How to fix a big mistake

Orange Cones and Their Strange Whereabouts
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sister72

Last Monday the lovely Rachelle from Magpie Girl posted an interview with me about my Internet Hand-holding consulting service. It’s a good interview, you can read it here. As part of the interview, I offered a half price deal on a session of my consulting. Instead of the usual price of £70, Rachelle's readers could get it for its original £35. I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook. I thought it was great deal & I was hoping for a few new clients.

And…silence.

No one bought my thing. Tumbleweeds blew past. I felt needy, desperate, sad and pathetic. No one had bought my thing even though it was half-price - clearly no one loved me and everyone thought I was crap. Obviously I was a total failure. Oh woe, woe and thrice woe.

A revelation occurs

This evening I was messing around on my site when I realised that the sales page for Internet Hand-holding had moved in the last couple of days due to a bit of site tweaking.

‘Oh’, thought I, ‘I hope that Rachelle’s people aren’t getting an error page now. I should check on that.’

So I did. And it was even worse.

Rachelle and I had done the email interview some time ago and in the meantime, I had written a lovely new sales page. Unfortunately Rachelle did not know this because I had not told her. I hadn’t realised that the only link she had was for the original blog post announcing Internet Hand-holding and it didn't occurred to me to check the link when the interview was posted.

Unfortunately the original blog post did not link to the nice new sales page. In fact, it only had an old, dead Bixbe link on it. So, for an entire week, anyone clicking on the link from Rachelle’s site hoping to get a lovely special deal was directed to a page where there was absolutely no way they could buy my thing. No way at all.

Peeps, I’ve done some pretty daft things in my time but I have rarely felt quite so stupid as I did at that moment.

How I fixed it

Firstly, I contacted Rachelle, apologised and gave her the correct link. Because she is a sweetheart, she corrected it within the hour.

Then I muttered darkly about my stupidity on Twitter and several people agreed that they had also on occasion had done monumentally stupid things that took their breath away. This made me feel better.

I then edited the blog post that her post linked to. I put a message at the top of the post explaining to her readers what had happened, apologising and directing them to the correct page. I also removed the old dead Bixbe link. While it was unlikely that anyone was going to read the interview a week after it was posted, I wanted to instantly fix the problem because I had no idea how long it would take Rachelle to redirect people. Plus it was entirely my mistake and therefore my responsibility.

Then I told people on Twitter and gave them the direct link and the code.

At this point, I took a small tea break and wandered around the house laughing at myself because hey, at that point what else can you do?

Finally, I wrote this blog post.

What you can learn from this

1) Always check the technical side
‘Check the links’ is clearly the internet version of ‘measure twice, cut once’. If you’ve been featured on someone else's blog, check the links (ideally on the day it goes live, not a week later!) If you’ve moved things around on your blog, update all your links. The other thing I spotted during this debacle was that the link in my sidebar was also incorrect. Because the sales page had been moved, WordPress had magically redirected that link to the old blog post so for several days, no one could have bought my product at all.

2) Don't assume the worst
Because I was feeling sick last week, I instantly jumped to the worst possible conclusion - that everyone hated me and I should go and eat worms. Now it's entirely possible that no one does want half-price consulting but it was daft to assume that was the reason. Plus I spotted and corrected the mistake before Rachelle mentioned the offer to her entire mailing list, so it could have been much worse.

3) Apologise, fix things, move on
You can recover from what seems like disaster if you act quickly and openly. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept yours, tell people what happened, fix the problem, move on. I'm not going to beat myself up for ages about this. I did about half an hour of 'oh wow, I can't believe I was that stupid', then I dropped it. The important thing is that I've learnt from it.

4. Nothing is wasted
I got a blog post out of this, which is great as I'd been blocked on writing.

Get more help
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I am also available for online consulting if you need one-on-one help.


7 thoughts on “How to fix a big mistake

  1. Great post, love the honesty. As a web professional, I'd say that anyone on the web who claims they've not made a mistake like this is lying. The test, as you say, is how you deal with it. You get get bonus marks for blogging about it as well :)

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    Thanks Steve and at least it got me blogging again. :)

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  2. LOL Kirsty. have done this kind of thing before too. Its almost like the harder you try to get it right the more likely it will go wrong. Its so easy on the web and I second Steve in that anyone who says they haven't is lying. Don't beat yourself up about it. Nice post.

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    Thanks Helen, I think everyone does make these sort of mistakes. It's very easy to do.

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  3. Awww, easily done Kirsty. Glad you bounced back and thanks for the lessons learned :)

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    Thanks for commenting, El. I do usually bounce back - you've got to in this game or you'd just spend all your time licking your wounds.

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