Average Salary: $51,981
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,170,000
Blacksmiths are generally self-employed and make around $35,900 a year if they're able to carve out a nice little niche for themselves (source). Blacksmiths in places like California and New York are doing a bit better, at around $52,000 a year, while Alaskan blacksmiths are pulling down an impressive $68,000 (source). (Those northwesterners sure do love their imitation medieval halberds.)
To hit that mark, blacksmiths must have a steady stream of clients. Of course, clients won't know who you are unless you do things like advertise, create a website, and develop an impressive portfolio.
Much like other artists, blacksmiths must constantly show what they can do in order to get commissions. Handing out business cards may help, but contacting museums, production companies, and interior designers in your area gets your name out much faster.
It's critical for a blacksmith to learn how to price their work. They might make the most gorgeous metalwork the world has ever seen, but if they sell their ornamental coffee tables for $100 each, people are going to wonder if this blacksmith was dropped headfirst onto an anvil as a child.
To figure out how to appropriately price work, blacksmiths have to take into account the cost of their materials and time spent on projects. Other factors to consider include the price of fuel, rent on a studio, cost of advertising, and taxes.
If you couldn't tell, blacksmiths have to hustle when first starting out. You may find that you have to create small projects like hardware, hooks, and tools before you can create larger pieces such as railings. Hopefully you can find something to hold onto while you're climbing those steps...