How I Accidentally Deleted My Entire Business

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 10/30/23 •  5 min read

This post was originally published in June 2010. It documents what is one the biggest entrepreneurial mistakes I’ve ever made, and to this day, I cringe thinking about it. It’s been very lightly edited for spelling and grammar. It was originally titled “The Most Expensive Workout of My Life”

As I sit here in October 2023 editing old content, it’s posts like this that I’m making a special effort to keep alive. I’ve come along way, but there are thousands of people just starting out with blogs and online businesses that will go through their own version of this. We’ve all been there. It’s all part of the process.

Now enjoy the story about one of the biggest business mistakes I’ve ever made.


Have you ever had an”oh shit” moment in your life? You know,  one of those moments where something so bad happens, that the only thing you can think of to do is say “oh shit”.

Or perhaps cry.

Maybe both.

Well, let me just say, earlier this week I was the closest to tears I’ve been in a long, long time.

It all started simply enough with me trying to install WordPress on a new site that I’ve started.  It’s an easy process that I’ve done a dozen times, but for some reason this time around I felt compelled to try and give myself a heart attack.

I’m at a point now where I have quite a few different domains on my hosting account, and it had been a while since I’d installed WordPress to one of those directories.

So while I’m going through the process and not paying as much attention as I should (thanks Twitter),  I checked a box that apparently wasn’t supposed to be checked.

How did I know that box wasn’t supposed to be checked? Well after the installation I realized that:

I completely overwrote all of the data on this blog.

That’s a pretty crappy way to find out the box wasn’t supposed to be checked…

Do you have any idea what that feels like?

To completely erase something that has become one of the fundamental focuses of your life for over a year? It doesn’t help when the first thing out of the technical support guy’s mouth is

“ooooh, you didn’t click that box did you?”


“Oh, your site’s gone.”

Ok, I’m sorry, I know my site isn’t gone.  There should be no way that I could accidentally click one box and delete 13 months of progress.

….or is there?

At this point, I’m not exactly thinking very clearly.

I’m pacing around having to listen to the obnoxious hold music, while trying to figure out what it really means if my site really is gone for good.  The tech guy finally comes back and says “I have some good news and bad news.”

“Good news is, we can probably fix it.  Bad news is that it is going to be really expensive.”

The park in Bangkok where I run

The park in Bangkok where I run

Here I am thinking it’s going to cost me $500 or more.  And I was prepared to pay it.  Turns out to restore my database, it cost me $50.  Ha.  Now that I will gladly pay for (even though I figured out how I could have done it myself later on).

Anyway, the key word here is probably fix it.  That is definitely not the reassurance I was looking for.  He said the specialist would be in an hour later and he would make it the top priority.

So now what do I do?  I’m too distracted to work, but I’d go crazy if I sit still. Time to go for a run.

I’d been running each of the three previous days, which is more consecutive days of running than I’d done in years.

This was supposed to be my day off.

Well, apparently the universe had different plans for me.  I think this was its way of telling me I need to get in better shape!  So it took destroying Location Rebel and 50 bucks to get me to work out.

Hopefully, this doesn’t turn into some kind of evil trend.

It wasn’t until about 7 uneasy hours later that I was at a bar watching the English goalkeeper make the biggest mistake of his life in the 2010 World Cup, that I was able to pull out my iPod and access my site.

That might have been the happiest moment of my life.


There were a lot of lessons learned through this whole process. Not the least of which was ensure you’re constantly backing up anything of importance.  Your website, your products, your sanity, whatever – find a way to back it up.

This was an interesting experience for me though, because it wasn’t until that point that I realized how important this blog really was to me.  I mean this is the only place in the world where my transformation is documented, and that’s a powerful thing.

I’ve built a brand off that.

Losing the site would be like Michael Jordan trying to build his career off baseball – much more difficult to do!

As I’ve realized how personal it is, it has also motivated me to keep putting out good content.  I’ve fallen into one of those cruise control type modes, where posts are going up, but they could probably be better than they are.  Not that they’re bad, just not as good as they could be.

Funny how it takes near-catastrophe to realize this!

So for those of you that tried to access my site over the weekend and were presented with nothing but a white page, you now know why.  It’s simply because the guy behind it is a complete dumbass.

