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9 Launch Mistakes You Haven’t Heard Before + Why They Can Haunt Your Business For Years

launch mistakes

Whether it’s your first launch or your fifth launch…there’s always the chance you’ll make some launch mistakes. That’s the thing about launches — because the plan is somewhat always changing and evolving, you have to expect those changes.

That said… let me preface this entire post with the following disclaimer:

  • I am a perpetual optimist.
  • I choose to see good in everyone.
  • I give people many chances.
  • I pride myself on being as gracious as I can (even sometimes at my own expense).

So – it hurts me just a little to write this post to you today – because I generally like to come from a place of that positivity.


But it’s time to get down to it – and share some information that will change how you launch.

Sound good? Ok then. Hold on tight.

The list of recurring questions I receive from people about launching is a long one….here are just a few:

“What is the best time of year to launch? Is NOW a good time launch?”
“What membership plugin should I use?”
“Do I need to make videos?”
“Do you know how to make paypal link up to mailchimp?”
“How far in advance should I start planning my launch?”
“Do I need to hire a copywriter, web designer, project manager?”
“Should I use twitter? Should I use Facebook? Should I try ads?”

Funny thing, this always leads me to a list of the mistakes people make when they are planning their first launches… like worrying about what time of year is the best to launch…

There is no shame in making mistakes. I believe in Beginner’s Mind, Beginner’s mistakes, and truly embracing mistakes as part of the learning process.  I know when I managed my very first launch – Marie Forleo’s B-school (yes… this was my first launch)… I didn’t even know how many mistakes I was making…(hoping not too many!)

Now, I don’t want you to go through your first launch questioning every step, wondering if you’re doing it right… or getting stuck in all the usual spots – like how do I set up an optin page? Am I sending too many emails? Is this the right time for my launch?

So, today I’m going to share some of those newbie mistakes you might be making that aren’t the obvious mistakes… Once you can identify them – you’ll be able to avoid them completely.

Here are the 9 newbie mistakes you may be making while you launch…

1. You are DIY to a fault.

You listen to no one. You ignore all offers for help, often get sick, don’t take advice, think you know everything, and it takes forever to get things done.

This doesn’t mean you need to hire the most amazing virtual team ever.

It just means you have to be able to evaluate what you do need, who to listen to, and hand off work even if you know how to do it and thank you are the only one who can possibly do it to your standards.

2. You listen to too many people.

Stop complaining, stop comparing, stop worrying.  These negative no-nos are leading you to get confirmation from everyone and their brother that you are on the right path.

Your pace doesn’t have to be the same, your communication doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be the same – you are unique, everything you do should hammer home this point and differentiate you.

Stop surveying your entire support team for the right way to handle every single minutae of your launch, almost like you’re taking a vote.

You are playing a losing game with yourself.

Note: I don’t mean you can’t get advice from your group on how things look and a little bit of tough love now and then, but what’s important is you don’t rely on others to the point where you can’t make a decision on your own.

3. You aren’t reaching new audiences.

Outreach is one of those things that is not – do once and you are set.  In between launches you must be guest posting, looking for press opportunities, getting interviewed or even just quoted on other people’s sites.

Your outreach is NOT doing 1 guest post OR 1 interview… and then hoping people find out about you and what you are launching.

Make your goal to be doing at least 1 guest post per month and then look for a few additional opportunities to reach other people’s audiences.

The real reason for all this outreach? You’ll tap out your own audience very quickly if you don’t.  It’s great to get to know them – really engage, feel like you’ve built a community or tribe that means something, but it’s important to be widening your reach all the time.

4. You make launch wishes instead of launch goals.

Your launch goals feel more like launch “wishes” and are out of whack with reality – and when they don’t come true or appear as you’ve planned them out – you get crushed… it’s hard to rebound, revise, and test again and again if you are crushed each and every time you put something out into the world.

So here’s the hitch on this one.  I want to reach high, do things before you’re ready, exceed your expectations, but I also want you to approach your business, your next launch, all of your activities with a clear eye on reality.

Your first launch is probably going to be more about building your list, growing your tribe, increasing your visibility in your industry.  Don’t think you’re going to hit huge revenue numbers out of the gate.  That said – IT IS POSSIBLE!

Making clear launch goals is not about coming up with the sexiest picture of success.  It’s about being real with where you are right now and what you hope to achieve based on your current actions.

5. You use too many tools.

Your whole set up is convoluted and complex.  Keep it simple. Tight. Inexpensive if possible.  If you don’t need it – be honest – and lose it.  Check out my process of weeding out the unnecessary tools for my online business.

Also – that goes for switching out your current working tools.

No matter who’s telling you to lose what’s been working, stick with what you’ve got and don’t trash something because one person says to not use it.

