My suspicion is that there is an unarticulated and unmet market demand for quick, high-skill solutions from a trusted, local provider and I am both developing and testing that market. Hey, it works for your family doctor.
I define a “small job” as one that takes me 15 minutes or less to complete, but would be uneconomical (time-consuming, difficult, risky, error-prone) or nearly impossible for a non-techie to do. In the same way that your family doctor can deal with most medical issues with a quick physical exam and a few questions whereas you could instead waste hours on the internet and still have no idea what is wrong or what to do about it. The problem is that people like me are usually not available on-demand – we are working for big companies on big projects. Try calling up an IT consulting firm to see if someone can fix your spreadsheet within an hour. Or phoning up an engineering firm to make a special electronic thingamajigger just for you. Neither outfit is set up for that sort of micro-scale work. It’s as if all the family doctors disappeared and you tried to get a heart surgeon out of Louisville to come to Springfield to look at your kid’s ear infection.
Strawman: “But the doctor charges at least $40. Shouldn’t you?”
I didn’t spend 10 years and gobs of money to become a doctor. Plus I pretty much have no overhead.
Strawman: “But couldn’t you make way more money working for a big company? I hear that engineers at famous company X in expensive, congested metropolis Y make $170,000/year and they do your laundry for you!”
($25/quarter hour) x (4 quarter hours/hour) x (8 hours/day) x (5 days/week) x (50 work weeks/year) = $200,000/year
Of course, I would need to have 40 calls/day at $25 each to pull in that kind of money, but it’s important to have goals. Plus I’ve got free on-site laundry since I work from home
When the phone isn’t ringing with those $25 jobs, I’m working on bigger projects for clients (websites, software development, electronic design, IT consulting) which may come out to a higher or lower hourly rate, depending on how much time I have to put into learning to do new things (which I don’t usually charge for).
I also have fun R&D projects like: designing and building a production-ready tractor engine overheating alarm; figuring out how to run a standard AC freezer off a standard DC solar panel with not much more than a little, inexpensive box of electronics in between them; researching phase change materials (PCMs) to shift/eliminate HVAC electrical loads; constructing a passive solar ice maker using commonly available materials; and making a self-driving toy monster truck to keep my dog entertained.