I Love Food, But It Has Almost Killed Me. Twice.

I have a condition that I didn’t know about.

Sometimes we know something is wrong with ourselves or our body but we just have to push through it. We live in a fallen, broken world where our bodies have troubles and there is nothing that can fix everything. That’s what I thought I was experiencing. I have since learned I cannot ignore it anymore and I have to be proactive about preventing it.

Steak at Eight

It all began when I was 8 years old. My family and I were spending a week camping at Indian Trails campground. We were having grilled steak for dinner, and it tasted wonderful. Until I started choking on a piece of steak. I was not “choking” persee. The definition of choking is when a person cannot breath. However I could breath. The food was lodged further down in my esophagus past the point where the air tube goes to the lungs.

However I was in extreme pain and I could not get the food to go down, or to come up.

So my Mom took me to the ER at the hospital. I had to carry a bowl to spit into because our body so wonderfully creates extra spit to digest food when it’s in the esophagus or mouth. the body does this to break down the food. However I could not swallow, so I had to spit it out.

After being admitted into the ER and while the doctors were deciding what to do with me I threw up the piece of steak. It happened to be a breakfast-sausage-link-sized piece of steak. So the blame was (correctly) laid on me for not cutting my food smaller or chewing it better.

However it kept happening.

For 24 years I’d “choke” on any kind of food. Hard or soft it didn’t matter, I’d even get pancakes, or apples, or bread stuck. Technically what I was experiencing was a food impaction. Where the food is stuck in the esophagus not the throat.

Fortunately none of these occurrences sent me to the ER.

I became proficient at forcing food down, and sometimes gagging myself to get it thrown up.

This was not an Eating Disorder

I did not, nor do I struggle with bulimia. I know nothing of what those with eating disorders struggle with and I do not claim to be struggling anything like they do. However many times while on business lunch meetings I’d have to excuse myself to go to the bathroom and gag myself. It has always been an awkward situation. No one yet has called me out for bulimia. Perhaps it’s because I’m overweight.

In fact, the night I proposed to my wife I made a meal, brought it to her apartment and during the meal I had to excuse myself to spend a half hour in the bathroom trying to get the food dislodged. No pressure. I just screwed up the proposal night!

I had taken to explaining that the muscles in my esophagus had spasms or constricted out of order. My kids have gotten used to when Dad suddenly leaves the table during a meal just to be okay as he gags in the bathroom. Ultimately my wife was never okay with it, but for me it was just life. On average I had an episode every week or two.

However one morning in June of 2013 that all changed.

Yogurt and Dried Fruit

We were having dried fruit and yogurt, a very common meal in our house. However for some reason I had a food impaction. Perhaps I didn’t chew the dried fruit well enough. Whatever the cause there I was in the bathroom drying to fill my esophagus with water and then use my swallowing reflex to force the impaction down the esophagus.

I’ve done it so many times it wasn’t even concerning to me. However, this was a very difficult impaction, it wasn’t going down well. After about a half hour struggling with it — the kids and Becky had finished breakfast and were on to the next activity– I got impatient and pushed with all my might.

At that instant I knew I had successfully forced the impaction into my stomach. However I was experiencing pain like I never had experienced before. I have a high pain tolerance and here I was laying on the bathroom floor crying. After consulting with Becky we decided to head to the ER.

ER Visit #2

At the time we were living in Newaygo and the closest hospital was Gerber in Fremont. When we got there the doctors were sceptical of my pain and assumed I just was lying to get pain meds.

So they decided to do a test where I swallowed radioactive “contrast” while they took x-rays. What they saw scared them. Seriously scared them. They came at me with all kinds of pain meds. And they transfered me by ambulance to the largest hospital in the region, Spectrum Health downtown Grand Rapids. They believed I had perforated (torn a hole in) my esophagus and fluid was actively being exchanged with my chest cavity. Had that been true I would have needed open chest surgery, and soon.

As it turns out I had a mallory weiss tear in my esophagus, like a cut on the skin, only in the esophagus. A cut not through but deep enough the bleeding wasn’t stopping. I was losing so much blood  they had to give me a unit of blood. They also went down my esophagus with a scope and gave me shots of epinephrine to stop the bleeding. I had been actively bleeding for 24 hours. All told I spent 4 nights in the hospital until they felt I was okay to be released.

A Diagnosis

What we found out is I have a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE for short). Eosinophils are white blood cells that arrive to an area where there is an allergen present. In the esophagus the influx of eosinophils causes swelling of the tissues and decreases the size of the tube food must fit down. Those with EE are 90% more likely to experience a food impaction.

