If You Die Or Get Sick What Happens To Your IM Empire?

by DrMeg
31 replies
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The purpose of this post is to pose the question..."What would happen to your IM Empire, Membership Site(s), Accounts, Web 2.0 accounts, etc. if, heaven forbid, something happened to you?"

The reason I pose this question is because I just read the blog post

Crowd Mountain Status Update

by fellow Warrior and IM Guru Michelle MacPhearson explaining how medical problems and an unexpected surgery was the reason why she disappeared from the IM world abruptly last fall, leaving a lot of disgruntled customers of her Crowd Mountain membership site still getting billed for the service. In the post she talks about a lot of events that had a domino effect on what went wrong with her business.

What struck me was that someone I thought was a major "IM Guru" seemed to have a pretty one woman show and no effective safety net for her business when tragedy struck.

The purpose of this post is not to pass judgment one way or another on Michelle or her circumstances. In fact I wish her all the best and wish her a speedy recover from such a set back in her health and business.

Again..the purpose of this post is to ask those of you that have IM businesses, what do you do to take precautions that this sort of thing doesn't happen to your IM business if something, heaven forbid, happens to you?

In particular I'm wondering about the following:

1. What infrastructure do you have in place for someone to takeover for you if you can't run your business?

2. How do you monitor multiple sites and accounts?

3. What advice do you have for a beginning IM business, if we are small and can't afford a VA yet or don't have a business partner, as far as a way to have a plan in place in case something happens to you?

4. How do you track all the content you put out on the WWW and how do you track each property like it's own little business? I guess that's a bookkeeping question.

5. For those of us with minimal time who are just starting our online business, is there any software solutions that can provide a safety net?

Anyway, I thought the Warrior IM business veterans would have good advice about this part of an IM business plan. I'm using January to really map out my business and get my infrastructure in place and Michelle's post just really got my attention that I have no good answer for this in my own business plan.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
#business management #business plan #die #empire #sick
  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Sorensen
    These are all really good questions which unfortunately don't get asked enough by people starting websites aka startups.

    From the beginning of any website I create I try to think about how I can take myself out of the equation as much as possible.

    That means automating traffic and monetization. I will handle my own content creation and customer support initially, but work on getting both of those outsourced cheaply after revenues start coming in.

    Then, if something were to happen to you, at least the business is self sustaining enough to continue providing for anyone left behind.

    Be the architect of your business, not the structure.
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    • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
      Originally Posted by The Exciting Life View Post

      These are all really good questions which unfortunately don't get asked enough by people starting websites aka startups.

      From the beginning of any website I create I try to think about how I can take myself out of the equation as much as possible.<snip>
      That is why outsourcing is not only easier, smarter, and more profitable. It is more responsible too if you have clients or loved ones depending on you.
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  • I think her case was a quite rare one so if you aren't already a victim of information overload, fear of success/failure and procrastination, don't put up another road block for yourself by trying to set up safety nets.

    If you don't yet have a solid business, then there is no need to worry about it breaking down so work on your business first, then worry about the details like that. It just adds to the distraction common to the IM world.

    I myself have staff taking care of things in case I should vanish for untold reasons so my business never breaks down. Back when I started out, I didn't have a plan what to do in case I get sick etc., so I just worked as hard and fast as I could to get myself into a position from where I can pay others to do the work, then get a manager to manage these people etc. It takes a while to get there though, I agree.
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    • Profile picture of the author DrMeg
      Originally Posted by The Exciting Life View Post

      These are all really good questions which unfortunately don't get asked enough by people starting websites aka startups.

      From the beginning of any website I create I try to think about how I can take myself out of the equation as much as possible.

      That means automating traffic and monetization. I will handle my own content creation and customer support initially, but work on getting both of those outsourced cheaply after revenues start coming in.

      Then, if something were to happen to you, at least the business is self sustaining enough to continue providing for anyone left behind.

      Be the architect of your business, not the structure.
      I like the idea of being the architect of my business...I need to review the 4 Hour Work Week again, I suppose... Thanks


      Originally Posted by BacklinkExcellence View Post

      I think her case was a quite rare one so if you aren't already a victim of information overload, fear of success/failure and procrastination, don't put up another road block for yourself by trying to set up safety nets.

