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!