HOW TO LAUNCH A BUSINESS YOU LOVE
It seems appropriate that this post – my first – is about launching something. If you haven’t yet watched the animated book review of Launch by Jeff Walker, then please do. I did it in rhyme after initially writing a script, and then found that I really didn’t like the audio editing functionality of the software I used.
Long story short, I reasoned that rhyming has consistent timing, and I ended up preferring the style to just talking about a book. So, going forward, my plan is to have my animated book reviews in rhyme, with a corresponding blog post that goes into more detail.
I should say now, by the way, that these reviews, summaries or highlights are not intended to be so in-depth that you don’t need to read the book. Rather, I’m doing them to help to point you in the direction of some great resources for anyone who has a more entrepreneurial approach to life – an attitude I’ve come to call “ex-ordinary”.
My personal ex-ordinary life began after a colleague who had heard me complaining one too many times about short-sighted, overly-controlling CEOs, powerless managers (thanks to overly controlling CEOs) bureaucracy from Hell – because, well, you know, “That’s how we do things around here!” – and generally archaic practices… placed a book on my desk – that book was Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait for me – just read it.
If it weren’t for that book – my sort of Ground Zero – I wouldn’t be where I am on my quest today – a quest to understand myself, my circumstances, my abilities, ideas, and what I can do to improve or change them for the sake of my family, and my personal fulfilment.
If it weren’t for that book, I never would’ve launched into the world of entrepreneurship, devouring books and podcasts, and never would’ve discovered Launch. Just as the The 4-Hour Work Week was my Ground Zero, maybe Launch will be yours.
To quote Jeff (I feel like I can call him by his first name): “This book will build your business—fast. Whether you’ve already got a business or you’re itching to start one, this is a recipe for getting more traction.”
For the desperate-for-change people out there, it hooks you right from the start because, if you’ve ever found yourself in a desperate situation, needing to make a change in your life, you will be able to relate to Jeff’s story. Plus, it’s well-written in a very easy-to-read style.
Although this is a book that discusses certain sales and relationship-building strategies, it’s by no means boring. And thanks to the case studies it covers, it reads like mini stories of what certain people did to find success in launching their products and services.
By the way, you will also find these case studies on Jeff’s website, together with interviews and more.
I will say, unashamedly, that I couldn’t put it down. Or rather, didn’t want to. I read this on my phone at every possible opportunity, and after kissing my wife goodnight, I would lie there in the dark, happily flicking my finger across the screen to get to the next page, not wanting to go to sleep because I wanted to know what happens next, just as if I were reading a thriller by a well-known author.
Jeff’s personal story is interwoven with the strategies he developed – known as the Product Launch Formula – beginning with how, once upon a time, he said goodbye to the Corporate World to become a stay-at-home dad. Eventually, he had no choice but to make drastic changes to bring in some income so that his wife didn’t have to be the sole breadwinner and miss their kids growing up.
How many of us look at our lives and know that we need things to be different, but don’t know where or how to start? That was me over a year ago, and chances are, it’s you too; I could see myself in his Origin Story – the husband and father, desperate to learn how to do something with his ideas and change the course of his family’s future.
With some knowledge about stock markets, Jeff put a newsletter together and, back when e-mails were relatively new, sent one to a short list of contacts he had. This led to sales of his information product that soon (not over night) made him thousands and subsequently led to his wife being able to quit her job and enjoy spending quality time with the family.
Speaking personally, it’s hard to know what the truth is today about marketing and sales. You hear and read all sorts of conflicting information about Marketing being dead, and certain tactics and strategies no longer working and the need to jump on something before it’s too late. Jeff himself admits that some people say that the the Product Launch Formula has had its time, but he obviously disagrees, and explains why that belief is wrong.
The principles he goes into are more or less timeless because they speak mostly to psychology and how certain strategies and tactics are better than others for specific reasons.For example, if you take the time to build a relationship with your audience, and give them helpful, free content, that relationship will be more likely to yield rewards for you when you launch a priced product or service. If you don’t know of such strategies yet, you will find that applying them will be much better – not to mention morally acceptable – than a bunch of the other lazy, get-rich-quick schemes out there.
As I read this book, I got increasingly excited as I realised that I have things of value – ideas, abilities and so on – that I can bring to the market, and that I don’t necessarily need any special qualifications to do so.
In a nutshell – and I must stress that the book goes into much more detail – the Product Launch Formula goes something like this:
First is: the Pre-Pre-launch – that’s right, 2 “PREs”, where it all begins. This first part of the sequence is where you start to get your audience excited about what’s to come. If you don’t really have an audience yet, building one is covered in the book, so don’t worry about that. This is also when you will determine what the market thinks about what you have to offer, and how you can get valuable information to help you build and improve it – whatever “it” is – before actually launching it.
Second is the Pre-launch: This is when you prove yourself to your market – or, as Jeff says, romance them. Here, you provide at least 3 high-value, free pieces of content in the form of an e-book or video, or just a great e-mail, one at a time. With each e-mail, your market learns more about you, and what great content you have to offer that can help them, and at the same time, earn you some rapport.
Your pre-launch, when well-crafted, activates mental triggers such as authority (people trust that you know what you’re talking about), social proof and community (other people speak positively about you, building an audience), anticipation (what’s next? When?) and reciprocity (if you’ve given people some great, useful, free content, then they are more inclined to want to buy your product or service when you launch it).
Third is the Launch, the day you’ve been working towards. This is when you actually make your Product or service available, and you will have typically announced it in the final of the 3 previously mentioned free-content e-mails. This product or service (or both) has benefited from the relationship you have built with your audience – something the book goes into detail on – and so will already be something that at least interests them, and follows on from the free content you have already provided.
This is when you start to take orders, and this stage itself has a sequence you would use to help manage the process, which the book describes.
And 4th, is the Post-Launch. This is when you follow up with your new clients, and with the prospects who didn’t buy from you. It is important because this is when you deliver value and build your brand. Done well, it can pave the way towards your next launch.
Cleverly, the book itself works with the reader’s mental triggers, and so while there is great value in the book alone, you may want to accept Jeff’s invitation to look into the Product Launch Formula course that he mentions in the book.
In keeping with Jeff’s style, it’s not a hard sale. If you want to go for it, visit his website and, no surprises, once you’ve signed up, you’ll start receiving great-value content that you can use right away, later leading to further information about joining the PLF course.
Speaking just for the book, though, it’s certainly worth reading if you have no idea where or how to start with an online business selling a service or a product. It certainly doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about setting up or running a business, or all of the exact technology you will need along the way, and that’s fine – it doesn’t claim to be an all-encompassing how-to. But what it does do, it does well, and on its own, is very valuable.
This book will help to spark ideas, and open your mind to non-sleazy strategies you may never have known even existed.