Dailey Woodworks

My Goals for Dailey Woodworks in 2018

Setting a Goal and Failing to Reach it Gets you further than Never Setting One

Well, I can tell you that the goal of having this post up by the first week of January didn’t happen.  That’s the thing with goals, just because we don’t reach them doesn’t mean we should stop trying or stop setting them.  Setting a goal, then failing to reach it often gets you further than never setting one, to begin with.

Goals are important for a full life and essential for a successful business.  When I first started a business I was asked, “What is your five-year plan?” At the time I didn’t have one but I decided to sit done and right out that plan (you can read it here).

By the End of 2020: My Five Year Plan (Update)

In fact, I just decided to re-read my five-year plan, and I’m doing pretty well.  I’m about halfway there.  My first five year plans goes to the end of 2020.

  • 15,000 Youtube Subscribers.  In review, I’d hoped to be further along than I currently am.  My growth is consistent but flat.  I’m getting close to 6k subscribers.  I need to work harder at that.
  • My Wife and I Want to Restore Old Homes.  Homeownership eluded my wife and me for a long time.  I’m proud to say that in 2017 we were able to buy our first home.  It needed and still needs a lot of work.  I’m not sure having it ready to sell in 2.5 years is still a goal I want to have.  But #achievementunlocked. It also has an awesome shop that has helped my business grow a lot.
  • I want to be a far better craftsman than I am now. I can tell you for a fact I’m much better than I was just two years ago.  I’m proud of how my skills have developed however, it’s not enough.  I am committed to continuous improvement.  There is always a new skill to learn, a better method to complete a task, and a new idea that will change everything.  Be a lifelong learner and never consider yourself to have ‘mastered’ your craft.
  • By 2020 I want to have one or two good apprentices.  This goal has proven to be especially difficult.  I’ve found one good worker (1/3) who wants to learn.  The challenge is being profitable enough to sustain an apprentice (he doesn’t want to work for free).  I am amending this goal.  I’ve found that good subcontractors and friends in the trades are better than employees.  I can hire a few good guys I’ve found to do a job and not have to stress about keeping them paid during slow times.
  • I want a bigger/better truck.  I have achieved this goal, but not in the way I had hoped.  My old, beloved, F-150 blew a head gasket. I was able to successfully use a “liquid fix” for a few months.  Then I was in an accident; a drunk pulled out in front of me.  I now have a 2013 F-150 SuperCrew with the 3.5Ecoboost and 6.5ft bed.  It’s perfect for my work.  I’m very happy with it.
  • Tools – I want all the Tools. This goal will never change.  Specifically, I want to get into the Festool ecosystem of tools.

What are my Goals for 2018?

  1. Save 10% of gross income (10% profit). My net profit for 2018 was only $866.  That means I only took in $866 more dollars than I spent on materials, tools, payroll, and theft taxes.  Sure, I invested a lot of money into the right tools, paid down a lot of business debt etc.  But that’s such a sad little number for a business.  My simple solution? When I get a deposit 10% straight off the top goes into savings, period.  That will also give me a buffer against downturns, illness, and equipment failures.
  2. Operate my business debt free. I achieved this goal this week.  Thanks in a large part to goal one.  I’ve been setting aside money off the top and aggressively paying down business-related expenses.  I’m now working on building up enough working capital to take on any job without “floating” (using lines of credit while working a job and paying it off when paid for that job).
  3. Online passive business income 50% of Salary.  Did you know that my website and youtube channel earns money? Youtube pays me to run ads alongside my business and I often use Amazon Affiliate links for products I recommend.  This brought in a nice little extra but didn’t take off until I started selling woodworking plans on Etsy.  This has exploded my passive income streams and allowing me to really grow and invest in the business.  Notice I’m not saying gross income.  I’m saying my salary.
  4. Sell 10 dog kennels a month. Dog kennels are one of those accidental businesses that fell into my lap.  I’m making about 2-3 a month currently.  I’m working with my web guy to get a store up and running with the goal of selling 10 a month.  The will allow me to focus my business more on custom woodworking.
  5. Specialize in custom woodworking, remodeling, and cabinetry work. Hey, look! One goal works toward the next.  I want to do less “handyman work.”  The handyman work got me to where I’m at today, but I don’t enjoy it like I do the cabinetry and woodworking.  I’m no longer actively offering “handyman services” or advertising them to new customers.  What I’ve decided to do is to offer my hourly handyman services to current and established customers.  The idea is to provide this service to people with whom I’ve already formed a relationship with.

