DIY

The biggest challenge in a one-person IT shop

What do you consider the biggest challenge in a small - or even one-person - IT shop, and how do you handle it?

What do you consider the biggest challenge in a small -- or even one-person -- IT shop, and how do you handle it?

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I've always been a one-person IT shop, providing the sole support for upward of three dozen people. Such a position can certainly have its advantages, but there's always the flip side of the same coin -- those dreadful disadvantages.

Here's a list of just a few:

• No one to bounce ideas off of: It sometimes helps to think out loud, so to speak, and get some feedback from someone who understands what you're doing. Not having someone around like that might make some people talk to themselves. • No one to pass work on to: It would be nice to have another person to help during the heavy work-load cycles. There's plenty of idle time in a small shop, to be sure, but those busy times can be a real drag. • Keeping informed with the latest and greatest technology: People often do this in the course of normal conversation. To get around this, I spend an enormous amount of time online, reading from any number of sources. But instead of making my purchases online, I prefer a local computer superstore -- and a few select individuals working there whom I've gotten to know. Of course, not all sales representatives are all that knowledgeable, but I've picked out a few of the best. We'll always discuss the latest and greatest whenever I go in to make a purchase. And, of course, this is the very thing that brought me to TechRepublic about ten years ago. • Having to be available at (almost) everyone's beck and call: Taking days off and vacations often requires coordination with others, making sure things are covered in case of an emergency and so on. It would be nice to take time away without having to have a contingency plan for every little thing, and having another person to just handle it would be nice. • Not knowing something: Who do you ask and what do you do if faced with a perplexing issue and an elusive answer? This is especially troubling when a user is left hanging. I suppose the way I deal with this one is to not be afraid to admit that I just don't know something. In such cases, finding a way around a problem might be the best temporary fix rather than fixing it.

How about you? What do you see as the biggest issues in a small IT shop -- or a one-person shop -- and how do you deal with them?

95 comments
NCWeber
NCWeber

Heh, I was a one person IT shop for a high school. Technically, I supported 700 users if you include both students and staff. The worst part about it is that they often expect you to perform miracles. There are some things that require a large expense, and they would always try to find a way for me to handle an expensive situation without any extra funding. Can't get blood from a turnip.

lindacole.1
lindacole.1

Well said! True for any one-person owned and managed business--except that in biz other than IT, we also must be our own IT staff, too, most of the time. Suggestion: Team up with or start a professional network to meet monthly, qrtly. and help each other via phone/e-mail in the interim. Also, surely the economic efficiency and sanity of having an assigned "back up" needs to be dicussed. Been there. Done it.

ziggy3
ziggy3

How about a one-man IT Shop Orginization That can answers questions each of have, thru e-mail...Yahoo has a free program for this

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

1. Since I'm in a small shop, everyone knows me and considers me their personal "computer guy". Even though I implemented an e-mail/browser-based help desk system so that I can schedule and prioritize requests, I still get the "drive-by" requests. For example, as of writing this someone pulled me over for a non-emergency issue with their personal laptop webcam like I'm some expert in everthing you plug in. 2. I'm more of an Engineer than a Technician. Therefore I love Engineer and I absolutely hate stuff like cleaning spyware, upgrading memory and dealing with the myriad of niggling little user issues. It would really be great to have a technician to deal with those issues. Six years ago, doing this stuff was okay, but mentally and professionaly, I've moved on. They're nothing but distractions that keep me away from doing the stuff that I prefer. 3. No senior guru to learn from. When I first came on board, there was a contractor that came in to do the engineering and heavy admin tasks. I learned so much from her. I got giddy everytime she came in. She was someone I could relate to, she was eager to impart advice and wisdom and tell me what I was doing wrong. Now since I've taken over all of those responsibilities, the need for an engineer to come in is too few and far in between. I'm humble enough to realize that I still have alot to learn, and I feel like I need that senior IT guru that will tell me when I'm being an idiot, to help me tackle big issues. I wish I had that. 3. When things are quiet, they are too quiet and down-right boring. However, when things pick up, it's overwhelming. Everything tends to go to sh** in clusters. 4. Jack of all trades, master of none. Since you do everything, you're always putting out fires with no time for personal growth or to get more depth into a certain piece of software. This can prove detrimental when it's time to move on because most IT positions are specialist positions. It sucks going into an interview for a position and you only know a little bit of this and a little bit of that when you have to know a lot about it.

