I get asked all the time what does it take to run a successful webhosting business. Well, after over 20 years in the business I would consider myself qualified to answer that question. It’s part technical, it’s part social worker, it’s part customer service, and even sometimes a business coach or a shoulder to cry on. Let’s start with some basics. Webhosting isn’t something you’re going to go to school for and when you walk out you can open a business. It’s not going to happen. A college degree may teach you various skills used in the industry such as networking, PHP coding, or CSS coding. You might even learn some system administration skills in a very controlled environment.
Webhosting requires, not only technical skills, but it also needs customer service skills, some compassion as well and the willingness to do whatever it takes to take care of the client. That may mean doing research, product testing, or some good old fashioned hand holding. How you treat a client is a reflection on you, your business and how you will treat the next client. A little compassion and some hand holding can sometimes go a long way,
You must be quick on your feet, always be able to juggle as many tasks as you can without letting one get a lesser quality service than the other. You must understand that controlled environment you may have had in training is nothing like being under the fire of a production environment. The game changes quick, things update, new threats, new sites, new software. Many times, clients expect you to understand their blog or site, even though you may manage many others. Take good notes, be as organized as possible.
Understand some clients are going to push you, some may threaten you. The common threat is putting a bad word out on social media these days. Always remember it’s not the problem that ruins a business, it’s how you handle it when it does happen. You can’t anticipate everything, it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you can’t make a client happy, sometimes mistakes get made. Learn from them, don’t let it happen again. When something goes wrong, communicate with your clients, be open, be honest, but most of all allow them to be heard. Understand that there is a problem, the client may need to vent. As a business owner, never allow yourself to lose your cool with a client, even if they lose it on you. It’s not a winning situation.
It’s not a 9-5 business. You’re always connected. If you’re in the bathroom you take your phone with you, when you plan a trip or visit, you first think about connectivity, where is it, what is it. You must be available. If you can’t be then you better hire someone who can be., An email that isn’t acknowledged is lost business. Notice what I said there, I didn’t say answered, I said acknowledged. Sometimes you may not be able to answer a question right away, but letting a client know you got it, you’re listening goes a long way.
This is not a get rich quick business. It’s a life devotion. If you care about your business, your clients, and those working for you, be prepared to lose sleep and still come to the office, the job doesn’t wait. Make sure those significant to you understand the demands of the job, but also be able to balance time for them as well. You have to find some joy in the job, or it won’t work.
From my point of view, I love what I do, I love the people, I love giving them something they might not have without me. I enjoy educating others. Most of all, seeing a client succeed, make money and perhaps open new and life changing doors for themselves. I step back and smile. Website owners, and webhosts, we are all in this together. When you can step back, see a client succeed and you tingle inside, you’re in the right place.
I tingle a lot