Lessons from a $665K Launch with a 82% Profit

August 20, 2020


You’re listening to the Sigrun Show, episode number 394. In this episode, I share launch lessons from our $665,000 launch with a 82% profit.
Welcome to the Sigrun Show. I’m your host, Sigrun, creator of SOMBA, the MBA program for online entrepreneurs. With each episode, I’ll share with you inspiring case studies and interviews to help you achieve your dreams and turn your passion into profits. Thank you for spending time with me today. Building an online business takes time. I share with you proven strategies to help you get there faster. You also learn how to master your mindset, up level your marketing and succeed with masterminds.
I’ve done over 20 launches and numerous promotions, making over $7 million in the last six and a half years. In this episode, I share how I learned to launch first, and the lessons from my latest launch, which was my biggest and best launch so far, with a $665,000 in revenue and a profit of 82%. In addition to this episode, I’m doing a launch workshop, where I will teach you my launch methods so that you can have your best launch yet. Go to the show notes at sigrun.com/394, where you can sign up for the launch workshop. There is a low fee of $47 to make sure that you show up and do the work.
When I started my online business, I was in awe of those who had launched, and had even bigger admiration for those who had had six-figure launches. Wow. I thought these online entrepreneurs must have some secret superpower that I didn’t have, and never in a million years did I think that I would one day become one of them. I learned to launch after nine months in online business. The first nine months, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was basically throwing spaghetti on the wall hoping that some would stick. I didn’t have a strategy and was just trying everything I had seen someone else do. I had learned about freebies, landing pages, webinars and Facebook groups, but I still didn’t grasp the idea of launching, or just generally how to sell online.
I had made my first sale three months into my business. Someone came to my website and pushed the button “one hour business coaching.” There was no funnel, and no emails, and not even social media posts on how to work with me. My guess is that my first client found me through a large Facebook group where I was very active, clicked to my profile, and then clicked onto my Facebook page, and from there, she found my website, and my newly created work-with-me page with a brand-new button, one hour business coaching. I basically made it very difficult to work with me. It was partly my mindset and partly a lack of strategy. I didn’t know how to go from helping for free to asking for the sale, strategically and mindset-wise. After nine months in online business, I had made $17,000. Thereof, 8,000 was for a website project for a business friend, and something completely unrelated to my business. So essentially, I had only made $9,000 in nine months, which is a thousand dollars a month.
I had sold single coaching hours, webinars and a small, four-week online course. I still didn’t really know how to sell or launch online. I had built my list to 1,500 email addresses with weekly webinars and was getting increasingly frustrated with myself, not knowing how to launch and sell online. I bit the bullet and hired a business coach who specialized in launches. I had tried long enough to do this thing on my own and I knew I needed help, both for my mindset and for the right strategy. I paid the $5,000 fee and was worried if I would get my money back. Within 24 hours of paying, I got an email from a man who wanted coaching. He had been reading my blog posts on how to find your passion and your profitable business idea. He had only found the option of booking one hour of business coaching, but he knew he needed more so he emailed me. And I have not put anything on my website about coaching packages, so I made up one that day, six sessions for $1,500. Later that same day, I had the money in my bank account. I couldn’t believe it. It was that easy.
I started to work with a business coach, and we planned my first launch. I wanted to sell an online course and she advised against it. She encouraged me to sell one-on-one coaching packages, but I was determined to sell an online course. I wanted to be like the online entrepreneurs that I was following online. They all had online courses for a thousand dollars or more, and had big successful launches. I wanted that too.
She gave into my wishes and we launched an online course. One person bought, and I refunded her. I was so disappointed. I had invested $5,000 to learn how to launch, and one person bought my course. The launch wasn’t finished yet, so my business coach suggested that we pivot the launch into selling one-on-one coaching packages. I wrote an email about my success so far, even if it was tiny compared to those who I followed, and I offered free online business strategy calls. 90 people booked the call with me. The next three weeks, I was busy doing online business strategy calls with anyone who wants to have a call with me. People wanted my advice, and they wanted to work with me. Within a week, I was booked solid. For the next six months, I was fully booked.
