This is a good read about expectations how digitizing will fit into your new business - it's a cautionary tale

Maybe some of you with a lot more embroidery experience can give me some
insight (yes, even the grouchy ones.. :-) )

My wife and I got into the embroidery business last year by purchasing a
couple of single head E901C machines and the Sierra Max software. She
already had a nice promotional products business going, but I wanted to get
involved also. My wife is a marketing wiz, and I am not. I don't like sales.
I am an engineer by profession. I love engineering, and along with that I
like doing CAD (Computer Aided Design) work. When I researched ways for me
to work alongside her, I thought that digitizing would be fun, just like
engineering, so without really doing any research on the subject of
digitizing, we purchased a package from MESA that included the Sierra Max
software package. I jumped into the digitizing aspect with both feet, hoping
to have some fun with it. I knew that I had to come up to speed on the
software, but almost every quality engineering CAD package that I ever dealt
with was pretty intuitive and had a lot of tutorials, examples, and classes
(if needed).

Well, to say the least, I am sorely disappointed. All the fun has been
sucked out of the digitizing experience and it has turned into such drudgery
that we have sent most of our digitizing out for a variety of reasons, but
mostly because my time digitizing is very cost ineffective. And right now,
it takes me a long time to digitize anything at all, and admittedly not very
well. What I usually end up doing is just modifying text for things that
others have digitized for us. And Yes, I know a lot of you old timers are
going to now lecture me on assuming that digitizing would be easy, but
please don't start that. I knew it was going to take some training and I was
willing to endure the process. The problem is that the only real training
seems to be some archaic "trial and error" process that just wastes a lot of
time. I'm not a stupid person by any means, once I see the ins and outs of
the process. But there is little documentation for those "ins and outs".
There is no "Digitizing for Dummies" book, unfortunately.

I guess I really expected more comprehensive training. And it's not just the
Sierra Software that is the issue with me. It is a quality product from what
I can see, even though I have no other software experience or packages to
compare it to. What irks me is the complete lack of quality reference
material, tutorials, books, lesson plans, etc. either in print or on the
internet. I am really discouraged. Every time I read these threads and
someone recommends a training video or book, I usually end up buying it,
hoping that this one will be the "Holy Grail" that will give me some insight
into the whole process, but it never is. I am willing to spend the time and
effort to learn the mechanics of the software if I could only find a source
of well planned and comprehensive training. Engineering is second nature to
me. Embroidery is not.

I guess what bothers me this time were a few unrelated incidents; one of
which is the opportunity to upgrade to Wings for a very good price, by
trading in my Sierra Max software. But then I asked myself, "Is there a
point to doing this?" Am I just setting myself up for yet another
unintuitive CAD program without training, reference material, and poor
tutorials? A lot of you keep saying that all the packages pretty much do the
same thing(s), yet another group of you keep saying that "Brand X" kicks the
hell out of "Brand Y". And then everything breaks down into a mess of
name-calling and I never find a straight, non-prejudicial answer or have to
endure some snobbish comments about how incompetent the user must be. That,
along with the confusing mess about upgrading, trade-ins, options, bugs,
etc., just exhausts me. I have designed telecommunication satellites that
were more straight-forward than figuring out which underlay I should be
using. SO, my dilemma is whether I will just be switching from one
frustration to just another frustration. One of the hopes was that Wings
would have more training support since it is heavily based on Corel, which
has much better reference material to support it. I'm not sure.

The second incident has to do with some training I bought a few weeks ago. A
lot of you went on and on about how great it was, so I took the plunge and
bought it. In short, I was somewhat disappointed in the package. It was not
a cheap package and I assumed it would be an all-encompassing reference on
the mechanics of digitizing because there it was right in the title, the
word "DIGITIZING". Unfortunately, it was not. It wasted a lot of my time on
the business end of running and embroidery shop, and a lot of philosophy
about customer relations, attitude and general "feel good" philosophy, that
I did not need or really care about. That's my wife's end of the business. I
wanted a digitizing manual and training, NOT a manual on how to run an
embroidery shop. I went through about 130 pages of it before I even found
much substance about actually digitizing something. What it did have on that
was helpful, but for the price, definitely not worth what I paid for it. The
title should have been changed to "How to Run an Embroidery Business". For
that, it is very good. For digitizing, it's just "OK".

I guess I am just venting here now, about the whole discouraging process. I
am just looking for someone else that may have gone through this same
thought process and would like to give some insight into what he/she ended
up doing. I am open to any thoughtful advice.

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