4 Things I Learned from Launching The #OwnIt Academy
I don’t like posts about financial gains of launches. Maybe its because I have my own money mindset work to do or maybe it's because looking at JUST the numbers isn’t enough. So today, we’re going to look less at The #OwnIt Academy numbers and more at the lessons I learned launching it.
In full transparency, there are a few things you should know about the launch (and our business) before we dive in:
- This was my first MAJOR launch. Yes, I ran a beta round of the academy earlier this year… but that didn’t involve a full launch
- We coordinated 11 rock star guest experts for the academy.
- We executed this launch in HALF the amount of time we should have. My fault… Whoops!
- We did NOT run any Facebook ads. Yep - ZERO money spent on ads.
- Our email list was nearly non-existent when we started.
- This was 110% a TEAM effort.
- I went out of town to write a book while the cart was open.
The crazy idea that sparked it all…
I knew I wanted to run the academy again. The impact that the beta round had on it’s members blew me away and I wanted to duplicate that experience for other women. However, the first round was missing something. Once the ladies carved out their stories and were ready to confidently share them with the world, they wanted to know how to weave them into their business. Sure, I could have given them advice on this…. But that’s not my zone of genius. So for this round of the academy, I made a list of all the “next step” topics I wanted to have covered by guest experts [Branding, Social Media, Community Building, etc.]. I reached out to eleven of my business friends who are experts on these topics. What do you know...they ALL said “yes!” -- truthfully, I wasn’t expecting that. I was blown away at their support and their willingness to participate. Which brings me to my first launch lesson learned….
Lesson 1- You can’t [and shouldn’t] do this alone.
Have I mentioned that this was a TEAM effort? Because it was in every sense of the word! From the JR team who made the behind the scenes magic happen, our guest experts, our supportive biz friends and the academy alumni… none of this would have worked without each and every person who cheered us on. When you’re launching a new program, product or business -- call in help! Get a little vulnerable, ask for what you need and most importantly, LET others help you. We want to appear like we “have it all together”...but who has time to fake it? I sure don’t.
Meet the JR Dream Team who Launched The #OwnIt Academy
Meghan Maydel - Can we all just stand up for a second and give Meghan a virtual round of applause? No, seriously - get up. Meghan is our resident CMO here at JessicaRasdall.com and the brains behind the academy launch. Meg and I started working together just 34 days before the academy cart closed. A MONTH! 34 days to plan and execute a major launch…. Needless to say, she is a miracle worker and if you’re looking to implement a carefully crafted growth strategy for your business…. Meghan Maydel is your girl!
Cindy Maka - Cindy is our behind the scenes sanity-keeper! She is our OBM here at JR and the quiet calm that keeps us all together. There are so many moving parts without our business. So why not add a last minute launch with even more moving parts, right? Cindy makes sure that everything is moving where, when and by whom it should be. She understands the high level vision of where we’re going, keeps all the wheels spinning (together) and ensures we’re moving forward, not backwards.
Trena Little - Are you using video for you business, yet? If not-- you need to chat with Trena! She is the brains behind our video content and YouTube Channel here at JR. Video has a magical way of filtering your potential clients. If someone sits through my videos and reaches out, I know that they already “get me.” It’s such a great way to give your audience a taste of working with you without having a clear a spot on your packed calendar. Trena ensures that people searching for our content can actually find us! *all the praise hands*
Abby Herman - Do you know that I don’t actually like writing? I even created a special PDF on Content Creation for People Who Hate Content Creation. To be completely honest with you, this blog post is well over a week late because I hate writing blogs…. So there’s that. The good news is: Abby Herman is a genius with words. Abby is an alumni from the first round of The #OwnIt Academy, a guest expert for this round, an ambassador for our Front + Center Community and my saving grace when it comes to email copy. Abby was the voice behind most our emails during the academy launch. With every email that hit my inbox, I was so impressed with how she was able to capture my feelings in ways I could never put into words myself.
Launching The #OwnIt Academy was a TEAM effort and I am beyond grateful for the dream team behind this project.
Lesson 2 - Set a Goal and Detach Your Personal Worth from the Outcome
Goal setting during a launch is scary. “Is this enough?...Should I shoot for more?....Is that even possible?...Will anyone even want this?!” A called in help from a few friends to set my launch goals (see lesson #1 - don’t do this alone ;) ). I set a BIG goal.
