We’ve all been there…
You open Facebook and pop into your favorite business group and see comments like these:
I had my first 5 figure launch!
I sold 200 spots for my program!
I hit a million dollars!
Your stomach drops. Your palms sweat. And your head fills with some of the crappiest thinking you’ve ever thought.
And while your stomach sinks to the floor, mine does the same, too — for you.
Nothing makes my heart (and stomach) hurt more than seeing new business owners get overwhelmed and frustrated by posts like these on Facebook.
Why? Because those posts share only a sliver of the full story of how that person reached that point.
All the craziness — the endless hours of writing video scripts and emails, the live video shoots, the website glitches, the team coordination (and mis-coordination), the lows, the highs, and everything in between — is “forgotten” when the launch is summed up in a little comment like that.
They’re leaving out the failures, struggles, and mega-effort that it took to get there in the first place. They’re not telling the full story.
But today (and next week), I am.
You’ll get the inside scoop on what launching really looks like.
Today, I’ll tell you about my first “real launch” from six years ago and how that compares what I pulled off this year. (You might be surprised!)
Next week, I’ll tell you what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned in my most recent launch.
Let’s get started.
I Did Not Start Here
My first “real launch” was in September of 2011 when I created the original How to Get Your First 1000 Subscribers.
That launch looked nothing like my most recent one, but honestly, it’s the one I’m most proud of.
I did all of the work myself.
I put more effort into that sales page than I had ever before put into any sales or marketing copy.
I did all of the design work (if you could call it that!).
I put more thought into the content than anything I had previously created.
I managed all of the payments, the tech setup, and the customer service.
And I was OVER THE MOON when I sold over 50 spots for $67 each to my list of 1000 subscribers. It was like I hit the jackpot.
Of course, the program itself, my marketing skills, and my expectations have grown since then, but it’s important to know this:
We all have to start at the beginning.
[And to be clear, I launched and flat out failed at least a half-dozen times before this launch. If you haven’t heard that story, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. They’re some of my most popular posts.]
If you’re just starting out, or even if you’ve been at it for awhile but haven’t ventured into launching yet, I want you to know that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) start out shooting for a multi-six-figure launch and a high-five-figure expense budget like I did with the most recent Make It Work Online launch.
You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) start with pro videos (especially not ones a half-hour long!), custom-coded landing pages, or a team of almost 20.
Instead, start right where you are, with what you have, and grow from there. In fact, it’s the only way to do it.
Because, as you know, all of the amazing work that you saw over the past 2 months, well…
It Was Not All Me
One of my favorite things about running my business at this level is having, working and collaborating with, and leaning on a team. After quitting my corporate job, the team environment was what I missed most, and getting back to that kind of energy has been so much fun for me.
More than just how much I love working with a team, you need to know that everything that happened from late January into early April was not all me. There were so many people behind the scenes helping make it happen.
Yes, this team will seem big (when I brag about them in a moment…because they’re awesome!).
The reason for such a big team is twofold. First, I needed specialized individuals for certain aspects of the launch. Second, I’m all about doing business “success on my terms” style, so outsourcing some work was necessary if I wanted to get it all done.
First, we have the core team.
Becky, my almost full-time assistant, keeps the whole ship running. From organizing what needs to happen when to making sure it actually gets done to doing a huge share of the heavy lifting, the launch (and my whole business) simply would not have run without her.
Adrianne is my content strategist and helps with everything written, like video scripts, opt-in page copy, sales page copy, emails, free downloads, and blog posts. She’s my second brain, and you wouldn’t be enjoying the high-quality free content I’m known for if I didn’t have her help.
Michelle does all of the design work for my business and did the beautiful makeover for Make It Work Online. She touched every design element from the free workshop pages to Facebook ads to email header graphics. Michelle also drove down to Oregon to be on set during the video shoot which not only calmed my nerves but also made sure everything looked great!
Greg and Emily did the site development for MakeItWorkOnline.com. New to the team, they fit in seamlessly and executed Michelle’s design and my vision for some enhanced capabilities with incredible professionalism and high-end results.
Jess strategized, created, and managed a huge Facebook ad campaign, doing more split tests and ad combinations than my brain could even compute, making sure we were reaching the right people and letting them know about the free workshop I was hosting.
Katie and Erika managed social media content and the MIWO Free Workshop Facebook group, including keeping it positive, engaged, active, and spammer-free!
Second, we had the dozens of other people whose hands were in the launch at one point or another.
Adam and Yasmin shot and produced the phenomenal videos for the free training and sales page.
Kate, Lana, and LaTonja provided backup support mid-launch when Becky was out of town.
Adrianne and Kate were a second sets of eyes on the MIWO applications, ensuring I selected the best of the best for the 2017 program.
Kelly helped me pick out the right outfits for the video shoot, because I’m completely incapable in the style domain.
Katherine and Allison took charge of my hair and makeup for the shoot, because I’m marginally competent there as well!
Boone took the still photos for the opt-in pages and marketing materials.
Jen set up and monitored site analytics.
Nathalie kept the rest of my websites and tech running seamlessly.
For the first time ever, I partnered with affiliates to help promote and sell the program. Their energy was a positive contribution to the overall MIWO Free Workshop experience and sales process.
Many Make It Work Online Alumnae supported the launch by participating in the Workshop Facebook group, answering questions, and sharing their insights. Plus, each past MIWO client has taught me something about how to make the program better and better each time I offer it, so even if they weren’t actively in the group, they contributed to the program’s evolution.
Now, we execute.
With the launch behind us, we’re actively delivering the three-month program, and that also takes a team!
Michelle helped spice up the inside of the program website, and Nathalie made sure it was coded correctly.
Katie has scheduled content for the program Facebook group to keep everyone on track.
Joanna did a once-over on all program materials, helping me update them for the incoming class based on what we learned with the last MIWO group. (I’m always improving my programs!)
We have an incredible copy team to help ensure each client is putting top-notch copy on their websites. I’m excited to have Joanna, Kristina, Jackie, Sarah, and Jacqueline as a part of the team this year.
And of course, Becky takes care of everything… emails, organization, technical setup… really, everything.
But still, I know you’re curious, and I definitely want to spill the beans on…
What Worked? What Didn’t? What Did I Learn?
One of my favorite types of posts to read are “lessons posts” from people who operate their businesses at a higher level than me. I feel like those kinds of posts give me great insights for what lies ahead and what to think about (or not think about) today in my own business.
I want to do this for you, too.
Next week, I’ll be back to share my biggest lessons from this launch. What worked, what didn’t, and the big lessons I learned, so you can learn from my efforts and plot a course of your own.