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The Encore Entrepreneur



Episode 41 Bouncing Back From a Failed Launch

How do you bounce back from a failed launch? Because few people share their failures, there aren't many examples of what to do next. Being an entrepreneur or a business owner is not easy, and, here at Encore Empire, we want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly so that everyone out there listening knows that you're not alone when you experience these things. This is one of our stories of something recently that happened that was not so good, and we hope that by sharing this story, it'll help you realize you're not alone and that this is part of the business growth journey. Enjoy.

To join us in the Planning For Profit Master Class, head over here and register: https://encoreempire.com/p4p

To get a fantastic dashboard to track your business metrics, you'll want to connect with Katica Krajinovic here: https://katicakrajinovic.com/

Episode Transcript

[01:05] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Deirdre and I always want to share the real deal when it comes to building an online business or any kind of business. Being an entrepreneur or a business owner is not easy, and we want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly so that everyone out there listening knows that you're not alone when you experience these things. This is one of our stories of something recently that happened that was not so good, and we hope that by sharing this story, it'll help you realize you're not alone and that this is part of the business growth journey. Enjoy.

[01:40] Deirdre Harter: Today, we are going to be a little bit vulnerable on our podcast, and we're going to talk about something that I don't think enough people talk about in their business. And this was actually a failed launch that we recently had, and I think sometimes in the marketing, and we're doing all of our marketing, we're afraid to talk about, we only want to talk about the good things, right? The things that are all the successful things. But I think it's important that we talk about the things that haven't worked for us because anytime we have something that doesn't work, it affects us on many levels. I mean, for sure, there are lessons to be learned, and we want to talk about that part of it today. And we also want to talk about the mindset and the emotions, the negative feelings that happen when you have something like this happen. So, Carmen, you want to start off with kind of laying the groundwork for how we went into our workshop and what we experienced out of it?

[02:38] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. So if this is the first time you're listening to our podcast, let me catch you up to speed a little bit. We have built Encore Empire by doing live events regularly. One of the things that we've done is weekly live learning. We do that every week, and it goes live in our Facebook group and LinkedIn. We'd love to have you there if you haven't attended one. But the other thing that we've done is we really launched Encore Empire off of workshops. And so the first workshop we did, we sold three people into a program. We just had a framework about, but we had not built it out yet. And it worked out great because we got to build our program out with all those people. 

So fast forward. And we've run workshops, I don't know, over 20 times now, and we run them every eight weeks. And so January of 2023 was when we had, I don't even want to say that it's a failed launch because here's what happened. So, first of all, let's go backtrack to November of 2022. We had an awesome workshop. We brought on, I think, five new clients. We had the biggest month we'd ever had. And so we were like, yes, we're high off of that going into the holidays. We had time off. We were feeling super great, and we were super excited about our January workshop because we wanted to repeat the process right, and have it be the exact same thing. And because we've been doing this for so long, we fine-tune every single time. We know what we're doing. We've done it. We love it. Our clients love it. Our attendees love it. 

So January looked promising. We had more registrations than we'd ever had. We had more engagement than we ever had. It was the best workshop we had ever done, bar none. The only problem was we had zero sales from that one, and that was the most deflating thing ever. And it was really like out of the blue. Like, what just happened? We were like, what just happened? Everything on paper and stats-wise because we're big about tracking stats and making sure we've got our numbers up so we can have the conversion so that we can do the thing, and we teach our clients how to do all this stuff. Well, everything looked awesome, and then it was a big goose egg at the end. So I hate to call it failed because we learned so much from it, and it wasn't failing. And I think part of the thing, the reason why we run these over and over again, and we teach our clients to do rinse and repeat processes as well, is because you get so good at what you're doing. But what it also does is it teaches you from time to time and overall, like, you can't run something once and then decide not to run it again. So this was a bump in the road, but it wasn't really a failure because a lot of the people that went to that one came in and then turned into clients in March. So that kind of will set you up for how this all started out.

