Moving Day, Keeping it Organized

Today is the last day of my lease at my old office in Wichita.  We’re moving to a shiny new office at Office Park Plaza.  The primary reason for the move is that we are providing the IT support for the office complex as well as becoming the onsite IT support for the tenants of the building.  The fact that the office is in a beautiful building in a historic neighborhoood in Wichita is just icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to change business cards, put in numerous change of address forms and everything else that comes along with a move of this nature.  Fortunately the business is new, so it’s not too entrenched in the old location.

I’m trying to keep up with everything I need to do to move, while still keeping up with the tech support and marketing that the business needs to continue growing.  Though things aren’t quite where I want them to be as of yet, they are moving forward well.

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A Long Week of IT Support and Education

Here it is, Wednesday and I feel like the week has been eternal already.  Three full days of IT support work and two nights in a row teaching until after 10:00 pm with one more night left to teach.

My IT support business, Proper Technology Solutions, is going strong.  We’re gearing up for our free Lunch and Learn seminar on April 21st, Office 2010 – Business 101.  Reservations are coming in and there should be a nice crowd for the presentation.  Hopefully I can help some users over the hump of getting adjusted to their Office software and help them to become more efficient.

The home front is well also.  We’ve just planted two new fruit trees, a peach and an apricot, to replace the aging peach we’ve enjoyed for the last 10 years or so that appears as if it’s done producing.  I enlisted the children on the digging project, so everyone has some investment in the outcome.

If you know anyone in need of IT support in Wichita or surrounding areas, why not send them my way.  Have them visit the website at www.properwichita.com or call me at (316) 337-5628!

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Substitute: Cisco Networking Off the Cuff

Last night I was called on to substitute for a missing instructor.  The course?  Cisco Networking and Telecommunications.  For those more familiar with the Cisco curriculum, it is based on, and uses the CCNA 2 book from Cisco Systems.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare given the late notice and my busy work schedule, but it is a topic that I know and have a passion for teaching.  I spent the first half-hour or so reviewing for a quiz the students were scheduled to complete.  We discussed binary and hexidecimal conversion, some questions about CIDR notation (/24) and the memory systems in a standard router (Flash, ROM, RAM, NVRAM).

The lab period was a great hands-on experience, requiring the students to link two routers, a switch and two workstations (WKS-SW-Router-Router-WKS) and check the Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) neighbor relationships between them.  For these labs I like to just guide and not walk the students through the exercises.  There was some struggle at first on the Physical layer, but they were able to be successful with minimal input.  Overall they did well!

It revived my interest in routing.  Perhaps I will start studying for that last exam I need to take to acheive my CCNP certification.  Thinking back to the last one I took, though, it may require some additional consideration.

As an it support professional in Wichita, I do have the opportunity for hands-on training on Cisco devices in my network design work.  I tried to express to the students last night that the CCNA exam was a tough cookie and would require hands-on time above and beyond router simulators.  Hopefully I got that point across!

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Web Projects – Online Backup Reseller

Since I discussed one of my other websites last week, I thought I would continue the series with another site I’ve developed to serve as a hobby and a revenue source.

Online Backup Reseller

This website was designed due to an interest I had in the online backup business.  As an online backup reseller myself, I had a base of knowledge, after researching several resellers and options.  I boiled that knowledge down into what was effectively a short essay and turned it into a website.  The site gives some useful information for those pursuing the same opportunities, while providing an additional revenue source.

If you visit the site, you’ll notice the Google AdSense ads.  Adsense is an easy source of advertising for any site.  Work up some decent targeted content and Google will take care of the rest.  The second revenue generator on the site is from Amazon Associates.  Amazon will allow you to earn revenue from links on your site, even links to specific targeted books, like the one on the homepage to a book about becoming an online backup reseller!

The site doesn’t make a mint, but it serves as an ‘earning hobby’.  I like the challenge of search engine optimization (SEO) and trying to make the most of the site’s rankings.  With increases in rankings and traffic, the revenue usually follows.

Something I try to push to my students and others interested in earning revenue online is the fact that anything you know may be useful to others, and just about anything will eventually bring in some advertising revenue.  Just provide good information with a little bit of natural SEO and your site will start to work for you.  Even if one site only makes you a few dollars a month, what will a dozen sites do for you?  How about fifty?

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Sometimes You Shouldn’t Read Your Analytics

Analytics provides you with details about who is visiting your site.  Sometimes you don’t really want to know.  Check number 3 below:

Analytics

Analytics

This was for one of my other pages…  You’d think that they might want to use an more ‘unmarked’ service provider name.

 

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Website Projects – Adsense, Blogging and Hobbies

You might say that creating websites is a hobby of mine.  I thought I would go through some of the sites that I’ve put together over the years in my next few blog posts.  I am probably the last person you might think would be an avid fan of developing websites.  My artistic talent is nil and I have never had the desire to pursue programming.

