Downshifting Post-Launch

It’s a weird feeling that I always get around this time. Every single time I’ve launched a new site or project I’ve felt the same thing, best described by a post I wrote back in 2006 just after the launch of iPrioritize:

From my limited experience as an entrepreneur, I’ve come to the realization that the day after the launch of a new business or product is a weird one. The initial excitement and relief of the launch has been replaced with a realization that you have exactly zero customers. Now, maybe for some people this doesn’t happen the next day, but I’d say something’s wrong if you are still celebrating your launch a week later.

I woke up in a weird mood today. I had that “holy crap, how am I going to get people to start using my site and eventually buy my service” feeling, despite the fact that I have a well-thought out marketing plan to execute. I suppose that I get this feeling because marketing is such an inexact science.

For the past week I was in sort of a post-launch-work-life-funk. All day long I’ve felt anxious and unsatisfied (not typical at all for me) and I’ve questioned if I/we have done everything we could have done to make the site great.

The difference this time is experience: I’ve felt this feeling before and it’s always gone away as soon as things start to pick up and I realize that our months of development were justified. Tastefully Driven has been shipping out 2-3 orders a day, which is fantastic for a nine day old site. I’ve got to remember that we’re in this for the long haul and we don’t need $50k months right off the bat to be having success. I knew this all along – it was part of our plan, but I still got the same anxiety. So I started asking myself WHY.

I think I was wrong back in 2006 – it’s not at all because marketing is an inexact science. It’s because you downshift yourself from going balls out to launch a site to a more steady, long-term marketing strategy. It’s a massive life change that’s akin to switching from being a sprinter to a marathon runner.

For months I was pushing with everything I could to launch the site. Since I knew it was a short term thing, I could work 15 hour days and push aside other aspects of my life. The “rush” was always there because I saw us rapidly achieving goals that brought us closer to the ultimate goal: launch.

Now, I’m doing a mix of things that will bring some sales right away (PPC, product syndication, etc) and things that will bring in sales months/years from now (blog posts, forum posts, videos). Programming goes from exciting features to mundane maintenance, with the occasional exciting feature a few times a year. The ultimate goal is thriving over a period of years, something that’s much harder to get motivated for.

I KNOW from experience that what we’re doing is right and will work. I also know because nine days in things are going about as good as they possibly could (from a sales standpoint and from other important metrics). I feel like a puppet-master who knows exactly what strings to pull at exactly the right times – a skill that only comes with experience.

That said, it’s still a major life change and those take a while to adjust to no matter how confident and prepared you are. The rest of my life that I set aside for a few months now resurfaces and I’ve got to deal with the things that will allow me to live a more balanced life so I don’t burn out – I’ve got to ensure I finish the marathon and that means working a bit less and doing a bit more for myself.

After about a week I feel like I’m getting into a new “groove” and am beginning to find my place. But man, I’m happy we aren’t planning on starting any new sites for a while – even though I knew this funk was probably coming it still sucked.

I’ve never actually heard another business owner talk about this, but I’d imagine it’s a somewhat common feeling for anyone that sells out for something for a short, intense period of time.

5 comments on Downshifting Post-Launch

  1. Jimmy says:

    I love your candor on this blog! Good Luck!

  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks Jimmy – every time I write a post like this I wonder if people care to hear this type of stuff or not, so it’s nice to get an email or comment of appreciation.

  3. I can totally relate to this feeling you are talking about. Good luck… I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully on your new venture. *=)

  4. […] if I’m not an employee, and we’re in long term growth mode (past the start-up phase), and 9-5 is completely arbitrary, and it’s shown that less time […]

  5. […] if I’m not an employee, and we’re in long term growth mode (past the start-up phase), and 9-5 is completely arbitrary, and it’s shown that less time working […]

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