Methods of treatment are 3-fold:

  1. Discover what foods I’m allergic to and avoid those foods.
  2. Treat the acid reflux I didn’t know I had. Acid reflux causes eosinophils to arrive in the esophagus.
  3. Get frequent dilations, a process where they stretch the esophagus to enlarge the tube size.

After recovering from the mallory weiss tear we did a battery of tests and found out I had no food allergies. However the doctor did not believe it. He was 100% sure I had food allergies. We got on a regimen of antacids (technically proton pump inhibitors, PPI, brands like prevacid, lansoprazole, and omasoprasole) . And I had two dilations in the following 6 months.

Everything seemed to be going fine. I had no food impactions, and life was different. I had a diagnosis, I now knew that it wasn’t my fault for not chewing etc. However I did have a condition which required me to chew more than the average person.

I Became Lazy

Time creeps in. Memories of the pain faded.

And I really didn’t want to be on an drug (PPI) for life.

So while traveling the world I stopped taking a PPI. I noticed the acid reflux slowly returned and slowly, over time, the food impactions started happening again.

But shoot, I’ve lived with this my whole life, how bad can it be?

ER Visit #3

Until this week Tuesday at breakfast I had another serious food impaction. Yogurt and fresh fruit and quinoa was the cause. Most likely it was a blackberry that got stuck. I forced it down (as I had been doing with my other impactions over the last 6 months.). Nothing was abnormal until after it was passed and the pain dramatically increased.

I had done it again.

I knew I had injured my esophagus and caused another mallory weiss tear. There is no pain quite like a mallory weiss tear.

We packed up the kids and drove straight to the largest hospital in the region. The pain wasn’t as bad this time but I just assumed it was a smaller tear.

They actually sent me home with a pain medicine and a PPI prescription. They said if things got worse, a fever, blood in the stool or throwing up blood then come back. 9 hours later we came back to the ER as I had a 101 degree fever and was nauseous.

However this time they kept me in observation overnight and gave me stronger pain meds. They tested my blood and noticed I wasn’t losing blood. Through a CT scan and multiple chest X-rays they determined it wasn’t worth the risks of scoping me. So they sent me home the next day on a stronger PPI and pain meds. I should heal within a week.

Recovery and Outcome

I want to stop and acknowledge that the body is amazing. You don’t have to believe in God to believe that fact. However I believe God has built our bodies to self heal in ways we could never imagine. I am amazed at how that works.

So I’ve learned my lesson, I will forever be on a drug (PPI) and I will not be able to eat certain acid causing foods (foods that are spicy, tomato based, contain chocolate or bananas, no evening snacks etc).

I love food, but I will forever have to be cautious with it. I do not want to experience this pain again.

Oh and with every food impaction, dilation, and tear I am weakening my esophagus. Eventually I will perforate it (puncture a hole in it) which will cause me to have open chest surgery. Lets just say I’ve learned my lesson.

Here’s to being on a PPI and acid reducing diet for the rest of my (hopefully long) life.

Thanks

I want to say thanks to my wife, Becky. Who while scared of loosing me has been an incredible supporter. She has been strong enough to tell me that no, life has to be different from now on. I couldn’t do this without her. Lets just say that even though I love food, I love my wife more.

So what did you do this week? Or have you ever experienced a food impaction?

Productizing a Service Business?

Productizing a Service Business?

There’s this holy grail in the location independent entrepreneur movement. It’s developing a product. Something that sells over and over and over again after developing it once. This is where passive income can be realized.

Much like book writing used to be, once you’re published the money keeps rolling in for a couple years allowing you to write your next masterpiece as you see fit.

But a lot of us location independent entrepreneurs follow a path to get there. Typically we start our dreams working for the man. I wished I was smarter when I started out of college (shoot even before that) but I didn’t have the exposure to business that would have given me the insights I have today.

When we’re working for the man we start exploring how to break free, how to spread our wings. The ultimate goal even if we cannot state it is to have a product, to have “stable” revenue coming in while we take a week off to go scuba diving.

However something comes in there, almost devilish like that tempts us with the sweet candy of money. That devil? Service, also known as Consulting.

Service Business

There’s a lot of good that can be said about the service business/consulting gig. First you get to know your clients and customers really well, you get to make some really good money (remember that devilish candy?) and you get the benefits of running your own business while choosing your location.

