Small Businesses NEED YOUR HELP

Hi All,

I’m a small business owner out in the NEK. I am regularly posting (very simple) paid jobs in the job board forum, and, never getting a bite. I’m able to make adobe files to my specifications for use on the equipment available at the generator. I am not posting complex 3d design jobs (though if there’s any one reading this that believes women can be capable of measuring-- I might have a job for you there, too!)

What I’m really not able to do is drive hours to sit at the Generator while things cut and print – trying to run my particular, not-design related small business doesn’t leave room to devote a full day of the week to this work. This work being done supports my particular, not-design related business, yes, but not enough to forego a full day in my work week. Plus, y’all know I can’t use the equipment I need until I’ve completed a training on it-- which would be another full day trip, if I was lucky enough to be able to schedule it at all.

Most small business owners are already wearing 1000 different hats and eventually come to the conclusion they can’t do it all alone. I really would if I had the time, y’all. Instead, I’d really like to hire someone, already there, already doing this work, already authorized to use the equipment to add my thing(s) to their queue.

Is the Generator really a place: only for members, only to do their own thing?
Feels like an underutilization of incredible resources. Why will no one take my money?

I worked on a project there three summers ago, was in an out everyday for three months and everyone was really eager to be involved. Do I have to physically be there to find help? That’s the part I’m trying to save myself, being there physically.

Are there any plans, or could we start a conversation about: implementing a program that can connect small business owners to folx there who can be hired for one-off, small jobs? Having to know someone who knows someone has not been panning out super well over the last year and, in my opinion, is simply not the makings of an inclusive, community makerspace at all.

Even the tiny Spark cousin out here has a very direct line to complete client projects for hire, but all their equipment is miniature, and I need large scale things. What if there was a single, rotating Generator staff/volunteer member who was available for this? They either are available to actually perform the client work, or perhaps exist in a conduit role to connect small business owners to active Generator members who can do the thing.

The job board isn’t doing that.

Again, I’m able to create a 2d design files to spec. Wanting someone who can lay a board or in some cases cardboard down on the CNC or laser cutter or whatever they deem is best to complete the task, and press “go” – happy to pay well for your time and any material costs incurred. Unfortunately, I can’t order what I want done online, as far as I know, and actually really enjoy existing and growing my business in a collaborative Vermont bubble where people help and learn from each other. Am I really barking up the wrong tree at the Generator for that…? Please point me in the right direction

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That does sound frustrating. I think part of the problem is that people just aren’t seeing your posts unless they’ve signed up to get notifications for the Job Board or go there specifically while signed in. I only figured that out a few days ago and realized there are jobs from months ago I never knew existed.

Directions for how to sign up for Syd job board would be a big help. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be interested in helping/working for you on this.

Birdhous,

I’m happy to help you out with laser cutter time. Give me a reply and we can work out the details!

winslow.colwell@gmail.com

Winslow

Hi Birdhaus-

I certainly echo and understand your frustration. I think It’s a couple things, and I’m not claiming to be an authority on the subject- just some thoughts-

this year in particular has been pretty different then a couple years ago as i’m sure you know. I can speak for myself when i say i have been much more focused on my own projects as of recent.

as I was one of the people who setup and has monitored the forum- being a face in generator vs. online isn’t a one-to-one comparison yet- as someone else pointed out, the jobs board isn’t defaulted for people to be “Subscribed” too. That’s an oversight by me, when i set it up I had only a couple portions of the board “defaulted” due to the amount of e-mails i figured people would get. I also figured people would use the forum itself (which would avoid the problem of people not seeing it), but it has appeared more people prefer using it through e-mail.

Generator and job boards has always been a thing we’ve tried to implement in different ways in the past- I’ve had more success finding people who i know do the work i need, and contacting them directly.

I hope these thoughts help, I’ve read your job postings and they seem straightforward, and I certainly empathize with your needs.

@MarniLeikin - to subscribe to a section, visit it at the forum: forum.generatorvt.com, and visit the specific section - there is a little bell in the corner which is your notifications subscription. you subscribe to receive e-mails. It may be worth turning them all on for everyone by default and having them opt-out instead.

Thanks Robin!

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Hi Jes,

I’m the Ex. Director at Generator and I would like to welcome you to contact me to further discuss your needs and ideas if you would like. Generator is a young organization and while we would love to do most everything under the sun we are still growing to best meet the needs of our community– a diverse community of all ages, backgrounds, and skills. We are a place that does encourage DIY and provides educational experiences to empower folx to do-it-themselves. Therefore, we can’t always promise to have a maker readily available and ready for hire.

This year Generator has certainly taken on fabrication and engineering/design services to support various outlets looking for solutions. We did this through building face shields for the State & UVMMC, market huts for BCA, a tool to speed up VT covid-testing labs, etc. While we opened these doors to support needed fabrication, fabrication is not yet part of our current staffing structure. If you would like to connect with Generator staff, please feel free to reach out to us directly if you don’t find what you need otherwise. Our programs and staff contacts can be found at generatorvt.com.

My email is director@generatorvt.com. I used to live in the NEK and completely empathize on the distance to resources, etc.

I hope we can help you get your project to the next level.
Thanks,
Meg Hammond
director@generatorvt.com

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Hopefully exec. director :wink: