An Analytical Approach to Woodworking with Brad Rodriguez From Fix This Build That

This week we chat with Brad Rodriguez from Fix This Build That.  Find out how Brad went from working nearly two decades in systems and analytics to going full time as a woodworking content creator. 

TOPICS

  • How Boy Scouts lead to making stuff [02:46]
  • Why Brad got into Mechanical Engineering [04:37]
  • Brad's first experience making [07:10]
  • How Brad really got started him home improvement [08:25]
  • Black belt in analytics [13:43]
  • How Brad first got into Instagram [16:54]
  • First sponsor [20:15]
  • Getting on YouTube [23:23]
  • Why YouTube took off [26:32]
  • How Brad went full time [30:10]
  • MAKE: Favorite Project [33:46]
  • BEAK: Biggest Mistake/Learning Moment [34:58]

LINKS


TRANSCRIPT

Brandon: Alright we what to welcome you guys back to the Make or Break Show. We're hanging out with the one and only Brad Rodriguez from Fix this Build That. Calling in... you're in Franklin Tennessee, right?

Brad Rodriguez: I am, just south of Nashville.

Brandon: Good stuff. We're excited to have you on and to chat with us so welcome.

Brad Rodriguez: Thank you man. Glad to be here.

Brandon: Well I wanted to kind of get into your story as a woodworker maker content creator and you've done a bunch of different things. When you were growing up did I see Boy Scouts was like a big part?

Brandon: Were you... are you an eagle scout?

Brad Rodriguez: I'm glad you I'm glad you changed that up because you never stopped being an Eagle Scout right.

Brandon: Yeah I have friends that are Eagle Scouts. You don't. Yeah.

How Boy Scouts lead to making stuff.

Brad Rodriguez: So I was in scouts growing up and I started you know basically in Cub Scouts and then went all the way through to Eagle Scout. So yeh that was a huge part of my life early on and I think it was cool because they it tied into the story of just my background. My dad wasn't real handy guy he was kind of working all the time.

Brad Rodriguez: And so most of the stuff that I learned like the outdoors and things like that was all through Scouts. And so it wasn't like you know necessarily building but at the same time you know I was doing Pinewood Derby and Raingutter Regatta and just you know tying knots and building campfires and setting up tents and just doing that stuff. I think that there's there is an innate skill that you get right by doing all those things that just like how to just take things and make something else. And I think that that translates a lot so I think that actually is a pretty big reason behind me wanting to get into making and kind of creating.

Brandon: Yeah. Was there a badge that really sticks out that you remember having to work, earn?

Brad Rodriguez: I always remember the ones that I liked the most for like kind of the sports ones.. like.. not sports necessarily but like canoeing, archery. And so you know so long ago man I can remember it of the badges that were really hard but know noticed like whenever we would go to camp like I would always be like alright where's the water and like where's the archery range because that's that's what I loved doing there.

Brad Rodriguez: And then obviously making fires like every boy scout likes to make fires because it's just like you got an excuse to you know just nuke stuff. Why not.

Brandon: What point did you kind of decide engineering was going to be the route for his he went to the University of Tennessee for mechanicals.

Why Brad got into Mechanical Engineering.

Brad Rodriguez: Yep, yep Mechanical Engineering. I don't know it was kind of you know when I look back and think about, it was just like one of those evolutions where I was really good at math and sciences and so I was like OK are you going to be an engineer.

Brad Rodriguez: It was just kind of like odd thing like my my dad's not an engineer either. We have no engineering that's actually not true... my mother's stepfather was actually he worked for NASA though but he wasn't he wasn't like a huge influence on me. He was actually a woodworker too but he was down in Florida we were in Tennessee. We did get to see him that much.

Brad Rodriguez: But yeah it was just like OK you're good at math and your good science so like what do you do. And you know back then the job market was really strong right. So I graduated high school in 95 and you know stuff was pretty well booming back then. And as I got into college it was like OK engineering and engineering was a big thing going on right then and lots of a great job market I guess.

