for getting your biz off the ground Archives - Kristen Kalp

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How to have a perfect launch.

1.) Give up on having a perfect launch.

Things are going to go wrong, and all you can do is roll with the punches as gracefully as possible. I say this not with dismay or sarcasm, but with the acknowledgment that life is imperfect.

Preparing for imperfection means your day won’t be ‘ruined’ by a glitch or two.

Last week’s launch of Calling to the Deep, Introverts at Work, this new website, the free-for-you Fuck Yah magazine, and the Brave workshop went off without a functioning Paypal account to take the monies. My selling Art for Aleppo raised a red flag that required further investigation for weeks(!!!!).  The launch also happened without a new e-mail address, since getting a fancy one proved to be a multi-week saga that still hasn’t ended and that involves working closely with Google’s tech support in a never-ending game of phone tag because they call from Malaysia every night after I’ve gone to bed. Oh, and one book wasn’t ready to go until the actual day of launch, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t make it happen at all.

Are those circumstances ideal? Nope. But I could still take credit cards. I still had the old e-mail address. Cutting it close still counts as ‘done.’ I launched.

2.) Aim for way, way more than you think you can handle.

Part of the goal of a launch is to push yourself and your own work further than you thought possible. (I mean, sales. It’s totally about the sales. Nothing spiritual going on in your business at all…)

Aim for a big, crazy-ass goal that will feel like winning the lottery to hit. When I decided to publish two books in print on the same day that I announced a new workshop, a tiny magazine, and my new website, I figured I could hit 4 out of 5 and feel pretty freaking great about life.

When I hit all 5 — Calling to the Deep went live at 10:35 a.m. on launch morning — I cried. Some part of me believed I could do it, many parts of me were Unreasonable, and the small, quiet bits of me that secretly believed it would never happen were put in their respective places. BOOM take that, asshole brain.

3.) Tend a list of ALL the to-do’s like it’s your freaking job. (Because it is.)

When you’re going to launch a thing — whether book, class, program, service, or product — there are physical world tasks that must happen to bring it to fruition. Your natural inclination will be to hide those tasks from yourself because they’re totally and completely overwhelming.

The opposite of hiding will be the most helpful: make a list of every last thing that has to be done, then plow through the list with all your might.

From ‘write blog post’ to ‘update Facebook page tab’ to ‘e-mail Sarah and Morgan to ask for feedback,’ every single task I had to complete before the big day was on the list. I scheduled every single task in advance, making enough time to take care of each one instead of letting the to-do’s pile up and drown me.

4.) (Keep giving up on the perfect launch and) shift list tasks to ‘later’ as launch approaches.

There are things that MUST be done before launch day, and things it would be nice to have done before launch day. When you can draw a distinction between the two, you shift stress off your plate at a rapid pace.

Did I have to have plane tickets to attend Brave booked before launch? No. ::moved task to post-launch::

Did I have to have the Brave venue contract signed and confirmed? Yes. ::got it done::

5.) Take time to plan the way you want your DAY to go.

It’s easy to let the LAUNCH part of the day take over, but it’s still a day. You would have cake and maybe 3 balloons at a corporate job on the day of a big project’s launch, so you owe yourself AT LEAST that much!

Do you want to sleep in? Go out for breakfast? Make pancakes at home? Take an extra 20 minutes with your coffee before you dive into the internets?

Do you want to cover the house in balloons or flowers or confetti or all three? What do you want your house to wear for the occasion? What do YOU want to wear for the occasion?

Who do you want to have on call to support you? To celebrate with you? To bring you snacks and make sure you actually hydrate and eat food instead of spending nine continuous hours staring at a screen without a pee break?

How do you want to make the day special from all the others so it isn’t lost in a long line of sleepless nights and eyes-glazed-staring-at-laptop days? How do you want to feel on the day your work comes into the world?

In other words: how do you want to remember the day everything changed, for you?

Acting like a launch is just another day at the desk does you a great disservice. This is not any other day, no big deal, whatevs it’s just this little thing you did.

A launch is a big deal and should be treated as such.

6.) Leave room for magic, too.

I decorated the whole house with giant gold ribbon and tassel garlands and flowers and cleaned every room from top to bottom (with Bear’s help) in the days before launch. I threw copious amounts of confetti — most of which is still trapped between the floor boards — when I hit the ‘IT’S ALIVE’ switches.

Bear and I went into the city to wander in the afternoon because I wanted to see what would happen if we let magic lead instead of making a reservation somewhere for dinner.

We ended up stumbling into Shane’s, which has actual drinking chocolate made by hand for you in tiny delicious quantities (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and is more like tumbling down a secret rabbit hole into 1937 than simply consuming a fancy beverage.

From there, we wandered over to City Tavern, where we found what might be the city’s only harpist performing in authentic colonial garb. Turkey pot pie and Thomas Jefferson’s favorite sweet potato biscuits accompanied by colonial harp! It was far more spectacular than any day I could have scheduled via meticulous research and the endless reading of Yelp reviews.

