I love peeking behind the curtain of other people’s businesses, uncovering what works, what doesn’t, and what lessons they have to pass along.
You’ve told me you like those things, too, so today I’m going to share the mistakes and smart moves from my latest Make It Work Online launch.
But it’s more than just giving you the behind-the-scenes look.
It’s also about telling you why I do what I do in my business and how I line things up to serve the bigger picture of my life—not just my business’s bottom line—so you, too, can build a business that supports your life, ‘success without sacrifice’ style.
You see, I hear far too many stories of launch burnout, where sleepless nights, long weekends, and diets of Coke and M&M’s are the norm.
For me, that’s simply unacceptable!
Yes, launches are stressful (for reasons I’ve written about before), but sacrificing sleep, sanity and my overall well-being to make more-more-more is not why I started my own business! And far too many so-called experts have declared this is “just how it is.”
Well, not for me.
Because I know you want to learn everything you can to make your business successful without sacrificing what matters most to you, I’m going to share how I ran my latest launch so it didn’t run me into the ground.
I’m sharing it all—the big wins, major insights, and oh crap moments—so you can apply these lessons in your own business.
Let’s do this.
Plan Ahead as Much as Possible
Every time I run Make It Work Online, I up the ante. As a constant improver, I’m always looking to further maximize client results, streamline our backend processes, and deliver a phenomenal experience for every single client.
And since I flat out refuse to over-extend myself, lose sleep, or skip meals to make more sales, I must do a ton of advanced planning well before the launch begins.
Even better, this planning process also ensures I follow through fully on my commitments to my clients without making sacrifices to their results.
Here’s how I do it.
Map out the Entire Schedule
The very first thing I do is create a schedule for the paid program and the launch. I make sure everything fits together seamlessly and works for me and my team.
Next, we plan every detail down to the gnat’s ass. We make a note of every email, every action step, every social media post, every program update, every-everything that needs to happen from that very moment through the very end of the program.
Everyone on the team reviews the plan, confirms who owns what, and double-checks the deadlines. We make sure we’re all on the same page well before ”go time.”
Then, we get to work.
Choose Your Cart Close Date Wisely
I’m bewildered by how many business owners close their carts on a Friday at midnight (or heck, any day at midnight!). It doesn’t make sense to me, because it means they’re dealing with customer service in the wee hours of the night and all weekend long!
That’s why I consciously chose to close the application window on a Thursday at noon, giving myself and my team a day and a half to handle questions and manage the final wave of Make It Work Online applicants.
I chose the Thursday that fell right before the long Labor Day weekend here in the US. And since I wanted to give applicants a very quick turnaround on applications, this meant that I ended up addressing application follow-up questions over the holiday weekend. Oops!
Next time I’ll be sure to double-check dates for holidays before finalizing anything… and maybe consider a Tuesday deadline!
Make the ‘Cart Open’ Day Obvious
The second big mistake I made was that my first email didn’t make it 100% clear that Make It Work Online was open.
I think this happened for a few reasons.
First, since I was in launch mode (in my head, behind the scenes) for so many months, I didn’t consider that you weren’t there with me in my head thinking about Make It Work Online every day!
Second, my email list doubled since I last launched the program, and I forgot that about half of my subscribers had never heard of Make It Work Online.
To recover from these two mistakes, I made some last-minute changes to sales emails. But even though I had to adjust my plan because of these mistakes, it wasn’t a huge stressor or headache-inducer.
Why? Because when planning for a ‘success without sacrifice’ style launch, you have to do this one very important thing…
Add in Plenty of Wiggle Room
This was the sixth time (!) I launched Make It Work Online, so I knew what would be involved and could easily plan ahead.
At the same time, there’s always a lot to manage with a launch and program of this magnitude, and surprises do happen no matter how prepared you are.
It’s important to not pack your schedule so tight that you can’t shift into reactionary mode when needed.
Adding in wiggle room means you have the time to write a new sales email, try an inspired idea, hold extra Facebook Live broadcasts — or do anything else you need to! — without exhausting yourself or working late nights.
So give your schedule some wiggle room because you’ll almost always need it!
But planning is just one aspect of pulling off a major launch. The second thing that helped me pull it off is…
Don’t Do It All Alone (if You Don’t Have to)
I love to gush about my amazing team, so you’ve probably heard me talk about them before. They were an absolutely essential part of this launch just like the last one.
And I also reviewed the last launch to see where I wanted even more support.