My Shop

One of the most valuable things that is helping me achieve my goals is my shop.  One of the reasons my wife and I bought the house we did was because of the shop space available.  Just to rent a space like this in my area would end up costing more than our current Mortgage payment.  That’s a big deal.  I’m continuously improving this space and making it better every day.

Here is the tour:


I’m convinced: setting goals and failing to meet them gets you further than never setting goals to begin with.  I’m going to work hard to achieve my goals this year, and if I don’t meet all of them it’s OK.  For example, if I only manage to make a 5% profit instead of 10% that is still better than the 1% profit I make this year.  If I only sell 6 kennels a month instead of 10, that’s still double of what I’m currently doing.

continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection – mark twain

What are your goals for 2018?

The Business of Carpentry Episode 2 – The Road to Self-Employment

I’m coming up on one year of being self employed as a Carpenter.  It has been awesome, stressful, scary, fulfilling, and fun.  It is downright the best career decision I’ve made in my life.  In this episode I share a little more of my journey.  Hopefully, you can pick up some tips or simply understand the path a little more.

The Business of Carpentry – A new Vodcast/Podcast/Vlog about running a carpentry business

I’ve been in business for myself for about 8 months.  It has been great.  I love working for myself, controlling who I work for, controlling my hours, and the freedom that comes with being self-employed.  Running your own business is not without pitfalls.  Tools break, jobs fall though, and you’re always trying to hustle up the next job to keep your family sheltered and fed.

I’ve been blessed with good health and a steady stream of jobs.  I haven’t always cleared the amount of income I wanted in a month but the bills get paid and the food is still in the pantry.  There is also a lot of hard work outside of billable hours that has kept us in the black.  My wife meticulously manages our family budget and I’m equally attentive to my business budget.  I’ve spent time on this website, YouTube, and google business making sure I’m easy to find.

This “Podcast” is starting as a video, or a Vlog, primarily because it is the format I’m familiar with.  Watch the video below for the first episode of The Business of Carpentry


By the End of 2020: My Five Year Plan

I was recently asked “Where do you want to be in five years?”  This question always catches me unprepared.  I have an idea, but it’s vague and unrefined. Below is what I want to accomplish for my business by the year 2020.  To sum up everything you’ll read below; the ultimate goal is continuous improvement.  I want to grow as a person, a husband, a father, a woodworker/carpenter, and business man.  Also I want to enjoy what I do and my life.  The best way I’ve found to do this is to run my own business.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

Here are my goals, in no particular order.