7.) (Keep letting go of the perfect launch and) thank everyone.

Whether peeps are sending you typos or small errors to correct (hint: they will) or showering you with praise, thank ’em. Thank your peeps for paying attention to you, for helping you make your project happen, or for being along for the ride. I used this service to shower my peeps with gifts on launch day.

Don’t forget to shower yourself with thanks, too! You’ve shown great discipline and nearly boundless faith in your work while you brought the project to fruition.

YOU DESERVE A REWARD, TOO.

Yah, I know it didn’t go perfectly and you could have done X better and next time you’ll kill it on the Y front, but DAMMIT YOU DID IT.

Whether your reward is time alone or away from work, a new purchase of some kind (I’m installing 20 yards of pom-pom tassels in my car), a big fancy dinner, a trip to a new locale, or a not-yet-invented extravaganza involving a laser light show and trained aardvarks — reward yourself.

You did it. YOU FREAKING DID IT.

No if’s, and’s, or but’s, no berating yourself for the ways it’s wrong…you did it.

With all my love —
K

P.S.  What no one tells you about owning a business.

No More Business Frappuccinos.

She pulled up to the Drive-Thru and asked for a Frappuccino.

There was a long pause.

“Ma’am, we don’t sell Frappuccinos here, that’s Starbucks.”
“Oh well. I’d like a Frappuccino.”

There was a longer pause.

“We do make Frolattes, which are similar, so would you like to try one of those?”
“Yah, whatever. Medium.”

When it comes to bringing your gifts into the world through business, there’s a Frappuccino on offer.

It’s been accepted as the standard by which all other frozen beverages are measured, and it’s consumed at alarming levels in certain circles. It seems that everyone is so busy consuming it that even those who want to offer something else are trying to justify their Frolatte options and getting “whatever”s back.

Let’s talk about the Business Frappuccino.

Currently, the Business Frappuccino includes modules and group coaching and killer marketing and endless testimonials and people who say that it changed their lives/beings/finances/income/hair color/all of the above. It costs two grand, give or take. (If you think I’m referring to one specific person or program, think again — this is the standard, not the singularity!)

Worse, and more expensive, there’s the Mastermind Frappuccino.  Each one starts with the price tag. (If it costs less than $10k, no one will take you seriously, apparently?) Once it’s priced at $20,000 to $45,000 and the creator has thrown in at least nine months’ worth of activities, peeps will automatically assume it’s good. After all, who would pay that much money for something that isn’t good????

For good measure, Mastermind Frappuccinos toss in a panel of 1-17 experts to speak to participants, throw in a few retreats in exotic locales and VOILA! Those who take the plunge assume they’ll find their ‘tribe’ and the money invested will come flowing back in no time at all.

Only.

Both these Business Frappuccinos hurt humans.

When there’s a program full of one to twenty-three THOUSAND people, it’s overwhelming and exhausting to join the conversation. So many people go quiet, opting out of the ‘community’ aspects of the offering. (Or at least, I do.)

Worse, overwhelm also takes place at the curricular level. In a recent Business Frappuccino I fell for and purchased (DAMMIT THE SUGARY ENDLESS TESTIMONIALS MARKETING WON AGAIN), over 3 hours’ worth of videos were used TO INTRODUCE THE REST OF THE LESSONS. Yes, that means that over 180 minutes’ of video were devoted to getting me ready to watch the rest of the videos.

In Business Frappuccinos, more is better. (Because more is MORE, and how could you not want More?)

More bonuses, more extras unlocked after 30 days, more treasure troves and chests and vaults full of old materials that will eat up 5-12 hours a week with endless audios and videos and case studies. More exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More e-mails. More phone calls by staff members and follow-up e-mails to ask how I’d rate those ‘helpful’ phone calls. More scalability, more profit. More, more, MOOOOOORE.

The Mastermind Frappuccino has been made scalable as well, so where 5-10 people would have fit nicely there are 20, 30, 50, or more humans vying for the attention of a guru, ‘thought leader,’ or expert in person.

If I have to take one more call from a past or present client in tears because they’ve been duped into buying a Business Frappuccino, I may start kicking things.  Past and present clients report dropping ten grand here, two grand there, seven grand for that one…and they only tell me once the money is spent. Once they’re in debt and their partners don’t know. Once they’re so tired they’re daydreaming of working at (tell me you get the irony, here) Starbucks.

It’s heartbreaking. It’s exhausting. It’s a sugary-sweet, fat-saturated blend that tastes SO good for the first few sips, but that doesn’t lead to long-term business health or sustainability.

Please. Let’s stop with the Frappuccinos.

If you can’t answer these 4 questions clearly and directly with a resounding “YES,” walk away from the buy button.

1.) Would I follow the leader of this program to hell and back?

