You've stumbled upon the idea to build a woodworking business and now you're ready to take the next steps.
There's a lot to think about when building a business, so we put together a guide on how to get started, launch, grow and run your woodworking business.
We also provide you with real-life case studies and examples of founders running successful woodworking business (and how much💰 they're making today).
Is the woodworking business for you?
As long as you're okay with getting your hands a little dirty, the woodworking business can be a highly profitable venture for you.
Let's look at the pros and cons of starting your own woodworking business:
- Flexibility One of the biggest advantages of starting a woodworking business is that you can either offer part-time or full-time services. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own. Or, if you prefer to manage the books and instead delegate work to someone else, you can build and manage your own team to do so.
- Ability to start your business from home: It's not necessary to have an office space to get your business started! You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
- Little overhead + startup costs required: To get started, you only need a few essential items! We will go over this in more detail in the startup section below
- Rewarding work: If you're someone that truly enjoys this line of work, starting a woodworking business can be really fun and rewarding.
- The physical work is not easy: No matter how hard you try, this part cannot be downplayed. If you plan to do everything on your own, it's important to ensure that you are in physical and healthy shape to be doing this as supplies can be heavy and movements are not easy on your body.
- Crowded space: There is a lot of competition when it comes to woodworking business, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and demand in your area.
- Motivation: If you plan to have a team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
Creating a successful woodworking business means that you will have the ability to sell, provide stellar customer service, communicate with vendors and motivate your team (even if it's down the road)!
- Black Forest Wood Co
- Creative Custom Components LLC
- Cohen Architectural Woodworking
- Walker Woodworking Inc.
- Timber Grove Studios $6K/month in revenue
- Valhalla Wood Forge $4.3K/month in revenue
- Australian Woodwork $20K/month in revenue
- Mountain Fire Woodworks $1.5K/month in revenue
- 2Puggles $1.2K/month in revenue
Types Of Woodworking
There are several different types of products you can create as a woodworker.
The most common ones are:
- Home decor (shelves, wall decor, clocks)
- Niche items such as carving tools, compasses, accessories, bookmarks, chess sets etc.
The ideal customer for these products is someone that truly enjoys the craft of woodworking and prefers high quality materials sourced.
How To Name Your Woodworking Business
It's important to find a catchy name for your woodworking business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your woodworking business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your woodworking business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your woodworking business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your woodworking business:
- The Lumber Shed check availability
- Oasis Woodworks check availability
- Timber Revival check availability
- Elite Carpentry check availability
- My Furniture check availability
- Softwork check availability
- Crosscut Wood check availability
- Superior Hardwoods check availability
- Finish Carpenter check availability
- Design Ward Woodworks check availability
- Old Hippie Woodworking check availability
- SpaceWood check availability
- Heritage Custom Woodwork check availability
- Simple Saw check availability
- Select Millwork check availability
- Tree to Tale check availability
- Wood Thumb check availability
- J & G Machinery, Inc. check availability
- After Effects Products check availability
- What We Saw check availability
- Wood Team check availability
- Forest Reflections check availability
- Just Moulding check availability
- Rare Woods check availability
- MacWooden check availability
- Highlands Woodturning check availability
- Woodcore Woodwork check availability
- Saw Creations check availability
- GoodyWoody check availability
- WoodMan check availability
- Living Tree Restorations check availability
- Universal Finest Woodworks check availability
- Golden State Lumber check availability
- Continental Hardwood check availability
- Gilmore Furniture check availability
- Rock Tree check availability
- Woodworker’S Window check availability
- Elegant Designs check availability
- Gen X Carpentry check availability
- Genesee Woodworking check availability
- Plant Construction check availability
- After Image Products check availability
- Woodheart check availability
- Woodsman check availability
- Antique Creations check availability
- Treeform check availability
- Is Good Woordworks check availability
- Wedge Woodworks check availability
- Get To Woodworks check availability
