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My current goal is to be self employed building electronic stuff, and selling it. Expensive, custom, once off products, aswell as finding holes in the market and developing products which would have significant demand, getting them mass produced in some way, and selling them.
Basically designing uber electronic products and selling a lot of them, making a lot of money and enjoying my hobby at the same time. Hopefully making some really cool **** in the process.

Hopefully this thread will be quite fruitful.
I'm hoping there are more people in this MSG board who have a similar career goal, we could talk about stuff, and hopefully all be more sucessful.

I think ive got some product ideas with a lot of potential.

The purpose of this thread would be to discuss the logistics, and issues surrounding building electronic stuff, as a one man show, as a career.
(I'm not against collaborating, or forming partnerships/companies but right now I dont have any real life friends who are ambitious electronics gurus :)

By wiml
I'd find this interesting too. Ways that people got off the ground, things they did that were especially good, things they wish they'd done...
By bungalow_steve
Doing this requires skills that you probably haven't learn or weren't taught, designing the circuit is about 10% of the work, the other 90% is

For mass market stuff
1) Figuring out how to market it
2) Figuring out how to make it cheaply (mainly dealing with mainland China)
3) Figure out how to test it (vib testing, thermal testing, life testing as required)
4) Figure out how to package it (enclosures, assembly etc)
5) Meeting any government requirements required for sale (FCC, UL listing, etc) this involves making the product safe and that can pass (sometimes very expensive) EMI testing
6) Figuring out distrubution channels, how to handle orders (1-800 numbers), shipping, inventory, accounting, handle returns
7) Figure out how to package it for retail (clam shell,blister packs etc)

For custom once off products for clients you have to produce the required documents the clients expects (different for each client)

90% of the work owning a business is not glamorous work, its the nuts and bolts of keeping a business moving, successful businesses are very good at doing the 90% part, most people get bored real quickly with day to day buisness work
By LopeD
yeah, you've definitely got me thinking.
i've thought of all these issues over time.
but the honest truth is, with some of them, i have no idea how to tackle them, and obviously no experience with them.

i've only recently started to get more organised and serious about it, committing all my ideas to paper, the next step was to write down each thing that needs to be done on each project to get it to market and selling etc.
I recently decided that i would knock things off that list all the time, regardless of whether important big issues were "holding up" progress.

My main idea which has priority, has more of the issues you have mentioned sorted out than any of the others.

I previously assumed that i would tackle the issues, in a "play it by ear" fashion. Ive successfully overcome obstacles like that before. (problems i know nothing about)
Theres always somewhere one can start, and the road if persued will lead you to where you want to go. Just might take a lot longer if you know nothing before you start, than if you know a fair bit/lot.

I would definitely like to learn about the issues you mentioned. And im keen to learn about them.
Reading your post made me wonder if there's a book on the subject, im definitely gonna see what amazon has.
Do you know of any resources for learning these various things?
My goal is to sell my products, and i reckon i'm going to learn some stuff the easy way, and some stuff the hard way. It would be nice to maximise the number of things I learn the easy way *G*. With dedication one will materialize one's goal.
Theres nothing else i really want to do.

on the subject of lots of administrative work... i thought of taking on partners, who are into the whole business side. I've got one friend who is very keen on doing the marketing, and his background would be very useful in one particular, large area of my target market. I dont think he has enough to offer to make him a partner, id work with him on a contractual basis.

Its actually a REALLY good question... "how does one learn this stuff?".
Like getting involved with china for mass production??? hehe

Thanks for your reply

By bungalow_steve
The only books I know of that are worth reading are "history" books about successful companies and how they started their business.

Partners with different strengths is a big plus. Apple would not of went anywhere without both Woz and Steve Jobs, Woz did the technical stuff and Jobs knew how to sell. You can build an anti-gravity machine, but if you don't know how to deal with companies/investors/distributors/people and put your foot in the door your work will stay in the basement forever. If Steve Jobs wasn't satisfied with a part he would get in his car and drive to the part manufacturer and demand to talk with the CEO of the company. And this was before he even started his company and made any sales, that is the kind of guy he is and the kind of guy you need.

As far as getting involved with china for mass production, the way you do is the same way you climb Mount Everest, you put one foot in front of the other and go. I went to the china website , here are thousands of mainland China manufacturers organized by category , I emailed ten of them a request for quote (a short paragraph stating what I wanted, pcb boards in my case), 5 responded (they all understand english), I sent money and ten days later a funky package arrived at my door with all sorts of weird postage marks, I opened it up and there was my order, at that moment I became a mainland china imported like wal-mart, easy! I now contribute to the trade deficit, wonderful. All I am saying is just jump in water and get your feet wet, that’s what all the startups do. You will fumble and bumble and won't know half the things they are talking about,but you will learn quickly. Watch out though, you may find you like the business side of a business more fun then the technical side.
By LopeD
thanks for your reply dude
much appreciated. your use of the word startup inspired me to read paul graham's essay on startups again.
i found it to be a really good read when i first read it.

ill check out that chinese website.

By LopeD
How many PCBs did you buy? (curious)
I see some of the companies on there do PCBs, assembly and component sourcing. Pretty cool.

What are "selling leads"?

Thanks for your help

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