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NOTABLE! Lex DeVille's - How I Bought a $4k Laser and Started an Engraving Side Hustle for Free (super easy)

Lex DeVille

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why dont you use the payment program instead of a loan?
I looked at Glowforge's financing options and compared to my bank. Ultimately the interest rate was lower through the bank, plus I wouldn't have to jump through hoops because I'm already set up with the bank and can easily get a loan without answering a million questions. The bank already has a relationship with me.

Im going to buy a house soon so i cant miss the money
What money will you miss? I already explained how this pays for itself. You seem to be worried about missing the payment amount in the event you don't make sales. So you've started with the assumption that "I can't do this" rather than "I can do this. Not a good way to start a business. Plus if you can't afford a $136 payment I'd question if you can really afford (or even obtain) a mortgage.

the bank might start b****ing about loans when i apply for a morgage
Banks don't bitch. Banks are entities, not people. To me it seems like you haven't really thought this through. This kind of vague worrying will hold you back from building any business. Not just a laser business. It's a type of excuse people make to avoid taking action. How many banks or mortgage lenders have you talked to about this idea? Zero.

How do you test a niche if there is a market for it? what tools do you use? and how much will it cost?
I'm not sure what this question means. You don't have to test a niche. If a niche exists then it does so because more than one person has similar interests. You only need to look at their interests and create products that fit those interests or solve their problems. Then offer it to those people. There is no testing. You just do it. Laser engraving is already a proven business. We're not reinventing the wheel. You just buy a laser and tell people you have a laser.

I could post on FB to see how much interest there is but i want to know 100% sure im not investing in a flop.
That's too bad because business virtually requires risk and you will never be 100% sure. If you need to be 100% sure, then you will never do this. I already shared a story of it working. Everything beyond that is fear holding you back.

There are no guarantees. There are only people who decide to do a thing and then figure out how to make it work, and people who don't.
 

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jesseissorude

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I came to post the following sentiment, but I think someone else already said it better:
This. Is. So. Cool !!
This really has my gears turning. I already want some equipment for my main business and I know a couple local businesses that would like to upgrade their equipment as well.

For me, I'd like a small CNC machine and a UV printer, and another local business would like a UV printer and a powdercoating rig, and 3D printer... but neither of us are making enough volume of orders on those machines ourselves to justify buying them outright.

Another great way to make money off of these could be to put them all in the same warehouse and start teaching classes on how to use them (and renting out time to local makers!). I mean, if a service like that existed I'd definitely sign up and pay a monthly membership fee.

Holy shit, a whole makerspace with dues that pay for the equipment, and at night you fill other random orders just so there are multiple sources of income. It could even be a partnership with the local Science Museum, where if you are a member there, we give you a discount on your membership at the makerspace (total marketing... they'd promote that as a benefit when trying to get new members, and boom, all their members now know about the makerspace in town).

Mind grapes churning, +rep!
 

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I came to post the following sentiment, but I think someone else already said it better:


This really has my gears turning. I already want some equipment for my main business and I know a couple local businesses that would like to upgrade their equipment as well.

For me, I'd like a small CNC machine and a UV printer, and another local business would like a UV printer and a powdercoating rig, and 3D printer... but neither of us are making enough volume of orders on those machines ourselves to justify buying them outright.

Another great way to make money off of these could be to put them all in the same warehouse and start teaching classes on how to use them (and renting out time to local makers!). I mean, if a service like that existed I'd definitely sign up and pay a monthly membership fee.

Holy shit, a whole makerspace with dues that pay for the equipment, and at night you fill other random orders just so there are multiple sources of income. It could even be a partnership with the local Science Museum, where if you are a member there, we give you a discount on your membership at the makerspace (total marketing... they'd promote that as a benefit when trying to get new members, and boom, all their members now know about the makerspace in town).

Mind grapes churning, +rep!
That’s good thinking. If I had a warehouse that had space, I’d make some kind of maker space with a printer like this and a 3D printer and charge a membership with free classes and have non members pay. If there aren’t any maker spaces around you it might be an easy sell and you can go to the different tech meetups in the area to promote.


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Andy Black

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One of my lads goes to a coding class at the weekend. They also have a laser engraver and a 3D printer there. They give classes on using those machines, as well as occasionally creating pieces for clients.
 

Lex DeVille

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Holy shit, a whole makerspace with dues that pay for the equipment, and at night you fill other random orders just so there are multiple sources of income. It could even be a partnership with the local Science Museum, where if you are a member there, we give you a discount on your membership at the makerspace (total marketing... they'd promote that as a benefit when trying to get new members, and boom, all their members now know about the makerspace in town).
On a similar note you could probably team up with the local Chamber of Commerce if you're targeting the local area. They usually take interest in small businesses and they have a pre-established network of businesses and entrepreneurs. They may even have space available for a profit split if you wanted to set up a mini-manufacturing facility.

