These microbusinesses are mainly monetized hobbies. The proprietors create a few objects and sell them in the weekends and nights outside of their job.
Slant is very familiar with this. We do it daily, and are stubborn enough to think that we can build a real company out of it. by pursuing a volume of ideas rather than a volume of product. An idea factory.
The biggest challenge to scaling such a system is actually not longer in the materials or production. It is the overhead. Paycheck, people, hiring and all of the cost that go with it. Insurance, overtime, bonuses. And this is common through all small businesses.
So we took on a new project, called ShopArm. The ShopArm is meant to be a low cost collaborative robot for small business. A robot that can pack a couple of boxes so that all of the parts are ready to ship. Or maybe it decorates cupcakes at your Dad's bakery where there are 200 to get prepared.
The current iteration of the ShopArm is 3D printed, this is partially due to the low volume demand as well as the market stereotype of makers. But in the future we will scale it into aluminum.
The ShopArm is meant to allow for the creation of even more microbusinesses. Businesses that just get an arm and buy a few boxes of bulk parts. Then when an order comes in online the robot packs the box and you put it in the mailbox. Total automation and good side income. More expensive than writing an e-book or creating a youtube channel, but just as long term, sustainable, and hands free.