When last we met, dear reader, I was super excited that I’d broken $500K in Black Friday sales – a goal that I’d been working on for a while. I was really proud of that. That moment triggered a lot of introspection, though. In my post about year 6 of the company, I wrote about how the business was a stool with 4 legs: training, consulting, online services, and community. At that time, I didn’t have the skills to make the consulting leg of the business consistently profitable, so I laid off Angie, Doug, and Jessica. However, I kept Erik…Read
“Whaddya mean you won’t do ___?” It’s a question I get every now and then from a prospective client. Most folks see our marketing, see that our consulting services page only has one thing on it, and understand that we’re very specialized. But every now and then, someone contacts us after seeing our pages in their Google results over and over again, and they figure we’re up for anything. They say something along the lines of, “I just need you to look at this one query and fix it.” And sometimes – not often, but usually when the prospect has…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
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?…Read
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.…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
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
First, the projects that didn’t count: For a couple of years, I acted as an internal consultant at a hotel management company, jumping around from project to project and hotel to hotel. I treated my full-time job as a series of consulting projects, but that doesn’t really count here. I did side work for past bosses – that doesn’t count either. I ended my presentations with “for help, contact me” and that got me a few half-day gigs on the weekends For a project to count, I figure it had to involve multiple days, and at least 3 zeroes on…Read
Wanna be a freelance consultant? Wanna do the same thing you’re doing today as an employee, but on your own, getting your own clients directly? There’s an easy way to tell if you’ll be good at it: start doing it today in your full time role. Here’s how. Step 1: Treat your internal users like customers. Think about these people as paying your check. Rather than cringing when your phone rings, you want to get into the frame of mind where you’re excited. Try to figure out how you can make them happy, make them want to work with you again,…Read
I presented a webcast this week for the PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter covering how to get into consulting or contracting. You can watch it now on YouTube: If you like that session, you’ll probably enjoy my past blog posts on consulting & contracting.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.