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Your thoughts please....

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by drum_dude, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi all!

    I would like to run an option that I'd like to pursue very soon past you all...I'd like to start my own IT Business in my spare time - mainly weekends! I'd like to work with local businesses who cannot afford to pay the support contract costs that the local IT mob provide!

    I feel that I'm at a point in my career where my experience in IT could be worth a lot to small local businesses. I've been working in IT Support for going on 9 years now - but more importantly I feel that my confidence in meeting and dealing with people has come on leaps and bounds in the past 2 years. Everybody in my new job has commented that I have made a great impression with senior branch managers that I travel to see in my area...so far so good!

    Anyway, it is my intention to get into contracting at a later point and this is why I've been thinking about getting a small part-time IT Business up and running. I can go ahead and register the company and educate myself on the ins and outs of tax etc - the hope being that I'll have an established IT Ltd company when it comes time for me to branch out into contracting etc!

    Please don't get me wrong here, I'm not interested in working for Joe Public fixing PCs - I want to do this to:

    * Earn some spare cash - big motivation of course!
    * Educate myself on different company situations/setups i.e. bespoke systems, email, networking, leased line/WAN links etc
    * Work out the ins and outs of running a business
    * Work on improving my confidence further by dealing with a wider range of people...

    So what do you think! Has anyone else done such a thing?? I look forward to your replies and hope you will all rip me to bits!! At least you lot will make me think harder about this!!!

    Cheers

    P.S. I already have a company name - just need to register it as it is not in use...already bought the domain name about 2 years ago when this name popped into me head whilst trying to get some shut eye at 3am! I dived out of bed and registered it straight away...lol!!!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    The IT company I work for is fairly small and we are sub contracted IT support to 40 odd companies. It is a great way to improve your IT skills as you work with many different networks. There are also the one off projects such as domain migrations which are always fun!

    On the other hand dealing with customer’s networks each day can be a pain. If someone wants the email server sending limit put up to 150MB then you generally have to do it even though you spend the time explaining that this is not a good idea. Also expect people to buy their own laptops and bring them into the office and expect you to add it to the domain even though it’s running XP home. If that was your network then you could tell the guy where to go *but* because you are sub contracted you have to be polite and try and get the laptop up and running. Not fun!

    Getting new contracts isn’t easy as well and the whole process can take weeks. Also there has to be fair amount of time put into proposals which is great if you win the contract but a complete waste of time if you don’t.

    Personally I would go for it mate! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  3. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I agree with sparky, I am actually thinking the same thing at the moment. To me its a great experience to have.

    I know I wont be making a lot of money doing this but at least I'll be getting the experience not just in IT but also in business management. The way I see is there isnt much to lose and the experience could be valuable.
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  4. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I think it's a great idea, and it's wonderful that you feel so confident in your abilities to make this step.

    It's something I have often thought about, but the area I would like to self employ in is around infrastructure and design, so it's more than a few years down the line.

    What I will give, is a shy word of warning. It's all well and good parading around on the 'cutting edge' of IT, but a lot of the companies that may choose to subcontract may have more than a little 'technological lag'.

    One place my company has just 'done over' so to speak had a very washy IT infrastructure in place. The 'comms room' consisted of kitchen sideboards, some 15" CRTs that looked like they were about to combust, and normal desktops used as servers. The wiring infrastructure consisted of a mess of coax and ethernet under the floor, and the PCs were... diabolical. Possibly a wonderful contract to win due to the variety and value of the work... but cutting edge it isn't! Needless to say, the lot is being ripped out, but keeping the old network running whilst setting up the infrastructure for the new one (and moving from analogue to VoIP) has been more than a little interesting!

    I wish you the best of luck. I have tried self-employment once already, but it was on the retail edge of IT, which I wouldn't recommend to anybody. Like I have already said, it hasn't put me off one jot.

    Just be sure to retain all your receipts and keep careful financial records. Don't be shy on paying for a good accountant either, as they'll pay you back dividends when it comes to year-end advice!

