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Striking out alone.

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by 1/4, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Hi guys.

    Right - I have my A+ exams coming up shortly and I haven't been lax in looking for work. I have applied to a score or more jobs on the usual sites and heard nothing back. I expected as much since I don't have experience so to speak and I don't have an A+ yet etc.

    I have also approached a lot of smaller IT repair shops in my local area (within 8 miles or so) and offered them my services for free one day a week etc. The response has mainly been a polite but firm no for all the sensible reasons that you would expect.

    I noticed a small ad in one of my local shops advertising a local IT Tech. "Malware removed, back ups, system upgrades" etc.

    I would be comfortable doing everything he was offering and so I thought, if i need experience (which I do) and companies are not going to hand it to me, even if I work for free I should go get my own experience and grab it with both hands.

    I'm essentially going to advertise basic PC support in and around my area and see what if anything comes in.

    I see this as proactive, fairly harmless (I'll tell people a job is outside my skill if it is) etc...

    Am I being proactive or is this a face-palm idea that everyone else had that doesn't work for an obvious reason that I am missing?

    Kind regards

    1/4
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I would go for working with the guy in a shop.

    If you offer your services in the area will you be charging people? if so you will have to setup your own business pay tax etc unless you decide to do it on the fly but it wont be nice if someone reported you.

    I started by fixing peoples PCs for free and getting clients by word of mouth from people who were satisfied with my work. If some offered me money I took if not I didn;t charge. This experience is hard to backup unless you use a customers reference.

    Then I stopped doing that as much as I was and started working with the systems engineer at work building PCs to customers specs and charging them accordingly and whilst I still do this I now also do network testing and support with the same guy.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Firstly, "just working for the guy in the shop" isn't so far an option available to me.

    The only 2 issues I noted were setting up a business - which is a piece of cake as a sole trader and secondly having quantifiable experience. That fits nicely with issue one in that you have invoices for work completed on client's PCs.

    1/4
     
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  4. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    People ask this quite often on here and I always give a similar reply, you've got to put so much work into a business such as this to make it anything other than a disaster. These days pc's are becoming more and more like consumer goods, i.e. is it really worth the end user getting a 4 year old pc fixed when they could buy one infinately better down their local national electronics retailer.

    If you have a look in your local parish mag/ yellow pages they are awash with people/companies offering similar services to you, so in order to muscle in on that you have to be offering something different.
    Really the best you can hope for is jobs for mates and maybe mates of mates, but its really not worth the stress and hassle of offering such a service these days as as soon as you touch someone's pc every fault/misconfig they have is because of the work you did to it 3 years ago (sad but its true).

    Use your energy to get a job in a pc repair shop and save yourself a loads of worry!
     
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  5. Mariusz

    Mariusz Byte Poster

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    if you live in UK then self-employment would be cheapest way of starting of pc repairs

    anyway I would suggest to do smaller things like clearing computer from spyware/adaware etc for free, and more advanced things for money, it will allow you to gain popularity and more customers, but you should know your value and not do things too cheap.
    For something like that I would recommend another phone nr to separate business from private life (and you would avoid situations when at 9:30pm somebody calls you because want's to watch new divx movie and don't know how to install codex)
    I wouldn't do everything for free, as people will take advantage of it and some of them will treat you as private bitch, so you need to be assertive and to say NO when you have to

    I had few situations where I was fixing someone's computer for few hours for "thank you" for people that weren't my friends, we were only living in same estate and knew each other.

    Once I was asked to do a simple website for someone's kid's homework for one can of lager (I spent 2hrs to do it).

    Some people think that IT is so simple they don;t need to pay for it. I wonder if they would come to clean my house or wash my dishes for free :-)
     
    Certifications: ECDL Extra, ITQ Lvl2, CompTIA A+, N+, S+
    WIP: MCTS 70-680 Win7
  6. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    As much as I want to find it crazy that a small IT repair company wouldn't want free labor, I think at the same time they have reasons relating to taxation, not being allowed to have free labor, and of course any issues that may pop-up due you doing something that would utterly destroy a computer being fixed, and thus ending up costing considerably more for the company to replace...

    Yeah, it doesn't sound cool, but many shops try to back themselves up just in case these days.

