That Time I Lit $10K (and 5 Months) on Fire

This post is about the very costly business mistake I made this year trying to make my websites mobile responsive: time, money, energy, everything. But all is even better than before now . . . isn’t that always how these blessings-in-disguise go?!

TL;DR version:

  • USE SQUARESPACE (and no I’m not being paid to say that!). It has gotten so much more sophisticated these last few years.
  • Ditch complex web design and development and trying to be “special,” or customized to hell and back. These days it’s all about simple and mobile (but I probably didn’t need to tell you that).

Not Too Long; Do Want to Read and Rubberneck:

In my digital nesting mode, I knew I wanted to make my sites mobile responsive before the PIVOT book came out. This was loooong overdue, but because my sites were so customized I haven’t been able to easily update my themes these last two years.

Trying to get a jump on things, in February I paid a new WordPress developer $10,000+ to transfer and to Rainmaker, to make them mobile responsive and get more customer support. This transition was also to stop the sites from falling apart (which they were) and getting regularly hacked like the rickety old mansions they had become after 10 years and 3 years, respectively, at the online game.

The transition lasted the last five months, and spilled so far out of scope (unbeknownst to me!!) that the developer stopped speaking to me by the end of July. She handed them off in an almost-done-but-not-quite state without even sending a closure/we’re done here/nice working with you email. And may the record state, I am not the bridge burning type!

After the hand-off in July, the sites started falling apart again, because they were so bloated and complicated. It wasn’t Rainmaker’s fault. It wasn’t the developer’s fault. So when I visited my site last week and another menu broke — with no way for me to fix it without hiring a new developer — I snapped. I’ve had it.

Although I had just spent $10K and five months of time, energy and effort on the move, I was not (and am not) willing to have a dysfunctional web presence, despite these massive sunk costs. Especially not before this major book launch! 
And I’m not being cavalier about lighting this 10 grand on fire — these development costs put me in the red. It really sucks to lose that money. But I also can’t sit around and cry about spilled PHP. These sites are my livelihood.

Long-story short . . .

In three days (earlier this week) I moved all three sites to SquareSpace: Life After College,, and transferred the Pivot Podcast over to

Web development is a bliss zone for me — I was actually in heaven working on this and had to pry myself away from the computer. If only I had decided to do move the sites to SquareSpace before the entire development debacle, I would have been done in a week back in February and be $10K richer!

That said, the sites look so good now if I don’t say so myself!! Good enough, at least — and that’s the name of the game right now. I feel so light, so relieved. Like I just moved into three beach-side condos.

This last month (who are we kidding, year) has been a bit of a JB website shit show with the podcast and feeds broken — but all is finally well now :) To that end, if you are still one of the final holdouts using RSS readers, like me — please update your feeds!

Have you ever made a big business mistake like this? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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