Transcript: How to Bounce Back After a Disappointing Launch

April 12, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “I repeat: do not compare your launch to previous launches. I hear it all the time from my students. ‘Why didn't this work? Something's wrong in my business. It must be broken. Last year, when I did this, my numbers were twice as big.’ And that happens. I'm telling you, as an online marketer, you need to understand with every ounce of your being that bad launches happen. They just do. It is part of the game. Welcome to entrepreneurship.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: If you're looking for a new podcast recommendation, listen up. Entrepreneurs on Fire, hosted by my dear friend John Lee Dumas, offers major inspiration and shares strategies to fire up your entrepreneurial journey and create the life you've always dreamed of. John's been a guest on my podcast many times, and he always delivers. On his podcast, he recently did an episode called “How to Design, Build, Launch, and Grow a Small Company,” and it was brilliant. I get asked questions about starting and growing a business all the time, and this was a great podcast to answer that question. Find more episodes like this by searching for Entrepreneurs on Fire wherever you get your podcasts. 

Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. How are you doing? I hope you're having a great week.  

I wanted to encourage you—this is super random and off topic—but I wanted to encourage you to plan something fun in the future because it's always nice to look forward to something, especially when you're working so dang hard on your business. So I say this because just today, Hobie and I booked a flight to Alys Beach—I hope I'm saying that right. I think it's A-L-Y-S—in Florida. We've never been to Florida, but now that we live in Nashville, Tennesseans love to go to Florida. It's just a thing. It happens a lot. And we have some friends who have a house there, and we're going to go visit them and spend a few nights in August. So this is months and months and months away. But we planned the trip, and now we have something fun to look forward to. And I feel like when you're working really hard, that's important. So even if you just plan a little staycation, get it on your calendar that you're taking some time off, so you can look forward to that.  

Okay. So today we are talking about what to do when your launch doesn't go as planned. Maybe you didn't hit your goal, or maybe you didn't even get remotely close to it, or maybe things got rough and you decided to scrap the whole thing and go to happy hour instead. All right. I know you wouldn't do that, but you get the point.  

So here's the thing: I'm not going to share with you the tactics or step-by-step process I use to recover from a struggling launch. I’ve done that on other podcast episodes. And I know you're thinking, “But that's what I need. That's what I want.” It's actually not what you need. Trust me on this one.  

Today I'm going to talk about the mindset you need to have in order to recover from a launch that didn't go as planned, because I know the dark places you can go if that were to happen. You've probably already been there if you've had a launch that didn't work out. I know I've been there. It doesn't even have to be a launch. It could be anything in your business that you put effort into it, and it didn't turn out the way you had hoped, and now you feel defeated, and you feel like a failure, possibly. Or—I don't want to put words in your mouth—you feel however you feel. But I also know that what comes up for a lot of my students is you feel like you don't belong here as an entrepreneur building a business. Like, maybe this isn't for you. And I don't want you to feel or think any of those things, because they just are not true.  

Now, if you've been following this podcast closely in 2022, things like moving forward, not looking back, and trusting have all been major themes for me in all aspects of my business, and I've been talking about that a lot. So I'm right alongside you in this, sweet friend, as this whole mindset thing is something that I am constantly working on myself.  

As with anything, practice makes perfect, and it's always good to be reminded that managing your negative thoughts and emotions play a huge role in being a successful entrepreneur. That's why I believe that I can give you all the strategies in the world—tweak your sales page, change your webinar to do this or to do that, or do this on social media, and I talk about all of that on this podcast—but the most value that I can offer you is to get right in your head when things don't go as planned, because the faster you can bounce back, the more creative you can be, the more productive you can be, efficient, the more you can lead in a way that makes you feel really proud. But when you stay in that low-level depression or frustration or overwhelm that's kind of like a cloud that follows you after a bad launch, that literally takes your vibe down so low that it's hard sometimes to come back completely. And that's what I want to make sure doesn't happen for you.  

