Full Version: Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

From: Michael [#17]
 9 Jul 2004


All this stupendous advice from so many of you! There's a lot cogitate on. "Thank you" doesn't come close to how I feel about your responses, but it's all I have right now, so,

Thank you, all!

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#18]
 10 Jul 2004
To: Harvey only (HARVEY-ONLY) [#16] 10 Jul 2004


I think identifying a market (especially, for someone with no engraving experience) is easier said than done. A huge factor (for me) is operating in areas of enjoyment. Afterall, once you attract customers, you'll be working that beat for a long, long time.

As an employee, I had no control over which areas to work. Whatever came through the door, became my project. It didn't matter if I liked the work or not.

When I went on my own, with experience in several areas, including light industrial, signage, giftware, awards, jewelry and hot stamping, I was able to accept or deny work as I saw fit. Of course, initially, with a limited customer base, I wasn't turning down any work. Survival, took precedence over my likes and dislikes and ANY money, was better than no money at all. So, I thought.

As I became established, I began to weed out the losers. I set a minimum hourly labor rate and if a project didn't hit that mark, it went bye bye. Bottom line.

These days, I continue to enforce my minimum labor rate, but choose to work in areas that exceed that mark.

Communications equipment (walkie-talkies) has been particularly lucrative. Why? Most engravers are scared to death to engrave an item that costs hundreds of dollars. Add to that, the fact that paint-filling is required (many people hate paint-filling, some don't even know how) and you have the perfect storm.

An area of EXTREMELY limited competition.

Essentially, it's impossible to identify an area of desire, until you've sampled them all.

David "The Stunt Engraver" Lavaneri
DGL Engraving
Port Hueneme, CA


EDITED: 10 Jul 2004 by DGL

From: aallen [#19]
 10 Jul 2004
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#18] 10 Jul 2004

As being newer to this (started last year), I am still amazed at the things some of you engrave and have people paying for that!

I do understand what you mean about wanting to do what you like to do, but in the beginning doing what it takes to pay the bills. That is so true. I too hope to be able to at some point do only what I wanted to do when I started this. But that time is not here yet. :)

I do appreciate all the time and explanation most of you spend on this board. I might not comment much, as I am new enough I don't have the answers, but please know I appreciate it and am interested in what everyone is doing. So many things!

Thanks again,


From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#20]
 17 Jul 2004
To: aallen [#19] 17 Jul 2004


You say you started engraving last year. At least you've taken the first crucial step.

I read, in another thread, where you said you live in a rural area and are wondering what opportunities exist there.

Tell us alittle more about your business. What type of equipment? What type of work/service are you currently providing? Full time? Part time?

We may be able to offer some suggestions.

David "The Stunt Engraver" Lavaneri
DGL Engraving
Port Hueneme, CA

EDITED: 17 Jul 2004 by DGL

From: aallen [#21]
 17 Jul 2004
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#20] 17 Jul 2004


Yes, I live in a small town, less then 5000 people. We are 30 miles from the Capitol, but there are other engraving shops established there. Here in the small town I have been doing limited business. I decided for the first few months of owning my laser to just learn, learn, make samples and get business started, at a slow pace. Now, I feel I am ready to go to the next level and start working for more business. I am launching my web page this week, advertise and a few other things. Up tell now, most business was word of mouth. I just finished my first larger job, awards for our county fair.

As for equipment, I have a xenetech aurora. I do some woodworking so I have a small hobby shop with the woodworking tools. My husband does welding for some of the items we make. We are at this point doing mostly awards, gifts, tables, home decor items and retail items like that. We are a western lifestyle family that raises horses, so many items have a western flair to them.

I am a high school substitute teacher. I was doing this part time until school was out in June. Now I would like to make this full time and stop teaching.Ready to move this to the next step.

Personally I have three boys that are in many sports. I am a parent that puts the kids over the business. That is the reason for my business at this point still being at home. They are very understanding but would miss me if not involved in school, sports, 4H, FFA, etc.I hope I can reach my goals being at home but, know that at some point I might HAVE to move to town.

Sorry for the book, just wanted to answer all questions and intro myself a little. Again, thanks for such a great place to come and learn!


From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#22]
 17 Jul 2004
To: aallen [#21] 17 Jul 2004


With the woodworking capability you're in a good position to offer items that can't be found in catalogs etc. You're already ahead of many engravers in that regard.

Others may beg to differ, but I say there's nothing wrong, or illegitimate, about being home based. The stigma attached to being home based (hobbyist, not ready for prime time etc.) is still in the air, though much less than anytime in the past.

Ultimately, the quality of your work and a winning customer service attitude will prevail. Where you choose to work, is simply where you choose to work. Don't feel that you haven't "made it" just because you don't have a storefront.

David "The Stunt Engraver" Lavaneri
DGL Engraving
Port Hueneme, CA

From: aallen [#23]
 18 Jul 2004
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#22] 18 Jul 2004


Thanks for the encouragement about being at home. Yes, I sometimes feel people don't take me seriously being a at home business. Just as I got that feeling years ago when I decided to be a stay at home mom for many years. But, I finally realized it didn't matter, as I knew what was important to "ME".

Yes, I hope that the woodworking will help in this business, as my husband welding the tables, and other items helps. I also love taking photos, so I have a few items with photos I have taken in them. I also like to make other things, not engraved things.

Maybe some day I will have a storefront, or if I am lucking, I will be able to keep my storefront at home and enjoy my breaks in the day with my kids, dog, horses, mini donkey and llama! What a nice break it is on a beautiful day! :)

Thanks again, I will keep enjoying the information on this site.

From: UncleSteve [#24]
 18 Jul 2004
To: aallen [#23] 19 Jul 2004

since you have a "small" farm, perhaps there will be room to build a small retail shop on your own land.... Kinda the best of both worlds. You get out of the house to run your business and walk all the way home for lunch and the family.....

Uphill, both ways, in the 2 foot snow, etc. LOL

From: aallen [#25]
 19 Jul 2004
To: UncleSteve [#24] 19 Jul 2004

Yes, that would be the perfect answer to this business for me. If I can get the business to grow and be out here, that is the plan. I do have a small storefront in the house where the locals can come, if they want to drive that big 2 miles to the house from town!! LOL But if at some point I feel I am ready and need to move to town, then that might be the next step. But for now, happy being at home. :)

I do love being at home and doing this. And, they say you should do what you love!!! :) Hopefully that will be my case and at some point, I would like to be able to have the hubby stay home and work here too. As we work great together and he does make so much more things then I do. But, right now, he is needed in town with a regular paycheck.

Are there any others that run this from home without a store front in town?

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