- Carpenter’S Closet check availability
- Mikes Custom Woodworking check availability
- Woodworks Custom Flooring check availability
- Green Tree check availability
- Woody World Finish check availability
- Best Cabinets check availability
- Artisan Woodworking check availability
- Hamilton Custom check availability
- Elite Woodworking check availability
- Linear Fine Woodworking check availability
- Royal Tool Works check availability
- Woodenpriemere Carpentry check availability
- Royal Brand Woodworking check availability
- ABC Lumber & Hardware Corporation check availability
- Crafts And Woodworks check availability
- Imperix Wood check availability
- Forest Essence check availability
- Freeport Woodworking check availability
- Crosscut Hardwoods check availability
- Carved Woodworks check availability
- Woodcountry Interior check availability
- All Cabinet Parts check availability
- WoodX check availability
- Rockler Woodworking check availability
- Baker Woodworks check availability
- Banna Cabinets And Closets check availability
- Wooden Kingdom check availability
- Accent Cabinets check availability
- Marks Custom Woodwork check availability
- Vintage Creations check availability
- Regal Carvings check availability
- Citizen Woodshop check availability
- Creekside Woodworks check availability
- Dreams Come True Custom Woodworking check availability
- Woodworking Bros check availability
- Mystic Woodworks check availability
- Mr. Tree check availability
- Elegant Curves check availability
- Woodworking Army check availability
- Closed Loop Woodworks check availability
- Architecture Woodworking check availability
- Good Woodworks check availability
- Maxorello Carpentry check availability
- Custom Woods check availability
- Paramount Cabinets check availability
- Woodcraft Products check availability
- Backwaters Designs check availability
- Ace’s Custom Cabinetry check availability
- Beck Carpentry check availability
- Wood Concepts check availability
- Gear Heart Industry check availability
- Awesome Furniture check availability
- Linear Fine Woodworking check availability
- Woodsmyths check availability
- Accent Woodworks check availability
- Jays Custom Creations check availability
- Custom Architectural check availability
- Restoration Buddy check availability
- Amazing Wood check availability
- Woodprints check availability
- Maple Woodworks check availability
- Infinity Tools check availability
- Fine Finishing check availability
- Grain Guides check availability
- Divinecut Carpentry check availability
- 16th Workshop check availability
- Triangle Woodworking check availability
- With The Grain check availability
- All Finish Wood Repair check availability
- Timber Falls Carpentry check availability
🎬 How To Start A Woodworking Business
Important Qualifications & Skills
If you're considering becoming a woodworker, it's important that you have the right skills and knowledge to be able to operate machinery and master the craft.
A high school diploma or experience in geometry and computer software is helpful but not necessary to becoming a woodworker. More importantly, experience in the field is most critical to becoming a successful woodworker.
- Computer skills to properly manufacture objects
- Good hand-eye coordination to make proper (and safe) cuts
- Ability to operate machinery safely and precisely, including milling machines, saws and drills
- Physical strength
- Detail oriented
- Solid understanding of drawings and blueprints
- Knowledge of various woods, different cuts, and materials used in finishing
Acquiring a woodworking license is not a requirement, but may help you advance your overall knowledge and career in woodworking.
- National Certificate Program @ The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America
- Training programs for management @ AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute)
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your woodworking business.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Equipment To Get Started
In order to get your woodworking business off the ground, there are certain pieces of equipment you should consider investing in.
Of course, depending on the type of woodworking business you plan to start, these items may vary. Here's the basic checklist of machinery and equipment:
- CNC machine
- Table saw
- Band saw
- Power drill
To see a complete list of equipment to get you started, check it out here.
All of the manufacturing is done in 3 areas in my home. I have a 16 foot x 35 foot workshop in the back of my house that houses all of the woodworking equipment. A room in my garage where the laser engraver is utilized and a room in my basement for assembly, storage and a workspace in the winter months.
I started with a $250 table saw, as well as, a bandsaw and drill press I bought at an auction for less than $100. Over 3 years I have upgraded all of my equipment. I currently have a very functional shop. My goal for the next two years is to purchase what I am calling “my last tool” tools that will last me for the rest of my woodworking career and hopefully my children and grandchildren will use them!
Startup Costs For Your Woodworking Business
If you are planning to start a woodworking business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of a woodworking business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $1,167
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $35,569
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a woodworking business.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses|
|Payroll: This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K.||$0||$4,000|
|IT Support: You may find yourself needing IT support when starting your business. It may not be possible (or necessary) for you to hire someone full-time, but hiring on a freelancer platform such as Upwork is a great way to save money and resources.||$0||$500|
|Other Employee Expenses: Aside from payroll and benefits, there are other costs associated with hiring employees. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any potential turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate.||$0||$1,000|
|Employee Reward Ideas: It's important to recognize and reward employees - whether they hit their goals or are doing an exceptional job. This doesn't have to cost you a lot - simply taking them out to lunch, giving them a gift card or offering a pay-check bonus are all ways to recognize your employee! Here are 65 ways to reward your employees.||$0||$500|
|Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$0 (min)||$6,000 (max)|
|Website builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article.||$15||$100|
|Web Designer: If you have the necessary skills to design your website, then it may not be necessary for you to hire someone. However, if you do decide to go that route, make sure you establish an understanding of upfront cost, design and what the ongoing costs will be to manage the site. Here is what to expect when hiring a web designer.||$0||$6,000|
|Email hosting: Email is a critical piece for running your business. Once you have your domain name, you will want to set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are GSuite (typically starting at $6+ per user, per month) or Microsoft Office (typically starting at $5+ per user, per month). The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$5||$75|
|Register Your Domain: Once you decide the name of your business, you will need to make sure the URL is available and purchase the domain. You can check availability and register your domain here.||$12||$75|
|Server Hosting: To start a woodworking business, you will need to set up and manage a server. The cost for this is typically billed monthly and depends on the platform you choose (typically ranging anywhere from $0-$50/mo).||$0||$50|
|Website chat function: If customer service is a big piece of your business, you will want to consider implementing a chat bot on your website. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and some businesses even offer freemium services. To find what chat software is best for your business, check out this guide.||$0||$75|
|Total Website Costs||$32 (min)||$6,375 (max)|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$2,000|
|Utility Costs (office space): This refers to the first month's utility bill for your office space. If you are not responsible for this bill, this would not apply to starting your woodworking business.||$0||$150|
|Office Supplies: Although these may seem like minor costs, things like your desks, chairs, pens, paper, filing cabinets do add up. To avoid these adding up too much, try to be as lean as possible and go paperless!||$25||$1,000|
|WiFi: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is an expense that's tough to avoid. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$10||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$35 (min)||$3,250 (max)|
|Business Formation Fees|
|Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Trademarking: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700).||$0||$700|
|Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your woodworking business.||$50||$700|
|Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses.||$0||$1,500|
|Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business + which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business.||$50||$500|
|Obtain a patent: Securing a patent can be a very valuable tool, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if you may not be ready quite yet. A basic utility patent typically costs anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 to file. Here is a great resource to walk you through the entire process.||$0||$10,000|
|Total Business Formation Fees||$600 (min)||$15,400 (max)|
|Specific Industry Expenses|
|Woodworking Equipment + Materials: Power drills, saws, wood, materials and machinery vary depending on the type of business you start||$500||$3,500|
|Total Specific Industry Expenses||$500 (min)||$3,500 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software is used to track your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your woodworking business, implementing this in the beginning may set your business up for success and save you a lot of time later on. For a full list of best CRMs to use for your business, check out the full list here.||$0||$250|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your woodworking business, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: When starting your woodworking business, it's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here||$0||$100|
|Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your woodworking business is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses!||$0||$200|
|Total Software Expenses||$0 (min)||$1,044 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$1,167 (min)||$35,569 (max)|
Since the startup costs to start woodworking business range between $1,167 - $35,569, there are ways you can raise money to cover these costs.
Here are a few ways you can secure additional funding:
- Launch your product on Kickstarter
- Raise capital by asking friends and family
- Apply for a loan
- Find an investor!
Steve Smith, founder of 2Puggles decided to launch on Kickstarter and received 2x what he asked for:
In the beginning of my second year, I decided to attempt a small Kickstarter campaign with my students to purchase a laser engraver.
We asked for $600 and ended up being funded for a little more than 2 times that amount allowing me to buy a decently sized laser engraver.
This created an opportunity for more customization of 2Puggles products and led to new styles of earrings and my biggest surprise that there is a pretty decent market for bookmarks.
