Before you freelance or become an independent consultant, you’d think the hardest thing would be getting other people to say yes. You’d think it’d be hard to find work, or find interesting projects to work on in your spare time. Oh, no. Not even close. You can always find work if you lower your prices far enough, and you can always find spare time projects if you value your time low enough. But if you say yes to everything, you lock up your calendar. Then, when interesting (or more high-paying) things come along later, you’re not available. Even during the day,…Read
Reason #1: you need an accurate, critical second opinion. If you start a company by yourself, you don’t have anybody that can give you an accurate second opinion. Oh sure, you can phone a friend every now and then, but they’re hearing your story about the business – which is often very different than the facts. You’ll tell them the facts that support your decision, omit the ones that don’t, and they’ll give you a second opinion that matches your decision. Not a big surprise – but sometimes, a very big failure. They also need to be critical – not just yes-men with…Read
We started Brent Ozar Unlimited back in 2011, and we had plenty of surprises along the way. We’d worked for consulting companies before, but we’d never run one. Our first surprise came in August 2011: incoming business simply stopped. We were terrified. What had we done wrong? Were customers just not that into us? Did we need to revamp our strategies? There were moments where we really doubted ourselves and the business we were trying to build. Fortunately, work started coming back in September, so we didn’t have too much time to freak out. Then it happened again in 2012 –…Read
So you’re thinking about taking the leap, abandoning your comfortable full time job and becoming an independent consultant. Here’s some of the plumbing mechanics to consider: Pick a Company Name There’s an old joke that says there’s only two hard things in computers: naming things, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors. Don’t overthink the name – you can always go by something else if you have to. (Brent Ozar Unlimited® is actually Brent Ozar PLF, LLC® Doing Business As Brent Ozar Unlimited®.) After you’ve picked one, search the web for your company name by itself, and in combination with terms related to your…Read
If you’re thinking about offering something – a piece of software, a service, training, or an e-book – you need to know if people are going to buy it. (And buy includes free stuff, because it costs their time.) Getting the truth is surprisingly hard. I used to think I’d just flat out ask people and they’d be honest with me, especially if I explained that I needed their honesty because I was about to place a big bet on it. Instead, it turns out people want to say yes because they don’t want to insult you and they figure…Read
I liked the teacher. I loved the subject. A hot girl sat in front of me. Hell, I even got straight A’s during the semesters. Let the record show that I got an A in physical education. But I skipped class 57 times. I’m not sure how many school days are in tenth grade, but 57 seems like a pretty high percentage, and it was high enough that they failed me. Up to that point, I didn’t care. The point is that I learned the material, right? Why make me stick around and keep a chair warm when I could read the…Read
Thinking about quitting your full time job and changing things up a little? Here’s a quick explanation of the differences between IT roles. Full Time Employees (FTEs) of Regular Companies You show up for work on Monday at 8AM, and you know exactly where you’re going to work, and who you’ll be working with. You have lots of water cooler conversations with the same people every week. You’re frequently called into meetings that you can’t refuse, and they waste your time for hours on end. That frustrates you because you’d rather be out doing real work. You’re on call (either all…Read
Friday, Kendra and I launched our newest online training course, The DBA’s Guide to SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Here’s a quick glimpse behind the scenes at the work required in launching something like this. Designing and Building the Course Materials November – Course design started – Kendra wrote a profile for the ideal attendee, describing her experience, job duties, and current pain points. This determined the material we’d cover – and the stuff we’d ignore. For example, Kendra wrote, “What’s NOT included? How to install these things. I can figure out how to run a wizard.” November – EU…Read
You’ve read my blog posts or seen my webcasts, and you know I’m qualified to solve a particular SQL Server problem. You contact our company, and maybe you bring us in for an engagement. But many of you don’t – many of you only want me for 15 minutes, or an hour or two. You’ve got one particular problem, and it’s not a really big problem, but it’s not a good fit to post on a Stack Exchange site or a forum. Maybe it involves private code that would be painful to sanitize, or maybe you need interactive help with a…Read
I’ve been watching Steve Stedman’s Database Corruption Challenge with glee. Steve (@SQLEMT) is running one of the toughest kinds of blog posts you can do: an ongoing series that involves a lot of prep, urgent timings, and dealing with plenty of contributions/questions/answers from a lively audience. That is seriously hard work. So I emailed Steve and put even more work on his plate – an email interview. Here’s how it went: Brent: What made you decide to do a corruption challenge? Steve Stedman Steve: I was working on a blog post to explain the concept of how to pull in data from…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.