The Frame building BIZ, thoughts #1

20 03 2010

I think about the framebuilding Biz a lot.   I thought it would be worthwhile to put some of my thoughts on it for those that are considering it.

I admit up front I am no economist or for that matter a very good business man.   Any advice I give is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” comments.  As soon as I say “that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard” that is the very thing that will be massively successful, so everything I write has to be taken with a grain of salt.

I have been teaching a lot lately and this subject does come up.  I think more often than not I force the issue more than the frame students do.   Surprisingly students that want to eventually  go pro represent about 50%  so far.

The first thing I would say.   Just because you really like something is not necessarily a reason to then go into that business.   One way to make something really a slog quickly is to take something you enjoy doing on weekends and turn it into something you have to do everyday.   So many potential professionals seem to think that if they really enjoy it then by the grace of God they will be able to make it work without ever considering standard business plan practices.

Before you ever start you should understand the success rates of all small business in the U.S.   I just looked it up and the SBA (small business administration) tells us that 2/3rds of business survive two years and 44% of businesses survive four years.   Not as bad as the old adage that 95% of businesses fail but still sobering.   If you start a small framebuilding business you have a 50% chance of not making it.   One out of two.   Those are real numbers  people.  If throwing money and effort when faced with odds as good as flipping a coin don’t scare you off right away then you may think about moving ahead.

Next, I am surprised at how many framebuilders just start building stuff and live by the thought “build it and they will come”  Framebuilding is not unlike any other business.   Good business practices should always be followed.   Are you going to fill a void in the marketplace?  What is the competition like?  who is your target market?  Can you charge enough to make a living that is real?  By that I mean one that really pays for the necessities of life, health insurance and saving for the future?  If 50 people a year put their trust in you do you want to work that hard?   These are all questions that have to be answered to the best of your ability.

“Do something you love everyday and you will never work a day in your life.”   I agree existentially …

But, if you cannot afford to pay the bills or your skills would be better put to use generating a larger income so that you can have a wonderful hobby on the side, that may be preferable to naively jumping into a career.

This is but the beginning. I will post more thoughts on this in the future.

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