The Hard Truth About Launching Your First Product

We Launch, Then We Learn

Launching Your First Product

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Back in early 2010, I launched my very first course for sale. I made a total of $1455 from 15 sales. I was ecstatic…until reality set in.

Since I didn’t want to create an entire course only to discover no one wanted it, I decided to “drip feed” the course one lesson at a time over 18 weeks (yes, that’s four and a half months). The challenge was I only created two weeks worth of lessons before I sold the course.

Now that 15 people purchased it, I had to create 16 weeks worth of content in order to hold my end of the bargain.

If you’re doing math at home, that’s 4.5 months of work for $1455.

While you could say it was just the accountability I needed to actually create my first product, it didn’t get rid of the fact that I had a ton of work to do for just $1455. I tried to remind myself I was creating a course I’d be able to sell for years to come but that didn’t make the work any easier.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with at least four people who’ve launched a new course or product only to fall way short of their goals. As one person described it:

“I’m physically, mentally, and spiritually fried, and not sure what to do next. I don’t trust my judgement right now. I could use some help.”

Have you ever felt this way? I know I have.

So, what’s the answer when the last thing we want to hear is “You’ve got this..I believe in you”?

We Launch, Then We Learn

I wish I had a magic success pill to help you go from disappointment to enthusiastic. The hard truth is we launch, then we learn. This is the path we all must take. Launching your first product must take place first, before you can learn how to be a success.

Instant success is a myth. We want grand slams and home runs, but as Michael Hyatt has said, “Success is often made up of singles and doubles.”

We don’t learn standing still.

We don’t learn sitting on the bench.

We don’t learn by isolating ourselves from disappointment.

When we launch, we always get results. Whether positive or negative, we are guaranteed to get results. The only way to not get a result is to do nothing. I’d rather have results regardless of how painful it might be.

With results, we can learn something new. We might be just a small tweak away from better results.

“But Jonathan, I don’t want to launch something to my audience and then face the pain of failing in front of everyone.”

I hear this a lot. But the truth is who has to know?

The very first webinar I held only seven people showed up. They had no idea only seven people were in the webinar room. I taught them as if there were 500 on the webinar that night.

The beauty of launching a new online course is your audience has no idea how many or how few you have sold. In fact, failure to sell a course does not mean the course isn’t any good.

Maybe your problem was a promotional problem. You didn’t communicate it effectively. You were to afraid to email your list more than once about it. The point is you won’t know how to improve until you launch.

We launch, and then we learn.

That is the path to success, my friend. Don’t despise a small beginning, for it’s in the results you learn the art of winning.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    • Kevin J. Duncan

      Hey Jonathan,

      Great thoughts, my friend.

      Oh the joys of entrepreneurship. So many ups and downs. “Yes! I just made $1,455! Oh no! I have 4 1/2 months ahead of me to earn that $1,455!”

      You’re absolutely right… We only learn by doing. Positive or negative, we learn SOMETHING when we take action. I’m a proponent of going out and finding an experienced mentor who has already LEARNED whatever it is you want to learn, but even then action has taken place. You sought out a mentor, you (usually) paid said mentor, and you (hopefully) go out and apply what the mentor has taught you.

      Of course, even then there’s more to learn! You can do exactly what you were taught to do, but when you launch YOUR product it’s going to be a whole new ballgame. So many things to tweak after launch. So many learning opportunities. 🙂

      Just tweeted this, Jonathan. Keep up the great work, and I hope you have an awesome and blessed Thursday!

      – @kevinjduncan

      • Jonathan Milligan

        Thanks for the encouragement, Kevin!

    • Sean Teis

      Hi Jonathan, thanks for the encouragement! I am about to launch a product for our ministry and this information was timely! I really like the “we launch, then we learn.”

      • Jonathan Milligan

        Hey Sean. Looks like your a fellow alum of TBC. I graduated there back in 1999. Excited to hear about your ministry.

    • Joe Pardo

      Great article Jonathan and so true!! 🙂

      • Jonathan Milligan

        You da man…Joe.

    • Tawnya

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    • David Midgett

      I began my study of internet marketing a while back. Needless to say, my inbox was full of “Internet Guru’s” selling everything from web hosting to the next great pdf. on SEO. Well, the other day I had had enough, and decided to unsubscribe from all but the people I felt weren’t providing great “free” content. What a job. Turns out, you Jonathan were one of the few sites I didn’t unsubscribe from. Why? Well, first of all, you always provide great content in your emails. Next, the fact that you don’t go on “auto-pilot” mode. You engage with your subscribers. And thirdly, you have allowed me to feel as though I know you. One of the things that weeded most out was a feeling that they were always out to get my money…we all understand that money helps. One other thing that weeded out most…If I saw an email in my inbox from someone who I just deleted the email without opening it, I knew it was time to say goodbye.
      In a nutshell, you are doing and teaching by example. Over the past months, I’ve watched how you work, and that tells more than the best course ever. I’m looking forward to participating more with your offers in the coming newyear!

      • Jonathan Milligan

        Thanks David!

    • Kay Powell

      After “failing” with my first website/blog launch, I largely have you to thank for words of encouragement such as these. I have learned so much that I actually recognize most of the terms in any given blogging webinar by industry giants…wow! And I have begun rethinking a new launch. Once again, thank you so much, Jonathan for not giving up, pressing ahead and reaching out. I’m the one on “the other side” who you are trying to reach!

    • Saule Rubinchik

      So timely! I was just thinking of my city online product launch last night. I still have my first launch of physical stuff that I created and although it’s 100% ready and I can hold it in my hand I still feel a bit nervous. But with online product I would have much more doubts and questions. Thanks for the great post of encouragement Jonathan!

    • Kathy

      Yes. We launch and then we learn. Lots of learning going on here and I SO appreciate your encouragement today.

    • Job Gichana

      Woow! Oh yes, we only learn by doing! This is so encouraging; thanks for sharing!

    • Jeff Stephens

      Hi Jonathan.

      Love it. The key here is you have to do SOMETHING, right? If you aren’t in the game, you aren’t moving toward your goals. Thanks for reminding us to keep pushing forward and to actually put something out there…even if it appears to fail at first.

      – Jeff

      • Jonathan Milligan

        You bet. I learn more from failure than I do from success. 🙂

    • Indio John

      We all should take risks before launching our product because we cat predict how much it will be successful for our company.

    • Moses Njoku

      lol, I’m about to launch a product myself so this was an eye opener for me and i really found this helpful. thanks jonathan.

      • Jonathan Milligan

        You are welcome Moses!