I bet you are very curious about what this podcast is going to contain from that title!
To be honest, I was a little nervous about this episode because most ”successful” business owners don’t talk about their failures, let alone post a title saying they made zero dollars on a launch.
But I hopped into my mastermind group, told them what I wanted to share and they all said I should go for it, so here we are.
My last open enrollment for my digital product program made zero dollars because no one signed up and while I didn’t have the result I aimed for, it’s totally okay, so let’s discuss.
P.S. Head over to Instagram after you listen and let’s talk about this – find me @xosarahmorgan
This episode has slightly a Clickbait title but it’s true – my last open enrollment for my digital product program made zero dollars because no one signed up. While I didn’t have the result I aimed for and it’s totally okay.
I think the reason I was nervous to share this is because part of me feels like it’s something I’m not supposed to share as a successful business owner. And especially as a business owner that teaches marketing. It feels like it’s against the rules to share anything but success, even though I’m a big believer that there aren’t any rules. But I know we mostly hear about launch numbers when they’re big and exciting and positive. And even if someone makes a bunch of money and had a bunch of students sign up it’s really unlikely that they will show up and talk about not hitting their goal.
I want to share this experience because…
1. It happened and I like to be transparent in what I share. If I’m going to share all the good I feel a responsibility to share the bad.
2. I’ve been running this program for 2 years, I’ve had 40 people go through it and it’s made over $70,000, so to call one launch a failure would be disregarding all the success it’s had.
3. I know this will happen to some of you whether it’s your first launch or your 50th. I want to talk to you through my experience during that open enrollment and my thought process throughout it so if at some point you don’t hit your goal or no one signs up you don’t feel like your business is gonna go down in flames.
Here’s the breakdown of the enrollment period
I generally run enrollment for this program (my digital product group coaching program) three times a year. I open enrollment in April, again in August, and then once more in December.
December of last year was a little bit crazy. I had some personal stuff going on, the world was still a hot mess, we’d been in quarantine for nine months and so I decided to give myself a break and instead of trying to cram in that open enrollment in December, I bumped it to January. I sent an email to my list in December and posted an Instagram story letting my audience know that if they were interested in joining the digital product program I was pushing open enrollment back.
I opened enrollment on Jan 19th and the cart was open for eight days (Tuesday – Wednesday). I offered a two-day $500 discount for anyone who enrolled right away.
I had a handful of people email or DM me and ask questions about the program, trying to figure out if they were in a good spot to join or if they should be focused on growing their audience first in The Essentials.
Now usually during any enrollment no matter what size your business is, some people will enroll at the beginning, no one enrolls in the middle, and a bunch of people jump in right before the cart closes.
During those first couple of days no one enrolled which was unusual but I wasn’t worried.
Then we went into the middle couple of days where I wasn’t expecting anyone to enroll anyway so when we got to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I still wasn’t worried.
A couple of things happened right at the end that led to no one enrolling and me honestly not putting in a ton of effort to try and boost sales.
Number one I got the flu. If you listened to the podcast a couple of weeks ago I talked about that. So Friday night through most of Monday I was not doing anything besides laying on the couch with like three blankets on top of myself trying to not feel like garbage. This was the point during enrollment where if I didn’t have the number of students I wanted I would be taking actions to boost sales. Actions like going live, sending more emails, emailing people who had expressed interest. But because I was sick that didn’t happen.
The other thing that came up is that I started to wonder what it would be like if I didn’t run my 12-week program and just focused on The Essentials. This is something I’d thought about when I launched The Essentials back in October and considered maybe opening enrollment only once or twice in 2021. So when it felt like I might end up without anyone enrolling I sort of leaned in that direction.
When Monday came around and I had just a couple of days left I almost didn’t send the rest of my emails because I started to like the idea of no one signing up.
But I decided to schedule the last couple of emails just in case there were any stragglers who were really interested in creating their digital product.
I also think there’s a fine line (which is crossed often in online business) between pushing people to find the money or the time or the energy to join your program and respecting the fact that your audience knows their budget, they know what they have going on, and they can make an educated decision without you telling them to put things on a credit card. I think lots of people end up buying programs that they don’t use because of those limited-time discounts or bonuses or time limits on when you can enroll.
I decided to schedule two of the last emails and then sit back and see what would happen. And what happened was no one signed up. Now, if I had 10 people sign up at the last minute that would’ve been fine, and if I had two people sign up that would’ve been fine. But because I was already thinking about how much I like running one program I decided to just let the universe take the wheel.
One other reason I wasn’t stressed or annoyed is because I didn’t pay for ads.
Often, if someone says they made say $20,000 on their launch, there’s gonna be thousands of dollars that they’ve invested in ads. Sometimes I do run ads, but I didn’t this time and so I didn’t lose any money. I also didn’t lose a ton of time because I’ve run this enrollment so many times I didn’t need to create new content, videos, or emails.
My perspective on a zero revenue enrollment is that maybe my audience didn’t need it right now. Maybe it’s better to run the enrollment in December instead of January. Maybe there was a slow start to the year because of everything happening politically and being burned out from everything that happened in 2020. Or maybe I just didn’t show up and talk about it enough.
Just because you’ve been running a program for years, run it many times, had students love it so much they tell you to raise the price, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it or need to stick to a specific enrollment schedule. And it doesn’t mean that I can’t open enrollment again in the spring or bring it back next year.
I’ve got this asset, it’s already finished, I know how to run it without a lot of effort so just because one open enrollment didn’t work doesn’t mean I have to ditch it completely.
I think that’s where a lot of people get stuck. They try launching something once or have one failure and then feel like they need to scrap it and try something else. Hopefully every time you open enrollment you have more and more people sign up. But sometimes those numbers go up and down and it’s not necessarily a reflection on your program, on you, or on your business because there are so many factors that go into it.
The other thing that makes me not panic is that it’s not the only program I offer or CAN offer.
This is one of the benefits of having multiple streams of income. I make money from affiliate partnerships, from my courses (which are now The Essentials membership), and from 1:1 coaching. If I was stuck and needed to make more money I could go back to building websites, offer a bonus or discount, or create a training bundle. There are always other ways to generate revenue if that open enrollment doesn’t work.
So yes, I ran open enrollment and no one signed up. But it’s totally fine. And it will be totally fine if it happens to you too.
One of the biggest factors in having a business that has longevity is resilience. Bouncing back quickly, knowing there are lots of ways to get that revenue, and not letting one bad enrollment feel like a personal failure.
I’m going to share a post on my Instagram @xosarahmorgan if you’d like to discuss this episode. I’d love to hear your takeaways and let’s talk about why it’s okay to share when things go wrong – I think we’d all have a better mindset and an easier time running our businesses if more of the people we look up to shared failures because they happen no matter how big your business gets.
And thank you for being a rad bunch of humans – I was a little nervous to talk through this but I know my people are here for learning and a discussion so I hope this was helpful for you. It was a little relieving for me to share too!