This post is meant, mainly, for LinkedIn. I would like to clarify what it is that I do. I am a self-employed product designer. I have never worked in sales, nor is that likely to change, as I do not have the personality for it. However, I can understand the confusion, owing to the highly unorthodox entry filling the slot of my most recent / current occupation, so allow me to explain.
I work from home, making 3D models on my computer with professional CAD software (Autodesk Inventor, to be specific). Most of these models are for my own purpose, but during my senior year of college, my rapid prototyping instructor (Eric K. Albert, PhD, in case anyone wants to look him up) introduced the class to Shapeways. I created an account on their website during the summer following my initial employment at MRI Prompton Tool. My reason for doing so was that I intended to make use of the superior (to my own) additive manufacturing processes that Shapeways used, so that I could have my designs printed in much smaller scales while retaining the same level of detail. While there, I discovered that other users could see what I made and purchase prints of them as well, and I could make money this way. Because Shapeways has a built-in messaging system, I can also take requests from other site users, and this is how my shop has grown so much. At first, it was just what I wanted for myself, but before long, I had an entire collection of miniatures to meet the demands of people who seemed to like my work. I’ve sold quite a lot – I recently broke my own record, selling 192 models between 15 November and 15 December of 2018; the previous record was 42 models during the same period of 2017. However, to say “I’ve sold” is a bit misleading – I do little to promote my shop. I sent in an application for a designer spotlight interview almost two years ago, but never heard back. People find my products and buy them, probably just by browsing the site, but since Shapeways now allows guest purchases (as opposed to requiring all users to create an account), there are plenty of times that I am unable to even contact my customers. Then again, the transactions are all taken care of through Shapeways: the customer pays them, and I get paid however much I marked up the models, which is usually 20%, though some are much higher than that. This entire process is automated, such that I can concentrate on product design, rather than on promotion.
I am not a salesman, neither in job title, nor in personality. In fact, I’ve been told that my inability to sell myself is the single greatest obstacle to advancing my career. I prefer to let my work speak for itself, I always have. This is why I love Shapeways so much: if people like my models, they buy them; if not, they don’t. That being said, the whole reason I have a presence on multiple websites is self-promotion, and I can do a good bit more than simply make 3D models.