I cocked up a client’s site today -well not their site -the new website is just fine and they are happy, but I stuffed up their email. I hadn’t realized that I needed to add a MX entry to redirect the mail sub-domain to ensure that mail still went through their current provider. It took me a few hours to figure this out between several calls to find out who the email provider was and then get the right tech details from them, and a live chat session with Hostgator to make sure I didn’t fuck it up further.
I was working under pressure, people’s email was heading out into the interstitial void instead of their inboxes. I didn’t know WHAT an MX record was at the start, I just knew I must have caused the problem. I chased the people I needed to find the right technical info, I learned a lot about how email works on the Internet, I implemented the solution.
I focused and worked and sorted it out.
I looked up after 3 hours, decided the dog needed a walk and I needed a coffee.
Then I wondered – why? Why can I focus that well on a technical problem, and yet I struggle so much with focusing to write the bloody books I need to write, develop the sites I need to develop. Get to the income goals I need to reach?
As I walked I thought about why I was good at technical support.
I learned how to do technical IT support before I even knew what the job involved. I arrived in London in 1986, with no money, the right to work, and desire to work in London and not the North Sea (thereby precluding working in my actual profession – geology).
So I became a typist, a legal typist to be exact, it paid better. I could touch type, I re-did my resume and I started working for a small agency based in the City specializing in secretaries for legal firms.
This was before Windows was invented (yup Word was not the first word processor. Google: DisplayWrite, WordStar, Word Perfect). I ended up being their troubleshooter – there were bazillions of WP packages and quite a number of operating systems (CP/M anyone?). No standard operating system, no plug and play printers. The “network” was large floppy disks, usually poorly labeled. There was no email, or google to find the answer. They’d usually lost the manuals. If the secretary was away and the partner needed a contract printed out for a client – they needed me. It was fun, I had no fear, and nothing to lose, I was well paid and I learned a ton in a short space of time. I don’t remember ever failing either.
A few years later, back in New Zealand, I set up a unix network from scratch. By myself, with a mixture of toll-calls to the supplier in another town, and the manuals. It was mission critical, and it worked well. I had no unix qualifications, no experience, in fact I didn’t know what a systems administration WAS, but someone had to do it – that turned out to be me. I worked stupid hours for months, I was well paid, I learned a ton. I don’t ever remember thinking I would fail, or what if we didn’t get it working right, or what would happen if something went wrong.
These days you’re not allowed administration access to similar servers unless you have a several qualifications, and lots of years experience. From what I’ve seen in more recent work places, they fuck it up more often than I did. But at least there’s always a paper trail and someone to blame. Must truly dreadful doing IT support these days for most corporates.
Which gets me back to – WTF does Lis’s ancient history have anything to do with making money online? It explains something – well to me anyways. It explains why, when faced with a white screen where a website should be, I fix it. When the emails get lost, I find them. I don’t panic, I don’t worry about whether or not it can be fixed, I just find out what I have to do, and I fix it.
So I have this other problem. My income has declined significantly this year. There are three main reasons:
- hubpages stuffed up
- the US$ collapsed (I’m paid in US$ but I don’t spend US$ at the supermarket)
- I fired my long-term client who had got way too picky about their backlinks
The first two were out of my control, the third was simple ROI investment decision.
The net result was that last month, for the first time in a VERY long time, I spent more money than I earned.
So what did I do – did I deal with it by say, figuring out what the problem was, finding out the solution, and then working hard? You know just like when I had to do technical stuff which scares the crap out of lots of people?
And the really, really stupid thing is – I don’t actually have to problem solve. I know how to fix my income problem, I need to build more websites, build more backlinks, write more books, sell more books, and ensure people go Christmas shopping while using my Amazon Christmas link!.
I just have to do the fucking work. How dumb – one wasted month. Time to start writing.
I’m no good at this pop-psyc stuff – but if you aren’t succeeding have you looked at the guy in the mirror lately – he may be the problem…