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sebast
October 4th, 2006, 06:59 PM
Hi,

I'm a 20 years old student in advertising in a city near Gatineau in Quebec. I'm currently studying in a college in advertising, and prior to that I did some studies in computer sciences (high school special program and by myself of course)

I'm currently working part time in a Best Buy in Gatineau and I got to tell that this job is pretty boring and I'm also tired to see people depressed because they have to (well, at least they think) spend a lot of money in softwares, anti-virus, faster hardware...

For about a year, I've been thinking about starting my own business (because I believe that selling my time for some other entities is very disempowering and I always been a kind of achiever, and I also know that I want to do something very special with my life).

At first I thought about starting a business for people having trouble talking to others, problem with their self confidence and troubles finding a mate. I think I would be good at that since I once was a total nerd in all the senses of the term, and I'm now the reference if you want to have fun and I lost all of my shyness. It was a lot of work to do that, but like I said I like challenges. Now, this would be a little business I will probably start with a friend of mine.

But, I also think that this kind of business would probably not generate a lot of money at first, and since I'm a student I'm kind of broke and I couldn't cut my current income and still pay my bills, but I'm getting really sick of this best buy job after a year there. So I think I most find a way to generate more than one income stream, and then the problem would be solved.

Now, when you ask myself when I ideally see myself at the end of my studies, I think I would really like to work for Ubuntu on the promotion side to help Linux conquer the world of personal computers since I've been a strong linux and open source software fan for a couple of years now and I think it's the only logical and possible way.

And a couple of days ago, an idea hit my ming: "Why do I have to wait to start promoting Linux?" and I thought maybe I can start an other business going to homes to install, configure and give a little tutorial on Ubuntu to people willing to try something new and those tired of the bugs, viruses, high costs and lock-ins of windows. I could create a appealing web site (I'm good at that), make myself some business cards, decide a my fees, and prepare some documentation to give to costumers for a reference.

Now, I know they would probably be some shortcomings to a business like that. For example, arriving at a home and having to do backups for hours, telling a costumer I wont be able to do the installation after finding a specific software of hardware he uses that is not supported and maybe receiving a lot of calls after the job for all types of questions about how things work.

So I'm writing this to get some advices about how to do this business in a way to eliminate most of these shortcomings. And if I find a way to fit in my studies, time with my friends, my girlfriend, the gym, relaxing and those businesses I thing it would be great.

And who knows, if this works well, maybe at the end of my studies I will be in a business of helping others starting a business like that in their own town. Pretty cool hey! Making money, traveling and helping Linux and the computer users at the same time!

3rdalbum
October 5th, 2006, 06:31 AM
I'm sorry I don't actually have any advice for you, but I'm also interested to see if anyone has done this kind of thing before, and whether it's successful.

Yesterday I helped someone out with their computer. It's a recent Win XP machine, and it took about 3 minutes to start up because of all the anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware and personal firewall software. It actually depressed me to see such a modern computer going so slowly, and to see my customer having to put in so much security effort.

They're now sold on the idea of me installing Linux onto an older computer that belongs to a friend, whose Win XP installation won't boot.

jimbren
October 5th, 2006, 06:08 PM
While I think it is a great idea to have a business promoting and supporting linux, I would discourage you from trying to run a business supporting existing hardware that you don't know about yourself. People are incredibly hard on their computers in ways that all of the tech support bitch-fest sites and emails and rants talk about, and going to someone's house and doing this type of a massive install would be very costly for you and have very little return on investment.

You'll find hardware that is thoroughly abused, from CD ROM drives that really have been used as cup holders, to motherboards being coveredin tar from cigarette smoke, to keyboards sticky with who-knows-what.

You'll have people tell you they have a 3Ghz P4 over the phone and show up at their house to find a Pentium 133 with 64MB of RAM, and have these people absolutely FLIP out and accuse you of trying to rip them off when you tel them you can't install ubuntu on their computers.

You'll have incredibly annoying calls from incredibly annoying people who just have "a quick question" at all hours of the day.

You'll have data migration issues. No matter how complete your backups are, you'll have people tell you that you lost some incredibly important document for them.

You'll have some jackass delete /usr/bin and call you completely hot-headed, and deny that he ever did any such thing.

You'll find kiddie porn on the computer of someone you would never figure for being a pervert and have to decide how to deal with it.

You'll start to hate computers and the people who use them.

I did tech support of varying levels, including on-site support, for over a decade. Can you tell?


Now, it might not be so bad to change your focus a little and try to start something installing ubuntu on new hardware, maybe that you have or have not built yourself. You could maybe try and target yourself to home office and small business users rather than your average joe home user. You would need to have some very good documentation and resources available, but that's not hard with all of the excellent documentation available for ubuntu. Maybe you could also sell ongoing maintenance and support contracts, or some such thing.

