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Business ideas for an automotive engineer

Bombastik_80

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Nov 12, 2019
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Hello to the community,

I’ve just finished TMF and read through some of the gold posts here, but honestly I am a little overwhelmed about all this yet very unfamiliar and unconventional kind of information.

As written in my introduction thread, I am in the automotive industry for 10 years now (I graduated in mechanical engineering in 2010), and I work since three years for a subsidiary of a big car manufacturer in the south of Germany. The pay is okay for an engineer I guess (around 70k).

Prior to this I worked as an electronic technician, so I have practical knowledge about electronics as well.

The last five or six years, I had to deal solely with SW and SW-Test in the context of Electric Control Units (ECUs), small dedicated computer systems with a specific purpose - a modern car has about 100 of such systems.

The job is okay, but predictable and not overly exciting. I am sitting in an office most of the day, pure engineering tasks are diminishing while I simultaneously have to deal with more and more annoying corporate politics, meetings, business travels and so forth.

I have no kids and no wife, and because the job is somehow relaxed but otherwise very time-consuming, I have not much time for dating or a social life unfortunately.
Which brings me to my ultimate goal for a potential self-employment: time. I want to have more time in a few years.

Now two of my business ideas that have crossed my mind the recent months that would blend in with my KnowHow and interests.

1. SW-Testing

I have quite decent skills regarding SW and SW-Test. I am also a very good programmer – for a mechanical engineer. Unfortunately, all this knowledge is very specialized obviously. Matlab, C++, CAPL, VBA. And I never dealt with anything else than automotive components.

Considering CENTS for a potential business, the degree of Control and Entry is quite high, and the degree of Scale I would consider high as well. However, I have no idea about a Need for something like a “SW-Testing consultant” on the free market, or the detachment from Time.

2. Tech, Travel or Language Blog

I was in Slovakia for four months in spring on a Sabbatical. It was first and foremost for language learning purposes (Slovak), but also for outdoor activities. I started a blog during that time, and I provided some language learning tools (only simple stuff) on it, as well as articles about traveling and engineering. I think about providing language apps for android in the near future (I would create them myself), but honestly I have no idea if there is any market for this.

I will not post links since I’ve just registered in this community and I don’t want to be suspected of just promoting my blog. If one is interested, send me a pm.

Okay I read this thread very carefully:


Currently the strategy for my blog-project is more or less “Captivate the audience, and then deliver the product.”
Presently the stats suggest that at least some people read the blog, I have 100 subscribers so far.


That is all for the moment, I want to post more detailed ideas in the near future.

Thanks in advance for all advice :)
 

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Last edited:

inputchip

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While your niche skillset can be beneficial to starting a business, you are approaching it the wrong way.

You need to start with the need. Find a problem and solve it. The more painful and widespread the problem, the greater the potential scale.

There are companies out there that specialize in reprogramming ECU's for exotic cars.


Where are their inefficiencies, where is there still pain in this service? Where could you get a competitive advantage?
 

Andy Black

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Hello to the community,

I’ve just finished TMF and read through some of the gold posts here, but honestly I am a little overwhelmed about all this yet very unfamiliar and unconventional kind of information.

As written in my introduction thread, I am in the automotive industry for 10 years now (I graduated in mechanical engineering in 2010), and I work since three years for a subsidiary of a big car manufacturer in the south of Germany. The pay is okay for an engineer I guess (around 70k).

Prior to this I worked as an electronic technician, so I have practical knowledge about electronics as well.

The last five or six years, I had to deal solely with SW and SW-Test in the context of Electric Control Units (ECUs), small dedicated computer systems with a specific purpose - a modern car has about 100 of such systems.

The job is okay, but predictable and not overly exciting. I am sitting in an office most of the day, pure engineering tasks are diminishing while I simultaneously have to deal with more and more annoying corporate politics, meetings, business travels and so forth.

I have no kids and no wife, and because the job is somehow relaxed but otherwise very time-consuming, I have not much time for dating or a social life unfortunately.
Which brings me to my ultimate goal for a potential self-employment: time. I want to have more time in a few years.