A good example is switching around different webinar platforms to do a preview call or presentation.  Use what you’ve been using and things will run a whole lot smoother. Experiment in between launches – but not DURING the launch.

6. You don’t take responsibility or get stuck when you do!

You don’t like to admit when it’s your fault and when you do – you can’t move forward.  No blame. Take action.  Don’t stay in blame mode.

This person left me, that person didn’t do what they were supposed to.
Or – I guess I messed up and now it’s over.

This blame game – is stopping you in your tracks.

Get out of it and loosen your grip on the whole process of launching. It’s all a test.

Some things will work… other things won’t. Deal with it.  I know it may feel cliche, but every single thing you go through is a lesson.

Whatever happens during a launch – your reaction to the situation that gets you to the next launch.

My favorite reaction to a promotion not working out is Laura Roeder – who bounces very easily, tests often and instead of waiting for success, makes it inevitable. She might say, “Well, I guess THAT didn’t work!” We laugh and then move on to the next test.

It’s all about the rebound.

7. You over-complicate every aspect of your launch.

You make the process for yourself, creating the product, reaching new people, doing the web stuff, promotion and every other part of the launch DIFFICULT and OVER-COMPLICATED.

From how you plan to do the affiliate program down to how you want to deliver your program to the tools you use — you are always drawn to the shiniest, newest, coolest strategy or tool that’s going to make you and your business a game changer.  Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

When the process is complicated for you – think about how that translates to your customers and their experience.  There’s a good chance you’re causing confusion for your soon to be customers if you:

-don’t make it easy to find more information about the program
-don’t make it easy to BUY the program
-make a lengthy 2 or 3 step sign up for the program or the interest list
-use a “new” but hard to use plugin to manage affiliates

New tools. Too many pieces. Too many steps. None of those qualities equal better or higher quality.  They just mean more headaches for you. More reasons for you to throw in the towel early. Stop it.

8. You change your branding midstream.

Website changes equal detours especially when they happen close to or during your launch.

Marie Forleo used her very basic Thesis Theme site with a simple design well into building her multiple 7-figure business.  If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me!

Take a good look in the mirror and ask – do you need a new font, header, logo, color scheme, or whateverrr?

Probably not.

9. You think being a perfectionist is a good thing.

Perfectionism is not high standards.  It’s being unwilling to let go and say – hey this is good and what’s important is me delivering this and launching this thing.  CBB (Could be better), but it’s pretty darn great.

I’m a huge fan of the 70% rule – get it to 70% and don’t hold back.

Your 70% is someone else’s 100%.

I know there are some of you who will immediately snort at this, but let me ask you this if you snorted, rolled your eyes or said, well, I have higher standards:

Did you say you were going to launch something in the last 6 months? And did you actually launch? And if you didn’t is it because something wasn’t quite perfect? You know and I know who you are.

The cure for all launch mistakes

The remedy is a simple one: Action.

No more excuses, research, complaining…whatever “mistake” you’re making…
If you’re ready to just start doing, here’s an easy way to avoid these mistakes all together.

Take action. You will get there.

Now that I’ve shared some of the most common, sneaky, hidden mistakes people make when trying to launch and why launches fail, you’ve got ONE goal and action to take:

Get yourself a QUICK win.  

Quick wins ensure you believe you can get the results you’re after.  I know all too well that when you struggle to reach a goal too long with new changes or reward, you lose initiative.  Often – you lose the will to make it happen.

I don’t want to see that!

So – what kind of quick win can you get in the next week?

Well, the number one struggle people have during their launches is getting enough new people seeing your offer. 

That’s why #3 Outreach is so important!

When you don’t have enough eyes, you don’t gather enough data to know if your offer is good in the first place. You need eyes on your offer. 

But how do you get those new eyes?

Here’s how:

First, brainstorm a short list of people who cater to a similar audience that you do – now this doesn’t have to be the exact same type of business… almost think of yourself as Nordstrom’s shoe department.  Likely the same people also shop in other departments in the store. So – who are they?

Once you have that list – you’ll decide on how you’re going to reach that audience.

If you are a blogger, you might guest post for the site or invite the owners to be affiliates.

Some other things you might consider, Facebook ads targeting people who like these audiences, approach crossover businesses to be affiliates/partners for your launch, or suggest doing a trade of reviews for something they offer too, or perhaps do a joint webinar/promotion.

So – here’s your homework – because I really want to make sure you follow through with this.  I want you to leave a comment on this post with the following info:

#1 Share your top 5 on the brainstorm of potential “partners”.

#2 Explain how you’d partner with them – guest post, ads, joint webinar?

