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Physical product engineering encompasses some of the more difficult career types to jump into freelancing with. This group includes disciplines such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, optical engineering, industrial design, and similar. Unlike with freelance software engineering or other professions altogether, there aren't a lot of support structures in place for these pros. There also isn't a lot of guidance available on the subject!
That's why Erin McDermott distilled her many years of experience in sales, marketing, and freelance hardware engineering into this book. It's not just marketing-speak applied to hardware. McDermott, herself, runs an optical engineering firm, Spire Starter, and writes from personal experience of building a company and starting from zero.
When starting out, freelancers can be overwhelmed wondering how they'll survive. They probably didn't take a college course in how to provide hardware engineering services as a business owner. They probably never even saw a book on the subject before this one. Every part of making a living as a freelancer can be perplexing at first.
What are the steps involved? How do you make sure you don't go hungry? Where do you find prospective clients? How do you get these strangers to want to pay you?
A variety of skills are needed to survive as a freelance engineer, but the most important one is the ability to connect with paying clients. In turn, building brand is one of the most impactful activities in attracting those paying clients. It's also something an engineer can begin at any stage of his or her career - even before graduation. That's why this book focuses on that first vital step a freelancer needs to succeed: building their brand in order to attract paying clients to them.
As a warning: this book is not about the typical MBA definition of building brand. There is no help within on picking your company colors, nor your mascot. It's not even about designing physical products to look snazzy. No, this book is all about building a solid understanding in the minds of others about what value your engineering skills can bring them. That is the key that leads those that need your services to you.