Thoughts on entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, startups, small business, manufacturing, engineering, & 3D Printing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Assist 2 Develop Empowers Innovators
ASSIST 2 DEVELOP IS FOCUSED ON CONNECTING SMALL BUSINESSES AND STARTUPS TO FREELANCE HARDWARE ENGINEERS & GIVING THEM TOOLS TO COLLABORATE VIRTUALLY.
Austin, TX April 13th 2015
The future of engineering & manufacturing looks bright. Maker spaces, cloud / subscription based software tools, and crowd funding have given small businesses & startups the opportunity to innovate & disrupt different industries.
The challenge for any startup or small business pursuing high tech markets is bringing the right engineering talent together. It is rare for a small business to have all the required engineering & manufacturing capabilities under one roof. Because of this, many companies have opted to outsource some of their engineering & manufacturing functions to keep costs low and remain competitive. A small business may only need an engineer for 3-6 months because of a spike in production, or a short term contract, so it doesn’t make sense to hire a full time employee. Once they’ve decided to hire a freelancer the biggest hurdle becomes finding the right engineer for the job.
Bassanio Peters created Assist 2 Develop (A2D) to solve this issue. A2D brings vetted freelance engineering & manufacturing professionals together with small businesses to create innovative products. A2D converges a freelance marketplace for product development professionals with collaborative tools. The Assist 2 Develop platform connects small businesses & startups to technically gifted freelancers, allows them to collaborate in real time using A2D’s digital workspace, and create the innovative and disruptive products of the future.
For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their website.
Assist 2 Develop
4:45am the sound of the slow rise ring tone on my iPhone prompts me to crawl out of the bed. The first few steps every morning are painful (plantar faciitis from my collegiate basketball career) and I have to quickly make six of them to get to my phone. I rush to turn off my alarm, and avoid waking up my wife and two year old son who has made it abundantly clear that this is his bed. I tip toe down the hall past my daughter asleep in her bedroom (where my son "should" be sleep) to the bathroom, brush my teeth and head downstairs. After I drink two glasses of ice cold water (helps stimulate brain functions & increase metabolism) and begin brewing my coffee. I open up Joseph Campbell's "Hero With A Thousand Faces" which helps me put my journey and life into perspective. At about 6am I change gears and read Foundr or entrepreneur magazine, then, suddenly, a hurricane of noise (my two toddlers) makes it's way downstairs. That's my cue to head up and begin tackling my daily list of tasks. It's 6:30am, 7am at the latest and I am ready to go!
This is the grind. The grind I started in April of 2013 and continues to grow. I am a morning person and feel I'm more productive first thing, but let me tell you another reason why every day I choose to get up before the average person. This all started because I was working for a company and felt like I hit the ceiling. No upward mobility, stagnation, but more than anything I just felt like I had a higher calling. You see I had been working in the engineering and manufacturing industry for over 7 years and along the way I made a lot of really good friends. I am an extrovert and most engineers I know are introverts, but I became close with many of the people I worked with. When the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008 many companies started sending engineering and manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico, because it was drastically cheaper. I witnessed first hand what this did to local economies and unfortunately seen a lot of friends and people I had worked with lose their jobs.
Then, something started happening. These same engineers who were out of a job and feeling a sense of desperation, started doing contract work. They were living contract to contract, day to day, and barely getting by. A few months went by and I checked in with several of them to see how things were going, and if I can help in any way. To my surprise, they were happier then ever. No more punching the clock, no more meaningless meetings, just their passion, which was to design and engineer amazing products. Six more months go by and these same people who were desperate a little less than a year ago are now picking and choosing which contracts they work on and are hiring staff. This inspired me to take action and begin to make certain sacrifices, so I can have this same feeling, and and help others in the process.
In April of 2013 I started a consulting company and what we did was help contract engineers find work. According to HBR 75% of freelance work still comes via word of mouth and considering engineers aren't what I would call "social butterflies" I figured I would have a market / problem to solve. They have the skills necessary to create amazing products, but lacked the business development experience to find consistent and sustainable work. So I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey, which at the heart of it, was helping people chase the dream we all have, being our own bosses. I still had a full time job, but I figured out a schedule that allow me to get started, and help me grow my business:
- 5am-7:15am work on my business
- 8am-5pm work as an employee
- 5:30pm-7:30pm family time
- 8pm-10pm my business
- In bed by 11pm
My schedule gave me four hours a day to focus on building a sustainable business, but the greatest benefit was discovering the pain engineering contractors faced not only with finding the work, but collaborating with companies in real time. This prompted me to create my current startup (Assist 2 Develop) which aims to solve these problems.
We are set to release our beta version in a few short weeks and you can find out more in the link below:
So the reason I still wake up at the crack of dawn every morning is to continue to help others free themselves of the corporate shackles, and live life on their terms. The best advice I can give anyone who feels like they want more out of life is START NOW! Even if you only take baby steps. Anyone can start with an hour a day, then when it makes sense, make it two hours, and then four. Next thing you know you've sustained enough business to cut down to part time at your job, or even quit all together, and that my friends is a great start to your journey.
