It all started Thursday June 26.

I had been promoting my signature program, Conscious Business Design, all over the place for the past month. During the final week of enrollment, I’d done 5 different interviews, hosted back-to-back webinars, and was about to close the doors at Midnight on Sunday, June 30th.

If you’ve ever promoted a big offering like this… you know how no matter how much time you give people to enroll {2 months or 2 weeks}, most of your final enrollments come at the last minute?

In my experience, as many as 60% of the peeps who enroll in any online program finally sign up the last few days of enrollment.

Those last few days are CRUCIAL. They can make the difference between barely hitting your minimum enrollment numbers {the # you need just to cover your expenses} and completely selling out your program.

So Thursday morning… I sat down with my cup of coffee and opened my browser to check on overnight messages + enrollments.

Weird. A couple messages from peeps saying they can’t access the enrollment page.

So I click over to the website. And it’s slllloooooooowwwwwwwww.

Really slow.

And once the little spinny wheel stops, it says “Error”.

Sh*t. Not good.

So I call my hosting provider tech support. After a brief call, it looks like there is a problem with the server. They’re already aware of it and it should be up in the hour.

It’s early and I’m on the East Coast, so I figure I’ll just wait for an hour or two and check again later. So I start working on other must-do tasks for the day.

A couple hours later, I check back. The site is coming up! But still super slow. Slow is better than an error, so I send a quick note to my team and head out for some time at the park with my kiddos.

This pretty much continues through the day. My site is either completely inaccessible or insanely slow. My team sends me a message saying they’ve looked at everything on our end and the problem is with the hosting provider’s server {which we can do nothing about but put a support ticket in and wait}.

By Friday morning, I’m getting a little pissed. I’ve spent about 4 hours on the phone with the hosting provider and am getting no where. They don’t seem to have a CLUE what is happening or why my site isn’t coming up.

Finally, I get it escalated to a higher level support. They tell me it’s a problem with the server my site is on. Apparently it’s an older server and it’s having some problems. They aren’t sure how long things will be down.

Essentially they tell me there is nothing I can do but be patient and hold tight.

At this point, I’m wanting a solid answer. And an actual solution. I call up my amazing online biz manager, Amber, and we decide to see what kind of solution we can come up with since the hosting provider isn’t giving us anything other than “Hold tight”.

We get back on the phone with the hosting provider and ask to be moved to a new server since they have no estimated time for fixing the old one. Keep in mind – this is a drastic step. One that could take up to a day to complete from start to finish BUT we know we’ve gotta get live as soon as possible, and after over a day of issues, I’m itching to feel like SOMETHING is happening.

By Saturday night we’re live again on the new server*.

Whew.

Crisis averted.

Or so we thought.

We extend enrollment for a few more days and decide to host a live Google Hangout to keep the excitement up. I invited some of my Business BFFs to join me live + we have an amazing time. Conscious Business Design fills up!

Then we shift focus from enrollment mode to teaching mode. I’ve got amazing brand new content for Conscious Business Design scheduled to go out and we’re loading it into our members website.

And the same thing happens. Members site is down. We can’t access it or any of our websites. WTF!

I’m back on the phone with the hosting company. Amber is on the phone with the hosting company. Our amazing web guys are chatting online with the hosting company. We’re all trying to get answers. And we aren’t getting many.

Adding insult to injury… now said hosting company support is now telling me that I should upgrade my service package. Instead of actually fixing what I’ve already paid for.

*And it turns out they didn’t actually get us migrated to the new server.

At this point I was fed up and really frustrated. I’d been with this hosting company for YEARS and had always been thrilled with their service. Any time I’d had an issue, they always cheerfully resolved it. But all this run-around about their server acting glitchy, not getting any straight answers, and not getting any recommended solutions other than “Hold Tight” had me searching for a better solution.

Ultimately, we ended up moving all of the Yogipreneur websites over to a brand new hosting provider {who we are thrilled with so far – especially their amazing support}.

What we did right…

I Outsourced My Freak-Out.

Situations like this can be infuriating. Compound the frustration with the complete feeling of helplessness and lack of control… it’s enough to make anyone go insane.

But I knew that freaking out and screaming at someone over the phone was only going to make the situation worse. Big tip — if you want people to help you out, especially during a situation like this, be NICE. The minute you start blowing up and throwing around accusations, they will NOT want to deal with you. If you become the Pain In The Ass Client… expect people to treat you that way.

I handled everything as calmly and professionally as I could. Amber and I vented to each other about the situation, BUT we kept our conversations with the hosting provider support team direct + polite.

And the biggest part of minimizing freak-out? Letting my team do their job. After I made the initial calls to see what was happening, I turned the situation over to the peeps who were actually fluent in the techy speak that was wayyyy over my head.

I Connected With My Community.

The moment we realized there were some issues, we put updates on all our social media channels. We emailed our entire list a quick heads up. We let ’em know that we were having technical difficulties and all would be well!

It’s not about maximizing or minimizing what’s going on… it’s just about communicating that there is an unexpected problem, you’re working on it, and here’s how you can contact us in the meantime.

