When You Launch, You Learn (How to Kick the Dreaded Launch Rollercoaster to the Curb)

May 26, 2021

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

If you’ve ever launched an online course in the past, you’ll be familiar with the launch rollercoaster.

And if not, let me give you the cliff notes because trust me, if creating and launching an online course is on your radar at ALL it’s better to be armed with insights into what is to come – and NO-ONE is immune.

online course

What is the Launch Rollercoaster?

Let’s kick off with the definition, shall we?

In a nutshell, the launch rollercoaster refers to the whole gambit of emotional ups and downs that accompany the decision to ‘put yourself out there’ and launch your online course.

And let me tell, they aren’t for the faint hearted.

For newbie (and seasoned!) course creators, the emotional peaks and troughs usually fit into three distinct phases:

1. The “I’m Scared” Lead Up

Phase One usually rears its ugly head MONTHS before you get to the ‘cart open’ phase of your launch.

It’s characterised, for the most part, by fear.

The fear of visibility.

The fear of putting yourself out there.

The fear of rejection.

And ultimately? Of failure.

The physical manifestation of the fear, however, usually presents in a number of different ways – and sometimes differs depending on the person.

The first way it can present is in perfectionism (something that I have most certainly been guilty of myself).

This can look like:

  • Weeks spent tinkering with your webinar slides to make them “perfect”;
  • Months spent trying to decide on the best course platform and tech stack for your online course (hint: IT DOESN’T MATTER);
  • Obsessing over the fonts on your sales page;
  • Trying to finesse the PERFECT course name;

…And other similar perfectionist tendencies.

On the surface, it’s easy to kid yourself that these tasks are reasonable and important.

In reality, though? You’re simply distracting yourself from doing the damn thing, and getting your offer out there. Because it’s scary. Because, what if people say no? Because, what if it doesn’t WORK?!

The second way fear often presents itself in the Lead Up phase is in procrastination.

This can look like putting the creation of your online course into the “one day” basket because you’re “so busy”.

Moving the goalposts on your launch dates because you’re “not ready”.

NOT working on the moving pieces of your online course and launch because it’s “overwhelming”.

If you find yourself doing this, it’s time to ask yourself whether you really ARE too busy / not ready / all of the things, or whether it’s fear rearing it’s ugly head.

Because, here’s the thing.

You’ll always be busy – but if you’re not prioritising the things that ultimately lead you to the life you want, things will NEVER change.

Pushing your dates might be a temporary fix – but isn’t doing the damn thing NOW the same amount of hard as doing it later?

And isn’t NOT working on your course, step by step, one piece at a time, ultimately going to make things MORE overwhelming down the track?

  1. The Pre Launch “We’ll See What Happens”

Phase Two of the Launch Rollercoaster presents when you’re starting to promote your course launch – and specifically, when you open the doors to registrations for your launch event (whether it be a webinar, challenge or something else).

Let’s kick off the break down of this one with a truthbomb:

A successful course launch requires leads.

Plain and simple.

The more leads? The more sales (usually – your conversion rate is the other variable but that’s a story for another day).

But, here’s where I see the fear that drives so much of the launch rollercoaster manifest itself in this critical period of a course launch.

Firstly, in the “we’ll see what happens” laisse faire attitude.

“Oh, I’ll open registrations for my webinar and I’ll see what happens”. – NO.

“Oh, I’ll turn on my evergreen funnel and I’ll see if anyone registers” – NO.

“Oh, I’ll just do this the first time and hope for the best” – NO NO NO.

I get it.

You want to protect yourself.

You want to make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself by shooting to high.

But, here’s the thing.

AN ONLINE COURSE LAUNCH REQUIRES LEADS.

And taking the “we’ll see what happens” approach will NOT give you the leads you need to succeed.

You need to set a math based GOAL for the number of sales you want to generate from your online course launch. You then need to work backwards and determine the number of LEADS you need to get that number of sales (based on your conversion rate). This is something we teach inside of our Launchpad group coaching program.

And then? You need to implement clear strategies to go get ’em.

Does NOT hitting your number make you a failure?

NO. And, here’s the missing piece.

You need to set goals, and strive to reach then.

AND ALSO, you need to completely detach from the outcome.

By doing so, you can objectively look at each element of your launch – in this case, your lead generation initatives – and decide:

What worked?

What didn’t?

And what will I do differently next time?

But, not setting the goal and striving for it in the first place in order to protect yourself from a perceived “failure” if you don’t reach it isn’t going to do you any favours.

  1. The Cart Open Period

The final phase of the launch rollercoaster is immediately after your webinar, or your launch event, when you open the doors to your course for a period of time before closing them again.

And this, my friends, is a hell of a rollercoaster.

Doors open – you get sales! (Cue huge high).