  • 15,000 Youtube Subscribers.  Right now I am gaining approximately 200 subscribers a month.  To reach 15,000 I’ll need to start gaining an average of 250 a month starting immediately.  I’d love to reach an average of 300 subscribers a month by 2020.  To reach this goal I don’t plan on making any huge changes to the way I make and produce content.
    • I still plan on using my Iphone to record all my videos.  When the Iphone 7 comes out I will probably upgrade to that which should give a big camera upgrade over my 5S.  Yes the Iphone is limited compared to dedicated cameras, but it’s fast, simple, and effective.
    • I’m saving up to purchase a Macbook for video editing and audio recording.  I’m currently using Windows Live Movie Maker 2012.  Microsoft has not updated this program in 4 years.  It works but is lacking many features that Imovie for Mac has.  There is also the benefit of being completely in the Apple Ecosystem for standardization for my business.  (Although I’d rather spend the money on a premium miter saw).
    • For projects I’ll keep documenting all the changes I’m making in my work trailer and things that make my work better.  These videos seem to get a better response than furniture builds.  I enjoy furniture so there will still be the occasional furniture piece.
    • To improve the quality of my videos I’m going to slowly acquire gear to make my videos better.  I need a good microphone, a tripod that doesn’t require duct-tape, easy to use lighting, and various shop made mounts to position the camera for the best shots.   I’ll also continue to improve my speech, editing and story telling abilities.  (Eliminating “Umm…and-so” from my everyday speech is difficult, I want to speak with more precision and confidence.)
  • My Wife and I want to Restore Old Homes.  We love the old style of the Victorian, Craftman, and Farmhouse homes.  Every-time we drive by a neglected house of this style we both want to help and love it.  And yes! We do watch Rehab Addict.  Last week, we were in Fort Worth for our son’s medical appointment.  We stayed in a hotel and went to the Zoo.  On our way to the Zoo we drove through the historic district.  Saw many abandoned buildings and homes…we were drooling.  In particular we drove by an abandoned fire house.  How cool would it be to turn that into a furniture making and refinishing shop?!  Upstairs could be an apartment and office space.  This will also give me great content for my Youtube Channel.
    • The way we will start this process is to buy our first home.  Before we moved to West Texas we almost bought a home that needed a lot of work.  Sadly we are currently renting out the parsonage that used to be part of my salary went I worked for a church.
    • Self-Employment actually hurts you went trying to buy a home.  I’ll need two years of tax returns to qualify for a mortgage.  So we will have to rent, find an owner finance home, or we’ve even considered buying an RV and living on some family land for a few years while we stock pile money to buy a home.
    • An RV/Tiny House will give us the freedom to purchase a home that may not be immediately move in ready.  There are however obvious downsides to living in an RV.
    • My five year plan for home ownership and home restorations is to buy a livable classic style house that needs some work fix it up then sell it for a profit and move into another house about the same condition as the first house originally was.  So by 2020 I want to be close to selling our first fixer-upper and moving into our second.
  • I want to be a far better craftsman than I am now.  I have a lot to learn.  There is a great deal I can learn on my own.  Youtube is a great source that I have used to learn many new skills.  There are also publications like the Journal of Light Construction, Fine Homebuilding and THISisCarpentry that teach skills and best practices.  However, I am seriously considering going to work for a GOOD high end carpenter to apprentice under.  I don’t think I would work for someone permanently but the opportunity to learn both the trade and business from a more experienced person may be worth the trade-offs of working independently.  Either way I want to continue growing and improving my craft.
  • By 2020 I want to have one or two good apprentices.   I work primarily alone, but occasionally I run into situations that it would just be better to have a helper.  I’ve been a “Teacher” for most of my adult life while serving in ministry.  Teaching and training young men to be good carpenters and honorable men is something I want to do.
  • I want to use my skills to serve local churches.  Many churches lack the skilled members to maintain their facilities.  I can’t always work for free but I can provide my skills to local churches at cost and even a discount.  Being self-employed also gives me the freedom to go use my skills on mission trips.  Of course being in a place financially to do this is important.
  • I want a bigger/better truck.  I am super proud of the fact that my truck, my trailer, my tools, and my business are all completely paid for.  The way I look at it I went into business for myself to make money, not go into debt.  So from day one of starting Dailey Woodworks I’ve paid for everything with cash.  My 2003 F150 is fine for what I do but a F250 would really be better.  I have the small 4.6 V8 that struggles to keep my trailer at highway speeds.  My wife’s 5.4 Expedition (F150 with more seats) pulls it like a champ.  Also my truck only has a 5.5ft bed making it hard to load long materials in the back.  4 doors are a must since my truck is also used for my family.  A F250 4-door with a 6.5ft or 8ft bed will be better all around.  When I get this truck I also plan on installing a ladder rack, winch, generator, etc to really turn it into a great work rig.  But my old F150 has proven to be super reliable so I’m not desperate to replace it.
  • Tools – I want all the Tools.  Like my HVAC friend says “If buying new tools all the time isn’t part of your business plan, what’s the point.”

