Launch Your Product Today or it May Never Happen!

Why you shouldn't wait to launch your product -- if you don't do it before you're ready, it may never happen!

“Launch before you’re ready” is something often said in the business/freelancing world. I’ve known this for a long time, but it recently hit me square in the face as I was preparing to launch version 3 of the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin.

Not launching made me lazy

With my launch of version 3 there was a prerequisite. In my mind, I couldn’t launch version 3 until after I’d re-coded all the add-ons to be compatible. Otherwise, they’d break on everyone’s site and that’s not cool!

So the logical steps for me were:

  • Finish UBB version 3, but don’t release it
  • Re-code every single add-on to be compatible with version 3
  • Then release everything at once

But re-coding all those add-ons (there are 4) felt like such a daunting task so I put it off.

…for like a month.

The “I think it’s finished” version of UBB sat ready to go on my computer for about a month, but I wasn’t making any progress on the add-ons. I knew that I needed to stage a little intervention with myself to get things moving. So I came up with an idea.

Force yourself to get that shit done!

I launched version 3 anyway.

The add-ons weren’t ready, but I knew that if I went and launched version 3, it would push me to get the add-ons done. I would be a lot less inclined to sit on my ass if there were people out there waiting for me to finish re-coding their products.

So, I released version 3 with a disclaimer that none of the add-ons would work. That way, the people who didn’t use any add-ons could fully use version 3. The people who did use the add-ons could either choose to deactivate them temporarily, or just wait for the add-ons to be ready before upgrading.

And you know what? It totally worked! The fact that UBB version 3 was released and people were counting on me to finish the add-ons lit a fire under my ass. Now, as of writing this, I’ve re-coded and completed two add-ons (Review to Goodreads and Rating Report), and only have 1.5 to go! I’m hoping to get it all done by next week.

I launched before I was actually ready

UBB version 3 wasn’t ready in the sense that it couldn’t be used with all my products. But by forcing myself to launch before it was actually ready, I sped up my development process. I had a whole new reason to be motivated to get it done instead of wasting time.

Fear can hold you back from launching

Another thing that commonly holds me back from launching a new product (particularly a WordPress plugin or theme) is the fear that it’s not perfect. When dealing with products that are installed on another site, it’s not all about pleasing the user. It’s also about making sure it actually works. With a WordPress plugin, one small error can make the customer’s entire site inaccessible! For a customer, that’s ridiculously scary. For a developer that can sometimes be hard to fix because I have to either walk them through FTP, or ask for FTP login details to fix it myself.

Basically, I’m constantly afraid of screwing things up for my customers. So, quite often completed products sit on my computer for MONTHS until I finally have the balls to release them. *cough* Novelist *cough*

But something I’m finally coming to realize is that it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it sucks for my customers if something isn’t working or, worst case scenario, there’s a fatal PHP error that takes down their whole site. But, in my experience, customers are very forgiving. They understand that bad things happen, and as long as I do everything I can to fix the problem quickly, the customer is usually very grateful. They don’t hate my guts! Imagine that!

Still test all you can, but don’t let the fear overwhelm you

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t test your products, because you totally should! Do all the testing you can. But don’t let the fear of breaking things hold you back from releasing a product, or cause you to let the finished product sit on your computer unreleased for MONTHS. That’s just silly!

Odds are, you’ll never FEEL ready. But do it anyway!

I can’t think of a single time that I’ve felt 100% ready to launch a product. Even though it may technically be done, there are always voices of doubt or fear in my mind that hold me back.

Because of this, you need to stop waiting around for that, “I’m ready!” feeling. Odds are, it’s never going to show up. Instead, wait until you’re pretty sure it’s ready and go for it! If you notice an error later, you can always correct it and send out an update. That’s true whether it’s a WordPress plugin, theme, e-course, or e-book.

Launching an imperfect product that you can fix and update is better than not launching at all.

