It all depends on the size at which you start. Starting out with very little to work with is the hardest. You have to be competitive, but don't have anywhere near the resources to fling about that your competitors do. It's a harsh marketplace, and you will never get rich quick in it.
Ultimately at the smallest possible scale it comes down to a delicate balance of micromanagement and good practices in order to make the little bit you have to start with be enough to stand your ground on. Survival at this level means that you have no choice but to wear all of the hats yourself. You personally oversee every single detail about your hosting business, from the configuration of the servers you are using to supervising your customers so that they don't abuse your services and cause problems.
It is a lot of work to take on, and you'll lose a lot of money your first few years. Don't expect to see any profits at all for at least a year, sometimes even as long as 2-3 years before your investment starts to pay off. Google Adsense doesn't begin payout until you reach $100 in your account with them. So even if you get paying customers right out of the gate, you'll struggle to make ends meet for a long time before you have enough clients and your clients have enough regular traffic just to pay the bills for the servers you are using.
If you survive the beginnings as a one man operation providing good service and fair rates, then your business starts to grow up and you can hand off the parts of the job you don't care for to your new employees. However as long as you sit in the center seat you always will have to be responsible for your business, and will be responsible for making the decisions that affect your success and your profitability.
Now if you have the money to invest, you can skip the beginnings of being a lonely administrator with a couple boxes and a lot of dreams, and jump right into a small operation with several servers and people to help you run things. But for this avenue you automatically become management, and as such have to be certain of your skills in managing such an enterprise or your money will vanish even faster than starting up as a one man show.
I would say, "Learn Linux" instead of purchasing a fully managed server.Not if you know what your doing. Hosting is simply a computer "server" in a data center. Obviously there is more to it than this. I would suggest using fully managed servers if your not a tech geek and when you get to the point to use a rack or cage in a data center to hire experts to manage it for you.
Which is why we dispute what ABM House said.Ive been here since 2009 (Dont let the domain fool you, there is a whole story about the .net when we were just starting up) It is not easy to substain and keep yourself were you are in this market.
I fully understand that. When I tell people that I've been around for over 10 years, they argue with me because the whois on deckerservices.com says the domain was registered in 06. But what they don't understand is that prior to "decker services", I used the domain deeplist.com, which was registered in 2000 and is now just a redirect. Then for two years prior to that, I was simply a reseller, I guess more of an affiliate really, between 98 and 00.Ive been here since 2009 (Dont let the domain fool you, there is a whole story about the .net when we were just starting up) It is not easy to substain and keep yourself were you are in this market.
If it is as easy as what you say, then everyone can just start a hosting company and become rich.