Brad Rodriguez: And so it was like OK why you go to that or I could go to you know some like I didn't want to go to be like a doctor or anything like that so I thought it was cool I liked working my hands I was like yeh I want to go design stuff and be really cool and then I realized later on that that's not at all what a lot of those people do.

Brandon: Yeah I was the exact same way I did aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech and so I was like I want to go in I want to build planes and all that kind of stuff. And then you start working and sit in front of computer and run tests and all that kind of stuff.

Brad Rodriguez: And it's like yeah. And they're like yeah you can build planes and it's like OK it's cool but then like your job is actually modeling like a bracket.

Brandon: Yeah.

Brad Rodriguez: It's like you know you're not like putting together an airplane you know. And were we were just talking before we started recording about GE aircraft which is which is awesome which is where I work comes straight out of college. But so that was actually really cool because you get to get to see the entire engine there and see him assemble it. But you know that was more of just being out there and seeing it. So the actual day to day of doing the engineering work and doing like the vibrational analysis and all the nitty gritty behind the scenes stuff like that just wasn't for me so I kind of moved from that into the operations and then into business.

Brad Rodriguez: I got my master's in business and then I kind of you know just got out of engineering altogether.

Brandon: Yeah. So was were you making at all, where you used your hands were those in college? When did the woodworking piece kind of reenter your story or first enter your story?

Brad's first making experience.

Brad Rodriguez: I remember a story about this the other day I remember when I was in college we had a design project and we had to like we were partnering with Lexmark the deal old you know, are they still around? They used to make inkjet printers.

Brandon: Yeah.

Brad Rodriguez: And they had the job was to. They had these little like circular disks that went in the printers and it would basically you know it was like a match fit piece that would work for the toner cartridges or something like that. And so the idea was you had to take this piece and it had different slots in it and you had to design a machine that would look at it and basically be like image recognition. So today we would just take a picture of it you know back then it wasn't that advanced.

Brad Rodriguez: So anyway we had to make this piece using like IR sensors and all this crazy stuff. The point of the story being that as we started making it we started making the housing out of this like ABS plastic. And I remember I was like using the drill press and we're like drilling out some holes in and I was just like OK whatever and I'm like drawn down and it catches on and then the piece starts like flipping and spinning around and I was like, a gees!

Brad Rodriguez: So I was not like a great maker in college by any stretch of the imagination. I almost killed myself with this ABS plastic trilling to drill a hole through it.

How Brad really got started through home improvement.

Brad Rodriguez: So it was more outside of college after college about 2001, 2002 when when I really started getting into it and I bought a house I bought an old fixer upper. Even really wasn't a fixer upper is just the old house that he built in 1985 while I lived in Cincinnati at the time.

Brad Rodriguez: And then I started doing like the home DIY stuff so I started messing around doing repairs and just you know flooring and cabinets and that kind of stuff in that that spurred it on. And then you know just watch and I know there's a lot of people talking about this I was listening to Johnny (Brooke) and he's a buddy of mine, I know he was on earlier... but the New Yankee Workshop on Ask This Old House those are huge influences on me.

Brandon: What about the fine woodworking I guess the furniture piece I mean you're doing DIY renovating all that kind of stuff. When did more of the refined like woodworking come into your story?

Brad Rodriguez: It was around maybe 2000, 2003, 2005. So I guess it would be 2003 because we got married in 2005...

Brad Rodriguez: So when I met when I met my wife we were dating at the time she was teaching at a high school and actually had it which is amazing because it's not around here they had a woodshop at the high school still.

Brad Rodriguez: And they offered night classes which was really cool.

Brad Rodriguez: So my my buddy who is now my brother in law he actually is married to my wife's sister. And so at the time that's kind of how I met my wife was through him.

Brad Rodriguez: He and I were like hey man..this looks sweet. Let's go to this woodworking thing because we had been getting some things... I actually took an introductory class at a Woodcraft and I made a little serving tray and that was cool and it kind of piqued my interest.

