Build your DIY Confidence – HTH 023
back to another episode of the How to Home Podcast. My name’s Aaron Massey, and
joining me is Tracy Pendergast, as always. We’ve got a very special guest
calling us today via Skype. Brad Rodriguez is joining us from Fix This Build
That, and we are talking about ways to establish your DIY confidence getting
started and how you can transition it into potentially a business.
Brad also has a blog, a YouTube channel, Instagram, and he has a podcast, free
plans. There’s so many different ways that you can utilize his knowledge.
multifaceted, he’s prolific across all these platforms. We’re really excited to
touch base with him. Before we dive too deep into that, I just want to take a
quick second to say thank you to our founding sponsor, FilterBuy, for making
this series and this episode possible. FilterBuy is a HVAC filter provider.
They manufacture and ship over 600 different size air filters, or you can get
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howtohome_guide on Instagram, or you can find us and interact with us on our
Brad was actually a follower suggestion when we asked for a guest to guest
right. Yeah, we actually got hit up to talk to you, so we’re excited that
you’re here and thank you so much again for joining us.
I’m glad to be on the show.
those that don’t know, Brad is obviously has a huge audience on Instagram and
across all platforms really. But for people who maybe aren’t familiar with you,
tell us a little bit about your background.
yeah, absolutely. My name is Brad Rodriguez. I run Fix This Build That, which
is … It started out actually as Instagram, which is interesting. I started
off doing home repair and home DIY, and then I found this woodworking thing.
This was way back 2002, so I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I wasn’t
doing the content. Then we moved to Nashville in 2013, which is where I grew up.
Then I was away from all my other friends, and I found Instagram as a way to
share woodworking. All of a sudden, I started sharing my woodworking projects
with, and found this community of woodworkers online.
where this whole thing began, is that I found … I was getting feedback, I was
really enjoying it. Then I found a lot of people had questions and they were
asking, “Well, how did you do this? How did you do that?” That grew and
grew, and the audience just grew with it back in those stone ages of Instagram
before video, it was all just pictures and everything. In 2015, I launched the
blog fixthisbuildthat.com, went with that, launched my YouTube in 2016, and
it’s just evolved from there. It’s mainly woodworking projects but I’ve now
started with the name Fix This Build That. I did build that for the first two
years, and then I decided I really want to start incorporating some more home
I’ve done flooring, I’ve done a whole bathroom remodel, doing small things
around the house like kitchen organization, things like that. I’m really
starting to pull in both sides of the home repair as well as the woodworking
and DIY. Yeah, it’s been a fun journey and that’s how it all started, it was
just on the Instagram. Actually coming this August, it will be have two years,
I’ll be doing this full time. I was in corporate America for 17 years before that,
working a day job of mechanical engineering process improvement. Now I sit in
my office and talk to people on video chats. It’s awesome.
I mean, did you ever see yourself going this route, obviously with your
corporate America background? Did you ever see yourself, I’m going to be a
maker full time and work for myself?
What the funny part was is I remember getting into it, and even when it first
started and when I thought … It was probably 2014, a company, Rigid actually,
contacted me and I had built a flip top tool cart, which was one of my more
popular builds for the shop. They said, “Oh.” I had a Rigid planer on
one side and a Rigid oscillating spindle sander on the other. They’re like,
“We love this. This is really awesome. Can we send you a compressor to
test out as this new thing?” I was like, “Ooh, a free tool. Are you
kidding me? This is amazing.” That was the moment that I was like,
“Oh, this is like something the people, that companies would want to
invest in.” Then further down the road, obviously it started coming into
remember the first blog post I ever did that was paid, was 200 bucks. I was on
top of the world. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I was just paid $200. This is
amazing.” Back then, it wasn’t … I was like, “Okay, $200 versus a
salary as a mechanical engineer.” There was a pretty vast, a vast
difference there. But it was just like one of those slow burns. It wasn’t like
back then, I thought, “Oh, maybe one day,” but it’s just like slow
burn, slow build. It was just one day. My wife and I were like, “We might
be able to do this. This could be a thing if we keep growing it.” It was a
pipe dream and then it was just one of those things that you wake up one day
and you’re like, “Wow, this is really turned into something.” It was
not an aha moment. It was more of just that consistency over time that finally,
you turn in and you’re like, “Wow, we have something here.”
that it is your full time job and not just a hobby, do you find it hard to keep
creative? Is the enjoyment is still there? What has changed for you?
it is. It is one of those things where, I was working, north of the city and I
love south of the city. I was driving about an hour and a half every day, which
in LA that’s probably like just the trip to the grocery store.
went to Home Depot, took me an hour and a half the other day.
yeah, in Tennessee, that’s a long drive. I was spending so much time at the
job. I would basically leave at 7:00 in the morning, come back at about 6:00 at
night, and working in the eight to five. basically. When I would get home, I
would hang out with the kids, and we have three kids, and then have dinner and
put them to bed, and then I’d be in the shop from 9:00 till midnight or 1:00
AM. As the working the side hustle, that’s what I was doing to grow the
business. I just kept thinking, “Oh, if I could only … When I go full
time, this is going to be amazing.” Then I went full time and what I
realized is, I think a lot of people take for granted when they’re working this
kind of side hustle thing. They take for granted all the time that you have,
just the mental time or the drive time.
I was using that hour and a half. I mean, I was driving eight hours a week, but
I was using a lot of that time to talk to people and talk to sponsors and talk
to just other friends and catch up. Then I realize, as I got in and started
working for myself, that I didn’t have that time. So I was losing connection
with people, and then I had more deadlines. It was the weirdest thing. It was
almost like I had less time because there was a lot more pressure, right? Just
because I took on a lot more as we started to try to make it work. It was a
little different, Tracy, because it was like each side of it, it’s like I
physically obviously had more time, but then mentally I had less time because I
was spending more time doing the actual grounded pound type stuff.
couldn’t think … I didn’t have that time to spend. At lunch at work, where
I’m just thinking of ideas. Those were the things that I did lose. It was just
that calm brain time to spend thinking of how to grow the business and what’s
the next project’s going to be and how to do things, and even responding on
social media if I was at lunch or wherever. I could just spend that time where
it’s like if you’re working for yourself … If you use that time, you’re … I
got caught in that trap. I was spending way too much time on social media at
first, and I wasn’t being very good. Yeah, it was very, very different going
from a side hustle to a full time.
think that’s one of the biggest challenges, I think, everybody has, whether
they’re tackling projects around their house or building stuff, whatever.