Although my first launch first looked like a failure, with only one spot sold, I was able to turn it around and have a $27,000 launch. I had learned the essence of launching, but I also learned that you only sell what people want from you. For the next nine months, I didn’t need to launch. I was fully booked with my six weeks and three months coaching packages, and from time to time, I would just email my list and let them know when a coaching spot was open, or if I was raising my prices, and then a few clients would sign up. Learning to launch in my first year of business was a game changer.
My first launch was the mindset shift I needed to understand how to market and sell online. Since then, I’ve done over 20 multiple five and multiple six-figure launches. Plus, I’ve done dozens of promotions that I don’t even count as launches, but have generated a lot of revenue, probably in total over 30 marketing campaigns. In the last three years, all my launches have been multiple six-figure launches, ranging from $100,000 to over $500,000, and conversion rates from 2% to 5%. But my latest launch was the biggest and most profitable launch I’ve done so far, with $665,000 in revenue and a 82% launch profit. And I want to share with you the lessons from this biggest and best launch I just did.
First up, some numbers from my launch review. The revenue was $665,000. Total number of customers was 192. Launch list size was only 3,582 people. Earning per lead $185. So what is earnings per lead? How much money did I make from each email address? I calculate this number in every one of my launches, and it keeps going up. You want this number to go up between your launches. It is hard to compare this number with other people though, so it’s really a number for yourself. You can imagine a handicap in golf. My handicap is for me. I can play with other people that have a better handicap, a lower handicap than me. I’m actually quite crap at golf. I still have the same handicap for the last 20 years. It’s quite embarrassing, to be honest. But in launches, it keeps getting better, better and better.
So you want to see your earnings per lead, how much money you make per email address, go up. And this was the best so far with $185, which means I didn’t have a lot of signups for our launch activities. I’ll come to that in a moment, why that was the case, but each email address was worth $185, which means I can spend a lot of money on each lead when I know that I can make $185 back. Conversion rate was the highest we’ve ever had, 5.36%. Conversion rate means that so many people were interested. Let’s say a hundred people are interested. They sign up for your webinar, and typically about 3% buy, when you’re selling a course that’s 1,00, 2,000, 3,000.
So we have seen anything from 2% to 5% in our launches in the last six and a half years, and we had 5.36 this time, which is fantastic. Facebook ad spend was only $22,000. Typically, when I go into a launch, and I plan to have a $500,000 launch or more, or even aiming for the million dollars, which I’m not there yet, but I’ve tried a few times, a I am willing and able to spend 100,000 on Facebook ads.
This time, I couldn’t. About a month or six weeks before our launch, our Facebook ad account, actually the business manager got shut down. And even though we’ve tried everything in the book to get it back, it was not possible. And we tried very hard for one or two weeks, and we decided to create a new business manager with new Facebook ad accounts inside that business manager, and then allow that business manager to run ads to our Facebook page. We talked to very experienced Facebook ad expert, and same thing was happening actually to them. So it was a thing that was going on around March, April time, during the lockdown. And Facebook was also having issues just giving support during that time. At the same time, ads were very cheap, so it was kind of sad to lose our ad account at that same time and we couldn’t run ads, but it didn’t happen in the middle of the launch, so I’m grateful for that. It happened already, as I said, four to six weeks before.
When you have a brand new ad account, if this happens to you, you just need to do what you need to do, like there’s nothing you can do maybe. Like in my case, I still don’t have my business manager and old ad accounts back, so we have to live with this new ad account. And it’s more expensive to run ads with a new ad account because it doesn’t have the history of the ads, so any type of audiences or look alike audience, you have to actually create again from scratch. And the ad account has to learn. And the longer you’ve had an ad account and the more ads you’ve run and the more money you have spent through your ad account, it gets better. So suddenly, we were there with a new ad account and we had a daily limit, ad spend limit. And in the beginning, it was just $100 we could spend per day, and then 250, and gradually as we spent more money and always hit our daily budget, Facebook would allow us to spend more the next day. But we still were in a kind of a restriction. It’s almost like you are in this tightrope. It’s like your hands are tight, and that’s how we felt.
