Epic Life Quest: Level 9 Achieved. Let’s Talk About Passive Income.

Life’s little moments of success can pass us by so easily. If we don’t track the things we’re proud of, we lose track of how far we’ve come. Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome inspired me to build my own Epic Life Quest. I keep track of achievements, and after five significant ones, I level up. When I became the sole fella in charge at Brent Ozar Unlimited® back in fall 2015, running the company dominated my calendar for a while. I struggled with trying to grow the consulting company, then ended up laying off half the staff. Once I stopped trying to grow consulting,…

So How Did the Pricing Test Work Out?

Last month, I wrote about the pricing tests we ran in advance of our subscription training class launch. I explained why the winner was this one: Price Test #3: The Highball Going into the launch, I had a lot of questions. Here’s how they turned out. Which option was the most popular? DBAs – 29% of buyers (126) opted for this Performance – 29% (125) Enterprise – 41% (177) Wow! The dead-even split between DBAs and Performance totally shocked me. I’m not sure yet how much of the split is due to lower pricing – maybe people are buying the $39 plan…

WordPress Plugins I Use to Sell Training Classes

First, a few disclaimers. If I started today with a mission to build a $1mm/year e-commerce business, I probably wouldn’t start with WordPress – I’d probably go with a purpose-built e-commerce tool like Shopify. There are even folks out there who will tell you not to start a blog on it either, and that there are better static content generation tools that don’t require web hosting. However, I’ve been powering BrentOzar.com with WordPress for over a decade, and it’s grown into one heck of a consulting and training business. I’m running over $1mm/year through it, so I should probably talk about the setup…

You Should Take a Career-Planning Retreat

I’m not talking about a vacation. Yes, you need to take vacations, but this is different. Every now and then, you need to step back and ask yourself: Do I like what I’m doing? Do I like where I’m doing it? Do I like the exchange of benefits for my work? Every quarter for over ten years, I’ve gone to a coffee shop or bar and spent the day thinking through the above questions, my Getting Things Done 50k foot goals, and my Epic Life Quest. The rule: no network connectivity: just me and a notepad, thinking. It usually takes me at…

How the Company-Startup Thing Worked Out For Me, Year 5

Every year, I stop to look back at what happened a couple of years ago. This post covers April 2015-April 2016. My cofounders and I were all ready to try something new. Jeremiah, Kendra, and I had the same vision for where the business was going next (on-premises software), what the next steps were, and the speed at which we’d make the journey. We didn’t want to kill consulting and training, mind you, just wanted to build up a third profitable leg for the business. At the company retreat in Oregon, mid-2015 But in year five, both Jeremiah and I had the…

Epic Life Quest: Another million dollars.

Teaching in Portland, 2016 In my Epic Life Quest, sometimes I post [Redacted] achievements. It’s stuff that I’m really proud of, but I’m not quite ready to talk about publicly yet. The last one was hitting the $1mm/year total revenue mark. A while back in Level 7, I wrote: [Redacted] – I set a revenue goal for our company’s online sales (training classes & videos), and we crossed it. I’m not sharing the goal publicly yet, but I’ll circle back in a couple/few years and blog about it in my Life Quest category. Completed September 2015. It’s been a while now, so let’s un-redact that and…

At New Clients, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Sooner or later, you’re going to get a new client with a request that makes you a little nervous. Here are a few examples I’ve seen over the years: “We have a multi-terabyte mission-critical database with no backups, and we want it to go faster.” “We have a 15 year old system, long out of hardware and software support, and it’s never been patched.” “We’re storing personally identifiable data about minors without any permission or encryption.” Alarm bell, rocket ship, or bomb? When my admin-senses go off, I ask myself: What’s the worst that could happen if this system goes down?…

Comparing Conferences: AWS re:Invent, Google Cloud Next, Microsoft Ignite, PASS Summit, and SQL Intersection

I have this weird job where I get to pick which conferences I go to, so, I, uh, go to a lot of them. Here’s how a few of them stack up. Amazon Web Services re:Invent Audience: About 30,000 AWS users. Database session quantity: not a lot. (I didn’t go for the database sessions here – it’s more of a wide-ranging conference covering Lambda, EC2, S3, etc.) Presenters: AWS employees, with an occasional customer testimonial. Session material: Simply not worth the time. Every time Richie and I sat through a supposed “deep dive” or 300-400 level session, we ended by saying to each other, “We…

How I Ran Pricing Tests for Training Subscriptions

Lemme be the first to say that I’m not an expert on this stuff. There are SaaS experts doing a way better job of this. However, here in our smaller database server community, it’s a different story – so I figured you might enjoy reading how this works behind the scenes, dear reader. I recently decided to change the pricing model on our training videos. Before, you paid a fixed price (say $299) for 18 months access to a single video, or $699 for 18 months access to all of our training videos. The vast majority of buyers just bought everything,…

When Giving Advice Isn’t Working

In the https://sqlcommunity.slack.com/messages/consultants/ room, we were discussing a project that wasn’t going well. Someone was on a team where one of the team members wasn’t succeeding, and we were discussing ways to turn the situation around. Secrets of Consulting I’ve been a fan of the book Secrets of Consulting for years, and one of the most valuable lessons is that consultants in the business of trading advice for money. If you find yourself in a situation where your advice doesn’t seem to be making the situation better, there are three things that could be going wrong. It could be the wrong advice.…

Hi. I’m Brent.

That's me, Brent.

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm on an epic life quest to have fun and make a difference.

I co-founded Brent Ozar Unlimited to help make your SQL Server go faster. I also maintain sp_Blitz® and the open source First Responder Kit repo.

My current car collection includes a Jaguar XKR-S, Porsche 944 Turbo, Porsche 356 Speedster replica, and a Ferrari 328 GTS.

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