Now two of my business ideas that have crossed my mind the recent months that would blend in with my KnowHow and interests.

1. SW-Testing

I have quite decent skills regarding SW and SW-Test. I am also a very good programmer – for a mechanical engineer. Unfortunately, all this knowledge is very specialized obviously. Matlab, C++, CAPL, VBA. And I never dealt with anything else than automotive components.

Considering CENTS for a potential business, the degree of Control and Entry is quite high, and the degree of Scale I would consider high as well. However, I have no idea about a Need for something like a “SW-Testing consultant” on the free market, or the detachment from Time.

2. Tech, Travel or Language Blog

I was in Slovakia for four months in spring on a Sabbatical. It was first and foremost for language learning purposes (Slovak), but also for outdoor activities. I started a blog during that time, and I provided some language learning tools (only simple stuff) on it, as well as articles about traveling and engineering. I think about providing language apps for android in the near future (I would create them myself), but honestly I have no idea if there is any market for this.

I will not post links since I’ve just registered in this community and I don’t want to be suspected of just promoting my blog. If one is interested, send me a pm.

Okay I read this thread very carefully:


Currently the strategy for my blog-project is more or less “Captivate the audience, and then deliver the product.”
Presently the stats suggest that at least some people read the blog, I have 100 subscribers so far.


That is all for the moment, I want to post more detailed ideas in the near future.

Thanks in advance for all advice :)
My first thought was to get freelance/consulting gigs for the skills that currently earn you 70k a year.

“Grow what you know.”

Maybe check out the second radio interview in my signature?
 

maverick

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Don't pigeonhole yourself.

Better to change your inner dialogue from "I'm an automotive engineer" to "I create and assemble value-adding products/services for the automotive industry".
 

Andy Black

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Andy Black

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Bombastik_80

Bombastik_80

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 12, 2019
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7
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Germany
Thanks for the replies so far. Some thoughts on it.

While your niche skillset can be beneficial to starting a business, you are approaching it the wrong way.

You need to start with the need. Find a problem and solve it. The more painful and widespread the problem, the greater the potential scale.

There are companies out there that specialize in reprogramming ECU's for exotic cars.


Where are their inefficiencies, where is there still pain in this service? Where could you get a competitive advantage?
I checked this website. They are not exactly reprogramming ECUs (which would make no sense here), but repairing faulty HW.

Usually this kind of specialist work requires very expensive equipment, and the job resembles rather a car mechanic. You need years of practical experience for that, of course (which I don't have in this context).

You're currently a technical specialist. Can you put on another hat and SELL that technical skill? Then can you put on yet another hat and SCALE that skill?
Yes, currently specialists for functional safety are in high demand. Presently only a few engineers on the job market have the interest or the skills for doing such kind of a job (which consists mostly of documentation, specifications or statistics).
My company even has an own department for functional safety, and now that you are mentioning it: the head asked me indeed just last week if I would be interested to join his team.

Hm, I know some people who are freelancing with functional safety, and make probably 6 figures. Yes, would be an option (basically there are plenty of options for external engineering consulting companies in the automotive sector: EMC, measurement engineering services etc.).

Commandments T+S in such businesses idk to be honest.
 

Andy Black

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Thanks for the replies so far. Some thoughts on it.



I checked this website. They are not exactly reprogramming ECUs (which would make no sense here), but repairing faulty HW.

Usually this kind of specialist work requires very expensive equipment, and the job resembles rather a car mechanic. You need years of practical experience for that, of course (which I don't have in this context).



Yes, currently specialists for functional safety are in high demand. Presently only a few engineers on the job market have the interest or the skills for doing such kind of a job (which consists mostly of documentation, specifications or statistics).
My company even has an own department for functional safety, and now that you are mentioning it: the head asked me indeed just last week if I would be interested to join his team.

Hm, I know some people who are freelancing with functional safety, and make probably 6 figures. Yes, would be an option (basically there are plenty of options for external engineering consulting companies in the automotive sector: EMC, measurement engineering services etc.).

Commandments T+S in such businesses idk to be honest.
Figure out how to divorce your income from your time later. Scale later. Don’t let worries about T&S stop you.
 

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