Brad Rodriguez: So then that's what it was it was about 2003 we started doing that and it was it was really cool because it was like a whole semester. So it was like I don't know three months or so and I got to go in there and I made like a legit.. like I did my first project I did the serving tray and then like very next project was like a mission style arts and crafts mission style coffee table out of white oak.

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah like I was like all mortising and joinery like went from zero from like zero to 100.

Brad Rodriguez: And I don't know if I've ever cut a mortise or tenon and since then. But that's how I got the taste of it.

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah.Because I guess your most recent video the modern..is it the end table?

Brad Rodriguez: Yep.

Brandon: And I was like oh this is kind of the first...more hardwood furniture piece. At least that I remember you putting out. That's funny.

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah. So the way I kind of in a lot of people ask me that because I think when people watch my videos or they see stuff they're like oh yeah he's like a beginner you know doing DIY stuff but then like if you step back and look at the tools I have you're probably like know this guy's you know able to do or has been doing it for a while or has better tools but.

Brad Rodriguez: So the stuff that I make a lot for the channel is really focused around my mission and goal for the channel which is to inspire new people to start working. And so I want to make it really attainable. So I'm more from the beginner... I'd say up to kind of the you know intermediate to advanced intermediate.

Brad Rodriguez: And so I'm going to transition. And so like all this stuff like I'll use a lot of pocket holes you know people like "Ah pocket holes"..I and I just think that that whole argument is ridiculous. But because the barrier to entry is so low and I find that if you can show somebody how to make a piece of furniture and they can do it and it's attainable, achievable. They can go get a pocket hole jig for as cheap as 20 bucks and some lumber from the home center and then they throw together a project and they're going to look back at it later and go oh man that was really a piece of junk.

Brad Rodriguez: But they've done it and then they get that bug and there like wow I can make something and then you start you know you start moving along. So that's why I like to do is a lot of my stuff when it's furniture is that I'll have the base will be made out of let's say holes holes that it's easier. And then the top will use you use walnut tops for a lot of my stuff and then show showing people like hey here's how you can use a planer or here's how you can use a joiner you know use the bandsaw so I use a lot of different tools more just to people's interest and show them you know what else is out there and so I kind of you know consider myself a transition. So it's like OK you've made that first project at a two by fours now come over here let me show you what else you can do. And then you can you can keep progressing.

Brandon: Yeah that next step. I was talking with Ben Uyeda with Homemade Modern last week. He's got a future episode when this actually comes out. And he was just talking about like man I just got a Ryobi circular saw and a drill. And like I'm making this desk. It's crazy. You can do that and he was super focused on that too.

Brandon: Now I know you've got a big background in analytics. So you did six sigma at GEAE which the first time I saw that it was on someone's desk and I'm like oh cool they're martial arts they're doing all this kind of stuff. For those that may not know. Like how did the analytics into your story and to pull that back to woodworking. You mentioned focusing on it like how did you decide that was kind of niche you wanted to go after that transition niche on the analytics side.

Brad has a black belt in analytics.

Brad Rodriguez: It's funny like you know being in either engineering or process improvement like I'll say Oh yeah I'm a black belt and then I became a master black belt. But you know if I just go tell some somebody out the street, yeh I'm a master black belt, they are like woh seriously show me like a roundhouse or something.

Brad Rodriguez: And I'm like no that's like a nerd Ninja..not a real ninja. So yes I have a certifications there. And you know kind of the same thing I guess a constant thing with me through my life I've talked about it. I think I talked about this with Donnie over on the Green Woodworker Podcast, a little shout out to Donnie. Is that I've always.. I'm very achievement oriented. And so I always like to go after the next thing whether it's certification or you know a degree or whatever or you know this YouTube thing or doing a business.

