Controlling Your Lifestyle by Controlling Your Career with CAD Design Help’s Scott Tarcy
Bring your product idea to life with 3D printing.
Scott Tarcy is the Owner of CAD Design Help.
CAD Design Help is a freelance engineering design services company dedicated to helping you with projects that require CAD (Computer Aided Design). 3D printing is a great value to inventors needing to quickly create a prototype or work out the details of a new product.
Learn more about how CAD Design Help can bring your product to life by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
All right with us right now we've got Scott Tarcy. And Scott, you're the Owner of CADDesignHelp.com you're an inventor, engineer, and you're the Host of the Engineering Entrepreneur. Welcome to the show.
Thanks, Josh. Thanks for having me.
So Scott, give me a little background on how you got into engineering. And we'll then from there, we'll we'll discuss how you became a media personality in this field.
Yeah, so it's it's been an interesting story. So from high school, I was pretty good at math and science and I really didn't know what I wanted to do in college. But my dad was an engineer basically talked me into it didn't really have a passion for it, I would say at the time, but that's what I did. And then when I graduated, I started working a corporate job as a design engineer. So my first job was actually designing like, imagine like an outdoor pump or outdoor pond for fish or aquariums inside, but rarely I was on the outside stuff. And so I would design these pumps and various koi pond products and then from there, I went to a different company designed dishwashers. And that was fine. But I didn't like that lifestyle, particularly, you know, working nine to five or more like eight six. You know, I had to go to a lot of meetings I didn't really get I liked the design part. I really started to like actually doing the CAD and the configuring problem solving but I spent a lot of time in meeting so I was really motivated by the four hour workweek and couple of podcast I found the tropical MBA podcast. You guys are essentially location independent entrepreneurs. Yeah. Because they do what they want, you know, they work the projects they want, and they work the hours they want. So I started this on the side, I, you know, one of the other books was the hundred dollar startup. And it's basically like, Can you take a skill that you have that you have a passion for? And will people pay you for it. And I was able to find a group in Charlotte where I live called the inventors network of the Carolinas. And so this is my client base, this is the people that need me. And I can help them because an inventor needs, you know, a CAD design first and then a prototype to kind of test it out and then from then they can go further into manufacturing. And so when I went to this meeting, I got my first client there who had an existing thing like invention of some kind or what it was something was retail, but he had previous engineer, quit working for him, and I was able to pick it up and finish it and that's kind of how I got started. I did it on the side for about six months, but up to the business where I was working like 80 hours. A week between my full time job and this side job, and I just got the point, it's like, I gotta choose one of the other, I can't sustain this work. I mean, 80 hours a week, I can't keep it up. So I chose my side hustle, because that's really where the passion was. And I noticed immediately once I had that extra 40 hours free, I could grow the business exponentially, and I equaled my salary in the first year, which is pretty rare. The podcast that I've heard in the past talk about throught, needing three years of full time effort to equal your salary, and I did it in one and then I was able to double and then triple my salary and your sense, and then it's been pretty sustainable.
So I mean, essentially, I mean, you're definitely started your own business. You're kind of acting as a freelancer right?
I am but I'm more than that. Because I if I did all the work myself, I would be a pure freelancer. I also hire people is the only way I could scale this. Well. Another thing I noticed once I had the 40 hours, yeah, could land more projects. But then I got to the point where I can only do so much, right. I can't land anymore. So I've hired five people. Since then. That's where I've scaled it.
You know, I'm thinking about that first year, however, and you know, I run into this a lot and people talk about, well, what businesses are maybe less risky to start. And I'd say, you know, as you, you might have this grand vision for what it is that you want to create, and you want to have, you know, 40 people on the team and you want to have office space and you want to be, you know, in stores nationwide, and that side, that sort of thing, will starting a business like that right out of the gate, that's really hard to do. However, take what you're really good at professionally, and offer those services individually. That's a great way to get the ball rolling. In many ways, as a freelancer, you know, at the kind of the lifestyle business level, you don't have to worry about a bunch of overhead, you don't need to necessarily bring in, you know, five to 10 employees. On day one, now you can get there if you want to. And I think Case in point, what you did your pattern is you got too busy. And then you realized, listen, I got a bottleneck right here, where I can't expand until I bring somebody else on. And so it's almost like let the business income, decide your next steps based on, you know, your number one job is just, you know, getting new business and then fulfilling that business and then kind of going from there is that sound about right?
