Should You Do A Big Launch Or Is There Another Way?

by Cathy on April 21, 2013

campfireIt’s finally spring here in NY and for a lot of us it’s also launch season!

Every time I launch or re-launch a program I go through the same thing.  I always end up with a knot in my stomach between the time I put out the info about the program and the time that people start signing up.

When I first started doing group programs, the knot used to come from two thoughts-
“Are people going to get something out of this?”
“What if no one signs up for this and I have to cancel it?”

I would be tormented by these things and launching anything became a very painful process.  

While getting ready to re-launch Nail Your Niche I decided to observe my thoughts and see where they took me.

Of course the very first thought is always “what if I don’t get enough people?” And in this instance enough means MORE people than last time.

Because if I don’t get more people this time then it’s not successful.

At least that’s what I was telling myself.

So now it’s not just enough to have people sign up all of a sudden I’m competing with myself.  

Once I get into the mindset of MORE, my brain starts scrambling for ways to do more promotion, to push the class out there in other places, to align with more people who can help promote it.

As soon as I get into that “push” state I start feeling sick to my stomach.  I don’t want to hammer people over the head with my programs.  And I don’t want to feel like I’m in the situation of begging people to take my stuff.

Pushing is desperation’s next of kin.

It occurs to me that it’s that mentality that a lot of people who are in the business of providing a helping or healing service fall into when they think about having to promote themselves and their businesses.  They think marketing is pushing your stuff into people’s faces and that’s why they don’t want to do it.  

I can’t say I blame them, because pushing your stuff out there feels gross.

And yet we think if we don’t do that, no one will show up for us.

Or “not enough” people will.

I’m here to tell you, it’s not true.

There’s another way.

Why Bigger is definitely not always better.

The last time I ran Nail Your Niche I definitely was worried if anyone would even sign up.  

The way I shifted my energy around that was to re-commit to my vision.  

I knew after the first Nail Your Niche program that it was powerful.  The women in that  session had some life changing things happen as a result of the class.  I wanted who ever signed up for the next one to have that experience also.

So instead of being fixated on the number of people I wanted to sign up,  I let that go and focused on being of service.  

I focused on what that program gives to people and how much I loved doing it.

I  also made the ultimate commitment to myself–I decided that even if only two people signed up, I would run the class and help those two people to get amazing results.

Once I was all-in energetically, people started signing up.

I had the same number of people as I did the first time I ran the class but clearly it was the perfect number.  It allowed me to do my best work and the women in this group went even deeper than those in the first session.

They had such amazing shifts that without my having to do anything–the women who took that program ended becoming ambassadors for it.

Let’s face it, when we experience something that makes a difference for us, we want to share it with others. Because everyone who took the last program had big shifts that actually altered the path of their business–they were very vocal about their experience and as a result they’ve stirred up a lot of interest in the next session and have brought a tremendous amount of attention to my business for which I’m very grateful.

They got the word out before I even had a chance to.

Everyone knows that the most powerful form of marketing is referral.

This Isn’t A Post To Convince You To Stay Small

It’s to get you to stop and think before going into automatic pilot and assuming that more is better.

While it can feel like getting as many people as possible into your program is the way to build your business I’d like to offer another viewpoint.  Offering the deepest experience you can does the same thing with a lot less work.

Everyone knows that referral is the most powerful form of marketing

When you give people a deep experience, they not only share it but they become marketers for your business.

And I’m not saying that you can’t scale your programs and serve a lot of people.  There are many ways to offer deep experiences to people.  If you’ve got a way of thinking about something that’s entirely new that you share with people, if you’ve poured your heart and soul into a book or digital product–those are also ways to provide a deep experience.  It’s not only by having direct one-on-one contact with your audience.

What I’m saying is not to assume that bigger is better.

How Big Is the Fire?

In 2010 at Andrea Lee’s Wealthy Thought Leader Conference, Charley Gilkey of Productive Flourishing got up and spoke about this very thing.

He talked about his Native American Grandfather who had a favorite saying that he often applied to life–

“Build a small fire and sit close to it.”

And here’s what Charley said about how business building is like building a fire

When it’s you and a small fire, it doesn’t take that much to take care of it and the fire can keep you warm and sustain you while also keeping a few others warm.

What often happens is you’ve got this great fire so more people want to join.
You don’t want to turn anyone away so you re-arrange the seating and make a bigger fire so more people can fit around it.

And then even more people want to join so you re-arrange again and make an even bigger fire.
So now we have a huge fire and a lot of people sitting around it but face it, we’re not as warm as we used to be.

The thing is, the bigger fire takes a lot more work . We can’t talk to those same people the way we used to.  We can’t even see the people who used to sit across the fire from us anymore.

The heat to work ratio for the smaller fire vs. the bigger fire is a lot different. There’s a lot more work being done to sustain the warmth with a bigger fire, but you’re not as warm and you’re definitely not as connected to the others

We’re taught to build our businesses on the big fire mentality.

We’re also taught to chase more and bigger and that they both equate with better.

Right now with the work I’m doing I’m much more interested in having a business that’s an inch wide and a mile deep.

I no longer want to cast as wide a net as possible (even though it’s within my niche).

I want to cast deeper.

It feels better to me and it helps my students get better results.

How Will This Change How I Promote My Programs?

The only number I’m thinking about is the optimal number that would allow for each person to have the best experience.  I have no idea what that is so I’m leaving it to the Universe.

I’m focused on how much I love running this program.

I’m focused on letting those who need this kind of help know that I’m out here.

And please understand that in no way, shape, or form am I telling you to sit around and do nothing when you’re launching something.

I’m no fan of a wing and a prayer as a business strategy.

What I do believe in is taking inspired action.

And that means getting clear on what you want the outcome of your program to be.

Not the financial outcome but the change do you want the participants to experience from taking it.

And what do you want to experience while giving it?

For now I’ve made the conscious decision to Build a small fire and sit close to it.

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  • Maia

    Love it! Brilliant and de-stressifying, Cathy, thank you.

  • Ravani

    I LOVE this, Cathy. Maia stole my word, but it’s so perfect that I’ll use it anyway — Brilliant! And heart-warming. And inspiring. What’s best of all is that you model it perfectly. Thank you!

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