Whether it’s full time or not, it’s just that maximizing your time. Certainly
if you have kids, right? It’s maximizing your efficiency, spending those hours
the best way possible. I struggle with it constantly. But once you figure it
out, I guess, once you get into the rhythm and the routine, and I know you guys
talk a lot about that type of thing on your podcast, Made For Profit, because
it’s about building yourself as a maker in the business side of things.
yeah, absolutely. Myself and John Malecki, as my cohost there, we have Made For
Profit podcast, and that sprouted out, out of this whole hustle journey. I
actually started, we started the podcast before I went full time. Then I went
full time at episode 10, because I remember it was obviously in the line of
sight, and we’re like, “We got to get this started before you go full
time,” so we can be like, “oh, I went full time,” instead of
just saying like, “oh yeah.” That has been a huge thing. Time
management, I think is so important and it’s something that I completely
struggle with. I’m a natural born procrastinator. I don’t know about you guys.
work really well … I think that was an interesting thing about working the
side hustle. I always knew I had between 9:00 and midnight, or 9:00 and 1:00. I
was so efficient between those hours because I was just in the shop trying to
get stuff done. Then I think that’s … It’s like the law of time expansion or
whatever. It’s like you’ll take as much time as you have, right? If you need to
build something, and you’ve got four hours, you’ll get it done in four hours,
but if you’ve got eight hours, it’ll take you eight hours.
fell into that. I think having a set time block and saying, “Here’s the
items that …” That’s really what started helping me. As I started laying
out items and thinking like, “Okay, how long is it going to take me to cut
all the parts down to size?” Right? And think about that, and really start
thinking through the actual steps version versus just saying, “I’m going
to go out and work on a planner today. What’s my goal for today? Do I want to
be done with the base? Do I want to have it sanded and finished? What are the
things?” That’s what really, I think, changed for me, is getting those set
defined goals for anytime that I’m in the shop.
got a goal of what I want to have done by the time I leave, and knowing the
steps, thinking ahead, so that if I need to apply finish then I’m thinking,
“Okay, do I have all that finish on hand? How long is it going to take to
dry in between? Am I doing some really dusty operations beforehand? If I start
finishing, that’s going to be a big problem because I’ll get dust on all of my
finish.” Those are all the little things that you really have to plan out
to get an efficient four hours in the shop or eight hours versus … I think
it’s a lot easier to have an efficient two or three hours in the shop because
there’s only so much you can do.
the goal of Fix This Build That? What would you say your … I don’t know, the
goal behind the business or your mission statement, I guess? What do you hope
to achieve with the brand?
The one I go for a lot is educate, inspire and entertain in woodworking, in
DIY. I do the YouTube videos, and I try to do some humor in there. A lot of dad
jokes. So if you like dad jokes, that’s the spot for you. Bad puns, everything
like that. What I try to do is bring it down and make it, that it’s easily
digestible and that it is more slanted towards the beginner than it is advance.
You’re not going to see me cutting hand cut dovetails or doing any crazy stuff.
I do a lot of really approachable joinery, pocket-hole joinery, but then I’ll
mix things in. My goal is to take people who’ve may have started, maybe they
build a plan off of Ana White site. You hear that over and over again.
want to get that next level. What’s that next level? Maybe I’ll have a base
that’s really simple, but then I’ll have a nice walnut top to it or something.
My goal and my mission statements inspire people to continue building and go to
that next level. But also, some people discover me and that’s how they get into
woodworking. They might not be searching on Ana White, they might be on YouTube
looking for an easy project, and so I dabble on that. But that’s basically what
I’m looking for, is just to get people building with their hands because I know
how rewarding it is. I know, especially for a lot of Gen Xers who are …
they’re in their mid 30s and they’re figuring out like, “What do I do with
myself?” And like, “I want to get back to … I want to do something
with my hands.” I feel like that’s a big part of my audience, is people
who are just like, “I just want to build something,” but they don’t
know where to start.
do they start? What are some easy beginning projects that anyone can start
with? A new homeowner, for example?
depends, right? It depends upon how adventurous you are, too. Because some
people just start, they’re like, “I want to build a huge bookcase or
built-ins,” and they just go for it and that’s awesome. But what I always
recommend people to do is to start with something that you’re going to have
success with, right? Because you don’t want to go in, and go for that built-in
bookcase and then you fail and you’re like, “This is horrible. I don’t
want to ever do this again.” I actually just put out, as earlier this year
I think, three organizational projects for your kitchen. They’re super simple
stuff. It was a spice rack, a drawer organizer, and then a potluck holder that
you can put on your cabinets. It’s all made from just poplar, either one by three
or one by two material.
even used … I went and grabbed one of those legit hand plastic miter saw, the
miter boxes. Right? That’s one thing. It’s really funny, as an aside. It’s
really … YouTube comments, they’re just gold. I’ll go in there, and they’ll
literally be right next to each other. One person will be like, “This is
ridiculous. Nobody has these tools. Why are you using … I can’t have that.
Your shop cost $100,000.” You get those comments, and then literally right
beneath that, it would be like, “Why on earth are you using a circular saw
instead of a table saw?” That would be so much more efficient to you. It’s
can’t win, right? But I always try to meet people in the front end of it. The
one I went super basic with, is like, “You can build stuff with just a
hand saw on a miter box, and for $40 worth of tools, you could make some cool
little organizational things for your kitchen.” That was one I just came
up with. But then, and more in general, I always like to tell people to build
stuff for your shop. Because when you’re first starting building, you’re going
to mess things up, and it’s like you don’t want to have that coffee table in
your living room that you blew the coroner out on and have these huge gaps
filled with putty and bad stain job.
up your shop furniture first, make some cabinets for the walls. I do a lot of
cabinet plans. Shop build outs, it’s one of my niches. I have some free plans
for that. I do a combination of plans there, some are free, some are paid.
