Failure to launch

Things I learned when my course launch failed

Discoco course creator Laura tried to launch a group coaching programme recently – and she’s boldly agreed to share why it just didn’t work out…
“Failure to Launch” 
I’m sure you’ve seen that 2003 classic featuring the before-he-did-that-thing-with-Leo-Di-Caprio-in-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-and-became-a-proper-actor Matthew McConaughey, and the soon-to-be- back-on-our-screens-in-the-Sex-and-the-City-reboot, Sarah Jessica Parker. 
Well, if not, here’s the premise. Matty M is stuck living at home and his parents hire a person in the form of SJP to teach him how to ‘graduate’ into the big grown up world. Obvs they fall in love. And many lolz ensue.
Is there a link here to my failure to launch a group coaching programme? Or did I just want to go on a trip down memory lane of noughties romcoms? Bit of both to be honest. 
But, much like McConaughey’s character I felt scared and nervous about the big bad world of online group coaching. But I’d decided to dip a toe into the waters and I set up my ‘Stop Over-thinking, Stop Doing’ group coaching programme and launched in November. I love the programme. It is transformative, supportive and provides tools to actually move people towards career change.
But, and here’s the sticker, I didn’t really believe it would sell and I didn’t do enough to promote it. I wanted to sell 10 places. I would have been happy with five. I sold two. And that wasn’t enough to create the group dynamic I wanted and so I pulled the plug. 
So, a few weeks on, here’s what I’ve learnt about failure and how I plan to bounce back in the New Year. Because that’s the thing about failing right? We learn from it and we go again. Deep breaths and dive in.

5 things I learned about failing…

1. I knew deep down that it wouldn’t work. Why? Because my heart wasn’t 100% in it. It wasn’t bringing me joy. In setting up the group programme I had neglected to think about my own ‘Ikigai’ (see this blog post if you want to know more). It wasn’t the outcome of the programme that was the problem, it was the logistics and set up that were troubling me.
2. You can do many things, but you can’t do everything at the same time. I was attempting to settle into a new day job, juggle half term and a particularly stressful set of circumstances at home, launch a group programme, create content and still show up for my wonderful existing clients. Planning is not my forte, but the importance of it really hit home this time. With the wonders of hindsight, launching at this time wasn’t the right choice.
3. I had fallen back into people pleasing mode. I thought that an evening coaching session would be ‘best’ for everyone. But it wasn’t going to be best for me (and therefore my clients). Evenings are tricky in our house, bedtimes are uncertain beasts and my husband works away often. I realised that if career change coaching is something you want, you’ll prioritise attending the sessions, whenever they might be. So with that in mind. I’m redesigning the programme to suit my energy which I now trust will be a better experience for all.
4. Asking for help helps. What a revelation! I asked people on Instagram, most of whom I’ve never met IRL, to share the Ikigai workshop that was the group programme ‘pre-launch’. And they did! And lots more people signed up to it as a result, giving me more people on my mailing list to promote the longer programme to. I also appreciated the support from Lucy and Isabel in flagging the launch on Discoco – one of my sign ups came from a post featuring my Discoco discount code, which is ace.
5. I need to take more of my own medicine. As much as I thought I’d promoted the programme, I could have done waaaaay more. And that was because my internal judgy voice was saying ‘you’ll be annoying people if you keep mentioning this cool group programme that will actively make them feel more confident in changing their career’. See also – people pleaser. Sure, some people won’t be interested/ will find it annoying/not want to commit right now. But, they might and that final email or message could just be the one that tempts them. I held myself back from going full beast mode because I actually didn’t feel ready for it to be successful.
5a. People leave booking things to the VERY last minute. Fact. The two sign ups I did have came on the last day of promotion. Nervy times.
So what’s next? I’m not defeated. I’m absolutely convinced the programme is right and exciting, at the right time.
I’m going to do some actual planning. Shock horror. And I’m going to get someone to help me do that – in the spirit of asking for help and investing in myself. I’m going to adjust and tweak the content so that it is exactly right for my ideal client (although I’m a bit sick of that term!) and for me. Because coaching is a partnership and it has to work on both sides.
As Matthew McMconaughey says “nothing is doomed”. Failing once does not make it a failure. Time to get back on the horse.

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