Two ways you can learn from my education in the school of hard knocks

Image from Library of Congress

For the past two years I’ve been posting at Fine Woodworking’s Pro’s Corner blog. Web producer Ben Strano’s invitation to write for the blog came shortly after the publication of Making Things Work, and while I don’t know whether the content of that book prompted the invitation, I can confirm that the blog posts are closely related to it.

There’s one big difference: While serious lessons I’ve learned about making a living as a woodworker form the subjects of most of the book’s chapters, I addressed them in the context of stories drawn from real experience. The narrative is meant to be as entertaining as it is instructive. You could read the entire book without noticing the pedagogical dimension, were you so inclined.

My posts at the Pro’s Corner blog are pretty much straight-up—about as close as I want to get to putting myself in the position of a counselor at a branch of SCORE, the Senior Corps of Retired Executives. (Please note that I am not retired, and probably never will be.) Over the years, I’ve consulted a few counselors at SCORE. It’s an invaluable source of business guidance, though I’ve found that most of the counselors, and so, their advice, come from companies that are radically different from a single-person craft micro-enterprise such as mine, where profit is understood more richly than in terms of a number on a bottom line and there’s no secretary or executive assistant to whom you can delegate the stomach-wrenching tasks that every business has to deal with once in a while. My hope is that my posts will give professionals and aspiring professionals the kind of perspective, and in some cases advice, that I wish I’d been able to find.

Of course, businesses, like shops and woodworkers, vary greatly. I’m writing about what works (and doesn’t) for me, given my experience, interests, values, and capabilities. Ideally readers will expand the posts into more of a conversation in the comments.

Here’s today’s post, on facing “failure.”

There are other types of content in Making Things Work, among them the blasting apart of certain widespread fantasies about woodworking and woodworkers. You’ll find those addressed occasionally at the Pro’s Corner, too. I’m honored and delighted that Lost Art Press is in the process of publishing its own edition of Making Things Work; it’s on track for publication around October.

Finally, I’m always grateful for suggestions about topics. The comments section is the place to put them.

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