A lot of people, when they learn that I co-founded a company, and that the company was eventually acquired by Microsoft, tell me that I must be a real entrepreneur. The whole start-up thing certainly was an undertaking, to refer to the original French meaning of the word, but since I wasn't the CEO of the company, or even directly involved in a sales or marketing position, it somehow just didn't feel all that entrepreneurial to me at the time.
Now, however, I do feel like I'm engaging in a bit of real entrepreneurship: I've decided to start trying to sell some of my mechanical puzzles online. As of a few weeks ago, I have officially registered the trade name "Pavel's Puzzles" with the state of Washington, paid for a business license, and set up a new blog that's also my storefront.
I'm using the free PayPal-supplied shopping cart service, which makes it really easy to put "Add to Cart" and "View Cart" buttons on the website and, of course, to take credit-card payments from buyers. I'm even dipping my toe into the world of online advertising, using the Project Wonderful ad-placement auctioning system. As I type this, I have (very simple) ads running right now on two web-comic sites: Girl Genius (a favorite of mine with lots of hits) and Help Desk (a cost-effective mid-volume site I found via Project Wonderful's search tool). I've had the ads up for a day or two now, and I'm getting a steady trickle of click-throughs at an ad cost of about a penny per click. (Mind you, I haven't had any of those click-throughs convert to an actual sale yet, but I've got a long list of rationalizations about that...)
Of course, this isn't in any danger of replacing my day job; it's just a fun way to explore the world of DIY entrepreneurship in the context of my most active hobby. Still, there is a certain thrill to the whole thing right now.
Anyway, head on over and check out my store, and help support yet another new small business!