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Suggestions New Guy Hello!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by RoxoWorks, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. RoxoWorks

    RoxoWorks New Member

    Aug 14, 2019
    Tacoma, WA
    Hello all, I am happy to be allowed to be part of your community!

    I have a question for everyone, but first let me give you a bit of background about myself. Please bear with me this is going to be a bit long winded by necessity.

    I am 20 years into my second career as an IT Manager and I am ready for a change. Before my present career I spent 15 years as an automotive/truck/bus mechanic and eventually service manager.

    Along the way I have collected a lot of random skills because I like to learn new things and tend to dive in deep when something strikes my fancy.

    From my days as a mechanic I am skilled (though rusty now) in all of the normal welding processes (MIG/TIG/Stick/Oxyacetylene), I have experience doing fabrication work in various common materials and I was adept at automotive electrical and did a fair amount of DC circuit design. I also have extensive experience in estimating and pricing from these days.

    Later I got interested in Web Development which lead me to study graphic design including layout, typography and color theory. I have continued to refine my design skills and do some work (flyers, posters, postcards, etc) for the vintage motocross club I am a member of each year to keep those skills sharp and learn new techniques.

    I have been using CorelDraw since version 11 and upgrade my license whenever new packages are released so I would consider my skill level with that software to be at or near the expert level.

    Several years ago we purchased an inexpensive vinyl cutter and have been making motorcycle related window decals that I designed ever since, so I have several years experience in working with cut vinyl (typically very small, hard to weed and tricky to get to cut cleanly and leave the pieces behind.)

    Over the time we have had the cutter we have made several signs for the fun of it using either cut vinyl onto a substrate, or by using the cutter to make painting masks. My wife then hand paints them. She has a lot more patience for that kind of work than I do so we make a good team. She isn’t interested in the design aspect and I am too impatient with the painting part.

    At one point I learned to screen print (fabric.) Now for a non-sign product we are developing I have been learning to screen print using graphic (solvent inks) onto a vinyl substrate on a manual press, which as you might expect has been a bit challenging but a good learning experience that I hope will pay off in the long run.

    Most recently I have taught myself 3D modeling using Autodesk Fusion 360 and purchased a 3D printer. Of all the things I have decide to learn this has been the most difficult, frustrating and in the end most rewarding of them all. Being able to get the things out of my head and into the real world as something you can touch has been fantastic. I am now learning to use the CAM module to do CNC programming as well and I am considering investing in a half sheet sized CNC router.

    A few other areas of knowledge I have explored: Writing, Project Management, Basic Wood Working, Marketing/Advertising/Branding, Digital Media, Printing and Book Binding.

    I should also mention my wife is a 30+ year veteran of the retail industry in visual merchandising and management so she has a huge body of experience to draw from on the customer service side.

    As I said way back there in the beginning of this novel, I am looking to make a career change. We have been looking at buying a business and over the course of the last 3 years or so have evaluated many. One that came up recently was a profitable sign shop in an area of the country we are interested in moving to, which lead us to dig into that as a potential direction.

    The more I learn and explore that as a career direction the more interested and excited about it I become. It checks of all of the major boxes for the kind of business we would like to be in.

    We are approximately a year from being able to execute on our plan to move and make this change.

    So at long last my question (Thank you for staying with me to this point!):

    I would like your input on what skills, etc. I should be spending my time learning/improving during that time to have the best chance at success as a sign maker. I have already subscribed to SignCraft, joined this site (obviously) and ordered the Mastering Layout book as recommended somewhere on here.


  2. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2005
    Lawton, OK, USA
    :awesome: :welcome: 2 :signs101smilie: from OK
  3. Jean Shimp

    Jean Shimp Member

    Oct 26, 2012
    jacksonville, fl
    Sounds like you and your wife have all the right skills for the sign business, and more! The only thing I did not see was number crunching. The sign business is highly competitive. Seems like I spend 80% of my time managing the business and crunching numbers instead of skilled production work. I'm working on reversing this. But just my 2 cents, you need to have good business skills to make it in this industry - or hire people you trust to do that part.

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