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Managing to Milestones & #JFDI Recap

The Redmond thinkspace office had its first Acceleration Services event to talk about the importance of project management. The event was held on Friday, May 30th with panelists Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner; Trent Scott, CEO of Rainleader and Director of Sales and Marketing at Mouseflow; and Brenda Reed, Project Launch Manager at thinkspace. Josh Anderson, CEO of One into Many, was our moderator.

Notable take-aways and tweets from the people that were there!

  • Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing (@HeinzMarketingtweeted, “The iron triangle of project management: Budget, scope and quality.@lizprc @thinkspace
  • “Figuring out how to prioritize importance: As the CEO, what can be done by you, by someone else, or not at all? Also, make dates to set deadlines.” – Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner
  • “A project is always evolving and in the beginning you may not know solid details.”  – Mieka Miller, Acceleration Services Director at thinkspace

Benefits of a Project Manager (PM)

“The benefits of having a project manager (PM) on your team are ten-fold.  A PM can help you identify what constitutes a project, help you define your objectives and overall goals. They will hold team members accountable for their project roles and responsibilities. A PM will also keep the project within budget, on time and ultimately deliver what the customer wants!” – Brenda Reed, Project Launch Manager at thinkspace.

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How to create a CBB list and schedule a launch that actually happens.

You don’t want to put something out to the world until it’s 100% perfect.
You’ll literally put the brakes on anything that doesn’t absolutely hit your high standard.
You think delivering anything less will result in NO sales.
Every little thing MUST BE PERFECT or it’s not seeing the light of day.
You’re a little paranoid that people will laugh at you if you don’t get everything right.

Does this sound like you?

I’m all for perfection and doing your best… but you can’t noodle away at something forever.
You must get your idea out to the world.
If you’re even thinking about launching that means you’re creating this for other people.
What’s the point to all the work you’re doing, if no one’s going to benefit from it?

So – what I do when I’m nearing the due date I’ve set to complete a project… is start listing off the CBBs.  What “Could Be Better”?  I make a list of CBBs and just keep moving forward.

Here’s the secret too for all you who will still want to wait until things are perfect – there will ALWAYS be CBBs.  Even if you don’t see them now.  I can’t think of one launch I’ve worked on, finished for myself, or helped someone else plan where there wasn’t a list of CBBs for the next launch.

CBB is one of those little phrases that helps take the pressure off – so start saying it when you find something that could be a little bit better, but you don’t want it to stop you from making progress or from launching.

No webinar? CBB – I’ll do one next time when my list is bigger.
No launch videos? CBB – my audience is used to blog posts anyways.
No affiliate program? CBB – I’ll do something super bare bones this time around and set up a real program for the next time.
No membership site? CBB – I’ll make a protected page on my site where all the content will live.
My PDFs aren’t super gorgeous! CBB – The content is there, I’ll make them look neat, easy to read and they’ll be fine.

It’s catchy…
You might find yourself declaring, “That’s a CBB for sure!” to things that used to have you adjusting your entire launch schedule.

Try it!

Go through your own launch materials, your program, your copy, your sales process and start making your CBB list for the next launch.

And – if you want to learn more about what’s important and what’s NOT important to launch…I’ll be teaching a live 1-hour workshop at thinkspace THIS WEEK to show you how to plan and schedule your next launch – so those CBBs don’t weigh you down!

Launch Exhaustion: How to schedule a year of launches without exhausting yourself, your audience, or your team.

Click here for more information and to attend

 

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The Rules To Delivering, Seeing Things Through + Launching Anything


Planning a project? Developing a new program? Starting a business?

It’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed by all the little moving parts in a launch.  Your website, the product, membership area, sales process, buttons, emails, graphics, getting the word out…it’s not surprising how many people DON’T launch.

There’s a lot that can go wrong.

Instead of pretending you’ll be able to handle all the curve balls that will be thrown at you during a launch or heck when running your business, having some guidelines to follow will go far in keeping your launch train moving forward.

Today – I’m sharing my personal launch rules–they have served me well planning projects in many different industries like film, video game development, pilates studio development and now as I grow my online business.

Don’t be surprised if some of them seem super obvious – and they are!

  1. Be clear what you are offering and be able to say it out loud to real people in your real life. If you can’t – then keep trying…

  2. Know who your audience is. There’s no real trick to this and you don’t have to do the work yourself.  My first time launching helped me clarify who would actually buy from me.  Moral of that story is put yourself in front of as many different audiences as you can – and your audience will find you!

  3. Get help – managing your project, doing the work, spreading the word… get help in every area, aspect and phase of your launch – so you don’t have to keep it all in your own head! Support is that key ingredient that really does matter more than you know!

