Guest: Tim Taylor
Tim Taylor started in the IT services business 20 years ago working out of the trunk of his car. After a successful IT career, he decided that he wanted to go it alone and since that time he’s built an MSP that employs 14 people. Along the way he realized that there weren’t any good books for starting an IT business, so he wrote one. “How to Run a Successful IT Company Without Losing Your Shirt” is available on Amazon so check it out if you like what you hear from Tim. In this episode, Tim shares a number of great stories about how he built his business and the importance of treating your customers right. We also discuss how the MSP business is very much a family business and that small businesses want to work with other small businesses. Tim also consults for other MSPs looking to grow their business through his Tim Taylor Consulting Group.
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MSP Voice Podcast
Doug: Hello and welcome to MSP Voice. This is episode number forty – four-zero. That’s quite a few. We’re getting close to the one-year mark here at MSP Voice. Great interview today with Tim Taylor from TaylorWorks. He’s also with Tim Taylor Consulting Group. The interview went a little long but I think it’s worth it because Tim has a lot of great info that he gives us. He’s got some great stories, so I’m not doing a Best of Reddit this week, but just know that the interview is really good and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. I am going to do my housekeeping, so mspvoice.com is your source for all things MSP Voice. Some new content that’s been up there since last week. We do have another webinar coming up on March 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern, that’s with Venator and Piers Mummery. I met him actually a couple of weeks ago at the Robin Robins boot camp thing. Great guy. He’s going to talk about getting back to basics for your MSP, to help you grow your business. Also on here, we have the replay for “IT Rockstars”, that webinar with Scott Millar. So that was a good one we did on February 26. Check that out and get some great tips on how to use LinkedIn and some other social media. And then also a new kind of guest post, something we’re trying out here.
So we’re talking this week with Nathan R., who works at an MSP – so essentially like a help desk technician – and just kind of talks about some experiences there. So some interesting content that we’ve got going on now on mspvoice.com. I will have the recording from last week’s webinar with Carrie Simpson of Managed Sales Pros. I’ll pop that up this week as well, so look forward to that. But again just a quick update this week because of the interview with Tim. I think it’s really good. Check out the show notes. I’ve got the links to his book that he’s written, as well as his consulting group if you’re interested in contacting him for that. But really, 20 years of experience in this industry, starting out from the trunk of his car. So have a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did talking to Tim. All right. Have a great weekend. I’ll talk to you soon.
Doug: Hello and welcome. Today I’m joined by Tim Taylor, who runs Tim Taylor Consulting Group but also owns an MSP called TaylorWorks in the Orlando area. Tim, why don’t you just give us a brief introduction? Who you are and what you’re up to.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me on today. Yeah, I own an MSP, just outside of Orlando, Florida, called TaylorWorks. We are in the twentieth year this year. I started out in the trunk of my car in 1999 by myself, as many of you have done, or are still doing. And I basically just realized at that time that if you were honest with people and you did what you said you were going to do and charged a fair price, you could get all the business that you wanted. And so we grew dramatically. By 2006, we opened our own office. I had about eight staff. We were doing over a million dollars a year in business and today we’ve got about 14 staff and we’re over 2 million a year in business.
Doug: Awesome! That’s great.
Tim: Yeah. And one of the things that I found early on was there just wasn’t a lot of good information about starting and running your own MSP. So we’ll get into that later. But I took some steps to remedy that.
Doug: Well I mean, that’s one of the goals of the podcast is just to talk to business owners like yourself who have become successful and just, hey, if you’ve got any tips, tricks and those types of things for others out there in the industry, let’s get them.
Tim: When I started in ’99, I looked for a book, how to start and run a successful IT company. I mean somebody had to have written it. I looked for it and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I mean I looked everywhere for it. Now ’99 was the early days of the Internet, obviously, but I looked at bookstores and I looked online and I finally found a book about running … starting a computer store and that was about all I found. So I went ahead and just started my practice anyway and started cranking away and, you know, making mistakes. I learned how to do this thing. And then one day I ran into a guy and I said, “What do you do?” And he goes, “I help people write books.” And I said, “You know what? I’ve always wanted to write a book about this industry,” because basically, no one had written it at that time.