John Dickey
John Dickey

Joe, I think you covered them well. With over 30 years working in the IT world and now back to being a "Consultant" (read that self-employed) person, that the biggest challenge for a one person shop is time. One of the hardest things for me to learn was when to say no. Being able to say "I can't take your business on at this time because doing so would be a detriment to not only you but also to my existing customers" was one of the hardest to learn to say. I found that forming excellent working relationships with other one man shops and one of the largest service / programming firms in the area has allowed me to enjoy the most valuable commodity - time.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I'm a techie, not a bean-counter. One of the greatest things about being a consultant is that YOU get to send BILLS to other people telling them how much THEY OWE YOU! You get to go to the mailbox and find checks instead of bills! KEWL! I'd still rather spend my time solving a tough technical problem than grinding out invoices. But if you do that, you go broke...

ShortStock
ShortStock

I didn't know there were so many of us out there! I started out as an electronics technician in the mid 70's. (Assoc degree) Got into computer business in '81, then data processing manager in '91, maintaining cobol based system and the hardware + troublshooting on plant floor + inventory. Then moved on to IT manager in '98 department of 7. Lost that job at 55 years old (furniture business). After 4 months, was hired by a medical clinic that was having multitude of issues with software, network, PCs, wireless APs, etc. After 2 years, things are running smooth. I write finicial and production queries, create and maintain templates for electronic chart notes (EMR), maintain all hardware. Like you guys said"anything that plugs in or is mechanical + general building maintenance. With 2 male doctors and 25 women, there's never a dull moment, but it's all good, and I'm glad to have a job. TR is one of my best resources for keeping up and learning tech tips and short cuts. Only downfall....5 minutes in the break room at lunch and the conversation goes to man bashing or bras. Best to go eat lunch at local park or walk through Lowes!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

"I prefer a local computer superstore" You must have money to burn!

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

This list is dead on. I am the sole IT admin, working for a smaller company. Luckily for me, only two locations and a dozen users. Even then, I can't seem to find any down time, there is always something to do. I don't really have a budget, which is made things tougher. We have had some issues with computers which could have been avoided given the right resources, such as failing laptops that are in dyer need of replacement. Vacation? What's that? Is that when you get to take a day for yourself and not have to go the office? No phone calls to answer? Not sure that last time I had a day off without receiving a phone call.

IT_crazy
IT_crazy

I have been a one man show for 23 years. 5 companies have owned this location since I started. We had as high as 320 users and now are running at about 100 users after the buyout. Each one promised training, salary increases, updated equipment, and so on. The reality was no training, very little salary increases, if it isn't cheap or free you don't need it. But I kept thinking that maybe if I worked a little harder, cut back on asking for items, streching every last ohm out of the pc that maybe one day it would work out. The reality is that it doesn't. The biggest challenge alot of the time is trying to keep your self respect.

fbjean
fbjean

We are 65 persons here, with 114 system to support,8 servers, windows and linux OS. The main problem is time, time to find answers to a new problem ( googleing ), time to answer specific quextion about software ( how to I do that! ), time to develop and program new application to give me more time. Time, time is all I ask for !!

DEPillow
DEPillow

If I couldn't depend of the managed support groups at Microsoft and Expert Exchange I would be lost at times. These are items I use to research issues as they arrise.

howard_davis
howard_davis

work at a small charter school, about 25 teachers and admin, but another 30+ units for students to use (2 small computer labs and 2 computers in each room). TIME is the problem, especially since I teach too.

