In many businesses, finding a niche and servicing it is the right approach to build a successful business. It’s a way to set yourself up as an expert which can result in being able to charge more for your services as a specialist. However, for some professions, this could be a misstep.
Take woodworking. There are many types of woodworkers. Some contractors are also cabinetmakers. Some woodworkers take stumps and turn them into works of art, either as standalone pieces or as part of banisters, railings or fireplace mantels. But these same craftworkers can frame and build entire houses.
For many, art is considered a separate category from a craft, though it is hard to say that there isn’t an art to designing and/or building a home. So, if you have crossover skills and are wrestling with whether you should choose a niche or not, here are a few things to consider.
Are You an Artist or a Craftsman?
This is a bit of a trick question. If you consider yourself an artist, you are a craftsman by default. An artist is dedicated to a specific craft. You can’t become an artist without first learning the craft of the art, i.e., to learn how to carve the bear out of the hunk of wood, you must first learn how to carve. On the other hand, a craftsman doesn’t necessarily consider himself an artist. He might take great pride in the staircase he built, but he might not actually see it as a work of art (even if the owner of the staircase does).
Carpenters Versus Contractors
A contractor is most likely a carpenter, but a carpenter isn’t necessarily a contractor. Both know the ins and outs of building homes and completing renovations, but a contractor is generally a more managerial role. Carpenters are on the site, building walls, staircases, cabinets, and other structures, while the contractor is most likely managing the carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other workers on the site. He’s also making sure things are being done to code and running interference with any regulatory agencies that might be involved in the construction. For some, just being able to focus on getting things built is the thrill, while for others, having all the other responsibilities is the part they enjoy most. It just depends on what you want to do with your career. It is important to note that although many contractors are carpenters, there are also plenty of contractors who are plumbers or electricians by trade.
How This Equates to Money
If you know what you’re doing, any of the above professions can be lucrative. For some customers, being able to say their fireplace was built by a master craftsman is worth a lot. For others, saying their home was built by a carpenter sounds like it was built by hand with only the best materials. Commercial properties that were built with the help of a contractor sounds professional, and everyone loves to be able to say an artist designed something specific for their home or office. In other words, study your market and charge accordingly. You can make an excellent income no matter which title you choose, so long as you have the experience and skill to back it up.
Are you a craftsman, carpenter, contractor or an artist? Are you more than one, depending upon the job? Do you charge different rates depending on your title?