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When Do You Ask for Help?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
free falling help

Being on the edge of a cliff is a common feeling when running a small business

Stepping Back

I am taking this moment to step back to try to process a few things myself in this post to hopefully gain some clarity.

These are my ramblings on the state of things with WaterOx Consulting and my efforts to make it into a successful venture.

 What Have I Been Doing All This Time?

Great question. What have I been doing? Some days it seems like a lot, others it seems like nothing has been done. The joys of having a company and trying to make it on your own are a typical roller coaster. There are days where I sign an agreement or contract, and things are looking great! The wife and I celebrate somehow and things are good. Then there are those days when things are just not right. Payments are late or not even made, there’s no current work going on, no responses to inquiries, social media, etc.. Those days can get pretty rough. It is a time when I start thinking more and more about things and what can be done to get things ramped up again. It is one of the reasons I tend to run all over the place. Lately, it’s been quiet. Too quiet actually. Things have picked up a bit with some potential clients, but as is typical, the client doesn’t always have that same sense of urgency I do. I understand it is the reality of having a business. Understanding it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

In those down times I also try to get me and my company name out there more. Get known. Get exposure. If people see me and my company, then they will know about it and things will happen. All sounds great in my head, but doesn’t always seem to come to fruition. Now, I know the efforts I’m making are working as I have received emails and calls from people I have met while going around to various events. I even received the MVP award in October of 2014 from Microsoft, and have been inducted into the Friends of Redgate for 2015. All for the efforts I make to give back and share with the community. I have been heading up the Washington D.C. SQL Saturday each December for the last 3 years, along with helping to start and grow the D.C. chapter of PASS, PASSDC. I even just had the first SQL Saturday for Nova Scotia, my birthplace, launched and am working to get that pulled together. I am all about giving and sharing the information to those that ask. Being an independent consultant though, I’d like to get compensated for it sometimes too.

Along with all that social butterfly stuff, which for me is actually quite unnatural as I am very introverted, I have been trying to write some posts on the site that would be of interest to those in SQL Server. Sharing the knowledge with those I don’t meet in person. It is tough to determine what to write about. I am always in awe at a lot of the other bloggers who seem to have a steady flow of topics. For me the key to blogging is writing something that is a little different, not just repeating what everyone else has said. Having talked to others, the concept of ‘be your own voice’ of the topic is brought up. I guess, it just seems almost pointless to put the same stuff out there. I just started a new series digging into the DoD STIGs. It’s going to be a whopper probably having over 400 posts when done, but I feel people need to understand what each one of these things is in order to be comfortable implementing it.

I also started working on some training courses to present. a couple of 1/2 – 1 day sessions that cover SQL Security and encryption and the week long boot camp that I had offered last year. At the time there wasn’t enough interest for people to attend the boot camp, but now there is more and I have to get it all cinched up and ready to go. I don’t know if the first one will be done in the D.C. area, or if I’m going to take it somewhere else (New England possibly) where the demand for it seems to be coming from. Either way, I am sure I’ll try to have it again this year.

The website has gone through some changes too. I built it from some concepts I saw online and rather like how it has come together. I did have a poor hosting service that was causing the site to be really slow, but I’ve changed that up and things are moving a lot quicker now. I even changed the approach to the way people can interact by adding more calls to action on the main information pages rather than just buttons that linked to the contact us page. They are a new thing to me, so not sure how well they will work, but I figure making it easier to get in touch can’t hurt. Check it out, I’m even going to put one right here to the side so you can try it out if you like!

[contact-form-7]

Who do I ask for help or guidance?

I don’t know who to ask about things.

Well, that may not be completely accurate.

The issue is more one of: What do I ask?

If I could figure that out then I’d probably be able to figure out who to talk to. I have a lot of friends (I think) in the SQL server community that have been through this to a degree that have an amazing amount of knowledge and very successful businesses. I know a lot of people in the SQL Server industry that are working at amazing places. I know a lot of people that started their own businesses in other industries and have both failed and succeeded. I don’t think there is a lack of resources. Just a lack of direction.

What Direction Do I Want Things To Go?

Hmm… Another great question.

