1788
5 min 5 sec

Rustic Tiki Bars Turn Into Pallet-able Career

Instead of heading to the elementary school classroom, this new teaching grad earns a good living making custom tiki bars for homeowners. Why not!
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What It's About

Instead of going into teaching, this new graduate builds backyard tiki bars. They call it the Great Resignation, right?

Words of Wisdom

Ben shares an important piece of advice, “Listen to customer feedback and repeat more of what works. There’s a ton of demand out there, so if you’re handy and have a few tools, you can do this business too.”

Fun Fact

The Mai Tai, the classic tiki cocktail with rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice was created at the original Trader Vic's bar in Oakland, California in 1944.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1788

Ben Corkery was part way through teacher’s college in Canada when he realized he didn’t want to enter the traditional workforce. Searching for a business that would provide him with more freedom, he decided to double down on a promising project he’d started the previous summer: building rustic backyard bars.

He got the idea from his best friend who had built a bar out of wooden shipping pallets to use at his own farm wedding a couple of years back. The rustic farm look was still in vogue, and Ben already had experience with framing and carpentry—so he decided to build a similar structure. He picked up some free pallets from Home Depot and built the bar, which he rented out once via Facebook Marketplace for $120… and then promptly sold it for $250.

He now had a taste of entrepreneurial freedom and the timing couldn’t have been better. More than a year into the pandemic, people were still going all out on home improvement projects. Ben tweaked his rustic bar designs to suit what customers wanted… and began making tiki bars and cabanas too. He earned more money that spring and summer than he’d ever done before.

Crateworks Custom Bars continues to be a solid seasonal business and customers are placing orders for next year. Ben gets most of his customers through Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups. He’s also collecting Google reviews to help build his business.

Since he began by using free pallets and tools he already had, this was a zero-cost business to start. He’s now averaging $8,000 per month in the summer and at least $1,000 per month in the winter.

Ben is passionate about creativity and doing work that matters to him. And he wants to help other people do that too. Since he has a teaching background, he’s created a course and coaching program to help others start building and selling tiki bars and other unusual DIY craft projects.

He also writes a weekly newsletter on Substack called Society for a Wonder’ing Mind.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Considering pouring yourself a drink from your own custom bar? Check out Ben’s website, Crateworks Custom Bars.
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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Listen to customer feedback and repeat more of what works. There’s a ton of demand out there, so if you’re handy and have a few tools, you can do this business too."
—Ben Corkery #SideHustleSchool

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