It’s every entrepreneur’s nightmare. You put together a product you’re passionate about, you put it out into the world—but then something goes horribly wrong. It’s Murphy’s Law: if something can go wrong, it will.

When crisis hits, are you prepared to handle it?

Here are five of the most common nightmare scenarios faced by information product creators. We’ll talk you through how to fix each problem in the moment, and what steps you can take to prevent them in the future.

Nightmare scenario #1: You send out an email with a bad link.

Sending out a bad link is a tiny mistake with BIG consequences…especially if you’re emailing your entire list about the launch of your brand new product.

And don’t think “I’m too smart! This would never happen to me.” It happens to everyone, sooner or later. Have a plan in place so that you can put into action immediately when it happens.

How to fix it (First Aid):

The fix is as simple as sending around the correct link as soon as possible. And we do mean ASAP.

The subject line of the “good link” email should use the words “Updated Link” or “Correct Link.” Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re sending around a correction. There’s no need for embarrassment. The New York Times issues corrections every day—why can’t you?

How to prevent it:

It’s always better to prevent a mistake than to fix one. So, here’s how to stop bad links from bringing you down in the future:

  1. Send out a test email to yourself before you send to your list. Every email management system worth its salt has a quick and easy way for you to do this.
  2. Click on every link in the test email to make sure it goes to the right place. Your email system likely has a “Link Checker” tool you can use, also.
  3. Create an additional email address for testing, on a provider other than your usual email provider. So, if you use Outlook for day-to-day email, set up a test account on Gmail, or vice versa.
  4. Always have more than one pair of eyes on every email you send out. Send a test email to yourself and one or two other people, and ask them to do a QA (Quality Assurance) check by reading all of the copy and clicking on all of the links.

Nightmare scenario #2: Your website and/or sales page is down.

Okay, you’ve sent out an email with working links. But if the link goes to a broken site or sales page, you’re still kinda screwed. If this was a Public Service Announcement, this would be the part where a scary voice says: “Don’t let this happen to you!”

How to fix it (First Aid):

Before you do anything else, call your tech guy or gal. Don’t email, don’t send a carrier pigeon, and don’t assume they’ve already got it under control. Get them on the phone NOW and tell them what’s up.

“What if it’s the middle of the night?” you may ask. Call anyway. This is an emergency scenario, and it’s one of the few situations where we give you permission to wake your tech team from their cozy beds and put ‘em to work.

Make sure you have your passwords and login credentials ready to go if and when your tech people need them. (Just don’t do something silly like leaving that info taped to your computer monitor. Then you’ll have even bigger problems.)

How to prevent it:

The best way to keep your site happy and healthy is to visit it often. Are you checking out your sites and sales pages on a regular basis to see if they’re alive and well? If you’re not, it’s time to put some recurring appointments on your calendar to do just that.

In addition, you should:

  1. Actively have back-ups made of your site. If it goes down and it’s not recoverable and you don’t have any backups, that’s not cool, to put it mildly. You could be stuck building it from scratch.
  2. Ask your tech guy or gal to create an emergency plan. Ask them to write it down and send it to you, so you know what needs to be done as soon as crisis hits.
  3. Know where your passwords are. Know how to log into your domain service, your hosting service, and the actual website itself. If you don’t have the right credentials, and your tech team doesn’t either, you’ll be in big trouble.

Nightmare scenario #3: Your payment processor breaks down.

Your emails are impeccable. Your sales page is alive and kickin’. But then, someone clicks to buy your product and your payment processor (Stripe, Gumroad, 1ShoppingCart, Shopify, etc.) is down.

How to fix it (First Aid):

First: PANIC!!!


Third: Have a back-up plan in place to collect money, even if it’s as simple as directing customers to PayPal. Then, reach out to your payment processor customer service team and let them know what’s going on.

Fourth: Seriously, stop panicking.

How to prevent it:

The best prevention is communication. You should have an individual relationship manager assigned to you from your payment processor. If you don’t have one, ask for one.

When you have a launch or a sales push coming up, reach out to your relationship manager directly to let them know what’s coming up. They should make sure everything is ready to go for your launch, and be ready to jump into action if something goes wrong.

