About the Episode
One of the biggest challenges we face as entrepreneurs is the lack of context and brutal honesty about what it actually takes to run a small business when you are confronted with a tough decision — maybe a challenging client, or when you’re just generally feeling very overwhelmed by all the decisions that you need to make as a small business owner.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love being my own boss — she’s pretty easygoing and makes a pretty decent cup of coffee, but sometimes it would be nice to know how other people have handled the less-than-sexy side of entrepreneurship to shine a light on the challenges, experiences, and basic fuck-ups that come with being in business. So in true Outlaws style, we’re going to do just that with our WWOD episodes. First up? Launching. Grab your journal and dive in with me.
Topics discussed in episode #45
- What an Outlaw would do when launching sucks and Melanie’s experience with live launching
- What a launch strategy actually is from ideation to doors closing
- Remembering we shouldn’t compare small business launches to multi-million dollar launches
- The importance of celebrating your successes and reflecting on what went well during your launch
- How Melanie’s podcast launch became the template for the rest of her launch models
- Why you have to listen to your intuition during your launch
- How Melanie has challenged the status quo of launch strategy to make them more enjoyable
Connect with Melanie here:
Speaker 1 (00:06):
One of the biggest challenges we face as entrepreneurs is the lack of context and brutal honesty about what actually takes to run a small business. When you are confronted with a tough decision, maybe a challenging client, or when you're just generally feeling very overwhelmed by all the decisions that you need to make as a small business owner. Now don't get me wrong. I love being my own boss. She's pretty easy going and makes a pretty decent cup of coffee, but sometimes it would be nice to know how other people have handled the less than sexy side of entrepreneurship to shine a light on the challenges, experiences, and basic fuck-ups that come with being in business. So in true Outlaws style, we're going to do just that.
Speaker 1 (01:06):
Welcome to this outlook episode. In these shorter episodes, we will be taking a look at a specific challenge or struggle, which entrepreneurs face on a regular basis. And I will be answering the question. Well, what would an outlook do today's episode? We're going to be talking about launching whether you are a product based business owner, or you offer a services and coaching and everything in between. There's a good chance that you have attempted or tried many launch strategies. From the moment I stepped foot in the online space, I was introduced to launch strategy. Now I'm not going to get into all the details of how these launch strategies played out, because really it's fairly irrelevant. What I want to focus on is what would an outlaw do when launching sucks? If you have been around, you've likely heard me talk about my distaste for live launching.
Speaker 1 (02:04):
Now that's not to say that I've had success or even enjoyed evergreen passive launches. That is not the case, but I've really struggled over the last five, six years to find a launch format that works for my business until 2021. So I am going to be sharing with you. Some of the things I really struggled with in my launches, some of the ways in which I've looked back and reflected on areas of launching live, launching in particular, that just did not work for me. I'm mostly going to talk about why I still do live launches even now, because it would be easy to think, but Melanie, if you don't like it, why are you doing it? But it does serve a purpose. And I'm going to touch on that today. And then I'm also going to share with you some of the ways in which I have challenged the status quo of a strategy and actually allowed launches to be more enjoyable and essentially what better for my audience, right?
Speaker 1 (03:08):
So we're going to talk about these things today. So let's start at the beginning. Let's talk about what a launch strategy is. So a launch strategy is essentially where we map out a launch from the moment you're going to start talking about a product or an offer all the way through to close caught, right? So we often hear that phrase in online business closing costs. And that is when you are ending the sale promotion. So these periods of time can often look like six or eight weeks. And I've worked with launch strategists, creating content for their clients and the longer the runway, the better. And I do agree with them the more time you give yourself the better it's going to be. Well, you'd think that was the case, but there are so many things that can impact a launch, right? It's not just about giving yourself time.
Speaker 1 (04:03):
It does depend on a lot of numbers. And that can be really tough because essentially launching is a numbers game, right? The bigger your audience, the more engaged that big audience is, the more likely you are to sell. But I've also seen this to be the case with small audiences as well. Again, you need to ensure that those people are engaged with your content and with your work. So there are lots of things to consider when you're looking at the right launch strategy for you and your business. And there are so many different ways to do this. I want to really, really, really drive home the fact that there are so many ways to launch a product offer or service in your business. There is no one particular way that is going to work for everyone. And I've tried so many different things. So back to launch strategy, yes, giving yourself time is always going to be wonderful because it allows you more time to walk through creating content and really engaging and reaching out depending on what you're doing.
