An alternative title to this post could be “launching is the worst thing ever” so that sets the tone. That perhaps inspires a morbid curiosity at the very least and, maybe, even a nodding and relieved agreement from anyone who has their own business.
The result, if we want to go cart before horse, is that I’m running the chilled investor course this October for the last time for at least 6 months and maybe longer. As the course is hybrid with live components woven around the self-study, it always needs to be cohort-based and that means needing to do the big “Ta-Da!” launch to gather that cohort.
Psychologically it’s a rollercoaster and I’ve finally admitted to myself that I just don’t enjoy that.
The surprising part, even to me, is that the launch I enjoyed the least was the best one of all, the first one. It sold out in 12 days, oversold in fact as I’d wanted 8 people and got 10 because two people squeaked in at the last minute. Even that last-minute part is a feature of the rollercoaster and, frankly, I just can’t take the excitement.
The wildly successful launch made me feel like I was going to die.
As if, because something so good was happening, the scales needed to rebalance and that meant something equal in weight and therefore really bad. I spent the whole 12 days wanting to be happy but just feeling … in mortal peril.
My business mentor, Rachael Roberts, advised me to just wait the feelings out, which I did, but I feel like there should or must be a better way to pro actively solve this. I’ve yet to work out what but maybe that’s because staggeringly easy sell outs aren’t frequent enough to naturally develop a coping strategy for or test out.
Next time round, it was hard but, ultimately, for different reasons. The first couple of places sold instantly and I distinctly remember thinking “Oh, no, here it goes again. Make it stop.” as I still didn’t have the coping skills for success.
However, as the launch went on, it didn’t snowball in a few days like it had before and, rather than be a relief I wasn’t going to have to die, that was anxiety-inducing too. Now it was difficult, doubts set in. That’s not fun either though does offer a much more predictable and familiar set of feelings. We’re better primed to cope with disappointment and things not going well, we expect it even, but it’s still not fun.
Next launch, I did back-to-back while the previous course was ending which was mentally draining and a terrible idea but it all needed to wrap up before Christmas because no-one was going to take a course over the holidays. This launch, despite being under a year ago, is now such a blur I can’t remember who was in which cohort or anything about how sales went.
January, I now had a partly video-based course which would take the effort off delivering so that I could … do launches!! More often!!
The fun part of getting to really know the students swapped in order to steel myself for the part I hate! It’s not all bad though as the course itself is now much more streamlined and the input much shorter because videos are naturally more concise formats than webinars, so it was a good move pedagogically.
Feeling not at all excited about yet another launch, I fully anticipated the spring lift-off not going well so self-sabotaged, not doing enough posts or emails thereby ensuring it would go exactly as feared. If it’s not going to go well, might as well put less effort in. I sold 1 place. the pre-summer one had a bit better results but, honestly, I can’t even remember it and had mentally checked out of the whole launch process.
I am sure there must be a way of doing launches that isn’t so unenjoyable but I struggle to see how when I don’t like it wherever it falls on the spectrum of success to failure. If I can’t deal with either a great launch OR a sh*t one, middling ones seem like the answer but that promotes a need to either only throw average enthusiasm at it or not be disappointed when max energy produces so-so results.
I clearly need to develop the skills to cope with the entire gamut or work out a place on the spectrum that I am comfortable and then somehow sell exactly that number at exactly that pace. But the pace is as impossible to control as the quantity of places sold.
Sales typically come in an inverted bell curve with people who’d decided prior to your launch buying as soon as possible (cue Grim Reaper hovering at the window) followed by a load of nothing (enter Despair and Futiity) followed by a last-minute booking (curtains close on Confusion? Relief?).
I tried both shortening and lengthening the launch period to try to go straight from death-panic to relief or to try and give the slow deciders more/less time. Neither helped how I felt about it all and I’d need way more data (aarrgh more launches!!) to be able to say what the optimum launch period is for sales.
I need a break.
Anyway, this October launch, I’m not calling a launch in my head. I’ve contacted people who’ve previously been interested, told my mailing list in a fairly low key way, scheduled the promo posts (I guess? Have I even done it?). What happens, happens. I’m basically trying to launch so I won’t notice I’m launching which cannot be a recipe for success.
But success freaks me out so that’s …
fine messed up.
One day, I may find I am all “He-eyyyy, LAUNCH TIME everyone!!” and that means I will have worked out THE definitive psychological coping strategies for whatever comes but I think I’m going to prefer to just make stuff, have it exist, tell people about it sometime, make another thing, mention that.
Maybe that’s launching but as long as it doesn’t feel like it is, the rollercoaster will hopefully become more of a Centre Parks lazy river ride.
But, please do share with me your coping techniques or even just secretly admit you hate launching too. I’m all ears and might find a way to turn it into an article or resource. Find me on Linked In to spill it!