So there it is, my five year plan.  I want to thank Rick Seigmund, Founder and Host of the Work Strong America Podcast for asking me this question and helping me create a defined vision for what goals I want to accomplish.  Having this down on “paper” and out for the world to see is a huge motivator.  First it helped me figure out exactly where I want to be headed, and sencond there’s an accountability that comes from people seeing the article and seeing whether or not I’m achieving my goals.

A man’s heart plans his way,but the Lord determines his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 HCSB


My Interview on the Work Strong America Podcast

I had the opportunity to go on the Work Strong America Podcast by Rick Seigmund.  WSA is a podcast about promoting the skilled trades, the skills gap, and combating the myth that a 4 year $30,000 dollar degree is the only path the success in America.  As someone who fell into the trap of thinking college was the only path and is now focusing on growing a business through carpentry and woodworking Rick invited me on for an interview.

I first learned about Work Strong America and Rick Seigmund from the interview he did with Ron Paulk.  Ron Paulk is a big YouTuber and finish carpenter who I’ve learned a lot from.  Based on this interview I made a few comments on the WSA website explaining my situation and what I was wanting to do with Dailey Woodworks.  If you don’t listen to this podcast, you should.

Check out my interview:


My First Craft Show Was a Bust

Late Friday evening my partners and I set up our pop-up tents in our space for the “Kermit Celebration Days” festival.  I joined with several members of my church who were also selling their crafts.  An elderly man was selling beautifully crafted wind-chimes, two ladies were selling embroidery and sewn items, and I was selling many of my crafts that I’ve featured on this blog before.  We set up excitedly with big hopes of selling our crafts, not expected to get rich but in some way receive (financial) validation for the crafts we take such pride in.  By 7:45 the next morning we were all set up and ready to peddle our wares.

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How do you make money from Woodworking?

This is a legitimate question, not a lead in.  I don’t have 10 tips to selling your work on craigslist or any of that nonsense.  I do have a store room full of stuff that I need to sell.  I think I price things fairly (click here for my pricing formula), but I can’t seem to sell things until I cut the price to my cost leaving no margin for overhead, taxes, or profit.

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Building My Tool Chest

One day may workshop will be fully equipped with only the finest and highest grade tools from Jet, Sawstop, Festool, Powermatic, etc.  But for now I’m using mostly Craftsman powertools with some Ryobi and other brands thrown in.

I try to buy the best quality tools that I can reasonably afford.  Most of the time that ends up being Craftsman, sometimes not.

So why did I buy the tools I have and why did I buy them in the order I did?

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Projects and Goals for 2015

Yes I know you’re supposed to do this post at the first of the year, blah, blah, but I’m doing it now.  The main reason is so that I have an idea of where I’m going for the year.

Screenshot 2015-02-20 14.02.10The Modular Shop is coming along.  I’m still building the cabinets and playing with different layouts using Sketchup.  I’m honestly getting tired of doing the same task every time I go to the shop (which is about 2-3 hours a week).  Like many things this is an issue of delayed gratification.  Once this shop is redone it will function much better, be more organized, and make working on new projects much more enjoyable.

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A Milestone: 10,000 Views and a New Name

I started robertdailey.wordpress.com in back in 2009. I used my name so that I could branch out into whatever subjects I desired. Over the years it has been a woodworking blog, and religious blog, a shooting blog, and a mix of all three.

I didn’t get serious about writing and promoting this site until this year (2014). This is the year that I decided that I would try to support my woodworking by making and selling my crafts, and blogging. I’ve never made a dime blogging, maybe one day… but it’s not why I blog.  It’s nice to share my thoughts, show off projects, and even try to get people to buy stuff from my Etsy Store.

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