Start & Run a Rural Computer Consulting Business:


This book is a step-by-step guide for the IT professional working a high-stress job who dreams about moving out of the city, but still wants to make a living working with computers. It can be done! This is exactly what author John Deans did when he left one of Houston's most successful IT companies, moved his family to rural Texas, and started a home-based computer consulting firm. Small towns are a relatively new niche for computer consultants, but they offer ample opportunity for starting a successful small ...
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This book is a step-by-step guide for the IT professional working a high-stress job who dreams about moving out of the city, but still wants to make a living working with computers. It can be done! This is exactly what author John Deans did when he left one of Houston's most successful IT companies, moved his family to rural Texas, and started a home-based computer consulting firm. Small towns are a relatively new niche for computer consultants, but they offer ample opportunity for starting a successful small business. To excel in this environment, you must become a jack-of-all-computer-trades and enjoy working closely with many clients every day. Owning your own business in a rural environment that may be unfamiliar to you presents challenges—but the rewards are definitely worth it. The CD includes useful checklists and worksheets in MS Word, Excel, and PDF formats.• Enjoy a small-town lifestyle while working with computers
Create a successful business plan geared for rural computer consulting• Evaluating and expanding your IT skills
Preparing financially for the move
Choosing the right small town
Preparing your family emotionally for the move from the city to the country
Creating a successful business plan
Setting up a home office and a mobile office
Marketing your services in a small town
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551807256
  • Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Series: Start and Run A Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.43 (w) x 9.81 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

John Deans has been working in the IT industry since the early 1980s. However, Deans got tired "staring at the brake lights of the car in front" during his commute to work. He decided to move his family to rural Texas where he started his own computer consulting company and now enjoys a small-town life still doing what he loves.

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Table of Contents

1 Escaping the Urban IT-Support Rat Race 5
Urban IT Grinder: The Dark Side of a Bright Industry 5
Rural Computer Consulting: A Brand-New Niche 8
2 The Making of a Rural Computer Consultant 11
Early Career and Successes 11
The Paranet Days 14
3 Rural Computer Consulting: Is It for You? 19
Falling into the Niche 19
What It Takes to Become a Rural Computer Consultant 20
4 Growing Your Skills: Key Skill Sets 25
Very High Demand Skill Sets 28
Desktop support and Windows troubleshooting 28
Antivirus software sales, configuration, and management 28
Data-backup management 28
Antispyware configuration and management 29
PC hardware and software upgrades 30
Strong Demand Skill Sets 30
Windows server support 31
Windows software updates 31
Software sales and installations 31
Printer configurations and support 32
ISP selection and configuration 32
Router configurations and troubleshooting 33
Website authoring 33
Website and e-mail hosting 34
Website and e-mail management 34
Wireless configurations 35
Contents vi Start & run a rural computer consulting business
Moderate Demand Skill Sets 35
Remote-access configurations 35
Hardware sales and installations 36
Client/server performance troubleshooting 36
Application support of common programs 37
Hardware and software scaling and purchasing 37
Hardware and software eBay brokering 38
Minor network cabling 38
Network infrastructure troubleshooting 39
Website promotion 39
Data recovery services 40
5 Growing Your Skills: Less Frequently Required Skill Sets 41
Occasionally Required Skill Sets 41
VPN solution consulting and configurations 41
Network design consulting 42
Network management configurations 42
Network buildouts and configurations 43
Smartphone and PDA support 44
User training 44
Covert user monitoring 45
Digital camera and scanner configurations 46
Digital surveillance projects 46
Computer security reviews and audits 47
Rarely Required Skill Sets 48
Light programming in Excel, Access, and scripts 48
Network performance reviews and studies 48
RFP compilation and management 49
VoIP consulting and configuration 50
GPS configurations for asset/expenses tracking 50
Skill Set Wrap-Up 51
6 Planning Your Move to the Country 55
Family Move Issues 55
Contents vii
Financial Preparation 57
Pre-move financial tasks 57
Post-move financial tasks 60
Choosing a Small Town 61
7 Your Business Plan and Pre-Move Marketing Research 67
Business Plan 67
Pre-Move Marketing Research 71
8 Settling In and Starting Your Business 77
After the Move 77
Business Activation 79
Company name 80
Domain name 80
DBA application 80
Incorporation 80
Employer identification number 81
Sales tax registration 81
Company bank account 82
Liability insurance 82
Accounting System Configuration 82
Website Setup 85
9 Home Lab and Mobile Office 89
Home Office/Lab Recommendations 89
Mobile Office Recommendations 91
10 Network Toolbox 95
About the Toolbox 95
What the Toolbox Contains 96
11 Initial Marketing Campaign 103
Marketing Materials 103
Basic business cards 103
CD-ROM business cards 104
Promotional brochure 105
viii Start & run a rural computer consulting business
Local Newspaper Print Ad 105
Direct-Mail Project 108
Cold-Calling 109
On-Site Sales Calls 111
12 Self-Employment Discipline 117
The Initiative Fire 117
Time Management 118
Exhaustive Customer Service 119
13 Continued Marketing and Word of Mouth 121
The All-Powerful Word of Mouth 121
Network with Local Organizations 122
Local Charity Events, Donations, and Sponsorships 123
Write a Newspaper Column 123
Speaking Engagements with Community Groups 127
Free Advertising with Giveaways 127
No-Charge Services 128
Data-backup monitoring 128
Network management system 129
No-charge loaners 130
14 Estimating, Project Scoping, and Deal Making 131
Initial Troubleshooting Deals 131
Comprehensive Scope of Work (SOW) 132
Client Handling for Best Results 136
15 Financial Management of a Growing Consulting Business 137
Tracking and Billing 137
Collecting Payment 140
Banking 142
Managing Cash Flow 143
16 Clients: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 145
The Good 145
The Bad 146
The Ugly 148
Contents ix
17 Home Computer Support 149
Home Computer Support Tricks of the Trade 149
Make Sure You Back It Up 150
Porn and Illegally Downloaded Music and Videos 151
Keeping the Whole Family Happy 151
18 Local Allies and Time Off 153
My Own Local-Allies Experience 153
How You Can Develop Your Own Local Allies 154
Gone Fishing 155
19 Critical Mass 159
When You Are Booked Solid 159
Time to Train Others 160
1 Small-town assessment 65
2 Home office/mobile office 94
3 Marketing campaign materials 113
1 Rural IT skill sets 27
2 Start-up costs 69
3 Network toolbox 97
4 Business card 104
5 CD-ROM business card 105
6 Brochure 106
7 Newspaper ad 108
8 Direct-mail cover letter 110
9 Marketing contact list 111
10 Newspaper column proposal 125
11 Newspaper column topics 126
12 Scope of work (SOW) 134
13 Scope of work cover letter 135
14 Detailed invoice 139
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