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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 07-12-2010 07:19 AM 13805 reads 0 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch


Well guys, I am finally getting my schedule and projects under control. But I am still busy working 7 days a week to catch up.

For the last couple of weeks I have been knocking off work between 10 and 10:30pm. Working from 7am to 10pm sounds like a long day but it is short compared to the previous 3 months that I was working 7am until 1 or 1:30am.

There were two instances where I worked from 7am one morning until 11:30 the next night with only about a 1hour nap. I find that working like this starts getting dangerous and I make more mistakes resulting in some do-overs. This is highly counter-productive. A 30 minute nap at dinner break helps keep me going.

My Dilemma

I had been trying to figure out what to do with my business concerning more help. I sub some things out on my jobs, but I was thinking about an employee.

However, there are a couple of problems with this. First; I work as a remodeling contractor that can do everything from design to rough construction up through fine woodworking and finish. Finding someone that can or will work from one end of the spectrum to the other is nearly impossible. Guys that are good with general construction typically cannot do fine finish work. Guys that do fine woodwork and finish just will not do general carpentry.

Second problem; I am changing my business plan. I intend to step out of the remodel and more into the internet to deliver information and product to the woodworkers. Hiring someone that is looking for stability in the trades and then letting them go is not fair to them.

What I have discovered…

I can only run one business at a time. I can either run my remodel business, which includes custom woodworking, or I can start my business catering to woodworkers, which also includes custom woodworking. But I found out that I can’t do both. Running a business is too time consuming let alone running two or running one and starting another.

I share these things because I know that this will give people something to consider as they think of running their own business.

The Solution

As I was pondering a solution to my dilemma, a contractor that I have done work with in the past called and offered me a position in his company. His shop guy had left a month earlier and he decided he couldn’t do without one any longer so he gave me a call.

I would be functioning as shop support for the guys in the field. With remodel there is always something that needs custom made, modified, or repaired. This is exactly how my shop supports my own remodel business and this is how his shop functions and provides custom shop support to 5 guys in the field.

This was a solution that I had not thought of. I was not looking for work or a job and it was just a dream opportunity that landed in my lap. Most guys would die for an opportunity like this and so I did not pass it up. His offer was more than fair and the big bonus for me was cut and dry 40 hours a week. This means controlled work hours so I can have time to share with woodworkers.

I quit taking work and dumped my remodel projects but I kept the built-ins. I am working on 2 big projects of my own to get them cleared off the plate so I can focus on my site again.

I am now hitting a point where I can take the time to start sharing the experience of those projects in my blogs. There is more time invested to write a decent blog than many people realize, and it is time that I have not been able to spare. With my new work situation, I should be able to get back to sharing.

It May Seem Crazy…

After working my own business for so many years it may seem crazy to take a J-O-B but for me it is a relief to share the work burden with a crew of great guys. The company has a good reputation and the same guys have been working together for many years. They are a positive and talented group that work to keep a good thing going. I feel privileged to have been invited into this company.

This situation actually frees my time from doing design work, sales, and eventually shop work for my projects late into the night and will allow me to focus on sharing more with woodworkers. This has become my new passion and I look forward to being able to do it even more.

You heard it first here at LJ

That shows how you guys rate in my book. I will share more details soon.

Your Friend in the Shop,
Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

29 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18709 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 07-12-2010 07:25 AM

Been there, tried that :-)) Hope it works out for you Todd. All your post here are always great ones!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4642 days

#2 posted 07-12-2010 07:30 AM

Thanks Topamax.

I think that one of the greatest assets to my name is that I am a professional. This situation allows me to maintain my skill and experience but get my time management under control so that I can get back to sharing online.

I have a few things that are going on behind the scenes to bring to the woodworkers. I am excited to restart my endeavors with these things. With my schedule they got put on the back burner. Now I am trying to bring them back to the front burner.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4120 days

#3 posted 07-12-2010 07:52 AM

I’m glad you have so many choices Todd and hope this new direction works out. If I were in you shoes I’d hold on to my contractors Lic. just in case it doesn’t work out. Not saying it won’t. I hope this new position is all you want it to be for you and your family.

