musings/work { And here I go again on my own...

Well not really. I've just been kicking the idea of going free-lance, Sys Admin for hire, in the back of my mind for about 5 years now. Trying to figure out what I'd need to do. I know I'd need contacts, some way to market myself, and a good stable of initial customers. As well as a way to do contracts, make sure I get paid and such. I did my own company thing twice. Both times I couldn't make a go of it because I needed to keep my own job to cover costs, so I know I was doing something wrong.

I think I'm at a phase, much like my father had, when in his 30s he decided he wanted to become a farmer, where I want to be my own boss. Choose my own work. I have skills, I'm creative and experienced in my given profession, I think people may have a need for my talent, and I'm tired of working for 'The Man'. Ideally I'd like to have a number of clients, each of whom I'd spend 2-6 billable hours per week on. Small to mid sized for-profits, non-profits, academic places would be ideal. Some place where they only need 1-2 Sys Admins, and I could control aspects of the environment, build the systems how I see fit, shape the environments to what I think are a good meld of customer needs with best practices. Can do Linux (various flavors), Solaris, AIX, HP-UX. Well versed in security policies, architecture, backup/recovery/business continuity, networking, and heterogeneous integration. I have weaknesses, sendmail and printing sub-systems are still not my forte (but I'm a fast learner). Ideally I'd like to be able to work 3-5 days/week and a bit more free time, and only be on call if I choose or get reimbursed well for it. I'm not adverse to travel, just don't want to spend a lot of time away from home, nor can I really afford to pay my expenses upfront and get reimbursed at this point.

So this is really still in the dream stage. I'm asking for a lot and I'm not sure as a UNIX admin this fantasy could become a reality. Plus health insurance in America is expensive when you pay your own way, and with my previous 'condition', I'm uninsureable (per the insurance companies own policies) for at least 10 years, maybe longer, and then I get to pay 2x-4x times more what other people pay. Because I was unlucky enough to have cancer once...and survived.


dfl8rms said...

In my experience as a consultant/systems engineer for a company servicing smb / commercial clients, we are pressed to find companies with Unix needs that don't:

1. already have their staff
2. FWOS type that are so desperate for staff that you want to run away screaming.

Rates is also an issue. Some clients want to nickel and dime you to death while the good ones know that contracting talent and trusting them is better than trying to do it yourself.

just my 0.02.

GeistX said...

Thats good to know. I'm looking for real-world experience and stories so I can go, if possible, into this well prepared, or at least understanding the pitfalls.

thanks for the advice!