The First Time
When you heard of the Brew Journal on Kickstarter, it was really the first time I was putting myself out there in a big way. There was no parameter of comparison in terms of success or failure. If you had seen me fail, well, that was my first time doing a product launch. If I succeed, great that was my first time too. I had nothing to lose in terms of reputation from a business standpoint and so I went all-in. It was a hit and it changed everything — I mean… everything. Seeing my idea come to fruition in the 30 days the campaign was live was an insane feeling and really successful product launch.
It was great.
Kegs & Code was on the map! And people were digging our first product!
First time putting myself “out there” was hard, but the second product launch was harder. Comment below if you can relate to this…
The Second Time
After the Brew Journal, I went on to create the Wine Journal. Thing is… there was an invisible standard I had set for my expectations because of my first success. I didn’t even realize that until a few days before the Wine Journal was ready to hit the market. The second product launch is HARD(ER)! What if it’s not as successful as the first one? Or what if it fails so bad that drives the whole company into the ground? Oh man, this was just the beginning of the analysis paralysis.
Sure enough, it wasn’t as big as the first time.
That’s I started doubting my skills to create good products. Maybe the first time was luck (even though I don’t really believe in luck). We sold maybe 10-15 Wine Journals in the FIRST WEEK! Richard Branson said that being successful on your first try could be a bad thing; you underestimate your odds the next time around. I couldn’t have learned that just by listening to his words I guess. I had to test it out myself. Here is the biggest lesson learned from this experience: the launch of a product is just the tip of the iceberg, the leg work you do before hand is the most important thing. Nobody will ever care more about your product/company as much as you do.
With the Brew Journal, I did so much work before hand; I talked to so many people and had a marketing campaign ready to go. On the other hand, with the Wine Journal I didn’t do that. I ASSUMED the Kegs & Code community was going to promote the Wine Journal because they really liked the Brew Journal. No, no, no, no, no. First, home brewers are not wine makers. Second, it was MY job to create a cool product launch and to promote the Wine Journal to the best of my ability.
The work that I did nearly 6 months after the Wine Journal hit the market was the work that I should have done months before I had announced the Wine Journal. Learning about the wine making industry, gaining credibility with the community, making contacts, expanding the network, meeting the influencers and most importantly; figuring out if wine makers WANT a journal to begin with.
When someone comes to me with an idea, I tell them to learn everything they can about their niche. Meet the influencers. Gain credibility. And here I am… not following my own words. Lesson learned. Better sooner than later I guess.
The third product launch that we have worked on last year was full of lessons learned as well, but that’s for another post