  4. Stick to a schedule and be realistic when setting your schedule.  If you’ve only got a few people to “help” out…give yourself longer.  Be honest, realistic, and don’t

  5. Deliver what you promised and when you promise.  Don’t say you’re going to do a video series and then crap out after the 2nd one.  Don’t say your program will be delivered upon purchase if it opens in 2 weeks.  Just be clear what you’re offering and when and if it changes, make sure people know about it in ADVANCE.

  6. Don’t switch software or any systems mid-launch. ‘NUFF SAID.

  7. Make sure your team is going to see through the launch. This goes along with getting help. Make sure your help gives you a commitment to helping you through the entire life of the launch.

  8. Have back up plans. Think of things that could break down, go wrong, or not work well, and be ready to change direction at a moment’s notice.  Be okay with putting plan b in motion if needed.

  9. Be ready to (and OK with) CHANGE anything that’s not working for ANY reason.

  10. Do it often and don’t be afraid to LAUNCH WITHOUT SELLING A THING. Launching isn’t just about making moola. It’s a process you should learn early so that you can pull off your bigger ticket launches in the future.  So – launch often and launch free things too!

If you want to know more about planning a launch so that you have time to pull all those launch pieces together without totally exhausting yourself…you’ve got 2 options today:

Option 1

I’ll be teaching a live 1-hour workshop at thinkspace to show you how to do this on April 24th:

Launch Exhaustion: How to schedule a year of launches without exhausting yourself, your audience, or your team.

Click here for more information and to attend

Option 2

Fearless Launching is now enrolling for it’s 3rd round!

Check out this completely digital online training program now to learn how to launch, get support, and understand why launching before you’re ready is so important!

 

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Conversations That Sell

A guest-post from Anne Samoilov

Today’s post comes to Thinkspace courtesy of Anne Samoilov and is republished by permission.  Anne has been helping solopreneurs become more productive, create and launch their life’s work. She teaches about topics including online launching, product launch, small business growth, productivity, self-management, motivation, business planning + goal setting. Anne’s background also includes 10 years experience as producer for animation, visual effects, and game development. We’re excited to have Anne here on the Thinkspace blog – as well as a featured speaker in a series of brown bag workshops.

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Is it possible something you said 4, 5, or 6 months ago affected your recent launch sales?

Does it really matter what you say to people about your launch? Will it make the difference between sales and dead air?

Is there a known, working method of reaching out, touching, connecting, getting to know your customers before you open the doors, starting conversations that actually lead to sales?

And don’t you want the RIGHT people to take your offer?

There’s nothing worse than making an offer and getting the wrong audience on board… though it does tell you something about what you’re offering… but I digress.

Talking about your upcoming launch, sharing the behind the scenes, taking people along for the ride – it’s crucial to your launch bottom line – but the process is riddled with mistakes people make when they’re first starting.

It’s not as simple as posting 5 times a day on social media (and hoping for the best). If you track your tweets – you know most people don’t click on those posts.

You can’t just run an ad on Facebook – and again, think that everyone will be magically drawn to it.

And – you can’t hope those guest posts – ok that ONE guest post you did – a year ago, will help you grow your audience.

Unless, you understand what it takes to get the right people’s attention NOW.

I learned that to get the conversation started meant focusing on (BRACE YOURSELF THIS MIGHT SOUND SELFISH) the what I wanted back.

Yes – the exchange of ideas – opinions – feelings – experiences… that’s what I wanted.

Once I determined what I wanted back – I changed my approach to communicating forever.

And I’m going to share the secret with you in a very special,  in-person workshop on March 20th here at thinkspace.

Conversations That Sell: How to tell the world about your launch + reach more of the right people.

  1. The easy launch conversation starter that equaled sales within 24 hours – most people don’t realize that this simple strategy is so powerful – and it even surprised me.
  2. My top 3 “no brainer” methods to prepare your audience for a launch.
  3. The one no cost “everyday” business tool that saved me hours in time and money.
  4. How my “Launch Leak Strategy” allows you to “tease” your launch and create excitement before you even launch!

And then – I’m going to share my proven “before, during and after” launch communication plan that will take all the guess work out for you!

Anne will be presenting at an upcoming thinkspace event – March 20th, Fearless Launching: Conversations That Sell, Workshop #2.  For more information and to register for this event, click here.  If you aren’t able to physically be present for this event, view the webinar by subscribing here.