And that was around 2010. And the idea just started germinating and he and I met for a while and basically came up with an outline for the book and then I basically wrote it and he helped me edit it. And so today I’ve got “How to Start and Run a Successful IT Company”. It’s up on Amazon. And I found a need. People were writing to me after buying the book for consulting and so basically I started Tim Taylor Consulting Group and I help MSPs – a lot of times struggling MSPs – or guys just getting started. Those are the guys I really like to help because I can really help you because I’ve done exactly what you’re trying to do. I’ve made every mistake you can make in this business so, please, learn from my experience.
Doug: OK, so I’ll definitely include a link to your book in the show notes so that when people are interested they can click it and have a read.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. If you want to click on my Tim Taylor Consulting Group website, just reach out to me and if you’re interested – free call – I’ll talk to you about what I offer and help you get your MSP off the ground.
Doug: OK, so back in ’99 when you decided that you were going to start doing this, what led you down that road? Was it friends and family?
Tim: Yeah, that’s a great question. I had always done … I’d always been in IT. I started as a mainframe programmer. Back when I was in college, mainframes were the thing and the PC was invented basically the year I graduated from college. But there were a lot of PCs that weren’t Microsoft PCs. They were out on the market before the Microsoft PC came out and I did some programming work on those, written in Pascal and some other languages, some COBOL on the mainframe and then I went to work for a big non-profit, went on to college. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee originally and I moved to California. And I came in there as a mainframe programmer.
So writing in COBOL, it was a big organization, you know, 12,000 employees across 160 countries and we were the main headquarters, so I was writing software on the mainframe and then the president’s office wanted a PC. Well, I knew a little bit about them so I raised my hand, I said, “I can do that.” And then another office wanted one, and then another office wanted one, and this was in 1985 and then we figured out we’d better start networking these things together so we can share these expensive HP laser printers that print four pages a minute and cost $5,000. We started building Novell networks. No formal training. We just had to figure it out on our own. We started building Novell networks and eventually, we connected over 400 machines with many Novell servers around our whole headquarters. And so I became a networking guy.
My programming career kind of evaporated and eventually we decided to downsize off our mainframe and we completely started running everything on micro-networks and with servers. And so I worked with them for 13 years and I felt like I kind of put my time in. It was a non-profit, so the salaries were very low. I had my third child. I had three children, I had a mortgage and two car payments and I was 40 years old. That tells you how old I am now. That was in 1994. I said, “You know what? I’m tired of working for other people.” I worked for a small IT company for a year and it was the worst year of my life. The guy promised me the world, never paid me hardly anything and I was bringing in all the business and he was constantly telling me I was doing a bad job, so I said, “You know what? I can do this myself.”
So I started with one customer, out of the trunk of my car and I said, “I’m either going to make it or die trying.” And I think, when you have that level of commitment, that’s when you make it. But if you don’t have that level of commitment, you probably shouldn’t even try. Honestly. And I just jumped out there and I would do anything by the hour. I would do anything. You know I did home computers, I did basically anything I was asked but I pretty quickly got out of home computers and got into just business networks and I started with this one place in one building and I went to the law firm next door and got their business and just started expanding, expanding, expanding and, you know, that’s where we are today.
Doug: OK, great. So now, I’m guessing, you said you would do anything for an hour, for billable work. So did you really consider yourself break/fix then and what was the transition like for you to go from the break/fix model to managed?
Tim: Yeah, you ask good questions, it’s good! Well, you know, in 1999, who heard of managed services? There was no such thing. So I was basically working by the hour. I started out at $65 an hour. That was an average rate people were charging back then. And I got a lot of business. I was doing the billable time. That was all fine. And then I hired two or three guys and billable time there, and it was just money was rolling in. I hardly had any overheads but I was doing this work at this one really big church and they had about 50 or 60 machines and I would go in there.
