In a certain sense, one can argue that blacksmithing has quickly become far less financially lucrative than it was many years ago. Back in the Medieval days, blacksmiths had plenty of work forging anything from farming equipment to arms and armor. In the 18th, 19th, and even the 20th century, a local blacksmith’s shop was essential to a village or a farm.
But what about now? From a traditional perspective, blacksmithing seems to have become less viable of a career. Sure, there are still some shops here and there, but blacksmithing seems to have shifted from playing a central role in industry and equipment manufacturing. Instead, it became more about specialty projects and niche gigs.
So, what does this mean for you? If you’re just a beginner blacksmith still making some rookie mistakes, is it even possible to make money in 2020?
I have some news for you…
YES, IT IS!
You can make a FORTUNE as a blacksmith making simple, creative projects from your home.
You just have to think outside the box a little.
Let’s go over some ways to start making money almost immediately!
September 2021 Update: I made a quick, updated version of this article here.
Method #1: Etsy
Making money as a blacksmith, especially if you’re not interested in spending years working in a shop for someone else or making this a full-time career, will require starting an online business. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can sell virtually anything online.
Now, I won’t’ necessarily recommend you starting your own online store and trying to make money through online sales that way. You’re going to have to learn how to drive online traffic to your store, but it’s possible.
Instead, I’d recommend first starting off with online platforms for niche, custom products. Etsy is the first website that comes to mind.
Do a quick search on etsy.com and type in blacksmithing…see what you find.
I just did a quick search today as of November 14th, 2019.
Look at all these products.
Some of them are selling for HUNDREDS of dollars…and have HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of positive reviews…
And most buyers don’t leave reviews. We can say maybe 10-20% of buyers leave reviews for products, but most don’t.
So let’s take that first item – Rustic Titanium Ring, Forged Hammered Mens Wedding Band – as an example.
It’s selling for CA$250, so let’s just say that’s US200 for simplicity’s sake.
How much does it cost you to buy that material for this ring? Let’s say it costs $5 for everything.
Now, there’s shipping and handling costs and some fees from Etsy’s end as well, but let’s say the end profit here if $170 per ring.
We can also see that the maker of this product has 450 positive reviews. Like I said before, most people don’t leave reviews. That means there are a lot more people buying this product than just 450…let’s just said 10 times this figure.
4,500 bought this ring. And if you make $170 in profit for each ring…how much is that?
Do the math…you’d be astonished.
Just on one product!
But even if our assumptions are a little off here, maybe only 2,000 or just 1,000 people bought this ring. That’s still anywhere between $170,000 to $340,000 on just one product.
Do you see how much potential there is here?
People are making a FORTUNE off of Etsy, and no one’s the wiser.
Method #2: Start Your Own Store + Online Ads
You’ve heard of drop shipping, right?
No – I’m not trying to sell you some course…
But have you ever seen those videos on YouTube where someone finds a product on a wholesale site, like aliexpress.com, creates a Shopify store, then starts advertising their product on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, etc?
Well, why can’t you do the same thing?
The only difference is that you won’t need to find products to sell.
Just make your own.
Go back on websites like Etsy, look at which types of products are the most popular, and start making your own version.
After you do that, create your own online store via platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce, then start advertising on places social media giants to drive traffic.
The problem with dropshipping is that most people are competing amongst each other with the exact same product. Nothing’s really that unique.
But you’re creating your own products. You stand out. Instead of selling some Chinese products that a thousand other online marketers are selling, the fact that you make everything yourself and no one else sells the exact same product as you give you a sense of professionalism.
There’s A LOT of money that can be made this way.
However, there is a steep learning curve that you need to go through in regards to running online ads.
Running a successful Facebook advertising campaign isn’t as easy as you think. It requires plenty of testing and a level of knowledge about the platform you’re working with.
And that takes time.
But it’s possible.
Method #3: Reaching out to local businesses
This might be my least favorite method since I’m not much of a people person. But if you are, this might work out for you.
But it requires some people skills. If you’re more of an introvert that doesn’t like dealing with people directly, I recommend the first two methods.
In fact, I think the first two methods I mentioned are A LOT more powerful and have significantly more potential than this last method.
But I should share it with you anyways.
How many businesses in your city or local town require blacksmithing services on a consistent basis?
Probably not many but think in terms of which particular types of businesses would.
And reach out to these places.
(Hint, if you’re struggling to come up with ideas, start with local farms and your agricultural industry, that’s a good place to start).
Search online for the manager or person in charge of the business, and reach out to them by either email or phone.
If you explain yourself, say you’re a beginner blacksmith willing to sell horseshoes, tools, and anything else they need at a discounted rate – and your PERSONABLE and FRIENDLY – you might stand a chance.
Method #4: Trade Shows and Displays
The last method I’ll mention to you is actually selling your wares in person. Again, this is more suited for extroverts, but if you make your own knives, rings, tongs, and other interesting items that people find fascinating, why not get your own stall in a farmer’s market or trade show and sell your products in person?
You’ll have to play on the fact that you’re a local business and not a major corporation, but if what you’re selling has some charm and is a little unique from the rest of the market, you can make a decent living out of it.
And…that’s it. That’s all I got to say about using trade shows and running your own stall.
You’ll notice that I’m leaving this particular section fairly empty. I’ll be honest with you; this is the one area where I’m the least familiar with.
I know people who have done this successfully, but it’s not for me.
Making money by blacksmithing as an apprentice
You’ll notice that one thing I try to avoid is working a job.
I think there’s enough of an opportunity for people to make money without having to work in a traditional 9-5 for someone else.
However, I have to admit that this might be best for some people. If you’re struggling to pay the bills, then getting a job right now while trying to start an online blacksmithing business on the side is a better way to go about doing things.
While I’ve mentioned the sheer profit potential of online businesses, you also have to realize that getting to this level of success takes time. That Etsy store that was making hundreds of thousands of dollars on the one ring didn’t get to that level overnight. It likely took that particular store YEARS to get to that level.
The truth is, running an online business isn’t linear, it’s exponential. For the first while when you start, whether that’s the first few months or even your first year, you likely won’t make too much money. But as you invest more time into it, it really begins to kick off.
But if you need some money to pay your bills, maybe getting a job as an apprentice blacksmith is the right call. You’ll be able to learn from a more experienced master blacksmith while honing your skills.
The problem, however, is finding these types of jobs…and that’s difficult.
No one’s really going to hire a complete, hobby-level beginner to work in their shop. You’ll probably need some sort of certification that you’ve attended a course or have some sort of education.
Even with this, however, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re passionate and that you stand out from the many other people competing for these similar positions. That’s where having a strong portfolio of projects you’ve been working on the side to show off can really come in handy.
However, this might be kind of hard to pull off as a beginner blacksmith. Overall, I’m not sure I’d really recommend getting a job as an apprentice blacksmith unless your serious about taking your skills to a professional level.
To be honest with you, the best chance you have of making serious money as a blacksmith – regardless of your skill level – is to leverage the internet and start an online business of sorts.
You can scale MUCH faster then trying to sell or pitch your goods in person, and it’s perfect if you’re not a people person like me.
In fact, I believe in blacksmithing as an online business SO MUCH that I’m going to be creating a dedicated guide exactly on this topic.
And I guarantee you, there will be nothing on the internet that COMES CLOSE to teaching specifically beginner blacksmiths how to make money online.
Until then, however, keep up the hard work,
To your success,
Best Beginner Blacksmithing Projects in 2021
Essential Tools That Every Beginner Blacksmith Needs to Own
Begin to Blacksmith is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.