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.
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.
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.
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
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!