      If you don't yet have a solid business, then there is no need to worry about it breaking down so work on your business first, then worry about the details like that. It just adds to the distraction common to the IM world.

      I myself have staff taking care of things in case I should vanish for untold reasons so my business never breaks down. Back when I started out, I didn't have a plan what to do in case I get sick etc., so I just worked as hard and fast as I could to get myself into a position from where I can pay others to do the work, then get a manager to manage these people etc. It takes a while to get there though, I agree.
      Boy you hit the nail on the head!! You've pointed out one of my biggest shortcomings, trying to make everything perfect before I really get the business going.

      I just read another thread today about how people manage 100s of sites and everyone's answers were pretty laid back. Guess I'll quit worrying and get to work and cross this bridge when I get there.

      Thanks for the practical advice!
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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by BacklinkExcellence View Post

      I think her case was a quite rare one so if you aren't already a victim of information overload, fear of success/failure and procrastination, don't put up another road block for yourself by trying to set up safety nets.

      If you don't yet have a solid business, then there is no need to worry about it breaking down so work on your business first, then worry about the details like that. It just adds to the distraction common to the IM world.
      I fully disagree...Even in the planning stage of your business you should be planning contingencies. Not to mention I have seen a lot of other people get sick and not be able to continue.

      If you care about your customers or future customers at all, then you WILL put contingencies into place so that the business can continue if you become incapacitated or even die.

      If you don't, it's not fair to your family, or your customers. I really don't know how you can sit there and give the kind of advice you just posted. It's just wrong and maybe you should rethink what you are telling people. If this is the kind of thing you tell your customers, there is no way I would ever buy anything from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author jitterbug978
    My business would simply come to a screeching halt if I died. My wife knows what to do though and she could end the business without "Screwing" any of my customers over.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
      A real and serious topic for discussion. I have been thinking lately about the ownership of domains and what happens to that site and that agreement that was entered into with leasing the domain name, if something happens to the registrant.
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      • Profile picture of the author AprilCT
        Give yourself and your loved ones or business partner the advantage by documenting everything you do. Never assume that someone else could just take over and run your business with cryptic notes scattered everywhere.

        It really isn't overkill to write a complete operating manual with full instructions to permit someone else to jump in and keep your business in operation. The time it takes could save your business and income in case you are disabled.
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  • The answer to all your questions: Affiliate Marketing
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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by Illumination View Post

      The answer to all your questions: Affiliate Marketing
      And how is that the answer? There are still things that need to be done as an affiliate in order to make money. If your family doesn't know what to do and you can't do it, you are dead in the water.
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  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    Something to think about. I do have a master excel sheet that is password protected that contains all of the password and usernames to all of my online dealings. This includes all of my bills I pay online and several important email addresses. None of my IM stuff is on this sheet.

    At this point in my IM journey I make money primarily through affiliate marketing. The set and forget of it works to my advantage. Additionally I also don't have a family or children. So if I died to tomorrow all of my IM stuff would eventually work itself out. Can you name a beneficiary for a PayPal account?
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    • Profile picture of the author DrMeg
      Originally Posted by jitterbug978 View Post

      My business would simply come to a screeching halt if I died. My wife knows what to do though and she could end the business without "Screwing" any of my customers over.
      But what would happen to her? Wouldn't her income go down dramatically? I guess that's what life insurance is for. Maybe she'd want to take over for you?

      Originally Posted by Illumination View Post

      The answer to all your questions: Affiliate Marketing
      Could you expand on what you mean? Do you mean that the income would just keep trickling in? But what about your estate? Someone will have to deal with your accounts, wouldn't they?

      Originally Posted by BloggingPro View Post

      Something to think about. I do have a master excel sheet that is password protected that contains all of the password and usernames to all of my online dealings. This includes all of my bills I pay online and several important email addresses. None of my IM stuff is on this sheet.

      At this point in my IM journey I make money primarily through affiliate marketing. The set and forget of it works to my advantage. Additionally I also don't have a family or children. So if I died to tomorrow all of my IM stuff would eventually work itself out. Can you name a beneficiary for a PayPal account?
      Good question!! I imagine buried somewhere in all of PayPal's info there might be the answer to that.

