The best defence against shiny object syndrome, overwhelm, and fear of failure in your launch

“Launching” is not just for celebrity entrepreneurs or bestselling authors. Instead, all of us heart-centered entrepreneurs can launch our products or services, no matter what stage of business we’re at.

In fact, your audience needs you to launch your offer – because you’ve got something transformational to offer them, and the only way they’re going to know about it is if you launch it.

But maybe you don’t even know where to start with your launch. Or perhaps you started a launch, but then lost focus when you got distracted or decided to change direction (anyone else with shiny object syndrome?). Maybe you saw your launch through, but you were so disappointed with the results that you never want to do another launch again.

Many heart-centered business owners – including me – have been in the situations I’ve just described. But shiny object syndrome, overwhelm, and a fear of failure don’t have to keep you from launching your offer and making a great success of your business.

In this post, I’m going to tell you about a little adjustment you can make to your mindset that will have you moving forward with your launch with a sense of freedom, ease, and fun. That shift is to see your launch as an experiment. And within your overall launch experiment, there’ll be a few small experiments.

Now if you’re a very attentive reader, then you’ll remember that in my last post, I told you about David Epstein and Daniel Pink’s conversation about the benefits of running small experiments in business and in life – rather than making grand long-term plans. Epstein recommended keeping a Book of Small Experiments, and then I went through how you could keep your own Book of Small Experiments for your launch.

So if that was the “how” post, then this is the “why” post. Because I think an experimental mindset and then practically keeping a Book of Small Experiments can do wonders for those of us who are experiencing shiny object syndrome, overwhelm, and fear of failure when it comes to launching.

Experiments help you to get started with your launch

Often, the first step in a launch (or anything in business) is the hardest one to take. So lower the stakes a bit – and tell yourself that this launch is just an experiment to test a specific hypothesis. And it’s only happening for a set time period – maybe 90 days for an entire launch, or even as little as a week to test a smaller idea.

One of the things that we tell ourselves as entrepreneurs is that we have to get to a certain point of “readiness” before we can launch. And while it’s important to know your audience, have a clear offer, clear messaging, a clear strategy, and all of these things – you’re not going to figure any of this stuff out via a bolt from the blue.

The only way you’re going to figure it out is by taking action, by trying things, by moving forward. Which is exactly what experimentation is all about.

And the beautiful thing about action is that people are attracted to it – it’s magnetic!

So if you’re ready to take action to make your next launch happen, then I’ve got something for you – my Launch & Love it Starter Pack. You’ll get an overview of my entire Launch & Love it Formula – AND you’ll get the exact questions and prompts that I use to help my 1:1: clients to set up their launch Aim. Just scroll to the bottom of this post to get your copy.

Investing some time and thought into setting up the aim of your launch will pay huge dividends, because once you’re clear on your aim, then you’ll also be clear on what’s not your aim – which will be the best defence against shiny object syndrome, overwhelm, and random things that you might feel you “should” do. If anything doesn’t help achieve the aim, you can ditch it!

Small experiments help to keep you focused on your launch

So you’ve got your overall experiment set up in your launch Aim. Now you can start planning some smaller experiments within the bigger launch picture.

And if you think back to Science class, you’ll remember that you can only test one variable at a time in an experiment. Now we’re not going to be complete sticklers about the Scientific Method when it comes to business launches, but the reality is that if you’re running too many experiments at a time, you’re not going to be learning anything and you’re just going to be overwhelmed.

The thoughts running through my head when I’m getting into overwhelmed mode around a launch go something like this: “I should do more Instastories, I should do more IG posts, I should use more hashtags, I should write more blog posts, my blog posts should be longer, my blog posts should be shorter, I should target a different audience, I should niche down, I should start a Facebook group, I should run a webinar, I should run a challenge, do an online course, start a membership, change my offer, change my website, change EVERYTHING!!!”

Whew, just re-reading that makes my head spin. So, let’s see how I could reframe some of these overwhelmed thoughts into an experiment that’ll actually help move me forward.

My overall launch Aim for the next quarter is to book clients into all of my available Launch & Love it VIP Coaching Program slots. That’s my big experiment.