That’s what I always recommend people. It’s start on your shops, hone your
skills building things for your shop and then start doing things for your
there’s so many resources out there now, for sure, as far as plans and just
accessibility to tools and all that stuff. I think most people tend to get down
this rabbit hole as a maker or a builder, all that stuff, out of necessity,
they end up, “I need a coffee table,” or, “I need a side
table,” or, “I need,” whatever, “an entryway table,”
or whatever. Then they just do a quick search on Google, and somebody like Brad
or any number of people will pop up like, “Oh, I really liked that. Oh
look, he’s got plans available? Oh, I’m going to get those plans.” Then
that’s how they jump down this slippery slide, and then they become all of a
sudden they’re makers.
That reward of seeing somebody build it is just so awesome, and seem like
different takes. Some people will take my style, and I’m like, “Wow, you
did a way better job than I did making that stuff. Can you come and do a guest
blog post for me because, yeah, you just crushed that and made mine look like
poo.” It’s really fun to see that, and I’ll get E-mails, Facebook posts,
Instagram of people sending it through, and when they say, “Hey, I’ve
never built anything before and you’ve inspired me to build something,”
those are the most rewarding because you’re like, “yes, somebody just got
hooked and now they’re going to go do their own thing.”
some of those have even become bloggers. It’s somebody who was following me
three or four years ago, and now you see them doing their own thing or doing
the influencer side, is really, really cool, really rewarding to know that,
again, that educate, inspire, and entertain, that you can inspire people to …
Basically, they’re changing their lives, whether it’s just internal fulfillment
or actually starting to get another revenue stream for helping support their
mean, we see it a lot. Brad and I run into each other at a lot of events,
Workbench con and different events throughout the year. You see that all the
time. I mean, you’re always seeing new, up and coming maker, people who are
like, “Oh, this is my account.” They give you a business card or
whatever and, “I started making because I saw your video on X, Y, Z,”
or, “I started doing this, and now I started doing it more full
time.” It’s crazy because then you see Brad’s up there teaching classes
about Instagram growth, and then I did a panel with Carhartt about brand
relationships and stuff. It becomes … It’s like … I don’t know, next
generation of maker come up in a [crosstalk 00:17:47]
Then they’re teaching. Some of those folks that were in our classes will
absolutely be teaching in a year or two-
or whatever they have made. We’ve already seen it. You see that happen. It was
the same thing. I went to a blogging conference, Haven, which is now
transformed a bit into the Workbench con. But the Haven conference … In 2015,
that’s when I went to my first conference, when I tried to learn, what is this
blogging thing all about and how do I make money doing it? I went to that and I
was just eyes wide open and just drinking from the fire hose. Then, two years
later I taught an Instagram course at Haven, then Workbench con and Spring
Make. It’s really fun to see people latch on, and it is.
see somebody brand new who’s in the audience, and then legitimately, the next
year they could be teaching. I think that’s what the cool thing is about our
space, is there’s still plenty of room, there’s tons of people out there doing
it. But there’s plenty of room, there’s people breaking through. Every year you
see new folks that are coming on, and they hit their niche, whether it’s in
Instagram or in YouTube, that whatever they find, they find a unique twist that
is unfilled, and they just go with it and have their own style that people latch
You’ve highlighted quite a few people like that on your podcast, on Made For
Profit, when people have just come up and taken over and transitioned their
whole life from being … work in the corporate America job and all of a sudden
they’re like, “Yeah, I’m a full time maker now, doing whatever, building furniture
or making content, or whatever it is.” It’s pretty cool. For those of you
who want to check it out, just look for Made For Profit. You guys are on pretty
much every podcast platform at this point, right?
We should be available everywhere, and madeforprofit.com you can go there and
get links out too if you want to add on Apple or Stitcher or Google play or
whatever. You can check that out. But it’s really cool to see … Actually, it
was really funny, just last night. I was at a dance recital for my daughter,
which its own … That was our first time, our first exposure to that, and let
me just tell you, yeah, that’s interesting.
southern dance recital?
Yeah. Yeah. No, it wasn’t like whatever that horrible show on-
Lifetime or … Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. It wasn’t Toddlers & Tiaras. But it
was close. But I was there and I ran into an old friend of mine that I went to
college with and then I worked with her and her husband when I was in
Cincinnati. I hadn’t talked to them or seeing them in probably … I don’t
know, seven or eight years, and we started talking. He’s like, “What are
you doing now?” I was like, “I’m a full time YouTuber,” and he
was like, “what?” Thinking of that just wasn’t even … Whenever, a couple
of years ago, you think a full time YouTuber, you thought people making cat
videos or just like the vloggers and these outlandish people, but they’re …
it’s a legitimate way to earn a living now.
mean, that’s me and you guys and our peers out there, that are doing this, that
it used to be on network TV, and now as everybody’s on Plug In and people are
going to a different media streams for content than YouTube. So many people
like I hear all the time, but I don’t have anything, I don’t watch any of that
stuff. I don’t even watch Netflix. YouTube is where I watch all my
entertainment. It is its own network, and we all have our own little channels
and shows, and some of us publish more regularly than others. I haven’t
published a video in three weeks.
a challenge, man.
be really bad network TV. Yeah, exactly. I’d be really bad network TV show. But
people come, they can come find that content and it searchable and we’re out
there helping people. On the flip side, we’re helping brands and sponsors share
their message. It’s a great combination where you can add value to the end
user, and at the same time help shed light on people and brands and sponsors
who are trying to get in front of that same audience, who they just don’t know
do you want to learn next? What are some skills that you want to add to your
channel or your blog?