I have to admit, having grown up with a family of self-employed parents, working for myself is a very natural and comfortable place to be. I now understand the intense stress that loomed over my family constantly when times were tight. There are plenty of times I’ve thought of throwing in the towel and just going back to being a F.T.E. somewhere again, and that is still an option if the right opportunity comes along. What’s that opportunity? Dunno, but I’m sure I will when, and if, it comes up.

I think if I was to share my dreams, it would be to get the following to work out and succeed:

  • WaterOx Consulting becomes self-sustaining, able to pay me a decent salary and even maybe bring a couple of folks on board. That would be pretty amazing. It isn’t my first business, but it is my first true consulting and technical business. I used to have a small catering company, did some craft type things, and that type of stuff. WaterOx though has been the strongest effort I think I’ve made and I truly believe it will succeed. I just may need a little help with it.
  • Concierge DBA® – Just over a year ago I was given the registered trademark of Concierge DBA®. I actually received the notice and the documentation on 12/24/2013. Concierge DBA® was my idea of being able to provide on-call DBA services to companies and people that don’t, or can’t, have a full data team for their project and/or company.  I have had a few clients over the year, and am working to fine tune the service and get the word of it out there more. It would be great to see the demand for this type of consulting / DBA work grow some. It isn’t the standard remote DBA. The goal is to build a team of hand-picked experts to be there to help our clients in the best way we can, and to ensure the client learn how and why the actions taken are taken. It isn’t just blindly doing the work, it truly is caring about the client, no matter how big or small. It is being the Concierge to their SQL Server needs.
  • SQL Summer Camp – This started as a fun little idea and grew into a whole website and small focused marketing effort on my part. The goal was to make technical training more fun, and relaxing. I’ve been to many a training that is in a hotel, or conference room, or something and you get drilled with information and it is great! Lots to learn, but so much forgotten, and an overload. I know it can work, and it is the premise behind some of the boot camps I’m working on, but I wanted to present something completely different that what’s out there. I had been on SQL Cruise a couple of times and it helped to cement some ideas I had floating around for a while (no pun intended, but it is a good one. If you get a chance, go on SQL Cruise, it is life & career changing! If work won’t pay, find a way to do it yourself. It’s worth every penny, trust me.). SQL Summer Camp is meant to provide great training, but in a truly different environment. Sure, we start early, but the goal was to finish a bit earlier and give time to explore the area, or just hang out. It is an inaugural event this year, and I’m hoping enough people sign up to make it possible. If I can get 10 people to sign up I’ll be ecstatic! It won’t make money at that point, but it is possible and won’t kill WaterOx in the process. If you know anyone that may be interested, let me know (you can use that nifty form up there). If you have questions about it that aren’t answered at SQLSummerCamp.com let me know too so I can make sure things are covered over there.
  • If none of the above can happen, I’d love to get a chance to continue to hone my SQL and presentation skills with a prominent SQL entity, maybe even as an evangelist. What’s that mean? Something like Redgate, SQLSkills, Idera, SolarWinds, etc.. Get to become one of ‘those people’ that you see everywhere that has a company help promote them and push them to use and show off their products all while building the SQL Community. The main goal is to get WaterOx to be one of those companies, but if somewhere else wants to do that with me, it may work. Guess that would be that ‘opportunity’ mentioned above.

Geez That’s A Lot of Reading! What Do You Want From Me, The Reader?

What do I want? Well, the fact that you’ve read this far is enough.

What’s the saying? If you want something to happen, you have to put it out there?

Well, here I am putting it out there. You now know what I would like to get accomplished. Maybe you have ideas and thoughts that can help.

Maybe you are the mentor I need.

Maybe you think everything is fine and I am about to have a breakthrough with the company.

Great! Let me know.

Maybe you think I’m crazy and there is no point in trying to do all this.

That you can keep to yourself. No really, I don’t need more stress and stuff piled on me along with everything else I have.

I really want to make things happen and work with all this.

I am not one to usually ask for help with things, but I’m getting better at it.

 

I hope.

 

 

 

 

The post When Do You Ask for Help? appeared first on WaterOx Consulting.

WaterOx SQL

Chris Bell (MCITP) has been working with Microsoft technologies for over 20 years and using SQL Server for over 18 of those years. He is currently the Owner and Lead consultant for WaterOx Consulting, a Maryland based company focused on helping clients, that can’t afford or justify a full time data team, get the most from their SQL Server environments. For more information please visit WateroxConsulting.com.

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