Switching off your phone for a whole week. Jumping out of a teeny tiny plane, strapped to a European backpacker who swears he’s done this at least 100 times and nobody has died yet. Telling your boss you’re chucking in your well-paid corporate job (complete with free Prosecco on Fridays) to start a business that might not deliver a paycheck for a few years. Scary? You betcha. But, few things are as fear-inducing as launching your shiny new idea into the world.
This fear is so powerful that it brings loads of brilliant ideas to a screeching stop. So many ideas that might’ve changed the world, but instead they’re sitting in the idea graveyard (also known as the too-hard basket).
Our brains are designed to keep us cosy and safe, well within the boundaries of our comfort zone. So, when you decide to tiptoe out into the unknown, it’s only natural that the little voice in your head will pipe up. It usually sounds something like “Who am I kidding… I can’t do this!” or my personal favourite, “What if I fail?!”
I’d love to say that overcoming the fear of launching is as simple as telling that little voice in your head to zip it, but it’s not. Here’s a little bombshell for you: You’re never going to get over the fear of launching completely. And that’s a good thing, because being terrified simply means you care.
Instead of trying to fight it, I want you to accept your fear and embrace it. Easier said than done, right?
Here are a few tips to make peace with your fear of launching.
Behind door #1, we have a beachfront Byron Bay mansion, a lifetime supply of Veuve on tap and fresh, organic veggies delivered to your doorstep daily.
Behind door #2, however, we have a damp sharehouse, a few bottles of Jacob’s Creek and some Mi Goreng that’s a few weeks past its use-by date.
When I talk about detaching from the outcome, this is what I mean: You work your bum off to open door #1, but you’re also okay with door #2, because you know that everything happens for a reason.
Perhaps the universe doesn’t think you’re ready for door #1 just yet and that there are a few more lessons you need to learn first. Or, perhaps you think you want that beachfront mansion, but the universe knows you’d actually be happier living in a cosy farmhouse.
At risk of sounding like a late ‘90s self-help guide, trust the process and don’t stress so much if things don’t go to plan. Instead, pack some yummy snacks, put on a killer playlist and enjoy the journey.
We live in a world where failure isn’t celebrated half as much as it should be. We see all the so-called overnight successes, but nobody tells you about the belly flops that happened along the way.
Last year, I launched a brand new online course. I was so excited to finally bring it to life and I invested a lot of money in paid advertising. I devoted all my time and energy to carefully crafting my launch strategy, writing my sales copy and polishing up the webinar presentation I’d deliver live.
I poured my heart, soul and a few limbs into making this launch my best one yet.
On launch day, I booted up my webinar platform, excited and full of nerves… Only to find an error message. The platform had crashed. All these people had turned up to watch my webinar only to find that there wasn’t one.
Did I have a big ugly cry? Yes. Did I spend the day in bed with a large glass of wine? Also yes.
But, after I picked up the pieces, I realised: Everyone fails sometimes. Trying and failing is far, far better than never even giving it a shot.
It might not be as sexy as setting up an Instagram account and designing that drool-worthy feed, but validating your idea is a gazillion times more important than any of the latest marketing or launch tactics.
Usually, this is what happens: A person has an idea. They fall in love with the idea. They bring the idea to life. Then, and only then, do they look for customers.
The big problem with this approach? You risk creating something nobody wants.
Instead, find your customers first. Fall head over heels in love with them. Ask lots of questions and find out what makes them tick. Then create something they want.
Launching is a heck of a lot less scary when you’ve already got customers waiting in the sidelines. And, no, that doesn’t include your mum.
What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen when you launch?
Sure, the tech might go belly up. People might not buy. You might attract some copycats. But, hey, the sun will still rise tomorrow. Your loved ones will still love you and support you. People won’t think you’re a failure.
Just because your launch was a big whoopsy-daisy, doesn’t mean you need to burn it all to the ground. Most of the time, a launch goes wrong because something was a little off in how you communicated the offer or in how you executed the launch.
The good news? These things are 100% fixable.
The sad news? Too many people give up here. They think one failed launch means they need to bin their idea. Please don’t do that.
Yes, you’re entitled to spend a day binge-watching trashy TV with a large tub of ice cream, but after that, it’s time to put your detective hat on, find out what went wrong and relaunch better next time.
Steph Taylor is an ex-corporate square peg, digital product launch strategist and host of the Socialette podcast. She helps entrepreneurs launch and re-launch to reach more people, grow their audience and become the go-to in their industry through her signature framework that makes launching simple and fun. Steph does what she does so that fellow entrepreneurs can achieve more impact, create more profit and have more freedom in their lives.
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