Solid advice

This little essay resonated with me because I can’t even count how many times people have tried to tell me that I should sell the things I make with my laser when really I just like to do it for fun.

https://ajkprojects.com/stopactinglikeyourefamous

You aren’t famous. Anything you do or create will probably receive little to no attention, so stop optimizing for a non-existent audience and instead focus on what makes you enjoy the activity.

It continues from there.

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So very true! I tend to hobby hop so there’s absolutely no need to try to make things for an imagined “brand”. I have recently started participating in an online crafting group’s swaps; these give me a chance to improve my skills in a low stakes way without limiting myself to a particular hobby with the bonus of having a home for the items I make.

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This is so true!

People tell me the same things. I tell them that if it became a job it wouldn’t be as much fun… I create things because I enjoy it, not for others. If I give an item to someone and they enjoy it, great! But I have no desire to make things with the intention just to sell them.

I enjoy making requests for others too, but not to sell, just for the joy of giving to others. I guess I feel like they shouldn’t be critical of it if it is a gift?

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Amen

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You are so right! When I was deep into stained glass, I learned quickly that it’s easy to get money into your hand, but that doesn’t translate into profit or a business. The approaches to fun vs business are quite different; I want to have fun, share and learn things.

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I soooo agree! I use this to make others and my family happy with personalized stuff! If I sold it, it would be a job!! I know many do sell and I think that’s great, just not for me at this time.

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Yep!

Part of what’s going on with the “you don’t have an audience” thing is that all of the discovery mechanisms have become choke points controlled by companies who want to extract money from businesses in order to allow that discovery. So, it tends to require a business-like effort to get anything you do seen. Mostly, the largest mechanisms for sharing your work want you to produce a steady stream of “content” to help them have something to show ads next to. The same work gets posted over and over in an attempt to play that game. Meanwhile, the people doing some of the most interesting stuff are too busy doing it to play.

I agree that optimizing your creative process for making money is likely to suck all the joy and at least most of the cool out of what you do.

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Yeah, I bought this thing for purely self-indulgent reasons. It had been on my wishlist since I first saw the amazing detail possible with laser engraving back in the '80s.
Back then, I had gotten certified and was engaged with producing a line of gold and silver jewelry for SCUBA enthusiasts to satisfy my love of metalcraft. Although it was high-end, it was still just selling trinkets, and I lost my enthusiasm.
My daughter and friends told me I could sell laser stuff on Etsy, and it turned my stomach. I did do some large orders of double-sided tokens for a couple of cafes which paid ok, but I hated it.

The laser is for me to express an aspect of my creative desires, not for scratching around trying to cultivate an income stream.
I am currently trying to change my behavior of saving everything possible for retirement to ‘It’s time to start spending that’, and it’s harder to reprogram than I ever imagined. I do not need to spend any more life minutes gathering.

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Thank you for sharing this, @evansd2

I’m really grateful that I’m able to enjoy my hobbies and passions without worrying about monetizing them. I know that is not true for everyone, so I feel blessed. My number one passion is pumpkin carving. I often joke that it’s kind of sad that my most outstanding talent in only relevant one day a year. But maybe that’s what makes it special to me and keeps it exciting. I have been offered money to carve custom pumpkins, and I always decline. There are only so many available hours leading up to Halloween for carving, and I want to spend them working on my own display. That’s worth far more to me than money. I’m not saying that I would never carve pumpkins for money. It would just take a lot more money to induce me than anyone would be willing to pay. :jack_o_lantern:

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This resonates heavily with me, too. I get asked every once in while why I don’t sell my stuff. I don’t even want to participate in a craft show or fair…I would have to keep an inventory of stuff to sell and I would hate that. Selling digital files in the GF catalog is about as close as I’ll get to doing this…but, that’s a way different animal.

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Huh, got a pic of a pumpkin?

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Sure! Here’s one from this past Halloween.

One of our themes for the year was children’s book covers. I posted a pretty bad video on Instagram, but it will give you the idea.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CzNY6otiOxZ/

My whole family is involved, as well as many friends. In all I think we had 68 carved pumpkins displayed in front of our house for Halloween 2023, of which I carved about a dozen.

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Oh wow that’s a great George!

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generally, i’m right there with you.

that said, i’m hoping that the guitar engraving/building will become a retirement business. we’re starting to get a little traction. i may have to actually get a business license and get more serious about this soon. starting to see inquiries from what we’ve already done (friends of friends of friends) and from Tracii Guns doing a nice job of touting our work and reposting our social media. fingers crossed.

but outside of that? nope, it’s all about me. or gifts. i wanna make what i like, not what sells.

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What a great topic.

While were making the final decision to buy our :glowforge: my wife walked me back from the “ok if i sell x much of x then I can pay us back for……”

She was like it’s a tool if we want it to learn and play then buy it.

SOLID advise we had so much more fun learning without the pressure of ROI.

And hey I had no idea the ROI available to me here in this group on the forums. #wortheverypenny

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OMG, I am suddenly a kid again!

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Awesome pumpkins!!

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I tried the selling, and it truly did suck all the joy out of using my GF. Too stressful about what would/would not sell, and since I quit selling at a local retail shop, stress level has dropped greatly. We did a couple craft shows, but to us it’s just not worth the trouble anymore, especially since there are now so many who, even though my stuff may be different designs, sell very similar. So now I just use it for stuff that I want for my own house, or as others have said, for gifts for friends/family. My only exception is a new design I just made that fishermen may like at one of our local lakes. I showed just my mock-up to a guy when we bought a season pass for launch, and he said it might be a good thing for their little store. We’ll see.

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Great topic,

I bought my GF with no intent other than to make stuff for myself. That morphed over the years when a gallery owner saw some of my output and wanted to see if it would sell in her space. It did. So I manage a balance between making stuff for me and making stuff to sell.

One thing that has helped keep the sales side fresh is that I kept improving the design for assembly so that making them was easy. I also keep changing the front face materials to keep the product mix interesting to me and potential customers. Of late, this has been experimenting with mirrored acrylic faces and thinner ( 1/16th inch) materials for clocks which give a wider view angle. I also took a dive into the world of pixelblaze which has kept the matrix lamps interesting. I often run parts for clocks or lamps in the idle time between other prints when I am out in the studio to keep an eye on things.

Another thing that helps keep this fun for me is that I do a lot of design work with intent to sell the designs on etsy. In that , I only print the designs as I develop them with no intent for continued manufacture. I end up with a few items that are the final design or near final design and I either keep them, gift them, or sell them through an appropriate gallery. The etsy business ebbs and flows but overall has surprised me with how well it has done. I have sold over 4400 designs in about 3 years. So mor than beer money but less than living on my own island money. It takes a minimum effort (check emails, answer customer questions and complaints at the rate of 1 or 2 a week ) and I have no inventory to manage or packages to ship.

I suspect the most important thing is that I continue to try to make things that I interest me ( plus a few practical cuts from time to time).

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I also don’t want to charge for my Glowforge projects. My wife is in a nursing home and i made this sign for her door.


This last Christmas I ended up making about 25 different door signs for the staff at the nursing home. It got a little pricey, but I figure if they are taking good care of her it’s worth it. I have a good time surprising them with some little thing that I have made. I agree with lots of you about not charging for what I make.

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