My hometown chamber has co-working and other office spaces for rent. They also offer some kind of lab with equipment for those who are trying to build a small business with small-scale manufacturing processes.
 

rjrobbins2

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Banks don't bitch. Banks are entities, not people. To me it seems like you haven't really thought this through. This kind of vague worrying will hold you back from building any business. Not just a laser business. It's a type of excuse people make to avoid taking action. How many banks or mortgage lenders have you talked to about this idea? Zero.
It is not a good idea to open up new lines of credit when applying for a mortgage. Changes in your credit, even opening new lines can initially cause your score to go down. Also, it increases your debt-to-income ratio so hypothetically, adding that payment could cause a person to go from 40% to 42% and for many loans 41% is the DTI limit.

It would be best, depending on how long until he applies, to wait until the loan is funded to open a new credit line. Any good mortgage person will specifically tell them not to mess with their credit once they apply.

I lost a handful of loans because people would go get a credit line at a furniture store or Home Depot card anticipating their new home only for their approval to be taken away.
 

Lex DeVille

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It is not a good idea to open up new lines of credit when applying for a mortgage. Changes in your credit, even opening new lines can initially cause your score to go down. Also, it increases your debt-to-income ratio so hypothetically, adding that payment could cause a person to go from 40% to 42% and for many loans 41% is the DTI limit.

It would be best, depending on how long until he applies, to wait until the loan is funded to open a new credit line. Any good mortgage person will specifically tell them not to mess with their credit once they apply.

I lost a handful of loans because people would go get a credit line at a furniture store or Home Depot card anticipating their new home only for their approval to be taken away.
This may be true but it's ignoring the deeper issues in the poster's words. He said he's going to buy a house soon so he can't miss the money. This is an excuse for inaction. If he manages to buy a house then the excuse will be, "I just bought a house, so I can't miss the money."

All roads then lead to "I wish I just took that chance 10 years ago. I'd finally have the money."

So the three real issues are fear, worry and problem solving. Because if the loan issue were really that big of a deal, and the poster really wanted to make this happen, he'd just look at alternate ways to solve the problem.

  • Ask mom and dad for $2500 and offer to repay with interest
  • Ask a local business to sponsor you
  • Ask an investor and offer to repay with interest
  • Crowdfund the money
  • Mow lawns for a couple of weeks
  • Sell some old crap on ebay or in a garage sale
  • Borrow from a friend and repay with interest
  • Partner with someone and split the difference in cost
  • Stand on the street corner and beg with a sign
  • Freelance on the side to build up to $2500

There's always a reason to put things off for some other time. There's always a way to make them happen when you want it bad enough.
 

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Super super cool!


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Andy Black

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i love stories like this, its like finding value out of thin air, but of course it was there the whole time.
This reminds me of something I think Grant Cardone said... that we don’t “make” money. Money already exists and large invisible rivers of it flow all around us. We just need to get some of that cash to flow through us.

(As an aside, I like to think of earning money rather than making money.)

Someone on the Tropical MBA podcast defined a market as a “demonstrated cashflow”.

With laser engraving there is already a large demonstrated cashflow - people buy the equipment (and it’s not that cheap), purchase materials, and of course buy and sell engraved products.

So there’s already a demonstrated cashflow and our job is simply to add value so some of that cash flows through us.
 

rjrobbins2

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This may be true but it's ignoring the deeper issues in the poster's words.

I completely agree there and you are right on the mark with those comments. I just wanted to clarify and I guess that was more pointed at that poster rather than you. I didnt want him to mess up his qualification by thinking it was okay to pursue if he is in that process. Lots of people miss out on mortgages because of this. I have probably lost a good $15k in commissions when I was a mortgage broker because of this. Other than that, you hit the mark and said something he needed to hear.
 

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njord

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I completely agree there and you are right on the mark with those comments. I just wanted to clarify and I guess that was more pointed at that poster rather than you. I didnt want him to mess up his qualification by thinking it was okay to pursue if he is in that process. Lots of people miss out on mortgages because of this. I have probably lost a good $15k in commissions when I was a mortgage broker because of this. Other than that, you hit the mark and said something he needed to hear.
look Im a little carefull because iv aready burned my self investing in 4k in a amazon product that flopped, yes i took shortcuts and dident spend enough time on researching the market. So I dont want to make the same misstake again.

Anyway I cant use the glowforge payment plan because im in the EU so ill have to save up or wait till i have my morgage in the mean time i will to find a niche where i can sell to.
And then i can use a payed lazer service to make my first products.

