The following resources are provided by friends of mine that I have interview or spoken with directly, I have used their product or service, and personally vouch for the quality and usefulness. These items will not disappoint!
- HIPAA for MSPs – Learn how to offer qualified, knowledgeable, and HIPAA compliant IT support to Healthcare Clients. HIPAAforMSPs.com is not only for quick training regarding HIPAA compliance; the articles, videos, podcasts, forums, and vendor discounts available to members are designed to help MSPs continue to grow beyond the initial HIPAA compliance training and implementation phase.
- Virus Remediation Training – Use Coupon Code YFNCG10 for 10% off the training course – Learn the most effective proven methods for removing Malware quickly and effectively with live training provided by Ken Dwight, the Virus Doctor.
- Guide to Remote Support eBook – Learn how to add remote support services for your clients, expand your territory and offer more for less of your time.
Jump to the section that interests you.
- Starting a Computer Business
- Find Work as a Computer Consultant
- Practice Troubleshooting
- Tech Websites
- Small Business Websites
- Business Documents
- Payment Collection
- Naming Your Business
- Logo Design
- Your Website
Begin here to get a feel for the tasks you’ll face to get your computer business started.
- Starting a Computer Business – I have a section here on the blog filled with all of the posts I’ve written about my experiences starting a computer business.
- How to Start A Computer Support Business by Bill Nadraszky – A nice list of some steps you should think about when starting your support business.
- Computer Support Business? – A post on the Tech Republic Forums that ballooned to over 164 responses to a question a user posed about starting her own computer repair business. You get all kinds of resposponses from people who have experience in the field.
- FindLaw.com – Small Business Center – Has a very extensive and helpful “Starting a Business” section.
- Business Structures– Before you start your business, you’ll need to decide what business structure to use. Most of the time, if you’re starting a business alone, a sole proprietorship is the way to go.
Want to see if you have what it takes to be a computer consultant. Moonlight as a part-time “Computer Guy” using these service providers.
- Field Nation – Based on my own experienced I would recommend FieldNation over any other services provider in this article for it’s volume and variety of work, ease of use, and fair pay.
- Barrister – I would recommend Barrister for those who are proficient in printer repairs and are a close distance to a major metropolitan area, since they only pay a low flat fee.
- Geekatoo – Geekatoo is a fun service to try out, with a unique point system that rewards techs for certifications and completed calls. But be wary of the bidding system, which may tempt you to go too low with your offer. Be prepared to wait a while to get your payment.
- ComputerSupport.com – Wonderful service that I reviewed here. Earn money part time for computer repair work that you do only when you’re available.
- Gurus2Go – I have signed up for Gurus 2 Go and have received very few service alerts. I have yet to receive one that I felt was worth doing. In order to sign up you need to fill out an application and wait for approval.
- OnForce – I applied to be an OnForce tech but was not selected due to their having too many techs in my area already. I have heard they are a solid company and from the looks of it, they are very popular!
- Excelus – Yet another company you can use to get extra work.
- Geeks Mobile – Yet another company you can use to get extra work.
- Review National IT Service Providers – My review of all the above companies.
Practice fixing real computer problems in a low-pressure environment with these websites. See my full review of them here.
Stay up to date with the latest technology trends and news. Essential knowledge for the modern computer consultant.
- Technibble – Technibble.com aims to share our knowledge with those who are looking to get into the IT industry or start their own computer business.
- CNET – One of the best resources online for news and reviews of the latest in consumer electronics.
- Gizmodo – Get the latest news on bleeding-edge technology gadgets with a twist of light-hearted satire.
- ActiveWin – Windows and PC resources.
- NeoWin – News, forums, blogs, and events for technology lovers.
- Tech Republic – Community for IT professionals.
- Tom’s Hardware – Best resource I’ve found for news, reviews, and discussion about computer parts and hardware.
- The Verge – Great tech news blog with top-notch journalists.
Once you’ve got your small business underway, visit these desinations for resources to ensure your business thrives.
- U.S. Small Business Administration – Great one-stop-shop for small business tools and services. Every state has a local SBA as well.
- Small Business Bible – Good resources for folks looking to start a small business.
- Small Biz Trends – A great resource for small business owners written by small business owners.
