Clarity and Validation: How to Recover from a Flopped Launch

January 8, 2018

You’ve flopped, you’re getting crickets, and you’re starting to beat yourself up because the idea you had (and set up, and implemented, and pitched!) didn’t take off.

Maybe you need some clarity and validation for your business model, but honestly? You feel like crap, because no one likes to experience a flopped launch.

First — congratulations. You’re an entrepreneur, and we’re all well-versed in failing and flopping. That’s one for your tool belt, and the first of many to come!

Second — thank you for still being here and not being SO hard on yourself that you believe your father-in-law’s co-workers’ rant about how everyone who’s a life coach is selling cotton-candy infused snake oil. It’s hard to not fall for the cynicism in the world, and the fact that you’re trying to find a way to recover means something.

Your skills are needed. You are valuable. You can make money and get yourself out of that hell hole of a cubicle.

After a fizzled idea doesn’t take off, you’ll probably find yourself in one of the following scenarios. Read through them and get yourself pumped up to try again!

do it fierce power leslie knope

Scenario 1: After A Flopped Launch, You Need to Convince Yourself You Don’t Suck

You’re like, screw it all, screw you guys, SCREW IT. Fine. I suck. Well, okay, under normal circumstances, I don’t suck and I know that, somewhere deep down inside me. But I really believe I suck right now, so now that I’m done sulking, hiding, and venting, I know I need to pick myself back up.

Solution: Read. Read a LOT. 

If you don’t know where to get started, read these books! I recommend them in this order. And if you’ve already read them, read them again! Once you feel inspired, go out and get your work done. 🙂 You don’t need to read the whole book cover to cover — the authors want you to take action and change your life. If you do that without reading every single word, I’m sure they’d still be happy.

Please note: Affiliate links have been included. I only recommend and link to products that I personally have found useful for my own business. If you click on these links, I may receive compensation via Amazon’s Affiliate Program. Thank you for your support!

  1. You are a Badass at Making Money to light your ass on fire… works every time! It can get a little privilege-y (some parts imply that mindset is the only thing holding us back, which isn’t true) but it’s a good start.
  2. The Big Leap to better understand the changes you’re going through, but not in a puberty sort of way
  3. Love Languages to understand how to show appreciation for yourself and your clients — start with the online quiz, first. Note: Some Christian-related language is used
  4. Living Forward to plan long term, now that you remember you’re a badass and you can accomplish anything

If you’re convinced the problem isn’t a mindset and confidence thing (it’s almost always a mindset and confidence thing, but I’ll play along with you) find even MORE books to read. Listen to inspirational podcasts.

Lay off the “strategies” (as much as it pains me to say that — since strategy is what I teach) for a while until you’ve got the right mindset to learn and implement without thinking you’re a loser.

Scenario 2: You want to give it another run, but… you’re being cautious. And you want this to work, obviously.

By now, you know that launching anything online is something you’re going to do over, and over, and over again. That’s just how it is.

Eventually you’ll set up your passive sales funnels, but even those won’t work if you haven’t validated your process and gotten some real results for folks outside of your head (and heart).

So yes, you’re passionate, and gifted, and you can totally change lives. But you have to present your offer in a way that helps your prospects understand that it’s going to benefit them.

How do we do that?

Ask your clients what they want!

And before you go harping on me about how you don’t have clients, you have no idea where your people are, you’re not even sure if this is a viable idea…

Go back to Scenario 1 and convince yourself you don’t suck. 🙂

But in addition to that…

You had to have gotten the idea somewhere. That’s the magical thing about us entrepreneurial coaches. You’ve witnessed a need, and you’ve volunteered (to get paid) to help fix it.

Whether you help people with their love life, or their family dynamics, or their confidence, or their messaging that will bring in the big bucks if they just do it right — you know people who need your service. You know of other coaches or experts or gurus who are already doing what you want to do. So technically… the validation has been done.


You need to validate YOUR idea. Even if you do exactly what Tony Robbins does, you’re going to bring your own special spin to it. And chances are, your method doesn’t involve having people walk across a stage of hot coals (because I’m pretty sure that would be copyright infringement or at least taboo, but also because you have your own unique take on coaching that will blow Robbins out of the water, right?).

You’ve got an idea for a signature program, but you’re not sure how to describe how valuable the experience would be.

How do you figure that out? How do you know what your ideal, perfect client, who’s READY to work with you and has the money, will want in a coaching package?

How do you guarantee you’re not using industry lingo and fluffy words that don’t connect with your audience?

You ASK them.

