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Exactly How to Experiment in Your Business

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Have you ever had a grand idea? One you you were really excited to put out into the world?  (Of course you have.)

Did you ever have an idea you loved so much that you were equally excited and afraid to put it out there? What if someone didn’t buy it, this idea you loved so much?

It’s a funny relationship we have with our favorite ideas. We love them and want to share them, yet sharing them puts them out in the open for others to judge. And then others may judge them unworthy…. And ouch, that hurts.

Last week we discussed how to reframe failure-thinking so you can deal with inevitable failures without the freak-out.

Now, imagine not having the loaded pressure of success on your beloved ideas right from the beginning, so you can put your work out into the world with ease. Even better than just dealing with aftermath stress, you simply avoid it altogether. Nice, right?

This week you’re going to learn exactly how to experiment your way to success in business. You’ll see how to test, try, fail, rethink… and succeed with your ideas, without any pressure or panic right from the moment the idea pops into your head.

Here we go, in my famous, step-by-step style.

How to Experiment in Your Business

Step 1: Pinpoint an idea you’re excited about

Is there a service you’ve been itching to sell, or a product you’ve always wanted to create? Think about those dreams you’ve had on the back burner. Pick one to play with right now.

Preferably, if you’re new to business, you’ll pick a small-ish idea, not something requiring thousands of dollars of upfront investments. (I’ll talk more about why it’s best to start experimenting with small things in a future post.)

Step 2: Put on your scientist’s mindset

Like we discussed last week, your mental reset button is to use a scientist’s mindset.

Tell yourself: “I’m just going to see how this goes.” Remove the pressure, and don’t let the idea of failing hold you back. Instead, know that this is a learning experience, not a must-succeed-no-matter-what scenario. In fact, it’s that kind of pressure that will cause the stress you want to avoid.

You’ve also reduced the pressure by starting with a small-ish idea to experiment with, not something that will land you bankrupt if it doesn’t work out.

Remember, if things don’t work out perfectly, you’ll know exactly what mistakes to avoid next time and what aspects actually worked well. This knowledge is priceless, and you can only get it with experimentation.

Step 3: Put your best out there

Although you’re no longer putting a massive amount of pressure on yourself to succeed, don’t let that make you complacent. Never experiment with anything less than your best work.

Put your best out there. Your best product or service. Your best marketing. Your best sales skills.

If your experiment doesn’t work out but you’ve only done a half-assed ob, you won’t know the exact reason why things didn’t work. Instead, you’ll just be left with more questions — and that’s not at all helpful for learning.

Step 4. Watch what happens

Carefully observe how the experiment unfolds.

Did you enjoy making this idea happen?
How did your people react?
Was the response positive or negative?
How did you feel about the whole thing?

There are clues as to why things are working or not working. You’ll have to be a scientist to uncover the real reasons behind your successes and failures.

Step 5. Take notes

Not every experiment goes perfectly. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, sometimes it totally bombs. Either way, you’re going to learn valuable lessons from what happened.

If it went well, awesome! Take notes. Write down a detailed description of all the steps you took. Note what you think specifically worked and why. These details will help you recreate or expand on your successes in the future.

If it didn’t go as planned, also take notes! And, don’t sweat it. As I like to say…

“Clarity comes from taking action.” Tweet that!

You won’t know what works or doesn’t work unless you take action. And since you took action, you’re that many more steps ahead of where you would have been otherwise. After all, it was a learning experience!

What to Do When Things Don’t Go Perfectly

Let’s say you tested out a really promising idea and didn’t get the response you’d hoped for.

What happens next? It’s not to rethink everything; it’s time to tweak.

This is your chance to rework and reassess your plan, so you can (hopefully) get better results the next time around.

But exactly how do you do that? What are the steps you should take to make smart shifts?

Those are exactly the questions I’ll be covering in the next post in this series, where you’ll learn how to evaluate and learn from failures (and wins) to create more success in your business

Your Turn

As always, I want to hear from you!

What do you think of this concept of experimentation?

Have you ever tried it in your business? How did it pan out?

What stories and experiences do you have to share around this topic?