      I have an excel spreadsheet too, but it is woefully neglected and not up to date. I'm lousy at record keeping but this question is making me think I need to do some financial and business housekeeping.

      Thanks for the info everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    pssssh... I don't even want to think about it. I get SO far behind, I just had the flu and it seems like a couple days pushes me back a couple weeks. Definitely need to find a better way to support everything. I don't think many people even think about these things!
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  • Profile picture of the author rickfrazier1
    While I have anything but an empire at this point, there are already a number of things in place that would help my wife if something happened to me.

    First, it is important to understand I am an engineer by nature, and have spent more than a little time with general business consulting, so I may think of these things a bit differently than many people. I am also somewhat of an "old dude" so have had thoughts about the fragility of life, particularly after the passing of my mother a few years ago, and my dad's recent hospital stays.

    The following are in place at current time:
    1: Business plans. Yes, I'm actually anal enough about it to have written a business plan that provides information about the goals, methods, and ROI expected for my online businesses. It has a bit more operational information than a typical business plan for a brick and mortar business might have, because of the various stages required: Initial builds, driving traffic, proving profitability, incorporation, scaling to expand and so on. With a typical business plan, much of this is not necessary because it is "obvious" and even though with online marketing the basics are still the same, the implementation is quite different.

    2: spreadsheets containing a listing of all accounts, logins and passwords. This includes offline business endeavors as well as the IM stuff.

    3: backups of all data from each site and all posted articles and such. In the event of a server crash, or the need to move a site to another host, I can upload most of my sites onto a new server in relatively short period of time. Because my wife might not remember my primary passwords, a "master copy" of the accounts and backups is on a portable drive in our safe, so she can just plug it into her computer to get access if needed.

    4: step by step instruction needed to do such things as transfer a domain to a new hosting provider (this part was really easy, as it is part of one of my products).

    5: a contact list of people that could (be paid to) help in the event it is needed. This is really thin right now, but will expand considerably once we incorporate.

    Right now, it would still be difficult for my wife to move things forward, but once we incorporate, it will be easier because there will be other people actually dealing with the day to day operation of the business, and it will require only general management and direction. Also, once she completes her PHD, she plans to host her own memebership site, so she will have first hand familarity with many of the required techniques for at least maintaining a membership site and driving traffic.

    I don't know how applicable the above is for many other people, but I would expect some of the basics would apply:
    1: Some sort of information about the purpose and direction of the business.
    2: Account details (host, login, password, etc)
    3: Backup and recovery information.
    4: contacts for potential help if needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author sephim
    Most People including me are guilty of this. We get stuck working in the Business and not for the Business. I agree with the Poster that said he is always trying to think of ways to get out of the operation of the Business while continuing to grow the Business.
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    • Profile picture of the author New
      This has already occured to me, although I have not yet made money consistently. When I do, I plan to document everything, and train my family to take charge.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    I have always wondered about those websites that offer lifetime memberships. Is that my lifetime or their lifetime?
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    • Profile picture of the author spudnick
      I have posted about this in the past - home based businesses can be very deceptive.

      The tangible nature of brick and mortar business with inventory, warehouses, shop fronts, rent, staff who are physically present e.t.c. makes such endeavours 'feel' like a business. They feel real in the traditional sense of how we have all been brought up to view a business.

      Having a business that is soely based on your PC or Ipad can lure you into treating your business like a hobby and not a real business. You may not think you are affected by this psycological trick, but everyone is from time to time.

      Making money online is not a hobby. It is a business. All of the same due diligence and process need to go into your IM business as would go into a tradtional franchise like a McDonalds.

      Just some food for thought - start nuturing your IM business like a franchise (I suggest everyone read the E-Myth if they haven't already) and you will be on the right track.

      cheers,

      Spudnick
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    My husband would have no idea how to access anything or what to do with it if he could access it. He is a plumber and he is more of a 'physical labor' guy than a computer guy so he really couldn't care less about IM.

    However, my Clickbank, Adsense and 2Checkout accounts all pay directly into my bank account which is a joint account so I guess he could keep receiving payments as long as my sites continued to make revenue.