It was very frustrating because I really felt we had so many great launch activities and I knew, I felt it in my gut, this would be a good launch, but at the same time we couldn’t spend more money. We couldn’t get the email addresses, enough leads. My goal was 10,000 email addresses. We ended up with 3,582, because we couldn’t spend more on Facebook ads. Imagine we could have, then this would have been a million-dollar launch, my first one, which I’m still aiming for. But I am still grateful for what we did.
I think, actually, if you think about it, the reason we did so well in this launch was partly due to the fact we had a lot less leads than we wanted, so the whole team, and also our affiliates, worked a lot harder. We felt somehow that the odds were against us, and that’s sometimes what you need in a launch. You know, launch is a part art and part science. And when you feel everything is stacked against you, you may actually do extra push, send that extra email, ping that affiliate and tell them how great they’re doing, and see if they have more leads coming through, offering someone to hop on a call with them that are interested in your program.
I think we did a lot of extra things. I don’t think I actually feel we did, because we didn’t have enough leads. So if I had 10,000 signups, maybe I would have that same results. Who knows? We don’t know. It is what it is. We had affiliates, as I’ve mentioned. They brought us about 50% of our revenue. We pay our affiliates a fixed amount, not a percentage. We’ve decided this because we have multiple programs, and it start to get too complicated to have percentages. In the beginning, when we start to work with affiliates, over three years ago, we pay 50% when we were doing our course launches. Then I found out that the Stripe fees and the PayPal fees were deducted from our part and not from the affiliate part, and that felt odd that the affiliates were getting paid essentially more than us, so we’d reduce it to 40%.
And that was like a thousand …I don’t know, 1,200 or something. And it just found like an odd number because we also have other programs where we do like group coaching and masterminding, so we have decided to work with a flat fee of $1,000, and it works well for us. It’s still a great incentive to be an affiliate for our program, and our affiliates can make a lot of money.
And so they were responsive for about 50%. And we have paid out, or plan to pay out over the next few months, depending on payment plans, of course, $95,000 out of our revenue for this launch. This means, if we take the revenue of the launch, deduct the Facebook ad spend, and deduct the affiliate payout, we’ve got 548,000. And that’s what I call a launch profit. Now of course, I have a team. I pay myself salary. My husband is also on the team and he has a salary, and then we have another 10 team members at least that are part time and full time, mixed. That’s not counted because I need to pay them anyway, whether we’re doing a launch or not. So when I calculate a launch profit, I’m just looking at the essential things we’re spending on to have this particular launch.
Now let’s look at the actual timeline for this launch. In a typical launch, you have four phases. You have the seeding phase, which is also called the pre-sell phase. You have the pre-launch phase, which actually most of us call the launch phase, because that’s where you do your launch activity, whether it’s a webinar, three-part video series, five-day challenge, or any combination of those things. Then you have your open cart phase, where you’re actually selling your program. And then you have the post-cart launch phase, where you might be doing a down sell or upsell.
This particular launch started in March. I would say it started, March 9th. When I decided to postpone my conference, the Selfmade Summit, from June 2020 to June 2021. I took this decision after coming back from the United States and spending a weekend in Iceland, and going through empty airports and hearing about the first borders being closed, which eventually led to a full lockdown, which I did not know about yet, but my gut feeling told me it would be best to postpone my conference by a whole year. The whole point of doing the Selfmade Summit in June was that the participants would also see 24-hour daylight in Iceland, and I didn’t want them to miss that. Plus, postponing it just by three months or so sounded risky to me.