This is why it’s so incredibly important to build and nurture a community! I received lots of reassuring responses, words of encouragement, and thanks for the update emails after we let everyone know what was going on.

And sending them updates when something unexpected happens let’s them know that you’re on top of things.

I Created A Plan B.

The truth is things are ALWAYS going to go wrong. Plans won’t go exactly as you hoped. You’ll have to adapt, overcome, and change if you want to keep moving your business forward.

I could have very easily said “Eff it. Enrollment closes in 3 days. I’ll just close it down early. Whatever.” {Imagine me saying that in a very bratty voice, hands on my hips, and stomping my foot – because that was what my inner brat wanted me to do!}

But I knew that there were people who wanted to participate in this program who hadn’t enrolled. I knew that we were only half-way full. And I knew that this program is the biggest revenue generator for my business… saying “Eff it!” would most likely be a short term stress relief that would bite me in the butt when I didn’t hit my projected revenues in a few months and I’d have to hustle much much harder for months to make up for the loss.

So we extended enrollment for another week. I focused on providing create free content via blog + email for my community. I reached out to my Business BFFs for support + asked if they would be up for joining me for a LIVE Google Hangout.

When I couldn’t get into our membership site – we put together another Plan B. Uploaded private videos to YouTube. Emailed out links + attached worksheets. Took care of people the best that I could given the current situation.

Trusted my team to get the site back up and running asap.

I Took Care Of Myself.

If you knew me just a few short years ago… something like this would have me up all night, completely burning myself out and beating myself up. Anxiety through the roof. Panic attacks on the horizon.

Instead…

I took my kids to the park. I booked a massage. I walked barefoot in the grass and read a trashy romance novel while enjoying the sunshine in my backyard.

So often it’s not what happens, but how you chose to respond to the unexpected that determines your success. When this all started happening and I felt the anxiety building, I knew I couldn’t serve my clients and do my best work from a place of overwhelm and exhaustion. I had to fill up my own love tank first.

What we learned…

Secure Your Site.

Luckily the majority of our issues were around the actual server… but throughout the summer we also had a small malware attack on a smaller site before we moved it to our new hosting. Malware is essentially when someone {or some bot} hacks your site and messes with the code. Often, you don’t even know it’s happened until Google Blacklists your site – meaning people can’t access it and a big scary warning comes up that this site is infected.

Not so good for business!

This had actually happened to a clients website earlier in the year – and it ended up taking our team almost 40 hours to clean up the site {and that doesn’t come cheap!}.

Thank goodness we had invested in a subscription to Sucuri earlier in the year. Sucuri monitors all your sites for threats, cleans up sites + servers, and they’ll even make sure you aren’t blacklisted by Google.

So when we had our little malware attack, Sucuri emailed and texted me right away. We were able to get it cleaned up and secured within a couple hours.

Back It UP!

There are certain things I just don’t ever seem to remember no matter how much I try. Like putting money aside in savings each month. Or getting the oil changed in my car. Or backing up my website. That’s why I depend on systems and tools that ensure this all happens, even if I forget!

Thanks to BackUp Buddy, I didn’t have to stress that I would lose my site completely. We’ve got it set to automatically backup the entire website every week! So at most, I might lose a post or two.

This was such a HUGE relief! And amazingly helpful. We were able to move service providers much much faster because we could take our most recent backup and upload it to the new site. Even while the OLD server was down. Whew!

You Get What You Pay For.

Imagine you want to open a brick + mortar business in your local town, so you look up rental space. You know you want to open shop in a safe, secure neighborhood but you know that the best locations don’t come cheap.

So you compromise to get the most bang for your buck. You find a great deal on a space… with a catch. It comes “As Is”. You’re responsible for maintaining it and fixing things when they break.

Choosing a hosting provider is a lot like choosing a landlord. Hosting providers rent you space for your website. They are responsible for maintaining the server, but if there are any other technical issues, most hosting providers do not provide much, if any, support.

I’m pretty tech savvy, but there are plenty of things that are completely out of my area of expertise. And when my websites are running slow, infected with malware, or just showing error messages, I want to be able to call a 24-hour support number and talk with someone who actually KNOWS what is happening.

When I had first signed up with my original hosting company, I was thrilled with their offer of hosting for less than $6 a month. That was for sure in my bootstrapping budget! But as my business {and websites} grew, I was paying my own web team several hundred dollars a month just to ensure things were running smoothly.

It took all of this angst for me to realize that if I’d just upgraded to a hosting service that was designed for my exact type of site + business, it would easily have saved me a lot of time, money, and headache. Instead of spending money to fix problems, I could be investing in other areas of my business.

Once I had this realization, I took stock of what I wanted in a hosting provider. I wanted a provider with amazing support, a team of WordPress experts, and amazing security. I don’t wanna stress about a server going down! And I didn’t want to be constantly having to learn about {and pay a team} for security. I’d heard amazing things about WPEngine, they fit all my criteria, and we made the move.

Remember… An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!

This holds true for websites too! Even though there are lots of free or cheap ways to host your website, if this is your LIVELIHOOD, the way you put food on the table + take care of your family, you don’t want to gamble with it!

 

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