So, let's say that your launch totally flops. Like, it's pretty much the Real Housewives of Miami. Okay. I'm sorry for those of you who love that show; I don't think it's a good one. So you're understandably heartbroken because you poured your soul into it. The first thing you do is you look at the metrics. You're in online marketing. So, yes, you absolutely need to review the data. You can even do a debrief with your team. Ask them questions like, what did we love about this launch? What did we not enjoy about it? What worked? What didn't work? What do we want to double down on next time? Using the metrics, what did we learn from that? What was our best ROI? How can we improve in the future? These are all things you should ask yourself after a launch and ask team members after a launch as well. And if you don't have a team yet, you're just asking yourself. That's fine. So look at the metrics and then do a debrief. 

Now, from there, because we said this is a launch that flopped, give yourself a good twenty-four hours to be sad, to be frustrated, to feel defeated. I'm not here to say never feel a negative emotion. I'm just here to say we can't stay there.  

So, one thing that you might be surprised to hear me say is that if you need a little pity party, you got twenty-four hours, my friend. Go there and do whatever you need to do—sleep a little extra, call a friend, cry, whatever that looks like to you—have your moment because we're going to be moving on. But before we do, we're not going to ignore all the emotions that are coming up for you. Once you do that, it's time to get back in the game. So you literally give yourself a cutoff time. Like, “All right. Enough is enough.”  

Now, here's another thing: whatever you do during that pity party, if you want to have one, which I've had many, or even after the pity party, whatever you do, do not compare your launch to previous ones that performed better. I repeat: do not compare your launch to previous launches. I hear it all the time from my students. “Why didn't this work? Something's wrong in my business. It must be broken. Last year, when I did this, my numbers were twice as big.” And that happens. I'm telling you, as an online marketer, you need to understand with every ounce of your being that bad launches happen. They just do. It is part of the game. Welcome to entrepreneurship. I have had them. All of my peers have had them, whether they admit it or not. We've all had bad launches. 

So what is so much more valuable than saying, “This didn't work out as well as it did in the past”? A better question—because, you know, one thing I learned from Tony Robbins is to ask better questions—a better question to ask yourself is, what can I do differently next time? What would make me excited to start creating this next opportunity? How can I serve my audience in a bigger and better way? Let's keep looking forward because, sure, you can look at the last launch in a debrief kind of way and say, “Okay. This launch, we did x, y, z. But the last launch we did, we did x, y, z. Plus, we did these three other things that we decided not to do this time. Maybe we bring those back.” That's a debrief conversation.  

What I don't want to hear, and I know this from a personal experience so I'm talking from my personal emotions here, what I don't want you to do, which is what I've done in the past, is say, “What's wrong with me? What's wrong with the business? Maybe we're not as relevant anymore. Maybe our time has passed. Maybe people are passing us up,” or whatever it might look like for you. Thinking something's broken in your business because of one bad launch? My friend, that is just, it's not the truth, so you can't live there.  

And what's great about doing this, asking the question, what can I do differently next time? What would get me excited about creating a new opportunity for the next time I launch? what's great about doing that is that you allow yourself to get creative based on the lessons you learned, and that way, you will always strive to do bigger and better things based on the lessons you learned in that experience. You’re not trying to live in the past, and you're not ignoring it. You're just saying, “All right. What can I do better next time?”  

I have a perfect example of this from my business. Back in the day, I had Courses That Convert and Webinars That Convert, totally two different courses. I've talked about this before. The struggle I was having at one point is that if a student was taking Courses That Convert, they would always ask me, “How do I promote it? How do I promote my course? Like, you just taught me how to create a course; how do I promote it?” And I’d have to say, “Well, that's another program I have.” Or if you were taking Webinars That Convert, they would ask, “Okay. I know how to do webinars now, but what am I promoting? I don't even have a course.” It's like this vicious cycle. I'd be like, “Oh, you got to buy my other program.”  