And that’s exactly what happened. As we know, this was a very vise decision that I took very early, before most other conference holders were doing. And essentially, this was the start of my launch, even if I kind of didn’t know it at the time. On March 9th, I sent an email to all the speakers who had agreed to speak at the Selfmade Summit, and I told them I was postponing the conference, but in order not to disappoint my ticket holders too much, I also asked them for a favor. Could they speak at an a virtual event in June instead? Well actually not instead, but more as a bonus, plus a face-to-face mastermind day at the actual event next year. All the speakers agreed. Within 24 hours, I had their confirmation, and then it was clear to me that I was doing a virtual summit of some sort in June.
Previously, I had not planned to do any type of a virtual summit or launch activities in June, because this was a time where I was supposed to have the Selfmade Summit conference in Iceland. And suddenly things had changed, and I knew that I didn’t really want to do a virtual summit. The closer we got to the actual date of the virtual summit, we wanted to call it Selfmade Virtual Summit, then so many other people, basically the whole world or anyone who wanted to do something online, was doing a virtual summit, and I felt by June, people are a bit tired of virtual summits, so I knew I need to do something different.
And I designed a new concept of a launch for myself. You could call it a five-day challenge, but it was way more than that. It was one-hour workshop per day, each of the five days. One hours of breakout rooms right after the workshop, which participants were masterminding with particular assignments. There was one hour every day with at least two or three speakers that had planned to speak at the Selfmade Summit and will be speaking next year, plus the final hour was hot seats with me, where I was doing laser-focused coaching. So four hours a day. I know it was a lot, and part of me thought, “Probably this is all a bit too much.” It turned out to be amazing.
But let’s back up a little bit. What happened between March 9th and middle of June, where I actually did not a virtual summit, but let’s say five-day online course, and we later called it five-day online course, how to succeed in the next normal in online business. At March 9th, the only thing I knew for sure that I was postponing and I would be doing something in June. But the two days later, when I announced this publicly, I realized something is happening. This is a worldwide experience, borders being closed, lockdown. Everybody’s going online. Everybody’s forced to go online, and there’s an opportunity for those who already have established online businesses, like myself, to help. I wanted to help my clients, my team, and of course, my community, people who are maybe following me and not my clients yet, or maybe they will never be, but I still wanted to help. And the first thing that I thought about was free resources.
I was a turnaround CEO 15 years ago, 16 years ago. It’s been a long, long time, and thinking quickly on my feet in a crisis situation is one of the things that I would call my strengths. I quickly knew, or thought I knew, what I needed to do. I announced on a Wednesday through a podcast that I was postponing my conference. On Friday that same week, I started to do daily or almost daily Facebook Lives called Turnaround Talks. I started daily meetings with my team that Friday too and calmed them down. I told them, “Our business is fine. We have cash. Even if we get less clients in the next few months, we will be okay. But we might need to do some changes, but please hold off and give me some time to think that through. First, let’s take care of our community.”
And the following week, we announced the Selfmade Fund in order to support those who had lost revenue due to corona situation and offline events being postponed. We offered some free resources like bonuses that normally only come with programs when people buy them. We offered them for free. We also pulled out some podcast episodes that were a good fit for that moment. For instance, 30 different online business tools, and a bonus was 50 ways how to make money online. I quickly organized with my team a one-day virtual summit with six sessions. I had four or five speakers. So basically, on Friday, that same week, I did that virtual summit just on my Facebook page, and not a lot of emails, like most virtual summits have a lot of emails and a lot of complication. This was a really simple virtual summit, which you can still watch on my YouTube channel called the Turnaround Virtual Summit. And I thought I [inaudible 00:25:31] a lot of resources. First, it was the wider community, but then for my clients, I did extra sessions, boot camps workshop, virtual retreats, extra coaching in all my programs. No matter what level the program was, we did extra sessions, q&a calls, to make sure that our clients were okay and they could move forward, and those who had not fully gone online could go online.