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3710 days

#4 posted 07-12-2010 09:50 AM

I always enjoy your projects, videos, and blogs. I’m glad to hear you have this new opportunity, sounds like you will benefit from it a lot. Thank you for choosing to share your talent with woodworkers. I look forward to all the great things to come from your site. Good luck in your advancing career.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View ellen35's profile


2742 posts in 3975 days

#5 posted 07-12-2010 11:00 AM

Working for someone else where the paycheck is predictable and the hours leave time for a life is great! Even if you don’t make quite as much money, with the hours you were working, you never had time to spend it anyway!!!
I hope we can look forward to more videos and blogs and projects from you on LJ too.
Enjoy the time… a most valuable commodity.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3991 days

#6 posted 07-12-2010 11:31 AM

Wow…I have often looked at your projects and said” man if I could only get my business into that type of work.” You are always a great resource for the type of stuff I am doing….....Going through similar issues with my remodeling business. I run it alone mostly, hard to find GODD help. Working 6 to 7 days a week, trying to finish building a house for my wife and I…...PLUS my wife thinks I need to start a new business….stop the madness… I know how hard it is trying to focus on 2 things at once, one paying the bills and the other is where your heart is….

I wish you the best of luck and look forward to your futures projects…...
A friend in TN

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3855 days

#7 posted 07-12-2010 12:57 PM

Todd, I can relate, I ran my own commercial print shop for 20 years or it ran me I should say.

Getting back to a 40 hour week and a steady paycheck without all the hassles of insurance, FICA deposits, finding good employees that share your work ethic. I don’t miss it.

Congrats on your new position and I hope all will work out for you. I agree with Jim, however, to keep you lic. if you can just as a plan B.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4255 days

#8 posted 07-12-2010 01:15 PM

Interesting news and exciting developments for you Todd. I used to tell people, when I worked for myself, that my boss was the most miserable fellow to work for and didn’t understand the need for time off…until I fired myself and was much happier after that :-)

I wish you success with your new position and look forward to those other developments that were steeping on the backburner!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4642 days

#9 posted 07-12-2010 01:56 PM

Thanks for the support guys.

I still have my license for a while anyways to see how things go, that is my fall-back plan. All I have to do is start saying “yes” to the jobs to get it fired back up.

As for wanting to do full blown projects “on the side” I am not interested. I know what that is like right now as I finish up the jobs I am obligated to and I don’t intend to continue working like this. I want to spend my time sharing with woodworkers.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

796 posts in 4375 days

#10 posted 07-12-2010 03:04 PM

It’s certainly easier working for someone else. I do IT work as my main business and have thought many times about doing my IT consulting work full-time. The lack of a steady paycheck and all the hassles of self-employment keep me working for someone else. When you work for yourself you’re never off the clock.

The same thought process applies to my woodworking and remodeling “hobby”. I’d love to do it for a living, but I just don’t think I could make it work. I also like to do everything from framing to finish work along with everything in-between (mudding drywall corners still eludes me). While I think I do pretty-good work (at least my wife and family thinks so), I don’t think I work fast enough or could price my work sufficiently to make a good living. For now that will have to wait until I become independently wealthy. :)

Good luck on your new job, and enjoy the time-off!

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4642 days

#11 posted 07-12-2010 04:53 PM

My sweet projects are sold as part of remodeling jobs, so I am not necessarily making a go of it through woodworking alone but I am selling more built-in projects on their own.

You are correct, I am never off the clock.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3569 days

#12 posted 07-12-2010 05:16 PM

I wish I would have half the workload of you I decided before I started my business I would build cabinets, fine furniture, and outdoor furniture but limit the installations to very little if not at all Gearing toward re-modelers, builders, and diy’ers and people who want good furniture. this way I keep my shop time under 10 hrs. My dilemma is currently my hours of my other job and finally an injury from there has pressed me to do harder to get going. Glad to hear from you and to have you back (been reading your other website too)
take care :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path [email protected]

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4477 days

#13 posted 07-12-2010 05:18 PM

Todd, I’m pleased to hear that you’re overwhelmed with opportunity :). I look forward to hearing more about your learning. God bless your endeavors.

-- Robb

View Rogue's profile


260 posts in 4013 days

#14 posted 07-12-2010 05:44 PM

Totally understand! Have considered the JOB before. I still love my business though. Hang in there bro. Fallow your passion no mater what it takes.

-- Rogue

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18709 posts in 4218 days

#15 posted 07-12-2010 08:09 PM

hard to find GODD (sic) help” reminds me of a comment one of the other contractors I knew made one day. He said don’t you wish you could hire people like yourself anytime you needed them?

The trouble is, they want me to work for them any time they need help ;-))

I’m sure your new boss is dong back flips today Todd!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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