even if its possible. I always answer any email so get in touch now.