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which you need to be good at. You need a driving passion and a lot of dedication. But then you also have to be a great small business owner. It’s such a dynamic craft that requires you to be good at so many different skill sets. You just need to put a tremendous amount of time into it. I’ve sacrificed a lot for this obsession. We all have. My entire Twenties were dedicated to this to the fullest. I never had a social life, like the rest of my peers. All my money went into tools and wood. I work an average of 60 hours a week. I’ve had good relationships not work out because this career got in the way. It’s all for love. I’m passionate about this! I feel it’s my calling, and I don’t regret anything about it, but younger makers need to 168 Guitar Connoisseur Magazine Winter/Spring 2017 understand that it’s not a Nine- to-Five occupation. The other thing is business sense. Many people get into creative fields a lot of the time because they don’t want to be business people. Only to find that if you want to be able to keep doing creative things you need to make money and be great business people. So learning how to keep your books, provide great customer service, be on time, keep your commitments, source materials and parts and inventory, and so on, and so forth. You gotta be good at all of that. And the truth is that it is a very enjoyable art form in itself, too. I really love being a business owner. It can give me headaches and keep me up at night, but I really do enjoy the art of building a business. You should never forget, though, that building instruments, while being very isolating at times, is a people business. Music, art, instruments – they facilitate connections between people. And that’s a beautiful thing, and you need to embrace that! Always, no matter what, treat people fairly and well, because that’s the most important thing about this business. I’ve been very lucky with the networks of people I’ve been able to develop in this industry as a young guitar maker. Working with Bryan Galloup and Tom Ribbecke really helped me meet a lot of important people, who I now consider great friends. But what I’m talking about is not networking – it’s connecting. Whether you are a luthier, or a player, or a collector, we are all connected, because we