    Although as soon as he has my name taken off the joint account and my credit cards got closed, then my sites and hosting would die off and so would the income


    But you get that!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    A good friend of mine died and nobody knew any of his passwords so they couldn't access any of his accounts and over time his huge empire just vanished. Now his wife is broke, the house is gone, and at 60 something years old she had to go find a job.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    If I died hopefully I will have time to write a note and tell my Oldest Grandson... "Go to the warrior forum" and you will find the path to everything your grampaw ever knew that was worth anything. There's enough there to help you become successful even if you find yourself in a place where you have nothing! Even poetry about how to become a man... its all there.

    Hopefully I will have time to write that note.

    My wife has all my passwords... but Im not sure she would know how to keep my biz running.

    This thread definitely gives food for thought.

    Edit: Morbid thought, but thought for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author DrMeg
      Originally Posted by spudnick View Post

      I have posted about this in the past - home based businesses can be very deceptive.

      The tangible nature of brick and mortar business with inventory, warehouses, shop fronts, rent, staff who are physically present e.t.c. makes such endeavours 'feel' like a business. They feel real in the traditional sense of how we have all been brought up to view a business.

      Having a business that is soely based on your PC or Ipad can lure you into treating your business like a hobby and not a real business. You may not think you are affected by this psycological trick, but everyone is from time to time.

      Making money online is not a hobby. It is a business. All of the same due diligence and process need to go into your IM business as would go into a tradtional franchise like a McDonalds.

      Just some food for thought - start nuturing your IM business like a franchise (I suggest everyone read the E-Myth if they haven't already) and you will be on the right track.

      cheers,

      Spudnick
      @Spudnick I have been so guilty of this very thing....treating this more like a hobby than a business. I love the concept of treating our business like a franchise and in fact part of my 2011 total business makeover includes de-personalizing parts of my "Branding" so if I want to sell that part of the business later, it's not tied to me personally.

      I'm going to start pretending that home office is really out on "Main Street" and then eventually it will grow up so large it will be!

      Great advice.

      Originally Posted by Sheryl Polomka View Post

      My husband would have no idea how to access anything or what to do with it if he could access it. He is a plumber and he is more of a 'physical labor' guy than a computer guy so he really couldn't care less about IM.

      However, my Clickbank, Adsense and 2Checkout accounts all pay directly into my bank account which is a joint account so I guess he could keep receiving payments as long as my sites continued to make revenue.

      Although as soon as he has my name taken off the joint account and my credit cards got closed, then my sites and hosting would die off and so would the income


      But you get that!
      Makes me think about my husband's accounts and where all his passwords are. Methinks it's time for a "family meeting" to have this conversation. I know he'll love that! :rolleyes:

      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      A good friend of mine died and nobody knew any of his passwords so they couldn't access any of his accounts and over time his huge empire just vanished. Now his wife is broke, the house is gone, and at 60 something years old she had to go find a job.
      I'm so sorry for your loss of your dear friend and this is exactly what I was thinking about after reading Michelle's post and how tragic this very real life example is. My heart goes out to his wife, so so sad.

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      If I died hopefully I will have time to write a note and tell my Oldest Grandson... "Go to the warrior forum" and you will find the path to everything your grampaw ever knew that was worth anything. There's enough there to help you become successful even if you find yourself in a place where you have nothing! Even poetry about how to become a man... its all there.

      Hopefully I will have time to write that note.

      My wife has all my passwords... but Im not sure she would know how to keep my biz running.

      This thread definitely gives food for thought.

      Edit: Morbid thought, but thought for sure.
      LOL, you're not the first to suggest my thoughts run to the morbid!! I do tend to over think things but in this case and from all the excellent comments and advice I'm definitely getting busy and making some changes and organizing my infrastructure!

      Thanks everyone for such great ideas.
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      • Profile picture of the author georgiel
        Originally Posted by The Exciting Life View Post

        Be the architect of your business, not the structure.
        Elegantly put!


        Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

        A good friend of mine died and nobody knew any of his passwords so they couldn't access any of his accounts and over time his huge empire just vanished. Now his wife is broke, the house is gone, and at 60 something years old she had to go find a job.
        Rich, how terribly sad. I'm so sorry. Hopefully your post will provoke vital action and prevent something similar happening to another family.