I’ve been trying to get more and more into metalworking. I went to Spring Make,
which was the last time Aaron, we just saw each other, recently in Cleveland
but the year before that it was more of a … it wasn’t an open conference, it
was a kind of invite only. That was right on the heels the Workbench
conference, which was another maker conference down in Atlanta. I was fortunate
enough to get an invite to that. I had met the Lincoln folks there at the
Workbench conference. I had never welded before that but I always wanted to,
and so I got my hands on a welder. I was like, “Man, this is
amazing.” They invited me up there.
got a welder in the shop now, I’ve made a few projects, but I haven’t … It’s
like one of those interesting things that it’s very complimentary to
woodworking, but it’s very, very different in terms of just skillset, even
power needs. If you’re running a 240 volts welder and then just the amount of
dust and nasty that metalworking makes compared to woodworking, and I don’t
want to mix those two. So I’ve been trying to figure out how do I cordon off a
spot for metalworking so I don’t … because you don’t want metal shavings near
your woodwork. That’s really bad news. I’ve been trying to figure that out, and
so I’ve not been able to make as much headway as I wanted to. That’s probably
the biggest thing, is I’ve only welded three table bases and they want a square
side on any of them. I need to get better at it and I need to practice. I’m
just trying to find the space to do it. That’s something I really want to get
There’s also that. From the content creator side, it’s like you don’t want to
out kick your coverage as far as your audience. You want to attract the
audience or show them how to do stuff, but if your audience is more of a
beginner or introductory, it’s like you don’t want to throw a barrier up right
away, right? Where people are like, “Oh yeah. Well, if I had that I could
do it too.” Or … I get that.
get that as well, because it’s like certain people want to see minimal metal
working, where some people were like, “Oh, I’m a little bit more of an
intermediary.” It’s tough to make stuff that people want to watch and make
sure that, from a business perspective, you’re getting the most eyeballs
possible. There is a little bit of that balance back and forth, which can be
that’s probably the biggest thing that as going full time, that I’ve realized.
I do it. I’ve always approached it as more of a business versus … There’s a
lot of makers out there that they’re just like, “I’m just a maker. I just
want to make and I don’t care, whatever. People can come if they want to come.”
I don’t approach [inaudible 00:24:42] Being 17 years in corporate America, I’m
very business oriented and all about a PNL statement and efficiency. I’ve
always looked at it like that. I do put those blinders on, Aaron, when I’m
looking at the project, and I think. I mean, that’s why I still do a lot of
things with pocket-hole joinery and I don’t own a Festool Domino because as
soon as you whip out that $1000 tool to make glorified biscuits, is that people
are like … they immediately check out because they’re like, “I can never
afford that tool, and so I’m not even going to watch this channel.”
does. You have to think about your audience, again, if you’re trying to do this
as a business and reach the most people you can. There’s plenty of people that
just do outlandish and crazy … Like Jimmy DiResta, he’s not worried about
what his audience can do, he’s making crazy off the wall stuff that is just so
imaginative. His is more inspirational where mine’s more tutorial. I’m trying
to think about, “Okay, what is the average person’s going to have in their
shop? What are their challenges, and how can I help them overcome those, and
meet them in the middle ground and maybe show them some upper scale
then also, if I use a band saw, I’ll say, “Hey, you could also do this on
a jig saw.” Something like that. It is one of those interesting things about
running a woodworking business or a content creation business on woodworking,
is that the spectrum is so wide and you got to choose where you … because you
can’t be everything to everybody either, so you have to choose where you’re
going to be, and if people want to learn how to cut dovetails, they’re not
going to come to my channel and I’m okay with that.
about your projects? What types of projects do you get the most enjoyment from,
or is there a project that stands out that’s your favorite of late?
funny thing is, and I get this question, I do a weekly live and I’ll actually
be doing it tonight as this is a Sunday when we’re recording it, is I’ve been
doing a weekly Instagram live. Before that it was a Periscope live. If you guys
remember the Periscope [crosstalk 00:26:41]
that was the end thing. I’d have to go back and see, but I had been doing that
for over three years and I’ve never missed a week, which is crazy to think
about. But I get asked that question all the time. People … The top three
questions are how did you get started woodworking? What’s your favorite wood to
work with? Which is walnut.
Yeah, it’s everybody’s.
it’s got to be, and what’s your favorite project that you’ve built? It’s funny
that I’ve been answering this over the course of the last three years, and I
built this sideboard. It’s just a small thing. It’s like 42 inches wide, so
it’s not a huge big buffet type thing, but just a sideboard. Two doors on the
bottom, two drawers on top, and a reclaimed walnut top, and the base is painted
gray. I just love that project, but I built it like two and half years ago. I
keep thinking, like you said recently, and I’m like, “No, that’s still
…” Then I feel bad about it. I’m like, “I need to top of
one of the once that I saw of yours, that I was like, “Man, this is really
nice.” It’s got the rough sawn marks on top-
of the walnut. It just looks so … because it’s a sleek modern side …
whatever you call it, side table or whatever. But the top has a little bit of a
rustic flair to it and it’s just like-
My wife and I like to say modern rustic farmhouse. We just combine them all
together. That’s kind of-
think that’s the trend. The trend these days is, how do I make Joanna Gaines
his house or whatever. That’s [crosstalk 00:28:16]
Yeah, exactly. But you tie them all together. But, yeah, for sure that one
because I even, for the handles, for the pools and the handles, I turn those on
my lathe. The reason it’s my favorite project is because there were so many
different techniques that went into that one piece, between frame and panel
doors, and some lathe work and working with that reclaimed top. Yeah, I don’t
know, it’s just one of my favorites, because it’s a little bit more involved.
Like I said, I do a ton of shop stuff that I really love. My flip top is
probably my favorite project from a business perspective, just because it’s …
that put me on the map and got me well known. But just from looking back and
thinking about the project and what went into it, for sure that sideboard.
someone was going to slowly get their feet wet, get started, a new homeowner,
or someone who’s never really built much, what are … just the grouping of
tools that you would suggest that they start with? What does everyone need?
That’s funny because that’s another question I get a lot, more through E-mail.
We are actually literally … My wife has now started helping me and she works
with the team. Her name’s Susan. This anonymous person called my wife. She’s
been helping me do some of the blog posts, and we’re doing a whole blog post on
getting started woodworking, because I get that question all the time, and I
keep asking it. Actually that was the genesis of the podcast, was because we
kept getting questions, John and I, about like, “How did you go full time?