The global Internet of Things IoT market is expected to increase by more than $5 trillion over the next six years, according to IT research agency, International Data Corporation (IDC). The big takeaway from CES 2015 for me is the fact that we have barely scratched the surface of what's possible. We have the opportunity to improve energy & operational efficiencies in cities, homes, and various other areas that we frequent. The question I hear from numerous customers is "how can small businesses capitalize on this opportunity?" I will do my best to answer this question and give you some suggestions in a couple of blog posts.
In answering this question the thing I want you to understand is that small businesses have a competitive advantage, agility. The ability to innovate quickly, because of the lack of bureaucracy and corporate structure is where startups & small businesses have made their mark. Meanwhile innovation within large companies is often slow and ineffective. Part of this agility is remaining flexible and adaptable to change.
The challenge for any small business is bringing the right talent together. It's rare for a single company to have all of the engineering, programming & manufacturing expertise under one roof, because hiring and keeping top talent is expensive for any small business. The good news is you have options and in my opinion freelancers are an attractive one.
The economic downturn caused droves of the generation Y tech enthusiasts to explore new ways to make a living and many turned to freelancing. As a matter of a fact in terms of trajectory the independent worker, (Freelancers) category is expanding faster than the overall labor force. So, in theory you could build a freelance team (each having the necessary skill set) and give them the tools to collaborate and work together on your IOT product.
Anything to add? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
It's been an exciting year for us and we are happy so many of you have enjoyed our blog. Here are the top postings of 2014:
Why I Elected To Take My Entrepreneurial Journey To Austin:
Thriving Through Disruption
So You Think You Have a Really Good Business Idea?
Entrepreneurship + Internet of Things + Manufacturing = The Future
Our flagship product A2D (Assist 2 Develop) is gaining momentum! Read the articles below:
Fostering the Future of Manufacturing & The Explosion of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Assist 2 Develop (A2D) A New Freelance Marketplace for Entrepreneurs looking for work
Why Move Your Startup to Austin?
Austin entrepreneur aims to connect social entrepreneurs and freelancers
Another year, another opportunity to accomplish the goals you set last year. But the question you have to ask yourself is why didn't I reach last years goals? More often then not people set goals like "I wan't to lose weight" or "I want to read more." These goals often go unfulfilled because there is no way to hold yourself accountable. One key to success is setting specific goals. When you set specific goals like "I will lose ten pounds by June 1st" or "I will read 2 books a month" you remove the possibility of settling for less and increase your chances of success. Personally, I like to set specific goals and then break them up into smaller segments. For example in 2014 my goal was to read 25 books. I accomplished this by breaking it down monthly, which meant I had to read 2 books a month and in June I read 3. When you hit the monthly targets it keeps you motivated to accomplish the original goal. So in 2015 set specific goals and hold yourself accountable, because no one else will.
In closing, If you don't take the time to watch this video I will leave you with one quote that inspires me to do great things: "When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind! Leave no opportunity left behind! When you leave this earth accomplish every single thing you can accomplish."
Let's crush our goals in 2015!!!
Managing complexity is one of the greatest opportunities of our time. Design thinking can create clarity and understanding of this complexity, and fuel innovation. But you have to be willing to go out, find great ideas, try new things, and sometimes, fall flat on your face. Design is a tool to create something new, not just improve on an existing model. Albert Einstein hits the nail right on the head when he stated "We cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Design thinking requires you to think and act like an entrepreneur by finding a need in the market and creating a product to satisfy that need. This type of thinking requires you to translate a need or desire of the customer into a business proposition, then turn the proposition into a product / service for the customer.
According to Nine Sigma 80% of big companies plan to increase innovation budgets in 2015 http://www.ninesigma.com/blog/bloinc/2014/12/the-results-are-in-findings-from-a-new-survey-on-innovation and the designers / engineers / innovators that embed design thinking into their practice will be the ones to capitalize on this opportunity. To truly innovate you have to create a hypothesis based on what you see, not just customer feedback, because sometimes customers don't know what they want. Henry Ford said it best: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” [Henry Ford]
For a more detailed, but simple explanation of design thinking check out the video below:
Highs and lows, ups and downs, it's all part of being an aspiring entrepreneur. When you have that breakthrough idea, sometimes you need a friend to motivate you, or an advisor to help you nurture the idea by listening and providing critical feedback. The best advice I can provide is find a mentor who has been in your shoes and read, read, & read some more. Reading books & articles written by entrepreneurs allows you to learn what you can from the people that have survived this wild ride.
We will continue to do what we can to provide insight and information to help you enjoy the journey.
Freelancers / Solopreneurs / independent workers have it pretty good these days. A recent study published in Harvard Business Review suggests that 2.7 million independent workers make over $100K a year! That helps explain why flocks of people are leaving the corporate world behind and pursuing their own ventures. According to the MBO Partners the independent worker category is growing faster than the overall labor force.
So what can you do to get your piece of the pie? Start by identifying what type of pie you enjoy most and take small bites. Try picking up some freelance work on the side, see if you like what you're doing, and most of all provide value. 75% of freelance work still comes via word of mouth, so you have to be knowledgable and passionate about what your doing if you want people to work with you.
For a copy of the report we referenced subscribe to our newsletter. Happy Tuesday!