What It's About
A side hustle that clears the chopping block.
Words of Wisdom
James says it's important to not let your ego get caught up in your business. Be willing to change and move with the market. He says that ultimately it's your customer’s demand which will decide if your work is worth paying for. So give the people what they want!
While working in a cabinet shop, James lived at home to save money to buy portable woodworking tools he could take from workshop to workshop.
Notes from Chris
James Barrett found his life’s calling while still in high school. He took a woodworking class at the Junior College next door to his school and instantly fell in love with the process. He enjoyed shaping and bending wood, learning how to create a beautiful finish, and talking with the other members of the community who came to use the facilities. But, most importantly, he loved building things that last. Keeping this passion in mind, James left school and went straight into the world of work. He took a job at a cabinet shop in the Bay Area so he could spend his time rubbing shoulders with professional craftsmen. He started off as a lowly apprentice, cleaning glue off the machinery and sweeping the floors, but slowly began to work his way up the ladder. The more responsibility he gained, the more he learned about craftsmanship and the inner workings of a small business. James’s life eventually took him in a different direction away from his woodworking passion. He took five or six years to travel the country and live in different places before eventually settling in Boise, Idaho and beginning a job in sales for a heating and air company. Once settled, James felt he had a woodworking itch he needed to chip at, and offered to make pieces of furniture for his friends they ever needed it. He didn’t have any desire to turn this into a business, he just wanted to make pieces that would delight his friends and family for years to come. And, it wasn’t long until he found himself inundated with offers and spending his evenings and weekends in his garage that was now a workshop. James noticed something funny happened every time he created something for a friend. When they came to collect their furniture they’d ask questions like, “How much do I owe you for this?”, or “Why are you making these for free? They’re good enough to sell!” After enough people had said this to him, James seriously began thinking about turning this passion project into a business. James and his wife decided on the name of Mahogany House Woodworks, because, well ... it just seemed logical and simple! Also, they had to decide right then. Due to that time-intensive nature of woodworking, and the fact James was still working full-time, he made the decision early on that he wouldn’t do all of the work. He didn’t want the business’s growth to be limited by the amount he could create each month, so James hired a part-time woodworker from the local community to work with him around 15 hours a week on projects. James also works around 15 hours a week on running and growing the business. By dividing his products into laser-focused categories, and splitting the workload, he’s able to generate around $1,500 per month in profit. At some point, he wants to work more on larger pieces, and expand into a larger workspace. But for now, he’s just happy creating things that last for his customers all over the country.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Mahogany House Woodworks: Check out some of James' cutting boards over on his website!
- GE Engineer Sells Hand-Crafted Slate Artwork to All 50 States: A GE engineer uses his skills to make and sell hand-crafted slate artwork to all 50 states. In addition to bringing in a great side income, it’s also given him more courage and security to make decisions at his day job
- Firefighter Uses Chainsaw for Jumbo-Sized Woodworking: Taking advantage of some downtime, this Alberta firefighter picks up a chainsaw and begins carving out life-sized wooden bears. He sells his creations to universities, restaurants, and anyone who wants a unique (and large!) handcrafted item
- New Dad Starts Woodworking Hustle While Infant Son Naps: An ad executive and new dad pursues a creative outlet, making handcrafted ladders during his son’s naptimes
Download 2020 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Want to build any kind of website for your hustle? If so, you'll need somewhere to host it! This is the reliable company I've used for my past 5 websites. It's cheap, flexible, and you can get support 24 hours a day.
Get your own hosting plan for just $5 a month!
Quote of the Day
Sponsors & Gratitude
Today’s episode of Side Hustle School is brought to you by ShipStation, the #1 choice of online sellers. 📦
To get a 30-day trial AND an additional month free, click the microphone at the top of their page and enter the word HUSTLE.
Get it Here
Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅
It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.
Keep in Touch
There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!
To infinity and beyond,