If you’ve just stumbled across a webinar or series of articles or videos and you have no experience with the leader of the course or program, don’t buy (yet). Sit back and watch. Take in all the free content he or she has created for at least three months so you can take a true measure of their willingness to walk in the world as a model of whatever it is they’re teaching. (Also, if they’re subtly teaching workaholism via MASSIVE upsurges in PRODUCTIVITY and NEXT LEVEL shit like AUTHENTICITY and ALTERNATING ALL CAPS KEYWORDS, run away.)

2.) Would I take this course or mastermind if it cost twice as much?

Your willingness to pay double your money means that you’ll probably get tremendous value out of whatever it is you’ll be learning during the duration of the experience.

3.) Do other people who’ve had experience with this person say great things when that leader is not around?

The more in-person (note: not online, in large Facebook groups full of strangers) advice about buying you can get from people you trust, the easier it is to sign up.

…and when you find threads of ‘OH GOD THE HORROR,’ ask more questions. Are peeps objecting to small things (the hotel where we stayed for the retreat wasn’t my favorite) or huge things (he/she was unavailable at the times stated)? Are they complaining about details (the graphics could use improvement) or major issues (there’s a lottery involved to be able to ask a question during the coaching time)?

You can always find people who love and who hate a leader who’s been around for more than a year, so hone in on the specific objections your beloved and trusted peeps have to this person. Decide from there.

4.) Does every fiber of my being want this course or mastermind/group thing?

Take a class because it speaks to you deeply, not because you want others to go “OOOOH” when you tell them about it later. If your primary concern in taking a class is to make others jealous or to say you’ve spent $X,000 on it, walk away. You can do better.

If every part of you wants to go for it AND you would pay double to take part AND your colleagues trust the shit out of it AND you can accept the negatives others have addressed, give that class or mastermind your money.

If not, save it, ’cause it’s only a Frappuccino trying to seduce you into sucking it down.

Even as I tell you to avoid the Frappuccinos, please know that we’ve all consumed them. We’ve all gone, “THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING,” only to be disappointed at the absolute lack of content, of original ideas, or of actionable advice that was on the other side of hitting the ‘buy’ button. We’ve all gotten to the paid side of a thing and gone, “Shit. Whoops.”

Try not to be bitter. It’s taken 7 years in business for me to even give this phenomenon a name, and sometimes I still want Frappuccinos. They’re simple and quick and that cash flow is such a nice hit for my ego and also they come in s’mores flavor.

But lentils and vegetables and green smoothies and hydration and rest are what you need for long term health in your body. (Imagine trying to live solely on Caramel Waffle Cone beverages for the next week, let alone the rest of your life…)

In business, you need people who get you, and questions that help you grow, and deep support when you’re in the thick of working through your hardest moments, which are all things Frappuccinos can’t give. You need trust, and time, and finding your way through tough bits, which is rarely as simple or straightforward as the bullet points outlining the AMAZING changes headed your way RIGHT NOW if you’ll only SIGN HERE would have you believe.

Business health is hard work, but it’s worth it.

Further: you might be in a season in which nothing is wrong or broken, in which business is flowing along and you’ve got no gnawing anxieties about your future. Treasure those moments, as they’re fleeting and your ambition or desire to learn more or need for _______ will flare up soon enough.

If you’re enjoying your business, just enjoy it.

And if you’re seeking…

I hope you find what you’re looking for, and I hope that what you receive is deeply nourishing, fulfilling, and meaningful.

With all my love —
Kristen

P.S. Since I’m not one to rail against shit without offering an alternative, Steer Your Ship is my answer to the Frappuccino Mastermind.

It’s the most potent and transformative thing I offer, so if you’ve been following me for at least three months and you dig what I do, now’s the time to find the dollars and put down your deposit.

If you’d like for me to hook you up with peeps who have taken Steer Your Ship so you can talk to ’em and ask about the good and the horrible bits (they’ll probably tell you about the crabs that were NOT advertised as part of the Costa Rican scenery), I’m happy to share contact details.

How to stop an idea tornado

If you’ve ever been caught in an idea tornado, you can identify the symptoms:

You have endless ideas.

And cute notebook sketches of said ideas.

And you have daydreams about your ideas while driving, showering, and otherwise going about your day that result in…

…even MORE brilliant ideas. (No really, we’re talking multi-million dollar ideas!)

These ideas are languishing in notebooks, on scraps of paper, in your iPhone, on your hard drive, and in your mental daydream files, but they aren’t actually coming to life.

Idea tornadoes exist to get you all fired up about dreaming, but they don’t stop without your active control. When you stop an idea tornado, you get to bring something to life. Something only you can produce. Maybe it’s something fun, maybe it’s something profitable, but hopefully it’s both.

In today’s episode of That’s What She Said, I talk about how to get yourself out of an idea tornado and into action.

You’ll answer some simple questions, you’ll make some schedule changes, and baddabing baddaboom, no more tornado.

P.S. If you’re like, “SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW NOT SIMPLE WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS, I’VE BEEN STUCK IN AN IDEA TORNADO FOR MONTHS NOW,” I can help. Dominatrixing — my version of 1-on-1 biz coaching — is my jam. Let’s get out of the tornado together.