Managing Online Business

Business 101: Dealing with Disaster

Running a business can be like wrangling toddlers or herding chickens. There are days when every step you take lands you in a pile of poo. Days when nothing goes the way you planned.

I recently had one of those days. One moment I was checking files on my hosting server. The next I was looking at a blank folder.

bad newsSuddenly seeing all of your web hosting files disappear is a stomach-churning, nail-biting, oh my gosh moment. Between the sudden aching head and the stomach that feels like you just survived a killer roller coaster, there are a few short breaths and a “deer-in-the-headlights look” moment.

In the midst of setting up this site, I experienced that moment. After the initial rush of disaster- adrenaline, I realized that all I had to do was message my host and have everything restored. I had been diligent in maintaining my files below the minimum size so they would be included in the weekly backup.

Yeah, right. Unfortunately, my account was not included in the most recent backup. Now the potential disaster was a full-fledged one. Everything was GONE. Nothing left except the one file I wanted to get rid of.

I am sure I initiated the sequence of disasters. I am also the one who failed to follow the cardinal rule of owning a website – DO YOUR OWN BACKUPS.  (I did have a backup from 4 months earlier so all was not totally lost.)

I was fortunate that other obligations had kept me too busy to do anything online so I did not lose any active money sites. That would have been a real disaster – financially as well as emotionally. After absorbing the fact that my hosting contents were toast, I had a mess to clean up.

Recently, I had toyed with the idea of parking all but one of my domains. Of starting fresh. Now my fresh start was a reality. I had a clean slate to create whatever I desired.

First, I broke up with the webhost I had been with for years. I cancelled all accounts with them. I then secured hosting with a provider who actually performs backups – daily! I chose one important website to work on (this one) and left all other domain names parked.

What did I learn from this experience? To take responsibility for my own backups. That being prepared is more than a boy-scout motto.

And that some days are made for chocolate.