Making a Living as an Online Woodworker

Anyone who works has heard the expression, “It’s all about the numbers.”

The number of sales, the number of orders, the number of customers, the number of growth. As a fulltime furniture maker, these are issues I have to concern myself with. Making furniture designs for my local.customers and staying in their budget is key to making the numbers work. But making it as an online woodworker is a whole different set of numbers.

I thought that if I did some woodworking videos more people would notice me outside my town and then would want me to make furniture for them. I felt I needed a name established first. I figured just like it did in my town, my reputation would get new customers. So down the path of online stardom, I decided to go.

It sounds easy. Make a video, put it on YouTube, and people will watch. As people watch, they subscribe. The subscriber numbers go up. Companies start to notice the number of views and want to pay you to use their name. With a big name, people would want my furniture!

The only thing easy about that was how it sounds. A video going viral has the same odds as winning at the lotto. It’s a LOT of hard work to make it online.

The hardest thing to get used to is the number of people who will complain, make rude comments, and express their hate. Getting past that is tough. But it doesn’t get any easier. Growing the number of viewers and subscribers is difficult. Trying to stand out in a crowd is a serious battle.  Every day there are new people all trying to get in the game, all of them are trying for the same thing.

I spent time watching videos and reading how to grow my channel. Some of it worked, but most didn’t. Each one has its own strategy. Learning the “ins and outs” of how to make these social media platforms work successfully is a fulltime job. And just like any skill, to master it you have to do the work and put in the time.  I found that it’s not how good you are at woodworking, it’s how good you are at understanding the social media platforms. Social media comes first. Woodworking comes second.

Once the numbers go up sponsorships are possible. But again, it doesn’t get any easier. Aligning with the right sponsor is SO important. It’s tempting to take on a brand for free stuff. Or even for some money. But being obligated to a company for free merchandise is dangerous. I try to be as honest with viewers as possible. If I used a product, they can believe I like it and it’s of decent quality. Representing a cheap brand for a few bucks is never a good idea to me.

I have Woodcraft and McFeely’s as sponsors. Both are good people with good products. So I can say that the work has paid off. I have established myself as a good online woodworking instructor. With over 7.5 million views I’d say that’s pretty good numbers.  But has all this work made my ultimate goal a success? Well, let’s see, number of furniture orders online…….

Zero.

Chad Stanton – Professional Furniture Maker