[05:40] Deirdre Harter: And like Carmen said, we had just hired someone (Katica Krajinovic) to give us this beautiful dashboard of all of our KPIs - key performance indicators metrics around the workshop. We've been building out the metrics that we look at every single time, and so we have all this historical data. And so we had just had someone come in, got this beautiful dashboard. 

So we're looking at the last three launches, and we're comparing. And like Carmen said, it was the best one ever. And we were consistently seeing that our percentage of new clients coming in was directly related to how many registrations we had and, how much engagement we had, how many people were engaging. And so we're tracking all this along. And so when we're in the workshop, I'm like, this is going to be great. According to our statistics and our historical data, we're going to have five new clients come in, or six new clients come in. And then, of course, at the end, it's like, none came in. 

And for me, this was kind of a major mindset situation for me, because here we're teaching metrics. We're teaching you got to have your statistics together. We just spent all this time getting this great dashboard together, and the first place I think any of our minds go when something like this happens is we're like, what did I do wrong? Right? So we initially blame ourselves. We're like, okay, it must have been something I've done, something I did wrong. And so I'm, like, looking through and going, well, I did the checklist that we have. I did every single thing on the SOP that we have, and everyone on our team has done everything that they were supposed to do. And so it leaves you with this feeling of it's almost like someone pulls the rug out from under you, right? Like you're at a complete loss. And so emotionally, we're like, well, is it just the end of live workshops? Do we have to scrap the whole thing, burn it down, start all over? So your mind goes in all these different places. 

Carmen and I got together, and we're both, like, feeling these, we're having this discussion. It's like, here's what I'm feeling. She's like, yeah, I'm feeling the same thing. And so we really had to start there. And I think that's where we all have to start. We have to really assess our mindset and work through the emotions. We can't deny that they're there because they are. That is just part of, it’s a part of the whole process in the entrepreneurial journey, our feelings are going to be a part of this, and so we have to work through that first. 

And then the next part for me was committing to our consistency because just because it didn't work this one time, it was a little freaky, but it doesn't mean that the whole thing is not working. So we had to kind of dig deeper and really figure out why did it not work? It wasn't us. It wasn't the model. It wasn't the people that attended. So what was this that happened? And so that's kind of where we started to brainstorm, and we did it through this debrief, and we do the debrief every single time we have an event. And this is why this is so important.

[08:52] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And when we go back to the mindset piece, it was really difficult to work through that because it feels like the end of the world. It just feels like, okay, this is it. What happened? And it was so odd because the engagement was the best and the most we'd ever had. The attendees were the best and the most. We couldn't have asked for anything more except, of course, clients at the end. And while we put people before profits, we are in business to make money, so we definitely want to bring on more clients. So it was really hard. 

I remember for a couple of weeks there, Deirdre and I meet every Monday, and we do our CEO work together, meaning that we forecast and we work on our business and figure out what do we want to do and how are things going. We look at our metrics, and we look at clients, progress, all that kind of stuff. And so for, I don't know, three or four weeks after that, we really were working hard to shake that negative mindset. And the worst thing was we were psyching ourselves out then because we're like, okay, we do need to feel the thing, but we also don't want to be in this negative mindset because we believe so strongly in energy that we're like because now we're going to be putting that energy out there and then that's going to undermine us as well. So we felt like we were in this vicious cycle, and it really was a weird time. I think we both struggled with that. Deirdre, don't you remember that part?

[10:21] Deirdre Harter: Yeah, I do. And I think for me, part of the freak out was knowing that the energy goes out into everything that we do. And because we didn't have clients come in at the launch, we do have a sales process in between where we are building relationships, nurturing relationships, and having calls with different people who've said, in the past, I want to work with you, but now it's not the right time. So I was working through that, too, and actually challenging myself. I thought, okay, so it's time for a sales challenge. Since we didn't have any clients coming through the workshop, we now have to do it in between. So it was especially difficult for me to shake that feeling and to really get myself into the space of that positive energy that I really needed in order to have those conversations with potential clients.