The negatives of a service business are all too familiar to me currently.

  • Instead of one boss you have 14 bosses all who innately demand priority (It’s not their fault!)
  • Stop working, stop getting paid (You’re trading hours for dollars)
  • Reinventing the wheel every time
  • Convincing a new client to buy from you is akin to selling your body, it becomes soul crushing

productized service

Productize Your Service

So the next step, the natural progression is to develop a product from your service based business, aka productize your service. This solves a couple pain points, first the selling is much easier, it’s a system with a proven track record that they’re buying, not your mind/body. Second the productized service allows more outsourcing of the actual work so you can scuba dive.

Essentially without writing code or doing a CAD of your physical product you’re developing a product of someone elses time and selling that in a repeatable, predictable way.

I’ve tried this.

Developing the product offering was easy.

But I got the target wrong, or the product/market fit was wrong. See it here for yourself. It’s a sweet idea that has the potential for greatness. However it hasn’t sold well yet.

So do I develop another productized service?

Or do I skip that step and go right to a product?

I’ve been reading some insight into a rising star in the productized service business model about lifetime value of the client being increased by the utility of the product you offer. An example of productized service with high utility is website hosting. You just need it and you need it every month. Whereas website design you need infrequently and it’s a bit more of a luxury and commodity at the same time. Not a great space to play in when looking at the lifetime value of the client.

So what product or productized service can I develop?

Typically I’m like the cobbler who’s kids go shoeless. I can help others develop great product and productized service ideas, but it’s like I’m too close to the service in my own business to step back and see the product right in front of me. Real quick here’s my brain dump of issues/potentials based on the services Connex currently offers

Services to Productize

  • SEO
    • The market is flooded with service providers, tools, and productized services
    • Productized services have deservedly gotten a bad rap in this industry
    • To do SEO right it needs to be custom, I could not live with myself doing anything else
  • Social Media
    • Again a flooded market with service providers, tools and productized services
    • Again to do it right it needs to be custom, I could not live with myself doing anything less
  • Online Ads
    • Plenty of tools, great service providers and a couple of productized services.
    • Market still seems flooded
  • Email Marketing
    • Market is flooded with tools and service providers. I don’t know of many productized services here
    • This has potential. We offer a service where we increase open rates through segmentation and list reactivation
    • Content generation here is flooded
    • The tools all offer Conversion Rate Optimization functions.
  • Data Analysis
    • People have tried to develop a productized service here (visual.ly and Quill Engage are the two best ones) but the problem cannot be solved through a simple repeatable process
    • To be honest, helpful and thorough it’s more service than product.
    • Could sell weekly or monthly analysis reports, but it’s still a service
    • Hard to sell because there’s very little need for it. Businesses run well without looking at their online data all the time. Those that need to pay close attention (ecommerce) already do in house.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
    • A lot of tools, some service providers but very few productized services.
    • Too custom, too much service based not enough product.

What about you? what productized service will you be developing or what would you be interested in buying?

 

 

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Defining Success

Defining Success

I’m a parent, husband, friend, entrepreneur, boss, vendor, and follower of Jesus.

Each of those have a metric for defining success. But in reality we need to define failure in order to truly define success. It’s my belief that there is a significant space between success and failure that we spend most of our time in. This space can both help us and harm us.

Define-Success-Spectrum

Using the illustration above, we can chart our actions and inactions on a spectrum of success and failure. I’d argue that most people are wired to look at this as black and white, the arrows on each side, not the line between. Either I lost 50 pounds or I didn’t. Achieving a goal is success, anything short of that is failure.

This is what I’m currently struggling with right now.

I want to be the father I never had. My goals include specifically: not abusing my kids, caring for them, encouraging them, and more. When I loose my cool and give them a harsh consequence, or yell at them I feel and tell myself I’m a failure. Because I didn’t achieve the goal. However if I were to define failure first: something like abusing my kids. Then even when I don’t attain the perfect father behaviors I’m still not failing.

Defining the land between Success and Failure

So what do we call this land between?

It’s not success and it’s not failure. Life is not black and white.

I don’t know, but I can give a couple more illustrations.

My service/consulting business took a 90% hit in revenue this summer. I’d call that aspect alone a failure. But is the business a failure? Am I a failure?

I’ve run a great business which has employed various people for 4 years. I’ve helped others experiment and live dreams they never thought they could. I did too for 6 months. I’ve been able to work from home, coach my kids’ soccer teams and experiment with new business ventures along the way. Frankly I built a cool business that afforded me the luxury of not working 80 hours every week, some weeks I barely worked 20 hours.

