About this project
Makers Going Pro: How They Made the Jump
A Handbook of Strategies, Tactics, & Tips for Starting a Maker Company
Makers Going Pro is a book for makers that want to start a company and take their passion, dream, or hobby to the next level and earn a living from it. If you’ve been thinking about starting a company around your maker skills, this book will highlight how other makers have succeeded and how they did it.
In Makers Going Pro, I’ll interview leading maker company founders and other maker movement experts for insights and inspiration into how maker companies succeed. In fact, I've been conducting interviews for the last 2 months and plan to have a sample chapter up within a week.
Just for reference, makers are do-it-yourself types, fixers, hackers, inventors, entrepreneurs, indie craftspeople and artisans. The makers who are successful at creating a company have something to teach us. Some maker companies are fairly simple, but they have leveraged innovative marketing, sales, and operations tips and techniques to get profitable. Others are more complicated and can teach us about patents and legal hurdles to avoid if you have intellectual property to protect. Many have gone the path of open source and I’ll share some of the pros and cons of open vs closed source.
I’m interviewing some of the best known maker companies out there and compiling their ideas, philosophies and tips for starting and running a maker company. People like Bre Pettis, Limor Fried, Phil Torrone, Rick Polllack, and many more.
Why I’m the best person to write this book
I’ve been a business owner and writer for over twenty years writing about startups, entrepreneurs, small business, and inventors for the Greensboro News & Record, Pittsburgh Business Times, Wall Street Journal and at the Small Business Administration (SBA) blog. Currently, my work at Forbes is gaining traction with a new blog called “The Makers,” and is a huge part of my effort to build awareness about the maker movement in more mainstream publications. I also post regular contributions at American Express OPEN Forum, Small Business Trends and, most recently, at Make.
Over the last two decades, I’ve worked as a consultant and contractor to help small and large businesses with sales and marketing. I am regularly asked by makers and future business owners if they should start a company and my answer is most often an emphatic YES. We need more maker companies. Small business drives the economy of most countries and we need to encourage and enable it. My hope is that this book will inspire makers in our communities to get started.
Here’s where you come in
The money raised will go towards interviewing and writing, book design, proofreading and editing, printing the books and the postage to ship them to backers. I’ve already started the interviews and research, and estimate another three months to complete the book content. I’m hopeful that printing and shipping will only add one additional month putting it in your hands by early June.
For all backers who want early looks at the work in progress, I plan to provide a private email update 2-3x a month with glimpses of what I’m learning about and from pro makers. That will be an opt-in only email you can sign up for here. I don’t want to overload people here on Kickstarter, but I do plan to update backers here as well.
For those new to Kickstarter, it is an All-Or-Nothing model. If I don't reach my goal, your credit card is not charged. I've carefully estimated how much it will cost to create and ship this book and if I don't reach the goal I don't publish the book.
Are You a Maker?
If you are already a pro or semi-pro maker, I REALLY want to hear from you. Are you selling your products or kits? Please email me at TJM@MakersGoingPro.com so I can learn about your work. I won’t be able to include everyone in the book, of course, but I also plan to highlight the cool stories and tips via an email newsletter. You can subscribe to the Maker Tips newsletter here.
I put two links in the About You section (which is about me).
But I really want to hear about you. Please get in touch by email.
Email me at TJM@MakersGoingPro.com and I’ll reply with some questions to start our conversation.
If you are not a maker or maker company owner, but you know one or more people doing something that fits, please email me an introduction to that person. I’m always happy to chat with makers, of all types.
ePub is a dominant digital format that I plan to use in addition to the PDF version because it will allow you to share the document across just about any device and among friends. I’m inspired by Cory Doctorow’s way of sharing his ebook versions and plan to do similar.
Makers and artisans of all types are creating independent businesses, sideline businesses (part time), and many are making the leap from hobbyist to pro maker, pro craftsperson, pro-indie… People of all backgrounds and brainpower are fearlessly embarking on new ventures. Many of them are looking for success stories and role models to study.
Backing this project will help makers, crafts people, artisans, indie, handmade, photographers, and inventors, to name just a few. It helps small companies to build awareness. For our top backers/funders, we’ll put you prominently on the site, too.
As corny as it may sound, I care about the people that make up this movement, this trend, this new community that is rapidly growing. I want to talk to the people who have insights for others. I want to continue to study what they do and share that with readers, viewers, and future collaborators via this book and the web.
YES! Please continue funding after we reach the initial goal because it will allow me to do more and deeper research and expand the book and resources for makers going pro.
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