I remember I had a like $9,000 bill over a six-week period and they said, “Listen, we can’t afford this.” So I said, “Well, look, you’ve got about 50 machines. What if I charge you $100 a machine a month and I’ll just do everything. I won’t charge you by the hour anymore.” That was my first managed … it came off the top of my head. That was my first managed-service client. So I started doing that and then I started seeing that the world was moving in that direction. And around 2008 we were, like, “OK, we’ve really got to look into this,” and we started contacting PSAs and we started using ConnectWise at that point. They’re just, like, an hour and a half from our office here in Orlando. They’re over in Tampa. And so we started using ConnectWise and, oh, it was a hard transition. It was so difficult because starting to do tickets and starting to build clients that way and do the billing through ConnectWise, instead of just going in and typing in an invoice, you know? Our old system was so simple but we had no passive income. If I didn’t have my guys out there onsite doing billable time, there was absolutely no passive income. So there was no way we could have grown to the size we are today with the income we have today without doing managed services. So it definitely was a good move. It was not an easy transition but we pulled it off and, you know, it is the way to go.
Doug: Definitely. Because some of the MSPs that I talk to, either they’ve done the transition or they might be in that transition of trying to get from break / fix into managed.
Tim: You’re never going to get completely away from doing some break/fix work. You’re going to be asked to do it. You can go into a business and do a little bit of break/fix to prove you know what you’re doing. But I still don’t recommend people to do that, because there are just better ways of selling managed services than doing that, because they’re always going to keep trying to get you to do break/fix work. Selling managed services is one of my specialties.
I wrote a whole chapter in my book about just specifically selling managed services and it is really kind of an art form. But you can definitely do it. But with charging your customers a flat rate per machine and basically saying, “Look, we’re going to cover all these items for you and we’re basically giving you unlimited support (they love the word ‘unlimited support’) for this number.” Unlimited support is what scares the crap out of a break/fix guy. OK? I talk to them all the time. And you think, “Oh, they’re going to have all these problems and I’m going to go there and spend 75 hours cleaning them up and I’m only going to be able to charge them my managed-service rate.” Well, if you maintain their network correctly and you did everything you’re supposed to do, you’re never going to have a situation like that.
I will tell you, in the ten more years that we’ve been doing managed services, there’s only been a couple of times where I feel like we exceeded in hours and labor what we were charging them that month. So those issues will come up but it’s not like they’re going to come up that often and especially if you’re doing the preventive maintenance that you’re supposed to be doing, they’re not going to have all those big issues. So that’s really one of the secrets to providing managed services, doing your billing and getting paid what you need to get paid is doing the preventive maintenance, doing it right.
Doug: Well, even if you do have that one month where maybe you spent a lot of time there, it should average out in the other months, if you’ve got your rates set right.
Tim: Absolutely. You know, when we come in and, say you have a 25-user network. It’s a really common scenario. You come in, somebody’s got a 25-user network. They’ve been paying a break/fix guy, works out of his car – and I’m not cutting that down, I started there and many people still work that way – not cutting that down, but he was across town last month and they had a breakdown and they couldn’t get him over. That’s when they pick up the phone and start calling MSPs. So you walk in there and you say, “Listen, I’m going to maintain your network. We’re going to put a piece of software on every computer that maintains it in real time. It’s also going to notify us if there’s a problem with one of your machines. It can open a ticket our system automatically. We don’t have to wait for you to call us. We’ll know about things before they happen. We know about a server going down, we know about your backup not working, we know about any viruses attacking your machines. We’re going to know about these things, OK?”
And suddenly, that gets their attention they’re like, “Wow, you can find all that stuff out?” “Yes, and we’re going to a lot of preventive maintenance to keep you from having all these issues. And we’re going to do it for a flat rate. We know what it takes to support a network of this size and we’re going to do it for you at a flat rate.”