    Have you already built your website? Also, have you thought about what kind of 'territory' you will cover?
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
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  5. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster

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    drum_dude,

    What is your current field of employment?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, CCNA, A+
    WIP: CCDA
  6. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    This is what I hope to get to be honest! My previous experience in IT has not only been with 2000/2003 Server with AD Domains, but also with Netware 3,4 & 5 with GroupWise too, Windows NT, Exchange 5.5, 2000, & 2003 and Windows NT 4. Getting into the infrastructure side of IT is also what I'd like to do too - the cabling all the way up to the routing etc.


    I deffo will look into a good accountant!

    I have the domain name and the space with the usual 30 mailboxes blah blah blah! I'll be getting to work onto it soon as I do have in mind a clear idea of it's look and content! Fortunatley I'm quite good with Dreamweaver and Fireworks so it should be quite a good but simple looking site :o)

    The area I'll be looking to cover would be at first West Midlands i.e. Dudley, Worcestershire etc.

    At first it'll be a part time venture but everything has to start somewhere and if I want to get into self employed status contracting then I have to have the business practices in place in my brain! And this is what I hope to acheive by setting up on my own on a part time basis - I don't expect to earn ££££s a month but the practice and skills that one can pick up has to be priceless!!!

    As for advertising, well I hope to get into the local business directories...and perhaps target small private schools and businesses with some mailshots...I have an idea of what needs done, but any suggestions are welcome!

    Thumbs up to you guys 'n' girls for your support! Thanks!!!
    :D
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  7. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Good luck.

    I set my website up yonks ago but haven't had any work from it because I just don't have the time to do it

    That Computer Bloke

    I've got the experience and, if I had more time, I'd certainly pursue it. However, as it is - I barely get enough spare time to do anything I want to do - there's no way I could justify spending EVEN MORE of my hours working!
     
    Certifications: A few
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  8. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    My official title at work is PC & Network Support Specialist in the construction industry...my role includes supporting/rolling out/building/troubleshooting the following:

    W2K3 File and Print Servers and Domain Controllers
    PCs and Laptops
    Switches/Routers and IPStream and IPClear WAN links
    Orange SPVs and XDAs (mNotes and Intellisync)
    Installation/Monitoring of LAN/WAN monitoring hardware such as Packeteer will be a new feather to my cap
    Email services such as Lotus Notes (Domino servers are looked after by another team)
    IP Telephony system

    My previous job of 2 years was more or less the same as above but included supporting/administrating the following:

    Exchange 5.5/2003
    Netware 5
    NT 4 Server

    Over the years I've been involved with working for schools, IT outsourcing companies and even did a spell of IT support with a big catalog firm! All in all approx 9 years :)
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
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  9. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Oddly enough I see IT as being very enjoyable...I just love it believe it or not! I get a good buzz from helping/advising people, sad I know! But I've never tired of this sector...
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  10. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Oh - don't get me wrong - I loooove my job. I just spend far too much time doing it - and not other things. I need to start getting more of a balance back in my life - and touting for more work won't help that :)
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  11. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    In that case, give me a nod when you're all ready to take on work, and I'll make sure to keep an ear out for anything to put your way. I live in Coventry, and work in Brum, so I think that falls in just about right for you.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
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  12. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster

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    drum_dude,

    How are you going to handle the potential conflict of interest problem when one or more of your side job client(s) needs your services at the same time that conflicts with your current job?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, CCNA, A+
    WIP: CCDA
  13. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    :D
    That is where I'll be most clear with potential customers - in that I'll inform them that I do have a full time occupation but can offer my services on a part time basis. It has worked for a friend that I worked with at a council - he had a few private schools that he supported after work. A lot of the stuff he had to do was pretty mickey mouse that only required him to go in 3-4 hours a week at 30 quid an hour! A few times he worked weekends at £50 an hour...those schools didn't have a problem with this. And when there was a major issue i.e. a server keeling over or the network dying he was always able to troubleshoot over the phone and liase with someone on the site on what needed to be done i.e. a reboot of the server or switch or ADSL/ISDN modem...

    My intention is to work with businesses and schools whose systems aren't critical to there functions! They're plenty of these organisations about who are happy to wait for someone to get to them but are also happy that they are not tied into support contracts from IT companies in the area. A lot of these places like to have someone that they're confident with; I believe that I'm that person.

