I didn’t have a 5 figure product launch and I’m bragging anyway

by | Mar 3, 2017 | Business, Experiments | 14 comments

I’m a bit tired of the posts I see in Facebook about huge launch success stories (I have been, for a very long time), and I know I’m not alone.

Every time I see a 5 figure product launch post, part of me shrinks back a little more. Not because I don’t admire them for doing such a great job (I do)

Not because I don’t think it’s possible for me to do the same thing (I know I can)

But, because I don’t want to. Yet, reading their stories somehow makes me think I “should” want a 5-6 figure launch, because it’s what everyone else is doing.

I tend to zag when others zig

Here’s the deal… I’ve seen the behind the scenes of many of those launches. I’ve even had launches with 170 plus sales in a week… And, filled a program with 25 people in 72 hours. I know all of that’s “do-able”.

Besides, a lot of “big brag launches” don’t really add up….

Not all 5 or 6 figure product launches are profitable

Big launches are stressful. They require a lot of moving parts, a team (upfront costs) and a lot of faith that your product is going to make to market at the right time. You’d be surprised how many product launches (even the ones with “big brags”) didn’t do much but break even. Certainly not compensating the creator for the 3 months they weren’t taking on client work prior to the launch, or the 3 months after, when she’ll be delivering live course content, or coaching VIP clients.

I’d much rather create a passive (or semi-passive) income stream, with a low profile launch… I prefer a regular income stream… And, I guess I just don’t enjoy the big launch approach.

I’ll give you a few of the behind the scenes numbers later, without naming names, or shaming anyone. Just to give you some awareness about what can be happening. And, maybe to challenge some of the entrepreneurs out there who are  contributing to the “number shaming”. (even if they don’t realize it) But first, let me tell you about my launch.

R

My launch, was so small, no one out side of my current sphere of influence would have heard about it.

Q

My launch didn’t need a support team and launch manager.

Q

My launch didn’t need an advanced marketing strategy with 6 blog posts, guest posts, and interviews.

Q

My launch didn’t take 6-12 weeks to execute.

Q

My launch didn’t cost a fortune.

R

My launch, was profitable (95%)

And I’m completely okay with it… absolutely cool about it.

I earn income from other sources (Portable Biz Club membership, affiliate revenue, etc) so this extra bump is a welcome bonus.

Here’s a quick screenshot of my woocommerce report. not 5 figure product launch

I had a weird glitch the day after the sale (really, not deliberate). I stayed up until 12:30 to make sure I was available to answer questions for last minute visitors, and then set the sale to end.

The coupon codes had clear instruction that said they would expire at 12:01 date I chose (in this case, the 22nd) and I assumed the sale settings would work the same – I was wrong …. so more sales trickled in the next morning… of which I’m grateful.

If you’re curious, here’s a link to the digital product.

And I rounded off the sale with $517.50

That's 15 Customer Sales in Total

%

2 came from the main email list

%

13 of them came from subscribers who are on one of my smaller email lists (440 people)

%

3 sales came directly after answering questions in the live website chat

  • 3 people signed up for the free portable biz club, who weren’t on my list before, but clicked through from social media to the bundle, and then clicked through to my free stuff
  • 1 person remembered that she had free course coupons, and ordered a course (that’s why it says 16 orders, instead of 15 – one was for $0.00)
  • One person figured out a way to use coupon codes she’d saved up, and purchased the bundle, plus one other course, for $2.98 (very clever – I admire her in a way)…

And I got lots and lots of feedback and ideas, so I know what I might like to do next with this bundle.

Remember my promise to look at big launches?

I promised to share with you some examples of launches I’ve seen behind the scenes, where they were “bragging” in social media, but behind the scenes, things didn’t add up….

