The Three Keys to Manufacturing Entrepreneurship, Part 1: Dream Big but Take Little for Granted

Challenges: Community, Process, Read

Posted by Nick Goellner

Estimated Reading Time : 4 min.

 Part 1/3There’s nothing the Metalworking Nation needs more than young entrepreneurial manufacturing talent. Yet, the overwhelming narrative in the media is the manufacturing industry’s desperate search for skilled workers.

 If you’re a young manufacturing entrepreneur like Brandon Kane, our guest on Making Chips Episode 182, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, there’s a tremendous need for you. Frankly, The future of this industry depends on your entrepreneurial spirit. Despite the negative impression it’s left on older generations, growing up playing with video games, computers, and smartphones may be your generation’s greatest strength, not its biggest weakness, within the metalworking community.

Why? Because we are living in the information age, and digital fluency gives you the ability to learn new skills faster than ever before, and the innate ability to find answers to questions and self-educate for free. There is an ocean of untapped opportunity where digital talent converges with mechanical skills and, because of advanced technology, smaller machine shops are more competitive than ever. Consider this excerpt from the Deloitte Insights article about the Future of Manufacturing,

“As technology continues to advance exponentially, barriers to entry, commercialization, and learning are eroding. New market entrants with access to new tools can operate at a much smaller scale, enabling them to create offerings once the sole province of major incumbents. While large-scale production will always dominate some segments of the value chain, innovative manufacturing models—distributed small-scale local manufacturing, loosely coupled manufacturing ecosystems, and agile manufacturing—are arising to take advantage of these new opportunities.”


Now for the bad news.


Starting and scaling a business is one of the most challenging things a person can do in life. It doesn’t matter how well someone did in school, or how much time he or she spent reading blogs, listening to Audible books, and learning on YouTube, there is no way to prepare for everything. Some lessons can only be learned through mistakes.


If you’re launching a new business you can expect to take a few lumps, some scrap parts, and once in a while get reamed out by a customer you’re working hard to please. You can also expect to temporarily live on a steady diet of ramen noodles and humble pie. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for those who can maintain a balance between dreaming and doing, and between confidence and humility.

Entrepreneurial ‘Influencers’ on Social Media are Selling Dreams, Not Reality

Tai_Lopez_TextIt’s never been easier to start a business, but millennials have earned a bad reputation for a head-in-the-clouds perspective on business. A big part of the problem lies is the media being consumed. The allure of entrepreneurial paradise from social media influencers such as Tai Lopez is a seductive siren leading toward the jagged rocks of business reality.


These videos are like snake oil leading entrepreneurs to believe, if they read enough books, they can all be millionaires with a garage full of Lamborghinis. Many of us have been told from a young age, if we stay in school, work hard, and do our best, all of our dreams will come true.


If that were true, we’d see a lot more Lamborghinis.


There are many extremely intelligent, hard working, aspirational manufacturing business owners forming your competition. As you get started, most of them will have more experience and resources than you, and It will take much more than knowledge and hard work to be successful. It’s not that Mr. Lopez is wrong about the value of knowledge, or the importance of mentors, there’s just no secret formula or step-by-step program.


Here’s some knowledge you won’t find in those videos:



Don’t let the facts discourage you from becoming a manufacturing entrepreneur. The industry needs you. I simply want you to count the cost and enter into your new venture sobered by reality, not intoxicated with a dream; expecting nothing and appreciating everything.


There’s never been more opportunity for the entrepreneur in manufacturing. Keep dreaming, keep doing, be realistic, and always remember -- If you’re not making chips, you’re not making money!


Click Here for Part 2: Recognize You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know


Speaking of opportunity…


MakingChips is expanding and looking for passionate craftspeople willing to join the mission to equip and inspire the Metalworking Nation. If you are a content creator, digital marketer, or graphic designer in the Chicagoland area and have a passion for manufacturing and an entrepreneurial spirit, we’d love to hear from you. Visit: to apply


Read More