When it comes to launching, women in my membership say things like:
➜ Telling my audience about what I created is scary.
➜ Setting a launch date is scary.
➜ Asking people to pay is scary. (especially if it’s more than you’ve ever asked for)
And usually, instead of working through those issues and moving forward, we start to put in roadblocks.
✘ I have a vacation coming up so I’ll launch after that.
✘ My birthday is in a few months – I’ll launch then.
✘ I was going to launch next month but now I want to add in this extra module so I’m going to wait a few more weeks.
We make launching (and even announcing a launch) a big scary deal.
Reid Hoffman who’s a co-founder of LinkedIn said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product you launched too late.”
And I probably would have been wary of that advice in the beginning of building my business, but now – 9 years in, I totally agree.
- Because I’ve launched a bunch of products myself and know what happens after
- I work with lots of people who are launching digital products, courses, memberships, services and I see how much people hold back when they don’t need to.
I see that they’re so freaking good at what they do. That their products and services are life-changing. And that they hold back for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of their stuff even though it feels like that’s what’s holding them back.
The first version is always going to change, there will always be updates and additions and new ideas AND, most importantly, you will find out what needs to be changed faster by launching, letting people use it and give you feedback, than by going over it, again and again, trying to spot every error or challenge.
You can do all the research, testing, and focus groups but you will still have to change things after your students or clients get their hands on it.
The reason for this is that you know the info better than anyone which makes it difficult to see the practical issues with implementation, the mindset challenges, the things that seem simple but are confusing to someone who isn’t an expert. You’ve been so deep in the work that you won’t be able to see those things.
For me, now 20+ products in, I can anticipate a lot of those things because I’m continuously interacting with my audience, paying attention to what’s working and what isn’t, asking them for feedback whether that’s on coaching calls, in a Facebook group, polls on stories, or sending out a survey. Then I can be efficient with the feedback and make updates a few times each year. But even with all that experience I still update and add things after every single launch.
It’s so much pressure to ask yourself to get it perfect the first time because it’s impossible. Perfection is impossible. And it’s a waste of time to keep working to get it perfect because you will get so much closer to a brilliant and effective product or service AFTER someone else pays for it and uses it.
When I launched one of my first ebooks, that I had worked on for months. I got a bunch of emails from people who purchased and were loving the book. And I also got a few emails from people (also loving the book) but pointing out typos. Even though I’d read the book multiple times, even though an editor went over it. There were still typos and not just one, there were multiple.
But no one complained, it was more like an FYI. No one asked for their money back. I just fixed those issues, updated the file in my eCommerce platform, and kept going. I didn’t panic or take it down or send refunds because it wasn’t a failure or a reflection on my ability or expertise. The ebook was still great with or without those typos.
Another example – when I launched The Essentials I still had a list of trainings that I wanted to create. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish them all before the launch date so instead of pushing the launch, I put placeholders in those spots with a “coming soon” note and filled them in as students were joining. And now, almost a year later, I still have more trainings that I wanted to add.
Imagine if I was still waiting, a year later, to launch The Essentials. I’ve had students in the program from day one who are still members. What if because I was holding back, still trying to get it perfect, they found a different membership to join? What if they hired a different coach?
Or worse – what if they were still stalled on what they wanted to do? Stuck in the idea phase because they didn’t have trainings or support to help them get moving? What if they felt so stuck that they gave up and quit their business?
Now of course I’m not responsible for what anyone else does, but the point is, your audience has a problem or something they’re working toward and if you’re not showing up with your solution, they’re gonna go somewhere else.
Our reaction to the fear of launching something that isn’t good enough leads us to add and add, and add extra stuff until the product is overwhelming to your audience. You start adding extra trainings or bonuses or support to help YOU feel good about the price when you probably didn’t have to.
How do you know if your product or service is ready enough for people to pay? You really only have to ask one question – does your offer create the promised result? That’s it!
That might mean your offer has one single training video or it may mean that you work 1:1 with clients for an entire year. It’s like when I was in college, the professor would assign a paper and someone would inevitably ask – how many pages? And the professor would say “however many pages it takes.” Creating products and services is the same – you don’t need to add and add until every piece of information EVER is included. As long as your clients or customers can get the desired results with your offer, then you’re good to go.
If you still feel nervous or feel a bunch of excuses coming up for why you can’t launch just yet, grab your journal and ask yourself what would happen…
What would happen if you launched next week? Or next month, maybe your product is close to done and you only need to do your launch emails and social media?
Or what would happen if you announced a launch date to your audience?
Or what would happen if you launched at full price instead of giving a discount or doing a beta launch?
How would it make you feel? Nervous? …Why?? What do you think might happen? List everything you can think of.
Tim Ferriss calls this “fear setting.” You can Google that for a longer, more detailed version, but the idea is to write out all the possible scenarios, including all the worst-case stuff, and then list all the ways you could fix that or get through it.
Sometimes just naming all the potential issues (instead of letting them bounce around in your head) can help them feel smaller and more manageable.
Like if someone purchases your course and they hate it and send you a really long, really mean email. This has happened to me. I launched a course and in the first couple of weeks, someone emailed and told me that it was garbage. Like she actually used those words.
And it really threw me off. I’d had people ask for refunds a few times, but no one ever emailed and ripped me a new one.
If this does happen to you – if it’s within the window for a refund you send them a refund and if it’s not you say, “I’m sorry you aren’t happy with the course. We’re past the deadline for a refund. Is there anything I can add or do that will make it better?”
In my situation (I can’t remember if it was within the deadline for a refund or not) but I did exactly that. Sent a response and then that person just went away and that was the end of it.
In the moment it was shocking and painful and I definitely cried, after a week or so it was all dealt with and I moved on. While it was scary in the moment, after a week it was over and I was on to my next project. And that was YEARS ago and I haven’t had a single email like that since.
Two things have happened since then that make launching a lot less stressful. #1 I have more confidence in setting and enforcing boundaries which allows me to respond more as a customer service rep and less as a creator who felt personally attacked. #2 I now have an assistant so she takes care of refunds or enforcing the refund deadline. And #3 I can launch without any worry or overthinking because I know I can handle anything that happens.
That confidence (or lack of fear) comes from doing the thing – from launching ebooks and services and courses and memberships. I’ve launched so much that I could create something today and hit launch tomorrow and not worry about it. But getting into that mindset takes practice. You’ll have to launch some stuff before you’ll feel confident about launching stuff.
You have to launch early and often and know that you, not only, can make adjustments after the fact (even if people have already paid) but also, most people are chill when something isn’t 100 percent what they expected or they aren’t happy, And you will absolutely be able to handle it.
You’ve got some people sitting in your audience just waiting for what you’re creating. Don’t keep them stuck longer than you have to because you’re trying to get it perfect. You’ll make a bigger impact the sooner you launch that thing. So I think you should set a date, tell your audience what’s coming, and then hit that launch button and see what happens. Because I bet it’s gonna be really good.