First you have to be sure that you'll do it and also keep in mind that its also a BUSINESS. This is not any part time job or any short time income. You have to be with your clients every time. If you get my point then move on to next part.
Lets divide the business in 3 position, you'll get better understanding. 1) Technical, 2) Accounts, 3) Marketing
1) Technical: This is most important part of your business. You have to make your web hosting strong and secure. Also you have to ready for any troubleshooting job in server. Because every client may have different problems. cPanel/WHM, CentOS, DNS management etc knowledge is mandatory for beginners and level 2-3 cPanel, virtualization, SSH port etc is for pro users.
2) Accounts: You can try HostBills or WHMCS (recommended) for account software then you don't need any qualification to handle this section. This will do all that mandatory things like invoice creating or payment management or account setup, basic auditing etc.
3) Marketing: This is another main part of web hosting business. You have to appoint right person for this section. For customer satisfaction or marketing this is another big part of any business. Marketing can be done on Forums or paid advertising etc.
Hvae you thought about applying to be a support agent in any EIG company like HostGator ? Even if you flunk out/not get picked, at least you learn what are the common questions and solutions that customers have regarding web hosting businesses
To be honest it does not require that much skill to be a hosting provider .:diablo: As you can see there are more hosting providers than customers at times. For me you have to have the entrepreneur spirit and find the able to merge the points mention above. Then to convert those skills to something that can engage your customer when they have a problem. Is that, you are going to outsource or learn system administration, learn the ins and outs of customer service and how to program code etc. Once you have the sources or the know how it not that hard. Its like any other business.
To start providing best hosting solutions you need to have a big knowledge of:
1. Server Security ( Important )
2. Windows & Linux Knowledge
3. Server Platforms - OpenVZ, KVM, XEN, VMWare, Hyper-V ( Not all need to be in use but be perfect on what you going to provide )
4. Control Panels ( My Favorite ) - CPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk - The Popular, if you want to provide the solutions to yours clients, you mst to know all the popular control panels, and know what yours client needs
5. My Favorite - Hardware and Software. You need to know all the polular hardware and software to provide the best solution for yours clients.
For every one who going to say: "Hey you can hire a team that will do the job",
You need to hire them and check their knowledge, so if you don't have the basics, how you going to know if they are good for you?
This the technical view of the business, Now the Customer Service:
+ Basics of customer service
+ Customer Service Team
+ Find the needs of the client and give him the perfect solution for his "problem"
Its my favorite of all what i doing every day: YOU MUST TO HAVE THE BASIC KNOWLEDGE TO GIVE THE BEST SOLUTION FOR YOURS CUSTOMER, FOR BIG CUSTOMERS YOU MUST TO HAVE EVEN MORE THAN A BASIC KNOWLEDGE, ITS A LOOP
1. How to get by with little sleep. Unless you have someone assisting you on an opposite sleep schedule, prepare to get woken up for issues from time to time. If your service goes down in the middle of the night, you need to deal with it. If you client's site is down even, they are not going to be happy waiting until you wake up in the morning. Best have atleast a part time person available on as as-needed basis if you are just starting up alone...if you want to maintain decent support levels for your client base.
You need to be ready to learn all the time.
You need to be prepared to solve problems all the time and have communication skills.
You need to be prepared to staying in your desk working (usually until late) when your friends go out having fun and drinking beer.
And first of all you need to have responsibility of what are you doing. When you are a web hosting provider you are taking care of other dreams, poems, songs, lyrics, businesses and friends family. they count with you to always be there when they need. And you can't fail.
Keep in mind that start web hosting company is not very difficult, the difficult part is surviving. It is very tough business where there is too much competition. Also you will work day and night to get a client and at the end that client pay only $3, if you have only little example of bad support or downtime, this client will run away.