Hello there, world, today I come to you with my head in my hands and ready to do some introspection kinda work. Or something. For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been looking at a professional experience that kinda sucked: I launched a course, and everyone stayed at home. Or in other words, the spring intake of Savvy Brand Academy sadly didn’t recruit enough people to run it as a viable course. I know that this is just a thing that happens, and it’s not the end of the world at all. In fact, in today’s article I’m going to sit down to kind of summarize all the learning I’ve been able to gain from this and to show how I’m moving forward and turning it into an advantage. So if you happen upon this article and by the end of it, you still think I’m awesome, then I am grateful to you. I’m working hard on avoiding harsh judgement on myself, which is something I have a tendency for.
It’s hard not to lose heart and do the old “I’ve failed, wah wah, obviously I need to retreat” thing. And honestly, I have indulged in that a little and maybe I had the right to do that. Let the bad feelings out, get catharsis, right? But now it’s time to take back a sense of being a pro, of bringing in that distance and going 3 steps forward for the 1 step I took backward.
Step 1: Examine What Happened
This can be broken down into practical and emotional roadblocks.
On the practical side, my promotion period for the course ran from early February to mid-March and I would say I had not allowed enough time throughout this period for people to really engage with what the course is all about. It’s a pretty in-depth process of brand building, and it takes commitment and work over the course of about 2 months. So in addition to the short launch period (or arguably as a consequence), the timing wasn’t right. A lot of people set their goals for the first quarter of a new year way before the new year starts and then it is very difficult to fit in a course that is truly a foundation for future action when they are already in the stage of taking action. In other words, autumn is an excellent time for me to promote this particular course and running it from November to January might just be ideal.
I also fell victim to certain assumptions about the course content’s quality being the course’s main selling point. Instead of using case studies in the way I did (as boosters), I should have built them into the cycle right from the start. Again, this one relates to allowing more time for the launch period. I should have obtained all case studies before I even started promoting, and then thought about where they fit in most logically and how I can take advantage of them. I loved hearing what my first group thought of the course because it was very positive. This course truly does work. But assuming that what people need is necessarily what they want at a specific point in time was an error. So as a consequence, I guess assuming, in general, is a dangerous route to go down. It is a lot more beneficial to work off the basis that you know nothing, even if things worked out before.
There are a few other practical matters that were trials this time, and I wouldn’t carry them on into future launches, such as giving three package options and losing the course’s core group through renaming it. And ultimately, one last practical note is that you disrespect the sales cycle at your own risk.
Eeek, I don’t like this but ok, here’s the emotional side of what may have happened. I’ve discussed this with a few people including my absolutely invaluable mastermind group and am mostly noting this for my own future reference.
Firstly, rushing the practical aspects of the launch and doing it all on my own while attempting to step up and show “value through pretty”…that didn’t really work for me. It caused a disconnect between my confidence levels and those I tried to project. One of my friends is very design focused and always keen that the image of what you share should be part of what convinces your customers to buy, but for me that didn’t really work as I think it jarred with a sense of integrity that I’ve got. When you are trying to big something up beyond the energy levels that you can give to it (again: more time allows for more energy), the promotion becomes kind of weak. I ended up projecting “hesitant” rather than “exuberant”. I tried to achieve too much in too little time.
Underlying those emotional actions are perhaps two symptoms of the same insecurities and self-critical tendencies. I did what I thought I was supposed to do, instead of doing what I wanted to do. And I failed to look at my product and get the promotion from a place of pride about what I had actually created. In short, I temporarily lost my sense of fun and creativity because I was too worried about how I can make money and be “worth something” in a material sense. Rubbish. Don’t get trapped in that shit.
Step 2: Move Forward
Hmm, okay, are you still with me? Maybe? Probably not, so I might as well just write for myself.
In a short term “remedial” sense, the best advice I got was to stop this pressure of being on a deadline for people to sign up for the live course. Instead, I’ve created a compact self-paced option that people can buy as and when they are ready. Going from that, I will be able to grow the base of truly interested people and take them forward to a mastermind when they are ready, not when I decide I’m supposed to do this. I also found that the work of improving and rebranding the handbooks helped me reconnect with what the course had been about and remember that actually this was pretty awesome and I wasn’t trying to sell something that doesn’t help. This is really important.
If you’re ever going to try to sell something, convince yourself FULLY that it will be absolutely awesome for the people who buy, and then throw yourself into delivering, and make sure you never produce anything sub-standard.
That’s my motto. So really, if I bear that in mind I will be a so much better sales person for myself. I have learnt and remembered an awful lot of incredibly valuable stuff from this, which is worth every bit as much as the money I didn’t make. I learnt that I should plan in depth and follow the plan, take time to reconsider and regroup after an experience like this, and celebrate what it taught me. The resilience and grit I have inside me is worth a million bucks. Just you wait, you universe.
And here’s something for you:
I made myself a little picture for my mobile phone after googling failure quotes to cheer myself up. Let’s have more goes.