Prof.Tanner
Prof.Tanner

I am the MIS Director for a regional plastics distributor. We have 4 locations across Texas, and have between 6 and 10 outside sales persons that connect through PPTP connections. I am also the only person in the IT department. I am a MCSE and my degree in in Unix. I do everything-Applications programming, database administration, WEB programming, network design/administration, network wiring, telephone system, CNC saws, and as someone else said, everything that plugs into the wall. I consult for outside companies and have done for almost 30 years. I do this all at a very high level and mostly in an eight hour day. My biggest challenge was converting the company workstations from Windows to Linux. This change has allowed me to stop being a full time virus reactionary and spend the majority of my time with R&D. It seldom takes me more than a day to find a solution to new problems. My biggest challenge is keeping everything documented. I always have notes, but few people would find them meaningful. My second biggest challenge is dealing with any company that has a large internal bureaucracy such as the phone company. For my own company, things get resolved quickly but when outsiders get involved, it becomes painful and frustrating. I am now in the process of screening network vendors in order to establish a backup to my humble self. So far, they all want to come in an redesign the network, which is not needed (>99% uptime). No one wants to come in and learn our setup to be able to back me up (so I can try out the new national health care system ;) ).

Triathlete1981
Triathlete1981

Although maybe this coincides with the second point of no one to pass things off to. There's too much to do for one person and only one person to handle it. Things are going to go by the wayside, naturally, and it may be something important like documentation or security. Also, having to know everything from database administration to security to PC/server support to network administration to strategic planning to upgrades to new projects to insert anything here. The one man IT shop is the MOST versatile IT shop of any company because the one man IT department has to handle all the same areas of administration that larger companies have to do but with one person.

jlippens
jlippens

Being the "jack of all Trades" and "master of none"...I do everything from hardware/network design/support to software design/support. I have corporate support but it's sketchy at best. So I just admit when I don't know and then I go find out! The internet is full of great resources and forums where I meet my "buds" and get help with the more in depth issues. However, I don't have to feel like I am competing against someone on a constant basis. The tech world is no different from any other world, there are the competitive people out there.

teebos
teebos

I myself is a one man show and, oh boy , how I identify myself in the blog. My biggest reference site is the internet, everybody expects from you to know everything,to be on site within 5 minutes, biggest drag is viruses and of cause the customer phrase everybody knows too well " I am so stupid, I do not know what I have done" Dammit, if everybody is computer literate, I and thousands other guys like me would be jobless.

ferdie
ferdie

Back in the day when I was a one man Shop, I used to partner with 2 other one man shops. We all had our own clients. We would meet regulartly to discuss how to back each other up. We all had our specialities and would bring the other in for that. On big projects (ie. new network deployments) we would all 3 work on one job to get it done quick. We covered for eachother when one went on leave and regularly called eachother when we got stuck on a problem.

jono.guy
jono.guy

Being the help desk, on site service support during outages, the admin guy, the cleaner, the printer repair guy, the website guy, etc etc whilst delivering professional consultancy services. No matter how many remote tools I have at disposal, I can only do so many things at once, especially when onsite (Un-Tangling cables in a coms room somewhere whilst on the phone to another client about their important e-mail that won't send).

erainbird
erainbird

Mine was scheduling vacation time or personal days.

DMambo
DMambo

I know that there are a lot of variables to this question, but what's your rule of thumb for how many users can be handled by a one-person dept?

DMambo
DMambo

But recognition is an issue. If "nothing" is going on (that is, there are no users complaining, nothing's broken) then it must be because IT just happens. It's never because any of the things that could go wrong were anticipated and planned for and quickly handled. If something does go wrong, it's due to not being prepared for the WAN provider's equipment failure or the user finding an ethernet cable and plugging both ends into the jacks in her office (actually happened to me once!) I don't think too many users in a lone-wolf IT shop realize what it takes to keep it all going.

jck
jck

dealing with idiots who think because they can boot a PC at home that they know as much as you.