How do you grow your social media?” I get that question all the time,
about what do I need to get started, and so we’re putting together the post and
I think I had eight tools on there. I think the most important, when I think
about when I got started.
three piece cordless 18 volts set is paramount. When I say three piece, I mean
a drill, a driver and a circular saw, because you … You can get that for
about 200 bucks, 150 bucks depending, in I think just some basic beginner
brand. You don’t have to go get the most expensive brand. I started out with a
Ryobi tool set back when they were yellow and blue, and they worked fantastic.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t need the fanciest tool. Something
where you can drill and drive, and use that circular saw to cut, a good orbital
sander obviously because you want to make your projects nice. For joinery, I
love pocket-holes, something like a Kreg R3, which again is about 40 bucks.
you can really … But even just between those tools right there, and then some
obvious stuff like tape measure, pencils, carpenter square, that kind of stuff.
Even just having those items, you can build a lot of stuff, and just getting
started. Because, let’s be real. I think that’s the biggest obstacle a lot of
people think of. It’s like, “oh.” They go, and they look at the price
of wood, and like, “Oh my God, I don’t want to spend 150 bucks on
wood.” So they want to buy the two by fours. They’re four bucks a piece,
right? They’re going to build that that Ana White style, coffee table that is,
whatever, 10 two by fours or whatever it is to make it. You can do that with very
that next level tool, if you’ve got the money in the space, maybe a miter saw.
Just with the miter saw, a circular saw, drills, and a pocket-hole jig, you can
build a ton of stuff for a pretty small budget. I always suggest, folks, for
things when you start getting into miter saws or table saws or anything like
that, is looking used. Because you can get really great tool deals on
Craigslist, estate sales, auctions, and you can get in for the cheap. I always
tell people that I built out my shop off of Craigslist for some of the more expensive
I moved out here from upstate New York, what? 12 years ago or so now. When I
came out, I literally had a duffle bag full of tools. Some Ryobi drill with the
cut … that old five piece Ryobi kit that came in a big plastic gray tub that
got rid of the tub, and I just put the tools in a duffle bag and then threw a
bunch of random stuff in there with it. As I built out, it was like … it was
estate sales, I was hitting up a lot of estate sales, just finding stuff. Yeah,
you can find some gems on Craigslist tools, look for Craigslist tools. Some
stuff you can get for free. I mean, people, a lot of times they’re just dumping
stuff off, and it might have a little surface rust on it but there’s so many
good restorative videos and stuff out there that you can find to just clean up
an old tool. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s junk, necessarily.
Yeah, you can find a … A lot of people just want … Especially I’ve found a
couple where they’re the older craftsmen stuff, back when they were solid
metal, and like the 50s, 60s craftsmen stuff, was really nice. I’ve seen their
big belt sanders and their table saw or the radial arm saw, or things like
that. You’re right, there’s maybe a daughter or a son of an older gentleman
that may have passed away that had a shop and they’re like, “We don’t
woodwork, we don’t know anything to do with this stuff. We just want it to go
to somebody who’s going to use it. We want to put it in good hands,” and
they’ll sell it for really cheap or even give it away, like you said.
seen a lot of that and I’ve been on the receiving side of some of that, where
they’re like, “We just want to know that it’s being used.” I think
that’s probably one of the biggest things, is as you get into woodworking and
just building in general, is to let other people know that you do it because if
you’re that person and someone’s like, “Oh yeah, my friends’ father just
passed away and they’ve got all these woodworking tools and they don’t know
what to do with them.” They’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, I think Aaron’s
that woodworker guy. I don’t know, call him and see if he knows anything to do
with it.” Right?
and I’ve hooked up a few friends just around that have been like, “I found
out about a sale,” or something going on locally. I’m like, “I don’t
need that, but let me text one of these other guys.” I’ve just got to this
place locally that was going out of business. I actually called a few guys, and
was like, Hey, they’re getting rid of this sliding miter saw. They’re getting
rid of all this stuff. I don’t need any of that stuff, but do you want
it?” They’re like, “Oh yeah, I’ll go down there,” and they get
pennies on the dollar. You get a decent tool.
That’s a great way to get wood, too.
and I bring it to Aaron to restore.
right. She finds junk. She’s like, “Hey, what do you … You want this
junk?” I’m like, “Okay, I guess I’ll take it,” and then I’ll
just stack it up somewhere for six months, and I’m like, “I really want to
do this project. I’ll get to it.” Never.
brought him some rusty chairs yesterday and I was like, “I’m so excited
about these. I found these for you.” He’s like, “This is some good
looking trash. Thank you so much.”
sure you get that all the time, as well, where people now know you can make
stuff or fix stuff and do all that stuff, and then it’s like you’re the first
person they call, and you’re like, “No.”
I get it, and at this point now I’m like, “Can I make a video out of it?
If I could make a video out of it, I’ll help you out.” If I can’t make a
out of it at this point, I’m like, “I don’t have time or I’ll try to coach
you, but I just can’t.” I’ve been pulled in too many different directions
How do you find time to do stuff in your own home? Do you?
exactly what Aaron just said. I mean, just like anybody else, I’ve got a long
honey-do list, and I look at things and that’s the first thing I think about
is, is this a video? Can I get content out of this? And if I can’t, then it’s
going to the bottom of the list. Unfortunately … Now I’ve started, what I
used to do is … Then it would just stay at the bottom of the list, and then
I’ve realized like, “Oh okay, those are probably the things I need to
start paying people to come do, even though it might pain me to pay somebody to
do something.” I’m like, “I could do that, but I’m never going to do
you just have to call and get somebody out to refinish your driveway, reseal it
or whatever, and you’re like, “I could do that. Well, yeah, I could do
that, but it’s going to take me two days, and I’m not going to be making
content during those, even though I should probably.” A bad example.
