General > Work Wanted

Always Wanted to Start a Business

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longh:
Hey guys, I've always wanted to start a business, but not sure how to start. For the first part of my career I did a lot of mixed signal PCB design/layout. Now I mainly write software/help with hardware bring up for satellites. I'm not sure if I have ADHD or something, but I was great in school and often have trouble focusing at each of my jobs. I get enough done to keep people happy, but I feel like I would have less trouble focusing if I worked for myself, but who knows. I feel like I am interested in too many things all at once :)

Probably the coolest thing I've designed was a data acquisition/power supply that worked with a beagle bone black to power preamps and collect radiometer data from a drone. I designed the entire thing myself, did the layout, and the initial software. At my last company a guy wrote some really cool Python code to control the DAQ over a web interface.

My current plan is to apply for a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant to get started, but the business part scares me more than the technical part.

Thanks,
-Hunter

Ed.Kloonk:
Rule of thumb every hour spent on your work, you need another hour doing business admin. Though these days that figure could be even higher.
 
Traditionally in the past you would have a spouse 'pick up the slack' so to speak. Failing that, find a book keeper. There's only one million of them in the phonebook. Pick one that is prepared to sit down with you regularly and get the job done. Avoid letting them do things remotely.

fourfathom:
I apologize if this just seems like negativity, but "I like to design cool stuff" is not usually a viable business plan.  You need to design stuff that your customers think is cool enough that they will buy it, and you need enough customers to make it all pay.  You need to focus on a product or service that will sell, you have to complete it 100%, and you have to spend a lot of time marketing and selling it.  And then you have to support it.  And you have to prepare for the competition to undercut you.

It's not easy.  But sometimes it pays off in a big way.

mag_therm:
Are you P.E. in your state ?
If not, I suggest do it as priority.

David Aurora:

--- Quote from: Ed.Kloonk on September 14, 2022, 01:14:28 am ---Rule of thumb every hour spent on your work, you need another hour doing business admin. Though these days that figure could be even higher.
 
Traditionally in the past you would have a spouse 'pick up the slack' so to speak. Failing that, find a book keeper. There's only one million of them in the phonebook. Pick one that is prepared to sit down with you regularly and get the job done. Avoid letting them do things remotely.

--- End quote ---

This is ridiculously true in my experience. The longer I've been in business, the clearer it is that hours and billable hours are VERY different as a small business owner.

And even further, all it takes is a phone/internet meltdown, or vital work equipment to keel over mid job, or a few particularly chatty customers to produce a 60 hour work week that you only billed 10 hours for.

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