While there are many benefits to running an online business, there are also some difficulties. When you’ve got a traditional job, for example, you usually get sick time and if some major disaster strikes, you’re not usually expected to make it to work. Online, however, you need to be working 24/7/365 in order to keep everything running smoothly. Of course, you’re not physically working the entire time, but if you don’t have things set up properly, taking more than a little bit of time can really cause problems.
What would happen, for example, if you got the flu (or some other severe illness) and you physically couldn’t get to your computer for a week? What about if the power in your city goes out for several days in a row? Would your ad campaigns function properly? What about your email responders? Do you offer any type of customer service, and if so, what would happen with that? These, and many other, questions need to be asked by any serious marketer who wants to avoid the major problems that can occur when you’re unable to work on your business for a while.
Affiliate/Internet Marketer Disaster Plan
If you want to make affiliate or internet marketing your career, you need to come up with a good disaster response plan. Most traditional businesses have a plan of action that they will follow in the event of a major problem, and your business shouldn’t be any different. The following are a few suggestions that you can consider. Review them, and try to come up with your own specific course of action that you’ll take.
Set Your Budgets
When you are buying things like PPC ads or other recurring marketing expenses, you should always set daily, weekly or monthly budgets at a reasonable level. If you suddenly become unable to directly manage these items, they should be able to keep going at a standard level until you’re ready to come back.
Setting a smart budget in areas like ad spend can help ensure you won’t log on after the disaster to find you’ve wasted a lot of money, but you also won’t find that you’ve stopped running ads all together. It can be especially smart to have a set of proven ads that run at a steady level, and then experimental ads that you have to have much more direct control over.
Consider Hiring an Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to help keep the essentials of your business going, even when you’re offline. You can hire assistants to help you just a few hours per month, or full time. Depending on the specifics of your business, this can also be a great way to help you be able to focus on more important things, while offloading some of the more menial tasks to your assistant.
If you do hire a virtual assistant, make sure they know what they should do if you ever notify them that you’ll be offline for a few days due to illness, a vacation, or any other problem. Even consider telling them to take some specific actions if they find that you haven’t been online for a set amount of time.
Schedule Your Content
Rather than writing a blog post or other piece of content, and manually posting it each day, consider scheduling them ahead of time. If you take the time to write up 5-10 blog posts, you can have several weeks’ worth of content all set up and ready to go. This way, if you can’t do it for a while, your site will still have the appearance of being active.
You can also automate some types of interaction with your customers using email auto responders. These are a great way to regularly reach out to visitors, and interact with them. The interaction can be scheduled well in advance, which helps to ensure your business is running properly, even when you’re not around.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
With mobile smart phones and other devices today, you don’t need to be sitting at a desk to be working. By saving all your information to a cloud service, you can access it from anywhere. This is extremely helpful during many different types of disasters. For example:
- If you are sick, you can often still lay on your couch, and check your business from your tablet (just don’t overdo it, you need to focus on getting better!)
- If your internet is down, you may still have cellular data coverage on your smart phone.
- If the power is out in your area, grab a laptop or tablet and head to a coffee shop with free WiFi down the road.
- If a hurricane is heading toward your town, you can still work from a relative’s house or a hotel room in a city far from danger.
By having everything you need saved online rather than on your hard drive, you aren’t tied to working in just one area. There are many free and paid cloud services out there, take a little time to see which ones work best for you.