How to Win Even When Your Launch Flops

February 17, 2022

At the beginning of February you probably saw me promoting my Ruthlessly Simple Founder Calendar Course pretty heavily on LinkedIn and email.

The days leading up to the launch of the new course were filled with strategy sessions with my teams, ticking off launch tasks, and preparing for the big day.

When Launch Day came and my team sent out the first email to announce that the cart was finally open, we excitedly waited for the first sales notifications and to welcome the newest students into the program.

But, no sale notifications came in the first hour… second hour… third hour… and so on.

At the end of Day 1 or sales totaled ZERO.

That’s okay. We weren’t discouraged.

We still had 6 full days to warm up our audience until the cart closed.

But, Day 2 was a repeat of Day 1… and the rest of the week followed suit.

Not a single sale was made.

No one joined my new program.

My course offering completely flopped!

In my earlier days as a Founder, I would have gotten discouraged or hid away from that “failure”.

But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years is how to set yourself up to WIN, even when your launch flops. 

Here’s what I did right:

  1. I approached the launch with a learning mindset

I knew that either I was going to learn how to deliver this course, or I was going to learn this course presented as offered was not going to meet the market. Either way I was going to win.

In order to do that, I had to…

  1. Understand the context of my efforts

I took the things I have seen provide impact for my 1-on-1 clients and offer it to a broader set of people. The context of this effort was going from one avenue of my business and adding a new avenue of business. 

I knew ahead of time that a lot of times you do not get it right on the first try.

It took a LONG time for me to get my 1-on-1 coaching business to where I wanted it to be, so I knew it may take a long time to get this new avenue right.

  1. I got nearly 2000 fast no’s

That may sound negative, but it’s not.

No matter how much effort or research you put into an offering, you never really know how it will perform until you present it to the market.

If you can get no’s quickly, it will save you time and allow you to recalibrate as necessary.

In the same vein, another thing I did right was…

  1. Failing Fast

If there was the potential for failure (Spoiler Alert: There is potential to fail in every launch.) I knew I needed to set myself up to fail fast. 

Sure, we all prefer a fast “yes”. But a fast “no” is also valuable.

A slow “no” and a slow “yes” is often worse than a fast “no”.

How did I set myself up to fail fast?

By offering the program/course before it was completely built out….

  1. I Sold Before I Built

Meaning, I only took the time to build the first unit and module then I made the offer and waited to see how it went.

I didn’t spend too much of my time building out an offer that the market didn’t want.

Once I had a clear idea that my course was going to fail…

  1. Stayed engaged when the market said no and got feedback 

I started getting feedback from my audience.


So I could get a clear understanding of why my offering missed the mark and what I can do differently in the future.

If those are the things I did right, what are the things I did wrong?

  1. I didn’t create a compelling offer

I created the offer based on a small number of prospect calls, where people told me how important time structure was for them. These prospects made it clear that their calendar was a huge pain point for them. While this pain point existed with that small audience, it wasn’t a pain point that the larger market felt.

  1. I didn’t test my hypothesis with enough early feedback

should have taken the time to get more early feedback about my offer before moving forward with it.

  1. It didn’t match my energy

In retrospect, this offering didn't match my energy. Instead it felt like something I had to do in order to get to the next level I wanted to be. I wasn't approaching it with genuine excitement, and I think the market recognized that lack of excitement.

How to set yourself up to win (even when you flop):

  1. Have a learning Mindset
  2. Value Imperfect Action
  3. Recognize offer is different from product/service
  4. Stay connected with Mission/Vision/Boss Metric
  5. Come from a genuine sense of excitement, vs “should do”

Successful launches are difficult.

They take time, experimentation, and tenacity.

If you follow these tips, your next launch will still be a win even if it flops.

Don't give up!

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Steve August
March 4, 2022