Speaker 1 (05:10):
But the thing that's really, really tough is when we get into short live launch periods. So this would be the part where you're opening and closing your cart. Okay? So you open your cart. You tell people that your launch is now, or your offer is now ready. People can buy it. People can enroll whenever a case may be, and you do this free period of time. I've done this for five days, seven days, 10 days, 14 days. And it was never enough time for me. In fact, even in a 14 day launch period, I struggled hard. Some of the reasons I really struggled from personally is the idea that I would be emailing my list every single day. That doesn't work for me. Not only do I not have enough content in my brain to put together lengthy sales emails, but I just never wanted to email somebody or a group of people every single day, telling them about a product.
Speaker 1 (06:18):
And for the longest time I was told that this was a story and this was a mindset book and this was blah, blah, blah, blah. But the reality is I just don't want to do it. I don't like it. It doesn't feel right to me. And that's okay. Right. That's okay. So if you are in the same boat, if you're like, I do not want to email people every single day for two weeks or even every other day. Cause that's just a lot. That's okay. You don't have to. Okay. And I'm going to talk about that in a little while. Other things that I really found challenging was the need to constantly be on, right? So constantly be showing up in a really short space of time, because if you're launching for five days, 10 days, even 14 days being online and constantly showing up over those 14 days, it's a lot, it's a lot of energy, right?
Speaker 1 (07:07):
It's a lot of mental and creative energy. And because we are human beings, things can impact that energy things that we don't always have control over, and that can impact how we feel. So there's a lot of time when I've launched in my business, I'd say pre 2019, when I've got halfway through a launch and I am completely burned out like dumb. I am bummed out. I hate it. I hate the product. I hate everything. I hate everyone. I just don't want to do it. And I'm going to be really honest back then launching. I was, I was just a nightmare to be living with because I was trying to launch my business. Like I was a multimillion dollar business owner and the truth was, I wasn't, I'm still not, but I wasn't a multimillion dollar business or not. I wasn't even a six pickup business.
Speaker 1 (08:07):
I wasn't even a five figure business owner at that point. But I was trying to launch my business in a way that I was seeing the big names of entrepreneurship launch their businesses, right? These big shiny launches, where there was a huge amount of context missing things like how big their lists were, how big their advertising budget is things that they will tell you don't matter. But truthfully, when you are launching these things can impact how you launch and how successful launches. There are always going to be caveats. But the reality is that that is why these launches are successful because it is a numbers game and they have the money to back up the things they are doing. Sorry. How do we launch when we are a smaller business with a small audience, we don't have an ad budget. Maybe we don't even have a team, but we still want to launch what are some of the things that we can do?
Speaker 1 (09:09):
What would an outlaw do? Okay. So the first thing is just recognize that there are multitude of ways to launch. That's a fast thing. I want you to just realize that you do not have to do it one particular way. And I do not give a crap who has told you that you have to launch in this particular way. I don't, I mean, you can give me the names, but like, it doesn't matter who they are. If it's not working for you, then it's not working for you. But it doesn't mean that every part of that launch strategy should be thrown away. That may be areas of a launch strategy that you really love. Then maybe parts of it that really work for you. There may be things out there that you haven't tried and that are going to work really well for you. So the second thing is to understand that when it comes to launching, I believe it is a lot about testing, which means you are going to have to do these launches.
Speaker 1 (10:08):
And you're going to find things that you hate. And you're going to find things that work, and you're going to find things that you're like, why the did I do this? That's just part and parcel of business. There's a lot of testing that takes place, especially because both ourselves and our businesses and our audiences, well, they all evolve. So over time things that work might shift things that used might not exist anymore. And the process of launching can of course evolve. So just remember that, right? So finding what works for you, remembering that things evolve and remembering that there are a multitude of ways to actually launch in your business. Now, as you go through this process, keep a track of what is working right with so quick to finish up a launch. And even when it's successful, not take the time to a celebrate, but be also reflect on what worked and what was I doing differently as that during this process.