And get them to talk about their pain. “What are some of the problems that you’ve had dealing with the guy?” When you first get in there, have them talk about all the reasons that they’re calling you in. Talk about the pain, pain, pain, pain, and say, “Well, I’ve got a solution for that. I’ve got a program here that we can put you in. It’s very successful, we have helped many other people. I can give you their names and numbers if you want to talk to some of them. We’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s called managed services and this is what we do for you.” And I say, “Listen, it flips the equation. When you have a guy you’re paying break/fix. Unfortunately –
I mean, fortunately for him – he actually makes more money the more problems you have, if you think about it. He doesn’t necessarily want you to have the problems, but the more hours he’s out here, the more he gets paid. With managed services, I actually get paid more, the fewer problems that you have. So what you think I’m motivated for? I’m motivated for your network to run perfectly, because every time I have to send somebody out here, it actually costs me time and money. And so I want your network to run so well that you don’t have to call me that much. And when you do call, we will have software on every machine with the remote connect immediately. In fact, we only have to come out if we can’t fix it remotely. But if we can’t fix it remotely, we just fetch somebody out here.
So there’s really no risk on your part.” “Yeah, but your managed-services contract is more than I was paying my break/fix guy.” I say, “Yes, but why are you talking to me? Because you’re tired of break/fix. You’re tired of it not working and you’re getting a higher level of service from us and we’re going to maintain all of your machines, so you don’t have a lot of problems. And that’s where your money is spent. It’s when you have an unproductive employee who can’t work on their computer because it’s down. We’re going to keep that from happening.” And then you charge them an onboarding fee. I always charge them … I just double the monthly rate.
On an average number of $100 a machine, say it’s twenty-five hundred dollars for your managed services monthly, and we charge two months upfront. And that’s your onboarding fee. So again, once you set the network up right and keep it cleaned up, they’re not going to have a lot of issues. And they’re going to have some, but they’re not going to have so much that you’re going to lose money.
Doug: Another thing, too, that a lot of MSPs talk about is VCIO services or CIO services. Is that something that you automatically put all your customers on as well?
Tim: Yes. Now, when you’re a little smaller and you’re just getting started with managed services, it’s a little bit harder. It’s not hard to do but it can seem like just one more task you have to do. Here’s the main thing. What you want to do with your clients is – it’s hard to do it on-screen – you want to get up to here with your clients, OK? You know what I mean by that. You want to know everything there is to know about their business. You want to come in there and talk to them about, “What do you guys struggle with? Not technically, but what do you struggle within the business? Is it a competition? Is it this, is it that?”
And even if you can’t solve those problems for them, they appreciate the fact that you care about their business. Let me give you an example of a business that we really helped. One of our clients … it’s so funny how things work. We had someone call us, this old kind of rundown church that’s downtown in Orlando. They said, “Can you come over?” So I go out there and I start looking at their network and I go into the library. This is a funny story. I go to the library, there’s this little old lady that’s working in the library, the little old church lady, you know, she’s working in the library. She’s very sweet and everything and I talk to her a little bit and helped her with her computer.
Then about two weeks later, I get this phone call. No, I get an email and it was from her and she said, “We’re having some spam problems (this was a number of years ago) on our email. Can you guys do anything about that?” We had a spam filter and I noticed her return address was this huge heating and air conditioning company that’s here in Orlando. Well, I found out she is the operations manager at this huge HVAC company right here in town. This little old lady that volunteered in the library. So I go over there and I’ve been trying to get in this place but you couldn’t even get past the gatekeeper, you know. So she brings me in and they have this 50-user network and they’re overloading the software that they’re running – it’s a big heating and air conditioning company – and they’re getting so many phone calls because this is Florida and it’s always hot. Your air conditioning can … They’re getting literally overloaded with phone calls and they can’t even put the tickets in their system fast enough. It was crashing the system. So I came in and we ended up with them building their trust with me over a year or so, we ended up taking over their network and she eventually retired – a really sweet lady – she ended up retiring and turned it over to another lady that manages the office but I kept saying, “We have to replace this software you guys are running here.” And the software company kept blaming the network and we would tell them, “No, it’s the software.” And we got another HVAC company that ran a much better software package and I had them sit through a demo of it and they ended up converting to it and we started supporting them around 2008 and they have tripled in revenue since 2008 and they have not tripled in size.