Have you ever been afraid to launch your product?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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20 comments

  1. This feels like such a nudge to go make some bookmarks already to sell, but I still have no idea how to ship them. Or how to even get them produced! It’s kinda easier to do that with digital stuff, but with physical things, there’s all these other logistics to figure out.

    Shannelle recently posted: Leigh Bardugo in Manila
    1. That’s true, it is easier with digital products. But it’s still important to remember that it may never happen if you don’t get out there and do it! There’s nothing wrong with experimentation. Your first production/shipping method may not end up being the best and you may change it down the line, but you’ll never know if you don’t try out a few options first.

  2. The very first thing I thought of when I started to read your post was the gaming world. Patches, patches, patches…. add-on! Ha! Your story makes the concept relatable for those of us who also aren’t gamers. Great motivation!!!!

    UBB3 has been right away, though (not like some games I know). Only user on my end πŸ™

    1. That is such a fantastic comparison, Kristin! You’re totally right! Tons of games launch with issues. If they waited to launch until it was 100% perfect, it would probably never get launched. πŸ˜‰

  3. These are the same obstacles I face when getting my books out there, and I was just dealing with all this recently so this post really resonated with me! In my occupation, setting up books for pre-order makes all the difference. I tell myself to go for gold and click submit and bang – there’s no turning back. It gets me moving and helps me to push and do my best. (P.S. I’m very happy you finished the Novelist plugin!)

    1. It’s so great that this resonated with you Amy! I can totally see how this would relate to publishing books. Setting a deadline for yourself and having people depend on it (via preorders) is a great way to get your butt in gear. πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad I finished Novelist too! I’ll be adding a cool import from Goodreads feature in the next few weeks. πŸ™‚

  4. Oh, I know this feeling way too well. I don’t own my own business yet, but I have so many ideas for one. Someday I want to either open an app company, a web design shop or an Etsy store with clothes I sew. However, there is so much fear that keeps holding me back. Fear that I’m not ready to handle a business, fear that it will limit me from doing other things, fear that I will fail. I’m wasting so much time fearing things, when that time could actually be spent making progress. I also feel this fear a lot when I’m getting ready to submit a writing piece to a magazine or a contest. I know that I will never feel ready, but that still holds me back sometimes and leads to a lot of procrastination. Hopefully I can overcome this soon. Thanks for this post, Ashley. It was definitely a kick in the butt that I needed. πŸ™‚

    1. It sounds like you have some awesome ambitions Ana! I really hope you reach for them. πŸ™‚ I know there’s A LOT of fear and unknown that comes with running your own business, but there’s also a lot of freedom. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I massively value.

  5. Ah, Ashley, this post comes at such a good time for me. While I don’t exactly have a product that needs to be launched, there’s a lot of different things I want to get into that I’ve just been so… afraid of doing. Fear can be extremely powerful, especially to me, and it paralyzes me a lot of the time and leads to procrastination, like it did for you! I think I also just need to take the leap, make some investments, and hope for the best. Because after all, that’s all we can really do if we want to continue pushing ourselves. <3

    I'm glad the UBB v.3 launch went so well, and I hope that you can finish recoding everything soon! πŸ˜€

    Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life recently posted: Inspired by Outliers: 10,000 Hours and Success
    1. Fear is definitely powerful! It can cripple you if you let it. Sometimes we just have to take risks and hope for the best. πŸ™‚ Usually it doesn’t work out anywhere near as badly as we feared. I’d say that 99% of the time my fears are massively exaggerated.

    1. People on my hosting will be upgraded automatically once it’s out of beta (and all the add-ons are compatible). πŸ™‚

  6. A few weeks ago, I was working on a product landing page and accidentally clicked “Publish” instead of “Save.” It made me realize the page was publish-ready and I was just nervous to make it live.

    I ended up keeping it live and have been able to send it around for feedback before starting to promote it. So that little accident ended up being just the kick I needed!

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