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My Move from MSP to Vendor: I May Change My Job, But I’ll Never Leave the Channel

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It's full speed ahead, on a different kind of train.

“There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come out with it. I need to put in my notice.” 

Those were the hardest words I’ve had to say in a very long time.  Certainly the hardest in my young career. I could barely get the words out. My palms were sweaty, my voice was uneasy, and the people in the room could tell by my unfamiliar tone that I was struggling. My career as a managed service provider was coming to an end. I was making the leap into the vendor world.  

My path was one that required hard work, late hours and lots of practice. I began my career as most young sales rep hopefuls do: I was a cold caller. For eight hours a day, it was my responsibility to hunt for prospects. It was up to me to set appointments for the sales staff. It was … grueling and humbling. I was green. I was inexperienced. I was new to technology altogether. I was awful.

Wearing Many Hats

I considered myself lucky. I had amazing mentors who took me under their wings, taught me the way and pushed me to be better. It wasn’t long before I was given more responsibility in my business development role. Suddenly I found myself focusing more of my energy on marketing. Being in a small MSP, we all wore many hats. In our world, you have to. 

Eventually my career began to form and take a shape of its own. There is an incredible amount of satisfaction one gets when they see progress in what they are doing. New clients coming onboard. New prospects who recognize your name. Increased responsibilities. Fun and exciting new roles to develop. Suddenly that 10-employee team I was on jumped to 20. Then 30.  We were growing--growing fast. Then 35. It was an exciting time. I was constantly recruiting. During a time when things weren’t going so well for so many, here we were, charging ahead. My friends became my co-workers. My co-workers became my friends. We were all a part of something. We were building something fun. We were building something that I thought I would never leave. Then 40.

When we surpassed the 45-employee mark, things changed. The only way to be successful in something that is growing in such a way is to have the processes and procedures in place to accommodate that growth. I had all these ideas. All these projects I wanted to run. Things I wanted to fix. Things I wanted to improve. Co-workers’ jobs that I wanted to make easier.

One Heck of a a Cocktail Dream

It was then that I went to the owners of our MSP with an idea. What if I stepped away from business development to focus on … focus on ... I didn’t know what to call it. It was a multilayered hybrid position.  One part sales, one part marketing, two parts operations and a dash of engineering. It was one heck of a cocktail dream. I wanted to be involved in everything. I wanted to be the straw that stirred the company drink. I wanted to create my own position. I wanted to help grow the business by improving the manner in which we provided our service. I wanted to introduce new service offerings.  I wanted to wake up and come to work everyday and work on something brand new. I wanted it all.

I thought I was going to get laughed out of the office. The exact opposite of that happened. Essentially, I was given the ability and free reign to work on all of things I wanted to. With the trust, help and guidance of the ownership, together we were able create this new role. I was cemented in this company. Before I knew it, we were at 50 employees. Then 60. Job security was the highest it could possibly get, aside from being an owner.  65.  Then I heard about an open position at a vendor that stopped me dead in my tracks.

I contemplated not even applying. Things were going so well, so why on earth would I ever consider leaving? Why face all the fear, the risk and uncertainty that starting a new career brings. Why even entertain the thought of making the transition from an MSP to a vendor? Then I applied. A short while later, I accepted.

Tough Decision

The decision to leave the place that I loved for the past nine years was not an easy one.  I found myself asking these same questions over and over. The only answers I could ever really come up with were two words: challenge and opportunity.

No doubt this new role will be challenging. I certainly have my work cut out for me. Once I got past my initial fears, the underlying answer, the thing that makes this all worth it, is the opportunity this change provides. All the things I’ve learned along the way. All the mistakes I have made. All of the successes I was fortunate to be a part of. I have the opportunity to take what I have learned--the good, the bad and the ugly--and now I get to help other MSPs achieve the same success that we experienced.

In the short time in my new role, I quickly learned that I made the right decision. The insight and perspective I am able to offer is something that is truly helpful. Spending time with various departments within our organization, and sharing my experiences and thoughts, is only going to make all of us better. The conversations I’m having with other MSPs, the sharing of ideas and, most of all, the continued learning that I get by having these conversations is extremely valuable.

That’s the thing about the channel community--we all love to share what we have learned. The willingness to help others is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Now I get to be involved in even more of these conversations. Now I get to meet with people all over the country that provide these services. Now I have even more of an opportunity to share my thoughts and help. All of this, is why I made the leap from an MSP to a vendor. All of this is why I made the move to Datto.

Just like that, all the words that have been swirling in my head the past few weeks--fear, uncertainty, doubt and risk--are all behind me. It’s exciting and new for me. It’s full steam ahead, on a completely different kind of train. I hope to see you at the Datto Partner Conference in June, or drop me a line at etorres@datto.com.

Eric Torres is Channel Development Manager, Datto. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

 

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