When launching digital courses or group coaching programs, online entrepreneurs typically have a plan. Depending on the age of the business and the size of the audience, the plans can vary from straightforward to complex.
There is something I’ve noticed that tends to be left out of the plans (whether it’s someone doing their first “real” launch or someone who has been launching quarterly for years): plans for self-care.
For most people I’ve worked with, launching creates stress. A lot of time, money, and energy is put into something that doesn’t have a guaranteed payoff. And they typically require the business owner to be more visible than usual, which can be especially exhausting for introverts or people who feel uncomfortable in the spotlight.
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So how does one include self-care in their plan? It isn’t about making a list of typical self-care activities and plugging them in when you *think* you’ll have time.
Instead, I recommend asking yourself the questions: What do I typically do to feel well-rested and what are some activities I do that are fun/bring me joy/help me destress? One client I worked with decided to work towards including the seven types of rest from the book ‘Sacred Rest’ in her launch plan. Whatever works for you! After you’ve sat with these questions and perhaps made some notes, dig a little deeper.
You can ask yourself questions like:
How much rest do I usually need?
Is there anything about launching that drains me (ex: being more visible than usual) where I may need more rest than usual?
Are there days of the week or cycles of the month where I’m typically not as productive?
What is something I enjoy doing that leaves me feeling refreshed and energized?
Who can support me/how can I support myself if the launch starts to stress me out too much?
If I’ve done a launch before, is there a time that I know I tend to get the most stressed (for example the “mid-launch slump”)? What can I do to re-center during these kinds of times?
Who is my support system during this launch? A partner? A team-member? A group of biz buddies?
Once you feel like you have a good sense of how much rest you need and what kinds of activities you’d like to do during the launch to keep your happiness and energy up, think about the ideal amount of time you would like to set aside as non-work time. For example, in an ideal world, maybe you’d take Fridays off to rest or to do one of the fun activities. Look at your calendar and get a feel for whether it would be possible to take all that time off.
If you feel like you can set aside as much downtime as you’ll think you’ll need, great! If there are some non-negotiable days where you feel like you just can’t take time off, then that’s okay. BUT if you’re not able to take as much time off as you initially deemed ideal, here’s another way you can care for yourself: create a contingency plan.
A contingency plan is a backup plan where you’ve already made decisions about how you might scale down your launch activities. The wonderful thing about creating a contingency plan ahead of time is that if you reach a point in your launch where you’re forced to scale down, you don’t have to pile stress on top of an already stressful situation or make decisions when you’re experiencing decision fatigue. It also can eliminate the shame of feeling like you can’t do exactly what you set out to do and replace it with gratitude for yourself, for having a plan where you don’t have to completely quit the launch and you can give yourself the time and care you need.
A contingency plan might include sending what you deem only essential emails vs a whole bunch of highly segmented emails. It might include showing up less on social media than what you’ve been told is ideal for a launch. It might include having an employee or contractor on standby to take over some of the launch activities you don’t need to be involved in.
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Finally, getting a good sense ahead of time of how much time everything else in the launch will take can help prevent stress during the launch. When mapping this out, I like to focus on the schedules of other people who might be involved with the launch first because we want to make sure they have what they need as early as possible so that we’re not waiting for them when a deadline approaches (which can lead to more stress). For example, is there a designer creating assets for you? Will you have affiliates or be asking friends to promote on your behalf? Start by finding out their schedules and then give them what they need ASAP.
Go in order of what is most important and schedule those. Are you using new tech for this launch? Give yourself or a team member plenty of time to figure that out/set it up. And I highly recommend doing a full tech walkthrough to test all the tech before it goes live. Can tech still mess up if you do this? Sure, but it’s less likely, and you’ll be in a better place to figure out the problem quickly if you’ve already tested it.
Having all these plans doesn’t mean the launch will be stress-free. But it does mean instead of getting caught up in negative thoughts about yourself not being able to handle it, you can use the tools you identified ahead of time to pause, re-center, and feel nurtured. It’s a wonderful gift to give yourself, and your audience, so you can be as present with them as possible, and still take care of yourself.
Michelle Crowder-Soellner serves as an integrator and launch doula for visionary solopreneurs. Her clients typically come from the spiritual and/or creative space. She gets to know her clients' big visions, values, preferred methods of self care, and strategies so she can help them bring the big visions to life in a way that honors their capacity and values. She has both a bachelor's and master's degree in social work and spent most of her social work career working in the domestic and sexual violence field. You can learn more about Michelle at www.michellecrowdersoellner.com
Article originally published in the pages of SOULACY
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