Reflecting on the Small Product Lab Challenge

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This time last week, I was preparing to launch my new workbook: "You Deserve Happiness Workbook: Achieving the Clarity You Need to Have the Relationship You Want." I was uploading the final pdf to the Gumroad and hoping that I wouldn't run into any issues. I scheduled my tweets and Facebook posts using Buffer (one of my favorite social media tools). I emailed my mailing list and pre-order customers to remind them about the launch. The only thing left to do was launch on August 6th.  I've had time to reflect on my first product launch. In this post I'll talk about some of my thoughts regarding this launch and what I plan to do in the future.  

What went well?

I am happy to report that quite a few things went well with this launch. I attribute some of my launch day success to creating a launch plan.  Creating a launch plan was one of the assignments to complete on SPLDay8. This was an extremely helpful exercise that allowed me to think about ways to promote my workbook on my various social media accounts. I designed some images in Canva (another awesome tool) for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that I would have an image to accompany some of the updates that went to those accounts. When I tweeted about my launch date, some of my followers and members of the SPL community helped spread those tweets by retweeting them. A few of my friends on Facebook shared my updates with their friends. In addition to using social media, I sent an email to my family to let them know about the upcoming launch. I encouraged them to spread the word by sharing the email or notifying others of the launch. 

Part of this challenge was about pushing myself to try new things. Gumroad was an entirely new platform for me. I also wanted to experiment with Mailchimp. Using Mailchimp, I could manage the email list for my product and setup an email list for my blog. I created email campaigns to send out to those that followed (joined my email list) me on Gumroad or purchased my product. Gumroad has the capacity to send out emails to your customers and I did use it at first. Mailchimp offers more options for customizing the look and feel of your email. It took me some time to figure it out but eventually I established a template that I can use to build my thank you and launch day announcement emails.

What could have been better?

Even though I consider the launch plan that I created effective, I could have done more to promote my workbook. Promoting my product sooner would have helped. Instead of promoting my product or announcing what I was doing on social media, I didn't say much on social media. I wasn't quite sure what my final product would contain or look like. I told myself that because I didn't know those details that I should wait to promote my product. WRONG! I should/could have been more transparent and shared a behind-the-scenes look into what I was working on. I've heard other entrepreneurs on podcasts recommend creating your landing page with some basic information about your product and collecting email addresses. I was so nervous to try this strategy. I felt like I needed to know everything about my product before I could officially announce it to the world. Now I feel ok with implementing that strategy for future products.

I launched this product without a dedicated audience for it. My blog hadn't been updated in months and when on social media I wasn't talking about anything dating related. I knew that I needed an audience when I started this challenge but I didn't have time to work on creating my product AND building that audience at the same time. Time was a very precious commodity and using it wisely made all the difference.  Would I have liked to launch my product to a larger audience of people? Absolutely. Now, I know that I need to build my audience and draw them in. 

Before this challenge, I very rarely participated in Facebook groups. I had no idea how awesome they could be. The Small Product Lab FB group was very encouraging and supportive. I branched out a little bit and found some other Facebook groups that will help me to build up my audience and network amongst other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. I've heard that Google+ communities can also be a great way to connect with others and I plan on joining some of those communities.

What will I do going forward?

I know that I need to be consistent about growing my audience. I have a few ideas about how I can do that. One idea is to create a content plan.  This content plan will include my social media presence and my blog. I've heard podcasters, bloggers and other creatives stress the importance of being consistent. Showing up when you say you will and doing the work goes a long way. Going forward I am striving to be more consistent in posting content. 

To help me stay on track for creating more content I realized that I need to set deadlines. The deadline for the Small Product Lab forced me to keep going even when I felt like I couldn't or didn't want to. Openly announcing that I am launching something at a specific time is another huge motivator to get things done. 

I am already brainstorming ideas for version 2 of my workbook and ways that I can bundle it with other content. I'm also waiting to hear some feedback from the customers that purchased my workbook. I want to make sure that my content is addressing their needs and helping them. 

