We had the good fortune of connecting with Joey Naeger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joey, how do you think about risk?
I’m fairly risk averse. Most of the hangups I had about starting my business centered around the risk of not having a guaranteed paycheck, It was important for me to have enough cash saved up so I could afford to have things not go well early on. As luck would have it, within a year of opening shop, the pandemic started. Due to the good financial preparation I did, I was able coast through the pandemic despite reduced client work. Had I been leveraged up, it’s likely I would have to seek out employment. I see a lot of bravado in the entrepreneurial space encouraging people to take big risks. While there is some truth to statements like that, I worry people will hear that kind of advice and behave recklessly. Big risks require big preparation and it’s incumbent upon you to have a realistic way to handle dips and volatility.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a double bass luthier. This means I repair, setup, and make double basses. I started as a bass player in school and was a real “gear nerd”. In addition to playing the bass, I had an interest in tweaking my instrument to sound better. While studying bass in school, an opportunity came up to work at a local violin shop as an apprentice bass repair person. This was the perfect opportunity for me as it gave me the chance to learn a new craft on the job. I worked at that shop for eight years before finally opening my own business. Like any trade or profession, the early years were incredibly challenging. I went from being a competent bass player in college to a total beginner at instrument repair. Luthierie requires a diverse range of skills including woodworking, varnishing, tool and machine maintenance, salesmanship, the ability to interact with musicians(a mysterious process indeed!), creative problem solving, the ability to play the instruments you’re working on, and many others. At times, the early years were very discouraging as you’re ability to execute never felt good enough. I’m grateful I had the experience of learning to play an instrument earlier in life. Like luthierie, learning a musical instrument is a skill that requires years of consistent work to develop competence. Developing my skill stack is an ongoing process and it ultimately allowed me to become self employed.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love No Label Brewery, it’s really close to wear I live and is a nice, casual hangout. My wife and I love to drive down to Brazos Bend State Park to go hiking. Prior to the pandemic, we really enjoyed attending concerts at the Houston Symphony.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to recognize my wife, Hope Cowan, who has been incredibly supportive as I’ve started this venture. She’s been a real source of stability as I’ve transitioned from employee to self employed.

Website: joeynaegerbasses.com

Instagram: @joeynaegerbasses

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