BREAK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: The disaster recovery plan for funnel building businesses

It’s all gone Pete Tong (English rhyming slang for wrong. It’s all gone wrong).

Customers have left you. Your software is breaking. Websites need updating or have been hacked. Your bank is calling you up for payments. Suppliers and invoices are piling up with the bills.

To top it all off, the boiler just broke and you have NOT got the spare cash to fix it.

Seems like everything is going wrong and it’s all spiralling out of control right? Surely it can’t get much worse.

We’re going to fix this and build a dam. Something that’s going to hold back all the floods of stress, worry and work. But allow what needs to flow through. Bit by bit we’re going to work through this. You and I, we’re going to fix this.

“Mikey, there’s no problem so great that we can’t fix it. It’s never the end of the world.”

My Mum, to me during a small panic attack.

I know what you’re thinking. It sometimes seems like everything is fucked. Customers, work, bills, rent, mortgage, software, websites, daily plans, diets.

First, if you feel that everything is getting on top of you, check out this post to give yourself some breathing room.

Next, read this Disaster Recovery Plan for Funnel Builders to make sure you have all you need, to prepare for the inevitable yet temporary collapse of society your day to day.

By the way, if you want to download the Disaster Recovery Plan below, you can do it for free. It’s everything we cover here in PDF that you can keep or use toady to follow along the story.

It’s not forever

He was in tears. He had to keep taking breaks from talking to sob and snort.

His business sold books, through funnels and websites. He chose a niche and got the best people in the world to promote the book. The book was targeted at a market and sold.

He was making money hand over fist. But nothing could prepare him for what was coming.

His software provider and funnel builder had gone under. In fact, they had been out of operation for 4 weeks. But had never contacted him to tell him.

Funnels were breaking all over the place. CRM systems failing to connect and send emails. Code updates meant that some pages weren’t loading.

And he was spending $15 000 a week on paid adverts.

3 book funnels for 4 weeks at $15 000 a week is $120 000. $120K that wouldn’t return a single penny.

On top of that, his customers have already paid for the services AND he had staff to pay.

“Mike, I’m fucked. I don’t have the money to pay my staff. Or the advert bill. I have taxes to pay and my customers won’t see a single dime in returns. I’m ruined.”

Mortgage payments, bills, private costs and the rest, all meant that he was done for.

I took a deep breath. This was way outside my field of expertise. I had no experience in bankruptcy or liquidation. I had no idea how to help.

“Mike, I really need your help. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Please. I’m desperate.”

“Jim, I really don’t know–”

Jim cut me off. We were on the phone and he told me to stop. “Mike, I can’t approach my wife, kids, bank manager, customers or business advisor about this.”

I probed him further. “Jim, you need to talk to those people. Why can’t you talk to them?”

“Because they’ll see me as a failure and they’ll be mad at me. They’ll have a go at me and tell me all the things I already know. Besides, it’s my fault, I need to fix this. No one else…”

“What else Jim, something doesn’t add up”

“…” Jim was silent for a bit. I let him stew. “I owe $25 000 in taxes. I’m way past due on them.”

“Right.” I thought to myself. “Jim, I’m going to level with you. You’re the only reason this situation is in the way it’s in. However, I will help you if you tell me what you’re going to do next week.”

“What? How do I know what I’m supposed to do next week? I need your help!”

“Jim, you just told me that you don’t want anyone to tell you what you already know. So tell me what you’re going to do next week.”

Over the next hour, Jim listed all the things that he was going to do next week. I’m going to share that list with you here.

“It doesn’t always get worse.”

Dave Horton and Karl Meltzer (ran the 2,190-mile Appalatian trail in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes. Something most people take 6 months to do).

Are people safe?

Most importantly, above all else are human beings safe? Money, houses, cars and holidays are expensive and important. But right at the top is the safety of human lives. 99.999`% of the time, our problems aren’t going to affect human lives.

Even if you lost EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. House, car, mortgage, credit, phone, car. Everything. You’re probably unlikely to die. It might be embarrassing, you might have to work hard and put some things on hold.