Brad Rodriguez: And I think as I started figuring out... so at GE Six Sigma which is their analytical arm of evaluating processes and process control that that was like a very revered thing that is to you know that the six sigma program and so you become a green belt and then a black belt and then a master black belt. So I started there. Then I continued it when I went to my next employer and again I guess I've got my Master's Blackbelt there when I was at Kroger.

Brad Rodriguez: And so you know part of it was again I was just good at it. And so it clicked and I enjoyed the analytics and then the other part of it was man I want this thing I want to get the certification I want to just continue to learn and understand these tools so I can help other people because that's you know that's what you do when you are are Six Sigma.

Brad Rodriguez: You go in you evaluate processes and you figure out where there's opportunity where there's errors and you can use that and make the process better and help people out. So that kind of really resonated like those two things. And I hadn't really figured it out then but you know I really have a passion for helping people and for teaching people. And I think that was was kind of coming up through that analytical piece of doing the Six Sigma because again like I said you're you're you become a subject matter expert and so you're typically helping other teams other departments. And so I think that was just kind of a normal progression that I didn't quite see at the time.

Brad Rodriguez: So then when you when you say OK transition and what does that look like that you know into woodworking in that that I think the teaching aspect of that because you learn a lot. So I was I used to teach classes and lead classes on Six Sigma so I would teach our green belts and I would mentor black belts. And again I think that I just realized oh man I really like I really like teaching people what I really like having impact and being able to show somebody something new.

Brandon: So did I see that you launched Fix This Build That, the actual Web site, was that in 2013?

Brad Rodriguez: 2015. Yeah March of 2015 I launched my Instagram in 2013.

Brandon: When you first started that account you were like this is going to be like a side hustle this is going to be something I kind of mess around with. Or were you like hey this is something that could potentially turn into what it's what it is now. What was your initial thought process back then?

How Brad first got onto Instagram.

Brad Rodriguez: I think so when I got onto Instagram I had a friend who was actually a coworker of mine from Kroger I had met and in then since you know I had moved down here. We moved down to Nashville in August of 2013. I grew up here so we kind of moved back home. August of 2013 moved down here and actually had taken the job down here in February. So that was really crappy six months away from my wife and kids and just traveling. But anyway came down hear. So but I think one of the things I was doing is I was spending more time you know like on the Internet and you know just kind of social media and starting to figure out what that was.

Brad Rodriguez: And my friend had a fitness account on Instagram and she had like 50,000 followers and was like, "What in the world is this like this is crazy.

Brad Rodriguez: And I didn't really understand what Instagram was at the moment. I thought Instagram was like a photo editing like like a VSCO. And she's hilarious she's awesome girl. And so I was like I meant like I would do this sort of like share my woodworking. And so that's when I decided like hey I'm going to start this are actually I take that back. I guess I had I had started my account under a personal name and that's when I was in November I was like OK Fix This Build That. And my wife came up with a name we were brainstorming together. So we're sitting there and the idea I think was like hey this could be it was honestly it was looking at her and be like oh wow she has all these followers like like that's doable I could do that.

Brad Rodriguez: The thought process wasn't like I wasn't thinking about YouTube at all. I was literally just thinking about Instagram. So it wasn't this grand scheme and again like a lot of things in my life I think there have just been iterations. And so as I did that and I launched it as I started getting a foothold and I started trying to put more information out there back and that was back in the Stone Age of Instagram you know I think they had eight second video. Maybe they went up to 15 seconds at one point you know, no carrousel no stories.

Brad Rodriguez: So it was hard to tell a story as hard to get across what you want to get across and people started asking for more. They're like man like how did you make that? Because I'd be sure in the projects I was building and my wife was like you really need to do a blog.

Brad Rodriguez: And so that's when in March of 2015 I finally did it. But so I did have some foresight at the very beginning in 2013 I registered the domain name. I got all the handles I got the YouTube channel. So if you go back and look at my YouTube history it will be like started in 2013 but I didn't put my first video out until 2016. So I was kind of prepared for it in the beginning.

