The stats are not very good. 8 out of 10 businesses will fail in the very first year.
But that’s not what’s really sad.
The numbers don’t exist on this, but I imagine they’re even worse. Most businesses fail before they ever even launch.
They never actually get to that point where they put their stake in the ground and put up their “open for business” sign.
Through working with thousands of budding business builders, the patterns are clear.
I’ve found that most people never launch because they’re obsessing over their website or message forever. It’s easy to think that you need the perfect logo or perfect elevator pitch before you put it out in the world.
You don’t. Want to know why? Because once you launch you’re going to want to change it in a month or two anyway.
Don’t waste your time trying to build the perfect website.
Here are 10 things you can stop caring about right now so you can actually launch your damn website.
1. Getting the perfect logo
Seriously, just stop now. Think about how many successful businesses have a font as their logo. Time, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google just to name a few off the top of my head.
Pay for a logo when you’re actually making money if it really matters to you. Just don’t let it keep you from getting your gifts out there.
Anyway, look at Tim Ferriss’s first blog (yours doesn’t need to be perfect):
What an insane logo, it’s like 3d or something.
2. Stop caring about your “brand”
The reality is that your brand doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Getting your message out there, even if it’s not perfectly designed is more valuable than endlessly refining.
Anyway, your audience cares much more about the value you have to bring and making them feel like they belong to something. They’re not as concerned with a “cohesive brand experience.”
3. The perfect tagline?
Your message will evolve with time and an awesome tagline will eventually come. However, it rarely appears when you’re not actually doing the work.
Your message becomes clear through an iterative process of sharing ideas and getting feedback from your tribe.
Stop trying to come up with the perfect message or tagline. Start having more conversations about your work.
4. Plugins = not that important
Just stop right now. Mess with plugins after you have people actually reading your blog.
Then by all means, go hog wild.
5. The right amount of blog posts
No, you don’t need at least 17 blog posts, or whatever that magical number is. Launch with one blog post. Then write another one as soon as people start reading.
Momentum is your ally. And what’s the point in writing 17 posts that you don’t know if people will even like?
6. An opt-in bribe
Don’t wait for this either. Offer people free updates, resources and tutorials via email subscription to your blog.
Just put up your damn opt-in form, write a headline on why they should join and be done with it.
Create a bribe later, again, when you start getting traffic.
7. Products or services
This might sound absolutely ludicrous. Of course you need a product or services page before you launch your website, after all, you are running a business.
I completely understand, you want a way for people to take your money. However, the most important thing when you launch is getting subscribers, giving them value, and then offering something to them.
Get your shop page up as soon as you can, but don’t let waiting for the right amount of testimonials keep you from starting to tell people about your work.
8. An amazing theme
You don’t even need a premium WordPress theme to start your website. You can easily get set up with a free WordPress theme, or if you’re a total beginner, you can use Squarespace. They have tons of great themes to choose from and make customization incredibly easy.
While you lose out a bit on the flexibility side with Squarespace, you can do 90% of what WordPress does with it.
And it works well with Mailchimp, my recommended email marketing platform.
The point is, I’ve seen people spend six months just trying to find the perfect theme for their website. That time could have been spent creating content, building relationships and gaining customers.
Then you’d have the money to pay a designer to just build you a custom theme (and you don’t have to worry about any of the setup).
Anyway, look at the first version of Smart Passive Income (now has over 100k subscribers):
Check out the first version of SPI, not super amazing, huh?
9. An epic launch
You don’t need a launch party, or 10 features on the most popular blogs in your niche before you launch.
The stress of these pressures usually just keeps you from launching at all.
Stop getting in your way. Get to good enough, get it out there and start building traffic.
10. The perfect name
I saved this one for last because it’s probably the worst of all. Too many people (I’m guilty of this as well) will never launch simply because they’re waiting for the perfect name.
You know what the perfect name is? The one you actually use.
Start with your name as your domain name if you need to. If that’s not available, try your middle name.
You can always brand it something else anyway, or change the name later on. It’s not that hard to set up a new domain that just forwards to the name you start with.
Anyway, a great name is probably not going to come until after you’re actually walking the path.
What’s the bare minimum you need to launch?
You really don’t need that much to launch your creative business. Here are the essentials:
- A website. Make this easy with Squarespace, or use Bluehost if you want the power of WordPress with a bit more customization. Bluehost WordPress setup takes about 5 minutes. So does Squarespace.
- An opt-in form to collect email addresses. Mailchimp is what I recommend. You can get it setup in about 10 minutes.
- A landing page for your newsletter. This is where you’ll direct most of your traffic too. Personally, I use Leadpages to make this really easy.
- One blog post. Talk about why you’re excited to launch and what you’ve got in store for them. Done.
- A clear message. Not a fancy tagline, not anything clever or creative. Just why they’re there and what value you’re going to bring them. Done.
That’s pretty much it.
To make things easier, I’ve compiled my top recommended resources for your minimum viable website here.
Click here to view my top recommendations.
Over to you: What did I miss from this? What have you found necessary to stop caring about to actually launch?
Leave a comment and share your story.
And pass this along to anyone you know that just needs to finally freaking launch.
Cris Urzua says
Thanks for sharing your journey with us with such consistency and dedication. It’s admirable.
Glad it resonated with you Cris!
Needed this. Thanks for cutting out all the BS. :)
I do my best!
Reading this was a little more than embarrassing, because I have been guilty on ALL counts for a long time.
Totally with you on that, David.
This is the kick in the rear to get it in gear. Will be launching in the next few days. THANK YOU!
Now I can go back to doing my taxes. Priorities…. ;)
Post a link when you launch!
Very much enjoying your posts at the moment, and this one is great for motivation to start and work on the work, not the ‘work around the work’. I would say though that your brand is the most important part – and shouldn’t be forgotten. In my humble opinion a brand isn’t a bunch of carefully thought out colours and a pretty logo, it’s the collection of ideas in a potential customer’s mind that relate to your business…your product creates your brand, your message, your price point…everything combines to create this perception,they should be motivating for your target audience, and for me that is a ‘brand.’ It should not get in the way of launching, but it also in my opinion should not be forgotten.
Looking forward to the next post
I agree that branding is very important, I just think that many people focus on it too much prematurely. There’s a good chance you won’t have a clear vision of your brand until you’re at least a few months or a year into doing the work. That’s been the case for me anyway.
This is what I needed to hear. The universe always has a creative way of bringing what you need at the right time, thank you for being real .
It’s the only way to be.
Somehow I couldn’t get through to my inner critics, but this article did! Thank you!
I’m launching a podcast as a side project and I spent most of yesterday just googling website themes for it! LOL!
You do not want to know how many hours I’ve spent googling themes. I don’t want to know either. Ugh.
Thanks for the great post, I think that social media is another thing people get hung up on. When I launched I just continued to use my personal Twitter to tweet out articles rather than spending the time to find the right handle to match my blog URL and create separate social media accounts. I definitely think it’s important to have, but it shouldn’t block you from getting to writing and providing value!
Exactly. The tool is not the strategy or the message. It’s just the tool.