I encourage you to try the Small Product Lab challenge. The July challenge has concluded and I think they will have another challenge next month. Follow Small Product Lab on twitter for more information. 

Lastly, have you checked out my workbook? I would love to know what you think. 

Launching You Deserve Happiness Workbook

I can barely contain my excitement about the launch of "You Deserve Happiness Workbook: Achieving the Clarity You Need to Have the Relationship You Want." I thought it would feel good to launch something, but I had no idea it would feel this good. 

When I printed my worksheets to proof them, I realized just how far I had come. I went from a 1-sentence description of what I wanted to create to an 18-page workbook designed and created by me. The time frame was tight. The learning curve was steep. But, I did it. I sold three copies through pre-order and launched on time! 

I signed up for the Small Product Lab challenge not knowing what I would create and I didn't have any experience launching a product. The challenge guides you along with daily emails describing what you should focus on to launch your product in 11 days.  To determine what product you should create, you think of a topic that you know something about.  This could be a topic that you have a lot of experience with or something that others frequently ask you about. Based on this, I decided to create a dating workbook. Friends have asked me for dating advice and a number of times they suggested I start a blog about it.  I usually shied away from the subject on my blog and social media but for this challenge the idea of creating a tool that focuses on that topic resonated with me.  

I created this workbook for women who feel like they won't find the right relationship.  I want to encourage women to be more intentional about what they want in their romantic relationships.  I thought that I wouldn't find the right relationship and became discouraged. Being intentional and knowing exactly the type of person I wanted to date empowered me to seek out that person. I created the workbook I wished I had when I was going through the dating process. Everything mentioned in the workbook, I incorporated into my life.  It helped me tremendously and I think it can help others too.  

These past 11 days have been an exciting and challenging experience. I would recommend this to anyone that has a desire to create something but thinks they might not be ready yet. You will be surprised by how much you can accomplish in such a short span of time.  

Launching a product in 11 days - Part 2

Second installment of my experience with small product lab

Second installment of my experience with small product lab

Later today I will launch my dating workbook, "You Deserve Happiness Workbook: Achieving the Clarity You Need to Have the Relationship You Want." If you read my last post, you'll know that I doubted myself at first. To progress from having no idea what to create to having a product that is ready to launch, makes me extremely happy. I am so proud of myself. 

This challenge has been an eye-opening experience. It forced me to stop making excuses about why I can't create something.  In the past, my go-to excuse was that my computer was too old and slow.  I wanted to use the latest and greatest operating system and programs (specifically iBooks Author). To complete the Small Product Lab project, I had to use what I currently have and that's an old Macbook Pro running OS X Lion (v10.7). To my surprise that was enough. I feel empowered knowing that when I stop making excuses and put my mind to accomplishing something I can do it. 

Getting a product to launch is very intimidating especially if the launch date is a short window of time. So much to do and figure out. Without this project, I'm sure I would have taken much longer to create a product and launch it. I would have waited until I felt completely and totally ready to launch. I've heard many marketing and business podcasters repeat this quote from Steven Pressfield "Start before you're ready." It seemed liked a crazy thought to me. Why start before you're ready? Now, I get it. The difference between starting before you're ready and waiting until you feel ready is time. I spent my time much differently than I would have if I didn't have such a short deadline. I learned and focused on what was absolutely necessary. I kept my project small so it could be completed and ready for launch. A narrow focus and dedication are the main drivers in how I successfully progressed to launch day. 

Typing out the words "launch day" sends my emotions into overdrive.

I'm nervous.

I'm happy.

I'm relieved. 

The day is finally here.  Click the button below to purchase.



Launching a product in 11 days - Part 1

Launching a product in 11 days - Part 1

Today marks #SPLDay5.  If you're wondering what SPL stands for it means: Small Product Lab.  Small Product Lab was created by Gumroad to help you to launch your own product in 11 days.  I randomly stumbled upon a tweet announcing the upcoming Small Product Lab challenge (I think this is the second time Gumroad has conducted this) and signed up for the waiting list. I wasn't sure what I was getting into.

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