What 2015 meant to me and my business.
Stedman Solutions, LLC – Startup
After unexpectedly leaving a regular full time employment position on March 31st 2015, the very next day April 1st 2015, Stedman Solutions, LLC was launched. Looking back, perhaps April 1st (April fools day) was not the best day to announce the big event, but I didn’t really have anything else to do.
Stedman Solutions, LLC, my database administration consulting firm was off and running. The first 2 months were a bit slow, but since June the business has been growing strong, and I have had more than enough work to keep me busy lately. As we come to the end of 2016, just 9 months after starting the SQL Server DBA consulting firm, the only thing I regret is “why did I wait so long?” Looking back I wish I had made the leap to start my own firm years ago.
I look forward to April 1st (April fools day) 2016, as that will mark the 1 year anniversary of starting the business.
I just want to take a moment to say thanks to all my clients, who give me the the opportunity to work with a variety of SQL Server environments with a variety of great teams and great people. Thank you!
2016 Goals — Stedman Solutions, LLC – Startup
Grow the Stedman Solutions, LLC consulting firm from just me to 2 additional people for a total team of 3.
Database Corruption Challenge
In the spring of 2015 I created and hosted the Database Corruption Challenge, an online contest that involved me creating a corrupt database about once a week. I then posted it online and threw out the challenge for others to attempt to solve it. This was an amazing experience in a number of ways:
- It forced me to practice my skills at fixing database corruption.
- I was able to learn from all the solutions that were submitted by participants.
- I got to know some great people who participated in the contest.
I am planning to put together another database corruption challenge in 2016, but my schedule is looking pretty full for the first 3 months.
2016 Goals – Database Corruption Challenge
Host another Database Corruption Challenge in 2016.
In 2015 I had 6 major releases of the Database Health Monitor application. The biggest being the official version 2 release on July 3rd 2015 which after 4 years of beta finally took the version 2 product as a full release version.
There were 16 unsolicited comments from raving fans about Database Health Monitor, the most recent of which was the following “Excellent – It’s the first tool I open every morning to see what is going on in my production environment! Thanks for the great work!” submitted on 12/23/2015.
One of my biggest focuses on Database Health Monitor in 2015 was the instance level reports and the ability to quickly switch through the instance reports to get a good understanding of the overall health of a SQL Server on a daily basis. An example of this is the SQL Server Error log report which allows you to view, filter, and cycle the error log. This means that on a daily basis, I can review the error logs on 20 SQL Servers in a total of 30 to 45 seconds, saving time for other more useful tasks.
With just over 2600 downloads of Database Health Monitor in 2015, that is a big step up from any of the previous years. I look forward to where it goes in the next year.
I plan to continue to develop and evolve Database Health Monitor into the future. I have some some great things planned for the next several releases.
The business model for Database Health Monitor also significantly shifted for me this year. I started out the year with the goal of running a crowdfunding campaign, and eventually turning Database Health Monitor into a paid application. After starting Stedman Solutions I decided to go with a free model, which instead includes a small advertisement in the application for my consulting business. This has been proven to work, and plan to continue to give Database Health Monitor away at no cost will continue.
I never realized that it would be so difficult to explain free, I get so many questions from people asking things like this:
- “what does it really cost if we want to use Database Health Monitor in a production environment?”
- “what if I want to monitor more than one instance?”
- “what is the cost to a consultant who wants to use it at a clients site?”
Its simple, free, zero, no cost at all. You don’t even have to register, however registering will dismiss the advertising display.
2016 Goals – Database Health Monitor
5000 downloads of Database Health Monitor in 2016. At least 4 version updates, and 20 raving fans posted on the website.
A New Kitchen
Just prior to leaving the day job and starting Stedman Solutions, LLC full time, my wife Marcia and I had started working on a kitchen remodel. With the unexpected startup of my company, and not knowing for sure how the rest of the year would look, we decided to hold off on finishing the remodel work until things stabilized. The kitchen work started again in December 2015, and is scheduled to be complete in the next 2 weeks. Although I am not doing the work myself, I am very excited about the new kitchen soon.