Speaker 1 (11:12):
Okay. So not only should you definitely celebrate anything that you, you know, anything in your business definitely celebrate the wins, definitely celebrate the successes, but also take the time to write down, right? Grab a journal, take the time to make a note of what it is that worked really well about that launch or about that promotion. And also, was there anything different that you were doing, maybe you didn't mean to do it differently, maybe you gained more sleep and that was just a coincidence, but actually, Hey, maybe this is a really great thing that I should be doing every time I launch, right? These kinds of little things make a difference. So make a note of anything that's new or anything that's different make you know of any trends that you notice, right. Be really honest about how you can replicate those things during your next launch.
Speaker 1 (12:10):
Now, about a year ago from recording this episode, I was still launching in that kind of old style format. The way that I had always launched, I was trying to do it in a short space of time. And I was trying to send out regular emails and, you know, I was still getting the same results. Was I selling? Absolutely. Did I enjoy it? But I still got burn out and I got burnt out. Even when I had a team of five people supporting me, right. I had five people supporting me at that time in my business. And I still got bought out halfway through my launch. I still, even though it wasn't miserable, I still didn't enjoy it. It wasn't the way I wanted it to be. Now, last week we celebrated our last week. We celebrated our Beth episode. And so about a year ago we launched entrepreneurial Outlaws and my podcast manager came to me and said, Melanie, we're going to do a trailer.
Speaker 1 (13:14):
And then we're going to have about three weeks of promoting the trailer, promoting the podcast before we release the episodes. And I felt really, really resistant to this really resistant. I was like three weeks. So you want me to talk about the podcast full three weeks. You need to create content for three weeks talking about this show. And I was resistant because it felt like a really long time to be talking about this one thing, but here's what happened. I did it. I trusted her because I had no idea what I was doing, or I didn't really have a clue what I was doing in terms of launching a podcast. Cause I hadn't done that before. So I did what she asked. We released the trailer, the beginning of September, 2020, and for the actually closer to full weeks, I talked about this podcast. I created content.
Speaker 1 (14:14):
We came up with audio clips. We create, we released the cover coveralls. We did all the things for three, four weeks. And what ended up happening at the end of that period? I was like, this didn't suck. Oh, I thought it was going to be really hot. And it wasn't, it, wasn't hard to talk about this one thing. I'm really passionate about it. Wasn't hard to create content for it. And actually I had the space the time, the energy. So I didn't need to be online 24 7 talking about this one thing. If I wanted to take a day where I wasn't going to think about the podcast that was possible and I could pick back up without anybody really noticing, I had really great momentum talking about this show during the launch event. And for the next few months, this was on my mind. I kept thinking.
Speaker 1 (15:18):
That's how I want all my launches to be. I want all of my launches to feel the way I felt when I launched the podcast, I was passionate about launching this thing. I was so excited to tell the world I was doing this. I was so excited for everybody to see the content and hear the stories and the conversations. But I also had space and I had the time and the energy to work on it because I was doing a longer launch. And my team will remember the number of times. I mentioned this to him. I was like, I want every launch to be like this, but I still took me about five or six months to actually recognize that I was in full control of my launches and the, I could try this out. So when it came to 2021 and deciding to write the outlook journal and to publish this journal and put it out into the world, I was like, we're going to do a long launch, right?
Speaker 1 (16:19):
We're going to, we're going to really extend this process. And so I started out with a waitlist, which incidentally I had never done before I created a waitlist and then decided I was going to do a pre-sale and then decided that I would continue talking about the journal for about another three or four weeks. And whilst you can still buy the journal at any time, because it's a physical product. At that point, I would shift my energy and my promotional content into something different. And so I did this, I tested out the same long format for a launch with the outdoor journal. I talked about it a lot to the point that I was getting pretty fed up with myself. And that seemed to be the exact point at which everyone started paying attention. I'm like, oh, she's creating a journal. And I did the waitlist. I opened up the pre-sale. I continued to talking about the channel after had sold my presale copies. I talked about it. I created content and I came up with new content ideas to use moving forward.
