Crafting Freelance Success: Woodworker Turns Passion into a Paycheck
Woodcrafter Matt Sandgren has always had an affinity for woodworking, he just didn’t always know that his passion could become his paycheck.
The Saint Paul, Minnesota native started honing his craft 20 years ago when he got his first job in a cabinet shop. While Matt later moved on in his career, he continued to enjoy creating pieces for family and friends.
Focusing primarily on making furniture, his pieces are not complicated, expensive, or intricate but simple, rustic, and leaning towards the industrial side.
And there is no denying Matt’s passion for woodworking. When describing his love for crafting industrial furniture, Matt shares “it’s simple to create and I really like how it looks. It looks rustic but it’s useable — live-edged wood and the industrial piping. It’s durable and there’s not a whole lot of places that it can be worn down. I love experimenting, too. I have even created my own techniques. Just practicing and going through trial and error can make something great!”
After suffering a shoulder injury during his day job, Matt was left with a great deal of time on his hands. This allowed him the freedom to dabble in a variety of gig work to earn extra money before diving into a different career.
“I could do other stuff that’s flexible like driving limos, moonlighting yard work,” said Matt, but “making money from building cool furniture was what stood out.”
That’s when Matt discovered Moonlighting and found this on-demand hiring platform was a great way to break into the freelance artisan life and start selling his work. “It seemed like Etsy was a lot more labor intensive to make your store, get it up there, put your card on file, etc.” explains Matt. “And they take a piece of what you make, by tracking your orders and what you sell. With Moonlighting you can just get your work out there, it’s so much easier.”
Since making a go at freelance woodworking, Matt has received commissions for octagonal fish tank stands, hundreds of rustic pine food stands, and even cubbies for a daycare.
While Matt is not yet ready to make woodworking his primary means of income, he does believe wholeheartedly in pursuing your passion.
“It all comes down to enjoying what you’re doing. You know that saying, ‘If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life?’ For me, it’s about investing in creating things,” says Matt. “You start with a pile of wood, put work into it, and when you step back, you can look at it and say ‘I’ve created that from nothing.’ You get a sense of pride and it’s also inspirational to create and sell because you encourage and inspire others to create.”
Through Moonlighting, creators like Matt can make the most of their free time and turn their craft into paychecks.
Originally published on usatoday.com on March 26, 2018.