        As far as I'm aware, this topic is rarely touched upon - altogether an excellent and valuable thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author alysemackie
    Well, if you die today, you will loss everything you work for. So much better to invest for eternity not for temporal things.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by alysemackie View Post

      Well, if you die today, you will loss everything you work for. So much better to invest for eternity not for temporal things.
      Indeed...

      also

      "If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, to serve you turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there's nothing in you, except that which is the will that says to them 'hold on'" -Kipling.

      By paying it forward and sharing your freedom with others, teaching what you know.. your life continues contributing to life itself, long after you are gone, as the seed of your giving continues to replenish itself perpetually.

      Only a few people benefited from Rudyard Kiplings financial status... but MILLIONS of people are continually enriched by the spirit of the writings he left behind.

      The empire we leave behind goes beyond money. How does the life we live today perpetuate itself and contribute to "life" itself after we are gone?

      Thats the most important thing to me.

      Edit: According to the Science Channel and my wife... who is a science master... within 35 billion years the earth is gonna get sucked into the sun anyway, so nothing we do here is really gonna leave a "permanant" impression either way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Boomergirl
    This conversation is really interesting to me. I recently beta-tested a piece of software that helps put everything (and I mean everything) related to your online life all in one place. The info can then be easily stored on a flash drive and given to someone you trust so they can carry on in your absence. The software has just recently been made available. This is not an affiliate link - http://www.WebsiteSuccession.com
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    • Profile picture of the author known
      Originally Posted by Boomergirl View Post

      This conversation is really interesting to me. I recently beta-tested a piece of software that helps put everything (and I mean everything) related to your online life all in one place. The info can then be easily stored on a flash drive and given to someone you trust so they can carry on in your absence. The software has just recently been made available. This is not an affiliate link - Website Succession Planning Software System :: How to Keep Your Website and Internet Business Information Safe and Secure
      Thanks Boomergirl-

      Meg nailed it. I read Michelle's blog post many times. What she and her business experienced spelled out and explained the reasons why the Website Succession Planning Software was developed in the first place.

      I couldn't have written a sales letter which captured what Michelle went through.

      Luckily all is on the mend, so to speak. For her and her business.

      The concept for Website Succession Planning began simply enough with that first strike of subconscious terror of realizing vulnerability.

      Initially it was to protect my own digital assets for my heirs and to protect the online businesses of my clients.

      User names and passwords are not enough to recreate an income producing online business.

      Because I realized that if that proverbial bus ran over me, my clients' sites would eventually go away because I had all the key access information. Granted they have user names and passwords, but that information alone wouldn't do them any good in the long run to keep their internet properties alive.

      So I'd like to add my voice to the pleas made by Meg and Boomergirl. Start today. Begin compiling this information so the income your family depends on from your online businesses will continue if something should happen to you or to your web person.

      And then trust one other person to know where this information is kept.

      Include the answers to these questions - questions which the Website Succession Planning Software was built around:

      Ask yourself - or have your web person provide you with this information:

      1. What do I have?
      2. Where is is?
      3. How do I access it?
      4. Who has access to it?

      Also, if you computer requires a password, make sure someone knows what it is.

      And please advise the people in your business and your life to be very slow to delete email accounts until every service which has been tied to them have been transferred.

      I'd love to know about what each of you have done within your own businesses to safeguard your processes and to protect what you've worked so hard to create!

      With great success comes great risk. We've worked too hard to lose everything to a probate court system or to have it turn to vapor because someone didn't know what to do!

      Continued success to all of you!

      Cheryl
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  • Profile picture of the author oliviasmith
    It's nothing to pounder over. Now there are so many people on IM, if one desapir's it would be hardly noticed. So guys, chill and just concentrate on your work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Victor
      I just wanted to add one thing that I remember Armand Morin talking about in a video I saw long ago:

      He discussed how he moved away from using his own name as his company name because if something happened to him then it could very well mean the demise of his company. So, he created Generator Software and made that his company.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOJJ
    My sites would die in a couple of months when the servers get pulled.

    I really need to write down all info needed for someone to takeover since they only have to work a couple of minutes each day to make a really good monthly salary.
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