Exactly, um, you know, there was a lot of a lot of thoughts, I had a different a different The ultimate goal was was to basically free up my lifestyle. That was my goal. And there was many ways to do it, but you're exactly right. The lowest barrier to entry, the lowest upfront costs was just providing a service business not trying to create a product and, and and is low risk, too. So yeah, I mean, the upfront cost really was almost zero outside of like getting a domain name a website. I'd have to get the professional software. When I first started, I was just using kind of this free engineering software, which wasn't very good. But the reason I did that is because I wasn't sure if I was going to ever scale it enough to justify the very expensive professional level. And then once I started realizing how much better I was, I'd use the professional level of my day job the SolidWorks software, which is very expensive, but I was so much better at it was much it was just you get what you pay for. And so I once I had done some work for a while, I was like, okay, it's worth investing in that software. And it's kind of gone that way since like when I first started I didn't have any 3d printers. And I would outsource this because the machines themselves are thousands of dollars up front. But as I noticed that everybody I did design work for really wanted a physical prototype and I kept outsourcing this and yeah, I'd mark it up a little bit but I didn't make the most of the money. The guy I was sourcing it to was making the most I said, if I bring this in, I can see the payback in a couple of months. And it was absolutely the case. I know I had some failures. I had some machines I bought that that I thought were good that all Ultimately didn't work out. I lost some money there. But in the long run, I've really have made back on that investment. So I guess my advice to people would be like, tread carefully. Don't throw all your money in at once. But if you can, if you're outsourcing something, and you can see that you can bring it in and make that money back on your investment, like it makes business sense to do it. And that's kind of how I've always approached things I very, I guess, fine, financially conservative when it comes to taking on the next thing, but if I can see that it's going to work out or has a high probability. I'm also not so risk averse that I won't try it. Yeah, I think that's an important thing as well.
Scott who hires a freelance CAD designer.
So my clients range from individual inventors, which is a lot of them. I've had clients that have made it on the shark tank and actually gotten investments. So various consumer products. I have businesses that just need drawings done. Sometimes they have a machine they just need a drawing for their supplier, that can happen. Sometimes people just need some lot of parts printed out for whatever reason, you know, sometimes they have a file and I just make it sometimes they need it made.
It could be.
I've even done very large projects with other engineers where we put together like a whole test system for like an assembly line. So there's a large range of, you know, people that that have hired me for various projects.
Yeah. And where do you find all of your clients?
So that's a good question. When I first started, I just launched a website and said, Oh, they'll just come to me. And that didn't happen. For two years. Nothing happened actually, with my website, so my first client came from actually in person networking, and I still do this today. I think in terms of networking is huge. I never put that I would never say hey, just try to do everything online because the value of face to face meeting is is I think, very important. But yeah, the first clients can From an inventors group where there's a bunch of people there that had their inventions, and they needed some support, and since I've met them all in person, I was getting all that work. But I really needed to go full time I needed to scale. So I did go online. I tried up worked and had a lot of success with that site. Yeah. Yeah. So once I had kind of maxed out my in person network, the website that actually worked the best was this one called thumbtack. And I liked the way that they they charge the leads, because they just charge a flat fee. like five bucks for my industry. Now it can vary. The guy hired my website, told me that his leads were like $20 a pop, so quite a bit more. But ultimately, that's the site that I've probably gotten 60% of my revenue from directly and then as my website has done better with my own marketing efforts of doing blogs chewer. com where you can answer people's questions related to your industry is a really good one. I've answered a bunch of questions there and I've gotten definitely some hires directly from that. And then also my podcast has been nice, you know, And I really enjoy doing the podcast because I can only talk to some other interesting people in my industry, other inventors, other engineers, and really learned some valuable things. And then obviously, my audience can learn as well.
Tell me more about why you started the podcast because the podcast can be a lot of work. So obviously, it is, as you looked at doing that you had a business plan around that. So I guess kind of explain why you took that step.
A couple of reasons. One of them really was I didn't find I couldn't find a podcast that was really doing what I was doing. I couldn't find one. And maybe there was one back in the day four years ago when I started it, but I couldn't find it easily enough. That was basically an engineer like myself, who became an entrepreneur, I've never found another one like it. So I said, I'm going to make it. And that's what I did. And you know, I told my story on there. I've had other people like me, that were an engineer and became an entrepreneur and explain how they did it. And then inventors kind of sort of our engineering entrepreneurs themselves, even if they don't I have an engineering degree. So all these things was the reason I just didn't find a podcast like that. And at the same time, I knew it would be a great lead magnet marketing effort, it would all tie into SEO, right? It's all the more you get your name out there and show credibility, the better chance you have of people finding you and young realizing, you know, you're a good person to hire. So that was the reasons I did it. I never really actually thought of it as like an actual revenue source. And it really hasn't been I have actually had some sponsors. Now I've got the audience large enough to get some, but it's still just kind of a breakeven thing. But you know, like I said, the reason reason was was just because I kind of wanted to and the I knew the value of podcasting. Like it's just going to become bigger and bigger. I think when consumers want to listen to something very specific to what they're interested in. And podcasting is the best way to do it. Because you can pick almost any topic you want and find a podcast on it. At least now, you know, five years after I Starting out, I mean, pick anything and you can find it. You know,
I wonder though, if you've had clients that you've now worked with who prior to that paid engagement, got to know you because of your content? I would I would assume,
yeah, for sure. Absolutely. I've had people come to me said, Hey, I found your podcast, and I was interested in inventing stuff. And you answered a ton of my questions on how does it work? And how do I get a patent? And how does 3D printing work and all these things? And it's like, hey, let's, here's my project, you know, let's let's do business.