Sorry if I burst your bubble...not my intent.

kisses,

jimbo

nixios
October 17th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Nice one jim! :) i agree 200%.

sebast
October 17th, 2006, 04:04 PM
They must be a way to do it! If that's what I want to do with my life I'm sure I can bypass those shortcomings.

I'll do it anyway, so and just want to be prepared for those problems.

Of course, I have to focus my ads for intelligent people who always strive for more and that want the best of things, and those who are open minded in life generally.

bodycoach2
October 24th, 2006, 03:42 AM
I've been thinking about a very similar type of business. Mostly for part-time work. I'm a Personal Trainer, so I'm used to dealing with people. I'm also currently going to school for Computer Information Technology, have my A+ cert, and will be getting even more education.

One thing I've noticed in my class is type of people. Most 'geek' or 'nerd' types seem to have difficulty communicating with average people. I think that's a HUGH source of frustration you see in others -like the above posts. If you think working with people computers are hard, try working with their BODIES! Or, worse yet, their minds. A personal trainer is as much a counselor as a trainer.

It seems a lot of people attracted to tech tend to be a little impatient. They may somewhat patient with themselves (probably during a hyperfocus binge), but very impatient with people who just 'don't get tech'.

My family, and my clients, say, "Danny, you have the patience of water dripping on stone." I guess someone who can sit for hours and watch a spider build a web would need patience.

My thinking is:
Help people set up Ubuntu on older equipment they thought they'd have to get rid of or upgrade. Provide two hours of training, and three months support. If this is priced right, I think it would work fairly well. I could provide ongoing support for more money, if necessary. It would probably be necessary to limit support calls, or time, for obvious reasons.

I'd really like to work for a company like Canonical, System76, or another company, especially doing support. Maybe, I'd be able to start my own company, or start one with others.

Maybe we could collaborate on such a venture.

CoachDANNY!!


Hi,

I'm a 20 years old student in advertising in a city near Gatineau in Quebec. I'm currently studying in a college in advertising, and prior to that I did some studies in computer sciences (high school special program and by myself of course)

I'm currently working part time in a Best Buy in Gatineau and I got to tell that this job is pretty boring and I'm also tired to see people depressed because they have to (well, at least they think) spend a lot of money in softwares, anti-virus, faster hardware...

For about a year, I've been thinking about starting my own business (because I believe that selling my time for some other entities is very disempowering and I always been a kind of achiever, and I also know that I want to do something very special with my life).

At first I thought about starting a business for people having trouble talking to others, problem with their self confidence and troubles finding a mate. I think I would be good at that since I once was a total nerd in all the senses of the term, and I'm now the reference if you want to have fun and I lost all of my shyness. It was a lot of work to do that, but like I said I like challenges. Now, this would be a little business I will probably start with a friend of mine.

But, I also think that this kind of business would probably not generate a lot of money at first, and since I'm a student I'm kind of broke and I couldn't cut my current income and still pay my bills, but I'm getting really sick of this best buy job after a year there. So I think I most find a way to generate more than one income stream, and then the problem would be solved.

Now, when you ask myself when I ideally see myself at the end of my studies, I think I would really like to work for Ubuntu on the promotion side to help Linux conquer the world of personal computers since I've been a strong linux and open source software fan for a couple of years now and I think it's the only logical and possible way.

And a couple of days ago, an idea hit my ming: "Why do I have to wait to start promoting Linux?" and I thought maybe I can start an other business going to homes to install, configure and give a little tutorial on Ubuntu to people willing to try something new and those tired of the bugs, viruses, high costs and lock-ins of windows. I could create a appealing web site (I'm good at that), make myself some business cards, decide a my fees, and prepare some documentation to give to costumers for a reference.

Now, I know they would probably be some shortcomings to a business like that. For example, arriving at a home and having to do backups for hours, telling a costumer I wont be able to do the installation after finding a specific software of hardware he uses that is not supported and maybe receiving a lot of calls after the job for all types of questions about how things work.

So I'm writing this to get some advices about how to do this business in a way to eliminate most of these shortcomings. And if I find a way to fit in my studies, time with my friends, my girlfriend, the gym, relaxing and those businesses I thing it would be great.

And who knows, if this works well, maybe at the end of my studies I will be in a business of helping others starting a business like that in their own town. Pretty cool hey! Making money, traveling and helping Linux and the computer users at the same time!

funrider
November 6th, 2006, 06:15 AM
hey guy, I am wondering how much you gonna charge per visit?
a little suggestion to save your backup time on client site is to have them use the live CD version or you bring your laptop over to start the training/refreshing session. If the client really like it, then you can go ahead and do the installation.

how about doing a mass training session instead of 1 on 1 basis?

Chris Whitworth
November 6th, 2006, 03:51 PM
I'm interested in this area. I teach and research business in Leeds (UK). Agree totally with jimbo's comments- true of most businesses and their customers. Secret is to find a market niche where you can manage your customer expectations and behavior. For example, by offering hard&software support to small businesses not wanting to pay Microsoft prices and prepared to take a risk (they WILL see it as one!) to give them competitive advantage.

