Seeing as today was a fairly uneventful day in the blogosphere I decided that I would share another lesson with you that I have learned (which has manifested itself into rule number three). I think it would be best to preface the third rule with an explanation of what all these rules are about. As I previously mentioned, I have started an “interactive agency”. According to Wikipedia’s definition of an interactive agency is
an agency offering a mix of Web Design/Development, Search Engine Marketing Internet Advertising/Marketion, or E-Business/E-Commerce consulting.
Since it is the first business of mine that has actually experienced positive cash flow, I decided that I would document much of my experience along the way. Hopefully, I can compile this at a later date into something that will help others overcome the challenges of starting an interactive agency, development house, or any other type of company in the web industry. Now onto that lesson of mine.
Rule 3: Don’t put your eggs in one basket, especially if the basket is under the control of someone else
I have always enjoyed the cheap, dedicated service of my current host (I won’t name names, but they start with the number one, end with the number one, and have a three letter word in the middle that is used separate items in a list). At my previous company we used to limit the number of websites on a given server to five websites. Whether or not my existing server can handle such a load (which it definitely can), I have just piled on two fairly large websites that receive a moderate amount of traffic.
Regardless of the technical aspect of the situation, the main point here is that I spent a large chunk of my day on the phone with my hosting provider. Not only today either. I spent much of yesterday and Saturday on the phone as well. There is unfortunately a large gap between reasonably priced virtual hosts, and managed dedicated servers. I guess in the short-term I will need to deal with consequences of putting these clients on a virtual host (no down-time but it is really slow going when managing the server), but in the future, Rackspace is looking like a great solution.
For the non-web savvy individuals reading this entry, first of all I am surprised you made it this far. Second, the main point of this rule is to simply say don’t rely on one person or company to handle the majority of your problems (especially when they have an offshore customer support team who will simply “upgrade the issue to an admin”).