Creating an IT business in the USA, Episode 2: Live Your convictions!

I’ve done it! I’ve successfully created a Single Member LLC in the great state of Arizona! w00t!!!1! Okay… sooooo… now what?

If you recall in the first part of the first episode of this series over on my old blog and the second part of the first episode posted on this blog, my direction when creating my own business was aimed more at being a consultant or contractor. In fact, the impetus for me to start a business was because a friend needed a technical manager for an upstart website and wanted to contract me. To be contracted I needed to be a business entity. As a result, I chose to form as a simple sole-proprietorship.

In the second episode, I reconsidered my assumptions about how to form my business and chose to form an LLC which gives me greater legal protection. It also future-proofed me if I decided to create a more significant business in the future.

But was I going to make a more significant business? As I considered owning a business and the possible directions I could take it, I had a moment of clarity: I don’t like working for people.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh. I actually enjoy working and interacting with people of all kinds, in all departments and with all temperaments. That’s the truth. It’s not that I don’t like working for people as much as I really enjoy designing, implementing, maintaining and optimizing systems. That’s not something that I can be guaranteed to have the opportunity to do if I work for any ol’ company.

I like to call the shots and design things exactly how my engineering mind is convinced is the best way. I don’t like to be hobbled by the potential for a Sr. manager or director being hornswaggled by a salesman or his nephew that’s “really good with computers” giving bad advice. If I’m going to be called out for poor design, Id rather it be by a fellow SysAdmin who knows why I’m making a mistake rather than a director who doesn’t think I’m buzzword compliant.

Prior to starting a business I was looking around at higher-responsibility jobs and feeling tense. I really wanted to be part of an organization that was proactive and progressive in their view of IT. However, I worried about being in a department that was stifled and choked. Thinking about doing all the footwork and research to find a good company to work in was a bit overwhelming. Plus, I’m a bit mis-trusting of IT headhunters. (Any angelic IT headhunters out there reading this, please forgive me)

After beginning to start a a business merely to be contracted by my friend (which was intended to be a part-time job), I considered becoming a full-time contractor. However, the stories of what IT contractors often have to endure frightened me. “You’re Mr. High-Priced-Contractor, you’re supposed to know everything yesterday and work 80 hours a week for your whole 12 month term!!”

I then considered starting a MSP. After some thought, I realized that staring at a management console (GFI Max, for example) and shuttling around town doing what amounted to overpriced help desk work made me weep in agony. Plus, there was far more of an initial investment in equipment, software and salesmanship than I felt I could afford. Especially the salesmanship part.

So how could I land a job doing what I like to do and ensure that it was in a great environment? I don’t even have to have free food and massages! Is that too much to ask?! It seemed like it was. Woe! Woe unto me!

Then an inspired idea came to me: Why don’t I make my own job? I know what I like the most and where my strengths lie. I know where and how I’d like to develop my professional skills. I could choose to design and implement exactly what I wanted to work with (provided my funds and the market were favorable).

I started to think about it deeper. All of the articles I’ve read over the last year and a half were all aflutter about outsourcing, SaaS and cloud computing. Many analysts have been cogently arguing that SaaS and cloud computing are changing the face of the SysAdmin profession. Those concepts and others are seen as continually pushing IT workers out of internal IT departments and into departmental units or service providers.

If you want to read more about it, you can see my articles “Corporate IT – More Suggestions of the Changing Role of the SysAdmin” and “Avoiding SysAdmin Obsolescence; The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Telepathic Robot Drones” among others on this blog.

It all made sense, but was scary and made me just a little sad at first. I had held onto the idea of working as a member of a traditional internal IT department. However, in the last year or so, especially the last few months, I’ve been convinced that the SysAdmin role is changing. Changing right now as I type this. And it’s a change that is logical, needed and one that isn’t going to turn back. I’m convinced that much of the future of Systems Administration is in SaaS, cloud and service providers. It was time to live what I believed. From those convictions, my company is born.