But I can promise you, as someone who HAS lost a house, car, all lines of credit, £20 000 in cash and my favourite hoodie in the space of Thursday to Saturday, people weren’t in danger of dying and that’s what was important.

If people are in danger, you need to address that first.

What’s going wrong?

The human brain is designed to preserve energy. In order to do that, it often rejects new information, instead opting to go over the same thoughts again and again.

This means that we sometimes blow our situations out of proportion. I’ll admit, Jim’s story above, he was in a bad way. But it wasn’t the end of the world.

It just meant he had to do better. We’re all human beings and we make mistakes. It’s whether we learn from them that ultimately matters.

Give yourself an hour and write out what you need to focus on. What is going wrong and what’s causing so much stress.

Hardly anything in the world is so awful that we can’t work on it. What’s going wrong and what are the consequences? What’s going to happen if you don’t fix it?

For example, Jim above’s list looked like this.

  • Funnels are broken – no automation or sales coming in
  • Adverts are running – money leaving the bank but nothing coming in
  • Tax needs paying – legal problems and jail time
  • Mortgage, bills and personal are piling up – further debt
  • No funnel building team – funnels don’t’ get fixed

So what does your list look like? You might be surprised at how small it is. Even if it’s 2 – 3 items, you’re getting clarity on what you need to work on.

Even multi-million dollar debts and huge legal cases can be solved. Don’t think there is any problem so massive you can’t fix it.

Take 100% of the responsibility

You have to take 100% of the responsibility of what’s going wrong.

“But Mike!” Jim exclaimed “some of this isn’t my fault. My funnel team never told me they had gone under. I can’t check on them every day!”

“Jim, that is as much your fault as everything else that’s happened. You assumed that the team would work every day without your input. Everything that has happened is a direct result of you working on it. If it affects your life and the lives of people you care for, it’s your responsibility.”

Jim didn’t say a word. I continued. “Jim, there are 1000 things you could have done to prevent the tax piling up. There are 1000 things you could have done to prevent the funnel builders leaving you in the lurch–”

“There is nothing I could have done to stop them going under. I’m sorry, I can’t accept responsibility for that.”

“I agree,” concurring with his point. “You can’t stop them going under. But you are in charge of how it affects you. You could have had backups, another team, better communication and checkup processes. Everything that is affecting you now, is somehow your responsibility.”

I continued my speech, defending my point. “You’re right that you can’t control how others act. But you can control what you do about it. That’s 100% up to you. If the power goes out in your house, you can’t control the power company getting something wrong. But you decide if you get candles, lights, a generator or any other number of solutions. If you’re not willing to accept that, we can’t go further.”

Jim mulled over the point and asked if he could call me back. He needed a glass of water.

When Jim called me back. He was much calmer. “You’re right. It’s my fault and I’m going to fix it.”

“Good” I replied, “But that doesn’t mean we can’t use other people’s help”.

“I feel dumb for crying, I just felt it was all over.” He could start to see that there was light. Faint though it might be. But there was light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

“Just do me a favour and give yourself a break before if you need to cry again,” I asked him. We both laughed and moved onto the next stage.


Your list needs prioritising. What is first, what matters most? What is going to give you the most breathing room?

Debt is a killer. You’re losing TWICE the amount you have to pay off. You need to really understand how debt works.

Paying off £2000 means you’re not only losing £2000 from your own pocket, but you’re not getting anything in return. That’s why it’s such a drain on resources.

Look at your list and make a priority of fixing. What’s top of the list? What’s the frog you have to eat? Get it off your plate, get it over with.

Gut up and deal with it. It’s not going to get better thinking about. Unless you start to walk through the mud and sludge, you’re going to be stuck there. It doesn’t get easier, but you do get better at dealing with it.

Prioritise what you need to do. Tell people, communicate, set aside money and stop spending money where you don’t need it.

Do you need Amazon Prime, Netflix, Google Play and Spotify? Probably not.

Press the stop button on any outgoing cash and prevent further losses.

“But Mike, if I stop all my services, I won’t have anything that works?” For example, website hosting, if you stop that then you don’t have a system to make money.

