Is launch fatigue a thing (and how can we make it sashay away)?
Words: Amber Badger
I can’t help but feel that ‘launching’ was the business buzzword of 2020.
They’ve been everywhere, haven’t they? New businesses…. Exciting collaborations… Programmes, masterclasses, workshops, services, product ranges, podcasts. Just watching them all has been exhausting.
I’m sure that a lot of my “oh my giddy Aunt, not another launch” comes from a place of the green-eyed monster. Because I know the things that I want to share with the world. I know the plans that I have for my business. But the thought of weaving them into a full-blown launch terrifies me.
Launches are painted out to be a major marker of “success” for small business owners.
We see them as a way to scale our business, reach new audiences and amplify our income.
But what about when that doesn’t work out, or when the process of launching leaves us in a space that is far from healthy?
Last year, I pulled the plug on a launch halfway through. I didn’t even give it a chance to “succeed”. I simply removed any evidence of its existence and quietly slipped into the shadows. I didn’t want to talk about it – in fact, anytime I did I was all of a sudden riddled with anxiety – and I didn’t want to even imagine running the actual *thing*. The thought of it made me feel sick.
I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure the moment I clicked ‘share’ on the first step of the launch. At the time, I had no clue why that was. And this made me so, so angry. The ‘product’ had the potential to seriously thrive, and yet all I kept thinking over and over again was “I don’t want to do this.”
In hindsight, I was launching it for the totally wrong reason; aka, because everyone else was launching something new. It was in the height of lockdown 1.0 and – like many of us – the lack of control had engulfed me. I wanted to do something, anything, to take back that control and do something that felt positive.
Something to show that I was strong and independent, and would keep on striving.
“We’re fed this rhetoric that launching is the “thing” to do as a business owner. It’s shiny and loud and can bring us lots of money in a very short amount of time; but maybe that isn’t for you? Maybe you need consistency?”
You don’t need a £30k, sold out, trending launch to have *done-it-right*.
When you’re surrounded by endless blueprints and bundles on how to run the perfect launch, you can quickly feel like you’re doing it wrong when you don’t tick those pre-defined boxes. And heaven forbid if your mental health takes a nosedive off the back of it.
I spoke to Jo, the founder of Mad and Sad Club, about her experience of launching.
“We’re fed this rhetoric that launching is the “thing” to do as a business owner. It’s shiny and loud and can bring us lots of money in a very short amount of time; but maybe that isn’t for you? Maybe you need consistency?
“The problem is that many of us find launching incredibly tiring, and end up in a bit of a trap. We focus purely on the launch, and not about what we need while we’re doing it. This can easily lead to burnout, as we’re left fighting an energy and emotion rollercoaster.”
In December, Jo launched a new programme centred around corporate conditioning. But, like me, her energy tank was running on empty. Now, she’s planning to relaunch the course later this year, when she and her audience are ready.
“I was exhausted. I tried to make the launch easier by making all of the content beforehand and then slowly drip feeding it, but it didn’t land the way I needed it to. It turns out, everyone else was exhausted too.”
H2: You can have the will in the world, but if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that a sh*t load is out of our control.
You can’t force people to take notice, and you can’t predict the impact that our current situation will have on your own responses and emotions.
Molly, the brain behind Unmade Radio, found herself in a slump following her own launch.
“After spending a year putting all of my energy into the station, imagining what it would look like and sound like and what the reception might be, the launch left me feeling slightly more deflated than I’d imagined. I know that this is partly due to COVID (and not being able to have a real, tangible launch party and connect with people on a physical level) but a part of me also felt like this project that had been so personal and that had only existed as a concept before was now out in the world – i felt somewhat vulnerable, I guess.
“I also realised the huge lifestyle shift that was going to be necessary in order to shape the station the way we wanted. While still working our day jobs, we have now committed to pouring ourselves into the station in every other available hour – which I don’t resent because it’s something we’re so passionate about, and there’s not exactly much else to do at the moment – but that commitment is a little intimidating.
“Honestly? I feel exhausted! While the reception so far has been very encouraging, we also know that we need to keep pushing hard to have the impact that we’d like.”
Therein sits one of the major, flashing, DO NOT IGNORE issues with the launch mentality: it’s sold as a quick-fix, when really it’s anything but. It disregards the time and love needed to maintain the momentum you worked so hard to cultivate, as well as the standards set on what makes a worthwhile launch.
What if, instead, we allowed launches to be softer? To fit them around our personal needs?
I now find myself in the midst of another launch plan – this time, a rebrand, business shuffle and (duh duh duuuuuh) totally new name. But I’m doing things differently. I’ve eased the pressure, and I’m running it in a way that feels right for my headspace and emotional capacity. It helps that I’ve got Jo feeding me non-stop wisdom, keeping me on track.
“My number one piece of advice is that you don’t have to launch the way everyone else does. Think about you as a core part of the launch.”
“From the get-go, I wasn’t expecting to sell loads – there was no huge launch or major events planned, and I was okay with that. It was COVID and I was juggling homeschooling, client work, my 9-5 job and the teeny tiny task of actually finishing the book! I had to be realistic… for my own sanity!
“However, to me, I saw it as a successful launch. My first buyers were all my loyal followers who already knew me and wanted to hear what I had to say. That means the work I had done to strengthen my community had worked… And that’s worth its weight in gold.
“Now, six months on, I am still selling copies every day and word is getting out there; it’s often recommended or bought as a gift. So, while I may not have had the £10K launch, I do now have a passive income stream that not only delivers a consistent income, but showcases all of my other services.”
It makes you think, doesn’t it… Why do we let others define our version of success?
Does a launch really have to explode out of the gate with all the fire of Harry bombing it towards the golden snitch? Do we have to run them in isolated bursts (and spend the rest of the year shuddering at our bank balance)? Do we need to hit a certain income from day one, and feel like an utter failure if we don’t MaKe AlL dAt DoLlAr?
Case closed, pals. And whatever you decide, make sure your health and happiness sits at the centre ✨
Until next time… Keep. Doing. You 🌵