In the startup world, the general advice is for founders to pay themselves $50k-$100k/year until they get outside funding. Your net worth ends up higher – but only if you hustle and grow the value of your company, since your net work mostly consists of your ownership stake. When you build a consulting company, there’s an unbelievable amount of unpaid labor to be done: hiring staff, training them, managing them, improving the deliverable product, marketing, sales, contract negotiations, expenses, accounting, taxes, web site maintenance, you name it. It’s all too easy to say, “We should really pay ourselves for doing…Read
If you’re thinking about going freelance, here’s a handy Freelance Calculator by Chelsea Shaw (@chelshaw). See the Pen Freelance Calculator by Chelsea (@chelshaw) on CodePen. (Big props to Chelsea – I originally just sketched out the UI, and she knocked out all the code! You readers are amazing.) Hours per week = the number of hours you’re going to work, but work includes both billable hours as well as non-billable (paperwork, email, travel, blogging, presenting.) % billable = the percent of your work that you can actually charge for. Hourly rate = what the clients actually pay. Being an independent…Read
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…Read
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…Read
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…Read
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…Read
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,…Read
In the SQLcommunity Slack #Consultants channel, Steph Locke (@StephLocke) asked if anyone was doing free consultations or office hours as a way of growing your opportunities. We had a good discussion in there, and I’d highly recommend that freelancers and consultants join that channel for help. I’ve done a free 20-30 minute sales call for years, and here’s the process that works for me. Let clients book the date/time. I used to make folks email us first with a brief description of their pains. We’d read that, make sure our company was a good fit, and send back a reply…Read
Most of my sales work involves a productized service: the SQL Critical Care®, a package of consulting work with a defined set of steps and a finish line. But sometimes on introductory calls, prospective customers just start venting. They complain about performance, management, capacity planning, architecture, upgrades, downtime, cost, staffing, the last guy, and a litany of stuff. As a consultant, though, I can’t write a Statement of Work for that. Or to be more specific, I can’t write it up in a way that an executive will actually sign the contract to let us start work. So when I’m not…Read
Vegas, baby! When you’re independent, sooner or later, somebody’s gonna want you to work on the weekend or on a holiday. Or, they may say something like, “Is there any way we could get into your calendar earlier, or get this done faster?” Here’s how I handle that: any money I make on weekends or holidays goes directly to my wife as purely discretionary income. This has an interesting effect on negotiations: it takes away all of my emotions from the negotiations process. Normally, when there’s money at stake, I’m interested in getting the deal signed, but since none of the money’s going…Read
Hi. I’m Brent Ozar.
I live in California with my wife Erika. 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.