Speaker 1 (17:30):
So the launch worked, I sat there and I was like, right. That was fun. I enjoyed it as much as I did the podcast. It didn't hate myself. I didn't hate this. I wasn't miserable. I wasn't burnt out. This was good. And so I was like, well, we to try it again because it worked one spill. We need to try it again. And so I tried it again and I tried it again and again, so far this year I've tried this launch process four or five times, there always been different factors. This is really important. Not every single launch has looked the same because there have been different factors. They have been different, different seasons. I have had different amounts of energy. Maybe it's a totally different product. And so people, you know, people's interest in that specific product is different, but I have launched this in this style four or five times over the last six months. And every single time I have brought in new people into my business. I have welcomed new entrepreneurs into different areas of my business. I have sold my books. I have grown the outlook collective. And most recently I have been hosting workshops.
Speaker 1 (18:46):
This was really interesting to look back at because I had always hated launching, but I had managed to find a launch style that not only worked for me and my energy, but it gave me the time and space to reach out. It gave me the time and space to really build momentum, talking about that product or offer. And, and this is really important. It gave my audience, my people, my community time. It gave people time to make a decision for themselves. Personally. I hate the feeling of FOMO. I hate the feeling of urgency and scarcity. It's I dunno whether it's like a trauma response to all the times in online business, I have been faced with these quick decisions I've had to make right quick decisions, you know, are you going to spend full thousand dollars on this product, which I will never do again, by the way, but by giving people time to make a decision for themselves, it felt really challenging, but it also worked.
Speaker 1 (19:55):
And the reason I believe this works is because I, we miss things. We forget life happens. We're not all just sitting at our computers, waiting for that product open. Right? That's very rad that we do that, but also it gave people the opportunity. Maybe they're waiting for payments to come through, right? Maybe it wasn't in the budget at the end of one month, but it was in the budget at the beginning of a next, because their income and budget isn't really any of my business. But if they want to be a part of something, giving people space and opportunity to make a decision to work for them is really, really important. At least it's really important to me and my business and the way I do things. And so what I have found is a launch strategy for my own business. That works really, really well. Right. And this came from yeah, a lot of ups and a lot of, and a lot of burnout. And I love launches that failed. And I mean like no sales, right? Zero interest, even though perhaps there was interest in the prelaunch or in content, but the launch itself was a big flop. I've had more flopped launches and successful launches probably because in the early days of my business, it was like launch every three months. Go, go, go.
Speaker 1 (21:16):
And now here's the interesting thing. I probably launch every single month without burning out. And I think that's really, really important to talk about because the launch style that I was originally using buy me out every time. Yes. I'm a different person. Yes. My business looks different. I'm in a different industry and I've learned a lot. Absolutely. But I still think it's really interesting to look at these, these differences between a short launch, a traditional launch that is open closed car in 14 days or less fastest, a longer launch, anywhere up to five or six weeks that you can build true momentum with. Now I am an advocate for you listening to yourself, listening to your intuition, right. Laying that lead you and make decisions. So I'm never going to say to you, you should launch in this way. Absolutely not. That is not the point of this episode.
Speaker 1 (22:22):
But what I do encourage you to do is think about the areas of live launching. If that's something that is a part of your business that you don't enjoy or haven't enjoyed because I was definitely in the, in the camp of, I hate launching for really long time. Right. I talked about hating launching for years. I was also in the camp of, I hate slide decks and I hate workshops and webinars. And I don't, it didn't, it was just the way I had been taught to do them. Didn't work for me. Didn't work for my energy. Didn't work for my personality. So if you are also finding yourself in the camp where you're like, I hate live, launching time to get the journal out right time to get your journal out and answer some of those questions that I posed at the beginning of this episode. What do you dislike about launching? What is it about your launches that feel really hard?
Speaker 1 (23:28):
Why do you believe that you must launch in this way? Who is this important to, right? Is this important to you or is it important to someone else? Is it important to your coach or that person on Instagram be really honest about what is, and isn't working on your launches. Yes. The data will tell you everything, but your intuition already knows, but oftentimes we are afraid to challenge the status quo because completely changing our launch strategy or promotional strategy feels very, very outlaw. But if it's not working, you don't getting the results that you wanted. Yes. There could be so many different reasons, but if you're miserable, that energy translates right. That energy of being burnt out and being miserable during a launch is palpable. Right? Your audience feel it. They can sense it. They can sense the frantic email. They can sense the, I need to make money now. And I know this because I have done this in my business so many times. So it's time to just be very honest with ourselves and out, okay, what do I want to do moving forward? How could I challenge the status quo of launching and create my own launch strategy?
Speaker 1 (24:53):
So make sure that you grab a journal and really focusing on some of this, some of his content think about how you could improve your own experiences with launching and promotions. Because what I can tell you is that your audience don't really care. If you were to launch something every single month, they don't really care. If you are selling something on a regular basis, we tell ourselves that they will, we tell ourselves that will people off. But if you think about your own shopping habits, there are things that you buy frequently, okay. You may not buy, you know, coaching frequently, but you might renew a contract with a coach on a regular basis.
Speaker 1 (25:46):
So whatever it is that you are selling or offering in your business, just think about the fact that the consistency of what you sell. Isn't the thing that's impacting your launch or your promotions. It's more likely the way in which you're doing it. It's more likely the strategies and tactics that you're following. The sh maybe it's the launch period. You know, the runway, the timing that you're offering yourself. And for me personally, having more time has been hugely successful in my business, but more importantly, it's been successful for me. I have had more energy. I have been able to consistently launch every month without feeling miserable, without burning out. And I think that's really, really important.
Speaker 1 (26:35):
So thank you for tuning in to today's outlaw episode. I would love to know what you think of this episode, because this is a brand new segment that we're going to be sprinkling in every so often into your ears. And I'm really excited to be focusing in on these specific challenges and struggles that entrepreneurs face on a regular basis. Because as I said, there's just not enough context and not enough honesty about these things. So we're going to be bringing these on a regular basis. And I would love to know if you have any specific topics that you want to us to focus on. Is there anything that you've been struggling with or challenge that you've been experiencing and you would love to basically get my thoughts on it, get my opinions on it. If there are please pop over to Instagram, follow us on entrepreneurial underscore Outlaws, come over and say hello.
Speaker 1 (27:33):
We will share gifts and memes. And let me know what it is that you're specifically challenged, struggling with, or a challenge that you've been facing that you would love to know. Well, what would an entrepreneurial outlaw do? Because we will focus on answering those questions. So that is it for this week's episode next week, I have a guest for you, and I'm really excited because not only is she, has she become a friend. We met on that little platform called Instagram. I feel like I say this about everybody that I bring on the show. I met them on Instagram. It's my it's my friend app, but I met Hayley about, well, just over a year ago. And we became fast friends and I hired her and her team to manage this show. So because it is our birthday, we've just celebrated our first podcast aversary we felt that it was only right.
Speaker 1 (28:33):
I bring you the, of the person behind this show who really, really supports me and make sure that all of my crazy ideas are reigned in. She is definitely the person that challenges me and encourages me, but also as like Melanie one thing at a time. So we're going to be sitting down next week and you're going to get to listen into that conversation. I'm so excited to talk with her about how her business has grown over the last year. Last two years, I should say. And the, you know, the impact that she's making, but also to really sit down and talk about some of those moments that haven't been so sexy, right? This is going to be a theme we're going to be really digging into some of those areas where she has had to even ask herself that in question, you know, how would I do this differently?
Speaker 1 (29:27):
Or what do I need to shift and change? Because things can change in such a short space of time in online business. And she always reminds me of that. So I'm really excited for you guys to hear that conversation as well. So that'll be next week. You'll get to listen into this guest episode with Haley Hatcher of heart-centered podcasting and for now make sure you're following us over on Instagram, come over and deepen the conversations, join us over there. And if you need any show notes or a full transcription, you can head to Melanie nights.com forward slash podcast. And if you have a moment, I would love for you to head over to apple podcasts and rate and review this show by rating interviewing the show. Not only do I get to read your incredibly kind words, which I always love, but this actually puts the show into the charts.
Speaker 1 (30:22):
Potentially. It tells people that we are doing what the is important, and it helps other listeners who are looking for marketing and entrepreneur podcasts to know what they're going to get from this show. So if you haven't and you would love to leave a review for us, head over to apple podcasts and leave a five-star rating and review, and we will be sharing these reviews over on Instagram, you'll see your your review pop up on stories and also putting them in the feeds. So I'm making more of an effort to do that as well, but I really, really appreciate every review that comes through. I read them and I just love seeing the impact that we are making. So that's it for this week. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I will see you all in the next episode until next time Outlaws.