It is in no small part due to the fact that they’re now running a software package that actually works. Their email’s all good. Everything in there works and we make sure – and it’s over 120 machines – and we almost never have to be on site because we’ve set everything up correctly. And it works really, really well. So the VCIO service really just means get in there with your customers, figure out what they need. Figure out how you can help them and then selling them new things is just so simple. I think that, if you’re coming there for a VCIO meeting and all you want to do is just sell them something, they’re going to fight me at those meetings.
But if they think you really care about the business and you’re coming there to meet with them about the business challenges they have, then they’re going to take your meetings. So you need those relationships with your customers. It either needs to be you or it needs to be one of your employees that you really trust and we’re big enough now where I have a dedicated VCIO person. And that’s what they do is they develop those relationships with clients. But normally it’s the owner of the business, especially in a smaller business. So that’s a long answer to a short question.
Doug: No, it’s great! One other question I have, because you kind of brought it up, that someone’s working with a break/fix guy and they get frustrated with the break/fix guy, so then they call you. How do they find you? How do you advertise?
Tim: That’s a good question. Well, we have a good website. And been through many iterations of our website over the years. What we ended up doing was finding a company that only does websites for MSPs. So if you go to taylorworks.com, you can see the name of the company at the bottom, if you want to contact them. But you want a decent website, especially if you’re small. Does it make you look small? If you have a decent website, immediately people are, like, “Oh wow, this guy knows what he’s doing.” Especially if you’re an IT guy, you need a decent website. We do some SEO on the website. If you type in “IT support Orlando”, we’re going to eventually show up. We’re not going to always be number one on Google, but we’re gonna show up on there.
But really, warm referrals and your reputation is the biggest way to get customers. And I’m involved in three different leads groups. I go to one every Wednesday, I go to one every Thursday, and I go to one once a month. These are all business-to-business-only leads groups. There’s an insurance guy there that just does business insurance. There’s a general contractor that only does businesses. There’s a lady that sells furniture just to businesses. Those are the people … there’s a guy that does copiers … those are the people you want to network with because they’re in the same spaces you want to be in. Be very generous about giving leads, because you will get if you give. But if you just come in and try to soak leads off everybody else and you’re not willing to give, just don’t waste your time. Don’t go.
But I would say that’s one of the most valuable ways to get business. And also if you live in a small town or medium-sized town, fine, go to where one of your customers is, print up a bunch of flyers about your company, just one page, you know, whatever. Free network analysis, free cybersecurity analysis, whatever. And go a several-block radius around one of your clients and say, “Hey, we’re in this area. We have a client right around the corner. We’re over here all the time. Love to meet with you.” I consult with a guy that’s one of my consultees in California. They’re starting a company up. He’s the IT guy. His mom helps him with the billing, his dad helps him. His dad is retired and helps him out with it. I said, “Have your dad go out and just pass out flyers like crazy” in the whole town they live in. Dad goes out and does that for two weeks. He just signed a thirty-three-hundred-dollar-a-month contract with a company yesterday. His dad did that in about two weeks. That’s it. His dad walked up to the door. “Yeah, our IT’s horrible. Come in here right now.” The son goes down there, signs a contract with them almost the first day he walked in the door. Dad was out there for two weeks, made a thirty-three-hundred-dollar-a-month contract.
People have to know who you are. Chambers of commerce leads groups. Make sure you have a good website. Cold calling. You know, there are all kinds of things that you could do but a small business, you have to spend that time reaching out and you cannot spend all your time in your office fiddling with the next shiny object that you see.
Doug: Or try to get in the SEO and all that type of stuff. You’ve got to go out there and meet people.
Tim: Absolutely. When I first started, literally, my very first client. Right next door, there was a law firm. And every day I walked past the door of that law firm and one day I said, “You know what? I’m going to put on my best suit and I’m going to walk in there one day.”
It’s a great little story about how you can grow your business. And I was, like, “All I know is they have probably a few computers there and that’s all I know.” I walked in the door and walked up to the receptionist and I said, “Hey my name is Tim Taylor. I do the IT at the place next door.” This was ’99, before high-speed Internet, when the IT guy, just getting him to show up was always a challenge. I said, “I do the IT right next door and I know you guys have a bunch of computers in here. I’m sure you have needs periodically. You must have him over here all the time.”