And FINALLY – share why these top 5 would make good partners for your launch.  

Hint: just because someone loves what you do does not mean they are good partners. I’ll share a story on that later in this blog series for you.

If you know someone who’s been making excuses, wishing on a star for success, but has the ability to get there with a little push, share this post with them.

Ready to learn what you SHOULD be doing in your next launch? Fearless Launching starts again soon. Check it out and see if it’s right for you!


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Leave An AWESOME Comment

{ 31 comments… read them below }

  1. Tanya McGill Freeman January 31, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    That is one amazing post, Anne! Awesome. Thank you for this. There were so many great reminders here for me AND stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know! The quote “Your 70% is someone else’s 100%” resonates very much with me. Love it.

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Tanya – you are an a-student really – and I see you applying all the time. I’d love you to revisit this post – I added some homework at the end that might be beneficial to you! xoAnne

  2. Alicia January 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Anne, I LOVE your frank and insanely valuable advice. Everyone thinking of launching should read this post.

    “The remedy is a simple one: Action.”

    Yes and YES!

    • annesamoilov January 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Alicia – you know it girl – Action Jackson. I have been saying that for years… and it’s often the only thing that gets me out of overwhelm or lack of clarity.

      Thx for stopping by!

  3. hillary rubin January 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Another great post girl! Oh, how I have made most of these mistakes + learned. Each launch comes with its own blessing, like a baby. So, what I have learned (not a mistake so much) is to get clear on the reason you are doing it. It may not be the $$$, it make be the service, putting yourself on the map or learning how to do it better next time. xo

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Great Hillary! Who hasn’t made mistakes? That’s what I say… evolution only happens when we realize and internalize those mistakes and move forward. You’re doing it every day… doing the work and it’s great to watch. xo

  4. Jean January 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Oh boy! Do I feel like your target audience on this one…I
    Can hear you talking to me Anne…am especially cognizant right now of #2.
    And, #8, 9 and…probably just about all of them. I am doing some work on #8, but am not close to a launch-though it could end up being a launch in itself. Insightful as always.

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Jean – you are an amazing writer – love where you’re going with the “new” site. Keep plugging away – and I added some homework to this post – go do that now! xoAnne

  5. Alba Figueroa January 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Preach it girl! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I think that #9 is a biggie. A lot of people (including myself) get stuck in the Perfection Analysis. They over-think, over-stress, and over-complicate everything and then at the end of the day do NOTHING. They want to be at a PRO level when they are just starting out. Focus on getting your value out there and perfect as you go.

    Nuf said.

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:13 am #

      Alba – thanks for popping in here! Perfect as you go. Love it.

  6. Jennifer Louden January 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    may i say you are doing a brilliant job with these posts? i may.

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:13 am #

      Thank you very much! xo

  7. Anne Wayman January 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Damn, girl, are you reading my mail? Except no one has ever called me a perfectionist. Reaching out to new audiences is the toughest for me… I get in a thinking rut.

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Anne – I just added some homework because a few people emailed me asking for it – believe it! Come up with your list of people to “partner” with – in terms of guest posts, interviews, possible connections who might end up being supporters for you!

  8. Laura Roeder January 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    I love SMACKDOWN ANNE! This is an excellent post and I agree with everything here. I’m glad you brought up #2 as I think that’s really overlooked – people have the best of intentions but then they just end up stuck and confused from conflicting advice.

    • annesamoilov February 1, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      #2 is one of those sneaky things. There’s a fine line between masterminding and surveying. So – it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed it. But if I find myself ever calling every single friend in the universe to make a decision – which can happen in your personal or business life, I know I’ve gone too far! Especially for business, I like to stick to one voice at a time guiding me. My own!

  9. Jane Frankland February 1, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Love this post. I’m an action taker for sure but I could be better! I’m just getting my business sorted into a process to make it easier. I only launched it (soft launch) last month. I’ve designed an editorial scheduler which is helping. It means I know what I’m posting, writing about etc. & when. It also allows me to plan out campaigns. I’ve found it so much easier than carrying it in my head. I can track it too if it’s written down. My big focus is #3 – reach so it’s guest blogging, being interviewed, networking & presenting without feeling overwhelmed!

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      Jane – guest posting is so important – or getting the link back to your site. Don’t get overwhelmed by too much guest posting. There are other ways to get that link – getting quoted, interviewed, mentioned in the context of someone’s article. Check back here to the homework I added – and then see where you can get those important links back to you! xoAnne

  10. Jen Vertanen February 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Oooh – I *especially* love the launch wishes as opposed to launch goals. Yes! I see it time and time again.