Oh well, lesson learned.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Keep Reading

26 comments on "How I Accidentally Deleted My Entire Business"

  1. Dena says:

    Hey Sean!

    So glad to hear that everything is sorted out. As you know, something similar happened to me in May, except I didn’t check a box — rather, some asshole hacked into my site with a malicious script.

    However, my bonehead move was that I’d never backed up my database. Thankfully (by the grace of God!) my site’s host had done it for me. While I lost my site’s formatting — my content was safe.

    It sure is a wake up call. Let’s learn from this one together! Cheers.


    1. Sean says:

      @Dena I remember that! I’ll count us both as extremely lucky, although, when you think about it rationally, you’ve gotta imagine any good host would have a backup. Still no excuse for not doing it ourselves though 🙂 Luckily for me, mine wasn’t hacked, it was just me being a completed idiot…haha

  2. Matt says:

    It’s amazing how important a single checkbox can be. I’m really glad you posted this experience because it reminds me how important it is to maintain a regular backup schedule, something that I have failed to do.

    I create backups of all my photos onto multiple hard drives however, all those hard drives are kept in the same location. Talk about having all your eggs in one basket.

    So your experience here is a reminder that I need to invest in a good online/off-site backup solution.

    So glad to hear that while your experience was 7 hours of agony, it all worked out (yourself included) in the end. Thanks for the wake-up call Sean!

  3. David Damron says:

    I’ve been there and done similar website F Up’s myself.

    Another thing that would have been nice to read in this post is the lack of control you had. Especially with your new lifestyle, you place a lot of trust in others hands (by outsourcing). This can be extremely challenging but rewarding too.

    Anyways….thanks for sharing your blunder. We can all relate.

    David Damron

  4. Checkboxes for something so serious should have a double-triple option. “Are you REALLY FREAKIN’ SURE?!? You’re about to overwrite your whole website at which point all your site are belong to us.”

    Glad you got it fixed.

  5. My stomach just dropped as I read your post thinking about how that must have felt! I can’t even imagine that feeling man! Wow…

  6. Lou Mindar says:

    Wow, Sean! Scary stuff. I’m glad everything turned out alright.

    1. Sean says:

      @Matt There were definitely a lot of lessons learned here. 1) Back everything up, always, no excuse not to! 2) Reconsider next time I think about bailing on a workout, who knows what the consequences could be.

      @David There was definitely a sense of helplessness there for awhile, but I did everything I could and luckily it worked out alright. Glad none of your screw ups were catostrophic.

      @James Thats what I’m saying! It should be much more difficult – unless thats their ploy 😉

      @Mark It didn’t feel good, I can tell you that much haha

      @Lou Me too!

  7. Joel says:

    I’ve done this actually a couple times! Thankfully they were just on side-project sites that I was just messing around with, but still, that feeling in your gut when you realize it’s gone sucks…

    Glad it’s back up 🙂

  8. Systems Engineering people like myself have a saying that goes something like this: “There are two kinds of people in the world – people who have lost data and people who are going to lose data.” I’m sorry to hear that you ended up in the former group this time 🙁

    One of my business ideas that I’ve been incubating is a blog backup plugin that would pull daily snapshots into an archive that you could go to and retrieve your whole site including both database and uploaded content such as images. I figure that there would be quite a few people who would be willing to pay a couple bucks a month to have an automated archival copy of their blog that’s separate from their host.

  9. Greetings Sean!

    I learned the back up lesson the hard way a few times myself. I still could do a better job of saving everything.

    A related problem is passwords. My Twitter account was taken over for a few weeks with hundreds of my followers getting spam messages. Change your passwords regularly also.

  10. martin says:

    A lot of good information here and I like how you’ve presented it, simple and easy to understand!

  11. Tony Ruiz says:

    Dude, that literally happened to VentureMixx a few days ago. My heart started racing, I was lucky to get it restored. Cost me $15, I won’t be messing around with those settings again.

  12. SHABL says:

    LOL, not at you but with you. Iºve done that type of thing before and moments later youºre like, wtf! What is worse is when youºre like it should be ok and then click it and then itºs not. Same same but different kinda.

    Enjoyable read it was.

  13. Sharon says:

    I guess I need a lesson from my mentor-son on backing up my blog.

  14. Go Jonny Go says:

    Been there mate, nothing worse. Stomach tends to collapse southwards rather rapidly doesn’t it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *