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Thread: Finding jobs

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Delray Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,708

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    A Shopbot is a tool that when used professionally (not hobbyists) is usually bolught to enhance their existing business. There have been some exceptions that have worked out. Of those I know of, the people involved developed a firm business plan including their marketing strategy. No business can make it without one.
    Contrary to the old saying, the world will not beat a path to your door because you built a better mousetrap. Why not? Easy. Nobody will know you did!
    Although some basic principles of marketing are universal, different things work in different areas. If you are going to sell to other businesses nothing pays like making some samples and just showing up. You can call and ask for an appointment all day long and not get one. Everyone today is besieged by marketers e-mailing and calling them, and in most cases you won't get past the receptionist, who is already trained to not bug the boss with cold callers.
    So the first thing you need to decide is what do you want to make and sell.
    You say you have made some signs? Then call on sign companies and if they don't have a CNC offer to do cutting for them. Take samples.
    Call on cabinet shops and offer to cut parts. No small operation, of which they are many, can cut cabinet parts nearly as well or quickly as a CNC. Even though I make cabinets as the core of my business, I cut parts for other shops because I convinced them that I could cut their cab sides quicker than they could, with all shelf, hinge, and drawer slide machining done for quick and easy assembly. The average guy is going to be able to cut the parts on a saw for an average kitchen in one day, and then have to machine them for hardware. A PRT can do it all in a few hours.
    Cut a big Tiki and some other 3-d things? Make some samples and call on Interior Designers, Architects. Walk in with something really cool in your hands and get the receptionist on your side. People respond to you AND something they can see. Carry a portfolio. Contrary to what a lot of internet junkies think, the world does not always go shopping on the internet.
    When seeking private clients for my custom built furniture I did a slick postcard with photos and mailed it out to the local zipcodes with the highest percapita earnings. For every hundred mailed out I would get a job. Mailed the same card to Interior designers, and then followed up with a phone call. If I got the "I didn't get it" line, I apologized, asked them to verify their mailing address, and told them I would send another. Then followed up again. I got clients worth many thousands of dollars that way. But remember, I was a furniture maker long before I bought a Shop-bot, just as Eugene developed his line long before he did.
    And believe it or not, you can get jobs from the forum and/or 100k garages. I have gotten several clients that way and some end up repeat business. Reall bread and butter jobs.
    You are in a major metro area. IMHO as long as you market well you can't help but get business. The downside you will find is that you end up working nights to put out the work because you need to make sales calls in the daytime.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Blaine Mn
    Posts
    316

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    Sent you a PM with my phone if you want to chat. Gene

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cabinets Plus of Augusta, Hephzibah Ga 30815
    Posts
    1,504

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    I made a sign on the shopbot and carry it to any work that i am doing . Put it in front of the place i am working . I also met a guy thru a realitor and have been doing work for him as he flips houses as well as does repairs on other peoples homes , Has been very good lately . Go offer your skills to people who need work on houses that are planning to be sold or just purchased . even if it is low end stuff you never know where the road may lead to.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    25

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    Eugene, you are very kind and generous with your time. Thanks for all of the great advice. It will be a big help and I look forward to chatting again soon.

    Gene, thanks for the PM. You are about 10 minutes away from me. Small world. I'd love to chat.

    I realize that at the end of the day the shopbot is only a tool. It's not going to make money on it's own. Making a living doing what I love and having the opportunity to do that from home with a daughter on the way is the motivation I need to focus a little more. I've always been interested in so many things that focusing on a single product, line of items, or even category of customer (small production runs, signs, industrial widgets, whatever) scares me a little. I fear getting locked into always producing one thing and getting bored.

    I need to face that fear and pick something already! My goal is to line up at least 12 items that I can crank out in batches. I'm thinking of trying to tap into the fantastic Minneapolis culture.
    Great bars and restaurants.
    A desire to buy local.
    A wicked awesome food scene.
    An exploding craft beer scene.

    I've got a design for a 750ml wine bottle/bomber bottle carrier.
    Simple tap handles are on the list.
    I'm also drawing up some home bar ware like ice mallets, muddlers, citrus reamers, and of course small cutting boards (scrap's best friend).

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    543

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    Every time I make a little sign or door sign for someone, I invariably get calls.
    In order to get started, I did a couple small signs for local friend's businesses and gifted them. If I get an idea for a place that I think would go over real well, I'm not above making a miniature iteration of the project to show them.
    I only do what moves me, and I turn away tons of work, because I don't need or want to make a living from the bot. Regardless, I've got a queue of projects for people a foot deep.

    I think it's very easy to move things that I'm excited about. If I had to make wooden donuts and hammer handles, I don't think I'd be very successful. I need my projects to be something special, and something people realize as such. Then it just works.

