Next chapter starts now…

October 12, 20159 Comments

I haven’t formally mentioned anything about this here on the website but I’ve been sharing plenty of it on social media.

Starting back on Monday September 28, 2015 I started the next chapter of my adult life as I transitioned from my former day-job of 19 years to something almost entirely different, but not quite (I won’t bore you with the details of what that all means.)

My day-job tool for 19 years

My day-job tool for 19 years

The big and small of it is that unlike the old job where I was home every night and had easy access to my shop to work on projects and videos, the new one will have me away more often than not.

As a result, chances are what I’ll be working on in the near future will be small projects or discussing techniques and tools, OR quite possibly, I might not have the time to record anything at all and only post the occasional article when time permits.

Of course, this is pure speculation on my part right now as I don’t even know what my new job/home-life will actually look like until I wrap up my first four months of training and then get out on the road.

Have woobie, will travel

Have woobie, will travel

The good news for the Vanderlist family is this new day-job brings us a certain level of financial freedom. Which in turn, could also have some benefits on the show directly and indirectly

What does that mean exactly? Is this new job some sort of high-profile/high-paying position? I could only wish it was, but no! Instead, it’s simply a job that’s paying me more.

What this really means for me in terms of the podcast is that I can be much more selective about what I do with it and not worry nearly as much as I have (or possibly at all) about seeking out and courting advertisers and sponsorships.

I don’t have to share any of this, but I don’t mind doing it, because it’s amazing how many assumptions have been made about my show, and other content creators over the years.

For myself, having sponsors and advertisers has NEVER meant I’ve been rolling in the money!

On the contrary, it’s frequently been more work than profit, and more often than not it’s just been an exchange of equipment for ad spots (as in zero income you can take to the bank.) Of course there have been some great deals for me, but there’s also been plenty where I really questioned what I was thinking at the time.

So let’s get down to the brass tacks of what people have wondered about all these years, “HOW MUCH DO YOU ACTUALLY MAKE?”

I’d love to give you an exact amount, but in an average month the podcast has netted me anywhere from $150 to $500 per month depending on what deals I had going on at the time.

I know this might sound like a lot of money, especially the higher amount (which happens far less than you may realize,) but this is purely on a month-to-month basis and includes the occasional affiliate/donation income which varies greatly (if at all) and has never been a reliable source of income to count on.

Once you subtract supply costs for project materials, pay for hosting services and other related fees (remember, while a lot of content creators rely solely on YouTube to host their videos I’ve been around long enough to know relying on one source is crazy) and then factor in EXACTLY how much time you spend recording, editing, uploading and all the time away from your family to do so, it’s surprising how much even $500/month doesn’t go very far.

Considering it’s not difficult to spend up to 40 hours a week creating content, $500/month works out to paying myself about $3.25/hr.

At the end of every year, when I tally up the numbers and share it with my accountant, I’m quickly reminded this is a work of love and passion for the hobby and not a job I could count on to take care of my family. But for reasons I won’t share (I’m an open book but somethings are still private) we welcomed the extra income with open arms.

Thankfully with this new job, rather than working what has always amounted to a second full-time job (at times easily another 40-60 hours a week) I don’t have to work as hard as I have been to share my passion for our shared hobby, and can instead concentrate on creating content that appeals to me at that moment.

I’m no longer feeling the need to produce videos that I THINK will generate views and interest (along with advertising money) and instead just create things that appeal to me, and if by coincidence it appeals to others, that’s even cooler!

My new office view

My new office view

So you’ll have to please forgive the occasional dry-spell of content (which has been happening the past couple of weeks) and understand it’s not because I’m no longer interested in creating content. It’s just now I can share more of what truly inspires me.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Filed in: Blog
Tagged with:

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bob DV says:


    The amount you make sounds like the same amount you could make if you sold your services Uh, projects on a commission basis. But that means we wouldn’t have been able to learn. (Yes I know you could still sell your demonstration project but at a greatly increased time / pay ratio). From that perspective I thank you for not being selfish. I would recommend 2 apps, Flight Aware, this one will tell you the truth where your next “office” is and when it will get there. Second Gate Guru, helps you find a place to eat in the “office” parking lot.

    Thanks for everything!!!

  2. Jeremy says:

    Thanks Matt for sharing the behind-the-curtain particulars of a semi-pro blogging life. It’s a real mystery for those with blogs to know if going the monetized route is worth the hassle, Thanks.
    Also I hope you are able to find a way to take woodworking with you. I think if I was traveling a lot, I would get much deeper in the spoon/Kuksa carving world, given it’s portability. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what direction you take “Matt’s Airport Workshop”

  3. Mike Brogan says:

    I hope you enjoy the new job. True fans will will always enjoy anything you provide. I think posting only information that interests or excites you might be better in the long run anyway and will be interesting to those who have followed you through the years. Just enjoy your woodworking related time. I hope that we still get to hear you on Wood Talk fairly regularly, I would miss your input on the show.

    • Matt Hartley says:

      I also miss you on the show, an look forward to what videos you do provide, you were the first to draw me to woodworking, an I appreciate all you have done for me and the community, thank you.

  4. Daniel Zehner says:

    Best of luck in your future endeavors! One thing I’ve always admired about you is your commitment to family, and I’m glad you’re sticking to it! It may be hard in the short term, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. If your travels land you near Lafayette, Indiana my door is always open (if we’re home and awake) for you if you need a place to crash, a pint of beer, tacos, etc.

  5. Jack in TN says:

    Life changes for all of us.

    We have enjoyed you for lo-these-many-years, Podfather! But we have grown and you need to too.

    We will enjoy a tidbit and a chortle from time to time, and look forward to hearing from you when it makes sense to you!

    … Take care, friend. … Jack

  6. Todd H says:


    I totally understand the job change. I recently been doing a lot more traveling myself and I believe I saw you at the Boston Logan airport at the Southwest gates a couple weeks ago but I was late getting to my gate so I couldn’t stop and chat. Hope the job is everything you want it to be! I also hope to continue t hear you on Wood Talk.

  7. Monster1971 says:

    Hi Matt,
    Congratulations on the new position and extra income. This is my first visit to your site out of curiosity. I am only on episode 66 of Woodtalk, you remember the episode w/ your first live guest w/ Shannon. Anyway, you have become my favorite and your humor helps me through my day. I look forward to streaming through the remaining episodes catching to current. I look forward to your contributions to the woodworking community, even if they taper off some b/c of your new position. Thanks for making my learning so entertaining.

    Hear you soon,

Leave a Reply

Back to Top