Brad Rodriguez: So yeah I did. I did think like oh this could be cool. And like I wanted to lock everything down button when I start in 2013 I wasn't like oh yeah I'm going full time baby. Like it was just like hey this will be cool because I didn't even realize from a monetary perspective what was even possible back then. Like I had no idea.

Brandon: I mean for those that are listening that don't know it. Make sure and check your guys podcast Made for Profit. Especially all the numbers in the money and that side of things for folks that want a side hustle. But when you were first starting Do you remember the first time someone approached you like hey could you sponsor this or could you...when did that click with you it's like oh this can actually it works like this?

How Brad got is first sponsor

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah. And that was I want to say that was in 2014 and I don't remember what milestone it was. I have to go back and check but it wasn't anything huge it was maybe 1500 maybe 5000 followers 4000. I don't know something like that.

Brad Rodriguez: But I had I had I had built a flip top tool cart. If you've seen that and this was like the second iteration of it so the first one I built back in Cincinnati. This was the second iteration and I had a Rigid planer on one side and a Rigid oscillating spindle sander on the other. And I posted it and the Rigid Instagram account they reached out to me, and they were like man that is awesome...hey can we send you. So it was there actually their new compressor. Hey can we use your new the new compressor for you to check out.

Brad Rodriguez: I was like Yeah absolutely. Like it wasn't like hey sponsor everything. They were just like hey we were going to send it to you can you review it because it was a new product and you know companies will do that sometimes to get feedback and they liked what I was doing. And so I got it. I was like oh thank you. And I was just like oh my gosh is a free compressor. This is amazing!

Brad Rodriguez: I was like OK. And then I was like OK I'm going I'm going to push my limits here. And so like I got it and wrote a review and I was like you know it was really cool. I was like Hey thank you guys so much. I was like by the way would you be interested in sponsoring a giveaway?

Brad Rodriguez: Because like back then you know this is this is like 2014, giveaways we're just kind of getting started and they weren't as huge as they are and not many people were sponsoring them back then. I mean there weren't even that many companies on instagram back then.

Brad Rodriguez: So they were like Yeah how about what if we gave you a drill and a driver kit and it was like they're you know kind of a base model drill driver kit and I was like that would be amazing!

Brad Rodriguez: And so that was the beginning of you know that was the first time where I where they said hey like yeah we will give this to you. Now you know I didn't make any money off it. So you had to pay shipping because they ship the money that I ship it out. But I realized OK companies you know there's companies out there that are looking for exposure and to get their product in peoples hands.

Brad Rodriguez: So that was like the first time I realized like oh wow. And then the first sponsored posts I did I did a blog post on some pallet creates. So it was 200 bucks. I was like oh yes two hundred bucks baby I've arrived!

Brad Rodriguez: And I've built a built like it for a company called pallets and create or create and palette. And I built an organizing system for my closet. Actually I did a remake of it and did a YouTube video on it.

Brandon: Yeah I remember that and I was just what three months ago?

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah that wasn't it. Yeah exactly.

Brad Rodriguez: But the original one was was back in in September of 2015. So yeah that was you know kind of a journey to get there so it's like the I first realized in 14 and then it really didn't start clicking until the end of 15 and then the beginning of 16 is when things really started rolling for me.

Brandon: Gotcha. Yeah. So switching over to you you started your account about a year ago. Is that right, from accordant August 2017 or October 2017...sorry.

How Brad got into YouTube.

Brad Rodriguez: I launched it. It's been almost a year and a half. I think I launched my first video in June May or June. I had some the ones beforehand like I mentioned I have since been removed.

Brandon: OK.

Brad Rodriguez: If you want to know how to put insulation in your garage door and you want really really really bad video. Yeah I think I've actually got it like a private or unlisted.

Brad Rodriguez: I could give you a URL and you'd be like wooo...