That’s right. And you take their feedback to heart, change your phrasing and word-choice so it’s their words instead of yours, and then you release it to the world, knowing it’s going to change and morph over time.

Solution: Follow this process!

  1. Outline the gist of your offer. It’s a coaching program… does it come with 1:1 calls? Is it a group thing? Does it come with video training? Unlimited Voxer access?
  2. Write down why it comes with those features. Why does the client need those, and how does it benefit them.
  3. Find at least three people who would be a perfect fit. Send them a private message and tell them you’re getting ready to launch a new offer, but you want to make sure it makes sense to someone aside from you. Tell them you won’t pitch them and you don’t expect them to buy it. Yes, really. If they want to buy it, they will, but they’re unlikely to say yes to doing the favor if they can smell you coming a mile away with your “oh by the way” sneaky pitch. Don’t do it. Respect them as a human and genuinely ask them for their input.
  4. When they say yes (I’ve never had anyone say no), get on the voice recorder on Facebook Messenger and tell them about it. Again — like a normal person. Don’t send them a copied and pasted sales page. Record yourself talking about it so you don’t seem spammy. Ask them what they think, and if they think it would be helpful.
  5. They’ll give you feedback. Ideally they’ll use the voice recorder too, but if they write back, that’s fine. Take lots of notes. Write their exact word and phrasing. Transcribe it if you have to, so you can visually see what words they used. Ask follow-up questions, and try not to go into defense mode. You’re not here to debate and argue. You’re here to let them tell you what they’d rather have, and if it turns out that you were wrong about certain features — take it with gratitude that you’re being guided in the right direction.
  6. Again… take notes like crazy. When you feel like you’ve gotten what you needed (either crazy validation or a few things to think about, even if it stings because you were off base a little), thank them profusely. Tell them you’re excited. Tell them why you really want to put this out there, and how you’re stoked that they were open to helping you out with it.
  7. Optional: Offer them something to show your gratitude. A free 30 min coaching session works nicely in cases like this. But even if you don’t offer a specific “something,” be super grateful and let them know you appreciate them.
  8. Do this for at least three people! You’d be amazed how many people I’ve suggested this process to, and they immediately come back and say, “Yes, I’ve validated this idea and have my notes from a meeting I had 5 months ago with a client who never signed up to work with me.” And to this day they still don’t have clients. Do the work, even if it’s tough. Be vulnerable. Talk to real people. Take notes. Be grateful. Give back.
  9. Start writing your sales pitch. Use the word-for-word phrases from ALL of your market research subjects. If the words they used to describe their situation is different from what you originally had in mind, then put your ego aside and do it. (I’ve scrapped entire programs thanks to the results of this process, for the better.

It’s okay to be wrong about what you thought your audience needed. It’s okay if they got more specific and you don’t necessarily want to work with people ages 25 to 45 to help them give up sugar. Use their wording and phrasing as examples of the kind of work you can do as a high-quality coach.

Reasons You’re Still Being Stubborn and Refusing to Follow This Process

I already validated my idea.

Well, good for you. But your launch still flopped, and you’re here for a reason. Re-read Step 8 and then start at Step 1, and leave your ego at the door. I know it sucks, but if you’re not making sales — there’s a reason for it.

If I do this, the person giving me feedback won’t hire me because I’ll look like a newbie who doesn’t know what she’s doing.

Well, first of all — you’re not a newbie. You’ve already launched and flopped. You’d be amazed how many newbs are out there sitting pretty on their pile of freebies and haven’t done a thing with it. So you’re not new.

Second of all — people appreciate being asked for their opinion. Many of the people I’ve reached out to for advice on a new promotion have ended up hiring me, or at least became raving fans and referral partners for me.

I’m a leader. I don’t follow the crowd. I step into my power and educate them on what they need.

Well, again — if you just flopped and you’re reading this, then something didn’t click.

(And also — stop saying “step into your power.” It’s the shortcut to “I’m new and just like all the other fluffy coaches out there who are repeating what all the other coaches are saying.”)

But to your point: You’re right. You’re the thought leader and influencer. And at some point you’ll learn that there IS such thing as too much validation (or seeking validation for the wrong reasons — like you don’t feel confident unless you have a group of 10 mean girls telling you you’re amazing). Do you have to offer everything they said they’d prefer to get in the coaching package? Of course not! But it’s still good to know that that’s the kind of stuff they’d want, right? And at least, if you launch again and STILL don’t get sales, then you know what else needs to be tweaked.

Happy Launching! Don’t give up, yo. You’re onto something. Go put it out there.


Hey… let’s discuss! How did you feel after your first flopped launch? Share your experience in the comments, below!

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