The New Guy
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Down south, where the food is good.
I am by no means a professional woodworker. In fact, I don't even sell much of what I make. I do carry a few pens around that I made, and while I'm working my day job, people notice the pen I use and some of them ask me about it. When they do, I tell them I make them. Sometimes they ask to buy one, sometimes they don't. Those that do often tell their friend and family who then call me and ask for one too. My advertizing is pretty much myself. I've sold a few dozen pens like that. I certainly don't make a living doing it, though it would be cool to do so.
People buy my things because they see them. Obviously, you can't carry an armoire with you everywhere you go. You can make a showroom though. If you're working out of your home, use your garage. If you're working out of a full shop, set up a section with some display pieces to show off your work. The guy that redid my kitchen had a showroom set up and it helped me figure out what I wanted, and what I definitely didn't want. It was more useful than I thought it would be.
I don't own my business, but I do work for myself in a strange kind of way. My job requires that I often change employers. As often as every few weeks sometimes. I don't sell items, but I do sell myself. I'm selling my expertise and knowledge to the highest bidder. While on the job, I'm stuck wearing flame resistant clothing, steel toe leather boots, and a hard hat. Everyone wears that, and nobody looks professional in that outfit. When I go on interviews, or meet prospective employers, I wear a business suit, or something similarly appropriate. (Clearly, no suit on a hunting trip...) I sell myself, so I have to make a good impression. Not getting a 2 week job because someone else made a better impression can cost me $10,000. A two month job costs way more. That suit has paid for itself many times. You should also have something similarly professional to meet clients with. A kitchen remodel can an expensive job to lose. Do a good job in the kitchen and they'll likely go straight back to you for any future remodeling or woodworking needs. Don't get the job and you guarantee that you won't be invited back.
Finally, don't sweat the little stuff. There's only one of you and you're bound to make a mistake sometime. Just fix it and don't spend all day worrying about it. It's not a big deal and there's nothing else you can do about it. If you feel as if you're in over your head and are scared to tackle a big job, the client will notice. Be confident, honest, and let the chips fall where they may. Things have a funny way of working themselves out.