For our new blog series “Community Rocks! Profiles in SMB IT,” we spoke with Joseph Fulgieri, (pictured) owner of JMF TechServices. Located on Long Island, NY, Fulgieri is a one-man shop hybrid MSP who specializes in almost any type of IT need that a small business owner requires. Read more to find out how Fulgieri got his start in IT, how he once got paid by a client in homemade empanadas, and what his personal business philosophy is.SMB Nation: How many years have you been in business?
Joseph Fulgieri: As of this fall I will have been on my own for 10 years. I incorporated my business and became official in January of 2004. My career started off as the I.T Manager for an electrical distribution firm with several branch locations. After this firm was acquired by a larger national electrical distribution corporation, I decided to branch off on my own. In the beginning, there was a focus on serving the electrical industry due to the network of people I had. I have since morphed into an IT “jack of all trades,” and your friendly, neighborhood IT guy. My clients are varied from schools, to funeral homes, small accounting firms to document shredding, hoisting & scaffolding suppliers to non-profits.
SMB Nation: How did you get your start in IT?
JF: I always loved computers and anything electronic. Let me date myself and say I played a lot with a Commodore 64 as a kid. Playing games, contacting bulletin board systems (BBS) with a dial-up modem (Yes, 2400 baud), and some BASIC programming. I also played around with an Apple IIe. While commuting to college at Hofstra University, I held three part-time jobs: (grocery clerk, data-entry job, and freelance IT for residential consumers). Upon graduation, I joined the full-time workforce. I was configuring servers, crawling through the ceilings installing CAT5, finding Y2K bugs, and earning homemade empanadas from the support staff after fixing their desktops! (I still love that, by the way!)
SMB Nation: How many employees do you have?
JF: Currently, I am a one-man shop and have a comfortable selection of clients. I balance having a fixed schedule with a school and servicing the other handful of clients. It’s a difficult balance and could be overwhelming at times with the pressure of keeping everyone happy and managing their services, but on the other hand, it also allows me to be flexible with hours and scheduled days. Although many times I am practically greeting daylight at my desk, I am also able to go on my kids’ class trips and special events. For example, I was able to pick up my son, Michael, from Pre-K today and enjoy a bike ride home together. This is a major benefit. One day soon, I plan to hire someone and grow the business.
SMB Nation: What markets do you serve?
JF: As I mentioned earlier, I am the dedicated provider to a varied small business clientele. I dedicate much of my time at a local school for special needs children, providing technology solutions for their staff in two separate locations. The teachers and the staff are always working so hard with these kids, and they really appreciate the systems I’ve put in place to make their days easier. (Translation: more empanadas!) For the other handful of small business clients, I have recently managed to move from a break-fix to a hybrid managed services model.
SMB Nation: What types of services do you provide, what do you specialize in?
JF: I try to do everything I.T., but I believe my specialty is working with people as a roaming or on-site help desk. They ask me questions on how to do something or fix something that doesn’t work. We joke around, I answer the question or fix the problem…then we joke around some more, and so on. Lately, I’ve been busy with onboarding clients to Office 365, which has introduced additional projects and services.
SMB Nation: What’s your personal business philosophy?
JF: “Don’t get paralysis from analysis”. Keep learning, keep helping people, and have fun making some money out of it. Dedication is what clients want…I strive to exceed their expectations.