I know, who plans on dying, right? Not me, that’s for sure.
If you’re like me and are planning on living forever, then welcome to the Living Forever Denial Club. If you’re a member, then this is really for you.
So, this happened last week. One of my lovely client’s websites went down unexpectedly. The domain was actually managed by another person. There had never been any communication issues in the past, so I emailed them about the domain potentially needing renewal, let’s do that then get the ball rolling on a transfer of ownership so the client had full control of all of their online assets.
I called. I emailed. I facebooked. I called again. I emailed again. I stalked posts. I noticed they hadn’t been updated in several months. I started to worry they might have gone out of business or something. Anyway, after about 36 hours of stalking, nothing.
The next day the client calls and says she knows why this person isn’t responding – she found their obituary online – they had died 5 months ago!
Such incredibly sad news!! I had no idea who this person was, but after stalking her for a few days, I just felt so sad! That was pretty short-lived however because then I had a bigger problem – how the hell was I going to get access to that domain to renew it!
It’s actually a challenging situation now, with some unknown person taking it over, blah blah blah long story, tens of calls, but I had to submit a report to the domain “police” and we are STILL waiting for a response. Our backup plan is taking affect – that is a story for another day because the simple point of this blog is to tell you, whether you are a client, or have clients,
YOU NEED A BACKUP PLAN.
ESPECIALLY if you are a sole proprietor. WHO is going to help out if you have an accident or, you know (gasp), die?? You just can’t leave your clients dangling. It’s sad you’re gone, but their livelihood is on the line now. Wouldn’t they feel alot better if you had your crap together and a contingency plan should it be needed?
So do this:
- DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. I’ve worked in IT a LONG time and I remember one thing – none of the engineers liked to document anything. I actually loved it. It was in fact how I learned how to design websites – I wanted to create a web-based documentation intranet for my voice and data infrastructure – in the 90’s. Make sure everything is documented in a way the client understands what they have.
- COMMUNICATE/EDUCATE. I’m a big believer the client should KNOW WHAT THEY’VE GOT. Create even a basic document that outlines their implementation, platform, applications, hosting and domain providers, etc and share it with them.
- HAVE A CONTINGENCY PARTNER. As a sole proprietor it’s all on you all the time. But you just might want to think of a contingency plan. Who in your network of colleagues would you entrust this critical information to? It is a good idea to start forming a strategic partner who can bail you out in case the worst happens. You’ll be dead, but your clients will be relieved you did.
- SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. I believe the Client should own and control all of their assets. Many times they, especially smaller companies, have alot of people helping them, and they come and go. It creates chaos. Do the right thing for your clients and help them gather all their assets together as much as possible and document it in such a way they will understand.
In the meanwhile, LIVE LONG AND PROSPER! Emphasis on the LIVE LONG part!