In today’s episode, we’re going to answer the question: Can launching ruin your business?

And the answer is actually yes.

But here’s how to tell whether it’s going to ruin your business specifically.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Create and Launch Your Online Course free training:

Let’s jump on in!

It can be so alluring to leap into selling group programs, courses, memberships, and doing big launches…

We hear things like “stop trading dollars for hours,” and there’s so much messaging out there that tells us the only way to scale your business is to do big launches, sell group programs, use high ticket sales amounts, or invest tens of thousands of dollars in Facebook ads to get really high numbers of people joining your programs.

The sad truth is that while it can be really fun and exciting – and launching is one of my favorite things to do – for many businesses, it can also be very derailing.

For some people it has actually marked the end of their business.

One failed launch has put them at the point where they need to go back and get a job or find other means of supporting themselves financially, because the launch wasn’t successful enough to sustain their business.

We want to make sure that your business is ready for launching, to ensure that it’s not going to ruin your business. And I know I’m using very specific and direct language here. But I have seen way too many women go from having a “sort of” sustainable business income to completely decimating themselves financially, all by leaping into launches way too soon.

I want you to make sure you are feeling very confident that launching is going to be the right decision for your business, and that your business will be able to survive the launch process as well.

Here are four key things I think you need in order to be ready to launch and if you don’t have them specifically, some backups you might be able to have instead.

1. Your business needs to be financially viable, even if the launch flops

One example I have is from a person who wasn’t a client of mine, but I knew her in the online space. She was making $3,000-$4,000 a month by selling her VIP services, and she really wanted to launch a $2,000 group program course, similar to what the “big names” are doing out there.

She had hired a launch specialist for $4,500, and they had come up with a launch budget of $15,000. They were going to spend $15,000 on Facebook ads management as well as the setup of the online course and all of the copywriting and editing for professional videos… a proper big launch.

Sadly, only three months later, that beautiful friend of mine had a $20,000 credit card debt and no income in her business. She no longer had any VIP clients because she had spent so long selling her group program. After investing all of that money and time, even with a launch specialist working with her, she only made four sales of her program, which was $8,000 – not enough to recoop even the slightest part of her costs.

She then had to go back to working in her regular job while supporting those four clients through a group program that was designed to have 50 to 100 clients in it.

You want to make sure that your business will still be financially viable, even if that first launch doesn’t go to plan.

I always recommend that you don’t invest more than you can afford.

And I really don’t recommend going into debt for launching.

I know some people have done it with great success. But for me, having seen as many (or more) failures than I’ve seen successes with it, you need to make sure that you have confidence your launch is actually going to work. You want to make sure the anticipated success is not just because you’ve got the best minds working on it, but because you know you have an audience who are ready, willing and able to invest in the outcome you’re offering.

Unfortunately, a lot of people try outsourcing to industry experts to skip some of the steps it takes to grow your business and grow your audience. And while it may work for some people, it is a big risk to take.

One of the things I do when working with people on launching is setting some income targets from other income sources.

For example, I am working with a VIP client at the moment, and our first phase of working together is to get her to $10K months with VIP clients – just getting three to four VIP clients a month in the door, so she knows she’s got a good solid income to support herself financially, and put some money away for future launches in her business.

Even when she launches her group program – which is going to be coming in the next couple of months – she’ll be able to continue to bring in and make money through her VIP clients.

That way, even if the launch doesn’t succeed, her business will still be sustaining itself and sustaining her.

She’ll be able to learn from whatever happens in that launch, whether it’s successful or not. But she won’t be putting herself at the risk of financial ruin by jumping in and spending money that she doesn’t have, or spending tomorrow’s money, which I see a lot of people doing.

For most people I work with, especially on their first few launches, we don’t invest significantly in Facebook ads – there’s not a huge financial investment in that launch process. We use fully organic strategies, like organic list growth and audience-building strategies, and we have a nice long runway to do that.

When it comes to the actual launch process, they only need to sell two or three spaces for it to be a profitable launch. That’s an even better way of doing the launch process. I won’t go into that in detail, but I would suggest that you make sure your business will still be financially viable, even if the launch doesn’t result in the sales you were expecting.

