Have you heard of Happiness For Mums, the online course?
That’s not surprising.
It was a belly-flop into the pool of online business.
This time last year I spent an average of 12 hours a day at my computer.
I was determined.
Driving forward with intense purpose.
In completely the wrong direction.
Let me explain.
In June 2013 I left the green hills of The Shire to visit the rocky mountains of Colorado.
I went to an event hosted by Mike ‘Notes from The Universe’ Dooley and became an Infinite Possibilities certified trainer.
It was amazing, life-changing and despite having gone there just because I wanted to, I decided within the first few hours that I was going to teach the programme when I got back home.
Within a week of returning I’d booked a venue for my IP class, had 25 ladies (and a brave man) signed up and couldn’t believe how much I loved teaching.
Over the next few months I taught more than 500 student hours, and gradually the programme morphed into my own version of IP.
My ‘students’ were mostly mums, and I identified with their hopes, dreams and frustrations.
Or rather, I identified with their complete shock that they were allowed to have hopes, dreams and frustrations.
I lost myself completely after having my second baby, setting me on a long journey of discovery, investigation and a search for answers to some fundamental questions.
Like – if I have everything I’m ‘meant’ to have (husband, lovely children, nice home, my own business) why am I still so sad?
What am I missing?
I studied evolution, religion, quantum physics, mankind, energy, happiness…
And gradually began to piece together my own idea of a life well lived.
And there I stood, years later, pregnant with my third child, and able to share these ideas with other mums in my Happiness For Mums classes.
It felt really good.
The awesome women who attended went to achieve all sorts of exciting things… including starting a charity and publishing a book.
And because I was planning maternity leave, I thought it would be a perfect idea to turn Happiness for Mums into an online course.
So I did.
I spent hundreds of hours creating slideshows with slides and graphics animated to my voice-over.
I made videos for each module.
Lavished hours upon hours perfecting PDFs and making them fillable.
At each stage I had to learn everything from scratch.
Setting the entire thing up in one course-hosting platform.
Then realising it didn’t have the functionality I required and moving it somewhere else.
Creating an affiliate programme, a sales page, a website.
Collecting and collating testimonials.
I got it done a few weeks before my baby was due and it felt fantastic.
My original plan had been to get the course built whilst pregnant, then wait.
Have the baby, then when I was ready to start doing a bit of work, spend the next year doing the marketing before finally launching it and making my fortune.
But when it was all done, and sitting there, and I was so happy with it, it seemed silly not to launch it.
So I did.
I posted about it on my facebook page.
And my personal profile.
I posted about it in a couple of groups I was in.
I sent an email out to my mailing list.
I repeated the above.
I ran a competition to give away three free places.
I got five entries.
I was so confused.
I’d read enough Launch Success Stories – why wasn’t it happening for me?
I offered a 75% discount to a few people.
I got two sales.
(That was actually really exciting.)
Looking back I can see clearly where I went wrong – and what I did exactly right.
So I thought you might like to know.
Failure to Launch, Mistake Number One.
I did no real market research.
Asking the people who had taken the class would they be interested in an online version and them politely saying ‘yes of course’ was not market research.
Confidently telling people what I was doing and them buzzing off my enthusiasm was not market research.
Friends and family being so lovely that they always believe in me was not market research.
I WANTED to create the course.
It ‘made sense’ for me personally to create an online version, so I just decided that there ‘had’ to be a market for it.
Lesson Learned – do PROPER market research.
Make sure there is an actual demand.
Don’t just hope / assume / guess that there is.
Especially if you’re going to spend 12 hours a day, most days for 5 months creating it.
And it’s possible that there is a demand, somewhere, for Happiness for Mums, the online course.
But I certainly wasn’t tapped into it.
Which leads me to Failure to Launch, Mistake Number Two.
I wasn’t wired into a network of mums that wanted a Happiness course.
I don’t identify myself as a mum first and foremost.
I don’t hang out online in groups specifically aimed at mums.
I did in the past.
I have some amazing friends all over the world who I only know because we were part of a sanity-saving mum’s forum when I had my first daughter 10 years ago.
Maybe if I’d stayed in that network as a mentor like the more experienced mums were to me when I was a rookie, then I would have been in the right place.
But I didn’t.
So instead I found myself at a loss.
I didn’t want to fake fitting in just to sell something.
So I didn’t have a network of lovely people on my wavelength to share with.
If you want a visual representation of how this looks in terms of a launch:
Go to your front door.
Open the door.
Shout “Happiness for Mums!”
Close the door and wait for the sale.
Do not hold your breath whilst waiting.
Lesson Learned – Genuinely WANT to hang out with your ideal customers and be an active member of their online life.
If you’re building a course about organic food but you’d rather be chatting about poodles, it’s a hint you’re on the wrong track.
Also remember – you don’t have to build a course!
Failure to Launch Mistake Number Three
Your first product launch is not the time to Go Big or Go Home.
You don’t have to pour your entire 35 years of experiences into one idea.
As we say in the Shire: “Take it steady.”
Think about the people you are naturally drawn to, who you like to spend time with, and what they need.
Is it something you can provide?
Write a blog post.
Make one PDF.
Record a video.
Just do something, create something and put it out into the world, then you can gauge the reaction, see what there is demand for and then take more action.
Lesson Learned – Don’t wait for perfect.
You can travel a long way taking baby steps – and it’s a lot easier to stay on the right track if you check your direction occasionally.
Failure to Launch Mistake Four
Thinking of anything as a failure.
Nothing you do is wasted.
Never – ever – waste a second on thinking you failed.
My super-smart friend Jonathan Benjamin sums this up perfectly:
“You either win or you learn. Either way you win.”
All those months at my desk last year were spent learning.
The success I’m having now can be traced back to that ‘failure’ to launch experience.
A few month later, I wanted to create The Prosperity Prescription and I needed to act fast.
We’re talking 72 hours for an entire product launch – and guess what?
I knew how to set up a membership site.
I had everything set up to take payments.
I knew my way around mailing lists.
I knew how to create a cool slideshow.
I could use iMovie and edit a video.
There were so many skills from the previous months that came into play.
And not only that.
The launch was based around kinesiology skills that I had given up on monetising until a few weeks before when I had discovered a way to erase money blocks.
I wanted to write my own copy – and that (long-forgotten) degree in Print Journalism suddenly came in really handy.
I wasn’t terrified by posting a video of myself online because I’d forced myself to film one in a ‘failed’ attempt at a B-School scholarship.
And I was connected to an amazing group of people because I was having fun getting to know them online and we naturally had shared interests.
Suddenly everything made sense.
All those steps that I’d somehow felt guided to take last year, were hugely important.
Without those skills I doubt I would have made $45,267 in two weeks.
Lesson Learned – Just keep taking intuitive action, because you don’t actually know how amazing things have the potential to be.
Keep showing up.
Every day, do something towards your goals.
Because you cannot actually fail.
Get some advice from people you trust.
Listen to those who have gone before you.
But also, follow your inner guidance.
Because if something is telling you to stay up until 3am, editing slideshows with a numb arse from your office chair, who knows what’s in store for you?
It might be a skill that will contribute to you launching a six-figure business a few months from now.
You know better than anyone what’s the right thing for you to do next.
Listen to your instincts.
Because when you get to where you’re heading, and the pieces fall into place around you, the random stuff you’re doing right now will ALL make sense.
With love, as always,
PS – I’d love to help make your business dreams come true. Shall we?