That’s one of those that I’ve been waiting on.
you should do that. That’s good content.
know. That is one. Actually, that’s a funny story, that one, that I was feeling
the same way about our playset. So I have this place out in the back. We bought
our house in 2013 when we moved down here, and there was a playset in the back
and it looked like it got assembled, stained, and then that was it. That was
probably five years old, so it was really looking tough. Then we let it sit for
three years. Then it was really looking tough, and I was like, “I need to
redo this.” I was like, “Well, I’ll just do a video.”
thought to myself, “Who wants to see a video on refinishing a
playset?” But I just went ahead and did it, actually had a sponsor join
on, which was awesome. I was like, “Oh, this is perfect.” I did it
and I put it out there, and it was like, “Yeah, yeah. So, so.” Then
all of a sudden out of nowhere, it took off. And it is now … Actually, I just
got a notice from YouTube yesterday, was one year ago yesterday when I launched
it. It has just under 6 million views-
on refinishing the playset. I was like, “Yeah, maybe I, because it … I
think what it was, and after reading through the comments, it’s that whole
satisfying video where it’s like you’re doing the pressure washer and you’re
getting off all that slime and it’s just the restoration and everybody loves a
good restoration project, from this to that, before and after shots. I was
playing it down and so it is. I was thinking, “Oh, nobody would ever want
to see that.” Now I’m like, “Well, maybe there is a thing
would. I [crosstalk 00:37:49]
was a perfect brand tie in too, right? Because it was a … Was it a pressure
washer brand that you were using?
yeah. Oh, yeah. It was Briggs & Stratton. Yeah. They were like, “Hey,
we’ve got some new pressure washers coming out. Do you have any projects?”
I was like, “Yes, I do.”
usually what it is, is I’ve got a full list and then I wait until some brand
comes out about … It was Home Depot the other day, or not the other day, but
a couple months ago. They said, “Hey, we have a flooring thing. Do you
have any need for vinyl plank flooring?” I was like, “Er.” It’s
probably not something I would put into my main area because we have hardwood
already. But I was like, “Ooh, laundry room. I’ve been wanting to redo the
floor because we’ve got a vinyl sheet flooring.” Redid the laundry room
with the vinyl plank, and that was perfect. That’s an interesting thing, is
like I have a whole list and then as soon as I can slot somebody with it, it’ll
go from the very bottom of the list to the top. I’m like, “Yes,
exactly. Well, it helps you dictate your content calendar, which is cool. But I
mean, I think one of the big things we try to do and I try to do, and on the
show we’ve talked about it a million times, is just instill that confidence in
people to get started. It’s just like that basic, you don’t have to know
everything right away, but it’s never been easier to find talented people like
yourself that can give you some guidance, give you some pointers, and now even
through your plans, for example. A lot of the legwork has been done for you.
mean you’ve basically come up with a cut list, you’ve come up with the
components, the parts, everything that you need to get started. All you have to
do is hit up Craigslist for a couple of tools or whatever, and get started, if
you really want to do it. There’s no excuse anymore for people, I feel like,
who are like, “Oh, I wish I could build something but I don’t have this,
this, this and this.” That’s just an excuse. There’s no excuses anymore.
You can do that if you want to. I think you’ve got some great plans available.
You started … you batched out some of your projects recently, right?
did. I did. I’ve been doing plans now for … gosh, I don’t know, maybe three
years or so. Like I said, I’ve got a mixture of free and paid plans, but what I
realized is that I have … and they’re very inexpensive. There are between $5
and $9. But then when I realized is people are buying multiple plans. I was
like, “Well, I should combo these up and give people a great
discount.” What I did is I packaged all of my plans together and did a 50%
discount on the entire package, and then I made a few other little bundles for
a shop bundle and a furniture bundle for folks. I got a great response to that.
Then instead of buying these individually, you can get the whole thing. That’s
one of the things that people are looking at in my YouTube videos as they see
my shop, and they’re like, “Oh, I wish I could have your shop.” I’m
like, “Well, now you can.”
could build this all out. You could build the exact same stuff I have. Those
are available over on my website if people want to check them out. They can go
see that. But I think it is a great way to reduce the barrier to entry because
it’s exactly what you say. I think the other thing is not just … not that
people don’t have an excuse that they don’t want to get into it, is that
they’re not … I always ask people, and actually I think I just shut it off
because I again can’t deal with E-mails as much anymore, but I always used to
ask people. When people would sign up for my E-mail list, I would have an auto
responder that would say, “What’s your biggest challenge? Hey, thanks for
joining. What’s your biggest challenge?”
three biggest things I heard just, it was amazing how consistent it was, were
time, money and shop space. Those are the three biggest obstacles I think that
people are dealing with right now. When I make my content as well as the plans,
I think about, “Okay, how can I save people time? How can I make their
shop space more efficient?” I can’t really give them more time, but,
again, how can I make their time more effective? Giving somebody a plan where
it’s like they don’t have to think about the design and what all pieces do I
need, they just take the shopping list, go get the lumber. I’ve even got the
supplies linked out, like Amazon links or Home Depot or whatever, so they can
buy all the hardware. Then all they have to do is build, just follow the
find that … I’ve gotten that feedback a lot, is that, I really enjoy your
plans because it just saves me time. I don’t have to think about it. I want to
build something, but I don’t want to have to plan it all out. But I want to
have … I want to be able to … when my friends come over and they’re like,
“Oh my gosh, did you build that?” Yeah, I did. They’re like … I get
this real feeling of contentment, but I don’t need to know that I designed the
thing. I just know that I built it. So how do I get from point A to point B the
fastest, and how do I help my audience get there? That one has been really
great positive feedback from the audience, as far as helping them just to,
again, use their time the most efficient, save money because they’re not having
to buy more material than they need and they’re not screwing it up by making
the wrong cuts, and then just giving them more efficiency in their shop and
utilizing their space better.
you want inspiration or you want resources, what are some sources that you
enjoy going to or some makers that you enjoy following?
mean, I love Pinterest. Pinterest is just amazing for ideas. My two favorite
spots are probably Pinterest and just Google image searches, as far as online.
Between those two, when I have ideas I try to … I’m not super creative. I
told you guys earlier I was a mechanical engineer. I think it’s straight lines,
straight up. If you go looking at any of my shop furniture, then you’d be like,
“I see that, Brad. I see that.” I’ve got all just slab plywood doors.
