“You don’t happen to know anyone that does computer work do you?” My chiropractor asked while I was getting adjusted one day. He was opening a new office across town and needed some help getting his network up and running in the new office.
That’s how it started for me. At the time I was working as IT Support at a nationwide brokerage firm, but my job was boring. I was able to do the majority of my work in a couple hours each day so the prospect of making some extra cash and starting a business sounded like a wonderful idea. Sure, I had helped a few people fix their computers in their homes, but a few extra bucks wasn’t exactly a business model.
So, I took on that first project setting up their new office. I took a day of vacation from my day job and knocked out the project. Like many that came before me and the many who have come after, I started a computer consulting business. This was before the term, Managed Service Provider (MSP), was coined.
I was good at the tech, good at talking to people, and good enough at sales. I was bad at everything else. Running a business in my early 20’s was new. I didn’t know how to keep my books, invoicing on a regular basis was a challenge, and I had no idea how to price anything.
I had no real processes and everything I did was by the seat of my pants. If I wasn’t billing I wasn’t earning. Thankfully, my wife had a good job and was able to carry us while I tried to figure it out. Spoiler alert: I didn’t figure it out before leaving the area to move closer to family.
It took me years and years and a few different MSPs to start to get the handle on the business of running an MSP. In all of the MSP owners I’ve ever talked to there are a rare few that were business people first and tech second.