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
This year at the PASS Summit, I submitted one of my favorite abstracts, How to Think Like the Engine. It’s an introduction to SQL Server internals. I was really excited when the session was accepted – I love this presentation, and I figured the attendees would love it too. When the Summit schedule came out, I saw that I was in the largest room. That’s super-flattering, a champagne moment, because I wasn’t really expecting that. That room comes with a perk, too: a camera man doing a live broadcast on the web. It’s exciting to be going out live online, free…Read
Working IN your business means being a revenue-producing, product-fulfilling member of the team. Working ON your business means designing, planning, refining your business, but not directly producing revenue. Independent consultants typically work IN their business. When you’re a lone independent consultant or contractor, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending all your time working IN your business. You find one or two good clients, and they’re willing to buy as much of your time as they can get. You work for them long hours, maybe 40-60 hours per week. Then one of them changes tacks, and doesn’t want…Read
Yesterday, we announced that we open-sourced a bunch of our SQL Server tools. I say “yesterday,” but I’m writing this weeks in advance because a lot of thought and planning went into this. Here, I’m going to give you the behind-the-scenes story as a small business guy. sp-Blitz and friends were successful. About five years ago, I launched sp_Blitz onstage at the PASS Summit. I wanted to really blow the attendees’ minds by giving them a tool that would make their lives way easier. It worked – that session was voted #2 of the Summit overall. That script inspired more scripts:…Read
It’s time for my annual update on the wild ride. A brief recap of what’s happened so far: Typical partner meeting in year four, Vegas April 2011 – started the company. April 2012 – year one finished, but I didn’t blog about it right away. I wanted to get it into the rear view mirror for perspective before blogging. April 2013 – year two finished, so I blogged about year one. April 2014 – year three finished, so I blogged about year two. April 2015 – year four finished, so I blogged about year three. April 2016 – year five…Read
Peter Notarian (Photo by @Jenbeee) Before you sign a contract, read it. Here are some real examples of things I’ve run across: The employees who work with us must pass a background check. All of your employees must pass drug tests. (No wording about if someone lives in a marijuana-legal state, and how we’re supposed to react then.) Employees – not just the company – must be personally liable if something goes wrong. You must have $1mm liability insurance. You must have $10mm liability insurance. You are liable for everything that goes wrong, with no cap on liabilities. Any confidential…Read
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. Back in level 4 in 2013, I wrote: [Redacted] – I set a 2013 revenue goal for Brent Ozar Unlimited this year, and we made 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 2013. It’s been a few years now, so let’s un-redact that: the company hit one million dollars per year of revenue. To be specific, this wasn’t…Read
You’re thinking about joining an existing partnership, and you’re wondering how the hookup works. WHEEL! OF! PARTNERSHIP! Ask these questions for starters: What are you bringing me into the partnership to do? What goals do I need to accomplish in order to earn my share? Over what time do I need to accomplish them? What ownership of the company will I earn for achieving those goals on time? Will the ownership be expressed in terms of equity, voting, profits, or a mix? Will I achieve my ownership all at once, or vested over time? After that time frame, do I…Read
Brent Ozar Unlimited, The Early Years Today over at Brent Ozar Unlimited, we announced that the company is buying out Jeremiah and Kendra’s shares. What exactly does that mean, and what kind of work is involved? Fifty Ways to Leave Your LLC Decide who’s getting out, and when. We had an oddball situation: we shared the same vision for the company, we’d found good product/market fit, and any of us could have been successful executing on the vision. The company just didn’t need three partners at the top to do it, and the business had just accumulated enough value that it made…Read
Hi. I’m Brent.
I live in Iceland 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.