When a tech fail costs you much. My epic fail with Mailchimp

Episode – 021 - When a tech fail costs you much. My epic fail with Mailchimp

In 2016, I was starting out as a VA and I had just created a lead magnet. I was excited, but I didn't know that i was going towards a quite painful tech fail with Mailchimp. If you have been following me, you know that i don't recommend it as an email marketing platform because Mailchimp has many issues.

In this episode, I'm sharing my own experience with Mailchimp and how I overcame the problems this email marketing platform brings to the table.

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Full transcription

Hello and welcome to episode 21 of the Online Business Tech Hub. This is Alessia your host, tech expert for online businesses on a mission to rescue my clients from tech disasters. And today we have a bit of an intimate episode. So in this episode, I am sharing with you my epic fail with MailChimp. And no, it's not the reason why I don't like MailChimp that much.

I'm not talking about MailChimp features in this episode. What I want to share with you is what happened when I was just starting out in my online business and how I felt, what was going on behind the scenes when I made the choice to pick MailChimp, what happened and how I felt because it was quite a tech failure. And I know I'm not the only one.

In time, I learned that what happened to me is a very common mistake. It's a very common situation. And that's why I want to share it with you today, so that if it has happened to you, please know that you're not alone. It's not the end of the world. And there are a lot of powerful lessons we can learn from our tech fails.

So let's set the scene... It was 2016.

I had just moved to Finland and had just started out my online business as a virtual assistant. I didn't really have much money saved up. And I had read somewhere that email marketing was the way to go and that I should create a freebie and then create a basic welcome sequence and so on. You know, the same, always the same. So I wanted to set up this welcome sequence, this welcome automation. I had created a nice freebie and at the time MailChimp in 2016 had still the feature of a basic welcome series of emails. So basic automation.

The problem is that I didn't know it. So I signed up for the paid plan, and it was something like $20 per month, which at the time was a bit of a fortune. I mean, I could have easily saved that money or invested on something else. I know, now $20 per month is not that much, but at the time when I was just starting out, it felt like so much money, especially because it would have been going out every single month.

So the thing is that I knew, obviously that it was important, and so I did it. I signed up for the paid MailChimp plan. I set up everything correctly. I tested to make sure it was fine. It was working. I started to promote. I got people signed up to the newsletter and downloading my freebie.

And then after maybe a week or a couple of weeks, I remember reading in a Facebook group that actually the welcome sequence feature was included in the free plan. What you had to pay for was an extra feature, which I'm not sure now, if it was a longer series of emails like you could add endless emails, whereas with the free plan, you were limited, like two, three emails or something like that. So imagine my frustration. Imagine, like my panic, you know. So I read that in a Facebook group and I went to make a bit of research. And what do you know? Yes, actually the free plan had this basic email sequence automation.

Okay. So I could set up three, four emails already with the free plan. There was no reason to have paid and do the upgrade to the paid plan. So I imagine my frustration. I have lost money. I had lost time. I felt really miserable because I was already quite tech savvy. I mean, I have already been quite tech savvy. And yet I made such a silly mistake that cost me money, money that it was really a sacrifice to be paying this $20 per month at the very, very early stages of my business.

So I mean, then I did the only possible thing and I immediately downgraded again. But I was really frustrated. I was really sad and upset at myself because that had been such a really silly mistake, like really stupid. I was really harsh on myself. But at the same time, I also learned a lot of powerful lessons. Well, a lot. I mean, especially three very powerful lessons from this experience. And they are know what you need, what you want and know the platform, make research, try it out, see if it really is the right platform for you, because I didn't really know the platform. I didn't know how it worked in details, I didn't know where it's key features were. And so, instead of staying with the free plan, I upgraded to the paid plan, and I didn't need to do that.

That was a waste of money and time. Another powerful lesson here is that I listen to friends, colleagues, and peers recommendation to use MailChimp, because when you start out, everyone says that you should use MailChimp because it's easy because it's whatever. But actually, it's not that easy. With time it has become a lot more clunky. And I didn't make any research. I just blindly trusted these recommendations, and I didn't make any research. I didn't go and look, if there was an alternative platform, that could have been maybe better for what I needed to do.

So this reminds me that it's always a good idea to make research and to really figure out if the platform you are about to pick is the right one for you. And there is also a whole episode about, well, it's an episode that is called Beware your Friend's Recommendation. Where I tell you why exactly you shouldn't listen to your friend, or at least you shouldn't blindly trust the recommendations that are being made. So lesson here was to be aware of the stage in business you're at. Be aware about your goals, your plans, your mission, and your budget.

And last thing, I invested in a platform that I actually didn't have the resources to do it. So I honestly wasted money. I could have invested on something else or save the money. I wasted time because even though I didn't make research about, you know, the key features, I still had to figure out how to use it, how to set it up. And when I figured out that actually, I could have stayed with the free plan, I really felt bad about myself. And I criticize myself really a lot.

So lesson here. It's just being gentle with yourself. These type of mistakes happen. Technology, and all these online platforms change all of the time. Every few months, they make updates, and maybe they change the branding. So it's normal to be a bit confused. It's normal to make these type of mistakes. So just be gentle with yourself. It's really normal. And what can you do?

Well, next time you need to pick a platform, you can talk to an expert before making a commitment before investing your money before investing your time so that you can make sure that the platform is actually the right one for you. Okay, so that's about it for today's episode. And what we did was talk about my epic fail with MailChimp and the lessons I learned from the challenges I had with this platform and my own mistake of not making research and blindly trusting the recommendations that have been made.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, if you need to pick a platform for your upcoming launch, whether it's a webinar, an online course, or maybe you want to pick a booking, like meeting scheduler, and there are way too many option, you're feeling frustrated and confused and you don't want to waste time and money on a platform that is not the right one for you. Then in the show notes, you will find a link to book a Power Hour with me. Power Hour is 60 minutes recorded session where we can tackle a problem, a challenge that you have in your online business related to a software, or we can figure out which platform is the right one for you.

If, for example, you want to host a webinar or launch an online course, so it's a really intense session, but it's also really effective because we can tackle the challenges you have and in just 1 hour, we can get to the root of the problem and make sure it doesn't happen anymore.

So you will find the link to book your Power Hour in the show notes. And that's about it for today. I will talk to you next time.