I think very linearly. But, what I am good at is taking pieces and parts, and
combining them together. What I’ll do is I’ll look at Pinterest, I’ll look at
Google image searches, and just see, like, “Oh, I like this idea but how
do I make that my own? How do I make it have more storage?” That’s a big
thing I focus on, is just storage aspects of projects.
add things in, or I’ll take just a little detail out of one project and combine
it with something else. Those two online spaces are probably where I get most
of my ideas. But then the other one, as far as just furniture design, it’s
hotels. Hotels are an amazing place to pick up ideas because they always have
really, if you like modern stuff because that’s what they mostly have, but is
going in and just looking at the furniture in the lobby, looking at the
furniture in the actual rooms and just seeing the designs and the construction
and how they look. That’s where I got some of the metal base designs, were
pulled some pieces that I saw in hotels. I was like, “Ooh, that looks
really cool. I could do that. What if I made this out of wood instead of metal?
What if I did this or did that?”
think hotels are just … businesses in general. Whenever I’m out, I’m always
looking at the furniture. I was looking at the furnishings and just thinking,
“Oh, that’s cool. I haven’t seen that before,” or getting a little
design element from something and trying to convert that into a piece that I
so funny that you should say the hotel because I always have told my husband I
want the hotel bathroom because I think it’s so brilliant how they do the
exposed, underneath the sink is exposed and then they have the shelves to put
all the towels right under and no cabinets. I don’t know why we don’t see more
of that in people’s homes. It makes so much sense.
They’ve always got amazing lighting in there too. Whenever I’m in a hotel room
and I’m getting ready in the morning, I’m like, “Ooh.”
I like the other way. I’m like, “Man, how do we turn the lights down in
need more dull lighting.
always got that light there, like the double mirror, the 2X mirrors. I turn
got to flip that thing back around. I don’t need to see any of my face at two
2X. We’ll get there.
just looking at our Instagram account here. We got a few questions in.
fire up some audience questions. The first one, I think we touched on a little
bit, but it says, “As a maker, is it hard to stay on top of personal work
for your home and family?”
It is, it absolutely is. Because, well, this is … I didn’t hit on this, so
I’ll go a different direction with it. I have three kids, 10, eight and seven.
Boy, boy and girl. For whatever reason my daughter, we had some projects in
mind and those came up to the top of the list, and so I made her a day bed, a
dresser, I refurbed this little table for her, and then I most recently made a
desk in that same farmhouse, rustic, modern style, whatever Aaron was talking
about. Those all kind of work together as a furniture set, if you will.
made those, and then just the other day, and it’s been getting more and more
frequent, my middle son was like, “Hey, dad. Why don’t you ever make me
any projects?” Right in the heart. I’m like, “Huh!” He’s like,
“When are you going to …” Because he’s sleeping on a mattress on
the floor. He’s got a point there, although he had a little bout with being
scared of the dark and we talked about, he was like, “I want it on the
floor, so I know there’s nothing under the bed.” We’re like, “You’re
a smart dude.”
But now he has like … and then he’ll hit me with it. He’d be like,
“Well, you built Macy the bed and the dresser. He lists off all the stuff,
and he’s like, “You haven’t built me anything.”
now you’ve got to get him out in the shop with you and you can make it a
actually been looking at doing that. It’s like, “How do I bring that
in?” Because I think that’s something that a lot of dads that get
enjoyment of working hands on with our kids. I am trying to think about how to
do that. But yeah, trying to balance the needs and wants. Luckily, my oldest
son, we bought him … Since he was our first, it’s like the first kid you …
they always get all the good stuff. We bought him some nice furniture set or
something. I’m like, “Yeah, dude, sorry. You’ve got that stuff. I’m not
ever remaking that. We spent good money on that.” The other kids was like,
“IKEA stuff.” We’re like, “Eh…”
did the same thing.
number three, we just put her in a rubber-made bed, whatever.
so true though. Our first-
son’s nursery was all land of knob, like perfect then.
daughter got IKEA everything, and I’m like, “I’ll just have to create the
just swap it out there. That’s some IKEA hack furniture. Yeah.
right, let’s see what else we got here. Yeah. Okay, I’ve mentioned this on the
show before that I wish I had been an architect in another life, because I
really enjoy the design process and the building process. Somebody asks,
“What is your would’ve should’ve been job or career?” Do you have
something that you could’ve seen yourself as, if you’re looking back at it now?
yeah. It was not a mechanical engineer, because been there done that. I always
thought that I would be, even though I probably wouldn’t like it in the end, I
always thought I’d be a good litigator because I give point and counterpoint
somebody to death. But I think that would just be a horrible job. But I always
thought, yeah, I could really get out there because I can find a loophole and
just dive like, Well, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Because last Wednesday, it
was 2:30 and you said … But that, it’s written in stone now. I always … Who
doesn’t like a good crime law story. I was like, “Yeah.” I could have
done that in a different life-
another life, yeah.
much rather be a maker right now.
one more we got is … Now that you basically, as I look at my crotch for where
my phone is …
might [inaudible 00:49:50] his notes down [crosstalk 00:49:51]
that’s why I put them all. Now that you do your hobby as a business, what do
you do for fun?
a good one.
types of things do you like to do since obviously your business has transformed
once you own your own business-
you don’t get to have fun anymore. Isn’t that how it goes?
there is that. I mean, you don’t have time for fun.
exactly right. That is something that I heard, and it was much more so back
before I started doing this. I was making small goods, cutting boards, pencil
cups, little signs and things like that. I was thinking, “Oh, I can make
some money doing this?” I heard that over and over again, that people
saying, “When you turn your hobby into a job, you lose the passion and you
lose the fun.” That is true, to an extent. But what I was actually talking
about before is, one of the things that I really enjoy almost as much as the
making and my wife might even say more, is the business side.
might sound like sick and sadistic, but what I do, I just go and nerd out on
the analytics and the back end of it, of trying to look at channel growth,
whether it’s on Instagram or YouTube, and I’ll look at the videos and see what
the retention metrics are, and where are the traffic sources, where are the
people coming from, and what type of content resonates with what different
audiences, and how do I make the next video better or build upon that, or how
do I turn that into a different revenue stream? That’s what I do at 10, 11
o’clock at night now, is I’m just sitting there. I’ll be doing that. In
between, do perfect videos with the kids.