These are the podcasts that I listen to. I love playing these in my car on my way to work or to visit clients.
- Buzz Out Loud – This is a daily podcast produced by the folks at CNET that provides news and commentary on the latest tech trends.
- Mike Tech Show– Featuring the musings and advice of Philadelphia area computer consultant Mike Smith, Mike Tech Show is a weekly podcast with a very homegrown feel to it.
- PodNutz– A network of tech podcasts that include the flagship podcast, PodNutz, along with daily and pro versions, and many other podcasts that include topics from Linux to Android.
- Small Business Trends Radio– Not a tech podcast per-se, but a very valuable tool for those of you who run your own business.
- Windows Weekly – Windows Weekly is one of my favorites, providing me all the juicy windows tidbits I need to satiate my Microsoft munchies in digestible weekly portions.
- The Force Field– Brought to you by Rick Savoia, The Force Field podcast covers a wide variety of computer consulting topics with news, reviews, and interviews.
- Computer America– The nation’s longest running nationally syndicated radio talk show on computer. The podcast is a direct copy of the radio show, but usually not available for a few months after the show airs live.
- The Tech Guy– This is another offering from TwiT.tv, hosted by the man himself, Leo Laporte.
- Security Now – Steve Gibson, a major player in the security software game, brings a weekly podcast of computer security news, tips, and trends.
- Cyber Speak – Two former federal agents discuss computer forensics, cybercrime, and computer security.
Below are online resources you can visit to find any kind of document you may need to get your business started and to keep it running smoothly.
- Computer Business Kit v2 – This contains legal documents, forms, and marketing material that you can use as-is or modify for your needs. In this version you get a lot more, over 50 documents in all, plus additional resources like a comprehensive list of computer part dealers, and savings on other industry standard computer business products. See my full review here: Techibble’s Computer Business Kit Version 2.
- Business and Marketing Templates – Small Business Trends Article with links to some of the best sites for Business and marketing templates.
- Emergency Binder – A great article with advice on how to prepare an emergency binder full of important documents incase of a business catastrophe.
Here are some tools to make payment collection as hassle free as possible. One helps you collect payments onsite while the other allows for hassle free invoicing. Each are cutting edge services, with good reviews, that I have used myself with great success.
- Square – Of all the options available for mobile payment processing, I’ve found Square to be the most hassle-free, affordable, and widely compatible solution on the market.
- Freshbooks – This is an online billing service that allows you to create and send invoices completely online. Freshbooks will keep track of your clients and give you reports on your top paying customers, the customers that are usually late, and everything in between.
Resources to get the most out of limited advertising dollars.
- 81 Ways to Advertise Your Computer Business – I put together this exhaustive list of all the ways you could possibly advertise your business. I’m serious, it covers EVERYTHING!
- How to Create a Flyer – One of the cheapest, easiest, and effective advertising tools is the flyer. This article on About.com gives you a step-by-step guide to creating an effective flyer.
- Craigslist – It may not be pretty, but it’s a very easy (and FREE!) way to advertise to your local market. It doesn’t hurt to give it a shot right?
- Yelp – One of the hottest places for people to find and rate local businesses online is Yelp. Of all the online directories, I feel this is the place to be.
Get information about choosing and protecting your business name.
- SBA.com: Name Your Business – Small Business Association’s business naming resource page.
- Host Gator – My preferred domain name service. You can get domain names, hosting, and emails all in one spot, with plans to suit any budget.
- 10 Tips for Choosing a Business Domain Name – Solid tips for choosing a business domain name.
- Domain Name Generator – Cool way to come up with unique domain names based on key words that you input. It will also show you if the name is available or not.
- US Trademark Office – First, search the naitonal database to make sure you business name isn’t being used. Then register your business name as a trademark so you’ll be able to legally do business throughout the country.
- Secretary of State – Find out what local goverment agency is involved with business registration in your state.
Now that you have a business name, turn it into an even better logo!
- 99 Designs – Fast, friendly, profesisonal, and affordable place to get your logo designed.
- oDesk – Hire a freelancer to design your logo.
- Craig’s List – Good old craigslist. What goods and services can’t you provide?
Visit my computer business books page.