Events vs. Products: Launch Lessons from a Launch Newbie

Launching an Event vs. Launching a Product

One of my biggest goals in 2018 (and 2017. And 2016. Hey, sometimes it takes us a little bit of time to get things done) was to launch a course about event planning. The reality is that, as an event manager, I personally can only take 5-6 client a year (fewer if my clients have lots of events), so that leaves about 5000 people (based on my monthly traffic) who I can’t help except with free blog posts. I LOVE blog content, but sometimes, unless you get the full picture linear-ly, it’s hard to understand really WHY live events are valuable and how we can make them useful for us, our businesses, and our clients.

So, with that in mind, sometime about last December, I decided that I was going to get some help launching my course for 2018. I signed up for an accelerator program to help kick my butt into gear.

Little did I know that the experience of creating the abstract of the course, understanding my audience, working on the launch AND creating the content, was going to be transformational. 

Truth be told, I had launched before (8 times, with the Boss Lady Bash), but I hadn’t been one to focus on what it looks like to launch a higher priced product. The Boss Lady Bash ticket averages about $60 per person, which is expensive for my town, but not prohibitive. However, Events that Convert was $549 (or $699 if purchased after the Early Bird pricing), which was much more of an investment than anything other than my 1:1 work.

SO! Today, I want to show you the numbers behind the launch, a rough outline of my invested time and energy, and what I learned in the process.

The Numbers

Students gained: 15
Subscribers gained (since Jan 1, 2018, when I started the course): 478
Subscribers lost (since Jan 1, 2018 for comparison purposes): 400+**

I can’t figure out how to get an exact number in ConvertKit, but I watched my numbers go down each week, and total, it was about 350 - 400 who opted out.

The Time

Average Weekly Hours: About 12 hours per week**

**Ugh, I actually have no idea about this. I don’t track my time (which is an issue as a service-based business owner), but our group calls averaged about 75 minutes (some were 1 hour some were 90 minutes), and I spent about 30 - 60 minutes in our group chat/Facebook group. Including weekly homework at 5-10 hours, plus launch week at roughly 40 hours, I’m going to estimate about 120 hours all in for the 10 weeks of the course pre-build and launch. Probably more if we count in student support going forward DURING the launch.

Watch my facebook live on my launch lessons learned!

The Lessons

People will not want the “new you.”

I lost almost 500 subscribers (definitely over 400). I got a lot of email responses from people who were bothered by the multiple emails. I totally get that stuff, and I completely understand it from a client standpoint, and I also know that the people who are interested in upping their game through events, or speaking, or networking are getting incredible value.

And to be honest, it suuuuuuuuucked to field those emails. It felt like I was doing something wrong and had messed up and ruined someone’s day. Objectively, I know that’s not actually true, but it was definitely hard to receive while also trying to be positive about how awesome the course is.

Urgency is HUGE. Use it.

After spending almost two months preparing for this launch, I had sold about one course in the first two days. I cried for about two hours, and then decided that I wasn’t going to give up quite yet.

Good thing I didn’t throw in the towel because about 9 people purchased in the 6 hours leading up to the price increase. And three people purchased after the cart closed! So if you’re not using deadlines for your product sales, product launches, and event launches, I’d highly recommend adding those into your plan ASAP. 

Longer launches are more stressful than time-crunched launches.

If you watched my Instagram Stories during the launch, you’d know that immediately after this launch I got SUPER sick. I was hacking up a lung and basically stayed in bed for three days. It was miserable, but all the energy that I had put into this launch, and the nervousness that I felt was super compressed. It made for a lot of late nights, early mornings, last minute changes, and launching pivots.

If I had to do that for more than 7 days? I would have been a wreck. One of the things that I’ve been really lucky with is the sale of Boss Lady Bash tickets, and even tickets to the Athena Conference when I ran that. Both events were super consistent with sales, and I never felt a huge lull (or they sold out super quickly). However, the longer you keep a cart open, the more stressed you are to sell tickets, so I would highly, highly recommend having start and end dates for all your launches (events included) so that you can mitigate your stress levels.

You will learn more than you ever thought possible.

Oh man, if you had asked me before last week if I could whip up a webinar, plus all the tech, plus my slides in two hours, I would have said “Uh, nope.” But given the momentum, I was figuring out things left and right. Now, I understand how to install a chat into my website, I can lightly code some design elements, and am currently figuring out how to do a two-person webinar with a screen share (and not paying a million dollars for WebinarJam).

Sound confusing? Until about a month ago, I’d agree with you! But the learning experience alone was worth the time investment, and now I feel so much more capable than I ever have with my tech.

I am doing a GREAT job of writing to my audience.

One thing that was amazing (and a little intimidating) was the amount of responses I got from my emails that I sent (even when I sent, like, 13 of them). I felt super connected to people who are trying to do their best to plan events, and it was really fun to respond to them all to hear about what they were struggling with.

I always get compliments on my writing, which is so flattering, but after this launch, I finally realized that people do actually like having me in their inbox. Which means, more blog posts! More videos! More content! Bring it on!

I am NOT doing a great job of giving my audience consistency and sharing my lessons learned after each event for myself and my clients.

And here’s the rub. I got a lot of great feedback, but I also got feedback from people who didn’t remember who I was and what I did.

If there is ONE lesson that I want to take away from this, it’s that consistency MATTERS. My favorite bloggers and business owners? They’re consistent. I see them on social media, in my inbox, and on their blogs/YouTube channels. New content is so refreshing, as is recycled content. So, +1 for consistency.

PHEW! That was a ton of information. Now I want to hear from you.

What’s the hardest part about launching for you (whether an event or a product)? Let me know your lessons learned OR what’s holding you back in the comments below!