Introduction + Biz Question

Hey all,

Just wanted to quickly introduce myself as I am new here. My name is Jason and I recently invested in a Glowforge Pro. This last week I’ve been digging through the forum and tinkering around with my GF and I’m having a lot of fun so far but I didn’t make an investment to just have fun :wink:

A little bit of my back story is that way back in my vo-tech days I took a class in carpentry and they had a laser engraver we could use. I loved it! In fact that’s what got me started to get into computers and networking the following year but looking back I realized I should have just done laser engraving all along.

Which brings me to today - I recently quit my job (did not burn the bridge so I can go back anytime) and I now have enough time and resources to get some sort of income generated with GF. I’m looking at all of these things you can make and I’m a little overwhelmed with where to begin. I think my best bet would be to get my website up and running, use word of mouth, and offer custom engraving services and also have a shopify store setup to sell my products.

I’m not sure who of you on here actually has a full time business with their GF but if you do, I would like to hear from you. What did you do when you were first starting out? Did you offer just a product or just a service? Both?

Have a blessed day!


I don’t have much biz advice for you but welcome to the party, I look forward to seeing what you make.

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Thank you @evansd2 ! I appreciate the warm welcome!

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Welcome to the forum, congrats on purchasing a Glowforge and quitting your job.

I don’t use my Glowforge for income generation, so the only thing I can suggest is to take a look at the Glowforge groups on Facebook. They discuss all sorts of business strategies, pricing challenges and sales platform options.

I look forward to seeing your creations.


I think there are a few. @raymondking32 comes to mind. And of course there are a couple of YouTube GF commercials that feature a full time GF business.


Thank you for the recommendation to check on the FB groups! @dklgood I’ll be sure to share some once I get my creative juices flowing. Your posts have inspired me already!

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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Glowforge. As mentioned…there are tons of people on the Facebook page who are running businesses, so I’m sure you can get lots of help there. That’s not to say we don’t want you hanging around in here, too…best of luck!


welcome, as a business major I’m excited for your endeavors.

Maybe not exactly what you’re looking for but hopefully helpful.

Also something to consider and look out for, the worst case scenarios. Like you Glowforge going down, how are you going to mitigate and plan for troubles?

Also, this group is awesome and an awesome place to learn from. Can’t wait to see your results.


Only thing I can definitely recommend regarding GF as a business is to make sure you have some sort of backup plan for if/when the glowforge goes down for the count and needs to be sent to the mother ship for repairs. Sometimes that can leave you down for a month or more. Having a backup glowforge for such a contingency (and for added production volume) could be the difference between continued income and zero income for a while.


Welcome. My advice is to go back to your job as you build laser-based income unless you have a large amount of savings to support yourself. Is it possible to eventually support yourself with laser cutting and engraving? Yes, but if it was possible from day one you’d be doing it. The simple math is a $6,000 investment can’t generate a decent amount of income or everyone would do it. If everyone did it, the supply of what they do would eventually lower the price diminishing the return on investment.

If you had come here with, I have an idea I can exploit and I need a laser cutter to do it, that would be different. But you appear to have come here with, I’m going to buy a laser cutter now what do I do to make some money. From what I have read on these forums that can work to make some money (enough to support a person, IDK, but I have my doubts). What they do is they make some stuff, show it off to friends and pretty soon people ask, can you make me one? Showing off what you make to businesses may also generate some orders. It then grows from there. Which brings me back to my first full sentence, have another source of income unless you don’t need it. I know how hard it is to work two jobs at once, but that is kinda how it works. I hope I’m wrong. Best of luck.


Good luck. Search for @JeremyNielsen Nielsen’s epic project dumps. He seems to do pretty well. He’s also got a photography gig. For project inspiration.


Also as business grows, do keep in mind that this is still a hobby level laser and support is not and probably will not be enterprise level.

Have a backup plan(another laser, a partner laser business, ect.) so you don’t become one of the “it broke, I has orders, fix now!1!!” threads.


To add to what everyone has said here, I switched to full time laser business, yeah, but that was also based upon our income not being entirely dependent on me having a good consistent flow. We had a kid, and the math for a babysitter in our area vs me keeping my job, it made more sense to work from home and raise the baby.

With that said, I’ve had a bit of experience in sales previously so I was aware of things that a lot of people overlook, one of which is the seasonal influx, and the decline of sales at other times. It can be difficult to balance all of this out, where you’re feeling great front a holiday passing, but then there’s a sort of drop where people aren’t spending their money the same way. I was already selling things to people getting my name and product out there before I quit my job, so people knew who I was and created a demand. Some form of marketing will be important, and you’ll want to find something that sets you apart from the other creators it there, in the GF community, there are something like 20k users, not all business oriented, but the market is beginning to get saturated. That’s an obvious point to see when you go to FB and see the hundreds of comments asking for the font, or even the design, that people share pictures of.

You can easily sell the same things others are selling, coasters, cutting boards, ornaments, etc. and you could make money from doing it, if there’s a market for it, but you’ll want to also sell toyour audience. Which could also include making and selling you may not like making very much. That brings me to one of the most important hurdles, and that is transitioning from fun hobby, to serious business.

I have spent entire days working and putting things together, like 13-14 hour days. I now have a second machine to help, but that only cuts the machine use time in half, not the making time. Cleaning, assembling, painting, whatever it is you’re doing adds up and can weigh on you. The transition can be grueling, so try and keep it fun.

Finally, which I find to be the most important point to be aware of, is that this is definitely a hobby machine with small business potential. These machines can break, they can have errors, they can not operate in a way that you would expect. It’s demoralizing having orders and not being able to complete them. The backup people have mentioned is important, and when and if you decide that this is going to be your main source of income, there are larger more established lasers that have a great track record that you can look into. The draw of the GF is its price point, but that price comes with caveats, one of which is lack of premium support.

Plenty of arguments between the rich and famous and your average middle class citizen here and other places that say that 6k isn’t enough money to buy a dedicated support service, whatever your feelings on this is, the fact of the matter is that support has a response time window that is supposed to be between 1-3 business days, and that is typically a response, not always a solution. Depending on the issue, if you’re needing a replacement machine, and also depending on production time, you could be down a machine (between first support request, and resolution with a machine showing up at your door) up to something like 4-6 weeks. Those numbers are entirely dependent on production, whether you’re given the option of a new vs refurbed machine, and the severity of your issue.

That’s about all I can think of right now to be aware of when starting a GF based business. Know your products, your market, your work limits, be prepared for downtimes in both sales and possible machine issues, have a backup, know there are shortcomings to using a hobby laser for a business. Good luck!


I’m not lasering full time, and have a “regular” full time day job, but I do make a little money on the side with my GF. The only thing I would add to what has already been said ( and someone may have said it already and I missed it) is the this machine is a great tool to have in your repertoire… but don’t make it your only tool.


You may want to consider creating a store on Etsy or some other platform that already has some traffic and a search engine which directs buyers to all of their sellers.
Disclosure: I have an Etsy shop and I don’t work at it and I make very little money from it :slight_smile:
I like to make things, but marketing them is not my strong point…



I don’t think I would want to have my sole income based on ONE device that could break and ME not being able to get it back online quickly.


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