But then I felt, “I need to really teach people how to create a recession-proof offer.” I was talking about recession already in my podcast and on my Turnaround Talks, and I came up with a weekend boot camp, how to create a recession-proof offer in a weekend, or in less than 48 hours. And we started to announce that for free, and then I thought to myself, “I’ve been doing so much for free already in the first few days or a whole week we were getting up to gear to help our community and clients.” And I decided to actually charge for that boot camp. First we started with 47, then 97, and I felt much better about that, because a weekend boot camp is a lot of work for me and my team. My whole team was involved with breakout sessions and arranging that everyone could attend all sessions and support in the background through our messages and Facebook group and help desk.
And I’m glad that we charged, because we got amazing participation. The show up rate was like 70%. In free events, you are lucky if about 30% actually participate. And this went so well. And this was last weekend of March. Really, just over two weeks after I had postponed my conference. And without really realizing it, this is all part of my launch runway. Beginning of May, I did the boot camp again, also amazing, a little bit less participants that second time. I think the panic was over and people had kind of sorted their lives and businesses out, at least mostly. But those boot camps were really timely, really helpful, and as a result, I decided to offer a three-month version out of my 12-month program. I have a group coaching program called Momentum for people who have already started to make money online. And I took three months, or 10 weeks out of the program, and decided to offer it more geared towards offline participants, those who had quickly lost some revenue and wanted to fast-track their online experience and learn how to really market and sell their recession proof-offer, so it was geared towards the people who had taken part in the boot camp.
Amazing experience. I think the first round, we sold 47 spots in this new program, brand new program. We called it Online Turnaround. Now we’ve renamed it to SOMBA Accelerator. And the second round, we had over 20 participants. So we ran this program twice, fantastic experience. But of course, only a portion of those who attended the boot camp actually joined this new program. So when it actually came to the June event, I had been doing a lot of activities. Think about this. If you have been busy for three and a half months, like me and my team were, lots of free resources, lots of extra help, whether it’s through the podcast, my newly launched YouTube channel, I started to do interviews with entrepreneurs about what they were going through. So I did that, and still do that weekly live on Wednesday, 6 p.m. Central European time, on my YouTube channel.
I was continuously, over a three month period, doing almost daily Turnaround Talks, Facebook Lives, on my Facebook page, which were then uploaded to Instagram with IGTV. I did these two paid boot camps, and from both of them, we launched the online turnaround program, now called SOMBA Accelerator. Amazing success stories for the participants. And then we started to approach the June event. We had laid the ground for an event called Next Normal.
I would say, and I want to say this was all planned upfront, but it wasn’t. Partly yes, because I was a turnaround CEO, so talking about turnarounds, recession, recession proofing. There’s a new normal coming, digitalization, forced digitalization, and then we had an event called Next Normal. It fitted all together. My almost-daily Turnaround Talks shared the whole process, what I was planning, what I was doing, why I was doing it, why we decided not to do a virtual summit in June, but something way bigger, a five-day online course where people would really know how to succeed in online business and the next normal. Talking about the next normal was a perfect followup from doing a recession-proof offer boot camps.
Basically, for three and a half months, I was seeding the launch that came in June. Partly consciously, but partly unconsciously, because I was reacting to the situation, coronavirus, recession, having experience from recession and turnarounds, and then we had Black Lives Matter as well, and I immediately spoke up and was willing to take my stand and tell people what I think about this, and why it’s important that we support social justice movements. All of this became my launch runway, and a launch runway is really, think about an airplane that is taking off from a runway. The longer the runway is, the easier it is for the plane to take off. The same with a launch.
So the real difference to other launches I’ve done in the past is the length of this runway. And the way I talked about what was going on in the world, and online business, and how everybody can go online, and how everyone can create a recession-proof offer, it all started to make sense, and it came in this launch in this highlight in June. Now, although I’ve been doing all these things, one thing that I wasn’t so happy about is, well, on purpose, actually, I don’t do so much in my Facebook group, unless there’s a launch. So, one week before we did the five-day online course, I started to ask questions and be really active in the Facebook group, the free Facebook group we have, Selfmade Success, it’s called. And I did daily, quick Facebook Lives in the group, just five, seven minutes, every day, and woke up the group, so that when the actual launch activity started the next week, the group was alive and well and people were active.