Let’s get started with our first example, “Janet Launcher”

(this obviously isn’t her real name, and she didn’t really launch this past week – it’s just an example, like a fictional character inspired by stories)

I had a 6 Figure Launch this past week…. Here’s what you don’t know… Janet Launcher

My Great Biz.com (fake name)

I paid my product manager $10K

We took out a loan to make this happen

We hired a customer support team ($30K)

We spent 5k on Facebook ads

I've been working on this non-stop for the past 6 months

k

I'll be busy for the next 3 months delivering content

“My profit, after paying advertising costs, my product launch manager, customer support team, affiliates commission, and money set aside for taxes, was $53,100. I have a 20,000 loan to pay off as well”

  • The math: $53,100 -20,000 = 33,100 ÷ 9 months (6 before, 3 after) = $3678/month
  • Although this might be a good income for many people, it’s far less than she was earning when she left her corporate job. And not at all what she was hoping to earn in her business.

Now, onto to Maggie Smart… (also made up…she’s a fictional character, inspired by real life behind the scenes stories)

I paid my launch manager $6K

My VA took on a bigger role (including social media & graphics) $10K

The new members site cost $5,000

I spent 1k on Facebook ads

I've been working on this non-stop for 3 months

k

I'll be busy for the next 3 months delivering content

Yesterday my 5 figure launch closed it’s door. I’m so proud. Maggie Smart

6FigureLaunch.com (fake name)

“My profit, after paying advertising costs, my product launch manager, web designer, and money set aside for taxes, was $11,200 “

  • The math: $11,200 ÷ 6 months (3 before, 3 after) = $1867/month.
  • She will probably need to take on other work during the delivery of her current program.

The bottom line (for me) is that I would much rather put together a quick launch (less than a month upfront) with much less risk and possibly a smaller front end reward, but much higher profit margin. Obviously, not all product launches work out the way I described above. There are many (especially the ones that are in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year) see large profits. And, it would be so nice to see those people sharing their wisdom about profitable launches, instead of seeing total sales.

 

On a side note: Have you seen the more recent trend where people are saying, "I've built a 2 million dollar company"?

Then, when you look closer (read their story) you see that they are adding up the gross sales that’s been earned over each year they’ve been in business (ie. 10,000 in 2010, 30,000 in 2011,70,000 in 2012, 140,000 in 2013, 350,000 in 2014, 550,000 in 2015, 900,000 in 2016). Again, no name shaming, but this isn’t actually how you calculate the value of a company. It’s really a combination of assets, and retained earnings (the amount after expenses, and anything paid out to the owners) That’s the amount that gets carried forward, year after year.

Could it be sold as a $2m company? Sure, possibly. But usually a company isn’t purchased based on the revenue they’ve earned in the past 5+ years. It’s based on projected revenue in the future, and existing assets (and a bunch of other things – the point is, gross sales isn’t how it’s calculated)

So, I'm celebrating my small launch

I’m celebrating that I was able to pull together an awesome digital product in about a week. Something that I can sell “forever” (yes, that’s a relative term in the online info product world).

I’m celebrating that this product is really passive. I probably won’t need to update it much, even for years to come, because it’s not time sensitive (or software sensitive).

I’m celebrating those 15 new customers, and what it means that they’ve put their trust in me.

I’m celebrating that my costs were less than $50 (I’ll tell you more about this in part 2 of this blog post)

And I’m celebrating the extra money in my bank account.

Come back next week to read the behind the scenes story of how I put the deal together (idea generation and technology).

And the following week to see what I did to market the product (like I said before, not much) and what I learned in the process, for next time.

Next week:

  • The Technology and workflow for this small product launch
  • The Marketing and promotion I did for this small launch

About the author

Loralee Hutton

Loralee Hutton

While creating my portable biz on an incredibly lean budget (less than $30/mo) wasn’t easy, it’s the foundation piece I love to share with other solopreneurs. Creating your own passive & leveraged income doesn’t need to be hard, or expensive.

14 Comments

  1. Dina Blas

    What a wonderful perspective and breakdown Loralee. Thank you for sharing that insight! 🙂

  2. Linda

    Wow, great blog post! I learned that sometimes big is not always better. Note to self: Remember this when you do your first launch! Thanks so much!

  3. lynndorman

    A few typos, but nothing that distracts 🙂 Thank you for saying this – I see so many launches that give away very expensive loot to top affiliates, I do wonder what other costs are there that we don’t see – and as most only tell us or “brag about” the gross earning – we have zero idea of the bottom net amount. SO kudos to you for your honesty and your extra income….