yeah, I don’t really have a good answer for that because I … and it’s
something I’ve actually … that’s probably my biggest personal development
thing, is to step away from the business because I am just … It takes so much
to drive your business, and as a side … We know when you’re a side … When
you’re working as a side hustle, I mean, I think that’s one … the biggest
fallacy I see is that, “Oh my! I’m trying to build a side hustle, but it’s
not working.” I’m like, “Well, okay.” They’re like, “Dude,
did you see Game of Thrones last night?” I’m like, “No, I haven’t
watched any TV in like six months because I spend every waking hour outside of
my family and my day job on the side hustle.”
got in that mindset for two or three years, of where I was just constantly dedicated,
and I’ve not effectively turned that off. That is something that I’m looking to
do, because I used to play guitar, I used to play golf and do things outside
that I had before I was thinking about any of the side hustle or any of that
just in the first 10 to 15 years of working the day job. Now I’m all in on my
business and it’s been great. I’ve been … On the flip side of it, I’ve had
tremendous growth in my business, on all accounts, and I would say that’s
because I’ve put so much into it but at the same time I know that if I continue
to do that, I’m going to burn out. So I need to get back into … stepping away
and even stepping away from making and getting into whatever it is. Go to
family and I were just talking about learning a second language. My last name
is Rodriguez, and I do not speak Spanish, so I feel like a fraud completely.
We’re thinking about learning Spanish. Stuff like that. Because I think if you
get too tied into your business … I’ve not burned out but I can see it on the
horizon. Right? I’m like, “I have to step away and have something that’s
another outlet for me,” and that is hard because if you’re making … I
don’t think I can make a project for a hobby, because I would think, “Oh,
I should be making content on this.” Right? I would feel this guilt of not
being able to effectively utilize what I’m doing, and I’ll be like, “Oh, I
made this awesome thing,” but I’d be like, “oh, this would’ve made
such a great video.” But … because I hear people do that, they’re like,
“I’ll make some projects and I won’t even film them.” I’m like,
“How do you do that?” I would feel bad about doing that. So I want to
do something completely separate.
That work-life balance is tough, especially when you’re that close to the fire,
as far as this is your hobby, this is your business. It’s like trying to figure
that out, then managing your outside life as well. It can be a real challenge.
I think free time goes to family when you are running your own business. That’s
the hobby. Not a hobby, but that’s the extra curricular time is family time,
and then stuff around the home and there aren’t many hours for much else. It
can definitely be hard.
it’s cool. I mean, it’s like you … Being at home now, you’re not losing those
hours in the car and so you’re around for your kids and all that stuff. There’s
obviously that benefit. It’s awesome.
it’s been the most rewarding choice and decision that we’ve made as a family.
Like I said, my wife did go back to work when I went full time, and then now
she’s working with the business as well. Being here with our kids in the
morning, put them on the bus for school, getting them off the bus when they get
home, it’s amazing. It is. Exactly what you said, Tracy. Our downtime is the
kids’ soccer games, the dance recitals, and then my wife will and I will
Netflix and chill quite often. I guess that would be my hobby, I guess, is
watching some great Netflix series.
your favorite thing?
guys haven’t seen The AO? Oh, The OA is awesome.
saw the first-
it out. If you like sci-fi little kind of-
season was good. I haven’t seen the second season yet.
you got to watch that. Yeah.
looking for a new show.
Brad, thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it and appreciate your
time. Where can people find more Fix This Build That?
my website is basically the hub for everything. So fixthisbuildthat.com, and
you can have links there to my Instagram and YouTube channels as well.
killing it on Instagram, he’s all over the place. You can find them on YouTube,
Instagram, Pinterest, everywhere.
name of your podcast again for everyone?
Made For Profit. Made F-O-R Profit, Made For Profit.
Well, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed the conversation today,
Brad, appreciate it.
you for carving up the time.
again to Brad for joining us, and we want to say thank you to you guys for
listening and following along. Make sure that you are following us on social
media at howtohome_guide, and thanks once again to FilterBuy as well, for
making this series possible. We couldn’t do the show without them, so thank you
very much for that. Don’t forget to rate us on your various podcasts, listening
apps or hit that like button on YouTube if you’re choosing to watch the videos.
Thank you guys so much, and we will see you next time.
How To Home podcast is brought to you by Filterbuy.com, your one stop direct to
consumer replacement air filter brand, and is produced in collaboration by
MassMedia Group, LLC, and Intelligent Arts & Artists. The show was
executive produced by George Ruiz and Aaron Massey.
This week Aaron and Tracy chat with Brad Rodriguez of Fix This, Build That about ways to establish your DIY confidence and potentially transition it into a business.
You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!
NOTABLE MOMENTS :
- Brad was in corporate America for 17 years before he went this route.
- He sets defined goals and thinks ahead for what he wants to accomplish daily in the shop to make his time more efficient.
- His philosophy for Fix This, Build That is: Educate, Inspire, Entertain.
- In terms of getting your feet wet with DIY, Brad suggests: “Start with something you’re going to have success with”.
- A skill Brad wants to add to his arsenal is metal working.
- His favorite wood to work with is walnut.
- This is Brad’s favorite project to date (a side-board cabinet): https://fixthisbuildthat.com/diy-sideboard-cabinet-woodworking-plans-2/
- Tool Must-Haves for the beginner: 3 piece cordless 18 volt set (drill, driver, circular saw), orbital sander, tape measure, pencil, carpenter square.
- Brad recommends letting other people know you’re into woodworking, because people will cycle through tools and pass them on or give you a heads up about estate sales etc.
- Some of Brad’s favorite resources are Pinterest and Google image searches. He’s also inspired by hotels.
Q: As a maker is it hard to stay on top of personal work for your home and family?
A: It absolutely is. Brad also talked about the guilt of balancing projects between children.
Q: What is your “woulda shoulda been” career?
A: Brad’s always thought he would be a good litigators.
Q: Now that you do your hobby as a business, what do you do for fun?
A: Brad enjoys the business side of the making (the analytics etc.), but is working hard to step away from the business and focus on hobbies again. Right now the down time is dedicated to the kids and occasional Netflix.
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