How Much You Can Expect To Make
After purchasing tools, equipment and materials for products - profit margins typically range anywhere from an average of 20-50%.
Sasha Weeks, founder of Timber Grove Studios provides the cost and return on her home decor business:
The basic one-color mountains cost about $8 in lumber and materials and sell for $85CA, shipping included. Shipping is between $15-$25 apiece, and there are between 1-2 hours of labor in each shelf.
We've interviewed several different founders in the woodworking industry and asked them how much $ they're making today.
- $6K/month in revenue
- Solo founder & zero employees
- Selling decorative shelves and home decor
- Sells mainly on Etsy
- 4.3K/month in revenue
- Solo founder & one employee
- Sells rustic wood decor and high end men's jewelry made from unique items (ie. whiskey and wine barrels)
- Starting costs for equipment + business formation was just under $2,500
- $20K/month in revenue
- 2 founders & 2 employees
- Sells wide range of Australian made woodcraft
- Majority of sales are purchased as gifts
- $1.5K/month in revenue
- 1 founder & 1 employee
- Builds carvings and log cabins
- Main source of income is YouTube videos & tutorials
- $1.2K/month in revenue
- 1 founder & 1 employee
- Specializes in wooden earrings, wooden bookmarks, coasters and wooden clocks
- Launched a kick starter campaign and got 2x what he asked for!
🚀 How To Launch Your Woodworking Business
There are various different marketplaces that you can effectively sell and promote your woodworking business, whether that's local or online!
Here are some of the most common ones:
- Your own website! Shopify is known to be the best for e-commerce stores
- Local places! Gift shops, farmers markets, festivals, grocery stores etc
- Etsy - E-commerce website for craft supplies
- Craft is Art Marketplace to buy and sell handmade crafts & fine art
- Aftcra Online marketplace where you can buy and sell handmade products
- Storenvy Marketplace for authentic brands
Etsy Tips From Founders
Etsy is one of the most common marketplaces for wood products, however, there are some tips and tricks you'll want to consider prior to listing:
Financially speaking, Etsy is a really great way to start a business because it’s essentially free until you start selling. It cost nothing to launch besides my 20 cent listing fees.
Etsy has been encouraging free shipping with a lot of pushback from sellers, but I built everything into our prices about a month ago and introduced free shipping shopwide, which seems to have improved conversion rates and search visibility already.
I honestly attribute the bulk of my success to photography. I was a photographer first so obviously very lucky to have no issues launching with great images and it’s something I consistently produce.
With Etsy especially, there are a ton of mediocre amateur photos so it was an easy way to set myself apart from the start, and I don’t think Etsy themselves would feature my products and market them so often otherwise. We’re also able to compete fairly well on price because 80% of customers are American, and our dollar is much weaker.
One big mistake I’m seeing from other people selling handcrafted items is regarding Etsy. I’m seeing people do one of two things:
- Under-utilize the platform
- They are solely using the platform
What I mean by this is that I’m seeing a whole lot of handcrafters that only use Etsy because it’s easy. But referring people to an Etsy page as your webpage isn’t as professional as a dot com webpage, plus, Etsy’s fees are much higher than Shopify. Also, when Etsy makes changes to its marketing structure, I’ve seen people who have no other website get absolutely screwed and their shops go under.
The other camp is those that refuse to use Etsy at all. Etsy is a marketplace, with a built-in audience that is often searching for exactly the product you make! Both camps are making the mistake of not diversifying their markets. Use Etsy, it’s an amazing sales tool, but don’t rely on it solely.
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Most Popular Web Platform For Woodworking
The most popular web platform for woodworking is Shopify.
Here's everything you need to know about the platform (+ examples of founders in the industry that love it):
Shopify is one of the #1 leading platforms for e-commerce businesses.
Here are some of the main reasons most e-commerce businesses are using Shopify:
- Geared towards supporting store owners. Provides a simple way to launch and manage your online store
- Customer support is off the charts (live chat)
- Easy to use - You don't have to worry about the technical side
- The design is clean and mobile-friendly. There are also hundreds of templates you can use.