This number represented:
- the number of women I wanted to work with
- the number of lives I wanted to impact
- the number of stories I wanted to help craft
This number did NOT represent:
- my personal value
- the value of the academy
- the performance of our team
After I set my big scary goal. I listed out that number on a piece of paper with blank space next to each number. This allowed me to write down each person’s name as they enrolled. The numbers began to fade away and all I focused on were the names on the list - the names of the lives I would be impacting over the next ten weeks.
This activity keep me focused on what I needed to do to add more names to that piece of paper. However, it did NOT land me at my goal.
I missed my goal by a landslide.
Oh yeah. I just said that. Academy enrollments were no where near the number I listed on that paper. However, this launch was 110% a success in my book (but we’ll get to that in a minute). The act of setting a goal was to keep me focused on my daily activities. The goal itself did NOT determine the success of the academy.
When you’re setting a launch goal, do it to stay focused -- NOT to become distracted.
If you find yourself becoming distracted by the numbers, scrap them. Shift your focus to relationship and the lives you’re product or service is impacting. Measure your impact rather than your monetary gains.
Lesson 3 - Be Willing to Take a HONEST Look at Your Results
Clearly, I didn’t hit my goal. Does that mean this launch was a flop? Absolutely not. The #OwnIt Academy Launch was a major success… but maybe in a way that most people are ignoring. When you launch a new product, service or business - it’s important to take an honest look at what took place. The number are not enough. What worked? What needs improvement?
I’ll be the first to tell you, I dropped the ball.
My first mistake: When it came to launching the academy, I did NOT convey a sense of urgency. The feedback was incredible and everyone was certain the academy would be a great success. However, I was missing something very important: a sense of urgency. My audience was saying, ”This is an amazing program - but THIS isn’t the answer to my problems RIGHT now…. it can wait. I’ll join next time” I did NOT educate my audience on why academy was the solution to their problems RIGHT NOW.
My second mistake: We have an AMAZING guest expert line up for the academy. I can’t begin to express how honored I am to be working with these powerhouse business owners. We compiled tons of information for our guest experts (who were also affiliates) to help them get the word out to their audiences. This included extremely detailed emails with calendars, links, swipe copy and graphics. What was I thinking?!!! Who has time to fit that into their schedule?!! What I SHOULD have done was break that giant document down into brief weekly suggestions of the activities they could do to spread the word. In an effort to give them #allthethings I think I gave them #alltheoverwhelm.
Even though I dropped the ball in two major areas, the JR team experienced wins far beyond enrollment numbers.
Going into this launch, the only “win” I was focused on was reaching our enrollment goal. What I didn’t expect was: MASSIVE. ORGANIC. GROWTH. When you’re launching something new, I want to challenge you to look at ALL of your wins. Celebrate the small success along the way. Even though we missed our enrollment goal by a landslide, our other wins made The #OwnIt Academy Launch a success in my book and I’m incredibly proud of the work the JR team put into it.
A Few Unintended Wins of Launching the Academy:
- Increased Facebook Community by 225%
- Increased Email Subscribers by 39%
- Increased Visibility and Credibility
Those wins alone are something to celebrate!
Lesson 4 - Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
Going into the academy launch, I had a list of people who expressed interest. We was nearly certain they would be the first people enrolled into the academy. However, not ONE person from that list enrolled. Nope, not one.
Every person who enrolled in the academy was what you could consider a “cold lead.” The academy is filled with women who are relatively new to my community and I couldn’t be happier about that. This means that we reached an entirely new audience and did a great job educating them in a very short period of time << Yep, that’s another unintended win right there!
Want to know another win? After chatting with some of the women who did NOT enroll….. I learned they are waiting to work with me on adding speaking to their business rather than story. Why is this a win? Because we’re getting ready to roll out our 2017 services that are going to be perfect for them. They were right-- the academy wasn’t the best fit for them right now. I am honored that they are waiting for what’s coming next.
Whatever is that you’ll be launching next, I want to encourage you to keep these things in mind.
1 - You can’t [and shouldn’t] do this alone.
2 - Set a Goal and Detach Your Personal Worth from the Outcome
3 - Be Willing to Take a HONEST Look at Your Results
4 - Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch