I want to share something with you in the hopes that it will inspire you.
To start, I want to properly set expectations that this is more of a little push of inspiration than it is some grand, life-altering idea.
I want to encourage you to launch something before you’re ready, and I want you to do it as soon as possible.
I’m going to give you a few reasons why and then share some examples of projects I’ve launched before they were done, and why despite any of the shortcomings of those projects, I still think it was the best thing I could’ve done.
A quick but, profoundly important note: I am not suggesting that you skip the planning and strategy process. I’m talking about after you know what you’re trying to accomplish and why, avoiding the trap of getting caught up in the nitty gritty details to the degree that you keep pushing out the deadline for launch.
Why launch before you’re ready?
The first question you might be thinking is: why should anyone launch before they’re ready?
I will answer that by first asking you a different question: what is the risk of launching too late or not at all?
In my super unscientific study, I’ve found that people are far more likely to wait too long or give up than they are to launch something too early. I’ve gathered this information over my lifetime of hearing countless ideas from friends and peers that never made it past the conversation phase. Even in the conversation phase, I’ve watched people talk themselves out of a good idea.
In working with clients, I’ve seen deadlines pushed time and time again, with only the occasional hasty decision to move too quickly. Even in those situations where the client moved too quickly, any post-launch problems were usually quickly resolved.
Again, super unscientific study here so, take it with the appropriate amount of salt.
The point I’m trying to make is that we often doubt ourselves. We question whether our contribution is worth it. We consider all of the ways in which it could fail, and let it hold us back, ironically, avoiding to see the obvious failure of not launching at all.
Here’s my reasons why you should launch something
“To the third grader, the fourth grader is an expert.” – I don’t know who first said this and neither does Google but shoutout to whoever said it to me
You have something to share with the world. Everyday you don’t, is withholding a gift from someone.
At the same time, in the midst of a sea of imposter syndrome, every day you wait for “perfect,” you are robbing yourself of the sweet evidence that you are making a contribution.
“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” – Walt Whitman
By launching your project, you are contributing a verse.
If you are not yet swayed by the idea that you have something valuable to contribute or that someone could learn from you, then let me offer this: people will notice.
While most people stay in the garage unwilling to release their beta, fearful of it not being ready, or of the criticism, or of the myriad reasons it might fail…you will have put something out into the world for people to notice. You can talk to them about it, ask questions, gather information and insights. You can engage the people who gravitate toward the concept and invite them to co-create the project.
Your project is something to talk about, a conversation starter, an opportunity to learn.
In my experience…
I have developed a tendency to move fast and launch before something is ready. In some cases this takes the form of having an idea, building a landing page in a day, and launching it the next. I’ll figure it out once it’s live.
This is partly due to impatience, partly because I like to work things out in public. But the most significant reason why I do this is because I don’t want to live with the regret of not launching a project by taking too long. I know that the launch is not the end but the beginning.
Here are a few projects that I’ve launched before they were completely ready yet I’m still glad they are out there.
There were a lot of things I wanted to do along with the launch of my book. I wanted to create pre-order materials, downloads, funnels, and more. I wanted an endorsement from Brené Brown, one from Simon Sinek, and one from Adam Grant…among others.
But, every single thing that I listed is a lower priority than launching the book and if I’d waited to have all of that, I might’ve not launched the book this year. Besides, I can always launch a second edition.
I didn’t stop until everything was ready. I launched the book because at the end of the day, getting the ideas out there can create change, and waiting to design a PDF doesn’t. Furthermore, it took 5 years to write and without planning this, it came out during the height of “the great attrition” where people are leaving the workforce in droves. Talk about timing!
In July of 2019, I launched the Superhero Institute. I wasn’t quite sure what it was supposed to be, but I had the general direction. I knew it was about helping people find purpose and meaning in their work, I knew it was about unlocking potential, and I knew it was about sharing the abilities I’ve acquired to help others grow personally and professionally.
As of today, I’ve pivoted from the original broad audience to focus more narrowly on coaches. There are no clients yet, the training curriculum is still under development, and I don’t plan to fully launch until next year. However, by putting it out into the world, I was able to shift my brand away from “social media guy” to Superhero. I also developed a mountain of content that I pull from and even reference in my book and my keynotes. Further, I have a number of people on a waiting list for when it does go live. So, in the meantime, I’m going to take the opportunity to learn from the people who have expressed interest.
In August of 2017, I launched The Shareable Podcast Network. I wanted to create a network for finding great podcasts, but also a network that served Podcasters, helping them to produce better shows, grow larger and more engaged audiences, and earn more money. It’s a big, bold ambitious idea, and it has a bunch of podcasts on it. Turns out they’re mostly mine. However, it’s out there and I’ve been developing a model by talking to podcasts hosts and podcast listeners.
But if I hadn’t launched it, what would I show them?
Launched doesn’t always mean good
…but it does mean published and live in the world. I’m not touting my successes here because frankly, some of the projects I’ve launched early are not yet successful. Some are very successful.
Most importantly, however, is that I’m now on the hook for these projects. I’ve put each of them out there and I now feel compelled to get them across the finish line. Some may not make the cut but others will. Launching early gives you a chance to get more visibility and gather market feedback based on what resonates with people. Nothing is ever finished anyway, so get it out there.
Don’t be afraid, stop hesitating.
Ready, Launch, Set.
Take the challenge.
What will you commit to launching by the end of this month. Post it in the comments.