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baits as a business

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#1 greg zechman

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:24 PM

can custom baits be a viable business for the small man....i know, what a question? my thinking was if you could sell enough lures and custom rods to squuuuuuueeeek out a living ....i live in ne florida and we have alot of bait shops with in 100 mile line on the coast....how would you or are you already doing it? looking for ideas! greg

#2 cheesehead


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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:52 PM

You ask Can it be done????
Yes it can, I know of a few who are doing it.
Before you go to far though ask yourself these questions.
How much do I need to sell each bait for to make money on it?
What is your overhead going to be?
Is your current shop zoned for Business?
How many baits would you need to sell on average to make money?
what equipment would you need to purchase?
What would you need to do for regulatory requirements?
Buisiness insurance?
personal insurance?
book keeping?

Not trying to discourage you and There are many more questions to answer. Hope you can do it, others have been succsessful at it.

#3 woodieb8


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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:17 PM

absolutely can. one requirment is thick skin and lots of stamina for long hours. all the best

#4 bladesandbaits


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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:39 PM

Sure you can "squeek" out a Living.Just be prepared for what was once your Hobby, to now own you. That can be good or bad depending on how much you love making baits.
Of course it all depends on how much money you need to make to call it a living.

(Quote) how would you or are you already doing it? looking for ideas!
It took me about 5 years to be independent on what my lures could return in the form of a viable living.10 years later I still dont depend on them totaly for my living but I could if I chose to.

How would I start?
Well, I would start out slow.I would educate myself on that 100 mile radias you spoke of.

I would educate myself on the tackel stores in that radias.

I would educate myself on the baits I would be making and try to concentrate on baits people would use.

I would start things out on a small regional level and make sure I could supply the baits before I commit.

I would try to get the baits I made (and rods) into the hands of people who would talk them up.

Most important I would DO ...... and i repeat DO WHAT I DO BEST!
Be the absolute best that you can be before you ever put a bait or a rod on a store shelf or in someone's hands if you are expecting some praise or positive word of mouth adverising.

Always- Always- try to be better the next time than you were the last and try to never get complacent (sp)

If you will do this and be patient. Then your baits/rods will go where they need to go.And things wil happen. It all depends on how dedicated you are.

Look at the whole thing as if you were trying to push a huge bolder up a hill.You scratch and claw and push and pry with all the effort you can.Then eventually the bolder gets over the hill and starts down the other side.When it starts down the other side is when things start happening.Thats when you will find your own way to make it work.

There is enough on this subject to write a multy chapter book.I am sure others have good information to add as well.I just hit the high points.I didnt mention things like:
Finding your own special touch to put on your work (something to set you apart from the crowd)

Keepeing a note pad by the bed to write ideas in that come to you in the middle of the night.

Surrounding yourself with people and organizations that you hopefully can sell yourself to and they in turn will help you.

Pro Staff (although I may piss some of my pro staffers of by saying this) but sometimes Pro Staffers are just a liability you can do without.You reaaly know you are where you need to be in your skills when they look you up and want things.If you go looking for them then you more than likley took on a liability you cant get a return on.

My number one piece of advice is Stay away from Ebay if you want to succeed long term. ebay is ok and I am not knocking it.Hell every now and again I stick something up on ebay just to let them boys know I am still around. But maintaining a presence on ebay in my opinion is a waste of time in some areas of Custom Lures and Tackle.If you are not carefull you will find yourself trying to "Out Do" the next guy and loose site of your goals.That is if you really expect a living to come from this.

I know I missed alot so fire away boys and help this guy out .
With Kindest Regards,


#5 blackjack


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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:58 PM

Blades hit the nail on the head with that post. my best advice is come up with a in depth honest business plan and set flexible attainable goals. Alot of people think that they are gonna be able to retire from their regular job and make a ton of cash. That is not gonna happen for some time, you have to keep your nose to the grindstone and not get discouraged. fisherman are always looking for that magic bait that is gonna win them their next tournament that is where you have to create a niche with your product. I will say this that it is certainly harder to get started today than it was 10 years ago,the current market is saturated with custom lure painters and makers. Every tom, dick and harry with an airbrush and woodworking skills is doing it, very very few will be around in 5 years



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:31 AM

Good point Blades... well said.. I got one for you along the same line as your boulder story... someone told me at a insurance conference a long time ago... The Snowball effect... When you start out making a snowball its really hard to get it going.. once the snow starts to stick and you move the ball in the snow..it gets bigger and graps up more and more snow... Never heard the boulder effect.. I like that one a little better!!! When the snowball gets so big you will need help to push it.. I would rather have a boulder run down the hill... seems a whole lot easier!!

As for ebay.. JT is right! It's tuff to keep it going. Believe me I kill myself daily trying to keep up with it. But if you have a passion for what you do and enjoy it. You can be successful at it. Im lucky for the fact I have a great wife and insurance customers that keep their coverage with me so I have renewal commission to buy lure supplies!! woohoo!! I do ok on ebay but I also dont have the pressure to make my living at it!! But even if I didnt make a dollar selling my stuff to friends or on ebay.. I know I would still paint and try to craft.. Its that much fun to me.. Sometimes, when Im on the lake I wish I were home making lures or painting them.. rather than fishing (USUALLY ON A DAY I left Dean's instruction's on my desk and the sucker's arent bitin..but).. That was when I knew I was screwed up and hooked on this craft! When sanding and painting sounds more fun than fishing!!!

GOOD LUCK!! Greg...Dont let anyone tell you!! " YOU CANT"!!! YOU CAN'Ts kill dreams!!! And all of us on TU are dreamers!!! If we werent we would just use the same old stuff they tell us to use.. Whoever they are? NO GO STICK IT TO THE MAN!!!


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#7 BobP


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:52 AM

Most successful craft businesses start out part-time and that's a great way to bootstrap it into full time if you 1) still love doing it after it morphs into a business and 2) are learning enough about small business to make it viable, and 3) can produce a product thats better/different than your competition, and can make your customers realize it.

#8 lockjaw



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 08:38 AM

Don't forget the ugly side of the business. Patents, lawsuits, lawyers...:cry:
And all the knock-off makers (big and small) that will copy your hard work if you happen upon a real winner.

#9 mark poulson

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 09:25 AM

All these guys are right.
Success as a small businessman requires a huge commitment and a passion.
And you'll never look at the lures you make the same way you do now.
Oh, and you can forget about "just going fishing". If you do manage to sneak away for some time on the water, you'll spend more time testing than fishing.
So there are a lot of sacrifices you'll have to make to be self-supporting and successful.
But, if that's your path and your dream, go for it! If you don't try, you'll probably kick yourself every day because you didn't. What's the worst thing that could happen? You won't be able to do it. But at least you will have given it your best shot.

#10 Tapupa



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:03 PM

Don't forget about the "Friendly IRS". Make sure that you seperate your business from your personal finances as the IRS will do everything they can to call your "Business" a hobby. You will have to prove that you are in it to make a profit. Make sure you keep all receipts and other records and make sure that you open a business checking account to keep things seperated.
Good Luck and "Get Ur Done"

#11 Hughesy



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:32 PM

I've been living off of it for almost 20 years now. Blackjack is right. Back then there was just a few of us and it was easier. Put out the very best product or paint job you can, give it some time and money and forget about going fishing.