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The 10 Benefits To Launching Before You’re Ready

A guest-post from Anne Samoilov

Today’s post comes to Thinkspace courtesy of Anne Samoilov and is republished by permission.  Anne has been helping solopreneurs become more productive, create and launch their life’s work. She teaches about topics including online launching, product launch, small business growth, productivity, self-management, motivation, business planning + goal setting. Anne’s background also includes 10 years experience as producer for animation, visual effects, and game development. We’re excited to have Anne here on the Thinkspace blog – kicking off a series of brown bag workshops.

website-slider-anne-samoilov

So – last week I started this unofficial launch smackdown series by talking about some of the mistakes to lead to launch failure or failure to launch! If you haven’t read that post – go there now!

Today I’m answering the key question I get from people who don’t believe they are “ready” to launch.

What are the benefits to launching before you are ready, established or a guru/leader in your industry? (Don’t get me started on that word Guru…) Basically – should I wait if I don’t have x (subscribers, traffic, etc)?

Before I dive in – let’s first talk about who you are and give you a little perspective on why knowing these benefits are so important to understand.

People who ask me questions about being ready to launch usually fit into one of three categories – it’s useful to figure out roughly your category for one good reason — you’ll realize you aren’t the only one in your category! No one wants to feel like the odd person out – embrace your category or mix of categories, but don’t let it hold you back.

1. Surveyer:

You’re curious to know how you can possibly launch this thing you’ve created – You’re just not sure how to start, but you’re resourceful and ready to figure it out. You might not have a ton of experience in your topic, but you sit on the sidelines, watch others launching, and know there’s something there …you just need a little “more” proof before doing anything.

Main defining characteristic: Always asking questions, getting feedback, difficulty settling on a direction without outside help.

2. Creator:

You’ve been creating a ton of content and people like it. You don’t need convincing that you need to launch – you need proof that it can work even if you are just starting out. Plus – you want a full proof plan to take your ideas to market. Making the leap from all free all the time to paid offerings is a big jump for you.

Main defining characteristic: Creator with a conscious…you know it’s not getting you anywhere.

3. Jaded Tester:

You’ve been through a launch before – and you need major convincing to do it again. You set goals, are convinced you did everything right, but nothing worked at all like you thought it would.

You have tons of resistance to launching because you didn’t get the results you wanted when you did it the first time.

But – you are smart–can figure almost everything out. That’s why this hurts even more – this is the one thing you haven’t deciphered yet.

You want to find the lessons, but you’re a little miffed from the last time you stuck your neck out to the world.

Main defining characteristic: Lost confidence, stubborn, and you need to renew your belief that you CAN launch successfully.

No matter where you are within these categories…you can launch. You should launch. And here’s why.

Here are the 10 benefits to launching a new product, program or service before you say you’re ready:

1. You grow your list.

Whether you plan to do a video series, blog posts, interviews, guest posts, maybe a free webinar, all of it will be focused on one thing – getting more eyes on you and your business. A lovely “side effect” and your primary focus for that first launch should be building your list.

Don’t believe it?

Catherine Just grew her list to the first 1,000 with her first launch. She’s done a few other launches since then too!
Alicia Cowan also grew her list from several hundred to well over 1000 during her first launch and continues to build her audience with free webinars, workshops and relaunching her initial program.
LKR grows it’s list by several thousand every single time a new free webinar or launch is announced.

If your list isn’t growing during a launch – then you aren’t doing enough to reach other people’s audiences – which is one of the mistakes I mentioned in the last post!

2. Launches help build and rebuild confidence

Committing to a project from beginning to end, seeing it through, doing all you can – knowing that you learned, built your list, made some sales – this does a lot to instill confidence in yourself and your business. Even when things don’t go as screamingly well as you’d like them to, once you understand the process of launching, you feel more confident to do it again.

If you aren’t feeling so confident after a launch – you aren’t alone. It’s easy to set lofty launch wishes and then be completely shattered when they don’t come true.

There are so many elements of a launch that play into you achieving or not achieving those goals, so instead of feeling bad or wallowing.

Be proactive. Look back over the “mistakes” you made, record what you learned, and use it as an opportunity to plan for the next time out.

3. Your business will come into extreme focus + clarity.

Time and time again I’ve watch entrepreneurs work to launch a product, program or new service only to emerge on the other side with:

-> a slightly shifted business model
-> a new target market
-> a deeper understanding of what they want their business to be

Keep your eyes open for clues to seeing your business in a new, objective light.

Clues come in lots of different forms:

  • – a different kind of person than you expected enrolling in your program
  • – having the exact person you wanted in the program asking you for something “else”
  • – a sinking feeling that you don’t want to do 1-off coaching
  • – an immediate idea of what to launch next

Pay attention.

4. You get to test your product out before a massive audience buys it.

So you only have a small group of people going through your program.

Guess what? This is your chance to see what works and what doesn’t work in your program.

Treat those people like gold – because they’re the first, their feedback is gold!

