Fear factors

February 2, 2013 at 7:48 am | Posted in social media | 19 Comments
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Fear of the unknown … AND the known!

A few years ago I commissioned a $2500 scorched-earth rebuild of my entire website.

While it all turned out right in the end, I thought it might amuse you to know how I felt at the time.

I expected a faint pang of apprehension at this point; now that it’s here, I’m downright scared.

I’ve written dozens of sites for clients, but this is different. It’s my site, my brand, my business and my money, um … line of credit, actually.

In short, it’s my arse online. I’m literally trembling as I type. Will I triumph, or come a cropper?

Let’s play the fortunately/unfortunately game to see:

Fortunately  I have a good man in my corner. He’s been my IT Guy for a couple of years and his service is second to none. He’s fast and smart and reasonably priced. He’s got offsite backup thingys coming out of his serial port, so that’s got to be good.

Unfortunately  my years of experience with web projects have taught me that they’re longer and stringier than the longest, stringiest bits of string. What starts as a five-page walk in the park can turn into a 15-volume Grimm’s fairy tale. Overnight.

Fortunately  I did things by the book. I wrote an explicit, four-page plan of what I wanted in terms of content, structure and functionality. I also wrote a creative brief, complete with sample images, to give the designer a clear sense of my vision. I even gave the URL of the site I wish to emulate – a site, ironically, whose content I edited with supreme confidence!

Unfortunately  until you see everything on screen, you don’t know how (if?) it’s going to work. And even if it’s all done right and I love it, my clients may not. They range from sole traders to corporate juggernauts; what pleases some may repel others. It all comes down to my professional judgment which, though unerring to date, feels strangely frail today.

Fortunately  I have a small circle of gifted, trusted, objective advisors. To these generous people I will send the site mock-ups that precede the main event.

Unfortunately  until we go live, I won’t know for sure whether all this time, money and effort will pay off.

Fortunately  the Empire is soon to be mentioned in a major magazine and featured on MYOB. It’s possible that hordes of new visitors will give me the feedback I crave.

Unfortunately  the site may not be ready in time for this exposure, and these rich, new prospects may hit (and flee) my tired, old site which is so in need of a makeover.

Fortunately  if the whole thing collapses in a screaming heap, I’ll at least get some amusing blog posts out of it.

All this goes to show that when you’re reinvesting your own hard-earned cash, even decades of expertise offer scant comfort.

Do you trust yourself?

Whence comes your confidence?

Your advice, warnings and hilarious anecdotes are invited at this point.

Wish me luck!


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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  1. Hey Paul,

    That sounds far too scary to me. $2500… yikes. I’d be pooping 2500kg. Hmm, too much detail. Funnily enough, the scariest thing I’ve done was the other way around, as it were – I was the provider and someone else’s arse was on the proverbial line – so I would imagine that your IT guy is probably in the loo right now because he understands how important it is.

    In my case it was a book edit. My first. On a totally unknown subject. For actual publication. Final edit, in other words. As it turned out, my fear was what made it work – I was so nervous, I must have done five times as much work on it as was necessary! Client was happy, everything fine, she even got a book deal out of it (and presumably a “proper” editor for that version).

    So here’s a word of wisdom: if it’s so scary it makes you want to run away and curl up into a whimpering, pathetic ball of aaaargh, you did the right thing in handing it to a professional.

    Best of luck… can’t wait to see it. :o)

    • Hi, Spike! Lovely to hear from you – and with such a beaut comment to boot! 🙂 I always enjoy getting your perspective, and I think your wisdom is very … wise. Thanks heaps for dropping by! Kind regards, P. 🙂

  2. I agree that pressing go on one’s own affairs is fraught. I try to take a long-term view. In 100 years, who will know or care? The other trick is a simple ‘Ready Fire Aim’ philosophy. Trust? Confidence? Hilarious anecdotes?? If only we had a lobster in the forum …

    • Forum?

      • I like the cut of your jibes, Ad. Any plan is better than none. And if you just have a crack, you can always fix it as you go. Your lobster jape eludes me; could you expand? Kind regards, P. 🙂

        • Qu’est que c’est ‘Spike’?

          • “Spike”, c’est mon nom. Pour le reste… ben… la langouste, c’est une longue histoire!

            • That’s the trouble with these international blogs. Too many jolly foreigners. 😉

              • Pffft… you colonials. There’s just no helping you. 😉

            • Spike est un nom bon. Et alors langouste et aussi tres bon. Vous dites langouste, je dis Lacoste. 🙂 Mais, votre gravatar est un cochon??? Je ne comprends pas comme d’habitude. Ignorer Paul …il est juste un colonial.

              • Le cochon est a cause du “half hog”, bien sur. Juste pour encore vous confondre, la langouste etait toujours menottee… comme j’avais dit, ca c’est une autre histoire…

                • It’s days like this that make blogging worthwhile.

                  • I do my best to bring a little something extra to the world. Admittedly, that “little something” is usually a bout of demented nonsense but hey, I try…! 🙂

      • Fora??

  3. Yeah, well Paul it used to be great when we were really in charge. We didn’t have electronic pages so we could look at the job as it proceeded and tell the printer what to do if he tried to talk in jargon or pull the wool over our eyes. Nowadays these web people talk in a language of their own and they’re always turned on by the latest gizmos without giving a thought to how the site will look to, or work in, the eyes of the prospect.

    The best approach in my mind is to always see what they’ve done for others and to check them out to ascertain how good they were at delivering as briefed. It’s amazing what a check with a previous client will reveal!

    • Hello Winno! Such a pleasure to see you here. 🙂 Yes, I can (just) recall the halcyon days of physical sign-offs. Once the client put real pen to actual paper, they owned it! I do like your suggestion. If I’d only done that with my home renovation, I’d be $50,000 richer! Thank you very much for commenting. Kind regards, P. 🙂

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