[11:09] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, it was difficult. And so both of us kept thinking, we have these real feelings, we want to honor these feelings, and we're worried that these feelings are messing us up going forward. So it was just not a good spot. But that is where that commitment to consistency comes in. 

The reason we teach our clients and we believe so strongly in running something over and over again, and we say either six times or for six months minimum to understand what's going on. Because I remember early on, maybe the first, it was 20, I think it was 2020 or 2021, one of those years we had gone through a pandemic, and then people wanted to it was summertime, and the online space pretty much went dead because everyone—it was so understandable—everyone was tired of being stuck inside. Everyone wanted to get out. If you think back to that time. So we ran some launches back then too, that didn't get very good results either. But we could chalk it up to that. This one, we couldn't chalk up to that. So it was like, my gosh, well, what is the deal? 

But we know that, okay, we're not going to put all of our decision basing on one thing, right? We can't look at this and say, okay, well, from now on, we have to craft whatever we do based on this one. We do tweak things, and we do take into consideration what's going on. And so we had to look at this and what was going on in January of 2023 and is still going on a little bit, is that the world was heading into or is into a recession. And so people's purse strings were tightened, right? People are holding on tighter to their money. It doesn't mean people aren't buying, but they're a lot more discerning. And so we had to factor that into a lot of different things. In our next workshop, we had to think about, okay, if our clients or the audience out there is worried about spending money, how do we communicate with them in a way that's going to help them feel comfortable to do that?

[13:15] Deirdre Harter: One of the things that we came up with is, and this was just basically, some strategy that we worked through is that we needed to slightly alter our messaging. And so in the workshop, instead of ignoring that there's a recession or throwing our hands up in the air and going, oh no, it's a recession, we're not going to make any sales. Like we decided to say, how can we change our messaging to let people know that we're aware of what's going on? And that what our program has to offer is actually the very thing that they need because we're in a recession. 

When we are in something like this, in an economic downturn, it's affecting every business owner in some way. Whether you're business to business or business to consumer, everybody is going to be more discerning, and that sales cycle is getting longer. So it is the time that we all have to really take a hard look at our strategy and things that maybe worked before easily, maybe they're not going to work so easily now. And so we have to be able to adjust and be flexible. And one of the big things is messaging. We have to let people know that we understand what's going on and it's all going to be fine. And here's why what we have to offer is so important for you right now, and we're teaching our clients the very same thing. And what's interesting is that this works for every single business model, every single client we have. They have to tweak their messaging. And so it doesn't matter who their ideal client is, this messaging of letting them know, yes, we understand where we are, but it's okay, and it's not going to last forever. And here's the value of what I offer and why it's so important for you to have this right now.

[14:56] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right. And you really have to get comfortable speaking to your value. And why should someone work with you right now? There's opportunity cost, right? And there's lost opportunity cost. So if someone decides that they're going to hold on to their money because that's a knee-jerk reaction to what they read in the media. Mainstream media is all doom and gloom. So if you listen to that a lot, you're going to just be like, oh my gosh, the sky is falling, all that kind of stuff. But we don't want to live or run our businesses by knee-jerk reactions. We want to look at what's happening and make it work and figure it out and shift and be flexible. So we always have to work on our mindset and our confidence and be able to convey the value of what it is that we have to offer. 

So why would someone—ask yourself this why would someone want to work with you now versus waiting? If they wait, what happens? What are they missing out on? And we can give a couple of examples here, like opportunity cost. If someone needs help with their business and they need to build out their solid foundation and infrastructure so that they can move forward and earn the money and understand how to do all that and they postpone it, well, for the length of time they're postponing it, they're also losing out on the money that having that knowledge would have given them. 