Brandon: I was going to ask because sometimes I'm talking to folks like I'll just reverse search them on Youtube see their first video. And like I mean yours was. I mean that's the flip top tool and everyone still builds it. I mean it's an incredible video. Did you or do you even now struggle with like because it came out great quality. Do you struggle now with like you put a video out. But I'm not sure if this is the best quality. The mistakes all that kind of stuff like how does that work?

Brad Rodriguez: And you know so thank you for that. But it's not great quality or anything like video was actually OK. The audio was atrocious because I was like I was using my onboard camera. You know in my echoey garage I was like oh.

Brad Rodriguez: But I've been in I've talked about this and other podcasts and stuff but I won't go through the whole story but basically the reason why it took me so long to start is because I'm a perfectionist and so I didn't start all my cell phone. I wanted to make sure I had a product that I was really comfortable with. To the point that I would not I would never recommend that people would recommend them just go ahead and get started.

Brad Rodriguez: And so my first videos were probably a lot better than they needed to be. So like from a video my first videos I shot on a DSL or just like that was I started straight away. But yeah going back now and looking at you know so audio quality was probably the biggest thing for me. And then looking at the edits and starting to figure out.

Brad Rodriguez: So yeah I do still there are times when I shoot stuff and I'm like man I didn't quite get that right. But I put a lot of detail in my in my videos.

Brad Rodriguez: And I've started you know as I go through and I don't know I think my video counsel 30 about that come down that it's up to 30 but I think there's a couple in there that are you know some give away or Patreon or an unlisted. But anyway regardless.

Brad Rodriguez: I I've really kind of honed in. And so at this point it's more like you know if I leave something in the shop that I like geez there's like you know a trash can with junk flowing out of it or whatever it is like something like that. And you know I'm just I'm getting down to voice over And that kind of stuff so had pretty heavy voice over And you know start to get the process down on that. So now these days it's more just like nits and gnats versus anything. But at the beginning the audio quality was really bad.

Brandon: Yeah.

Brandon: So I was looking at your analytics a little bit earlier from Social Blade I guess I don't know how accurate those are?

Brad Rodriguez: There really accurate.

Brandon: There was like an inflection point especially on YouTube around like February of this year. It's like it was go and then all of a sudden it started like going up what was going on then in like what was that ride kind of like or how has it been like?

How Brad's YouTube channel took off.

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah. You know that's that's the one thing we talked about a lot on Made for Profit. But you know YouTube is very unlike a lot of other social media platforms in the sense that things can blow up and you really don't know why and it's not necessary when so that what you're specifically talking about is interesting because it was not a video I put out then it was a video it was my cutting board video that I put out in January and so it took it did fairly well. Going straight off and then like a kind of lulled.

Brad Rodriguez: And then like a month maybe 30 45 days out 30 to 60 days I'll say I remember exactly what it was... all of a sudden it just took off. And so what happens if you study the YouTube algorithm what happens is that they will test they'll put stuff on the home page or the home feed. Not necessarily like the full home page but they will basically just put your videos into people's feeds.

Brad Rodriguez: And if it resonates well and they'll put it in more people's feeds. And so it's just kind of like a snowball. And so apparently they did that you know well after the video would have basically been in kind of steady state you know it had the initial large bump and then it had come down and it just took off and I was just like looking I'm like holy cow what is going on?

Brad Rodriguez: And it just took off and it just kept going and going. And then I think at the same time the modern outdoor sofa was doing kind of a similar thing. So I had two videos that just took off and those are the cutting board is my biggest video I think it's over 400000 views right now. And then I think actually the sofa just passed for a thousand views as well.

Brad Rodriguez: So those went and it was really cool just to watch it. But the bad part of that is that same thing it's like you have no control over it. Like I wasn't pushing it I wasn't pushing it I wasn't doing anything to make it happen. And so that's really cool but at the same time it's like really it just makes you feel the kind of helpless us because it's like well if I'm not doing anything to make it there that I can continue to do anything to keep it there.

Brandon: Right.