    • Loralee

      Thank you Lynn. I’ll pop over to our FB group to ask about the typos – would be good to fix those 🙂 And yeah… it’s a topic that I feel really needs to have extra light shed on it. I’d forgotten temporarily about the expensive prizes – such a great point. I know that some of those affiliate launches are done with list building in mind, and no intention of making a profit (at least on the front end product)… That’s an interesting strategy, for sure….but not one I have the guts to tackle 🙂

      Thanks so much for chiming in & bringing your insight & opinion to the discussion.

  4. lmgarcia

    LOVE this awesome post Loralee! I am also so tired of the “5-6-7 figure” lunches. Looking forward to your part 2 of the story.
    xo
    L.

    • Loralee

      Thanks L 🙂 Me too… so tired of it (obviously – but it might also be part of the circles we’re in? ) I’m really looking forward to finishing up that 2nd post too 🙂

  5. Michelle

    I’ve seen the same thing behind the scenes. The numbers sound great until you realize the profit % and how many hours went into pulling it off.

    I agree with you – celebrate the successes, and do what’s right for you!

  6. Deb

    Well done Loralee – I like your approach!

  7. anonymousdogooder

    So very refreshing! I (mistakenly) kept feeling like doing anything less than a HUGE launch would mean that I wasn’t actually a success. Your story has given me a little more permission to define my own success and I appreciate you so very much.

    I’ve come to realize that the people talking numbers are the ones that are selling a great over-priced product that will supposedly enable others to do the same. They have to portray pie-in-sky results in order to entice people into investing in the courses and/or products.

    I know there are a lot of coaches who honestly want to help people but all the ickiness (misrepresentation, questionable sales techniques, etc) have really left me feeling saddened by our industry.

    Your post helped me to feel some much needed hope!

    THANK YOU!

  8. vatsala2013

    I’ve seen those wonderful promos for launches and making 6 figures Loralee and have always been skeptical. Not because they can’t be done but I wondered about the initial cash outlay and good old bottom line profits – the part we’re never taught. I prefer soft launches, getting the word out about evergreen products and feeling happy when a sale occurs. One’s limited time and money is better spent on active marketing of services where we provide transformation while our beloved products support us in the long run and add to the business bottom line.

  9. Kevin

    Dear Loralee: Very Cool! Is it possible to agree more than 100%? I always laugh and scratch my head wondering:
    1. Launcher has secret to building a 200,000 subscriber list but spends time trying to get me to spend a “little money to teach me how”. This includes massive automated email campaigns and the rest of what you noted. Why don’t they spend 1/100th of the time on their lists, or build a new one.
    2. Everyone I know with a money making formula uses it to – – – – duh—- make money not talk about it and try to sell it cheap.
    3. If you try to tell some of them they are “not a big deal” their staff sends a letter thanking me for loving the “big deal”, and glad they can help me!
    4. I’m currently on the same path as you. I upsell to include my private sessions which is scary to offer in a big launch. There isn’t that much of me.
    5. Guarantees: if you look closely at them they state if you follow everything in the program. This can mean go back and do things right again ( to the same lists) Or, promising results that you can achieve but don’t necessarily mean profit.
    5. I’m not going to continue because it’s not a guest blog post ha ha ( Don’t Get Me Started) *you already did!

  10. judithtehuia246

    Thanks so much for that Loralee I don’t like the way they are done I agree with you small is good.

  11. Kelly

    Loralee I love this post!

    Love that you focused on profits and not revenues. Six-figure launches are meaningless without the detail and you’ve done such a great job with the fictional characters.

    My other pet peeve: The popular “Book a “$10K month” – a project that can take 6 months to deliver on. There’s a word for that and its called “Unearned Revenues.” It’s not real real revenue, and its not income. It’s cash. Revenue, income, and cash – all very different things! It makes me want to scream and break things because so many aspiring entrepreneurs are misled here…

    I REALLY appreciate you calling attention to this and hope lots of your readers benefit!!

  12. Bastian Ernst

    awesome blog post Loralee 🙂 I LOVE the title! thanks for sharing 🙂

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