A Peek behind the Curtain

Since launching my No-Brainer Scenario kit last week, I’ve been reflecting on the project. What worked, what didn’t. What I’d like to do differently next time.

I decided to put it here so that you could apply the parts that fit to your own projects.

What I did well:

I committed to a launch date sooner than I usually do.

And in case you’re wondering, I found the date by listening to my body.

In the past I tended to wait as long as possible to set a date because I was afraid I’d get stuck launching before I was ready. But what I’m learning is that committing is a necessary part of the process and critical to the project’s success.

Committing activates my energy in a different way. And as long as I’m mindful of my capacity and check in with myself on the date I’m choosing, it works. Everything comes together in the end.

I set milestone deadlines to help keep me on track, and I met them.

Sometimes when I’m planning a project, it’s hard to see all the moving parts clearly.

Maybe it’s not clear how long it will take to do some things. Which means it’s hard to know when I’ll get to certain other things.

But by working backwards from the launch date (which was January 24), I could see there were some things that had to be done by a specific date.

I needed to have time to test my shopping cart setup, which meant there had to be something to test by the 22nd or 23rd.

Which meant I needed to have my final PDF files by the 21st.
In order to do that, I’d need to be done with all revisions by the 19th
Which meant I needed to have review copies sent out by the 12th, and back by the 18th or 19th.

You get the idea. I plotted out what I knew first, and worked from there to fill in more of the blanks.

As long as you’re on track with your milestones, it’s very likely you’re on track for the project as a whole.

On days I didn’t feel like working, I still sat down, opened the draft and tried.

More often than not, the words showed up eventually. (Sometimes that wasn’t until 10pm, leaving me only an hour to write, but what can you do?)

Keeping to a schedule helped me experience more flow with this project. I felt productive because I was productive.

Doing even an hour of work one night would help me gain momentum the next, because often that little bit of progress was all that was needed to get over the hump to that next burst of creativity.

What I’ll try to do better next time:

Schedule (and commit to) more recovery time and replenishing activities throughout the project.

Especially as the end grew near, I pushed myself harder because I wanted to feel like I was ahead of my deadlines. (Apparently I had a bit of a trust issue – I was worried that I’d hit a snag and need to play catch-up. I never did.)

Simultaneously, my body started demanding more attention with a big increase in back and neck pain.

Between the extra pushing and not consistently nourishing myself, by the time I launched I was utterly depleted.

On top of that, thanks to having a history of ignoring my body’s needs, I don’t exactly have a go-to list of ideas to pull from. What does my body need in those times?

I do know that getting away from the computer is a good thing. Beyond that, I’m still learning. I need to plan some replenishment experiments to figure this stuff out.

Also, when you don’t do the things you need to replenish yourself, it takes longer to recover.

Practice trusting that what I’ve created is what my people need.

There were times when my perfectionism got in the way of progress.

I kept second-guessing whether certain sections were clear, or if I needed to add more examples.

I futzed around with the formatting longer than I should have. And every time I messed with the line spacing, it would change the page breaks, which meant I had to correct the white space. Since this is the longest workbook I’ve created, I have no idea if there was a way to avoid that, or if that’s just part of designing a book.

It raises all sorts of questions like “What qualifies as done?” and “What’s good enough?”

Hence the need to practice trust, since there’s no black-and-white answer to either of those questions.

Allow even more time for pre-launch (and post-launch) promotion.

I did better at this than in the past, but I find it challenging to switch between creating the actual product and the “extra” stuff needed to generate excitement and get the word out.

I made meeting the launch deadline my top priority, so I let a couple of blog posts slide.

And once I went into recovery mode, I haven’t done a great job of continuing to spread the word. (The internet is a busy place, and people need reminders.)

Mostly I need to find the pre- and post-launch activities that are effective without making me feel like I need to take a shower.

At the same time, I can already see that I’ll be able to balance the two needs of “creation” and “promotion” better next time as a result of what I did this time.

How about you?

What do you do well in your projects? What do you struggle with?
What are your favorite post-project recovery activities?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

The launch celebration for The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity is ending Friday, Feb. 4. There are still coaching bundles available. Got a project you want to finish (or start)? Let me use all my project planning superpowers to help you super-charge your progress!

5 thoughts on “A Peek behind the Curtain

  1. Patty K

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m in the midst of putting together a product right now and this is helpful. My experience has been in doing live workshops – and I always found it useful to schedule the workshop first, creating a hard deadline. Then I would delay and procrastinate – and yet somehow manage to get it all put together at the last minute. Over the years I learned to trust that this was my process. I relabeled “procrastination” as “incubation” and accepted that this is the way I work best.

    Now that I’m working on an ebook/teleclass I feel reluctant to set the date and make the announcement – even though I suspect that’s exactly what I need to do, based on past experience. Especially since “working on” = “thinking about” at this point. And the “thinking about/incubation” part will expand to fill every minute I give it. Thanks for the prompt. I’m going to consult my calendar!

  2. joy

    Another thank you for sharing your process and experience. Coming from a corporate marketing background, I find launches fun…for other people. I’m hoping to put together some programs and products too and finding that, on my own, what works for corporate clients doesn’t translate well for me!

    I’m still unlearning and discovering, so I really appreciate what you’ve said about scheduling in time for replenishment.

    Also, thanks to Patty K for sharing. I am all too familiar with where you’ve been and where you are.

  3. Beth

    Thanks, Victoria, for sharing this! I’m in the week leading up to my ebook launch and have definitely benefited already from seeing your process. I’m not sure I would have set a launch date and started advertising it at all if I hadn’t seen how you were going about things. This additional insight into the process you went through is so helpful!

  4. chris zydel

    Dear Victoria,

    Thanks for the “behind the scenes” view of an e-book launch. A lot of the stuff you talked about is similar for a live events launch- especially the setting a deadline thing. Once you announce those dates you kinda HAVE to make it happen!

    I haven’t done an online product launch yet, but when I’m ready to do it, I’m going to print out this little guide to help me through the process.

    Maybe you have ANOTHER genius product on your hands (-:

  5. Victoria Post author

    @Patty – Ooh, yes, the “procrastination vs. incubation” thing. Trust is super important to allow the incubation to happen, otherwise it’s so easy to feel like “nothing’s happening.” Hope you find the perfect date for your product!

    @Joy – I’ve only had a very small of corporate marketing exposure, so I’d love to hear more about what difference you’ve found between corporate marketing and marketing for individuals. I bet there’s a lot there to dissect!

    @Beth – So glad that sharing my process helped you! (Sometimes my monsters are thoroughly convinced that nobody cares. I’ll be sure to let them know what you said!) ;)

    @Chris – It’s true – announcing the date creates a certain level of accountability. Sometimes I still catch myself viewing a digital product as more flexible than a live event, since there’s a smaller impact on the customer if the date changes. *But*, the truth is that breaking my own commitments is just as damaging (if not more so), so I’m really working on sticking to whatever date I set. And therefore not setting a date unless I can commit!

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