So that’d be a huge success in those aspects.

But I failed in bringing in enough new clients to handle the natural churn in the industry I’m in.

Failures Define Success

yin-yang

One cannot have success without failure. And like the yin and yang, there is a spec of failure in our successes and a spec of success in our failure. To illustrate this I’ll dig into the startup scenes current philosophy of failure. Basically they’re cool with experiments (businesses) failing as long as there is some learning happening. The spec of success in the failure of a business is the learning that happened. So Dodgeball sold to Google and later the founder Dennis Crowley left Google to found Foursquare. Dodgeball was a success in that it was acquired, but a failure in that Google killed it. The learning that Dennis acquired is partially not to sell your dream to Google, but more importantly he wanted to not sell at all.  I’m certain there were significantly more learnings that were acquired during his time watching dodgeball fizzle at Google, but the lesson is that Dennis felt a sense of success and failure at the same time.

So in startup world failures can be successes as long as you harness the learning to propel you to a new success in the more traditional view of the word.

There’s no In-Between

Is this possible? Could everything that’s not achieving success be a failure to achieve that goal? The phrase that surfaces: “you’re either growing or you’re dying”. Could it instead be like the largest organ of the body, the skin. It’s both dying and growing at the same time. The skin’s goal is to keep a semi-permeable separation from the inside to the outside, sometimes it lets the wrong stuff in (radiation), or the wrong stuff out (hernia). Would we consider the skin a failure for 99.999% of the time keeping stuff out?

But in other conversations, a 0.001% failure is unacceptable. (That’s 5-6 minutes of downtime per year).

Life is too complex to be that black and white. the middle, the grey, the in-between is where we find ourselves most days. My faith heritage refers to this as working out your salvation, the belief is that we’re saved not based on what we do, but we need to improve while still here on earth.

So are we called to live in a constant state of discontent? Of not-quite-failing, but not-quite-achieving? It’s not directionless, we’re always trying to hit the mark of success but will we ever hit it?

We cannot call this part of the spectrum failure can we, are their degrees of failure? If so then there are degrees of success. I’ve failed to maintain a location independent sales funnel, but I have succeeded in providing value for my clients while location independent.

Has Zuckerberg hit his mark of success? Sure he’s a billionaire, but I doubt his goal was to become a billionaire. Very few people ever have the satisfaction of success especially in the entrepreneur camp. We seem to always be striving for something, some problem to solve. With Facebook as a public company Mark’s success could be wrapped in the current stock price, but that’s a fickle measure of success. If your business made it… if you IPO’ed and made a multi billion cash out. Would you cash in, call it a success and walk away? (plenty have) Or is there something more to achieve?

Success is a moving target

I once defined career success as making $50k in a year. This was way better than what my family grew up with, I figured that’d set my family up for future success and a life of living fine. However other factors come into play, and it’s not just inflation. And $50k is no longer enough to define success.

Lifestyle matters, and I’m not looking to own a boat and a fleet of cars, no I enjoy living and immersing myself in different cultures. Career success is now defined as can I live the lifestyle I want?

Yet it’s constantly a moving target. If success if defined by achieving goals and each time you achieve a goal you set a new one success while attained will never be obtained.

We define success by defining goals, achievable or not. these goals become the measure of success and conversely the measure of failure. So whatever word we use to define the middle it must have a directional element to it, not just an aimless middle. A moving, a growing, a heading. We need a word that describes the motivation, the struggle, the push, the drive.

I like how Jammer Hunt breaks failure down into 6 failures:

Abject failure

This is the really dark one. It marks you and you may not ever fully recover from it. People lose their lives, jobs, respect, or livelihoods. Examples: British Petroleum’s Gulf oil spill; mortgage-backed securities.

 

Structural failure

It cuts — deeply — but it doesn’t permanently cripple your identity or enterprise. Examples: Apple iPhone 4’s antenna; Windows Vista.

 

Glorious failure

Going out in a botched but beautiful blaze of glory — catastrophic but exhilarating. Example: Jamaican bobsled team.

 

Common failure

Everyday instances of screwing up that are not too difficult to recover from. The apology was invented for this category. Examples: oversleeping and missing a meeting at work; forgetting to pick up your kids from school; overcooking the tuna.

 

Version failure

Small failures that lead to incremental but meaningful improvements over time. Examples: Linux operating system; evolution.