- Easy integrations and additional channels (ie. Amazon, email marketing integrations, Facebook, etc).
- Basic Shopify: $29/month
- Shopify: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: $299/month
Examples of Founders Using Shopify
I started a website with Shopify, which for e-commerce, is absolutely amazing. I built my website entirely myself, using Shopify free themes and apps, and the basic Shopify plan of $30 a month.
We went with Shopify and picked a simple theme that we then added our logo and products too.
Before long we realized a more custom design would be better so we commissioned a designer off UpWork (then oDesk), to create a design over the Shopify template.
Shopify makes this process very simple, all the back end process of handling order from product inventory to cart to checkout to email notifications is taken care of automatically with just some small tweaking for personalization.
Identify Target Customer
A very critical piece in building woodworking business is to identify your ideal target customer.
- Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
- The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".
Sasha Weekes, founder of Timber Grove Studios explains how identifying her target customer led her to tons of new sales and social media followers:
I’ll touch on craft and vendor shows as well because I know a lot of handmade businesses frequent them. I did quite a few starting out to try and get my name out locally, but they were very hit and miss.
I now only do the Etsy PEI show which is twice a year and absolutely amazing with tons of sales and new social media followers that will eventually buy.
It’s the right fit because it’s full of my target customers which are young women, 25-35. Most craft shows weren’t working for me because too many seniors showed up, and they didn’t seem to understand the point of my products for the most part. It’s definitely a good idea to figure out which shows are the best fit and focus on those.
Launch Strategies For Your Woodworking Business
There are various different ways you can launch your woodworking business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your woodworking business.
- Build hype with a landing page: you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
- Create a teaser video: even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your woodworking business, and possibly even go viral
- Reach out to influencers: The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
- Get Press: Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
- Launch on popular sites: A great way to get buzz about your woodworking business is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.
Here are a few popular sites to launch on:
Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here
Sasha Weekes talks about her success with influencers + lessons learned:
I do occasional giveaways and promotions and I’ve also collaborated with a few influencers and other photographers by giving away products in return for images or exposure.
An example of one of my favorite collaboration images. I certainly don’t have this bathroom setup to work with at home!
I’ve definitely learned my lesson with some of these relationships and what I need to get out of them to make it worth it. Just because someone has 30k followers doesn’t mean they have a following who you can sell to, and they may have lower engagement than someone with 5k followers.
Images are valuable though, so it’s almost always worth it to use someone who is a good photographer and has interesting space, even just to mix up my own photos.
Make Sure You Get The Package Design Right
The way you package your woodworking business is often the first impression your customer has - so it's important to get it right.
You may want to ask yourself these questions:
If my product is on a shelf next to hundreds of other similar products:
- Will my woodworking business stand out?
- Will the branding/packaging create a connection with my customer, and hence, lead them to buy?
There are hundreds of tools you can use to help with packaging and design:
- Canva - Allows non-designers to create beautiful Instagram/Pinterest posts, flyers, business cards, etc.
- Stickermule - High quality custom stickers you can include on or in your packaging.
- Noissue - Custom tissue paper and compostable mailers
- Rollo Label Printer - A great tool to print all shipping labels at home
Package & Shipping Tips
When I began listing items on Etsy, I honestly had a really tough time with shipping. I had no clue what I was doing with packaging and many of my first international shipments arrived broken. (There are unsurprisingly no online tutorials for shipping awkward and fragile mountain shaped shelves!)
I went above and beyond with customer service during these first few orders and refunded everything, apologized profusely, and somehow came out with no bad reviews.
It didn’t take long to switch to better boxes, higher quality glue, and add styrofoam cutouts inside the shelves which prevented any future damage. Damage rates are almost zero these days. I’ve switched shipping carriers and platforms a few times trying to get better pricing on large items. If you’re looking to ship large items and you’re from Canada, I definitely recommend Netparcel with Paypal because it’s by far the cheapest option I’ve found.
🌱 How To Grow Your Woodworking Business
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to woodworking business.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Another opportunity for paid ads is through Etsy
James Wolfer, founder of Valhalla Wood Forge decided to go all in on Etsy Ads and saw a substantial increase in sales:
Finally, I’ve started increasing paid ads on Etsy. Etsy is probably 20% of our orders, but it’s a built-in marketplace. In August, they changed their ad structure and it costs quite a bit more for results. I saw a lot of sellers complaining about this online.
