Congratulations, you found a craft that calls to you!
You dove down into the rabbit hole to see how deep it goes, and in your pursuit of excellence, you've gone pro—harnessing those hours spent doing something else to make a living, transferring them into your trade. The only problem: quitting your day job suddenly means the weight of your income rests squarely on your craft's shoulders, and it's rare to make a decent wage as a beginner.
The good news is that no time spent in your craft is wasted, so even while you're hustling and just barely making it, you can build some really valuable resources that will provide immense payoffs later.
Read on for a modest proposal of what to do when the wider world doesn't yet recognize the value of your work!
I am a defeated knight––noble in my essence (or so I feel), but waylaid and shrunken down while fighting a beast that no man could possibly face undaunted. The beast spits fire, inundates me with dust from its mighty, flapping wings, and seems to pull the very ground from underneath me. I cower behind my shield and do what I can to battle the beast back, but at best I can manage a draw in any of our fights. And day by day, the beast gains more ground. Or that's how I feel. The beast is debt. Random sums of money are my outmatched weapons. And despite my lobbing those missiles as hard and direct as I can, I
Earlier this week, I was asked to be interviewed about getting started in making things, and the conversation turned towards the best tools for the money. The guy asked me what I think the best thing to invest in, and we naturally discussed how, once you have all the tools you need, you tend to think the things that support your workflow are more important that the cool-looking trappings of the woodworker. Like, how my favorite power tool is actually my two horsepower dust collector on its own circuit, because that's the machine I use on every single process. Or how I'd rather have an inexpensive Japanese dozuki saw and a really nice mechanical pencil and Starrett combination square vs. low grade measuring and marking tools and a fancy dovetail saw. (Though, to be fair, I do have both.)
But, it got me thinking about the truly best value in woodworking, the craft process, etc. Like what's something that's entirely inexpensive yet you use on every single project?
If you’re like me your DIY obsession can get so out of hand you have to start selling your stuff to fund more stuff! One of the ways my wife and I do it is setting up a booth at local festivals, barn sales and craft fairs. With a little bit of business savvy and DIY ingenuity, you too can start turning a profit on your passions.
Consider Your Investment
As you’re doing research on what fair or festival to do, count the cost of things like booth fees, ticket costs (if any), travel and food. After adding up all those costs make sure you have or make enough product to exceed those costs. If you all of those factors turn out to be a worthy
The coin ring is an internet DIY classic. I remember seeing an old video (on Makezine, perhaps?) on creating a nickle ring way back in the early days of the DIY and craft blogosphere. Like, 2006.
But, most tutorials simply harvest the coin as raw material, banging it and beating it until it looks like any piece of cool-colored metal. These pieces by Nicholas Heckaman, however, fully embrace the ring's origin, showing off that recognizable texture and type, giving the ring plenty of personality.
We believe in investing in long-lasting, high-quality kitchen gear; things worth saving up for, that you know will stand up to daily use. Opting for a legit forged steel chef's knife, say... one that can be sharpened and honed over and over and will last you the rest of your life, and then some.
But, investment pieces are just that: investments. Those things cost money, and they're well worth it. But thankfully, you can fill in the gaps with a selection of totally affordable and super useful kitchen tools, many of which cost less than a lunch at a local bistro. So with that in mind, here's our list of inexpensive, high-quality, and crazy versatile culinary tools with which you should be stocking your kitchen, all of which come in at less than twenty-five bucks.
My dad taught me many things when I was growing up. Here are five important standards I took from what he had to say about money, and a few I've learned on my own.
In a world full of exceptions, we still have some unifying traits. This is one thing I can say for certain, you handle money almost every day. It's a constant flow, either in or out like a steady tide. I have a small but powerful set of money books on my shelf, and you should too. This list is probably not new, but I know there's something on this list you need to grab today to up your money game in the very best way.
Five years ago I found a tiny grant through a journalism fellowship so that I could shoot a documentary short about sex-trafficking in South Africa during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Four years ago I found some small financial aids to help me study the Lakota language, and three years ago my brother and I found a grant through his college that helped fund our dream of rafting the entire Mississippi River.
Have you every stopped and wondered how ATM's actually work? How they correctly distribute the right bills without mistakes? And how they do it all securely? Well check out this surprisingly enriching short video that unpacks how the guts of the beast actually come together to keep our money flowing...
If we were all millionaires, we'd all look stylish everyday. Not necessarily fancy, but we'd be able to afford whatever we needed to fit our particular body types and look our best, whatever that may be.
But, we're not. Well, I'm not. (If you are, feel free to email me at Chris @ manmadediy.com. I have lots of interesting ideas for you.) But in the days of the internet and online shopping, we've now access to all sorts of deals that we'd never be able to take advantage of years ago.
This time of year, footwear choices can be a gamble. Overthink it, and you're stuck in snow or hiking boots all day. Under-prepare, and your socks and feet stay wet, cold, and covered in road salt.
The answer, of course, is to opt for the middle, and choose a natural weather-resistant material that's stylish no matter what the season: leather.
Donald Glover has a great stand up bit about Home Depot being where your childhood goes to die, and while that may be true, there are few places that get me as amped up as a supply run to a hardware store. The more you go, the more you know, but I was surprised to find out that many of these tips were new to me. Who knew Lowe's could haggle?
Here at ManMade, "value" is all about getting a product which has a quality you're comfortable with at a price that you're comfortable paying. For us, that means we're rarely recommending
The Black Friday arms race isn't good for humanity, but it can help the price-conscious consumer. Amazon is gearing up for an 8 day Black Friday sale and here are all of the deals you may want to check out from electronics to home renovation equipment to outdoor gear.
With the weekend always right around the corner, it's time to think about plans. How about trying this - keep the wallet at home and figure out how to spend two whole days without spending a dime.
There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.
Is it just me, or has the future turned out to be a bit of a disappointment? Hoverboards and jetpacks aside, I still can't beam anybody up, or down, or cook steak in my microwave, or have a sassy robot maid clean my house. But Square Cash is one area in which the future seems to have delivered, and I've been telling everyone about it for almost a year now. But, let me back up a bit and talk about the suckiness of non-future-money: paper currency.
Do you know what happens every third time I visit the drive-through ATM to get cash? I lose my card in the machine. Do you know how many armpits, waist bands, and god-knows-what-other sweaty places
I'm a big fan of takeout, just make a call and the food is ready to munch within a few minutes. Like most people, I have my favorite meals that define the restaurant for me. They are the go-to picks that I get and leave happy every time. But what about the joints too far away to make a call and grab what you want when the urge hits?
There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...
And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.
Now that it's officially summer, let's apply that search to a great bottle of gin. Gin is a particularly diverse spirit. Besides Scotch whisky, I can't think of one that has a broader spectrum of flavors. And different bottles will showcase the distiller's creativity and play better with certain ingredients. But there is one bottle that I recommend for almost any cocktail that calls for London Dry Gin; the thing I would take to a party or use in a punch or batch drink for a big group.