Do You Suffer From Fear Of Launching?

What project of yours has been “in the works” for way too long?

Why haven’t you launched it yet?

Do You Suffer From Fear Of Launching?
Do you suffer from fear of launching?

For over two years my team and I had been working on one of our biggest projects to date and although it was “technically” ready about 8 months after we started, something held us (cough, cough, me) back from getting it out to the world.

This took way longer than it should have so to save you from the same struggle, here are 5 steps I discovered to finally get over the “hump” and make forward progress.

5 Steps To Launching Your Next Project

1. be your own customer

After conceiving the idea for a new customer  support  desk,  our  team went right to work. We made a lot of  progress  early  on  because  we were creating our “dream solution”. Since  our  WishList  team  responds to hundreds of customer inquiries every day, we knew from experience what we would want in our “perfect” support desk.

The same situation occurred when we launched WishList Member. Initially we designed it for ourselves and now over  40,000+  online  communities and membership sites are using it.

When you create a solution for others, you have to do a lot more research. When you’re your own customer, “get- ting going” is easier because you just start with what you personally want.

Bottom line is this; be your own customer and you’ll make a lot more progress in a shorter time frame.

2. stop creating & start using

Within a few months we had a working beta version and a few months after that, we had our branding, site design and essentially a finished product. We called it

Technically, we could have launched a “public beta” then. Instead, we decided to be ultra careful and take it  slow  (some  would  argue  against this but for us, it was the right decision).   However,   we   did   start using it ourselves which gave us a great  opportunity  to  begin  refining the product.

It’s VERY easy to get caught in “feature  creep”  thinking  that  you can’t start using what you’ve created until  you  add  “one  more  feature”. You and I both know that’s often a load of crap and it’s just another form of  procrastination.    At  some  point you have to start actually using what you’ve created.

Our first step was moving the support desk  of  WishList Products over to Rhino Support (RS).

Given the volume of support we provide on a daily  basis  for  WishList  Member, this proved to be a wise move as it forced us to develop a system to help companies make the transition from their old help desk solution over to RS. We were our own guinea pig – and therefore our own best critic.

Truthfully, we likely wouldn’t have put that much thought into a transition feature but it became very obvious just  based  on  our  own  hesitations, that we had to do something. If we were gun shy about making the move, others would be too.

Now the development was being driven  more  by  actual  need  versus a “dream list” of features. Those insights only come from using the product. So the sooner you can begin using it yourself (and that doesn’t mean running “tests”), the better.

Some will argue that this insight is better gained from actual customers. Personally, I disagree.

I think it’s better to take a little extra time at this stage by using it yourself to get the vast majority of the kinks worked out. It’s a much safer (and less stressful) environment.   

Most importantly, you’ll feel better and more confident to move on to the next step if you have taken a little extra time during this one (and forward progress is the key).

3. share it with friends but only if they will use it

From my experience, people rarely value things they get for free. We naively made the mistake of giving access to RS to a bunch of people who showed a mild interest, but then they didn’t use it at all (which is of no value to us – or them).

As such, we’ve found the most valuable insights will come from those people who are willing to actually use (or pay) for your product.

Too  often  people  are  “interested” but not “committed”. That doesn’t help you. You need people who will use your product or go through your training as though they were a paying customer. You want to learn from an actual “user”, not someone interested in looking at it.

You’ll make more progress and get more insights from users (not beta testers).

For example with RS, one of our friends  extensively  used  a  feature that gives you the ability to have multiple companies in the same help desk. That wasn’t a feature we were using in our WishList business so his experience gave us a ton of insights.

It pays to get close group of friends (you  can  trust  to  give  you  honest feedback) to start using your new creation. Remember, you’re not looking for someone to “test” what you  have  but  rather  someone  who has  the  exact  need  you’re  looking to solve – and will therefore use the product regularly.

(These people also make MUCH better product evangelists when you do finally launch because they can share their experience using the product!)

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Stu McLaren

My name is Stu McLaren and I help experts, authors, speakers, coaches, consultants and all types of business owners transform their knowledge, expertise and influence into recurring revenue by launching, growing and scaling membership businesses.

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