With any new project, a solid design is a good place to start. So often have I seen databases designed on-the-fly only for data to be shuffled around to get that "link" table added. Or worse yet, tacking on extra columns like the classic: "image1, image2, image3...".
Boss got you to log into that Linux server, sitting in the basement, to make that database backup?
Here are a handful of useful mySQL terminal commands to get you started. The order of operation is that of "next step" logic.