 

Predicted failure

Failure as an essential part of a process that allows you to see what it is you really need to do more clearly because of the shortcomings. Example: the prototype — only by creating imperfect early versions of it can you learn what’s necessary to refine it.

So what if we put descriptors on Success as well? Eugene Eric Kim started that here.

Minimum Success

The bare minimum indicators of a successful project.

 

Target Success

I also call this “stretch,” because these scenarios should be hard, but attainable. These are the scenarios for which you aim. They should have about a 40-70 percent likelihood of happening if you do your work diligently.

 

Epic Success

Success beyond your wildest imagination. You are not expecting any of these to happen, but they are within the realm of possibility, and you are overjoyed if they do.

So is there room between Minimum Success and Common Failure?

In the illustration of my business, the Minimum Success would be to pay myself a wage that allows us to live at our minimum budget. the Common Failure would be to not have a location independent sales method in place. I could argue that it is more of a Structural Failure. But I still think the middle is where we spend most of our days, avoiding Structural Failures and fixing them when they occur. Dealing with Common Failures as par for the course and all at the same time achieving minimum success.

I nominate that we use the term insistent middle.  Insistent Definition: “earnest or emphatic in dwelling upon, maintaining, or demanding something; persistent; pertinacious.”

I live in the insistent middle. I demand success, movement. I am persistent. I am earnest in this.

My success is never giving into failure as the end.

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What If?

What If?

A little over a year ago Becky and I asked a very dangerous question.

What if?

On one hand I strongly urge you to ask that question. Ask it a lot.

But like the choice between the blue and red pill you cannot go backwards, you cannot return to bliss if you start asking that question.

However, reality will become more and more evident and clear.

red-pill-blue-pill

And so we asked,

  • What if we could sell our house?
  • What if we sold most everything we owned?
  • What if we could travel with kids?

And we did just that. We changed courses so dramatically, from living in the countryside attempting to hobby farm to world travelers trying to find a home. We named it Home Along the Way. We made home wherever we found ourselves.

We answered a lot of questions.

We did sell our house and became nomads.

And we have found the sweetness of reality.

  • Reality that our kids love traveling. They miss their grand parents, but they love moving to new houses, they loved exploring new places, meeting new people.
  • Reality that Becky and I still love traveling, and can totally do it with 4 kids!
  • Reality that my wife is a packing ninja, not only does she plan ahead and have exactly what we need along she’s able to shed stuff along the way and still have everything we need.

But some harsh realities set in as well.

  • We don’t handle the heat of South East Asia too well.
  • Life outside of SE Asia is expensive
  • Word of Mouth marketing fails when ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ comes into play

And so yesterday we bought tickets to return back to the US.  This is due to many factors, the most major one is that Connex’s revenue has dropped 90% in 6 months. The trip was budgeted at 50% of revenue and in SE Asia, unfortunately both of those changed and so the cold, harsh reality of the bank account dwindling has finally set in.

Three months ago, I freaked out in an email thread with a friend of ours. Freaked out about money, about failing, about life. Her response has clanged in my brain ever since.

What if,

What if you come home broke and penniless?

That’s it. That’s all the words of wisdom a friend offered. And it rattled me. It still does. What if nothing works, you spend all your money, return to the States, homeless, and car-less?

What if?

What’s the worst that could happen?

We’ll find out. We fly home tomorrow, October 1. It’s crazy how we’ve only been gone 6 months (it’s felt like  a LOT longer!) and how we’ve felt on the other side of the world despite being connected with technology and communication channels. Yet in the end, the total time from decision to boots on the ground is less than 48 hours. The fast switch from “We’ve decided to go back to Michigan” to actually being in Michigan is only 48 hours. 16 of those are spent sleeping and another 16 in an airplane. Thus there’s only 16 hours left. That’s one day of awake time.

Will we set up camp in Michigan? Will we buy a house? Will we settle down?

If the kids have any say in it–no, we will not.

Each one wants to stay in Michigan for a time but asked us to promise them we’d leave again. Even the 4 year old (separate from siblings) said he didn’t want to go back unless we were for sure going to go travelling again later.  They’re addicted to travel just like their parents.  So, we’re treating this “return” to the US more like the next stop in our travels than an end destination.

What happens next?  Well, we do what we have done in every other country…find a house and set up “life” in that area.

What will the future hold? We don’t know.

Does Connex become a hobby, or do we land a couple of large clients again?

We don’t know. I haven’t given up on Connex yet, but it needs to grow soon.

