So I have some form of adult autism, in addition to executive function impairment due to bleeding in my brain as a baby. This has had a profound affect on my working life, that is to say, has made it nearly impossible to hold down a job, be it a fast food job, or heavy industry, and all in between. And unless every super I’ve had is lying about my work ethic, that’s not the problem either. Out of desperation, I have turned to my parents to ask for their help to get me started selling prebuilt PCs out of my house, and at first, I was met with THE SHUTDOWN. Today, my mother called me out of the blue and started asking me questions about dollars and cents, shipping, insurance, all the typical questions you would ask when trying to get a business off the ground, so it seems perhaps they have changed their minds, or are open to the possibility at least. My question is, how do I convey the required information in a way that is easily parsable to a person, or persons who aren’t as tech savvy as I am, while navigating years of deteriorating relationship drama, as well as my own mental oddities? I know this is a weird post, but I’m really interested in building computers and this looks like it could be viable, as least somewhat. I am open to any constructive advice.
Welcome fellow Neuro-Divergent from the Homo Sapiens branch.
So, I am going on two different tracts in this and much will be stream of conscious with editing at the end due to how my brain and thought processes works.
First, diversify diversify diversify. Don’t lock yourself into just PC building unless you have a “gimmick” or specialization that people are seeking out. I would strongly suggest making the PC building part just one section of your proposed company.
What other aspects of PC/Computing/Networking/Technology are you interested in? Could you wrap some of the other aspects into a company in a way that gives you options for the types of clients you work for?
Are you open to things like offering service contracts and SLA’s related to things like Small Business Managed Service Provider (MSP)? Being a MSP for local small practices like lawyers, dentists, doctors, and other professional but often single owner/operator business can be a great market and business model.
The nice thing is that it can still include building PC’s as well as setting up reseller accounts with Dell/Lenovo/HP/Ubiquity and supplying these products at MSRP to your clients while you are paying distribution prices.
So, part two, do some research for what you need to setup an LLC in your city/state/country (assuming US) as well as what type of business insurance might be required.
You DONT NEED to setup an LLC, bank accounts, insurance until you land a contract. So while you need a plan you should not need to spend anything up front and your first contract/SLA can cover establishing your organizational and legal protections.
I suspect that getting a loan from family will be much better if you show up with a contract in hand, and a year or 6 months of some income guaranteed.
If you need some money up front for cards/flyers then I think its safe to ask for that, and if you do perhaps again show them the instructions to get an LLC setup, and accounts and such.
Your state Secretary of State website should have instructions on the costs and process for setting up a company. For example:
Good Luck, and feel free to ask questions and I will help where I can!
Also nuero-divergent here, although only officially diagnosed ADHD and not ASD. I have also had difficulty with steady work throughout my life, but what is stopping me now is physical disability and not mental.
I agree with everything infinitevalence said, but this part stuck out to me as particularly helpful:
It is okay to take a chance on something like computers or parts, but don’t waste money on unnecessary logistical expenses. Speaking from experience unfortunately, I dropped over $500 out the gates on two LLCs and domains (but no hosting) that I have done absolutely nothing with going on two years later. That said, it is always a good idea to have a solid plan worked out just in case.
It is very easy to get tunnel vision over business ventures when you’re not a business-type (on or off the spectrum), especially until you find your desired and desirable niche. I recently spent almost a grand on a bunch of new office PCs, but after getting them fully kitted out to sell I ended up barely breaking even in my current market. I was also stressed and frustrated over the capital I had locked away in those newer units, so now I stick to older less expensive stuff and only buy new when it is on sale or budget quality.
At the end of the day, the best advice I can offer you is to do whatever it takes to be happy with yourself and your accomplishments, whether big or small. Also keep in mind that just because you have a good product or service, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will align with others wants, needs, or technical knowledge.
WOW! You really helped! I didn’t think of LLCs or any of that stuff!
Hmm It seems this was the right place to ask! I planned to simply buy used parts from china an run them through somewhere like Jawa.gg, it seems that that site is gaining traction with normies, and so, budget prebuilts are becoming a thing. Insofar as what I like to do, pay my bills, pay my child support, and have a couple of bucks leftover on the weekend for more Retro machines or parts I can flip. I’m a pretty simple kinda guy, I’ve just ran into a brick wall with transportation among other things. Basically anything to do with tinkering with PCs. Literally anything. I am the most happy with my hands in the dusty guts of some forgotten attic PC.
it is hard to make a dollar at the low end of the PC sales options. budget gaming PCs are all the rage and building one up to sale makes razor thin margins.
garage sales and local flee markets are your friend.
repair and refreshing stuff for people can have better profit margin, mostly you will get paid for your time. try to avoid ‘making house calls’ if social anxiety is a thing for you.
also, and this is not for everyone, but small motorcycles, lawn mowers, etc, are all just as easy for me to repair as computers are. you might grab a junk lawn mower the next time the city is doing a clean up and see if that sort of thing works for you too.
