💰🤦🏻♂️ Profitable Mistakes (#2)
That time I forgot to use BCC and blasted an email to over 500 (very angry) people.
I'm going to share with you a story that no one knows.
It has to do with a mistake that I made in the very early days of my business. I laugh about it now (because it was so stupid), and I'm sure you will too. But more importantly, I hope that you learn from my mistake! So, something that I always wanted to give customers of LearnDash was free integrations.
In other words, you buy LearnDash and get all the in-house integrations for free (no upcharge). The thing is, I wanted to avoid listing these free integrations on wordpress.org.
There are a variety of reasons, but mainly because I wanted to avoid having customer support spread out over multiple platforms. Plus, someone could nuke an add-on with a 1-star review and perspective customers may mistake that for a review of LearnDash itself.
In any event, I decided not to list them there. This meant that the add-ons did not have automatic updates.
Instead, when an update was made, I would email customers who downloaded that specific add-on (because there was no need to email all customers).
Well, one day in 2013 an update was made to the WooCommerce add-on for LearnDash. At that time, I was the one responsible for pushing out the updates when they were complete.
So, I did my usually steps of packaging up the download and notifying the individuals who downloaded this add-on. I then fired up regular email... and sent the update notice as I always did.
At the time, to about 500 people. Except I put every email in the “TO” section and not the “BCC”.
Yeah... that happened.
As you would expect, I got many replies. Some people were laughing at me, others were “letting me know” what happened, and of course others were pissed-off and wanted to know what I would do to fix this situation.
I was embarrassed, and angry at myself. Ultimately, the mess settled down. I can't recall exactly how I went about easing the tension, but I was responding to every message that was sent. In the end, it was an honest mistake by a young startup.
It ultimately was forgiven and forgotten (by everyone except me). After that incident, I linked all email to the email service provider I was using at the time (MailChimp) and eventually added auto-updates to add-ons.
I was determined to never make a mistake like that again, and I never did. If you make a mistake in your business, do what you have to do to own up to it and make sure you learn from your mistake. If you make it twice, then shame on you. Mistakes are the greatest teacher.
The above story highlights another important part of business that isn't talked about enough, and few people understand: privacy policies and terms & conditions.
However, once you start getting regular customers, then it's time to “level up” your legal game.
There is no cool trick to this. Hire a lawyer or law firm. Having a lawyer draft these up (or review your draft) won't cost you a fortune, but it won't be cheap. Regardless, it's worth your peace of mind.
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