I will start a small (indeed very small) business soon; I mean, begin to create and sell some things. As I’ve said before, I used to work as software developer, and tough it’s not as bad, machines, tools, electronics and creating things is what I love and from what I wish to live. A lot of people around me are a bit sceptical (and sure they have good reasons), but I really don’t care; failing doesn’t really worry me. What worries me is to see time going without doing all can be done to achieve what I want (I know it sounds a bit cliche).
So, I’ve been doing several things in this days: setting up a FreeBSD server, switching to Ubuntu and open source tools, and starting to prototype my first product.
A version control system can be very useful to store and keep the track of changes of your work (even if you work alone). I already had a dusty FreeBSD server (I really love FreeBSD) with subversion and other things, but I wish something fresh so I install the last version (10) and setup subversion, websvn, dokuwiki and some other things. These are really nice tools.
Ubuntu and the open source
I had never been a technology enthusiast. My notebook is old, I use my old phone just for calls and up to some week ago I use windows xp on my old PC. Linux never attract me as desktop platform; I had all I need on windows. But when you wish to do some serious work, linux it’s unbeatable. Forget about viruses. Download all you need, free, from a central repository. I can easily do a new install, with all the tools I need, then checkout all my work files from my svn server and a get a working environment in a breeze.
Just one small complaint: Ubuntu’s default desktop environment it’s not resource friendly. So if you have old equipment, it will not run very smooth. Nevetheless the solution it’s very easy: install lxde, a lightweight desktop manager. I love lxde so much now. Also, maybe I give a try to lubuntu in the future.
From Eagle to KiCad
I’m a Eagle fan. But free version is for non-commercial work and has a limited footprint. So I had two alternatives: pay a Eagle licence (about $575) or try an open source alternative. The first time I put my hands on KiCad, some time ago, I find it a little polished and not very easy to use tool. Sure, I was a Eagle user. But when you begin to use KiCad and get used to its own way of doing things, you begin to love it. Sure, it’s not bundled with so many components as eagle, but it’s really easy to create a new device/footprint (also there’s a lot of extra libraries out there). And, although the board doesn’t update automatically when you add a new device, updating associations and netlist it’s just plain simple. My only complain: all footprints are in one big list, there’s no filter. But I can live with this. Good bless KiCad developers.
My first product
My first product will be a simple accessory for the Sherline lathe; some small parts and a bit of electronics, nothing special. My main objective it’s to get selling experience. Once I get confidence I will start sell more elaborated things (like a micro table saw kit or something else).
Name and domain
Finding a good name for your business it’s not easy, and finding an available .com domain for a good name it’s almost impossible. It wasn’t easy, but finally I did make a choice that has an available domain; now I should choose a domain registerer and webhost. It’s sad buying and reselling domains be a common business.
I’m still not sure if I will sell on eBay or in the .com site. Actually there are a lot of alternatives to eBay, but I think eBay is a good starting point. Also, if you wish to create your own online store, there’s a plenty of free software tools. Some things I hate to deal with are legal and accounting issues, so I will tackle them later.
I don’t like to call myself an “entrepreneur” or something like that; I just want to give the effort some things deserve.