Brad Rodriguez: And so you know you just watch it and then eventually it kind of came back down. But it's weird. I will spike up every you know 60 or 90 days it'll hit it'll hit a huge spike. And I know I do some Pinterest traffic and stuff like that. So some of that will drive it like if somebody repins it. But yeah it's really fun to watch it to watch a video go but it's kind of odd when it happens you know two months after you published it.

Brandon: Yes. Because on the flip side of your instagram growth is like pretty consistent. A line just going straight up the whole way.

Brad Rodriguez: Yes yes that is very consistent. So Instagram like I've got Instagram down to like if I post something I can look and I know in the first hour whether it's going to do really well or not and I know how that's going to translate into subscribers and I've got you know a whole spreadsheet if you listen to Made for Profit and I can see.

Brad Rodriguez: So like that it is very predictable and like you know like something like it never pops up like you know a video that I posted and videos do really well on Instagram.

Brad Rodriguez: But a video or a picture I posted even you know 14 days ago is never going to generate me you know any kind of subscribers in today's world or in tomorrow's world. It's all in the moment so you know I like Instagram for that because it's a lot easier to predict.

Brandon: Yeah. So the last time I see questions is wrapping up. I want to ask you. So you've gone full time this year. August of 2017. What was that conversation like...especially like with your wife. You have a great full time job. What was that like in the process for you?

How to go full-time.

Brad Rodriguez: Yes. So I think it was you know back to your earlier question about did I have it in mind when I when I started the Instagram.

Brad Rodriguez: I didn't but very quickly I think you know there were there was that it turned into like a dream of like oh man this would be cool. But it was still like far out like. Like I mentioned I didn't know until the end of 2015 where I made 200 bucks on a post. So clearly you know being an engineer with 17 at that point you know 15 years on the job you don't translate that to oh I could actually make this into a full time job.

Brad Rodriguez: And so I had to grow so as it started growing I think once it started growing and once I started getting paid sponsorships that started becoming a conversation. So you know it became just from paying for my tools or paying for supplies to like...Oh cool we got some extra money we can do something whether we could put it towards you know a house payment or a car payment or whatever.

Brad Rodriguez: That my wife and I just started having this ongoing conversation and it was it just started becoming like oh this is cool and then as it kept growing like wow like this is this is starting to add up. And as I started into plan sales.

Brad Rodriguez: So I started getting all these different revenue streams that were just stacking up and I like to call it you know lots of drops and lots of different buckets so you you collect all the buckets together and you collect all the rainwater then you dump them into one big bucket. You're like holy cow. This is a lot of water.

Brad Rodriguez: And when it all adds up together so as it started adding up we started having that conversation it started becoming a bigger thing and was like well could we actually do this? Yeh we could do this. Like I still need to grow. And then seeing people who are who are doing it I mean that was a huge thing right. So you know seeing you know Mark Spagnuolo and Bob Claggett and these guys who are in full time jobs that then quit them and went off and especially in there specifically for those guys because they're you know more in tech fields and a little bit more relatable.

Brad Rodriguez: Was that yeah. This all of a sudden became like OK I think we could do this like we need to grow. So the inflection point for us was always that to get the kids out of school our kids in school because my wife was a stay at home mom.

Brad Rodriguez: My youngest just started kindergarten this year. And so it was all like we had this date on the calendar for about two years. Yeah. And so as like it was like OK August 2017 as you know is first the dream then it's become a reality. And then my wife is a teacher she has gone back to work. And so we do have the full time income. And my wife is super super supportive and so she was like yes absolutely like like we can do this. So you know we get insurance through her or we get a steady paycheck and then we've got myself on the side and we're adding up. And you know we got rid of our debt. And so that was a huge piece of it too.

Brad Rodriguez: And yeah it was just totally bogus because she knows how passionate I am about it. And she saw how how much I was running myself into the ground working the full time job and then doing all of that stuff. I mean you know until until August I was doing it all and night and on the weekends. And so now like just the work life balance is just amazing right now. It's fantastic.