What would you do if you lost 90% of your family’s income?

 

Mailchimp Banned

Mailchimp Banned

chimp jail mailchimp banned

Chimp Jail, for those Mailchimp Banned users

I’m not an Affiliate Marketer.

But I must be a spammer.

Or I’m just a human making mistakes trying to skirt around the rules of the system.

I made some mistakes and I knew I was playing in a risky place.

And I got burned.

Bad.

I love WordPress, and I love Mailchimp. Best part? They play so well together.

However I put all my personal projects, experiments, and my business through one mailchimp account. That’s a mistake. and the fatal error I made. When one list has issues mailchimp puts your whole account in “chimp jail.”

I should have had multiple accounts, one for testing (spamming?), one for business, and one for personal blogs like this one and our family travel blog. However having multiple accounts is also against Mailchimp’s Terms.


 

So a while back I wanted to tell my friends about our new travel blog. Since Gmail has a 500 emails (a day) limit and I wanted to email around 2,000 people I knew I should turn to a service.

I instantly went to Mailchimp.

And wouldn’t you know it I had a ton of old email addresses in my Rolodex (Google Contacts) and they bounced worse than kids with cotton candy in a bounce house.

So my account was suspended. I begged for the Chimp’s mercy (aka explained I won’t do this again) and they re-instated my account.

We’ve been blogging and using the Auto Chimp plugin which sends a new campaign for each blog post. Super simple and works really well to keep our list informed of what was going on with our family.

Then time moved on, I changed continents,  twice.

And I forgot my lessons.


 

However when some cool stuff happened in the business and I started a new email list I wanted to invite my connections that I’ve made over the years. Let them know about the new activity and see if we can add them to the list.

So I turned to Mailchimp, and let ’em fly.

This time I used a service to clean up the bad emails and it worked really well.

However I was being cheeky with my audience and the subject line was “Invitation to Unsubscribe!” I had multiple calls to action within the email asking them to unsubscribe.

I was not the only one who thought it was great, I received over a dozen responses with most people saying they read it top to bottom just because it was so well written and they rarely read marketing messages.

But the unsubscribe rate was high, incredibly high. And the bounce rate was up there too.

So they put my account under review. And once again I groveled to the Chimp and explained that I wouldn’t do it again. They made me remove that list before I could send our normal blog post updates again.

They informed me that I need to email these people from gmail inviting them to subscribe through a double opt in.

Ug, that’s not fun. And at 500 a day that’s take a while (I send ~100 emails a day as it is)

I explained I was going to open another mailchimp account and they frowned on that saying it’s against their terms of use to have multiple accounts.


So forget it, I still had my family’s blog hooked up to the account, and I was out of “chimp jail” since I removed the bad list(s) so we were good.

But what I didn’t realize was in the 7 days that the above was going on my family blog had been targeted with a bunch of spam form completions. And yes I had it set to single opt in, meaning someone completing the form would not have to click on a link in an email to be subscribed (thus verifying their email address)

I’ve had this set this way for almost 6 months.

Never had a single spam sign up.

Never thought about it again.

Then on Thursday when my wife posted a Throw Back Thursday blog post, we had a 50% bounce rate and the account was put in “chimp jail” again.

I begged for forgiveness… asked them to look at all of the bounces and realize that these addresses all signed up within the last 7 days and were obviously spam (Louis Vuitton Purse is NO ONE’s last name!)

The Mailchimp Abuse team did look deeper, they looked at my account track record and realized I have been an “abuser” and thus they asked me to use another Email service provider.

And that, kids, is how I got

Banned from Mailchimp!

Is that even possible? Would Mailchimp ban one of their fans who yes wears their t-shirts?

So what’s a digital marketer to do?

Yes I could create more mailchimp accounts (I have) and yes I will continue to use mailchimp.

But I wanted to be free from their tyranny.

And so yeah I could have done aweber or constant contact but for too long I’ve been singing the praises of Mailchimp for me to be happy with one of those services.

Instead I’m using a wordpress plugin called Mailpoet, mixed with Amazon’s SES platform for deliverability. I finally feel in control of my lists again.

Oh and the best part? Mailpoet has some sweet templates, and lets you control the design of the automatic newsletter, whereas AutoChimp did not have a way to pick a design.

So in the end, Thanks Mailchimp, the banning hurt for a couple of weeks but I’m back in a better spot now!

What about you? Have you been mailchimp banned? Have you found a better solution than Mailchimp?