Exhilarating. Terrifying. Exhausting. Eye-opening.
These are a few of the words that come to mind when I think back to the launch of my first online program in March this year.
A few other words, unfit for publication, also come to mind.
Getting online to supplement the ‘offline’
I am a Personal Trainer and Movement Specialist who works with endurance athletes like triathletes and runners to improve their sports performance. So much of my time is spent working ‘hands on’ with clients in the gym or the outdoors. Whilst I love my work, this “trading time for money” business model of course has two drawbacks ~
- the number of people I can help and
- the (potential) income my business can generate,
is limited by the number of hours in the day I choose to work.
I’ve always recognised this ‘challenge’ in my business model. So developing and growing a (financially viable) online business has always been in my (long term) business plan. But the problem was I didn’t really know how to go about doing it. For my first “attempt” (and I use the word “attempt” loosely), I adopted the “build it and they will come” approach made popular by a certain movie. Needless to say, they didn’t.
I had followed Natalie Sisson in the Twitterverse for some time when she announced last year that she was teaming up with Natalie MacNeil to launch WE Mastermind. So I signed up for the program, applied what I had learned and launched my first online program, Tri Peak Performance, in March this year. Tri Peak Performance is a 6-week online training program for triathletes to help them reduce their risk of injury and put them on the fast track to their next personal record.
I learned an incredible amount not only during WE Mastermind, but particularly whilst developing and launching my program. Looking back, there were quite a few things I did well. Other things, not so well. But that’s life, and I’ve always been a firm believer that the only mistake you can make is not to learn from your experiences.
What I learned from launching an online program: lessons from my launch
Here are a few of the key lessons I learned during the process. These are many of the things I didn’t implement particularly well, so each will be a key focus during my next launch ~
Building an audience is king.
Needless to say, it is easier to sell when you have an audience to sell to! This might seem obvious. But once I started working on the content for the program, audience building took a backseat (and no doubt suffered as a result).
Networking and guest posting is good business.
I am pleased with the (deliberate) content marketing strategy I adopted on my website ahead of the launch. However my grand plans to do a considerable amount of guest posting in the months leading up to the launch slipped through the cracks as the pressures on my time increased. This meant that my opportunity to reach out to new audiences (rather than just my existing audience) was limited.
Don’t make your affiliate marketing an afterthought.
I confess that this was a missed opportunity, which left a rather gaping hole in my promotion strategy. I am (now) a firm believer that an affiliate program is fundamental to the success of any program. Gotta love hindsight 😉
I had created an affiliate program, but as I hadn’t done a great deal of guest posting and networking (see point 2 above), only 1 person signed up to it. Without the right relationships in place from the start, it was difficult, if not impossible, to reach out to a broader audience.
Outsource, outsource, outsource.
I can’t stress this point more highly.
Even back in my days as a lawyer, I used to get into trouble for not delegating enough work. It is something I’ve always struggled with. In this launch, I felt like I needed to know how to do everything “just in case”.
But the reality is that I didn’t – and neither do you!
It is a waste of your talent, skills and time. Not to mention it increases your frustration and stress when you have to spend time (already in short supply) learning how to use all the software, plug-ins, programs etc needed to create and run an online program.
The importance of outsourcing was reinforced when I discovered a mistake in the way I had set the shopping cart up. (Had it not been for my wonderful participants) I could have lost all the gross sales for the program! So dedicate your time to your strengths, and seek the help of others with the rest!
Everything takes twice as long as you think it will.
A note to self for next time – you are not superwoman! Next time, I will build some more time into the development and pre-launch period to make sure important tasks still get done (and get done well) as the launch date approaches!
Everything costs twice as much as you think it will.
Even with a pricing model put together for me by the amazing Nicole Fende, I still managed to underestimate some expenses associated with the launch. So make sure you put some spare money aside in the months leading up to the launch. This will also mean that when things get stressful towards the launch date (as they inevitably will), you have the option to outsource even more work than you originally planned to.
And if you don’t use the extra cash on launch expenses, use it to buy some champagne to celebrate your launch!
Finalise your program content before the pre-launch promotion period starts!
I made the mistake of assuming that I would have time to finish the content of the program during the pre-launch period AND promote it at the same time.
How wrong was I? (Extremely is the answer to that question!)
Doing so certainly detracted from the amount of time I could spend promoting the program (which no doubt impacted on its ultimate success). It also added even more stress in an already stressful period. A big “no-no” and one I certainly won’t repeat next time.
From all of that, it might sound like I didn’t enjoy the process.
Far from it. I really enjoyed it. I discovered that I loved the whole process; from the problem-solving aspects of trying to identify my prospect’s problems, working out how I could solve it for them and then deciding the best way to deliver that solution in a way which didn’t overburden even the most time-poor triathlete (remembering these are people who can spend 10 – 20 hours each week exercising on top of work, family, chores, sleep etc).
So thanks to WE Mastermind, the Tri Peak Performance program achieved sales from around the world and (perhaps more importantly), I have built a strong foundation for my overall business. WE Mastermind, quite simply, rocks!
About the author: Jen Brown is a Personal Trainer and Movement Specialist at Sparta Personal Training and works with runners and triathletes to help them avoid injury and reach their potential. To be one of the first to hear about the next Tri Peak Performance course, sign up here.
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