I totally understand how you feel, which is why we prioritise. Stop the stuff that doesn’t add a huge amount. There is probably close to $100 a month you could cut immediately. For Jim, it was $15 000 a week.

As for things like debt, tax and big problems, they might not be solvable in a day. You need to chip away at them. Which brings me to my next point.

On the other hand, there is probably stuff you can fix yourself. The funnel building was outsourced. Jim was capable of fixing it, it would just be a ball-ache.

“So guess what Jim? You’re not going to be playing golf this month. You’re going to fix your funnels.” Wake up earlier, go to bed later. No TV, no Facebook. Just get on with it.It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long time to fix and you’re going to be grumpy and uncomfortable. But it’s not forever.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long time to fix and you’re going to be grumpy and uncomfortable. But it’s not forever.

Get comfortable using the phone or emailing

Communication is what’s going to solve your problems. There’s no problem so great that sharing it won’t help.

You might be proud, introverted, shy, worried or not willing to hear what others have to say.

Tough shit. Gut up Princess because nothing else is going to work.

We all feel shame asking for help. But you’re supposed to be around people that want to help. If you talk to them and they don’t want to help, then fuck them. You don’t need them.

I can promise you, for all their failings, tax organisations, banks and suppliers WANT to help you. Especially if you’re going to give them money. Most of them don’t want to take you to court, they’re more than likely willing to help you pay off what you owe.

When it comes to customers, if you’ve failed, let them know.

Some things just don’t work out. No point keeping people in the dark. It won’t get better by itself if you leave it.

Jim’s customers, for example, they asked HIM what they could do to help. He explained everything to them. No sales, lack of support and his fault for not checking.

They were annoyed, sure. And they probably won’t be in a hurry to work with him again. But they asked him what they could do to help.

A few emails and phone calls and most of the problems were no longer taboo. Jim’s wife and kids wanted to help. In fact, Jim’s wife was more upset that he felt he couldn’t tell her about it. She just wanted to help.

Most people will put in 100% if they can see you’re putting in 100%. Banks, suppliers, family, friends, customers. We’re all humans and we all want to do our best.

Plan the activity for next week

This is the hardest part. It’s all well and good saying you’ll do better. But WHAT will you do better?

You need to start building a habit of your activities. If it’s checking suppliers, staff, money and taxes, put aside time every week to do that.

Here’s a massive industry secret. If you can do 3 – 6 hours a WEEK of customer work, you’re doing well. Almost all your other time will be spent on maintaining, meetings, communications, taxes, paperwork and boring shit.

What are you going to do next week, which would have solved your problems if you did it last time? Split money across your bank accounts? Check your outgoings? Talk to staff and see where they are? Check sales?

So much of our business is just observing that it can feel like we’re not doing anything. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Whatever you need to do, to prevent this happening next time, you need to start doing now. You can’t fix something to break 6 months later. What can you do to prevent this happening again?

It might be hard, uncomfortable or difficult. But that temporary pain is better than big one-off punches to the face.

Are you really willing to fix it?

“My problems are too big to fix. I don’t want to call people up and it’s scary.”

I totally understand how you feel. That wasn’t Jim by the way. That’s the most common response I hear to people telling me they have a problem.

I’m staggered by how many people will tell me they have a problem but aren’t willing to do anything about.

We all have limiting beliefs and they decide what we can and can’t achieve. If you’ve already decided that you can’t fix it, then how is anyone else going to help you?

If you’re afraid of being seen as a failure, forget it. Failure is something you decide, no one else.

The big thing people fear, is other people calling them names or telling them they fucked up. No one in the WORLD is going to do that. No one is going to revel in your failure. Because if they’re smart, they know they’re only 1 mistake away from losing it all themselves.

Success isn’t born from getting lucky or getting things right. It’s born from fixing what’s wrong. Working on what isn’t going well and changing behaviour and habit to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If you’ve got a problem, or if you need a Disaster Recovery Plan for your Funnel Business, you can download the below plan for free.

It’s a complete worksheet series designed to help you work through your problems. Tax, money, debt, time, customers. Whatever needs fixing TODAY can be fixed with our plan.

Or if you want to have it as a backup, keep it safe and use it when you need.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.