Electrical engineers often find themselves visiting websites specialized to their field, which means they don't venture into more pedestrian outlets. However, there are plenty of opportunites for makers to sell to the general public without having massive manufacturing deals. In fact, chances are there are plenty of creations you've built that could be sold for easy cash. This may seem like a peculiar option to EE's who are already paid well and spend their days working in high-tech labs, but it has a few intriguing benefits.
Firstly, selling your creations to the general public will force you to pay closer attention to trends and customer wants. That kind of first-hand look at what customers respond to makes for a better product.
Secondly, working on projects outside your job keeps your creative side engaged, and that can, in turn, spill over to greater success in your day job. There's also a chance that the product you've started to sell for fun will catapult into a larger sensation.
And finally, making and selling your own products is both a great contigency plan if the economy tanks again and an addition to a resume that shows passion and initiative.
So. Ready to start selling? Here are three places to start:
The new service was just launched, so there's no sure data for how great a platform it is, but Amazon is so omnipresent that your products are bound to get plenty of exposure. The fees don't look horrendous, especially if you plan on selling fewer than 40 units per month. This is a good option, since Amazon is a major supplier of cheap components and visitors looking for LEDs may instead find themselves looking at your cool LED-accented hydrobike.
Don't dismiss Etsy as just a website for gothic pillows and ridiculous scarves. That LED charging station above sells for $125 and there are thousands of other creative EE projects on the site. If you've got an inventive product, being on Etsy is a great way to make extra cash. You can also get quite a following if you market yourself correctly--bonus points if your stuff can double as steampunk.
If your'e not familiar with Tindie, you should be. This marketplace is geared primarily towards makers. You can sell anything hardware here and if your product is a DIY project, this is the perfect fit. The only drawback is that you won't reach much of an audience outside the maker community.
Not that you needed any introduction to Ebay. Makers are more than familiar with the site already, but they tend to use it to buy Chinese components or hawk old devices. However, Ebay is a great place to sell handmade products and build a solid reputation. Use the right keywords and visitors are bound to come across your products in searches.
There you go: four easy platforms to sell your inventions. Market your products well and you may find yourself with greater motivation along with a little extra cash.