Brandon: Well the last two questions we like to ask everyone that comes on. This is the Make or Break Show and so on the make side of things... And I'm sure you've mentioned this before but is there a project looking back that was your favorite. Doesn't have to be like a to build but like the actual project itself that you're like the most proud of?

MAKE: Favorite Project

Brad Rodriguez: Yeah. And I'm still going with my DIY sideboard so I guess what I typically tell people. But although the nightstand that modern end table that that's coming up quickly just because it's so of the wood on that is so nice.

Brad Rodriguez: But I did this DIY sideboard which is what it was like a poplar base and you know just two drawers down below to two doors and then two drawers. And then it has this really nice kind of reclaimed rustic walnut top. And I did do a video on it out there.

Brad Rodriguez: The video didn't perform that great but it just had a lot of skills in it. So I was building you know frame and panel doors. I turned the knobs and the pulls on my lathe.

Brad Rodriguez: So I used these walnut poles which tie into the walnut top. And so it's just like it was just like a lot.. a lot of stuff to go together and I got to use a lot of different skills and I just loved the way it looks in it. You know it's in our dining room right now so that's probably my favorite one.

Brandon: That's cool. So then on the break side of things is there whether a mistake or something that really stands out. But it was it was there like a lesson that you remember learning like do you have one of those like big moments looking back?

BREAK: Biggest Mistake/Learning Moment

Brad Rodriguez: I don't call it necessarily a big learning moment other than like why are you such an idiot. Is this one of my more recent builds based cabinets I did made some basic cabinets for my shop and I actually include this in the video and I got I got really great feedback about including the mistake because I think it's really important to show people that A you're human and Bjust a like show them Hey don't do this.

Brad Rodriguez: And so when I made it was the doors on the outside so it was three baize doors on the outside and a bank of drawers in the middle. But I had pulled out trays for the doors and I used euro hinges so it was a frameless cabinet. And actually John Malecki was like dude make sure you shim out those those drawers those oh yeah I've got to make sure they clear the hinges.

Brad Rodriguez: Well I thought I had done it but what I did was I made drawers pull trays and they were clear of the hinges. But what I didn't realize is that the door doesn't actually clear. So when I assemble it I put the doors on. If you pull the tray out it would run into the door.

Brandon: Oh no.

Brad Rodriguez: Like even with the door fully wide open.

Brandon: Yeah.

Brad Rodriguez: Just the way the hinge works it's all just like you've got to be kidding me. So I was like oh I'll just throw them on the table saw and come down and then shimmin out but I had put Brad nails in the outsides of those trays to hold them and so I couldn't cut it because it was too close to the outside of the tray.

Brad Rodriguez: So basically I had to tear that down and then shim it out. So yeah that was when I was just like man because I'm pretty a pretty meticulous. I do the whole you know Sketch Up drawing and everything obviously being in mechanical engineering a love sketch up.

Brad Rodriguez: And so I've modeled everything out and I just had it all down and then it's just that you know you put that door on and I'm like all happy and I got to pull the tray and it just smacks into the door and I'm like... Are you kidding me.

Brandon: That's good. It's good. So fixthisbuildthat.com is that the best place you'd send folks for everything you're doing?

Brad Rodriguez: Yep. That's the hub for everything and they can get to social media they can get to the podcast. I think they hope they can get to the podcast there.

Brandon: Made for Profit thought.

Brad Rodriguez: Yeh madeforprofit.com is the podcast with John and myself are really enjoying that. And then obviously there's been a ton of time on Instagram.

Brandon: Yeah and it's your 9:00 Sunday live. Is that right.

Brad Rodriguez: You got it night 9:00 p.m. Sunday night. Do a live. It's really awesome. Get to get a bunch of folks on there. We just have a good time for about an hour hanging out usually crack in a cold one and just talking about the week and whatever comes up.

Brandon: I appreciate your time. It was a blast talking and just to hear journey is awesome.

Brad Rodriguez: Thanks for having me Brandon.

Brandon Cullum