November 23, 2016

How being paranoid saved my business multiple times (and could save yours too)

How being paranoid saved my business multiple times (and could save yours too)

On this episode, Wilco we’ll be talking about something that is a bit more responsible or maybe you might say either paranoid or smart.






Hey everyone. It's me, Wilco de Kreij here. Welcome back to yet another episode. Today is actually one day before my birthday. Tomorrow, I'm getting 30 years old, which is quite an age, actually, depending on what age you are. You might be thinking, "That's old" or you might be thinking, "That's actually still quite young." In any case, I think it's okay. I'm happy with where I am.

One thing ... When you hear about someone who's actually turning 30, you probably think, "All right. He should be a grown-up," but I like to think of myself as still a bit of a little kid, basically. I still love to go to Disney. I go to Disney perhaps even every year or so. I just love things like that.

Anyway, today, I'll be talking about something that is actually a bit more responsible or maybe you might say either paranoid or smart. I like to decide at the end of this episode.

If you've been following me for a while, then you know that in the past, my business went back to zero multiple times. The first time this happened was when I was 100% dependent on Google AdSense as my monetization strategy. At some point, they closed down my account. I went from doing really well to zero, literally, overnight.

You might think I learned something. I guess not because a couple of years later, my whole business was not 100%, but more or less 99% depending on traffic that was coming from Google AdWords. I was buying traffic from Google AdWords. At some point, they changed their algorithms. I lost all my traffic once again literally overnight.

I had it happened two times where I was doing really well. I worked on my business for years and then just in a matter of a single email, it was boom, slap, done. I was back to zero. I actually learned a really, really powerful lesson because of that. I was actually talking about this last week when I was doing an event here in the Netherlands for a group of entrepreneurs and marketers. I told them what I'm going to say to you now.

You want to have a backup for everything. What I mean is that I'm not just talking about a backup of your files, but basically, what I'd like you to do is look at your business and think, "Is there something in your business that if you would just take it away, the business would be in trouble?" More often than not, there's something bad that you can just take away, and if that happens, you're screwed, basically.

In my experience, it's not really a matter if it's going to happen. It's more or less a matter when it will happen because a lot of stuff will go down, especially when you're in business for a while. You'll notice that all kinds of stuff can go wrong. It could be a technical problem. It could be with your staff. It could be a legal problem. Whatever it is, but there's a ton of stuff that actually could go wrong.

After I had that experience in my early stages of starting my business, of going back to zero multiple times, I actually said to myself, "I'm not going to be dependent on any single thing any longer." I actually became a bit paranoid, I guess, because of that.

Let me just give you an example of how this actually recently saved my business. Earlier this year, we were launching Connect Retarget. When we launch a product, it's basically a short period of time where we have a special offer. We invite a lot of affiliates to promote it to their audience and all of that. Because of that, because it's all packed into just a few days, those few days, usually, four or five days, are pretty much non-stop work. I don't sleep a lot. There's a lot of work to happen.

Earlier this year, we were doing this launch, Connect Retarget, which turned out to be our biggest launch this year, 2016. The first day, with the launch going on, my wife got in an accident. That's the thing with this whole business and all. It's nice and all, but when something like that happens, it just puts things into perspective.

As you can imagine, I just completely dropped the ball in the launch. I just ran to the hospital, and that was about it. For the next couple of days, all I cared about was my wife. Fortunately enough, right now, she's okay and she's fully recovered. All good on that end, but at that point, obviously, all my priority was to cover for her, to take care of her.

What happened with that launch? If this would've happened a couple of years ago, that whole launch would've flopped totally because I was not there. These days, actually, like I said, I prepare for everything.

To give you some examples of what I did in this launch or what I'm doing every launch or any promotion that I do, the first thing I do is I make sure that my sales page is always hosted on two different platforms. Not just on one server, but I also have it on Amazon. I have it at two different places, so that, if, for whatever reason, something goes down, if one of the servers ... If even Amazon goes down ... Trust me, it happens. I actually had it during one of my launches. If Amazon would go down, I could immediately redirect all the traffic to my other website.