This is especially important with companies like PayPal, Stripe and PowerPay — who may not be used to suddenly having large amounts of sales come in from a launch.

Nightmare scenario #4: You make a terrible customer service gaffe.

Once people buy your product, customer service tickets start rolling in. No worries! That’s why you have an all-star customer service team in place.

But what happens when a customer’s request falls through the cracks…or your customer service rep sends them the wrong information…or they say something completely off-the-wall?

It’s time to bring in the big guns.

How to fix it (First Aid):

Step in and assess the situation. If a customer has been ignored, send them a reply ASAP. If they’ve been sent the wrong info, send the right info ASAP. And if a customer service rep has said something totally inappropriate, apologize and move forward.

HOW you handle a customer service problem is the most important part.

  1. Exemplify grace under pressure.
  2. “Praise in public, reprimand in private”—meaning, don’t bash your team in front of everyone, or in a full-team email, (and especially to your customers!) but privately explain the situation and what you expect.
  3. Don’t make excuses when dealing with customers. Approach them from a place of honesty and service, even if they’re really, really mad at you.

How to prevent it:

The first step to preventing customer service mix-ups is to have an awesome, well-trained customer service team.

But, you should still stay involved to make sure things are on track. We recommend that you:

  1. Make customer service foolproof by creating canned responses and templates that your team can edit to fit individual scenarios.
  2. Periodically audit your team by logging into your helpdesk software to see how they’re doing.
  3. Jump in every so often. For example, have 1 out of every 50-100 customer service tickets sent to you randomly so you can handle it yourself.
  4. Never answer customer service emails on an empty stomach or after a few beers. Clear heads, full stomachs: can’t lose!

Nightmare scenario #5: Someone hates on you or your business via social media.


You’ve taken your first public social media bashing—from an unsatisfied customer, an anonymous troll, or even your weird ex-roommate who’s still bitter that you finished the leftover pizza.

It happens to the best of us, because there’s no way you can please everyone. Not to mention, there are people out there who just plain get a kick out of antagonizing others. Don’t take it personally. Just fix it!

How to fix it (First Aid):

Take a deep breath before you do anything. Never react on social media without thinking first.

You might be tempted to delete the negative comment or post, but don’t do it unless it’s truly inflammatory and could cause legal issues. If all someone says is “I hate your stupid product,” don’t delete it.

Think about your overall social media strategy, and do what you normally do. If you don’t typically respond on social, then don’t choose this moment to start. If you do typically respond on social, then don’t choose this moment to stop.

If you respond, be polite. Acknowledge their comment. Never hate back! Be calm, cool and collected.

When appropriate, try to move the conversation offline. You can ask the hater to email your customer service address if they need assistance. There’s no need to keep responding if they continue to antagonize you publicly after that.

If you’re unsure of how to respond or what to do, have someone else weigh in before you do anything. Two heads are better than one in a case like this.

Remember that anything you do online leaves a permanent digital footprint—so don’t do anything stupid!

How to prevent it:

There are three preventative measures you should take.

  1. Have someone monitor your social media channels and keep an eye on what’s being said. Professional social media monitors know what’s appropriate and what’s not in terms of handling the haters.
  2. Keep an eye on patterns that emerge with unsatisfied customers. For example, if people continually complain that your product didn’t give them the results they expected, update your materials to make it crystal clear what results they can expect.
  3. Adjust your own expectations. There will always be unsatisfied customers, or loud customers—that comes with the territory of running a business. Don’t let it get you down.

One more thing you should do today…

The best way to survive a crisis is to have a team of awesome people who can help you through it.

Take 30 minutes today or tomorrow to put together an Emergency Contact List of everyone you might need in a business emergency. Include names, email addresses and phone numbers (home, business and cell).

For example:

  • Email management system contact
  • Website tech team
  • Website hosting contact
  • Website domain contact
  • Payment processor relationship manager
  • Customer service reps
  • Social media monitor
  • Administrative assistant
  • Other business partners, team members, etc.
  • Someone who will bring you a pint of ice cream

With an Emergency Contact List easily accessible, you won’t waste any time when you find yourself in a crisis scenario. You’ll be ready to whip your problem into shape with your team at your side.

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