Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stress & Start Ups

Many sharpeners start their businesses part-time. Not an easy thing to do. Sometimes you're tired at the end of your regular work day, other things come up, and more often than not; it adds extra stress to your life. This last point is important to think about and prepare for. Stress affects health, we all know that; the trick is balancing work/ambition/stress when your starting something like a part-time sharpening business.

One of my friends on Twitter passed a link to a great blog post that talks about the importance of maintaining your health while working on a start up business like sharpening. It's filled with good advice and I think you should take a few minutes and give it a read.

To be successful at sharpening, you need to be healthy. This post will help you stay that way, even during the stressful time of starting things up. Here's the link:

Image: alancleaver

Friday, June 25, 2010

Give Me the Worst Pair of Shears You've got.

I had a student say to me one time, "I go into every shop I can find and say give me the worst pair of shears you have and I'll make them cut." He then asked, "What do you think about that?"

I said, "Well...I think that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life." (With a smile on my face of course)

He laughed and asked why. So I asked, "What happens if they give you a shear like the one in this picture?" (Click on the picture for a better look)

He went on to tell me that he did in fact get a shear almost exactly like this one once. An upholsterer went outside to the dumpster and pulled an old carbon steel shear out of the bottom he had noticed the day before. So I asked, "Were you able to make it cut?"

My student said yes, but he worked on the shear for over an hour and then didn't charge anything for it. Now he did get the account, so that's good, but at what cost? I told him there was a better way if he was interested. He said he was. So I said, "Wouldn't it have been better to walk in and say give me the best pair of shears you have and I"ll make them cut better?"

I'm not pushing arrogance or cockiness here, I'm pushing toward the realm of confidence; although you do need to be careful because there's a fine line between the two. If all you can get to prove you can sharpen from a potential to customer is junk, then take the junk and make it better. But if you REALLY want to make an impression, shoot for getting what's good and then make it awesome.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Filming, Filming, Filming...

Spent the whole day filming a new Ookami Gold® video today. When I loaded it into the editing program, guess what! It was waaaay too dark and apparently the mic was directly under my nose. Sounds like Darth Vader trying to teach sharpening. :) Back to the drawing board tomorrow. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Long Have You Been Sharpening?

I had a fellow sharpener that's new to the business send me an email about an obstacle he's been running up against as he knocks on doors. Bet you've run into the same thing from time-to-time. The obstacle was this question, "How long have you been sharpening?"

New sharpeners panic when they hear this because they wonder how they can answer honestly without being shown the door. Well there are a couple of ways I usually suggest new sharpeners handle this question. One involves demonstration, the other involves humor. I'll be doing a write up on this in next months On The Edge Newsletter. If you'd like to find out more about On The Edge, give me a call at 864-381-8697 or visit

Image: aidanmorgan