And let's take the example of a health coach. If someone postpones investing in their health, well, their health is going to potentially go downhill or they're putting off the ability to do whatever it is that's most important to them. If it's play with their kids, hike a mountain, fit into a little black dress. Whatever the thing is, you're just making it harder for yourself by putting it off. And so a lot of this comes from—and this is where that energy piece, why we were so keenly aware of the fact that we were like, okay, we have to honor the fact that we're having these feelings. But we don't want to get into this doom and gloom because when you do that, you're feeding the very thing that makes people delay in purchasing. And it's not that everything's about the buck, but it is about the fact that we want to make sure that our energy is adequately and correctly conveying the value that we have to offer and what it is that people need. And so that's what we did. We changed our messaging. 

The other thing that we did was we offered a different bonus. We always offer fast action bonuses to create an incentive for people to join our program. And we offered one called the Sales Accelerator so that we could get people making sales as soon as possible. Our goal always is to have people's business pay for itself. So we want people to come in knowing that if you're going to work with us for a year, it doesn't mean that you have to wait three, four, five, six or twelve months before you start making money. We want to get you going right from the beginning, right? And so the Sales Accelerator was also a real great incentive for people, and they were very interested in that.

[18:12] Deirdre Harter: And one of the things that we always like to look at is what is the positive change? And by that, I mean what is the positive change we can make, but what is the positive change that our potential clients need to make? And so, just like Carmen was talking about being able to explain the value and asking yourself, why would someone want to purchase this right now? That when we put off the positive changes in our lives, in our businesses, it puts us back, right? You don't just stop growing; you actually lose ground. And so you can actually take one step forward and two steps back situation. 

The other part is, if you think about it, if we're in a recession and people are feeling a little unsteady about the economy that's going on, what is the worst thing that they can do? It's to keep feeling bad about something, right? It's going to just compound and make things worse. It's the perfect time to make a positive change because it pulls them out of all of that doom and gloom that it's really easy to get sucked into. So when they're focused on the positive change, and that is whatever it is, and as service providers, everything we do creates a positive change, right? Otherwise, there would be no point for people to even work with us. And so I think that's another thing to keep in mind, that you're actually helping them create that positive change, get out of the negative experience. And that right there is going to propel them forward and improve the quality of their life.

[19:49] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right. And the truth of the matter is that not everyone is negatively impacted. No one likes a recession, but it doesn't mean that everybody now is broke and they can't pay for things. So you have to be realistic. Yes, certain segments of the population are hit much harder than others, but we don't have to worry about that so much. We just have to continue focusing on serving the people that we serve to the best of our ability. And just making sure, like Deirdre said earlier, that we're explaining that, yes, these times are rocky, or whatever it is, and however that ties into the service you provide or the offer that you provide, let them know. Be transparent. Talk about it. 

Don't be afraid to talk about it, too. I think that's another big piece of this is don't shy away from the elephant in the room, right? Let's talk about the elephant in the room and how can we work with it? And that helps them see things differently as well. Because if the only information that people are getting is from mainstream media, it is, like I said, it's doom and gloom. 

Another thing that we noticed through this period, we've been running these workshops every eight weeks, and our workshops are five days long, and it's a big investment of time and energy, and we absolutely love them. It energizes us. It does not drain us. So we love that. But there is there's a lot of ramp-up before for promotion and then follow-up afterwards. So I'd say five weeks out of the eight in between, we're really focused on the workshop. We do other things, but that's our main focus. But what happened was; so November 2022 was our best month ever, and then we had December, and Deirdre and I take two weeks off in December, which is fabulous. This was the first year we did that. It was absolutely wonderful. And then here comes January. We're all excited to generate some more revenue, and nothing happened. 

Well, now we don't have anything going until March, right? So it's January. That didn't work out. It was a bummer. And we're like, okay, well, we've got, like, eight more weeks now without bringing clients in, except for the work that Deirdre was doing on the back end of getting into a sales challenge with herself and getting on all these calls. So that highlighted something that it was like a big desert, a big desert of time where we had to focus, again, that mindset piece for these eight weeks. And I don't think it was a full eight weeks, but at least I don't know four of them; we really had to grapple with that. 