    I will make my position clear with anyone I deal with, but I know not to bite off more then I can chew and WILL advise those that I cannot support! As I said previously this will be step forward into the functions and requirments of managing a limited business - the next logical step will be to get into a contracting role using the Ltd company. This first step will also confirm that I can walk into new surrondings and hit the ground running...I hope:D
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  14. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Many thanks for your support Arroryn; it is most appreciated!:)
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
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  15. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Some clients I support have previously had IT support from one guy who setup the network as a sideline to their previous job.

    It’s a difficult one. Let’s say a server does fall over and needs a full restore, that could be you stuck on-site for days or even overnight. Also if a company starts to grow and requires too much of your time are you going to hold your hands up tell them to look for a dedicated 3rd party IT support company as you cant find the time to meet their needs?

    As already mentioned some networks that you inherit will be total crap. I would recommend when you approach a potential new customer that you audit their existing IT infrastructure and make recommendations. Some crap networks I inherited were so bad that one customer that had a SBS and 10 users generated more calls in a year in comparison to another customer that had over 100 users.

    The difference was that we installed the 100 user network and the other one was installed by a guy who ‘knew about computers’ :blink
     
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  16. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Great advice there Sparky - cheers!:D
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  17. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    One of the key traits of a good entrepreneur is knowing when to pass the buck
    a lot of people (especially sole traders) make the mistake of trying to do everything themselves, the old adage of 'if you do it yourself, you only have yourself to blame' sort of thing

    If if got to that point, it should be easy to find people more than willing to assist in the casual work for say, 15ph / 25ph weekends
    your now earning money whilst not directly working
    and the 4 hour week moves ever closer to reality! :)
     
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  18. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's great... but realize that many businesses want someone who is available on the weekdays, during business hours, when things are likely to go wrong.

    ...as long as your current employer is OK with you taking (sometimes extremely long) calls while they're paying your wage. Some are flexible. Many are not.

    Systems are critical to just about every business these days. They just aren't often seen as critical until a computer goes down and/or important data is lost.

    All this said... I think it's certainly worth pursuing (as long as everyone's aware of the situation). I still do IT work for my last employer, as well as a couple of eye doctors in town.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  19. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Yes agee with you there BM - I am aware that it could turn into a balancing act of sorts! But I can only go by example from previous collegue's experiences...especially the one chap I worked with who did a lot with schools. All their WAN links were managed by a 3rd party company but the IT support was dealt with by him - he only really worked with them during the evening and at the weekends their systems were setup very well by him so very rarely tripped over! He was clever enough to implement fault tolerance at their sites with multiple domain controllers etc...Yes I know that IT stuff can be classed as critical but again alot of this stuff on small business/school sites have been setup in a bad way...I want to deal with those who have got a raw deal from others. My goal in this is to get those that are having difficulties up and running and on the right track - once that is achieved the support workload will/should drop to a few hours a week if any...after that I'd like to deal with them on a consultancy basis. Advise them on support contracts etc help them with the things that they don't understand or don't have the time to read through etc

    As for long phonecalls, well that is at the forefront of my mind and I do not want this to spill over into working life as that'll cause grief for everyone! But I'll have to take it as it comes and be professional enough to have contingency plans i.e. draw up what ifs and what i'd do!

    It's going to be tricky, but nothing can be achieved by doing nothing! I have to try this and I firmly believe that I can do it, and if needs be I can delegate work to my retired father...but if things really did kick off and it proves that I can make a full time occupation out of it then wouldn't that be a good thing????

    One can only try! :)

    Keep up the questioning please as it's really making me think and at the same time giving me new ideas! Cheers
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  20. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    There are loads of companies that have had a raw deal when their IT systems installed. I have seen some really bad (I’m being nice here) networks that didn’t even have backups or AV.

    You will probably come across Small Business Server 2003 so if you haven’t installed it before perhaps install it on virtual server or something like that. The install is completely different from say adding a DC but once installed everything should look familiar. SBS Fax service and also SharePoint is included, both of which are extra selling points.

    Try and get a range of products that you are familiar with, say Dell for hardware and NOD32 for AV, this means you can get up to speed with pricing and support the same PC build, this is kinda like a corporate desktop build but in a small business environment. :biggrin
     
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