I was in design and project management for years and after working too many long hours after a lay off, I took at job at a cabinet shop as I'd always dabbled in woodworking and decided to try the hands on side. I learned a lot in the short time the shop was open, it ended up closing down and I started getting calls from their customers to do work for them. I said "ok, I'll keep doing this until my phone stops ringing".
That lasted for a year or more. I did get contracted by a designer to produce a custom entertainment unit, and to produce one part of it would have cost me $4000 to have made, so I purchased a CNC machine to produce it myself. I'd had experience with CNC in previous jobs. Unfortunately, even after leaving a deposit, that part of the project was cancelled. I started dabbling in other ways to make the machine work for me. I produced a couple of 3d album covers for a local musician and kid's room signs. After a customer stiffed me for $30,000.00 (1/3 of the job, my income for the job) I ended up having to sell my shop and decided to move North to Muskoka.
I was going gangbusters for a while but the economic collapse of 2008 happened and my business dried up. I took a job at a construction company for a few years and that took it's toll on my body. I had to find something I could do to support myself that wasn't too strenuous. I started devoting myself again to making signs, toys, cabinets, and other items. Here it is, 14 years later and I'm still going! I've produced signs for customers all across Canada, the US and even in the UK. I'm quite proud to have sold one to a Londoner who has a summer place here in Muskoka. Unfortunately due to a conflict over the right of way access to her cottage, she was unable to put her sign up so she took it home and hung it on the wall of her flat in London. She sent me a photo of the view out her Muskoka picture window and I got it so accurate when she took it home to the UK, she saw it and reminded her of her place here.
I do like producing "signs with a story". Replicating a view outside a window, replicating a family heirloom for kid's cottages, making signs with an est date of the late 1800's, or one, was a tree that was felled by lightning that the great great grandparents planted when they bought the place originally.
One thing I'm proud of: only 1 time in all the signs I've produced have I had an unhappy customer. In fact, some have said "my signs are too nice to hang outside" and end up over the fireplace.