    Others on this site talk about doing freelance for churches and the like. This might be a possibility at your place? Sometimes the local council office (if churches are not an option) may be willing to have someone do a little troubleshooting. but why not go back to these small shops and ask if you could spend a few hours a day, just obsering and learning? Maybe offer them a sixpack at the end of the day. It may sound like bribing, but think of it like this:

    1) you could learn new troubleshooting techniques by being on-site and seeing people fix PC's
    2) you may actually thing of something the local technician doesn't, bring your idea in and help them fix it faster without you doing hands-on work
    3) if you hang out long enough, they may like you and ask you on board

    And option number 3 is a strong one, since your personality often goes heavily in with how people see you, and if you stay cool, kind, trustworthy and more, they just may hire you when personnel turnaround comes along.

    Speaking of which, this is how I got into IT. I started working in a small PC store doing repairs. With time, I've discovered that stores and big companies in general, have a large turnover of people. Between 10 and 30% of all employees change jobs in any given year, and a small shop with a dozen people, may see someone leaving them every 3 months... Who knows, if you're around, they just may hire you as an immediate replacement.

    I actually did a thesis on this behaviour, so I should know a little bit about it... ;)
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, MCDST, MOS, CIW, Comptia
    WIP: Win7/Lync2010/MCM
  7. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    If you think that you can make it work then go for it! However, try and pitch yourself at very small businesses that have very minimal IT! They will be far better to work with than pain in the @ss home users that don't mind paying £150 to PC World to reinstall XP but will have a rectal prolapse when you demand £50 to do the same job!

    Trust me...I've been there and got the T-Shirt. If I could do it again than I would pitch to small business which would most likely be a few PCs on a workgroup with an ADSL line and a few printers.

    Also, don't forget that Self Assessment is a PAIN IN THE C0CK!!!!!!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  8. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, a lot to think on.

    I would add though that I don't intend to make this a big business. Just a means to say "Yes I have troubleshooting experience, yes I know how to do different types of back ups, yes I know how to set IP addresses on home networks" etc.

    I wouldn't want to get tangled with replacing screens on laptops etc, more the troubleshooting and consultancy side of things if one would call it consultancy.

    I know colleagues from back in university who would literally buy a PC from some big retailer, bring it home and then not dare plug it together and turn it on!

    I'd offer these sort of basic services, rather than products; services like home set ups, basic network creation, malware removal, OS recoveries and the like. And I would be doing this until I got my foot in the door at a decent company somewhere.

    The reasons why people didnt want me to work for free for them (even as a self employed contractor at 0 cost) was things such as Risk Assessments would need to be created (I would take them over the 6 people rule), worried i'd steal their clientele, can't afford the risk i would break someones computer that had been handed in etc.

    Looking at local positions near me (within 30 miles!) entry jobs at 14-15k still want 2 years experience in a support/commercial role. That is simply never going to happen with a WIP A+ or even an A+ and N+ etc.

    I think I'll give it a go (alongside full time employment btw) to support my certifications. Maybe it will end in a flaming pile of fail, but I'd rather see the opportunity here than the barriers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  9. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    If you're self employed then you will need PLI Insurance and Professional Idemnity Insurance too. Can you not sign up with an agency for some servicedesk work?
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  10. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    I'm in the awkward position of being full time employed already to pay my financial obligations, so that side of it I suppose is not really open to me.

    Having said that a friend told me a good friend of his is someone fairly senior at a recruitment agency that leans towards IT/Technical placements. Been told I can have a meeting with this chap and see if anything comes of it, at this point I'm happy to listen to advice off anyone professional and access to someone like that is a lot better than nothing, even if nothing comes from it.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  11. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Well ServiceDesk work is a good start and some of them do pay a decent wedge but of course it depends on your current commitments and stuff. However, most of us here started on Servicedesk/Helpdesk roles and the best techs I've met we're indeed Service Desk bods earlier on in their careers. Service Desk teaches you more on the soft skills and pressure handling skills which will reward you later on down the road when you're a Network Admin and everyone and their dog is shouting at you cos the "Internet is not working"! LOL
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  12. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    I shall look into service desking, I have no issues about doing anything like that. As long as there is a learning curve and as long as it pays as much as I am on now or more (wouldn't be difficult believe me) then I'd grab it with both hands.

    I'll make contact with some agencies and see what advice they can give on the matter.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  13. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I tried and failed with setting up my own home repair business 14 months ago, I setup my own website, created professional business card (5000 of them via VistaPrint) and distributed over 1000 of them personally, out of 1000 cards issues I only had 2 calls in a year. At the end of that time I was well out of pocket with regards to advertising and webspace costs, all in all not a good thing.

    Oh and as far as experience and ability is concerned, not much is out of the realms of fixability, so for someone like me to struggle I would hazard a guess and say that someone offering to do it for free \ low cost is actually going to end up costing you more than you're likely make from it (even from an experience point of view).

    My honest advice?? Don't bother.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).

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