And so we're looking at this and going, well, we don't even have something to really, I mean, we have things to promote, but it's not our live workshops. For us, getting live in front of people is really where we get our conversions. So what we decided to do after this was create another promotion in the off months. That is not a five-day workshop, but it's a master class. So this gives us this helps shore up our plan, our strategy, and our whole revenue and income generating strategy by having something to promote every month that doesn't take the same amount of time as the five-day workshop, but it gets us going, and it keeps us generating new leads, lets us get in front of these people live, which is where the magic happens. We absolutely love it, and they do too. And so that's something that we did. 

So we're excited to announce that the first Master Class Planning for Profit is coming on June 7. So if you're interested in finding out if you're right for that, this is an advanced training, and you can learn more by going to encoreempire.com/p4p. But Deirdre, did you want to talk a little bit more about why we created this Masterclass and not another workshop and all that kind of stuff?

[23:44] Deirdre Harter: Yes, absolutely. So when we were talking about what are we going to do on the in-between, right? And so, of course, we first started going, well, maybe we should do our workshop more often. And I was like, oh, no, that's going to kill us. Because, like Carmen said, there's more to it than just the week of the workshop. And I'm always paying attention to what our clients are saying and doing and the prospects that I'm on the phone with, our collaboration partners, all the people that I'm talking to, and we hear this again and again, that I'm just so busy, I'd really love to join. I know it's really valuable, but I just don't have time. I just can't devote that much time to something. And so, the shorter event was definitely the ticket. 

Not only did it work for us, but it also was going to work for the people who were coming to it. We also decided to do this as an advanced training because there is, depending on the stage of business you're at and the level of revenue that you're generating, what you are focused on in Stage One, and we consider Stage One to be up to about 100,000 in revenue. It's a loose definition. It doesn't mean exactly, but in general, when you're getting up at 100,000 or on your way, like, you can see it coming in the next few months based on the revenue that you're generating, that everything changes. And there is a new level of financial savviness that you need in order to successfully move into Stage Two. And Stage Two is where we're now talking multiple six figures. So it includes not just financial savviness, but it's also about systems and operations, and the whole lead generation conversion process changes a little bit, too, because you don't have as much time as you had in the beginning, right? Because you're getting more and more clients. 

And so we really wanted to bring out this advanced training for the service providers who were at or kind of getting to that $100,000 mark because what we found is you can't make massive shifts at that level. Like, you don't have the time, the bandwidth, or the energy to make huge changes in what you're doing already. You've already doing things that work, but you just need them to work more or better. And we oftentimes think, well, that means I need more time. I just have to put more time into it. But what we know to be true is that there are six different cash generation levers that you can pull in your business. And so that's what this master class is about. 

We also have a Profit Predictor. So this is a calculator that allows you to see clearly what happens when if you pull all the levers only just a few percentage points, maybe 10%. If you pull them all 10%, you're going to end up with an exponential increase in your revenue. And that is far easier than having to do the big heavy lift of completely overhauling your lead generation or doubling how many calls that you're having to convert. So that's why we wanted to bring this out and to show the power of this, to help those of you who you're like. Okay, I want to make more, but I'm just not really sure what I'm supposed to do, and I'm not sure how this is even possible.

[27:17] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, you can't keep doing more. That's the truth, right? The biggest thing that we can do for ourselves is to build in strategy and systems to our businesses and use the power of rinse and repeat and put things on autopilot as much as possible. When I say autopilot, I don't mean automations. I don't mean anything like that. I just mean that your system and your process is dialed in so you don't even have to think about it. But your business works for you, and it does what you want it to do. And then by looking at these six cash and profit-generating levers that we're talking about here in the Planning for Profit Master Class, it shows you how you don't have to work harder. You just have to work smarter. And so we're really excited about it. We invite you to attend and see if it's a fit for you. It is an advanced training. So we are asking that the people who attend are making at least an average of $6,000 per month in their business or more. So that's the caveat there. And again, to join us, you can head over to encoreempire.com/p4p. So P4P stands for Planning for profit.

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