So eventually I thought, this isn't working. It used to work, and now it feels broken. And because it felt broken because that wasn't working, that specific situation—not my whole business, not my ability to be an entrepreneur. That wasn't broken—this course, or these two courses, being separate, they just weren't working as well anymore. I just was getting too much friction with each of them that I thought, “You know what I need to do? I need to combine them.” Thus was born Digital Course Academy, which is literally the best thing I've ever created. I mean, not to toot my own horn, but toot, toot, it is a great cause.  

So with that, I was able to stay in the moment and say, “Okay. This program, these launches I'm doing are not working as well as I want them to. What do I do now?” And that’s how I was able to create something great, and that’s how you will as well.  

So we have to remember that beauty can absolutely come from the lessons we learned, but only if we keep moving forward and stop looking backwards. The lesson you're learning is right in front of you. It is not behind you. It is happening now, so let's focus on what is right in front of us. 

Now, here’s the other thing that you totally lose when you’re chasing things from the past—so if you’re chasing old launches, comparing everything to things you've done in the past—one thing that you absolutely lose is the present. And I know being present’s such a buzz word or whatever, but being present is incredibly powerful. So often we hear about being present in your personal life with your partner or your family, but it's just as important to be present in your business. And dwelling on whatever has happened in the past takes away your focus and attention on what's happening right now in front of you. You owe it to your audience; your team, if you have one; and, most of all, yourself to be present with them.  

So when you do a new launch, you've got to go into it thinking, “This is a new opportunity. This is different. This is where I'm at right now,” and you own it. Whether or not it exceeds your expectations or not, you own it in the present.  

And here's the thing: if 2021 taught me anything in my business, it’s that sometimes you just don't know how things are going to shake out. And that's totally okay. So for me, in 2021, things felt weird in my business. Strategies that I've used for years and years weren't working as well, and it just felt a little bit harder to do the things that I've always done. And I just wasn’t sure what was going on.  

And the thing is, what I could have done is I could have looked at 2019 and 2020, and I could have said, “My business was stronger then,” or “I was really in my zone, and now I'm not,” or whatever. But instead of making it mean something about me or my business, I literally said, “Okay. What is the lesson here? What do I need to learn here?” And I stayed as present as possible.  

And I need to tell you that it allowed me to take a step back, look at my business from a different perspective, and make some really exciting decisions about how I want to move my business forward. I literally—and I won't go into all the detail here—but I put together a three-year plan that I could not be more excited about. I'm introducing a new certification program in the company that is going to be so incredibly valuable for some of my students. And we've added different things to our launches in addition to webinars, which still work incredibly well. Webinars and email marketing and social media, we're introducing some new ways to attract an audience that, then, I get to teach to my students. All of that would never have happened if I didn't struggle in 2021 and stay present with what was happening versus make it mean something terrible, which it absolutely didn't.  

We ended the year very strong, and I'm very proud of that. But it was a hard year, and I learned from the lessons, and I'm still learning from them. But you get to benefit from that if you're part of my courses, because then I get to teach you all the stuff that I'm doing and learning. 

So, if I can give you one big piece of advice from this Shorty episode, it is that when things don't go as planned, whether it be a launch, some kind of promotion, some kind of opportunity that fell through, don't make it mean something it doesn't. And don't look back in the past and compare it to something you've done that was, let's say, “better”—I'm using air quotes here—and think that it means something about your business today in a negative way. Be very careful of putting meaning to a flopped launch, because like I said in the very beginning, in every single business, there's going to be crash and burns. Launches that don't work out are part of the game. And you staying present and you learning from the lessons and you creating from a space of opportunity based on what you've learned, that is what will keep you in the game and keep you moving forward. So, here's a cheer to your new adventures, your new goals, and a new mindset around moving forward.  

All right, my friend. I hope you found value in this Shorty episode. I just wanted to share a few things that I've learned along the way because I am in the trenches with you, and you, my friend, are not alone.  

So thank you so much for being here with me. If you have a friend who's been struggling a little bit with their promotions and launches, please do share this episode with them because I would love to help them as well.  

And I will see you Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Bye for now.  

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