Shatter Points
Shatter Points

Those downsides are right on. I am in the same situation, though I found an IT company that does remote management and developed a special contract. Since I track any and all changes and I am onsite during work hours I am for all intensive purposes the IT dept for my company. When I have an issue arise where and extra set of hands can come in handy or if I need someone to brainstorm with I can call up the IT company I have a contract with. The only drawback there is just one employee has intimate knowledge of the enterprise so if he goes then so does my help. When its an issue where I can direct the extra pair of hands I can take advantage of the larger IT workforce with their company. So my biggest piece of advice would be to try and outsource some help, or network to where you can ask a favor or two. Other then that I do spend a large amount of time reading and studying and researching. My problems tend to be unique in the fact they are never complex or simple all my IT calls are because of strange problems that require outside the box thought. That maybe so because of the lax environment, in any case the thing I dislike the most is being the sole person that is called for help sometimes before the person even thinks about what their doing. I will get a call that goes something like this "James, I don't know what I did, or how it happend but I have a problem... wait a minute, wait, wait... nevermind I fixed it, or I figured it out" While that is something to chuckle at the more serious calls full of yelling and demands do take their toll and any contingency plan I lay out is almost never adhered to. One last note, it is very important and an interesting gray area is the simple fact of not knowing, its ok if you don't know something but it is difficult to explain that during a problem, so I find it best to make sure that whomever you may be working for knows the risk they are taking and what you can do to lessen that in any way, be it by schooling or just reading during a lull in daily activities.

maclovin
maclovin

Because it's only one person, sometimes it's perceived that I'm not doing that much, much of the time. So, my salary suffers. Also, lack of sleep. If overnight work is required, it's all on me! Interruptions to my tasks by people with little questions, and nobody else to field them.

SerrJ215
SerrJ215

My bigest chalange was that the users thought I was responsable for every piece of office equipment more complex then a stapler. I would get calls to help fix the microwave in the breakroom.

MacAdvisor
MacAdvisor

Luckily for me, when I was a one-person shop, I was a member of Apple Consultants Network, so I had colleagues to call on. Find an association, or start one! They really add value and can answer some of your concerns. It is a tough job, and I certainly have a lot of respect for what you do! Good luck.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Includes IT, since there is no one else to rope into it, unless I pay them; and I'm too cheap to do that. Since there is no one else, I talk a mile-a-minute to myself. Not necessarily with the latest and greatest technology -- being why, though, I sit on this site -- but the latest from the greatest group of folks I have come to know. Availability: specially when you have to go to the bathroom. Not knowing: Increasingly, I see a whole bunch of others who don't know, either, about the most surprising things.

bazza20
bazza20

I agree that proper accounting is major issue. It is important to end out invoices promptly while clients still remember how grateful they felt when you solved their latest problem. Then, you have to process the incoming cheques and send out statements every month if people have forgotten to pay. I use MYOB which is very capable once you learn how to use it. I used to run a small networking/consultancy company with 3 or 4 employees, but now I'm semi-retired with just a few good clients. I find I'm making almost as much money as when I ran a full-time business but with far fewer hassles.

ian
ian

I've worked corporate in a team and smaller as a one-man show. I was the IT guy and BCP/DRP coordinator. The biggest problem is always time. Time to fix, time to educate, time to document, time to relax and recharge the batteries. My other big concern is documentation. Get it done while it is still fresh in my head. The way I do it is with a voice recorder. I talk as I'm working and convert it to text later. This saves a lot of time.

mike
mike

guess what I don't have time to read all of this today, I need to get out on a call right now. That's the way of the independent. Would love to hear from some of you who work for your self as a one man shop. I'll definetly be back to read ll of this later today once the fires are out!. Oh and as a one man shop, I support over three hundred units covering several hundred sqaure miles both on site and remotely. Makes for a busy day eh? MIke

waltju
waltju

The Internet is *exactly* where I *must* go for solutions, information and education, yet, when I'm 'seen' by co-workers 'surfing the web' they think that maybe I need more duties. I'm expected to know *everything* past their power switch and don't even think about the time it takes to learn it. Their hero of the second when you come through, and the slacker when you're educating yourself.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

1.) One outstanding resource I have and use is IRC. Specifically, #winsupport on efnet. These guys though typically smartasses, are an invaluable source to me on varied things I encounter. One must first do their homework though. Its also a good idea not to wear your emotions on the sleeve of your shirt. This is also where I hear about new technology being implemented in a real world environment and the technicians thoughts on it. 2.) In my shop the single most time-involving (yet indespensable) task is fielding the phone calls and speaking with potential clients about their problems and what I can do for them. Someone else doing this would be nice. I work sometimes to the wee hours of the morning because that is when I get time without interruptions to get things done. 3.) Documentation! I like to keep a fairly concise record of what I have done for each client. Unfortunately, this means that when I finally quit for the evening I am usually not prepared for the amount of time the paperwork involves. 4.) Where is the line drawn between being personable with a client and showing interest in their particular problem and actually billing them for the time you are involved with them? Seems that the older they are, the more I want to answer their questions. Yet few of them seem to realize that you do have other clients to tend to as well. 5.) Weeding out those clients who are never going to be satisfied at any price. This just takes awhile to learn. "Hell I can buy a new computer for that price!" Is a deal-breaker right off. I have a hard time being polite and taking a quick exit. You don't want their business. Also, a fellow small business owner friend of mine interjected a notion that made me stop and think a bit after mentioning to him that I was either going to have to expand my business or thin out my clientele list. If you don't want to expand and have cars lining up down the straight to get in, perhaps you are not charging enough.

apietersen
apietersen

Myself being a one-man shop/show for already 25 years, I agree fuly, you realy need to partner with peers. I recognize all the issues menionted in this topic. Nevertheless, I am still happy (most of the time) And looking around me today, I conclude: smaller is better, for yourself and specialy for your customers. In this respect: in holland where I live I recently started an experiment (Suppio) to build virtual workforces (for private use and small busines use). Creating virtual teams (based on One-Man IT shops) that can work together on one project or to be a backup of the other (ie during holidays). Maybe this sounds huge and tough but it is not. It is an small experiment still in an embryo phase. Nevertheless I strongly believe that when one-man shops can work together (ie on a project base) they can be a potential competitor to the bigger "shops". Unfortunately most of the time the mind-set of the one-man shops are not yet ready for this. (and sometimes neither is the customer)But it is woth trying I think. ps: if you like to experiment with this I am happy to create two teams for this forum (for free ofcourse) as part of the experiment. I am very interested in feedback and the use from abroad (other then the Netherlands) Ashley Pietersen

the-it-guy
the-it-guy

Timely advice! Am about to Partner exactly like that. I see so many positives like you mention. Any insights about what to be cautious about?

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

that there was a limit of 12 or 15 users per IT staff member and was told once by a company hired management consultant that there should be somewhere near 5 people in my department... but I am still a one man shop. I love what I do, but am also anxious for new technology and someone to work with would be nice, but who knows if that will ever happen.

Head_IT_Man
Head_IT_Man

....literally this morning when I got out of my car. The aim of all IT Support people, without knowing it, really, is to do their jobs well enough to do themselves out of a job. In my workplace, people see ME as "The IT systems" and, if they're not working, I'm doing something wrong. MOst of our users think IT should just work - and, to an extent, I agree. But the reality is that IT doesn't "just work". I would MUCH rather be doing projects, business process re-engineering, optimisation, learning new technologies, but support is most of my day, because IT doesn't just work. Try telling that to my users, from the warehouse to the directors when they're asking me for all sorts of information, upgrades, updates, etc.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

the issues are many, days off, keeping up, and all of those come across my plate often, but I have one to add as well. Sometimes staying engaged gets difficult. Sure I do the maintenance and upkeep and support, but to get really into it day in and day out becomes a chore. There are consulting companies and colleagues in the area and online that help me to continue growing, but it is quite rare that there are new projects with new technology to keep it interesting, usually the same old day to day support is the job. Fortunately there are lots of things to read (and write) when times arent so busy. Some projects are of the on going type where I work on them, then dont, then work on them and so on... just to break them up to avoid being swallowed whole.