Not really what you where question about but something I wrote to someone else on a similar subject.
It’s not always possible but try to look for a flexible job. There’s a lot of people who could do an almost normal job if it was more flexible. Take a rest in a dark silent room if you get a sensory overload, have a lie down if you can only work for two hours at a time, flexible hours in the morning if you’re busy flipping light switches at home or trying to find your keys (which you finally find in the fridge), and if you have a problem working with people have someone else who talk to the customers. It’s not easy finding an employment like this in large corporation but smaller places might be fine with it. Or start a company with a normie friend who’s not weirded out by those things.
hmmmmm good ideas, this is more of a “right now keep me in my house” sort of thing. Or at least it’s becoming that.
I would look at sole proprietor before spending the money on LLC. My understanding of LLC is its a better tax write-off and supposedly protects your personal property from seizure. If you don’t have much then LLC may not be beneficial. At least until you start making serious coin. Just a living I would seriously look at sole proprietor…
well I do own a house, it’s not in good repair, but it’s all I’ve got.
I forgot to mention that the only time I have made any decent profits was when the computer was given to me free and clear as e-waste. Most people will happily give up their hardware in exchange for the data that is on it. You can then pop in an SSD, install Windows, and list it for sale with a cheap keyboard & mouse and a used budget monitor from the thrift store.
My wife and I have owned a couple of businesses now. LLC vs Sole Proprietor is heavily dependent on the state you live in. California LLC is really expensive. In some other states, LLC costs about the same as Sole Proprietor.
tbh unless you have money to burn on display peace’s and building a portfolio of systems you have made to show to prospective clients, i would say pass on the idea of a home run pc building business.
the price of components to you will be higher than cost to a retailer.
which will cut profit margins a lot.
typically it will take me 3-4 hours to put a basic build together, install windows and av. and check its working.
thats 10-15 an hour on top of component costs.
if it was a boutique build, 20-30 hours.
typically 3k total cost, 10% of which was my take.
8 weeks later i was asked to warranty the pc because he fiddled with it (claimed he was filling the rez) and caused a leak.
a leak that killed the psu, which then took the motherboard, the cpu, ram and gpu.
he then expected the whole lot repaired free of charge…
it took me 3 weeks to source new parts.
all of which went fine with the rma.
but still i was out the return postage.
all told i made negative 80 on a 3k build. and that was the last time i entertained the idea of trying to do it from home.
then there was the stuff that didnt sell… … seems friends and family think pc’s grow on trees and think 800 for what would cost 1200 from the shop is still to much. (to them, coz there fam)
if you want to get into pc building i would suggest you open a pc repair shop first, get that up and running and then once profitable, diversify into oem building.
otherwise its a money sink.
OOOF. Well there goes that dream.
you were brave enough to ask hard questions, and nothing is going to be solved in less than 24 hours…just keep ideas flowing and something might work out
The man says “ideaS” I only got the two brain cells, my dude, I’ve over clocked them as is.
Don’t let this feedback get you down! Maybe pc reconditioning might not be the sole moneymaker but there is no reason you can’t make it part of what you do!
this person wrote a very “beginner friendly” book (some US info, but more UK and Aussie) her website has lots of resources and the book “The Autism friendly Guide to Self Employment” has resources as well
my local library has business resources, but not specifically for neurodivergents, probably more help after you get a business plan together
Lots of websites that “help neurodivergent people” are mostly only catered to finding them tech jobs
https://www.theesa.com/ (entertainment software association)
the first link didn’t work, but I checked out the second one. Just got back from the hospital, lungs betraying me again. I’m eat some burritos and go to bed.
Haven’t run a business, but I do like watching louis rossmann. He’s very public about mistakes he made running his business
These are some lectures in order of memorability
There’s also a playlist
Draft up a basic plan of what you are going to do and how you plan on making money (aka a business plan). In most cases people want to feel secure investing in you.
For the case of building/assembling computers, I’d start by offering your knowledge or expertise to friends and family and have them refer you to their friends or colleaguea. You can start by offering to build a pc for a given price/budget or giving free advice to build up a reputation.
If you are good at stats, do some market research into the demand for PC building services and how much people are willing to pay. Otherwise if you are good at talking to people, you can knock on doors to ask if people would pay you to build a pc.
Alternatively, if buying and assembling parts has too much risk, you can focus on fixing people’s computers to build up credibility. Once you get established, you can offee it as a service.
The most important thing about business is adding value (which can be intangible)
- Expertise: feeling secure that a expert picked and built your pc
- Convenience: saving time/effort from not needing to research or setup a pc
- Price: (careful) getting a better deal compared to competitors
On a different note, you mentioned adult autism. If you were looking to understand it and plan around it, I’d recommend checking out this channel. Dr. K has some great explanations for how people act/react