Does the thought of a launch make you a little anxious? Stressed out?
Well, there’s a legit reason for it…but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve been through many different types of launches. Ones with big teams and little teams and multiple teams…online, offline, across time zones, cultures.
Ones where everything goes wrong and others where zero errors and stress occurred.
You name it – I’ve seen it.
If there’s one thing that happens during this do-or-die period of delivery, shipping and launching…it’s people getting stressed.
As you probably know … or suspect, there are a lot of tasks, moving parts, pieces, and things that have to happen to deliver an organized launch.
People get fired up – kind of flip out – and often lose it because the pressure is just insane when money is on the line. And launching means lots of things on the line — money, reputation, showing people you’re legit, whatever…but here’s one thing it isn’t…
It’s not the end of the world.
It won’t mean your business will make it.
It doesn’t mean you’re better or smarter than anyone.
It’s just you, having the guts to get your stuff out to the world, with your best efforts put out there first.
That’s why you can take a deep breath and dive in if it’s your first one and get ready to learn.
The way you do this launch can mark the way you do the rest of your launches.
The way you react to problems, challenges, unexpected stuff that crops up doing a launch can make or break you in the long run.
The lessons you learn right now can stick with you for a while…so it’s wise to start thinking about how you want the launch to feel as you’re working your way through it.
Stress can be a reality of launches – but stress does not have to enter the arena if you understand some key things about the process of launching anything.
Not surprisingly, I created a takeaway cheatsheet this week to make sure you share these tips with your team, your accountability partners, and anyone else helping you through your next launch. You'll be surprised at how these simple reminders can impact the way you feel about launching…perhaps even helping you look forward to the next one.
Things To Remember (and Do) When You’re Launching So You Don’t Go Completely Insane and Come Out Stronger Than When You Started:
1. Realize changes are going to happen.
You will want to tweak or add emails to your announcement series, you may want to add something to your product, maybe even change how long your launch offer will be open.
Maybe you’ll decide to do a call at the last second so that people can get a better taste of your product or service. Other people might trip up the progress too if they don’t follow through on something — then you’ll need to change who does what.
Changes happen all the time during a launch and delivery of a project. Be flexible, understanding, and don’t let it get under your skin.
[Tweet “Changes happen all the time during a launch and delivery of a project. Be flexible, understanding, and don’t let it get under your skin.”]
2. One person should always give direction – even if multiple people discussed something.
There should be a clear “who has final call” on something related to your project.
Sure you can have gatekeepers along the way who keep your vision in mind, but make sure there is one person (maybe that’s you!) who decides when something is ready to go.
[Tweet “People who take responsibility get responsibility. – Seth Godin”]
3. Minimize last minute changes by discussing each stage of the launch in advance.
Taking #2 and #1 a step further…you need to discuss every stage of the project and launch in advance.
Working alone? That's fine, still talk to someone out loud about the changes you want to make before making your final decision.
Working with a team? It's even more important to talk it out with the team, understand the impact of your changes on the schedule and the people who will help you carry out those changes!
Making a launch plan doesn't mean you can't make changes during a launch, but making changes without thought could mean you're reacting (out of fear) instead of taking intentional action.
4. Discuss + prepare for launch hiccups – and how you’ll turn it around if you don’t get the results you want.
And taking the above a step further, while you discuss and plot out the project, make a note of any potential hiccups that can happen along the way.
Don’t dwell on them and plan only for little bumps, but be aware of what could happen and make at least a very rough plan of what you’ll do if…a contingency plan you can put into place if Plan A isn’t executed according to plan.
[Tweet “Instead of planning for the worst during a launch, simply make sure you have alternatives if you need them.”]
5. Make people the leader of their domain.
Divide your project into different areas or domains — like advertising, affiliates, customer service, graphics, website, copy.
List all the areas where you could assign someone as the captain.
If you have a skeleton crew – like you and one other person, just make that person captain of a few different ones.
Give them ownership of their part of the project and allow them to be the point person … This will relieve a lot of running around like a chicken with your head cut off behavior.
6. Avoid community emails that only cause confusion.
Sometimes it’s important to inform the entire team of global changes to the project and I wholeheartedly accept emails that inform everyone at the same time.
With that said, I think it’s a better idea to keep most emails lean and sent to only the essential few. I’ve seen some community emails in my day — all the way back to working in animation when there was this monolith email meant to clear everything up…and it managed to do the EXACT OPPOSITE.
People generally look through emails – scanning for the part about THEM… it’s hard to find in a huge honkin’ email. Believe me. I know.
Extra credit: find a non-email method of communication like Slack or Asana conversations.
7. Respect boundaries of people who work at home.
If you’re starting an online business, working at home, have a few people working for you virtually, then this is something you must remind yourself of DAILY.
Establish the “on” hours of your launch production and the “off” hours. This is good for you and for your team.
Don’t be sending them emails at 9pm or later at night. They could be on catching up on their day’s work and see your email come in and get totally frustrated thinking you expect them to work RIGHT NOW.
Virtual team burnout is a reality – so be nice to your team – and to yourself. Establish regular hours and try to stick to them yourself.
[Tweet “Virtual team burnout is a reality – so be nice to your team – and to yourself. Establish regular hours and try to stick to them yourself.”]
8. Realize that your stress bleeds to your team.
Even in a virtual situation, people can feel stress…it’s like it gets transmitted across the wires.
Do everyone a favor and do whatever it takes to reduce your own stress. If not for yourself, think about doing it for your team.
When you freak out or let it all hang out with your team, it stresses them out. Be their fearless leader no matter what.
And – if you’re working on your launch alone (WHICH I DO NOT RECOMMEND), then you will need to find stress-reducing activities (exercise, massage, green juice) or your launch will never come to fruition.
9. Hire a coach to get you through it.
See #8. Some tips for hiring a coach – do it at least 6 months prior to the launch.
Keep them on your team through the launch and include them on every decision so they have a full picture of how you’re running the ship.
Make sure your team knows that you are working with a someone in this role, but be strong and make the final calls on your own. The coach is your support – not the team’s, so take the coach’s advice, decide what you want to do and then relate that to the team.
You’ll feel totally supported but also get an injection of empowerment as you make the decisions on your launch, plus you won't put the burden and potential stress of a launch onto the shoulders of your personal relationships.
10. Buy yourself gifts.
This has to be my favorite suggestion.
Throughout the launch I want you to go out and buy yourself and your team (if you can afford it), small trinkets that are like bright shiny beacons toward your end goal.
I watched a dear friend buy herself charms for her bracelet and I thought it was the sweetest, most perfect way to give yourself support and encouragement.
When you make decisions you need that support, you need those little goodies that remind you of your commitment to follow through on the launch.
Set a few reach goals for yourself and vow to get yourself a gift (doesn't have to be extravagant) when you reach a goal or milestone!
Grab the free PDF stress-free launch cheatsheet to take with you, share with your team (if you haven’t already) and start implementing now (before your launch). And let me know how it works for you plus what other things you do to keep stress at a minimum.
Bonus Tip: Here's another way to avoid stress… get educated. Demystify the launch process for yourself. Get a map to lead you so you aren't worried about missing anything!
Check out Fearless Launching and find out how you can prepare for your own no-sweat, no-stress launch today!