And so she walks around the corner and I could tell she was talking to the office manager and she comes back in about 30 seconds and she said, “Well, we have somebody. Thanks for coming by.” But I knew the office manager could hear me, so I just kept talking. I said, “Well, I’m over here all the time and I know you guys probably have some issues.” I brought my voice up a little bit. “I know you guys probably have some issues.” And then after about a minute, the office manager looked around the corner and then she walked out. She said, “Let’s go outside and talk.” We walked outside and for the next 45 minutes, all she did was tell me about all the problems they had. She’d just said, “We’re fine. We got a guy.” Forty-five minutes of problems. They had no Internet connection. They couldn’t even email outside the office. Computers were having problems all the time. There was an expensive laser printer over in the corner. Half people couldn’t even print to it. The guy said, “It’s impossible.” “Really?” So I said, “I can fix every one of those things.” I came in and got their business and I helped them grow from eight machines to 50 over the next four years. Now he’s one of the biggest attorneys in Orlando.
So, basically, I got the business because I went after it. If you have a client in a building or a business complex, go to every business in there and tell them, “I do so-and-so right around the corner.” It’s a great way to get your business expanded.
Doug: And I think one of the other things, too, and a couple of examples you provided. You talked about how you helped them grow their business. I mean, maybe you weren’t the sole person responsible for it but you were definitely one of the reasons why they were able to use technology, help them grow their business, have better profits, all those types of things. And I think that’s something that we need to constantly remember is that the more successful the customers are, the more successful you are.
Tim: And I tell customers all the time, I said, “Look, when you succeed, I succeed. I want you to stay in business, you know what I mean? I want you to grow, I want you to buy more managed services because you’ve got more computers.” I want their network to work so well that they’re never limited in growing or expanding because of their network. You know, in the old days people said, “I can only add 10 machines to this network.” I mean, we’re talking really old days. “That’s all the employees I can have because I can only put 10 machines here.” No! We can put hundreds of machines on there. I mean, if they have the right software.
Think about a company that has a good product, that they have good employees and their network runs great, their software runs, everything works. If you have 25 employees and they just make $20 an hour, if each of them spends five minutes a day screwing around with something, that’s $600 a month they waste. Six hundred dollars a month – you can use that when you’re selling to people. “So listen, if your people spend five minutes a day fiddling with their computer because it’s not working right, it’s going to be four billion and you’re going to pay me.” Seriously. So $600 a month if they spend five minutes a day, just 25 employees making $20 an hour. So add that up. So that’s a great way to sell your services.
But yeah, you want your customers to run so well that they can’t help but grow and be successful and you are an integral part of that. I mean, the IT, as I often say, you’re in their underwear. You are inside, you know their business, you know what I mean? You’re intimately connected with that company when you do IT and you can help them grow. So that’s what I try to do with our customers.
Doug: You seem like you still have all that energy, though. It’s just an observation.
Tim: I know I talk fast. I am from Memphis, Tennessee, but I talk like I’m from New York City, I agree. And I do have a lot of energy. It’s naturally the way I’m made. My grandfather died at 93 and he was still blowing and going like crazy until he died. So basically, there’s great freedom in being in an industry that’s not dying, it’s growing. I really like that. And my son just came to work for us. My daughter’s worked here part-time when she was in college. Both my sons are actually working with me now. So basically, it can be a great field to be in. I really enjoy it.
Doug: And one thing – you mentioned about you and your wife traveling around the shows – one of the things I’ve noticed because I came from the corporate, enterprise software side of things, and those kinds of conferences. Then coming into MSP and going to MSP conferences, you actually see a lot of husband-and-wife teams out there.
Tim: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, my wife was my administrator when I first started. She was my main … she paid the bills and she … Get this – when I started in ’99, I had a pager. I didn’t even have a cell phone. In ’99. And they would call the office and then she would page me their number or, most of my clients, I just gave them my pager number. I said, “Here’s my number. Page me with your number. And then if it’s a real emergency, put 911 at the end.” Yes, she was my main administrator and I worked out of my bedroom until I outgrew her and her ability to keep up with it.