I am starting a hosted services company. I also have some smaller business ventures that will hopefully create a modest revenue stream so I can save and then invest in the creation of my first hosted service. I hope to begin setting up the first hosted service later this year (2010).

So what service am I going to start with? What’s my company name? Where’s my website?! What are my prices?!?

I’m not going to tell you! At least, not yet anyway. I don’t want to turn this blog into some kind of marketing channel or advertisement for my services. I want to stay as indie as possible. In all likelihood, I’ll mention my company name at some point in this blog’s lifetime. Just not right now. Maybe not for a while. Anyway, it probably wouldn’t be that hard for someone to find out what my company is named if they searched a few public records databases.

As far as the services that I will eventually be offering, those are much more likely to be discussed to some degree in the future. Probably not in reference to my company, or prices or general business chit-chat. It will most likely be exposed in a more editorial or troubleshooting sense. You see, I like to write. I like to share what I know (as much of a nublet as I am). I’ll most certainly share my experiences as I troubleshoot and evaluate various systems and engineering feats.

That’s my professional life as it stands now. This is one SysAdmin who has ditched the notion of internal IT and embraced the external service provider role. I have officially had a paradigm shift. Now I get to choose the technology I work with, call the shots and have all the fun. I get to work the budgets, approve the projects and eat all the M&Ms from the candy dish. Of course, I have to pay for those M&Ms, but I can live with that. I’ll also get all the blame if things go horribly wrong, but I think I can avoid that as well as anyone else that enjoys this job.

I’ll almost certainly be hiring help in the future as my projects get bigger and need more support and engineering roles. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be filling a position at my company in a few years. Are you willing to depart from internal IT to embrace a different SysAdmin paradigm?

Furthermore, do you think I’m daft in taking this leap? Is my business patently doomed to failure or mediocrity? Let me know what you think! It’s going to be an exciting several decades until retirement.


  1. Jon Angliss

    June 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    This is turning into an interesting series, watching your plans unfolding is certainly inspiring, especially as you’re looking forward at the unfolding technology landscape as you plan. I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out, and have been thinking of similar things myself in recent times.

    Good luck!


    • Wesley.Nonapeptide

      June 9, 2010 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks Jon! Yes, it’s exciting and a tad bit intimidating.

      I don’t know what, when or even if there will be an episode 3. I wouldn’t want to bore people with simple business operation banality. Maybe I’ll have some topics concerning designing customer interface or how to develop relationships with customers. I don’t know.

      Right now, I just need to figure out how to work with QuickBooks. =)


  2. positiveinsight

    June 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I am a telecom Engineer trying to make the full shift to I.T I am presently studying for MCITP. I have not quite decided on what direction to go as an I.T engineer yet. I want you to know that your plans are real inspiring. Who know? i may end up been your African partner some day.


    • Wesley.Nonapeptide

      June 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      Sounds great! Keep up the studying and certifying. I know it can be a real grind, but if you ever work for a service provider, certifications help you get partner status with various vendors which can be a great help.

      You never know with this crazy IT world. We just might be partners some day in the future. =)


  3. […] It’s worth noting that you don’t have to work for a “name brand” service provider like Postini or Zoho. There is plenty of pie to go around and there are plenty of smaller service providers out there. I submit my own self as an example. In the first half of 2010 I went through my own paradigm shift due to realizing the truth of what I’ve laid out in this and my previous blog post here on SysAdmin-Talk. I decided to walk away from my traditional position as an internal corporate IT SysAdmin and start my own hosted services company. If you’d like to read more about my personal journey, you can do so here. […]


  4. SG

    May 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Great Post.

    Good Luck for your new venture.
    (I am also trying to form a one man LLC in arizona and going through the same stage of thoughts as you are currently. May be your are ahead-:)) and i can learn from your experience.


    • Wesley David

      May 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Yes, this post was almost two years ago. Wow, time flies. It was quite the learning experience. I’m still an LLC and still doing business. Arizona makes it easy, plus if you get too frustrated, you can go eat fresh grapefruit at any time of year. How awesome is that? =)


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