Maybe even community groups/charities etc, as a community service to get them off the ground. Then migrate their "day job" firms to make money. Just a thought?

Anyone else interested in challenging the western business paradigm via freeware?

lyceum
November 16th, 2006, 07:52 PM
I do this as a side job. I started by asking people to let me work on their PC's for free, switching them to Linux. A lot of people I know had an illegal copy of XP on thier PC, to they were bogged down with spyware etc... I got no takers.

One day a lady was complaining that her laptop did not work. I told her I would fix it for $30 (US). I let her know I would be putting Linux on her PC. I set her up with Kubuntu, and she did not like it. I thought she would like it better, as it looked more like XP. That just confused her, as she thought it should act like XP. I hav efound this to be true of every customer I have worked for. The point here, I couldn't do anything until I charged $$'s.

At this point I am selling referbished PCs along with the "Ubuntu upgrade". I also give PC's away to those that cannot afford to buy their own PC through my "White Tree Project". This was my first way of giving back to the community the only way I could. It is also good advertising for my business.

As for the time factor, I let each customer know that they are at the bottom of the list. They understand that I work and go to school full time. I normally get 3 or 4 PC's out a week. I charge $30 plus parts, which I charge cost, rounded up to the nearest dollar. I hope to turn this into a full time job someday.

Now that I have my feet of the ground, I will be making changes in January. I will start charging $50 for labor, but every PC will include the Ubuntu guide.

As for finding porn, I wipe every PC clean without looking at their drives. I have only had a few people come back, one because AOL did not work (nothing i could do there) the others becasue they did not like KDE (sorry Kubuntu fans, I still love it!)

I would recomend you charge $30 at fisrt, let them know about the forums for questions, but let them know that you are here for them. Use the forums as back up, in case they cannot reach you. You need to be their first line of defence, your rep and Ubuntu's rep is job #1.

Give them a copy of the guide. They may never look at it, it may become the only book they read, but it will save you time. Know the book inside and out. Create video tutorials. These will save you time ("Look on page 64 of the book if you need to know more on that" or "there is a video that will walk you through that step in the video's folder in your home folder.")

Get a laptop with working EVERYTHING with Ubuntu. This is your demo.

Be sure you can replace hardware that is not Linux ready (great term for your sales pitch, by the way).

If you are serouis about this and have any questions, or need any help, feel free to ask me. I can offer advice, but I won't clame to know ALL the answers.

Is it worth it? Everytime.

Scunizi
November 16th, 2006, 10:34 PM
I'm another that has thought a lot about this. My approach is a little different than some but mostly I've incorporated a little of everything.

My primary approach is to help a person fix their current computer with XP. Often it's so hosed you need to completely reinstall windows fresh. I've developed a couple of check sheets for backing up their data and a questionaire for the client to go over asking about what programs they use (with mind jogger examples on the sheet). There's also a place for them to try to recall the passwords they might be using for various programs, web sites etc. After backing up I'll blow the partition away and reinstall windows with the clients CD or from the Ghost image on the secondary partition if equipped (read Dell machines). After reinstalling I'll do all the security updates from usb drive I've saved them to, reinstall all their most important programs if available or substitute an appropriate GPL version. For this I charge MUCH less than "The Geek Squad". I'll charge min. $129 (associates) to $195.

On another level, if they are planning on upgrading I'll find out what they are going to do with their old machine and offer to 1> Install Ubuntu for the kids or for them as a secondary machine ($75) or 2>take the old machine off their hands and redo it with Ubuntu for donation to a needy family, chruch, non-profit. (The Geek Squad charges to take an old machine away... $50)

I did my neighbors machine for free but gave him an invoice for what the geek squad would have charged......... $1,400!!! (I used their price list that's published on the web.)

I think there's great potential here.

I've also toyed with the idea of introducing a KDE environment with terminals to private schools.

bodycoach2
December 1st, 2006, 04:35 AM
For some ideas on promoting/selling/building computers with Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) installed, check out http://www.freegeek.org

perspectoff
March 3rd, 2009, 07:29 PM
You guys all need to read

Ubuntu Guide (http://ubuntuguide.org)

or

Kubuntu Guide (http://kubuntuguide.org)

All the tools to set up a small to medium size business using Ubuntu/Kubuntu are listed there.

You need groupware, accounting, security, network monitoring, etc.

Be smart. A lot of the work has already been done for you.

My main advice is to use new hardware. Use 64-bit virtualization-capable processors (Intel-V or AMD-V chipsets).

You'll be surprised at what you can do, but avoid the temptation to "recycle" old hardware, except as dumb terminals/thin clients.

notwen
March 3rd, 2009, 08:44 PM
Necromancy !

Sef
March 3rd, 2009, 11:33 PM
Closed for necromancing.