    I do have a background in sales from long ago and learned from some of the best. Lots of excellent seminars along the way. It was all common sense, no hucksterism. It was about selling to people who needed the product. That's easier than selling to people who "want" a product.
    Regardless, people will spend anything for entertainment. If a piece adds to the enjoyment of their hobbies or lives, it's an easy sell. It'll just sell itself. Add to that the fact that they'll need to wait in line and they want it all that much more.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,925

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    Quote Originally Posted by gergistheword View Post
    I need to face that fear and pick something already!
    No you don't. Just get into action. The Universe can't nudge you if you aren't moving. You can be a job shop that takes on whatever comes down the pike, but there comes a point if you are good enough, where you'll get to pick & choose. Practice being who you want to be. If you do the work, you'll 'be there' before you know it.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Hobby-Tronics, Chiloquin Oregon
    Posts
    1,228

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    All 'artists' carry a portfolio of their work to show clients. As a ShopBot artist you need to do the same. Most folks are not attuned to CNC and have no concept of its capabilities. Make some small samples of your work. Brand the backside with your contact information and leave them with your prospect. Do a little homework on your prospect and find out what THEY do and figure out what YOU do that might help them in their business. In your homework research see what their competiton might be doing. Samples do work, much better than just pictures. Pictures they can get out of a magazine or off their IPhone but samples, well . . . . . Russ
    AKA: Da Train Guy

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    709

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    You have gotten a lot of good advice on this thread. The most salient, IMO, is from Brady. He is telling you not to put up a roadblock in your own head. DOn't tell yourself you have to solve every question before you get into business.

    What I think you should do is to take all the posts on this thread, print them out, and study them. Take the ideas and categorize them as to marketing strategy, business operations advice, potential business categories/opportunities, etc.

    Sort them as to how they might be useful to you.

    Make your plan of action.

    Start acting.

    And then, when you are hip deep in working your way into business, please, please, please remember: All the planning you did will not address what you actually wind up doing because your customers have no idea what was rambling around in YOUR head. SO be prepared to modify your plan.

    A couple things: You MUST earn a living for your growing family. Try to get a $ a minute (or whatever the going rate might be in your area) for the work you do for a customer. (drawing, setting up cut files, operating the bot, etc.) I try to get this. My pricing to myself ( my principle customer) is usually at this level. There is no sense in setting yourself up as a minimum wage worker ( or less). You are taking a risk in business. You need to get a reasonable income to pay for that risk. And second: Resolve that you will succeed. Not that you will work at this unless it looks like it is not working out. Resolve that you will work nights, weekends, holidays, etc., in order to make it work. Resolve that you will ask for tips, tricks, advice from the people here, to make this work. Resolve that you will ask your customers or potential customers for work, to make this work. Be IN the game. Be convinced that you will do this. Be convinced that in 3 years, you will have hired a machinist to assist, so you can sell and run the business. Resolve that you will build the business until you have the income and your employees will have the income, to justify making the effort...

    And stick with it ESPECIALLY when it seems like it is too hard or too boring, or too something to go on.

    THEN you are in a winning business.

    Best wishes for a fantastic operation and a better life.

    Monty

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    South Elgin, IL
    Posts
    455

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    Well Greg you may have opportunity in the bar/restaurant businesses if you can come up with something that you can make for them.

    Some general ideas:

    Condiment organizers for each table - something to hold the salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, hot sauce, napkins (or whatever).
    Make these with the restaurant logo on them. If wood is not appropriate for their decor, there's acrylic or aluminum. These could be as simple as a small pan shaped rectangle.

    Mens Room and Ladies Room door signs
    (Something more pertinent to the restaurant or bar than a generic sign from a hardware store)

    Fast Food places - do they need signs on their self service trash bins that remind customers not to throw out baskets or silverware?
    Do they need a sign that says ORDER HERE or PICK UP HERE?

    A lot of bar/pub places around here just use empty cardboard 6 pack containers on the tables, to hold extra napkins, silverware rolled in napkins, salt & pepper & hot sauce. I bet their beer distributors give them these for free (to promote beer). Why not make a similar looking container out of wood or acrylic and put the Bar name and logo on it? Make it look like a 6 pack container but in wood or acrylic.

    Does the bar need a more attractive way to display their top shelf brands? I think I remember someone on here designed a very cool looking shelf that lit up to accent the bottles.

    Can they use a daily specials board? You can make a nicely framed one that uses dry erase board or chalkboard paint or even an acrylic faced one that uses florescent crayons on it and has a black light so the writing glows.

    How about a small table top drink special holder - something maybe to hold a 3x5 index card or even business card size, that they can slip a card into with the daily drink special printed on it.

    How about signs that read:
    NO TEXTING - Spend time with the people you're here with!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    21

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    WOW!!!
    What a thread!!
    A guy puts out a question and the answers he gets are FREAKING Amazing!
    Answers from Senior members who have been down the road blazing a trail and learning through trial and error.

    And what do they do??

    They share what they learned and what they know to work and not work!
    An AMAZING group of guys and gals!

    Still waiting on my machine!
    Everyday is one day closer to it being shipped!!

    Thanks
    Bud Love
    Houston, Texas
    Compared to the alternatives, Life is Good!

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