Three days pass – your sales filter down to a tricker or you get none at all (cue depression and despair – and sometimes, giving up).

Last day – SALES! (Because human nature is to leave things to the last minute, but the waiting for a course creator is TOUGH).

The cart open period of your launch is an exercise in mental gymnastics.

You’ll think it’s working! Or it’s NOT! Or it IS AND THEN IT’S NOT!

And so on, and so forth.

The worst things you can do?

Think it’s not working and stop promoting: You need to go hard from day one until cart close; many sales come towards the end and if you think it’s over before it’s started, you’ve already left money on the table.
Think it’s not working and have it affect your energy: Your potential students will feel your energy, and if you aren’t excited about your course launch, why should they be?
Tie your results to your self worth: Your launch is your launch. It’s not a personal reflection on who you are as a person. The two? SEPARATE AND DISTINCT. Don’t forget it.

Reframing Your Perspective

The best way to avoid (or at the very least, acknowledge and minimise) the effects of the launch rollercoaster is, simply?

To completely reframe your perspective.

Here’s how I want you to think about a launch, or any sales event in your course business:

It’s an experiment.

My big motto for my Launchpad clients, and I should probably trademark this, is that “When You Launch, You Learn”.

Success comes from action.

The act of launching in itself is the ultimate fact finding experiment.

Until you put your offer out there, you won’t KNOW what is working, what isn’t and what you need to tweak.

Spending weeks and months “perfecting” your webinar or launch to make it perfect?

Useless, because it’s only the ACT of getting it out there that will give you the feedback and insight you need to perfect it.

The months you spend “moving the dates back so you can be more prepared”?

Useless, because nothing will prepare you for a course launch like, you guessed it, a course launch.

The time you spend worrying whether it will be a success or a failure?

Useless, because it’s only by launching that you will get the data to help you iterate and succeed – whether the first launch is successful or NOT!

When you launch, you learn.

Inside of Launchpad, we have a rigorous process for dissecting a course launch.

Do we review and critique our clients webinar slides, and sales emails, and other assets prior to the launch?

Yes, in detail.

But until it’s out there in the wild?

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to know exactly how it will perform, even if it’s been finessed and refined according to our best practices.

When you launch, you learn not only the overall “success” of your launch – which, by the way, isn’t measured by number of sales but instead by your conversion rate and the percentage of leads that purchase – but also EXACTLY where you need to improve so that you can iterate for next time.

Didn’t get the results you want?

Cool.

We can dig into the data and dissect whether it was your landing page, or the number of people coming to your webinar, or the open rate of your emails – or one of the many data points we look at – so you know EXACTLY what to do from next time.

When you launch, you learn.

What worked.

What didn’t.

And what needs to change for next time, to bring you one step closer to your inevitable success.

So, Where Does That Leave Me?

If you’re currently in the ‘lead up’ phase, letting fear (presenting as procrastination and perfectionism) hold you back from taking action, know this: The act of taking action – with a goal, but without an attachment to the outcome or banking your self worth on it – is what will lead you to success. You need to do the thing, to learn from the thing, to do the thing better next time.

If you’re currently launching, and you’re feeling all of the feels, you need to shift your mindset from one of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ to one of curious detective, watching and analysing to see what needs to happen to succeed. Knowing that the data will give you the breadcrumbs to enable you to reach your goal, and that the action you are taking is exactly what you need to be doing. Action creates clarity, and you are not your launch.

And if you’ve launched in the past, but you haven’t “succeeded”, great! It’s time to dig into the data and look for evidence to give us clarity on what needs to happen next time.

Whether our clients in Launchpad “validate” in their launches or not – “success” and “failure” are dirty words, and we don’t use them – we have a rigorous process in which we meet with them 1:1 on a milestone call to talk about exactly what needs to happen next time. If they reached their goal, we give them a data driven roadmap for how to exceed it the next time. If they don’t, we give them a data driven roadmap for exactly which changes they need to make next time.

It’s a vibe, I tell you 😉

When you launch, you learn. Don’t let fear, procrastination, perfectionism or attaching the process to your self worth hold you back from reaching all of your big dreams.

Links and Resources:

Want to create, launch and scale a flagship online course? Here’s a few ways I can help you:

1. Download My Free Course Creation Roadmap: https://www.steviesayssocial.com/checklist

It’s a one pager with the summary of the process for swiping clients for courses and creating, launching and scaling a course.

2. Apply for My Free, Advanced Private Training on How to Swap Clients For Courses: https://www.steviesayssocial.com/launchpad

Apply for Launchpad now and get access to a free advanced private training where I hand you my ENTIRE process for creating, launch and scaling a course along with all of the details for Launchpad.

3. DM Stevie on Insta – let’s chat! https://www.instagram.com/steviesayssocial

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