One of the biggest stressors has always been the application process. Although I love using an application to make sure I’m working with perfect clients, I wanted to get some temporary extra help to manage this process.
Having this extra help gave me more time to personally review every application and answer applicant’s questions without feeling rushed or stretched too thin.
[I have to say this: Just because I’ve grown my team, please don’t think that you need to have a big support crew to run your first launch. When I did my first launch (my first many launches!), it was just me and my VA. I’m a huge fan of starting small and organically growing, so don’t feel like you have to jump to a big team before you need it.]
Whether you’re doing it yourself or have a big team, and whether it’s your first launch or your 22nd, you can do it without killing yourself…
Running My Launch ‘Success Without Sacrifice’ Style
Running your business ‘success without sacrifice’ style requires you to make deliberate choices about the business and life you want, then setting yourself up to create that.
I decided long ago that I’m not willing to work late nights or long weekends. It’s been (and continues to be) non-negotiable for me.
Here’s a glimpse into how I make it happen…
Schedule in Your Personal Life
My clients will tell you that I’m a scheduling fanatic. This means that I don’t just map out the launch and the program — I also plan for my personal life!
Two very important things in my life are my freedom and my overall well-being, and I make sure they’re included in my schedule, especially during a launch.
For this most recent launch, I included one weekend of complete downtime, two end-of-launch weekdays blocked out for babysitting my nephew, and eating quality, healthy food throughout the whole launch.
How do I plan for it?
Well, in the case of eating healthy food, I made a plan! I took Sunday mornings to figure out what I wanted to eat for lunch and dinner every day that week. I made a shopping list and headed to the store to grab everything I needed. Then I spent the afternoon cooking.
Before the work week even started, I had meals plated, ready to be reheated for a hot lunch and a delicious dinner every day of the week.
As far as days off, those get worked into the schedule along with all of the other launching action steps.
In addition to keeping my nights and weekends to myself, I also treasure a little downtime during every day, even during a launch. Here’s how I made it happen.
Steal Little Bits of Recovery Time Every Day
Toward the end of the application window, I opened my calendar for two days to hop on the phone for consultations with anyone who wanted to chat with me personally (something I don’t typically offer). That meant nearly back-to-back phone calls from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. two days in a row.
For an introvert (for anyone, really!) and someone who likes to keep relatively short work days, all that talking could have taken a major toll.
I loved speaking with these amazing businesswomen, and I wanted to feel refreshed before each call so I could bring my full attention to our discussion.
I didn’t try to do anything between calls. I allowed myself some down time (in bed!) between each consult, so I could fully tune into and help each person I spoke with. By the end of each day, I was tired, but much less so than if I had tried to simultaneously tackle a big to-do list.
Know Your Limits
Since I put my life ahead of my business, I believe I end up losing a few extra bucks for the sake of my health and my sanity, my sleep and my personal life. It’s a deliberate choice I make, and I can firmly stand behind it.
At the same time, because I do want to succeed and reach for big goals, I have to employ a few strategies to make it happen, especially in the case of this last launch.
When I sat down to work, I was focused on the task at hand, kept myself free of distractions, and checked off my to-do list with purpose. I knew that every action I took would lead to the end goal of filling my program. And I knew what I was willing (and not willing) to do to make it happen.
For example, during the last few days of the launch, I had an onslaught of ideas of what I could do to keep going, make more sales, and push harder.
But I was “done.”
I texted a friend to tell her how I felt and ask for a permission slip to stop. (Tip: You’ve got to have a friend like this who knows when to push you and when to tell you it’s okay to stop.)
I know what my personal limits are. I know how hard I’m willing to work. And I know when I need to stop for my own well-being. (And a friend can help reassure me I’m honoring my priorities.)
At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about deliberately choosing what we want and creating that.
For me, at the end of the launch, that was a willingness to drop those shiny, new ideas, stop pushing, and make a little less money… in exchange for my sanity and well-being.
What About You?
Maybe you’re different than me.
Maybe you’d want more time off than I gave myself, and you’re willing to make even less.
Or maybe you hate the idea of letting one buck slip by, so you’ll work long nights and weekends to get there, sacrificing sleep, and fueling yourself with Coke and coffee.
The good news is that you get to choose. You get to choose!
You get to choose how much to work, how hard to work, what results you want to create, and when you’re willing to surrender so you can create your own definition of success without sacrificing what matters most.
Learn from what I did to make your own choices, build your business, and create the life you want.
That’s what we’re doing this whole business thing for anyway, right? Right!