2. Make sure you have the capacity to launch and deliver the program

Many people see jumping into group programs as so sexy because they are getting more money with less time spent delivering that product or service.

When they compare selling a 10-hour package for $2,000 and earning $200 an hour for delivery, versus selling a 10-module group program with 10 live group calls for $1,000 and 10 spots, they’re getting paid more per hour in the group program, so it feels like a really sexy proposition for them.

But in order to sell group programs, it takes more time in both the launching and sales processes to get people in the door in the first place.

Where it might take one to two hours of marketing activities and maybe a 15-minute VIP chat to get someone signed up as a VIP client with you, to launch a group program and run those really big scalable launches, you need to put tens if not hundreds of hours into the pre-launch and launch activities.

When you add it all up, a lot of people mistakenly think that delivering group programs is going to be a better financial return on investment on their time, and it actually ends up being the opposite.

You want to make sure you have the capacity to be involved in the launch process.

You want to make sure you have the capacity to put together the creation of the program and the launch materials and facilitate that launch.

We know that the more present and connected you are during a launch, the higher the conversion rates, so if you only have an hour a week to spare, and you think you can launch a group program in an hour a week, you’re going to be sadly mistaken.

That launch is not going to perform as well as you think and you may very well burn yourself out. It’s also possible that by the time the program actually starts, you’re so burnt out you can’t deliver for the people who have purchased.

Really check in with yourself and be honest about what your capacity is to create and deliver the program, and to launch and market it… because people underestimate the time and energy that goes into launches.

This is especially true with the first few because you’re writing all of your emails from scratch. You’re writing a sales page from scratch. You don’t know what questions people are going to have. You’re delivering your webinars and dealing with questions on the fly, and will probably have to do more Facebook Lives to answer questions. You will have to do live updates to your sales page to answer questions you didn’t even think to include on the sales page.

All of those things take time and energy!

If you don’t have the capacity to do that, then unfortunately, it means your launch probably isn’t going to be as successful as you thought it would be.

3. You have proof-of-concept and value proposition

This is where I see a lot of people struggle when they’re first starting a business and they jump straight into launching courses and products.

They are in “trial and error” for years and years before they ever get to profitability. It is so much easier to prove that people are willing to pay for your thing by getting it out in front of people as quickly and effectively as possible.

Having proof of concept that people are willing to pay for this outcome, and that people see the value proposition in what you’re selling, is much sexier than winging it on the fly. It’s much better than trying to work out whether people actually do see that value proposition whilst knee-deep in your launch, after you’ve already spent $10,000 on Facebook ads.

Find ways that you can organically get that proof of concept and that value proposition sorted before you jump into launching.

4. Have an existing audience

courses launching ruin business

Launching CAN ruin your business if you’re not prepared.

While this is not absolutely mandatory because you can buy an audience using Facebook ads and other advertising methodologies to get in front of more audiences, you convert far better with an existing warmer audience than with cold audiences hearing about you for the first time during your launch.

It’s in your best interest to make sure you are growing your audience as much as possible before you go into that launch process. You want to create an increasingly larger warm audience – people who are more likely to buy than those cold leads brought in during the launch process.

There you have it – those are my four tips on how to tell if your business is ready for launch, and whether launching might ruin your business.

I have a beautiful freebie for you as well.

If you are feeling like you’ve got many of those things in place (or all of them!) then perhaps it’s time to create and launch that online course.

I have a free in-depth training that helps you map out your plan, and have a really great launch plan.

That’s a bonus tip for you: A great launch plan can be the difference between a launch that rocks your business and a launch that ruins your business.

In Create and Launch Your Online Course, we don’t just go through the course creation process… we also go through launch planning, launch preparation, and executing your launch. You’ll get it all mapped out in front of you at once.

You can grab that free training here:

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.

Do you have any follow-up questions? Do you have any light bulbs that just pinged for you about whether you are ready to create and launch online courses?

As always, the conversation continues over in our beautiful community. Come on over to Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook Community, use the hashtag #PodcastAha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 209, and let’s keep the conversation going.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist