I used to do a lot of pavement pounding, trying to meet people who might bring jobs into my shop. It's pure sales work and as far as you can get from woodworking. But without it, no business will survive much less get off the ground.
As time went on, this became less and less important. I had built up a good network of contacts and most of my jobs found me without my needing to do much more than answer the phone. During the boom years I probably turned away more jobs than I took. There was so much work that I had the luxury of being able to cherry pick the ones I wanted. And with jobs lasting anywhere from six months to three years, I really did not need to find that many!
These days, it's a whole new picture. Work is not nearly so plentiful and the competition is very strong as more and more shops cut prices in an effort to keep busy. So I'm out there with everyone else, trying to drum up some action.
But this time around, it's a bit different. Since I'm trying to sell art turnings, I'm visiting galleries instead of contractors and architects. I've got a pretty good list of prospects and some interior designers as well. Last weekend, I visited a couple in the Monterey Bay area and got a pretty good reception. I think one even told me they would like to show my work. I sent them some high-res pictures and now I'm waiting a few days to see if I get a call back. If not, I'll give them a call.
Man oh man talk about déjà vu!