I'm sure a lot of you here, like me, started out by providing hosting in addition to working your day jobs. I'm interested in hearing stories of when the successful hosts here "took the plunge" and started hosting full time. (I'm defining successful in this case as earning your entire living from your hosting business.)
I'm interested in hearing how much monthly revenue you had from hosting when you moved to doing it full time. You might prefer to give this as a percentage of what you made at your "day job" or as a percentage of the bare minimum you felt you needed coming in to make ends meet. Did most people have a comfortable income coming in from hosting when you quit your day job, or was it more of a leap of faith? Did your hosting earnings improve quickly once you were able to put more time into your business? I'm interested in hearing about failures as well as successes.
My name is Peter; and, I started PMP Computer Solutions in June 1995 while working full time for a regional equipment leasing firm. The foundation of the sole proprietorship was computer and network consulting.
In the later part of that year, I had the opportunity to discover the power of the Internet when I made a sale to the largest producer of gas chromatography (J&W Scientific) in the creation of a piece of technology to automate the communication between their ovens run by Unix computers and their local area network.
God has blessed me in many ways; and one of the blessings came in September 1996 when I had the opportunity to consult with a start up bank in another county where they wanted to know the value of Internet branches (per say) vs. physical branches.
To make that story short, they became our first hosting customer in November 1996. Come December of 1996, 2 entire hosting customers ;-)
While we only had five hosting customers by April 1997, working 60 to 80 hours per week for the company and 40 to 50 hours per week for my then employer putting on a damper.
Ethically and morally, I had to make a choice between leaving the business behind (at that point, the highest grossing month – which was not March or April -- was $800) or leave my current employer. It was not fair to anyone to be that divided in passion or time.
It was a pure leap of faith because my personal expenses were running at $2,000 per month. The highest grossing month was $800, and $400 of that went to pure business expenses (which mean there would be a $1,600 per month deficit if $800 per month was the best I could do).
God blessed and we did within $3 of $4,000 gross in May 1997 which means savings was only hit for a few dollars.
In January 1998, we incorporated as Dynamic Net, Inc.
I took over a 50% pay cut when I made the move in 1997. Today I make $3,000 per year over what I did in April 1997 working for some one else. That $3,000 doesn’t involve inflation et all. It is a literal $3K.
It was never a money thing for me. The least of my counter parts (in the “work for some one else” field) make at least $15,000 per year more than I make now. And most of my peers make $25,000 to $50,000 more per year than I make now.
In ending, you have to love what you do.
I don't mean to be negative, but I'd say that anyone considering "taking the plunge" also has to consider the responsibility that goes along with owning your own business.
For one, it's nice to "be your own boss" and set your own hours, but as I think many of us discovered, it doesn't quite work that way. In many cases, rather than setting our own hours, tens/hundreds/thousands of clients end up setting our hours -- server problems, legal issues, administrative paperwork, bill paying, and many more responsibilites end up dictating to us when we're allowed (or not allowed) to relax.
I don't mean to sound negative -- if you've got what it takes to be an entrepreneur, this certainly should not deter you. Stay positive :-). The end goal, is (in most cases) to eventually grow to a point at which you'll be able to hire good, trustworthy employees to handle some of the responsibility. At this point, you'll *hopefully* be able to relax, at least sometimes. Often though, this can take a year or longer.
So, while considering the positive aspects of owning your own business, realize the following... There may be some snowy, icy nights at 2AM when you've had a long day, you've got a bad headache, and you're ready to get some sleep when suddenly you'll get a phone call or two and realize that you need to drive to the data center because a server is not responding and will not reboot. The data center's about an hour away, and you must face the drive knowing that you have no clue what's wrong with the server in question. This may be an extreme example -- for example, if you're starting with dedicated servers or a reseller account, you may just have to stay awake on the phone with the data center or the hosting company providing you with the reseller account. But anyway, I think my point is made.
I think you have to have an end goal and keep it in mind when times are tough. If you're the type of person who wants to own your own business and doesn't mind solely facing the hardships and responsibilities that come along with owning your own business, it may be worth it for you to start your own business, even if you don't earn more per year than you would have with a full-time salaried job.
For many though, money does play a key role. Dynamicnet, I do think you've done well for yourself and appreciate the fact that you've started from nothing and developed a viable business. Just the satisfaction and self-gratification that one can feel from doing something like that may make it a worthwhile venture. That said, for many, earning $3,000 more per year vs. a full-time, salaried job would hardly make starting their own business and accepting the responsibilities that come along with doing so a worthwhile venture.
If you're still "pumped" and can't wait to start your own business after reading what I've just wrote, then I say go for it :-). You only live once.
Just my opinion :-)
Sitelutions: www.sitelutions.com -- Reliable Hosting, Low-Cost Domains, Dynamic DNS InfoRelay Online Systems, Inc.: www.inforelay.com
Bulk Bandwidth Pricing, Unmetered Servers, Unbelievable Affordability -- Locations in: Ashburn, Los Angeles, Chicago, Reston, San Jose, Dallas, New York, Washington, DC.
im in the middle of transitioning to my own firm full time. I have alot of clients that I do ordering, replacements, new systems as well as site/email hosting and web developement and networking. Business has been coming to me faster than I can keep up with it.
I know i'll be putting in more hours than I do working for somebody else, but I'll also have time for those little things like my childrens concerts and recitals, doctors appointments, and VACATION once per year.
Right now I work for a software development firm and I get a whopping 3 days per year. 10 would be great
either way it'll defineatly be interesting to see where this takes me. im going to try as I have a very supportive wife and family, and if it doesn't work out then I'll just go back to work for somebody else, right?