NOTABLE! Most liked posts in thread: Lex DeVille's - How I Bought a $4k Laser and Started an Engraving Side Hustle for Free (super easy)
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Reminds me of Reyes the Entrepreneur, who does this exact model for every non-Fastlane side hustle known to man.
What does he do? He does a side hustle, tells you exactly everything you need to do to do it all for free, then makes a Youtube video telling everyone exactly what he earns.
Then he puts all the stuff you need to start in the description, with an affiliate link. So he makes money 3 ways:
- Side hustle
- Affiliate money
- Youtube ad revenue
No, none of this is Fastlane, but if you're broke and don't know what to do, this is an option.
- Side hustle
Besides, markets are already established. That's why local engraving shops exist. They target anyone who needs laser engraving. They sell B2C and B2B. The info on who they sell to and what brings them the most money is freely available on Google.
If I want to stand out all I have to do is target a niche. Any niche online. Specific local unfulfilled niches offline.
Coaches - Laser engraved plaques, trophies, gifts
Goths - Grunge leather wallets, pentagram leather bracelets, whatever
Corporate - Desktop name signs, acrylic engraved family photos, meme coffee mug coaster
Religious - Light up cross, wood star of david, religious symbol trinket boxes
Those are just some examples. You just pick a niche. Research them. See what products they might be interested in that don't currently exist. Figure out how to make it. You will be the only person on the planet who sells it and you will be the only laser engraving entrepreneur putting it right in front of them in their forums, Facebook Groups, or even just by showing up for a church sermon and shaking hands with people, letting them know what you do.
From there I had to learn how to paint on the fly. I charged more for this product because it was custom. The customer was 100% satisfied although I was a bit uncertain about my paint job. I did the best I could.
Another custom I did was for a business owner who wanted stencils so they could paint their logo on their own custom products. I have the laser and when it comes to customs the market comes to me.
Beyond that I'd rather just have a product designed for a specific audience. No custom work. Here's why:
A Specific Product
- Is easy to form a process around
- Is easy to create 1 design and use it over and over
- Is easy to improve your process with each sale
- Is easy to figure out what customers like/don't like
- Is easy to gain materials ahead of time as you gauge sales volume
- Avoids wasted time on designing
- Avoids wasted energy on problem solving (after you solve the initial problem)
After I saw the ad I thought...that's F*cking awesome. Then I thought...I need this. Followed by...how do I get it...and justified with...it will pay for itself!
One other thing I really liked about the laser was it could work as an online or offline business. I could have lots of fun selling online or I could sell really localized stuff and dominate the local market through digital marketing because all the local places are terrible at it.Last edited: Apr 14, 2019 at 9:24 PM
The part that didn’t occur to me was getting a loan, and then getting the revenue to more than cover the loan. (My dad was Scottish and a loan is a four letter word up there.)
If you have a question about this side hustle/business model, please ask it in this thread. I will not be answering questions about lasers by PM. That isn't valuable for me. It isn't valuable for the forum. Ask your questions here if you want them answered.
And no, you do not need a business license to get this started. Buy laser. Sell engravings. Purchase business license with laser profits. The business license police aren't going to kick down your doors for your side hustle. If you're selling online, they won't even know you exist for a while.
I got a PM about whether this can fit CENTS model. Here was my response (with minor modifications).
Control - Partially. Glowforge isn't the best laser for control since they require you to use their cloud-based service to create your designs. That hasn't bothered me though.
Entry - The lowest priced Glowforge laser is like $2,500. Most people aren't willing to fork out that kind of cash for a good laser even on financing. Most of those who do are hobbyists who aren't trying to make money. They're just following their passion.
Need - The need is any product you can create that is customized for a specific niche. They can't get the product anywhere else because it doesn't exist anywhere else because you created it specifically for that niche.
Time - I made sales within about a month. I'm confident if I were treating this like a serious business I could make it worth my time within 1-6 months of networking/marketing efforts.
Scale - If you want to scale this you'll probably need a more powerful laser, or at least the $6k version of the Glowforge. You can scale by selling laser engraved products to corporate businesses, government, military etc. in bulk. They will pre-pay a lot of money to have someone take care of their awards and stuff for the year.
Glowforge can't engrave metal and also can't engrave things that are curved. Those are two limitations. But it's the best priced laser in the category. There are lower priced lasers, but they also aren't ready to use out of the box. There are higher priced lasers that are more powerful.
I can't even imagine how many opportunities will happen like this just in the next 3-5 years. How many manufacturing processes will be brought to the hobbyist level at hobbyist prices?
Drilling, cutting, water cutting, stamping, packaging, hell even creating custom-designed clothing. And if anyone wants a simple formula for grabbing up these opportunities...here you go:
2) Look at projects that will revolutionize an industry that are going to get funded
Then just follow the process I outlined above with the laser and be the first one to do it. Then you can position yourself as the first in the market.
Everyone who types "How to start a whatever business" will find your videos or blog posts or however you end up marketing yourself because you'll be the only one there.
So even if you don't do this with the laser. There are a million other opportunities that are about to hit the market in the exact same way as what I described here.
The cool thing is, if you can make people feel confident that the item will pay for itself by proving that it can...then they'll feel more comfortable putting in the investment for it, and grateful that you had an affiliate discount code that saved them a couple hundred bucks.
This is genuis. Maker culture is huge and only getting bigger. One of the library systems here in KC just added a Maker Center. They have a laser engraver, 3D printers, a sound booth/studio, green screen room, laser cutter and one of those wall printers were you can print a large poster or image on material that hangs on the wall. You have to book at least a couple of weeks in advance or take a chance that someone does show up and wait.
I remember reading an article about the future of 3D printing several years ago and thinking I could do something with it. Now, they are working on 3D printing houses and even organs.
Engraving is such a simple concept but lots of people would want it even people who doesnt realize that they would.
How long does it take to engrave something? You could almost set up a booth at a retail center and engrave things like dog tags, trophy plates and other things for a day or pay to get a table at a festival or conference to engrave stuff for people. I bet people would love plates for their luggage or laptop bags.
I wish I had the funds to invest in something like this.
Lex becomes known as “The Glowforge Guy” or “The Lazer Engraving Guy”... not because he’s the best in the world, but because he’s leaving breadcrumbs and people are following.
Who knows where that could go.
How many folks would buy a course to learn how to engrave better? Or buy the materials? Or the blueprints?
How many would buy a course on how to get clients for their budding laser engraving business? How to setup their Etsy store? How to write their product listings?
Who would they buy their kit and blueprints from?
Lex could provide a business in a box for the creatives out there who want to “escape the 9-5”, but don’t want to do it copywriting (for example)...
Awesome initiative. How did it occur to you to go with laser engraving, of all things?
Buddy of mine did the same thing with high quality stickers for bands. Makes more than his day job, all word of mouth business.
So, to be more specific, I wish to grow my income so that buying something like this wouldn't even be an issue or something I have to think long about. I could just do it. Not there yet.
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