wboyd50
wboyd50

Sounds like a support agreement would remedy this situation. In it, you could outline what, when, where, pricing, hours, etc....

kevaburg
kevaburg

I have an agreement (written) with two others shops whereby if someone isn't available they take up the workload. When they answer calls, they do it with my company name and on my behalf (and vice versa). I also have people that specialise in different areas ( instructors, DB admins, infrastructure and so on) that work on an as-needed basis and they are a fantastic help. Another thing to do is to put the call out that you are looking for free-lance help. Gather the CVs/Resumes/Lebensl?ufe and use them as a source of assistance if you need to. You don't have the resopnsibilities of their health insurance, tax or travelling and you get the job done! Just make sure that they are 100% aware that the fact they have submitted a resume that it is no guarantee of work and everthing is on a job-by-job basis.

Kruppster
Kruppster

When you mentioned the bathroom, I started laughing out loud as yesterday I was in the stall and doing a remote log in with logmein (pardon the pun)for a user that spent 90 minutes typing into a read only document that was an attachment and then lost his work. (READ ONLY DUH - HELLO!). So as long as you take your Iphone with you even the bathroom is not longer a place to get a break!

chrisflusche
chrisflusche

I am the sole IT guy serving 80 users in 8 locations across the United States. In addition to IT, I am also responsible for telecom. Just handling day-to-day issues and normal preventive maintenance is a major accomplishment. Add in projects like upgrades and software conversions, and it really gets sticky. However, hell hath no fury like something critical broken in two locations at the same time. Unfortunately, most of our locations are not in major metropolitan areas. There aren't good IT contractors or consultants nearby. This makes for a terrible situation where I have to decide where to go first, then I immediately fly to the next location to fix their problem. This causes all kinds of drama and nightmares. I keep this to a minimum by purchasing good reliable hardware, staying on top of PM cycles, and having remote access to everything. But no matter what I do, there will be a perfect storm again sooner or later, and I'll be back in hell. This is by far the biggest problem that I face. There are of course many other issues, most of which have already been listed here by others. Taking time off is easily the second biggest problem I have. I have to be on call 24/7/365. We run a 24/7/365 shop, and the users have to be able to call when they have a problem. This means I can't take a vacation or sick leave of any length, and obviously never somewhere my BlackBerry and broadband card don't work. While this is a pain in the butt and wears you out, I stick with it because someday I will have some help, and I've put entirely too much blood and sweat into this company to walk away from it.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Nobody knows everything. It's best to just admit it - and avoid those who think they do.

ferdie
ferdie

1. Contract with your clients and inform them of the nature of your partnership with your peers. Make it clear that you are the first point of contact for all issues and will project manage all work done by these peers 2. make sure all the partners understand the "way of operation" in order that clients recieve the same level of service. 3. if you can, contract with your partners clearly stating what cannot be done without the Client's IT consultant permission. i.e. No changes to system architecture or hardware purchases over X may be conducted without approval.

kevaburg
kevaburg

When you partner up with anyone else, you have to give away a part of your business methodolody, service provision techniques and expose your client base to your new partner. Be careful that the person you partner up with regards to how much of your business you expose to them. Ask yourself: Is this person serious and can I trust my reputation not to be damaged? Is there a possibility that this person is simply doing a recce on my business to see how he can improve his own? Is his own company running well now or does the possibility exist that I will be supporting him to my own detriment? Could I achieve comparible results by hiring part-time assistance or even a full-time employee? I don't mean to put a dampner on things but please be very careful. Make sure that non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements are in place to protect everyone from any sort of dubious behaviour. If someone else ruins your reputation, you are the one that has to rebuild it.

tonytechie
tonytechie

hi, am too in NZ and interested in forming idea sharing, just to bounce ideas / curly ones... am way up in the far north... was really great to come ac ross this topic, and find that lots of other it guys have exactly trhe same issues as me... you know, time off, wishing had someone around, when really busy, / sick / or just wanting bit of a breather....

