If you are missed, you’ve done something right.
A little over a year and a half ago, after being thoroughly fed up with the rut I was in, I started a tiny computer repair and general tech service operation that I advertised for on Craigslist. I had a grand total of one employee on the payroll: myself.
I thought it was a pretty humble operation, as I stuck with free or nearly free services to manage everything. I made a name, a site with a scheduling feature, used Square for payments, and a ticket tracking system for myself. Maybe it was overkill for the handful of weekly appointments I had, but I enjoy setting up pieces like these and putting them to work. It was a layer of professionalism to what so many others in my position treated as throwaway gigs.
As a part of a recent application process I logged into my old materials to refresh my memory as to how I kept track of all of the pertinent information. In going through my old work voicemail, long abandoned, I was surprised to hear a pair that were fairly recent:
 Omar, this is ****. You serviced my computer about a year ago and you rebuilt my machine pretty amazingly…I haven’t seen anything from you online in a while so I figure you might be gone, but I just don’t feel as comfortable with a lot of these tech people here in the valley…they’re not like you.
[2, 2 weeks later] I just had another horrible experience with one of these techs out here…you’re the only one I can trust at this point so if you could call me…
I had some repeat customers in my time, but I was taken aback that someone would remember me and have my contact information after all this time. I was of course decent and cordial to everyone, but I’ve never thought of this as anything unique to me. To me it’s just common sense.
When I started, I was armed with a used laptop that had an odd red flicker at the bottom of the screen, a handful of thumb drives that I had amassed over the years, a few blank CDs that I had sworn would come in handy someday, and a small pack of tools from the dollar store. The day of my first appointment I put on my dress shirt and slacks, only to find that I’d put on enough weight that they were quite tight and uncomfortable. I didn’t have enough to buy new clothes with and I was sick of the indignity of being supported at every turn, so I quite literally sucked it up and went.
So it went. I had next to nothing but my knowledge, half a tank of gas, a locked and loaded wardrobe malfunction at the ready to make things interesting, and some rudimentary tools. Above all else, however, I had optimism and a good attitude. And that was enough to get the job done. That was enough to earn someone’s trust. That was enough for someone to value me. That was enough for someone to remember me. It was enough.