|10-03-2008, 10:37 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cleveland, OH
How to be self employed with engineering work?
Hi, I read the article "10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job", several times actually because I was so unhappy with mine and was constantly scouring the internet for a way out.
I quit yesterday morning.
My education is in mechanical engineering, but I am just about a year out of college and don't have much engineering experience. I think the Top 10 article applies to most trades, but can you really be a self employed <i>anything</i>? I don't think this really works for doctors, engineers, research scientists, among others. But, I'm open to ideas. I honestly don't care if I use my engineering education that much, but it would be nice to stay in touch with the mathematical and physical principles to keep a sharp mind and to make money of course.
I know one way to use it is to make an invention. Maybe I could do that, but I have next to no money to work with to market and implement it. Anyone have other ideas?
I do have some crap I can do to make a few bucks in the meantime, but I am really extremely eager to start a business/work for myself.
|10-03-2008, 11:55 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Berlin, Germany
Kids! Start your own electronics business in a spare garage in just 15 easy steps! | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com
Maybe just getting a job at a different company might also help you.
|10-04-2008, 12:16 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Boston, MA
I was in your boat 8 years ago. You are just starting out so you need to spend your time figuring out what you want to do and learning the skills that will allow you to do it. You'll need to try a lot of things and stay employed to pay the bills.
My advice: find a job you can tolerate and try as much as you can in your spare time - read business books, volunteer, start an online business, get involved with a start-up, join toastmasters, take some classes, do _lots_ of networking (networking is key).
I did all of these things while employed as an engineer for 8 years. I'm in a much better position now because I have a good idea what I want to do and I've got the skills to do it.
The reality is that you'll need some kind of job to pay the bills while you figure things out. You have to be orient yourself to a life of learning new skills and learning about yourself. If you take action, the truth will be revealed to you, slowly.
PM me if you'd like to talk privately.
|10-04-2008, 06:35 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
One thing that was not clear from your post. Are you passionate about engineering? I mean, is it something you really enjoy doing? Or are you pursuing that field only because that's where your education foundations are?
The reason I ask is, if your intention is to be self employed, you ***MUST*** find something you are passionate about and that has meaning to you. Something that you will be able to strive towards for many years.
As a relatively new entrepreneur I can tell you that success as a self-employed person requires an abundance of persistence. You will meet with many challenges and obstacles that will test your desire to reach your goal. If you are in a business strictly for money or because you are trained in that field, but you are lacking passion for the type of work you are performing, there is a high probability that your business will not succeed.
I am not trying to focus on the negative because I constantly work on myself to be positive and opportunity-oriented. But the truth is, your PASSION for your work is what will ultimately drive you to success.
So, a good start might be for you to declare your passions on this forum. If your passion IS engineering, then its time to go on a hunt and find other people out there who have become successful entrepreneurs in a similar line of work. I can almost guarantee there will be people out there. You just have to find them and emulate them.
Like sbdiane said, you will find people doing all kinds of jobs and running businesses that you may never have thought of!
Best of luck
|10-06-2008, 04:33 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cleveland, OH
Thanks for the replies. I am stumped on what I am really passionate about doing. While I hated my engineering education, I think that was in large part due to the classroom structure; I did enjoy at least some homework assignments and learning about some laws (I liked dynamics a lot), and I am fascinated by the wide ranging applicability of the principles. But, I don't know if this means an engineering profession is right for me.
Then there is the issue of having a passion for a certain end and just having to "deal" with the means to get there. For example, when Michelangelo sculpted David, I don't think he had a simultaneous passion for chisseling it by hand; I bet if he could have replicated it an easier way, he could have.
Anyway, I'd say some of my passions for "ends" are environmental sustainability, physical and mental healing, freedom/independence from economic and social infrastructure, and exploration of consciousness. I don't know what I really have a passion for "doing"; I like to learn about useful things, and sometimes problem solving can be fulfilling.
|10-06-2008, 06:11 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Hey man, that may be a tough question to answer - what is my passion, really?
Now, at 31, I'm just trying to figure it out myself. Recently got a job that pays better than any other I had before, but it's at a huge corporation, world I haven't been in for a couple of years. I feel like I'm back to square 1 (I didn't like my corporate job of the past). So I can tell you, money definitely doesn't improve your situation long-term, i.e. doesn't make you like better what you do.
Well, it's a corp BS environment, lots of opportunities to have a few moments to yourself, to say the least. So I'm focusing on this positive side for now and try to learn as much as I can - so that at some point in the future I’m prepared to make a change. Of course, simply acquiring knowledge is not enough, you must act.
I could give you a lengthy lecture about what to do, not to do, etc, my life story and so forth, but I’d like to keep it concise. Therefore I’ll only mention these:
1) (As mustard76 kindly stated above) You need a job to support your new venture, to finance the change you’re making, as well as help you make a living in the meantime.
2) For that purpose (job in the meantime, that is): explore a few positions you can have, as well as a few places you can work at – gain some experience. After all, maybe some jobs don’t suck that bad??
3) Never stop learning – about life, about others’ experiences, about your field (whatever it might be), about yourself. Getting to know yourself better will help you foresee and tackle challenges heads-up, address your weak spots, identify and capitalize on your strengths.
Last edited by DmitryM; 10-06-2008 at 06:13 PM.
|10-06-2008, 07:25 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Have you ever considered using your engineering skills to make other people's inventions a reality? You could consult with inventors, assist them in receiving funding for building their prototype, or be involved with manufacturing prototypes directly. Lots of people have great ideas, but no skills in their practical application. You could even apply your skills to inventions that promote social consciousness or environmental sustainability!
I don't think Michelangelo LOVED chiseling, but I don't think anything joyful can come out of an activity that we despise. There are some aspects of my business I don't really love (all things accounting ...) but I still derive a sense of satisfaction from doing them.
|10-07-2008, 05:36 AM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
I think I understand where you are coming from. I've been a qualified engineer for 6 years now and I love the engineering part, hate most of the rest of it, especially in a corporate enviroment. Recently I changed jobs and managed to find a place where I can do more of the engineering side, and am now in a position where I have to learn a whole new range of skills, which for me is fantastic. (I love learning). However, before this change came about I had been investigating a whole range of options.
Using your engineering degree, there really are a lot of jobs available other than the obvious engineering ones. Most of the guys who graduated with me now work for financial institutions (banks, consultants like Mckinsey, etc). You may find it useful to think of your engineering training as learning to think in a certain way (analytically and problem solving) rather than being trained as an engineer.
To consult as an engineer, you are going to need experience. Unfortunately, the only way to get this is to work for an engineering company for a few years. This will be tolerable if you know that for the next x years, you are gaining the experience you will need to be able to consult. The best way to find out more information about what will be required for this is to look for some of the small engineering consulting firms and see if you can chat to the founder. Most of them will be willing to help you out with information, and who knows, you may even find one that fits with you and get a job there.
Of course, there are a number of other things you can do as well. These include freelance writing, photography etc. In fact, with the web, it is almost possible to make money out of anything that you find interesting, you might just need to find a novel way to do it. Just check out the link in my signature to see what I'm trying.
The point of this is you have to try things until you find what you're passionate about. If you're lucky, you'll hit on it easily, if you're not, it may take years, but keep on trying. The rewards far outweigh the effort you'll need to make.
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