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
Last time we met, I finished up by talking about all of the crazy work involved in pairing the right consultant/contractor with the right client project. In my line of work, I get to see a whole lot of SQL Server projects – both good and bad – and work with the teams involved in building them. More often than not, I see contracting companies who have taken some disturbing shortcuts with horrifying results. See, bad contracting companies have a huge sales force that goes out and asks customers, “Hey, what problems are you having? Sure, we can solve those.…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
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
It’s time for my annual update on the wild ride. A brief recap of what’s happened so far: 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 just finished, so I’m blogging about year three – April 2013 to April 2014. When last we met The company logo…Read
Trying to figure out what to submit for 2015 conference abstracts? Over and over, I see people describing their session in terms of how awesome it’ll be, or what a great time the attendee will have, or how the presenter is really excited about the topic. Nobody cares. Seriously. Put the exclamation points down. tl;dr – here’s the winning formula: Identify the pain that’s driving an attendee crazy. Build the simplest, fastest, cheapest relief for that pain. Describe the pain and the relief in as few words as possible. It’s that simple. But this is one of my favorite subjects, so I’ll…Read
Because my friends and I run a kinda fun, funky consulting company, I hear from a lot of frustrated consultants that want to leave their positions and join our team. We’re not hiring at the moment, but the complaints from these consultants actually make for a good list of questions you should ask before you go to work as a consultant. You should ask the interviewers, your prospective manager, and then ask them to let you talk to a couple of your prospective employees in private – and ask them all the same questions. See if the answers all match…Read
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
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.