I actually use a service for that called Cloudflare. I highly recommend that. It's free. They also have some paid plans. I highly recommend it. That would actually allow you to, even if your server's down, still be able to redirect all your traffic to another location. Whenever there's a downtime, then you can just redirect it. That's just one thing. That's the first thing.

When I think of that and I know how to redirect the traffic, I'm thinking, "What if something happens to me? What if I get hit by a bus, for example, while, at the same time, the server goes down? There will be no one to actually do that."

What I set up is I'm using a service called What they do, they check all my service every 30 or 60 seconds or so. Once they notice that something is down or really slow, for example, not just me, but multiple people in my team will automatically get a text message saying, "All right. Watch out. This site is actually down." I made sure that every single person who gets that text knows exactly what they need to do.

The moment something goes down, even if I'm not there, even if I'm asleep or even if, for example, I just got hit by a bus, though, I'm not hoping that's going to happen, but what if? I still know that it's not dependent on just me.

Earlier on in this podcast, when I asked you, "Is there something that if you would take it away, would the business still be running?" That one thing could even be you. What would happen if all of a sudden, you have to leave for one to two weeks from your business? Even though it's during that big promotion you have planned for months or even though it's during that big launch or big thing that you've been working on for months and months and months, what would happen if you would suddenly have to leave? Because life gets in the way. Because you had a death in your family or someone got hit by a bus or whatever happened, You have some kind of an emergency, and you just have to go. Would you just accept that those couple of months of work are just wasted? I don't like to do that.

Like I said, I plan out everything. I describe all the things that need to happen during a launch, during such a promotion. I make sure that I'm not the only who knows it. I even back up myself.

Yes, I might be a bit paranoid with that, but I really think that it saved my business, especially if you grow and especially if other people are actually dependent on your business. You have your staff. You have other affiliates and all kinds of people who are depending on you. You just cannot take the risk of letting something fail. You just need to make sure that everything you have in your business, whether it's a traffic source ...

If you're just depending on one traffic source, make sure to add multiple. If you're depending on one web host, make sure to have multiple in place. If you have your whole email list at a certain email autoresponder, make sure you'll always have a copy of your full list. Make a copy every week, every two weeks or so, so that whatever happens, if that company would suddenly disappear, you would still have your email list.

That's also why I would never recommend anyone to just focus on, for example, getting Facebook fans. Of course, that's a good strategy, but it shouldn't be "the" strategy. You should never have all your audience at one platform because it's just a risky thing to do. Always spread your eggs in multiple baskets, so to say.

That's really the point here what I'm trying to make. Yes, it's totally okay to be paranoid about that. Just take a napkin, take a piece of paper, whatever you have laying around. Just write down all the things. What could be taken away? What are you depending on in your business in terms of traffic, in terms of convergence, in terms of your customers, in terms of your team? Anything. Just in your mind, answer your question like, "What if this would go away? What if that person on your team actually goes away?"

For that reason, just to give you another example, I could just train my team. For example, my support staff. I could just train them and say, "This is how we all do things" and all that, but I make sure that all that training is also documented, so that even if someone has to leave, even if someone gets pregnant or whatever, someone could just dive in and they could learn all of that quite quickly and just take over, basically.

There you have it. I hope this helps and I hope you will actually do something with it. I hope you're not just going to listen to this and think, "All right, cool. I should maybe do something," because I know for a fact that at some point in time, you're going to regret if you don't really do this. At some point in time, there's stuff going to happen that you don't foresee. There's stuff going to happen that you don't want to happen. If you're prepared for that, even though it takes a bit more time beforehand, then you can just continue instead of being stuck from that point onward.

I hope it helps. I will talk to you all soon on the other side. That means, once I'm actually 30. Talk to you soon everyone. Bye-bye.

"You want to have a backup for everything."

"I make sure that I'm not the only who knows it. I even back up myself."

"If you're just depending on one traffic source, make sure to add multiple."

"You should never have all your audience at one platform because it's just a risky thing to do."

"Always spread your eggs in multiple baskets."