How I messed up my first product launch

December 16th, 2015


I got excited.

I got excited and wanted everyone to know that I was making my first product and it would be coming out soon. I was pretty vocal about it for about a week, and while I did get some pre-orders for the product I launched to crickets. 0 sales on launch day.

Some Backstory

I had been wanting to launch my first product this year, and specifically, I knew I wanted it to be about what I do for a living. I decided to put together a course designed for freelancers on how to make a living as a WordPress developer. This course wasn’t going to be focused just around how to do the development side of things, but also the “business” side of things that a lot of people always forget to go over.

In early November I put together a plan to create the course, market it, and then obviously – launch it. This timeline was based on other people’s formulas for success that I had bought into it. I got to work and then started to realize I was excited about getting my content out there, but I didn’t fully believe in the process. The motivation and purpose for getting the course completed was missing. Luckily I had a friend to bounce what I was feeling off of and he gave me some good advice – “Just finish and launch the damn thing now and get it out there”.

Here I am now late November with not much done and I decided that December 11th would be a good day to launch my course. Essentially two weeks to put this course together. The deadline worked cause I started making good progress on putting this course together until I launched on December 11th.


Now that you have some context let’s look at some of my missteps. I love the work that I do because it lets me live the life I want to and have control I never had at any J-O-B before. I was excited to share the content I was putting into the course. The problem though was that I started to focus on the wrong things. Instead of worrying about how someone would or wouldn’t understand the content and making sure I provided the best value I was worried about price points and how many sales I would make.

I was worried about how many email blasts to send my newsletter and how many Instagram pictures to share showing the progress I was making on the course. All the petty little things that you can get so wrapped up in, but really just detract from the main work at hand.

I wasn’t as worried about the experience someone would have after making the decision to invest in me and what I had to say. I wasn’t spending as much time on prepping my content as I was about getting as many people to know 1) I was making a course and 2) they could pre-order and get a discounted price.

False Idols

We all have those that we look up to because they have reached a certain status that in our mind that defines them as successful. We envy the accolades they have under their belt because we want some under ours. My biggest mistake was not that I put stock into this formulaic way of launching a product, but that I was more concerned with the end number of sales on launch day. This number was going to be my notch on the measuring stick that my idols and mentors existed. I worried about my ego.

I am not attempting to villainize, or paint in a bad light, these people that focus on teaching others how to launch products. In fact I try and stay away from the slimy ones and make conscious decisions who I decide to put my trust in.

I did not put out a crappy course

I feel it is important to clarify that the end product that is my course is not a crappy one. I stand behind the work I did 100% and feel great about how everything turned out. Here comes the plug 😉 – I know that the information I put together in my course can have a positive impact on the people that take it and can give a path and process to how to make a living as a WordPress developer. At $99 I think it’s a steal, but I may be bias. If you have any interest in the course you can learn more about it here.

Lesson Learned

I got 8 pre-orders and launched the course with 0 sales the first day. My first sale of the course that was not a pre-order came the next day and I have not had one since (at the time of me writing this).

I feel perfectly fine about this because it’s what I deserve. I put too much of a focus on actions only because I thought they would translate to sales. Now that the course has launched, and the work is over, I feel humbled to be past the fog of insecurity that helped guide my focus to things that might have produced small wins in the short term instead of small wins over the course of the next year.

This is my first product that I have put out there. It’s the first thing I have to offer people that requires no work from me once they click that buy button. It’s a great feeling and accomplishment. It’s also forced me to start realizing that now is the time to decide the type of product maker I want to be. As I continue to make and produce I know that my core focus is always value and quality. Not frivolous numbers that mean jack shit. If what I make is able to truly help someone, even just one someone, it’s worth it. Now that is a metric I can fully get behind.