Its not that im doing nothing i just dont want to burn all my cash anymore:happy:

Btw i also want to know more about lazer engraving why did you chose a C02 lazer? Whats the diffence between c02 and diode lazer ect. I would like to know more about these things before i start.
Also a college of mine told me you need to be carefull what matierals you use some plastics release vapers that can condence on the lens of the lazer what will massively decrease the life time or you need have it cleaned/replaced ect.
Also good to know what are the maintaince costs are and what you can expect to pay to keep your lazer running ect.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Btw i also want to know more about lazer engraving why did you chose a C02 lazer? Whats the diffence between c02 and diode lazer ect. I would like to know more about these things before i start.
Also a college of mine told me you need to be carefull what matierals you use some plastics release vapers that can condence on the lens of the lazer what will massively decrease the life time or you need have it cleaned/replaced ect.
Also good to know what are the maintaince costs are and what you can expect to pay to keep your lazer running ect.
You can research this on Google. I don't know the difference in all of the different laser types or maintenance costs. I only use Glowforge materials which are designed to work with Glowforge lasers. It doesn't really matter what the maintenance costs are because I don't pay them out of pocket. My customers do.
 

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You can research this on Google. I don't know the difference in all of the different laser types or maintenance costs. I only use Glowforge materials which are designed to work with Glowforge lasers. It doesn't really matter what the maintenance costs are because I don't pay them out of pocket. My customers do.
YouTube and google are your friend. You can find videos and articles on which materials you shouldn’t use. PS. start with the materials Glowforge recmmmends.
 

Lex DeVille

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YouTube and google are your friend. You can find videos and articles on which materials you shouldn’t use. PS. start with the materials Glowforge recmmmends.
Ironically, this is the exact reason I'm earning referral commissions. People want all their fears and concerns answered before they buy. They want a 100% guarantee they will succeed. So they go to YouTube looking for an authority to put their mind at ease. They watch my videos because I'm the only one doing something, and then they find the link and buy.
 

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Ironically, this is the exact reason I'm earning referral commissions. People want all their fears and concerns answered before they buy. They want a 100% guarantee they will succeed. So they go to YouTube looking for an authority to put their mind at ease. They watch my videos because I'm the only one doing something, and then they find the link and buy.
Good old YouTube.

People go to Amazon to buy stuff.
They go to Google to find stuff (and buy stuff).
They go to YouTube to be entertained, and to learn stuff.

Do you think they're doing the same searches on Google @Lex DeVille ? (Hint, hint.)
 

guaava23

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This thread came at a good time for me. I started thinking, "What product(s) that I like or have, can I promote the heck out of and get referral income from affiliates?" I have already done this similar to Lex, when I bought a Remarkable Tablet in December 2018. Too bad I didn't read the fine print. I bought it knowing there was a referral program, and you got $100 for each referral. I bought it as well since I thought I could be highly productive with it. I created videos and promoted it, and Viola! I got it free ($600) within 2 months. The too bad part is that the fine print said you can only get what you paid for it, and I am currently in the potential $2500 range 3 months after! Hopefully Glowforge has an unlimited program in the amount you can get. I know a lot of people got a Tesla for close to free using this method as well.

My plan now is to expand my skills with Action using affiilate promotion. It's not something to get rich on, but I plan to 1. Cover the expenses of anything I actually buy and 2. Create enough monthly income by promoting enough products that generate what pays my mortgage and car payments. 3. Continue to add new affilates in my system each month to allow for products that go away, referral programs that go bust or whatever else that happens as a contingency.

The skills part, I am going to use SEO (looking at you @Andy Black) and copywriting @Lex DeVille , among other things. The thing that really motivates me and keeps things clear is that I have done it already. Things that I need to do is find products that have better referrals through the manufacturers (not Amazon Affiliate) and whatever ways I can maximize the sale. I can go all out and create a site, blog, or whatever, but I did it simply with ugly videos compared to Lex's on Glowforge. I'll go MVP and just do it. Let's see how it goes. I'm ready for some quick wins.[/QUOTE]
 
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Lex DeVille

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Always nice to wake up to a $500 deposit I didn't have to work for. No new videos. No new links posted.

Plus there's another one on the way this month. It hasn't finalized yet, so I don't know the amount. But it's coming. Plus I sold about $200 worth of laser engravings so far for May.
Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 2.47.55 AM.png
 

Matt Hunt

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Well this is awesome! I just might do this. I'm sure I could come up with some products that would sell through my niche on YouTube!
 

itfactor

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Living in a city with high humidity, tropical climate, and expensive electricity costs, this probably isnt the right type of business to run out of my poorly ventilated tiny apartment.

Still, lots of lessons to learn about hustling. kudos!
 

Nuella

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An ad like this:

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!

:D

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.
This is absolutely awesome. I am based in Nigeria for now and i would love to kickstart this, could you recommend the perfect laser printing machine to go for and where best to purchase it ? Thank you.
 

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