Tell me all about it in the comments below. I love reading your insights and experiences.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 claire stone

Oooh, brilliant. This has instantly made me see my new product in a completely different light – it’s an experiment, and if it doesn’t work as I planned, I can just tweak. This totally changes how I feel about it – it’s literally gone from being my heart and soul to just an experiment (an important one for me, but an experiment nonetheless)

thank you!!!!

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2 Jenny Shih

Yes! That’s exactly it, Clarie!

I’m soooo happy to hear that it helps you see it in a new way and FEEL a new way about what you’re up to. That attitude shift alone will make everything easier. Go you!

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3 Beryl

This post came at a great time Jenny!! Love these tips and my teacher brain totally agrees. As a former school teacher there were those days when a lesson was SUPER engaging and the kids were perfect angels, and then there were the days where we think we’re giving our best lesson but the kids are bored or misbehaving or just not into it. We are taught from Day 1 as teachers how important it is to take those days and tweak ‘em to figure out what works best for our students. Great tips! From my own business however I do have a question. What if you have an experiment that goes GREAT the first time, but then you try to re-create it and it doesn’t do as well. I’m in a place of trying to decide how much tweaking to do this time around because obviously it worked one time, so it should work again right?! It can be tricky trying to figure out where your experiment went ‘off’ and what exactly to change. Thanks for helping me see this in a different light. xo.

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4 Jenny Shih

I had no idea they taught this to teachers, too. Thanks for sharing that, Beryl!

As far as your question, it’s a great one. And funny enough, it’s exactly what I’m covering next week! How to figure out why something works or doesn’t.

In the mean time, I’m going to give you some homework. Look back at your original success with a scientist’s hat. Consider the emails, the sales page, the time of year, …. every little detail. I’m sure there are some differences. Find them. Get curious about them.

Second, consider how much your list has grown since the last offer.

And lastly, what are some new ways you could market this same offering?

Then come back next week for more step-by-step troubleshooting guidance!

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5 Beryl

Thanks lady!! I appreciate you weighing in. I’ll look forward to next week’s post. :-)

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6 Teri

So true! I think my entire business has been an experiment. Finding out what works, what doesn’t and what is needed and wanted is all a big hit and miss for sure. Focusing on one thing at a time has been very important as well rather than everything all at once. Really experimenting with one service and tweaking it as I go. Even creating my processes has been expiramental! Good thing nothing is in stone and we can always change what isn’t working, thank you!

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7 Jenny Shih

Excellent to hear you use this approach and it’s working for you, Teri!

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8 Shellie

I love this experiment mindset. If it doesn’t work, oh well, try again. Rather than the all too familiar “fail”. A whole new light :)

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9 Jenny Shih

Yay!

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10 Lacy

This is so important for perfectionists like me! I’m working through the “Teaching Sells” program, and they suggest putting together a “minimum viable product” first—rather than creating a huge course right off the bat.

I’m in week 2 of my MVP course, and it’s going amazingly well! But I’ve learned SO much just by doing this smaller version. My bigger course will go so much more smoothly when I’m ready to launch it! (Plus, I made a nice little extra income by launching the MVP!)

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11 Jenny Shih

Fantastic, Lacy! I’m so happy to hear that starting small is proving to be worthwhile. Often entrepreneurs don’t get that. They have a big vision and want to do THAT first. It’s not how to make success happen. (I have a blog post planned about this, too!)

Congrats on your first success and all of the learnings you’re getting from it. Keep up the good work!

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12 Patricia

I think that letting go of the notion that it all has to go right the first time around is a good way to let myself try more things. In most cases it’s about mindset and I think this shift of seeing it as an experiment you can tweak, rather than an pass/fail experience, is a good start

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13 Jenny Shih

Absolutely, Patricia! And trying more things will actually lead to more success! Now go make it happen, I’m cheering you on :-)

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14 Faye

I love the concept of experimentation you covered here Jenny. With this mindset stress can take a back seat, allowing the mind to focus on creating, planning and getting the work done!

As a Hypnotherapist assisting clients with a range conditions and concerns I try out new therapeutic methods and tweak things to determine what gets the best results.

With the business side of things, with all there is to learn and master, this will be the mindset I’ll switch to next time overwhelm creeps in! Thanks for another great post.

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15 Jenny Shih

Sounds like you’re someone who has great experience using this test-and-try mindset with how you work with clients…. which is so perfect for you to be able to apply to your business!

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