The simple solution is that website design doesn’t necessarily require either of these.  I design on creativity and a love of writing solid content.

Why design?  I love to watch the stats.  I like to see the traffic, where it is coming from and how it grows.  Oh, yeah, there’s the money thing, too.

Most of my sites contain advertising of some sort.  It’s easier to get into than you might think.  Surprisingly, a little text ad can add up the revenue over time, especially considering the fact that it trickles income in, regardless of your interaction with the site.  Granted, the more interaction you have, the more the site may make.

Classic Novels In 5 Minutes a Day!

This first website is one I created in college, almost ten years ago.  I generally stopped tinkering with it in 2006, so it’s just been on autopilot for about five years now.  It still manages to generate enough revenue to cover most of the hosting costs for my other websites.

The site allows people to sign up for an email newsletter of sorts.  They pick a novel, and the system (actually designed as an autoresponder script) sends them five minutes worth of reading every day until the novel is completed.

A simple concept, but it took me a bit of work to get established.  It was the culmination of the final projects of most of my classes.  When there was a project, I tried to find a way I could complete the project as an addition to the website.  Web design, database design, programming and other classes provided the impetus for the site to develop.

I may get back to it someday, at least to clean up the invalid links and some of the sections.  For now, it just sits there and the money trickles in.

 

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Looking to the Weekend

Wow.  It’s Thursday and it has been a long week already.  I’ve been preparing for a presentation I’m giving on Microsoft Office 2010 towards the end of the month as well as marketing my IT Support business in Wichita, Proper Technology Solutions.

I’m planning on splitting the time between hard work and taking it easy.  Spring is here and I have a garden to plant, so I have to build a fence to keep it under control.  Nothing fancy, just a few different things to give me the pleasure of watching them grow and reaping the eventual rewards.

I will be doing some IT support, for family, but it’s more than worth it for all they do for me!

I have been looking forward to the Spring for a while now, ever since I started hitting the road for my business in the bleakest days of early February, slogging through the snow to make the connections required to make things happen.  The warm days have finally arrived, as well as the light starting to show at the end of the tunnel for getting the business on its feet.

 

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Student Issues – Network Admin vs. Security Admin

So I’m teaching for a college-level Security Administration program at the local college.  I’ve followed the same students for several terms and have gotten to know them and enjoy being their instructor.  I received bad news last night, that one of my students had dropped out.  It happens all the time, but I’ve been with this group for quite a while now and will miss his input in our discussions.

The one piece of information that cushions it is the fact that he decided that he wanted to study more towards a network administration role as opposed to a security role.  I respect that.  Having a background in network administration, I can see the appeal.  Network administration is a more hands-on field, while security administration can be more administrative.

I’m glad that the student has clear goals in mind.  He’s made great progress over the years I’ve known him and is doing well in the field right now.  I sincerely hope that he finds his niche and I’m able to keep in touch!

I’ll use it as a discussion for all my students.  Know what you’re after, then pursue it with vigor.

 

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The IT Support To-Do List

Here’s the to-do list for someone trying to maintain and grow a fledgling small business.  I’ll leave out some of the details, but it should give an idea of the hectic schedule:

To Do:

  1. Follow up on new business cards recently ordered
  2. Start drafting new service campaign (Information, Flyer, Webpage)
  3. Provide material for non-profit participation
  4. Accounting – Accounts Payable
  5. Accounting – Accounts Receivable
  6. Quarterly tax filings
  7. Sales tax filings
  8. Create partnerships with additional vendors
  9. Follow up on leads
  10. Add leads to CRM
  11. Write daily blog posts
  12. Check daily statistics
  13. Deliver marketing material to businesses
  14. Promote April 21st Lunch and Learn
  15. Research target market
  16. Study for technical networking exams

Well, that’s today’s list at least.  Will they all get done?  Probably not, but that’s the goal.

What’s on your list?

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Entering the IT Support Field

Pushing the Learning Outside the Classroom

I recently added another learning opportunity to my network security classes at the college.  Real-life technology support.  As an extra-credit opportunity, I encouraged my students to participate in the community at Yahoo! Answers.

Yahoo! Answers allows users to ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics to share their expertise.  Askers and readers vote on the best answer to the question and the answerer is rewarded with a “Best Answer” bonus.

My students were asked to answer technical questions in the Computers and Networking category and forward any successful “Best Answer” emails to my address.  The first week, I learned that this won’t only encourage my students to perform a live example of their future work, but also give me some insight into their own knowledge and interests.

Here’s a sample of questions my students nailed, receiving the coveted “Best Answer” prize:

I’m going to implement this in all of my classes.  For seasoned IT professionals, it provides an opportunity to stay current and keep your mind flowing.  For newer students, it provides the chance to learn research skills, and how to present an answer to a client.

So, what do you know?

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