Tips for starting a business in electronics

  • Thread starter david90
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Any suggestion when it comes to starting a business in electronics (something with automotive)?

With our current economy, jobs are hard to get.
 

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Here are a few thoughts:

Be sure that you scope out the market very carefully. Be sure that you know where the money is found: Who pays how much for what? What can I make? What are the risks? What is the cost of my insurance? Will I enjoy this?

Don't be fooled into thinking that what you love or like to do is what pays well. One thing that I really enjoy doing is small circuit design. Unfortunately, that is a cut-throat business that I only engage in on rare occasion. The real money is often found in rather mundane jobs with the really cool stuff less common - like icing on a cake.

I should say that I have noticed quite a few niche markets in the after-market, high performance auto industry. After-market products for cars generally can also be good. I knew a guy who paid his way through college by selling a fake burglar alarm for cars. It was just a flashing LED that was mounted in the dash to look like the LED from an alarm. He sold it locally in auto and hardware stores.

Finally, since going out on my own six years ago, when I am really busy, my average work week is 80-100 Hrs or more. It has been as high as 110 hours I think. As a rule I can bill about half of that time as profit. That is considered a very good average. On the up side, after a good run I have taken up to two months off [mostly] at a time. The freedom is wonderful!

There is nothing like calling your own shots. I don’t know if I could work for someone else any longer. The sense of autonomy is absolutely addictive for me. Also, when the economy went south, I found that due to my base of customers I was able to squeak by while other’s in my field lost their jobs and sometimes had to relocate. I have found that in some ways I am more secure being self employed than if I was an employee. When you work for someone else all of your eggs are in one basket; so to speak. This is like me only having one customer; which if preventable, I would never, never allow to happen. So, in a strange way, working for someone else as an employee is like a bad business practice.

My motto: Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. - Thomas Edison.

Good luck.
 
  • #3
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what do you make?
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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david90 said:
what do you make?
when its good, a lot! When its not good, not a lot.

Best day so far: ~$2800.

Average day on the clock: ~$1000.

Many days not on the clock but still working.

All in all, I do better than I could working for someone else. This did not come quickly or easily though.
 
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  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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Also, from day to day I work many more hours that I legally could if working for someone else. Then I get to take off days or even weeks at a time from time to time, so it is hard to compare with a normal employment situation. Without ever really looking at these numbers exactly, I would say that I do better financially, work more hours, but have more days off than if working as an employee.
 
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I didn't mean how much money. What kind of devices do you make?
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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david90 said:
I didn't mean how much money. What kind of devices do you make?
oh, usually people want to know about money. :redface:

I make whatever I feel qualified to pursue. For me, it is all about knowing about the work needed and how I can provide a service. I do a lot of instrumentation work, a little circuit design eg custom signal conditioners for one-time applications, programming work of nearly all types, and a mix of this with all types of industrial applications. Really, I try not to make things any more. I try to make money from other people who make things; much less risk for a small operator.

I pass on nearly all circuit design stuff except the work by-the-hour applications. To accept the marketing risk for a new circuit design is beyond my means, I find. Every inventor wants a partner in risk. If you pass on the gonna-pay-someday jobs, you will find that the work thins quickly.
 
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  • #8
There is another important issue. Before starting your business u should take into account the risk and benifits of working alone OR with some partnership.
 

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