Since Etsy is only a portion of our gross revenue, I decided to more than doubled my ad spend within Etsy. This has resulted in a HUGE increase in sales for the last couple of months.
I have my budget at $2.50 a day and it’s paid off about with an average of ten times ROI, leading to September being my best month ever on Etsy, during a typically low performing month for handcrafted goods.
Etsy order history YTD - I started using Etsy ads heavily starting in September
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Sarah Davidson, founder of Australian Woodwork learned the importance of sending out newsletters during seasonal events:
Posting blogs and sending out newsletters, especially around major seasonal events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc contributes a lot to sales, more so when combined with special offers like free gift-wrapping or discounted bundles.
There are some trial and error involved though with some blogs performing well and others not so, but in the long run it all adds up and helps our online presence.
What worked was surprising, for example in all of Google (global) we are ranked typically #2 for Huon Pine under Wikipedia, which is a wood type we sell. This has brought many sales over the years. What is key is the 80/20 principle, 80% of our sales come from 20% of our posts, so you just have to keep pumping them out as you never know what will become popular and what won’t. Another example is an article on Walking sticks we have, which still brings in multiple sales per month.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your woodworking business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Our primary source of traffic and customers is SEO, which is Ben’s specialty.
Australia is much less competitive than the USA, so we found it fairly easy to rank for lucrative keywords like Wooden Jewellery Boxes, Handmade Bowls, etc.
We also consistently run Google Product Listing Ads (PLA) year-round, with around a 1:10 spend to revenue return.
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Woodworking Business
How To Retain Customers For Your Woodworking Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your woodworking business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your woodworking business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
James Wolfer, founder of Valhalla Wood Forge talks about just how important customer service is when retaining customers (and acquiring new ones!)
You just can’t beat great customer service. I answer emails within hours of getting them whenever I can.
If a ring has a defect that is my fault, I make it right, no matter what.
Often, even though I have a no return policy, I will go above and beyond to help customers who damage their rings or got sized wrong, replacing or resizing rings for free.
This has reflected in my reviews on both Etsy and Shopify, with all 5-star ratings so far. The biggest thing I keep hearing and seeing is how great our customer service is, and I’ve definitely started seeing an increase in repeat customers.
If you can afford to hire someone to help support your woodworking business, outsourcing is a great way to save you time and energy.
Most importantly, outsourcing can help you focus on the core growth of your business, versus spending your time on day to day tasks that other people can do just as well!
If you do plan to outsource your work, it's important to be hyper-familiar with the actual work involved.
Why is it important to be hyper-familiar with the work?
- So you can understand how long it takes
- So you understand the full process, edge cases, things that can go wrong.
- So you can explain it in detail to your employee.
- So you can make sure it actually works (for example - how do you know cold email works for your business if you’re not on the ground floor trying it out?)
- Understanding the tasks at a deep level will save you a lot of time and money.
Tools to get started:
As a woodworking business, there are some tools and platforms you may want to consider when getting started:
- Platform tools such as Shopify, Amazon or Etsy
- Email tools such as Klaviyo
- Shipping tools such as ShipStation
- Reviews tools such as YotPo or Stamped.io
- Productivity tools such as Buffer, IFTTT or Google Sketchup
- Payments tools such as Square
- Freelance tools such as Upwork
- Seo tools such as VidiQ
- Other tools such as Kit
- Woodworkers Guild of America: Woodworking Videos, Classes & More
- Video: How To Start A Home Woodworking Business
- The Complete Guide To Becoming A Professional Woodworker
- Etsy Empire: Proven Tactics for Your Etsy Business
- Woodworking for Beginners
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
- $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- How I Started A $4K/Month Veteran And First Responder Woodworking Company
- How I Took My Woodworking Hobby Full Time To Build A Successful Brand
- How We Started A $20K/Month Online Store That Sells Australian Handmade Gifts
- How I Gamed The YouTube Algorithm and Went Viral With 25M Views
- This High School Teacher Started a Business as a Class Experiment