Here are a few things I did during the first round of Fearless Launching:

  • – Gave 1-on-1 support calls throughout the program
  • – Asked for feedback along the way
  • – Took the feedback and improved the program

Sometimes it’s the simple extra bits that you can give that will make the life of your product, program or service that much better.

Don’t be afraid to shower your first round with extra special loving.

5. Launches help you build and strengthen relationships with your readers, prospects and customers.

I’m very close with the members of Fearless Launching – but I don’t just make room for customers. I make it my mission to connect on a personal level with everyone who reaches out to me, joins my mailing list, or leaves a comment.

I know it seems obvious, but caring and listening is all people want sometimes. So – open your ears and let people know you’re there. I actually feel the relationships strengthening over time with each and every one of you. I even feel a little protective too!

Encourage your readers to leave a comment – to email you. Then – respond. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but taking the extra time to respond makes a huge difference in those relationships. Someone might not be a customer today, but tomorrow things can change.

6. You suddenly understand and can easily identify your ideal customer.

One of the toughest parts of starting an online or offline business is understanding your ideal customer.

Before Fearless Launching – I had a vague idea of who I was serving. After two rounds of the program – I now completely understand who this program serves best and who will get the best results.

Honestly though, I sometimes feel like I got lucky and the exact right people enrolled.

How do you really get lucky like I did? Make sure your content is focused, in YOUR voice, and aims to provide a clear outcome. That’s all I did – and it attracted the exact right people.

In my case, I wanted to make sure that people who didn’t think they were ready to launch were prepared, understood the process, got support along the way, and launched.

Most people either achieve this or get very close. And the ones who don’t get close – they do get there eventually.

7. You make some cash.

I’m all for making money when you launch. All that blood, sweat and tears – all the time that you focus on this one project. You deserve some moola, right?

Revenue is only 1 of my goals during a launch. I want to see growth in revenue, list, traffic, but also in my delivery of value.

How do you deal if you don’t make money on your online launch? It all comes down to traffic, eyes, and if your offer was right for that traffic.

If the offer didn’t match the eyes, you probably didn’t make any money. That doesn’t mean your offer sucked, it just means you need to reach some new eyes or that you have to adjust your offer for the people who did show up!

8. Making mistakes in front of fewer people is a lot less painful than a large crowd.

The main benefit of launching before you are ready is that your audience is smaller. Would you rather fall in front of a stadium of people or a televised event or at a wedding where you know most of the people.

Sure all scenarios kind of suck, but the point is – make the mistakes while you’re surrounded by a smaller group of people.

Use your first launch to practice of the process of launching.

9. You find out who supports you + who might not be so dependable.

Start now and you’ll see right away who’s going to support you and who’s NOT going to support you.

People are fickle. They talk a big talk – and will tell you, “Oh yeah what you’re doing is amazing”, but then don’t stand up and help you during a launch or even click on a tweetable.

Don’t hold it against them. People who say one thing might be genuinely wanting you to succeed, but then when the time comes to support, they just miss it completely or realize they have other obligations. We all have priorities in life and you need to respect that.

In fact, I know when it comes down to it – I support who I support too!

It feels personal when someone doesn’t tweet or share for you or leave a comment, but it’s not. Remember that.

Next time – you’ll know who WILL tweet/share/spread the word for you – and who might not!

10. When you demonstrate your knowledge, you turn lurkers into prospects!

Launching means you demonstrating your expertise with people.

Even if they aren’t convinced to buy – you have shown them you mean business, you are knowledgeable, and if they liked what you taught them – they will be back.

Often – someone can follow you quietly for years and then suddenly buy something or decide they want “in” on what you’re doing.

There are people who’ve been with me since I was writing about fitness, pilates and productivity… imagine how nervous I was to reveal that I wanted to stop all that and teach launching??

I was shocked when the hands raised one by one by one… and that audience I was so afraid of sharing my expertise with…they wanted it all along!

4 Reasons To Love Launching

Now – beyond benefits – the 4 words that express why I love launching, love watching people launch, and love getting people excited about their own launches:

Clarity + Growth + Money + Process

So – If you think you’re not ready for launching… consider being ready for a little or a lot of all of these words to describe what’s happening in your business?

What you can do right now

#1 – If you haven’t read the 9 launch mistakes post – go now, read it and post your homework in the comments.

#2 – Which “mistake” have you made that you can learn from, turn it around, reframe it and use it as a starting point to planning your next launch? It’s all about the rebound – share the lesson and what will shift next time out for you.

Talk to you in the comments below!

-Anne

Anne will be presenting at an upcoming thinkspace event: February 14, Fearless Launching: The Beginner Launch, Workshop #1.  For more information and to register for this event, click here.