Let’s talk product launches, shall we?

Alex and I just wrapped up our first launch of 2016. It spanned just over two weeks and welcomed 63 brand spanking new students (and 1 upgrading alum) to the new 30x500 Academy.

Total revenue: $113,637

30x500 Launch graph Feb 2015 Graph includes $1,039 in book sales which aren’t part of the launch

Pretty pathetic, right?

I mean, gosh darn it, the last two launches of the 30x500 Academy as an unfinished work in progress sold three times the seats and $60k+ more revenue (despite the lower “beta” price). And that’s for each of the two launches, not both combined.

And some of our friends are doing double, triple, quadruple (or more) than that on their launches. Some of them even blog about it in excruciating(ly useful) detail! I’ve tweeted their post-mortems!

Why are they so much better than us?!

Cat jumps off snowy car and slides off

This is a question I am absolutely not asking myself, by the way. The preceeding 3 paragraphs of histrionics were faked entirely for your benefit.

We’re not stressing out about our smarts, our abilities, our product, or our audience, because we know a secret:

It’s good enough.

This launch was a C+ effort. We know it. And you know what? That’s good enough.

We could have worked an extra couple weeks and designed a super polished launch. But we didn’t. We chose to spend an hour up front, outlining, then maybe 20-25 man hours putting all the launch content together.

We could have aimed higher, launched to our entire list (>16,000) instead of just the wait list (<1,100). But we didn’t. We felt like playing Easy Mode by selling to the most motivated.

We could have stuck to a strict publishing schedule. (And we definitely could have avoided accidentally sending one of the launch emails at 1am.) But — you guessed it! — we didn’t, because among other things, I got sicker and sicker and ended up in the ER due to dehydration, and Alex ended up surprise moving (because his new house was suddenly and finally!! finished). So we fudged our dates with nary a qualm.

We could have workshopped the content together and edited it and maybe even split-tested it. Buuuuuuut… we didn’t.

We could have launched with upgrade options (OMG PACKAGES!!). Everybody knows that’s where the money is.

We could have done all kinds of super smart things.

But we’ve got a lot of life and biz balls in the air at once and, frankly, we just didn’t have the energy. We are still recovering from the year we spent producing the new 30x500 Academy.

This was our victory lap. We walked it.

\"Is this a\.\.\. what day is this\?\" Big Lebowski

No, this is not a weird sort of reverse humblebrag.

Yes, $113k is a nice chunk of change indeed… on an objective level. It’s a six-figure launch! Woohooo! But for us, it’s not a great result. It’s fine. And that’s just fine. It’s a good enough result for a good enough effort. There will be more opportunities. They will take more work. They will deliver better results. And that’s fine, too.

That’s why I’m sitting here telling you, my dear, dear, reader, just how lazy and lackadaisical our latest launch was.

I want to take some of the fear out of it for you

I watch so many of you tie yourselves in utter knots over your next launch:

“It’s not good enough! It’s not ready! I’m not ready! I can’t, not yet! NOT YET! I might ruin my one perfect moment to prance in the sun!”

And if it’s your first launch? Fuggedaboutit.

I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent whispering in ears just like yours:

Ship it. Just ship the damn thing. Ship it! For crissakes, SHIP IT! DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE AND PRESS THE BIG RED BUTTON FOR YOU, YOUNG LADY/MAN.

And how many times The Thing in question has never launched. Never found its way to happy customers’ hands. Never made a dime. Never seen the light of day.

It’s enough to make me cry. Or at least bitch on Twitter.


A crappy launch is infinitely superior to no launch at all

Really, it is. I promise.

I know, from the outside, everything looks sooo polished, so intentional, so Serious Business™. But every launch ever made could have been better. Every product ever produced has been rife with errors.

Hell, even the Bible wasn’t done at v1.

Girl with an elaborate domino fail

You can always — always! — try again later, try better.

You’ll go so much further if you set a slightly pathetic goal and give a solid C+ effort to hit it. Aim low, strike out, but swing that bat.

Then use what you learned to take the next rung on the ladder of success.

Here’s our launch content

In the interest of science, we’re exposing our C+ effort to help you. All the launch content. All the mistakes… have it all!

Fun exercise for you: Go through these 9 and come up with 5 ways we could have done better.

See if you can spot the mistakes, awkwardness, the errors. Look a little closer and see if you can spot the most costly laziness of all — the things that are not wrong, but are valuable yet missing entirely. (Packages is a huge one.)

Despite the mistakes, we had a total email-to-sale rate of 5.72%. That is, 5.72% of everyone on the wait list bought the $1799 class. That’s pretty spectacular.

\"Shut up and take my money\!\"

That’s the magic of a product that your audience needs, wants, and is ready to buy.

Start that off right and you buy yourself a lot of latitude in execution.

And it’s not just for us. It’s not cuz we’re Super Special. Look around and you’ll find that, when the fundamentals are sound, you can mess up a lot and still succeed. Take a look at this (terrible) Kickstarter video, for example. That video is positively soporific. But they still pulled in 23x their launch goal because that product kills a HUGE pain.

Naturally, there will be a Next Launch.

That’s the power of owning our own assets. We’ll launch again and again — we’ll do it better and better.

Anya counting her money

We’ve got a plan for an entire year of improvements. And we talk it out in excruciating detail on the next episode of our podcast, Stacking the Bricks.

Don’t miss it… hop on our list, and you’ll also learn why you never want to be your idea’s bitch, customer interviews are full of fail, and the best way to make something people will knock down your door to buy.

How do you make your first sale?

Follow our FREE roadmap from $0 to $10k and start your product business one small, achievable win at a time.

When you subscribe, you’ll also get biz advice, design rants, and stories from the trenches once a week (or so). We respect your email privacy.