How to Launch an Offering

I recognize that this post may tick some people off. And... I'm going to write it anyway.

I had a moment yesterday on Facebook, as I was scrolling through my feed, when I literally wanted to fling my precious iPhone across the room. Post after post after post was an offering for an online course, a teleseminar, a retreat, a telesummit, a training...  I couldn't get away from them. Where were the folks bitching cryptically about something that happened which they were never actually going to share the details of? I'd have much rather seen that or a meme about Justin Bieber or one of those sad puppy rescue videos that pipe Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" throughout and make me bawl until snot is running down my chin. 

My reaction got me thinking.  First of all, with full transparency, I will say that I'm noodling a new offering myself. I'm waiting for more info from the Big U(niverse) and I'm immersing myself in the works of Joseph Campbell and Lewis Mehl-Madrona as I await further instruction, but the thought of "launching" or doing it in the same 'ole way makes me want to swallow an anvil.  (No, not an Advil, an actual anvil.)

I further wondered to myself: why are some programs working and selling like proverbial hotcakes while others flop? My hypothesis is that it's the person who's holding said retreat, telesummit, program, blah, blah, blah. When you launch something, it's YOU people are buying. Martha Beck could hold a course on learning to crochet with chicken intestines and I'd be there brandishing an aluminum hook. Anne Lamott could hold a retreat in the sewers of London on a warm, sunny day in August and I'd be there wearing my purple galoshes. If Philip Pullman invited me to an event where I'd be required to eat pickled shit on rye I would bring my own fork and napkin.

When I read through the sales page of an offering or I see all these promotional things strewn all over Facebook land, I think what's irking me is a sense of not feeling the person holding it; not feeling their pure passion around their subject matter. In my years of work in the online entrepreneurial world I've seen clients who've launched programs they're not really hyped about but they feel that they'll make money. A great example of this is the "diet program." You know the ones - "Lose 5 LBS in 5 Seconds." Most folks know diet programs are money makers and, don't get me wrong, I LOVE money. I have a great relationship with money, I think money is awesome and money is just energy after all. But if you're not passionate about it, well, that's going to come through energetically. There are plenty of peeps out there running very successful weight loss programs, Susan Hyatt and Brooke Castillo come to mind, the difference is that they're crazy passionate about it and that shines through like a beacon in the sewers of that Anne Lamott retreat I'd sign up for.

Here's the thing. There is SO much out there, so many offerings, so many people, so many programs, so much information. And I'm guessing 90% of the folks making an offering really have their full hearts in them and they're most likely chock full of AMAZE.  So why wouldn't they do well?  Is it over consumption? Is it inundation? Or could it be that we don't see you?

When I search "Make More Money", a common program I see, I find 2,900,000,000 results on Google.  When I look for "Grow Your Business", another big theme of offerings, I would have to wade through 571,000,000 results.  ACK!  What differentiates you from the herd? What makes your program special? What's your personal story around your offering and why are you so passionate about it? What unique part of YOU can only you provide to the world? What about you is different?  What do you truly love and what lights you up like nothing else? What one (or two... or five... or twenty) things do you absolutely feel that you MUST share with the world? Those are the questions I think we should be asking before we put something out onto the net.

At the same time I also want to allow for the magic to appear around my offerings without my usual pushiness and anal attention to detail. When I launched my coaching business I had no clue whatsoever that it would morph into my Book Shaman work as well. The Big U delivered that with a large red bow and it's been one of the greatest gifts of my life (and a dream come true to boot.)  So, as I ponder my own next big thing, I'm giving myself lots of space to nap, to read, to find the perfect pen (a quest I've been on since I was eleven), and to consider what would make me squeal with joy to put out into the world. In fact, I'm just trying to follow the joy, period, and if the joy involves peanut butter and apricot jam, I'm out shopping for bread. I'm considering what I'm about, what uniqueness I can bring, including being able to eat a whole bag of Almond Joy pieces in one sitting. It's all important, and it's all me taking every one of my traits, pains, experience, lessons and each ounce of knowledge I've gleaned and mixing them up, adding in spice, and seeing how it tastes and then letting it simmer some more. Not to mention, leaving space for the magic might also mean that my offering looks like nothing that exists in my limited brain.

One thing I know for sure: Launching, for me, will look different than all the launches I've personally been involved with before, but that's a post for another time - I have much to say about launches.

I am curious though... since this is just my hypothesis and I'm still batting it about, what pieces am I missing? What do you think makes for a successful offering? Why do you buy one program over another? What is it that compels you to say "yes?" What makes you say "hell no?"

Melanie Bates 

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