“Have laptop, will work remotely”
Does anyone still remember Have Gun, Will Travel?
from 1957 – 1963? Starring Richard Boone as Paladin? It was basically a show about a good guy gunfighter for hire – paid by those who could afford his services, and often working for free for those who could not. (but needed someone to help when no one else could or would).
Do you find yourself helping some people for free with their network or computer system problems, – spending time advising and or troubleshooting over the phone, or remotely across the Internet? I know time is money, and sometimes we forget that. Is it wrong? No, sometimes it’s worth it. If you like to help people out because you can, maybe that’s reward enough.
If you plan on consulting or contracting your services, working for free not only gets your name out, but it can be good practice to help sharpen your skills. Solving issues, teaching others or troubleshooting problems often results in you learning things from a different angle. You might see a problem and figure out a solution to something you may have not thought of or seen before. This is all interestingly noble and everything, but I’m more interested in how you go about troubleshooting. Can you solve problems without your computer or looking over someone’s shoulder? Can you answer any problem off the top of your head? If you’ve been doing this long enough, you probably can for anything you’ve worked on before.
Experience is gold
The idea of “Have gun, will travel” conveys the message that you can solve almost any problem with the “gun” that you have. In the West just after the Civil War, that might have been true – at least it was on the screen in the early days of Television.
Today you might think of your laptop as your “problem solver” Of choice. As on the old television shows it still took some skill to know how to use a gun, and the same is true today for your “computer” A laptop doesn’t do a lot if you don’t have the skills to use it. How do we hone and develop these skills? Well, we don’t throw data bits at glass bottles on a log for target practice, but we still have to practice to gain experience. Consider the help you give others to solve computer or networking problems as your target practice.