To do that, I need to connect with my ideal clients. One of the places I could do this is on Instagram. But let’s get real here: I don’t feel like I’m in my natural habitat on the Gram, and I much prefer writing these long blog posts instead! Trouble is, they take me a long time to write and a blog post just sitting out there in cyberspace is not exactly the quickest way for me to connect with my people.

OK, so instead of berating myself for not posting on Instagram enough, or not doing enough stories, or taking too long on my blogs, I’m going to reframe this all as an experiment:

“I will write at least one new blog post every two weeks, and then take out 4 key messages from the post to use as Instagram posts, which can be doubled as stories. By doing this, I will increase my follower count by 10% and get 2 discovery call bookings through my Instagram profile.”

Do you see how that is a whole lot more specific, more measurable, and totally more doable than the stream of overwhelmed-ness? Do you also see that it both pushes me out of my comfort zone (by using IG more extensively), but also incorporates my zone of genius and what I generally enjoy (writing long-form content)?

I literally just came up with that experiment now, but I love it so much that I’ve just put it into my Airtable of Small Experiments (the digital version of a Book of Small Experiments)!

Experimentation gives rise to awesome ideas to try out in future launches

OK, so we’ve got our eye on our overall experiment – our Aim, and we’re conducting a few small experiments that we think help us to achieve that overall aim.

Unfortunately, there won’t be space for all the experiments (a.k.a. all the ideas that enter these multi-passionate entrepreneurial heads of ours – especially when we’re in the middle of a launch and needing to work on the less exciting sides of our businesses!). But that’s a good thing – because it prevents us from becoming overwhelmed and we can actually get some reliable feedback on whether an experiment has worked or not.

But what about all those good ideas that we come up with when we’re supposed to be focused on our launch? Are they lost forever? No, on the contrary, there’ll be gold there, so write them down – in your Book of Small Experiments.

I’ve got a separate table in my Airtable of Small Experiments for “Awesome Ideas” with product ideas, collaboration ideas, marketing ideas, you name it. When I come to the end of my current launch, I’ll be going back to these ideas to choose which ones I want to focus on for my next launch.

And I have to tell you, my Awesome Ideas List is already pretty long! But I’m so happy that they’ve got a place to live while I keep focused on my current launch. Because the reality is that if I had to try to focus on too many things, I’d end up achieving nothing.

A cleverly set-up experiment helps mitigate the fear of failure (and gives you permission to make mistakes!)

We’ve all experienced that sense of failure when we’ve put something out into the world, only to have it greeted by criticism – or perhaps worse, crickets. And you have to be a pretty strong person to move on after those feelings of failure.

But that’s another reason why an experimental mindset is helpful. You don’t fail – the hypothesis of the experiment is just disproven.

We can also set up our experiments in a clever way, so that if that hypothesis is disproven, the implications are not catastrophic. So look for low-stakes ways to test out an idea. Ask yourself: What is the simplest/cheapest/quickest way to test this idea? You may be surprised that you can get the answers you’re looking for without all the bells and whistles you initially thought you needed.

You may have heard this being referred to as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), or Minimum Viable Value. Here are some examples:

  • Send an email to your subscribers with one simple question and ask them for a reply; rather than setting up a 10-question survey on a survey tool.

  • Offer a live workshop that you record in real time; rather than pre-recording an entire online course.

  • Offer your opt-in in the form of a plain Google Doc; rather than spending too much time making it look pretty (you could do that later!).

The point here is that when you’re doing an experiment, you have permission to make mistakes. Mistakes are not failures – they’re just information you can use to make better decisions in the future. And, you can set your experiment up so that if you do make mistakes, they don’t cost you too much time or money.

Get the Launch & Love it Starter Pack to set up the Aim of your next launch/experiment

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Ready to set up the overall aim of your next launch – or shall we call it an experiment?!

Then grab my free Launch & Love it Starter Pack, which will guide you through the Launch & Love it Formula, and take you through the exact questions and prompts that I use for my 1:1 coaching clients – to help you set up a clear Aim for your next launch.

Shelley SmithComment