How much does it cost? If If I'm an inventor, and I've got this idea? How much does it cost to get plans and a prototype design? I know this can vary wildly. But what are some examples of some things that you've produced? And what's the general price point for those?
Right? So if it's a relatively simple product, and what I mean by that is like no moving parts, or maybe one, maybe two total points. With one movement like a hinge that typically runs around $500 for the design time, and maybe two or 300 for the prototype, so under 1000, you get into like two or three moving parts, maybe some electronics are involved. And it's a little more complicated, you know, it can go up from there to 3000. The biggest project I ever did was sort of this remote control vacuum cleaner thing, long time ago, for pets. And it was like 10,000, because it was only like 2030 parts in there. It took, you know, 50 hours of design to get it all done. And you know, my gosh, hours of printing, so yeah, that was an expensive one.
Yeah. So what's your sweet spot in terms of like, the kind of your ideal product to work on your design?
Well, at this point, I've done so much. I feel comfortable with almost anything, but most people come up with ideas that are, let's say, reasonable for their budget. I've had people come to me, for example, and say, Well, I want to make a brand new car. I said, Listen, that's great. But let's be realistic here. Yeah, there's a real There's only like four or five manufacturers in the world, and they have thousands of engineers working on it. Even if I could design the whole car myself, it would take me a lifetime to do it like we have to stick with and you can never afford it anyways, it's going to cost you millions of dollars up front to produce this vehicle. Like, you know, a better thing is for an individual inventor is like, I don't know if you heard the drop stop. I'm just thinking of car products from Shark Tank. That was a great invention. something totally I could do. I didn't do that one. But it was basically a like a little thing that shoves in between your seat in the center console. See, when you drop something, it doesn't go on the floor, like your phone or something. You drop it. I own two of those.
It was the one that was on Shark Tank.
Yeah, it was exactly it was on Shark Tank.
And so yeah, stuff like that. There's like a consumer can afford that. Okay, they're up there. I'm sure their engineering costs for a couple thousand or whatever for that. They're up front tooling costs a couple thousand like that's very realistic for an individual investor to do and like unless you have incredibly deep pockets like, you know, that's the kind of stuff that I think people really should try to come up with. And certainly the more complicated ones, the one that I got on Shark Tank that my client for there was the egg mazing, which is basically this Easter easter egg decorating contraption that's like two pieces of plastic with a motor in there, you put the egg on it, push a button and it spins it and they just take a little pen, and it puts concentric lines like so you take a red pen, yeah, down there draws a line. You take a pink one next to it, and it makes all these patterns you can do whatever you want. Yeah, a little more involved, but certainly not, you know, too crazy, but it was really a big hit. And yeah, the guy weren't Easter Bunny outfit on the show and he got investment and I thought that was pretty cool that I you know, did all the CAD CAD design and prototyping for him.
Yep, I'm looking at it right now on on Amazon. One last thing, Scott that I know that it just in terms of like engaging with you. You're a fan of the concept of quote, velocity. What does that mean?
Yeah, so this is something I heard on the tropical MBA not long ago. And I think this is why maybe I've had as much success as I've had, especially like with platforms like up work where I or thumbtack where I'm competing with other, you know, professionals for the work is I just make it really easy for the client, right? I have a conversation, I've got general pricing in mind, like I just started giving examples of I know about what it's going to take to produce something. So I can give a personal quote in a day, two days in a couple days the most. And that's why I'm not a clue velocity, I just say hey, here's what it is. And I'm ready to roll. I don't I don't drag it out on and make it easy. Make it easy as possible for someone diary. And I think that's been a really good thing that I've done. And I don't know maybe other people do that quite as is as well.
So the name of your podcast and and again, maybe any other ways that people would be a great front door to engage with you. Of course they could just look it up is the engineering entrepreneur. podcast of course whatever podcast directory you're listening to this show in you can find it right there any other things that people would probably want to look for in terms of like their kind of their first step to engaging with you?
Yeah just go to my website I have an introduction video there I'm in the video I show some of the printers and projects I've done I've got tons of pictures on the website. I've got a blog in there I've written probably over 100 articles of different things I've created myself different inventions I've made or you know ones client ones that I'm allowed to show you know, if they've already gone to market you know, a lot of non disclosure So some things I can't discuss but yeah, there's tons of information there. My emails right on there info, CAD design, help calm if you want to contact me directly. It's right on the website. And yeah, I mean, it's easy to easy to find me there.
Sounds great. Well, Scott Tarcy. You are the owner of CADDesignHelp.com you're an inventor engineer. And of course, the Host of the Engineering Entrepreneur. Thank you so much for joining us.
Yeah. Awesome. Well, Roman Prokopchuk, you are the Founder of Nova Zora Digital and you're on the web at Nova Zora and that's N O V A Z O R A digital dot com. Thank you so much for joining us. Oh, and and the name of your podcast you shoot if you're listening to his podcast. Well, guess what? You can listen to Roman's podcast Roman, what's the name of your podcast? It's called the Digital Savage Experience. So just search whatever podcast player you're in right now. So just search for Digital Savage Experience. Is that right? Correct. And you'll find it right there. Roman, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks. My pleasure.
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