    Define the why behind your launch and what success looks like (which is going to be incredibly different based on where you’re at in biz and what you’re trying to accomplish with this particular launch) and then go from there. I’ve learned from experience – very little clarity = very little success. Oodles of clarity = oodles of success. Each and (almost, lol) every time.

    I’m so passing this on to my clients…thank you!

    • annesamoilov February 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Great Jen! Some people are also just plain scared to define their launch goals – so they give off a desperation vibe – please love what I’m offering! I’ve seen it over and over again – even if you are wrong about your goals – make them with an eye on reality. Once you do that – it means you’ve committed to seeing the launch through and getting the results you want. Now – that doesn’t mean you’re going to reach all those goals – but keeping it real, detaching from the results…that’s where I you can learn the biggest lessons.

  11. Jay Rosenberg February 4, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Great post, Anne.
    May I suggest that a launch is grueling, exhausting, and can take on a life of its own once underway? And it’s always a good idea to have at least one person on board to help with details, feedback, reality checks and tactical change-ups. And I wouldn’t be bashful about asking an expert or two, on least on a first launch, for a quick consult. You need a schedule, to be able to manage pacing, bring your prospects to a peak… plenty of pros are around to help (and it doesn’t have to cost a lot). I belong to a mastermind group which is a great source of insight and I recommend that to everyone here.

    • annesamoilov February 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Jay – that’s exactly what I write about here! I completely agree having a mastermind group is a great way to avoid many of these mistakes or learn quickly from them.

  12. franna February 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I wish I read this post 4 months ago. LIVE and LEARN 🙂 .. signing up for your launch school asap. THANK YOU for showing up!

    • annesamoilov February 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      My pleasure! Email me and let me know exactly what you’re struggling with! -Anne

  13. Bianca Forbes February 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Ok so my biggie to work on is #3 and outreach. I want to connect where people are talking more (like here!). I realized that I’ve been hanging out in places I thought I should be but purely because of #2, letting too many people do voice overs for what I know and where I wanna go with my business. I’ve now turned the volume down or on mute and only listen to those I’ve learnt a lot from over the past few years.

    #1 Top 5 on the brainstorm of potential “partners”
    Only choosing 5 is tough but to start; Nathalie Lussier, Laura Roeder, Pat Flynn, Peter Montoya and Tim Ferris

    #2 Explain how you’d partner with them – guest post, ads, joint webinar?
    I’d love to guest post and interview them. Mainly because I’ve put a lot of what I’ve learnt from them into actual practice.

    That will be pretty cool 🙂

  14. claire February 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Love love love this advice. I’ve already done one very mini-launch, which went far better than I had expected, and probably because it was very clear that I had to launch something at somepoint, so I just went crazy and did my mini-launch. It doubled my list (from 60 to 120 – so it was clearly a super mega mini launch) and now I am planning my next launch. The step I have trouble with is #3 – I almost seem to have a blank mind about where to reach-out too. I guess it’s scary, too big, and I feel too small.
    But, I can see the importance of doing it – after all, my 120 won’t want to keep doing my mini-detoxes for ever!!!
    Thank you for getting my brain going..!


    • annesamoilov February 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Claire – you aren’t alone in this struggle to find the best spots for outreach. Dive into the “who” of your audience. Try to figure out or guess (yes very scientific, I know) where they might be – and try to connect with those blogs. Don’t look for cool sites, look for other places your peeps are hanging out! -Anne

  15. Amanda April 30, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Amazing post! I love the 70% rule. That is a great point – start before you’re ready…just do it! LOL. I am working on my product right now. I have some filming to do still to get my course complete. And I have been following this launching series because I’ll be there soon enough!

  16. Sarah July 11, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Hello Anne,

    This has been such a helpful article. Thanks for your regular emails with launching tips- I am feeling so much more more organsied and clear on what it is I am doing. Thanks. I have already got my 2 people under my belt and will be doing a number of posts in between now and my launch in early august. I need to find a few more people and will ask around- I have a few in mind 😉

    Thanks so much! Sarah xx

  17. Adrienne April 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi Ann,

    I will be launching a physical product, not a service or webinar. I believe these rules apply to products as well. My product is currently in development. I plan for a July 1st launch, but that really depends on my manufacturer. I’m wondering how far in advance I should start promoting it.

    • Anne Samoilov April 6, 2016 at 11:07 am #

      Hey Adrienne, This is a great question and I understand when you start working with a manufacturer the process of launching gets a little overwhelming. I’d see if you can get their timeline and process really clearly defined…perhaps do a small first order of product, then promote that limited run… once you see the demand for what you’re selling, you’ll be able to adjust what inventory you order from them. This is super timely – a student in Fearless Launching is dealing with this exact question…check her out and maybe connect with her! Her name is Camila Prada.