How do you sell your skills/parts?

How do you guys market yourselves or your products?

Facebook Marketplace?
Reddit?
Local Used site?

I have a full time job but have been trying to give back to the community by making wooden toys for kids and offering my design skills and mechanical engineering knowledge to help develop systems to improve the lives of disabled children and make things easier for their families. Ie, special chairs, different knobs, walkers etc.

My post was shut down from reddit because it was considered “advertising” even though I would not charge for my labor. Posted on the local Used site but no bites.

How do you guys post and sell your parts/talent?

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Well, I’ve done stuff for other people, but not much, because despite how much time I spend here on the forums and building stuff, I’m actually pretty busy.

Some things I’ve done for people around the kendo community that I’m a part of. They see stuff like the laser engraving on my equipment and ask, and I’ve offered to do some of that in exchange for a donation to the club.

One of the local home improvement places has a small maker’s market, where you can showcase stuff that you’ve made. It would probably also be possible to have a table at a farmer’s market or the like. You could probably earn a little pocket money with something like that if you have a good design.

For wooden toys and the like, you might be able to talk to a local children’s hospital. Faculty and staff might have ideas for things that could be really helpful for children and their families. They probably cant discuss specifics because privacy concerns, but if you’re willing to donate time and materials, you could probably get charitable donation receipts worth enough to cover materials.

tl;dr:

  1. Word of mouth in groups you are part of.
  2. Farmer’s markets or flea markets
  3. Charitable Organizations/hospitals.
3 Likes

We have a local coffee shop that sells odds and ends. I have a friend that takes his cutting boards to them and when they sell, they get part of the commission. He goes in once a month, drops off some new boards and picks up some cash from whatever sold the previous month. He has one small section of a table, so if nothing sells, then he doesn’t have room to add more. He also has his business cards by it and has had a few calls from people asking for custom boards.

I think he has some of his boards in a few of the other antique stores up and down main street. Most antique stores want you to rent an entire stall, but some have small display cabinets they rent out separately.

I, personally, don’t have anything I sell. I don’t have enough time to get in there and make enough to make it worth it. I have done one-off things for friends and family that have asked. I almost took on a gig with a friend that is a realtor. They were wanting me to make them custom coasters for them to leave in houses that their clients bought.

Oh, and our local schools have ‘fall festivals’ and other events where people can rent a table to sell stuff. The money from the rent goes back into the school. You might not sell anything, but you might run into someone that can help find an avenue for getting more clients.

3 Likes

Sounds like finding a few specific facebook groups might get you started. I am sure there would be interested parents in some special needs groups. Ask them what they might need or show what you are offering. That would be my go to for giving things and time for free. If you were interested in making some side money you could approach it the same but might want to direct them to a basic webpage, a small site, or even a business Facebook page.

Having a page or site makes you easy to find for referrals or repeat jobs. The downside to Facebook groups is your post quickly gets lost in the shuffle, so finding you for repeat jobs makes it extremely difficult as the search is a bit wonky.

Thanks for all the replies I will give some of those a shot. I guess I was just surprised that offering up free engineering services seems to have no interest. Maybe I just haven’t reached the right customers yet.

There was a guy on another forum I’m on looking for someone to CAD up a part for him so he could send it to shapeways.

The people are out there… just hard to find.