Rastor9
Rastor9

Find a local high school/college tech student who wants some real world experience. You could probably even get the school to pay for it as a "work study" program. Just keep an eye on them, most of these kids have no fear of technology because someone else will clean up after them like their mothers do. And then they can create quite a bit of havoc unsupervised. Worst case, you at least have some company or someone to run for coffee.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

This was a common issue in my office lot of users open attachments directly from email (ready only) and start working for hours and hours without a manual save. Amazing. Something happens and they do not find the documents and start crying like crazy. This is pretty commmon.

morv2
morv2

never ever reply to anyone from the bathroom. Its like a vacation, besides the flush carries really well over the cell.

mark_ferebee
mark_ferebee

When you say you have put too much blood and sweat into the company, I hope you mean you have an equity interest in the company. Only an owner should have so much invested that he/she cannot walk away. I know that's very easy to say in today's economy.

kevaburg
kevaburg

If you are that busy, you should be looking at some sort of expansion plan for your business. Either that or you are going to burn out and satisfy noones squeal for assistance. The very fact you have to fly between locations screams of opening offices strategically across your customer base. I know and understand all too well the costs associated with hiring talent to help take some of the workload but if you don't now, you will have problems at some point that will cost you a hell of a lot more!

wboyd50
wboyd50

In myb opinion, the best way to handle not knowing is to admit it right up front. What makes a good consultant is knowing "where" to get the answer when not known.....

OKNightOwl
OKNightOwl

I have found that it is best to admit that you do not know everything about everything. But I have been fortunate enough to have built a network of ex-co-workers, vendors and aquaintences over the years, that will provide either an ear for sounding off and talking through problems, or offering alternatives and solutions. Don't burn your Bridges - You might have to cross them someday.

apietersen
apietersen

True, here in the NL there are several kind of small and informal organized local/regional one-man shops (freelancers & xsmall businesses) that do business with each other occaisonaly. Then there is already a kind of trust and business-understanding (business-ethics) between them. But ofcourse you are and need to stay in control as the projectmanager and end-responsable figure over your own projects - that you can not share.

wboyd50
wboyd50

"Share to Love" Find another local consultant or company to pass jobs on to. And visa versa.

blarman
blarman

I am the IT director, and with the IT Manager (no one else) we maintain the systems for over a dozen branch offices and (seasonally) up to 2000 employees.

jeff
jeff

I hear you. I have 7 locations and 180 users. They expect me to also know all application software, including custom - yeah, right. Most users only have one job function and some can barely handle that. It would be nice if they could email me non-emergency issues instead of calling me on my cell for everything. It's a wonder how some of them survive outside of work. Only 9 more years to retirement (hopefully).

coden
coden

While you're by yourself, take comfort in knowing you're not alone. I support 30 staff at headquarters and 70+ pilots (read high maintenance road warriors) across ten remote offices scattered throughout the world. In addition to great technical advice, I use Tech Republic as Group Therapy.

timothy_patnode
timothy_patnode

I am a 1 man IT shop, covering 10 loactions, and 140 users. The strees is insane, like others out here, if it is plugged in, it is mine!!! Not great money either, considering I maintain Cisco, Exchange, Domains, Sharepoint, Well I suppose I cover it all!!!

Joe_R
Joe_R

. A. They're already spread. B. I don't know. C. Damn you. D. All of the above.

Joe_R
Joe_R

One of my mentors - although he doesn't know it.

santeewelding
santeewelding

If you are anything like me in my useless, stupid-user status. Quote I came across in my online reading today: "There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs." (Thomas Sowell) I am just bright enough to see that you are one. So is Justin. Superintend your gift.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Let me dwell on that one for a while.