I bet you hate salespeople. Yeah, for the most part, me too. Bad news: if you start consulting, you’re gonna have to sell your time. You have to figure out how to talk people into signing a contract that says, “We’re going to do ___ for you, and you’re going to pay us $___.” Both of those blanks are completely up for negotiation, and frankly, your customers are in a better negotiating position than you. Would you buy a slightly used consultant from this man? Good news: if you put some work into your company from the start, the sales process doesn’t…Read
Quick background: I started BrentOzar.com as a blog over a decade ago, and today it’s a successful consulting company that gets tens of thousands of spam comments per day. I failed at a few other side projects before that. This post is a brain dump for IT people who are thinking about starting their own thing. Most of the people who start businesses do it for the love of what they do, not because they want to go into finance, sales, and management. Most founders (myself included) have no idea what they’re getting into. That doesn’t mean they’ll fail, though, because passion…Read
First things first, I don’t want to be your remote DBA. No thank you, unsubscribe. I never want to be on call again. From 1993 until 2008, I had an electronic tether – first in the hotel & restaurant industry, then IT. When I went to work for Quest Software as an evangelist in 2008, one of the biggest job benefits was being able to not answer the phone on weekends and holidays. Oh, sweet personal life, how I missed thee. But I get tempting emails from companies that usually go like this: “We’ve got a few database servers that are mission-critical.…Read
Developers, stop reading this now. This post isn’t for you. This post is for the sysadmins and database admins, the people who have to keep the digital pipes unclogged. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg had a brilliant interview at the Lean Startup Conference. It’s chock full of good stuff and you should totally watch the whole thing, but this one-minute exchange is one of my favorites: Interviewer: “So you mentioned accountability and I was curious about that… Almost all the metrics [you monitor] were about how customers use the site, but not how employees are working, and I wondered if there…Read
A friend of mine was asking for advice about starting up a consulting company, and I realized I’ve got a lot of good links piled away. Here’s some of my favorites: Me and my wonderful cofounders Designing the Business So You Want to Be a Consultant – explains the different kinds of consultants, how they manage money, how to build customer relationships, and more. Your Crappy Little Services Business – there’s nothing wrong with building a consulting company instead of an aggressively growth-focused dot-com startup. The Hacking Business Model – we wanted to run a really different consulting company, and we wrote up…Read
Companies are like Dungeons and Dragons characters. While it’d be awesome roll perfect 18s for all of your attributes, but the reality is that you’re not going to be strong AND wise AND charismatic. You’re going to have to make some tough decisions. You’ve only got so many hours in the day, and only so much resources at your disposal. What’s your product? When I first got started consulting, I thought the product was just me, full stop. I’m here – I’m a smart fella – what do you need done? That doesn’t scale well, though – it’s hard to…Read
Last week I launched a video course called The Best Free SQL Server Downloads. It costs $29, and I gave out coupon codes to drop it to $19 for the launch. I expected to get a few questions: How Can You Charge People for a List of Free Stuff? If you’ve ever watched TV late at night, you’ve probably stumbled across one of Matthew Lesko’s informercials. He wears a suit covered in question marks, and he sells information about how to get free money from the government. Matthew LeskoPhoto by 88Slide.com I have never bought one of Lesko’s books. The cynic in…Read
It’s really hard to find good DBAs these days, so some of my friends have started doing part-time consulting after hours and on weekends. They often ask me how to set their rate, and there’s a lot of interesting questions around that. Cooperation Options Working Together – You and the client staff must both be online together, sharing screens, and talking through a problem. This is what clients usually want by default. Solo – You get access to the client’s systems via VPN, and you can do the work on your own without having the client involved. Examples of this…Read
A little over two years ago, I partnered up with Jeremiah Peschka, Kendra Little, and Tim Ford to turn my blog, BrentOzar.com, from a blog into a consulting company. I didn’t want to live-blog the business-building process. As life unfolds in front of you, it’s a noisy, jumbled mess with everything happening at once. Plus, like Salman Rushdie wrote in Midnight’s Children, “Most of what matters in our lives takes place in our absence.” To give myself better perspective and a bigger picture, I decided I’d wait at least a year before blogging about anything that happened. It’s going well,…Read
We give away sp_Blitz™, a totally free health check tool for Microsoft SQL Server. It looks for all kinds of common reliability and performance problems and gives you a prioritized to-do list. The number one question I get about it – by far – is, “Why do you give it away for free? Why don’t you charge for it?” Free Beer vs Free Speech We need to start by considering the word free. In the software world, there’s two ways to look at it. The Wikipedia article on Gratis versus Libre sums it up well: Gratis versus libre is the distinction…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.