Closing My Doors And Opening Others

My Birthday: A Catalyst for Change

I just turned 50. Yeah, that’s right – 50.

Hitting this benchmark in life, has made me take a look at where I am at, where I am going, and if I am on course to achieve my goals.

The fact is, I am not, and I realized that I need to do something radical to change my direction in order to meet my goals.

Hooked From the Beginning

I made my first post in a woodworking community in May 2007 and I posted my first YouTube video at the end of December 2008. In both cases I was hooked from the beginning. I really love sharing the knowledge and experience I have gained as a contractor, designer, and craftsman with the woodworking community.

Ever since those first posts, I have continued to try sharing be it by blog or by video. I love doing both, but in both cases, time is too short to do either.

My priority, as with anybody, is to make a living. So that means paying clients are my priority, even above family as I have sacrificed a lot of weekends with my family to meet deadlines and fulfill contracts.

My weeks are long, an average week is 60-65 hours and they get longer, much longer, as deadlines loom near. Any remaining time goes to family, and anything left then is either for sleep or sharing with woodworkers.

It Ain’t Working…

I have tried a number of times to use my client’s projects as the subject matter for my blogs and to share the lessons of the project challenges with the woodworking community. The lesson I have learned over and over is that they are 2 separate worlds that collide in a horrible way and I lose money when I do it.

If I want to make a living as a contractor and professional woodworker, I have to focus on that. If I want to share my woodworking knowledge and experience with woodworkers, that is completely separate and cannot be mixed with the other because it only slows me down and causes financial loss.

I Quit!

As I took a look at where I am and where I was going, I decided that the only answer was to quit. If paying clients are my priority, then I decided to offer woodworkers an opportunity to make themselves my priority as paying clients

I am closing my doors as a contractor and opening my doors as the American Craftsman Shop Class to the woodworking community.

I am currently finishing up a couple of client projects at this time and I have withdrawn from some projects that I was not obligated by contract. I am effectively shutting down as a contractor. It would have been a lot easier if I was employed somewhere, I could have just walked out. Honestly, I wish I could have done that.

Online ACW School Coming Soon

As I gear down my business as a contractor, I am gearing up as the American Craftsman Workshop and to set up the American Craftsman Shop Class.

I made some changes to strengthen the American Craftsman Workshop as a brand and I have also been working to set up the platform that will allow me to have an online school. For the school I will be able to upload video, PDF files, and other digital files such as Sketchup or CAD to create a course and project lessons.

The goal is to provide products that woodworkers can purchase. This makes woodworkers my priority as they become my paying client and it allows me to focus on them. If you are a woodworker, then this means you are about to become my priority!

Through the support of the woodworking community I will be able to offer both free content and paid content such as project instruction and plans. And – I will be able to become consistently active in the woodworking community sharing knowledge and giving support.

Besides the admin changes and restructuring changes I have been working on, I have also been developing plans for some of the projects. So things are well under way. You can check out the new Shop Class page at my site.

I hope you will join me as I launch the American Craftsman Shop Class, I am working hard to make it worth your time:)

Your friend in the shop -

*Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love – Share the Knowledge*

Tags: todd clippinger american craftsman workshop american craftsman shop class woodworking instruction woodworking

Todd A. Clippinger Share the Love - Share the Knowledge

729 views

12 0
Share Tweet
Follow

12 Comments

shipwright ...

Best of luck in your new venture Todd.
I started a small scale school of French marquetry this past fall and after the first class I am hooked. I find it is even more rewarding to pass on the knowledge than it is to create a new piece.
This is a brave step for you and I will be pulling for you.

Todd Clippinger ...

shipwright – Thanks man! That is really cool you did that, I might be looking for pointers from you!

lanwater ...

Sorry it didn’t work for you Todd. making money from google takes a lot of energy and time. I have a friend who spent nearly 2 years putting quality musical content before making some. Anyway that’s the past.

A lot of woodworkers have been switching to a paying content model with some classes. I personally shun the paying website and prefer the real class.
My only suggestion would be to incorporate evening and weekend classes as I have notice that a lot of people who are not woodworker flock to the craft.
They all have day jobs so evening and weekends are perfect.
A lot of the students like to leave at the end of the class with something they built.
My teacher Jim, Made sure His students finish their projects. I was the only black sheep:)
Jim also made sure the women who attended the class are fully incorporated. By the third class there were more women than men.
he also called on his past students to say hello and find the time to chat. All PR I am sure you are aware of. The net result is all of them were repeat students.
I can tell you he is doing really good.

I wish the best in you new journey.

Todd Clippinger ...

Ian – I don’t know if you misinterpreted my post, but I have been doing remodel and custom woodwork since ’97. That has worked out other than it beats the crap out of my body. I am just tired of the constant push to meet deadlines, the mediocrity of others causing me unforeseen work, and I could just go on. I am just done with it.

Over the years I have helped and taught a lot of other guys, woodworkers and small contractors just starting out. I feel that it is time I simply exit what I no longer enjoy so much and see if I can’t just teach full time in one form or another.

I have looked at teaching in my own shop, but the reality is the cost of liability is insanely high the numbers don’t work out and I can reach more people online.

lanwater ...

I may have Todd.

I am sure with your experience and knowledge you have a lot to offer. Spreading knowledge is commendable.

Whatever format you chose, I wish success.

Kepy ...

Best wishes on your new endeavor. Be prepared though as previous customers are quite likely to try and get you working.
I am supposedly retired again but still keep getting orders for my scrollsaw cuttings. I have been trying to do what I want but they manage to keep me busy. Fortunately, scrolling is what I enjoy doing.

Todd Clippinger ...

Whiteacrebespoke – I quit remodeling at the beginning of 2015 and moved to the shop. I build projects and do millwork, but then I have also been doing installs.

I actually started sharing and helping others several years ago, so this has been stewing a long time. I noticed, similar to your situation, it is easy to get dragged back into what I did not want to do.

I realized that if I wanted to make an real change, I needed to do something drastic. Turning 50 was also a mile marker in life that just makes me evaluate where I am at and where I want to go.

It pushed me over the edge to make the move.

Mike40 ...

It isn’t always easy to take a new career path Todd. I think trying something you have been wanting to do will keep your enthusiasm for woodworking up and be a better future for you at the same time. I know you like to share your skills and knowledge with others so it seems like a great choice and I think you will make a success of it, especially since you know your subject so well. So good luck on your new path.

Shin ...

Know what you mean about turning points in your life. I hit 50, 5 years ago, but turning points came before, and after. I’m still trying to find my calling.

All the best in your adventures! Keep us posted.

MsDebbieP ...

I remember looking at projects and saying, “Oh, that one must be a Todd A Clippinger” … and it was :)
You have always been a teacher, now you can focus on that. Exciting times ahead.

Todd Clippinger ...

Thanks MsDeb that is quite a compliment!

It is very exciting and I can hardly wait to wrap up the couple of projects that I am obligated to so I can focus on putting my classes together as well as share in general. I really miss the woodworking community and helping everybody out.

Well, I have a banquette to finish for a local restaurant, back to the shop!

MsDebbieP ...

best wishes!