Thinking about your first-time launch of a new service, offer, or product? I am sharing all the juicy deets (and what most people won't tell you) about what the experience was like for me.
First-time launch confession: I launched my interactive workbook, Write with Power, over the last two weeks. And boy… was it an experience.
First thing I learned?
Don't attempt a first-time launch without a coach.
Seriously. I don't know that I would have stuck it out without my coach's support and insights. She helped me formulate a launch plan (even though I didn't listen to everything she told me, and then quickly realized she knew what she was talking about) and encouraged me when things felt hopeless.
If you've never gone through a full-scale launch, my best advice is to hire a coach who specializes in launching and listen to them. Follow their advice. Even when you think you know better or market research feels like overkill (spoiler alert: it's not!), do what your coach tells you to do. Build a solid relationship with your coach and don't try to go it alone.
Your mindset will make or break your first-time launch.
Think you're strong enough to go through a launch alone? Good luck. I'm not an achievement-oriented entrepreneur by nature. I'm much more motivated by creating the lifestyle I want than making a ton of money (I mean, don't get it twisted. I like making money. I'm out here to make money. But it's not my main motivation.) and I still really struggled with staying motivated and persevering when I wasn't immediately selling dozens of workbooks.
The hardest thing for me was that I knew how powerful the resource I'd created was. I knew it would help people change their businesses forever. But I didn't have a concrete plan for sharing that information over and over and over and over.
So when I launched to initial crickets, I wanted to quit. Two days in and I hadn't made a sale. I wanted to pull the plug on my launch and just pretend it had never happened. (This is where it's key to have a coach who can talk you down and knock some sense into you.) I briefly considered shutting down my entire business. My entire (rather successful) business! This is what launching can do to your confidence and sense of purpose.
It's really hard to keep talking about your launch.
I like talking. Every teacher I've ever had can attest to that fact. I love showing up on stories and sharing what I'm working on and how awesome my clients are. But when you launch, you have to post, talk on stories, comment, and make IGTVs about your offer. Repeatedly. And I was like…
It was Groundhog Day for two weeks. And I never got used to it. I also didn't actually talk about my offer enough. I can admit that in retrospect. But it felt like I was talking about it so much that everyone was going to collectively hit “unfollow” and I'd wake up to an empty graveyard of an Instagram. Talking about my offer, in varied ways and over and over, got old. I didn't have a plan that encompassed the sheer number of times I needed to put my offer out there. (This was one of those “should have listened to my coach” moments.)
Market research actually matters.
Are you familiar with market research? It's essentially asking your audience what they want and how they want it. I neglected to do much market research because I knew what I was launching was effective.
And I wasn't wrong about it being effective. But I was wrong about the format.
I thought an interactive, work-through-at-your-own-pace workbook was the best format for this material. And I still think that. But that doesn't mean buyers agree with me.
I've had numerous people tell me they want my workbook, but think it would be better as a course or that they'd be more interested if it was offered in a 1:1 capacity. These are my ideal customers. And they aren't totally interested in the format I chose.
Market research matters. And I didn't buy into it, so I didn't do a lot. But I won't be making that mistake again!
Passive products are hard to sell.
This is just a fact. When you're launching for the first time, it might be better to choose something less intimidating. A 1:1 intensive or strategy call seems like a good idea. I'm still relatively new to Instagram marketing, so my audience isn't huge. My email list is highly engaged, but it's small. Passive products do better in larger audiences.
Launching is brutal, but it's the best way to learn.
I didn't love launching. I didn't enjoy most of it. It didn't go nearly as well as I'd dared to dream. But boy did I learn! My coach (smartly) advised me to approach my launch as a learning experiment more than anything, and that is what kept me going. I have a list of 2148124 things to do differently next time.
Will there really be a next time?
You bet! As hard and discouraging as this first-time launch was, it was two weeks of massive growth. And, I'm not going to lie, the first sales notification that came across felt like a true “pop the champagne” moment. It was awesome.