But yeah, there are a lot of husband-and-wife teams. I would say that one of the best things you can do as an MSP is going to conferences and, you know, they’re not always cheap. But I’m speaking at a great conference in Chicago at the end of April. The ITO Compass conference in Chicago. 24-25 of April. But it’s a great conference. Check it out – itocompass.com.
But they’re excellent. Everybody you’re going to meet there is going to be just like you. That’s the great thing about it and you can walk up and say, “Hey, I got this issue. How did you handle this?” Or you’re in a booth looking at a product and you walk away and talk to another guy and say, “Hey, did you own that? How does it work for you?” And you get to talk to some great people that are selling products. You can see a lot of good products and the best thing is just talking to people around your table about this, that and the other. You can talk to guys, their company’s 10 times bigger than yours. And you’re going to talk to guys that are just getting started and you’ve been going for a while. So I love that part. And you’ll make great relationships and you can literally go to a conference a month if you wanted to.
Doug: Well, I do but not for the same reasons that you do.
Tim: I’ve been asked to speak at a few of them and I’ve been on the road for Datto and some other people doing some talks. But I mean, CloudBerry’s a great product, there are great products out there and so there’s always great information. Just don’t go to too many conferences. Go to the ones you can afford to go to. But there are always conferences in your area if you just look around, and a lot of the products that you use, the people do lunch-and-learns and some things like that. So watch for those products, watch for those things. Those are great places to get good, free information.
Doug: OK. So are you ready for our rapid-fire round?
Tim: Absolutely. Yeah, go ahead.
Doug: OK, so this is easy, it’s just six questions. Answer it as quick as you can and we’ll go from there. So, first up – Apple or Android?
Doug: OK. Mac, Linux or Windows?
Doug: Amazon, Azure or something else?
Tim: Something else.
Doug: OK. Local backups, cloud or both?
Tim: Both, absolutely.
Doug: OK. Should you always virtualize?
Tim: If it makes sense. If it makes sense, yeah. Try to, if it makes sense, yep.
Doug: OK. And then go back to 1999. Think about this one. Which is worse – printer support or vendor cold calls?
Tim: Oh, I would have to say printer support. It’s better than it was. Printers are more reliable, but printer support, yeah. I don’t mind doing them. I talk to them. They’re OK.
Doug: It’s like I said, it’s about 50/50 on that one.
Tim: It used to be much worse, my friends, let me tell you. Hand-fed dot-matrix days. Oh my God. It was a lot of fun back then.
Doug: Well yeah. I worked in the computer labs in college and we had those beast HP laserjets that just would print a million pages and never break down. Yeah, those were the best. They don’t make those anymore.
Tim: Yeah. You haven’t lived until you’ve worked on a mainframe, it was a line printer. It printed an entire line of code at one time and that big green-bar paper, remember the green-bar paper? Those things were fast, man, but it was all uppercase. It went through a box of paper in no time. It was amazing. So, yeah, I’ve worked with a few of those.
Doug: Tim, before we leave, any other advice, tips or tricks you have for the audience?
Tim: Well I would say, being an MSP is a privilege. I would say read up everything on it. Don’t try a lot of different products that you don’t need. Don’t change your products all the time. Find a good backup system and a good PSA, RMM tool, a good antivirus and a good remote connection tool, whatever. Stick with those products. Get to know them really, really well, especially your PSA, and then get help when you need it. Gosh, I’m a consultant, guys. I help MSPs all the time. You’re not the Lone Ranger, you’re not the first person to do this. I have always had a consultant helping me since 2008 and there are good consultants out there. They’re not ridiculously expensive. Some of them, even if you’re a sole proprietor, they will help you. So I would say get the help when you need it and you can have a fantastic business.
Doug:: Great. Thank you very much. It’s been great. And again, I’ll include all the links in the show notes and … great talking with you.
Tim: All right. Thanks, I’ve really enjoyed being on.