So that was important in part for us, because when you only want to be active during launches, which is typically how I use my free group, you will have to wake it up. So, what is the lesson from this for you? We have been launching SOMBA multiple times. You don’t have a multiple six-figure launch just out of the gate typically. It can happen. But for most of us, it’s a gradual process. So having a brand that people are talking about is really important. Having content, podcast or blog post from that brand, having lots and lots of success stories, which we have collected now over the years, and more and more stories coming together, each time we run it. We’re currently running SOMBA Kickstart Program, amazing success stories already. We collect them all, and our sales page just gets longer with success stories.
Launch runway, definitely, the longer the better, without actually talking about your program all the time. You don’t want to be salesy. You don’t want to be basically constantly selling, but you want to be seeding. You constantly want to be seeding. Having an offer that makes a lot of sense price wise. SOMBA has been sold at 2,997 for multiple times. We shared this time that this was the last time we would sell SOMBA for this price point. SOMBA has been a 12-month program, but now, we have created 10-week programs out of SOMBA, two of them. One is SOMBA Kickstart, where you learn how to create your online course. And the other one, SOMBA Accelerator, which we called Online Turnaround first when we ran it, and that’s where you learn to launch.
Because I know the first time I launched, I needed to hire a business coach, and now you don’t, because now we have a 10-week program where you learn to do it. And we have these two 10-week programs, and it doesn’t make sense for us to sell SOMBA as a 12-month program anymore. And that’s why this was the last time we sold it as a 12-month program. And that did nudge a few people over the edge as well. I think this might have added a few commas to our conversion rate, to increase the price. So amazing launch experience. I’m not going to go into every little detail of what we did, because that will take way too long. I want to quickly wrap up and talk about an upsell.
We have done down sells in the past. We have sold a four-week online course for 197, and it was great. I sold 100 spots. But we haven’t actually done an upsell, not like we did this time. This time, we closed the cart, and people that had joined SOMBA, they started SOMBA. The following week, right after basically four or five days after the closed cart, we had an information call for Momentum group coaching program, and then we had several people joining that program. Also, at the same time, we had a few people renew SOMBA for another year. SOMBA is a 12-month program. You can renew for another year for half price. I don’t believe in lifetime access, and I have a whole episode on that. But doing renewals and upsells just about the same time as you’re launching is a great way to also show your current clients, or clients that want to invest more and go further and get more support, what you’re all about.
And so, we will, in the future, definitely do an upsell. Our upsell worked great, and upsell and renewals was 25% of our launch revenue. And so that’s something to consider for yourself if you have a portfolio with a higher-end program. Launch it right after your launch, your actual launch, launch another program right afterwards. It feels very light to do it this way. Actually, this launch felt light overall. I think that is partly based on having the speakers with me, doing it workshop style, which I enjoy a lot, feeling that I wasn’t selling at all.
By the third day of our launch activities, people were asking about SOMBA. I had not mentioned the program yet. I had been seeding it, of course, and mentioning the success stories from our clients, but I wasn’t trying to sell it. On Friday, we opened cart, and people were literally waiting. Also, I want to mention waiting list. Every time we launch, we send special emails to our waiting list. We send them some success stories leading up to our launch, and we give them a special bonus if they buy on open-cart day.
This is also very helpful to get some energy going and have people share that they have joined already. We post in our free Facebook group when people join, and we congratulate them on joining the program. And this helps others to see that they are not alone in thinking that they potentially want to join a program. All of this come together are how we achieved $665,000 and a 82% profit. This was our most profitable launch ever, mostly due to the fact we couldn’t spend more on Facebook ads. So thank you, Facebook. But also increasing the price for SOMBA, which is long overdue. And, I would say, having so few leads made us really push, not salesy push, but go a bit further together as a team, and the affiliates were truly amazing in helping getting the numbers that we got.
But if there’s one lesson, you can learn from this launch, it’s creating a runway. In addition this episode, I’m doing a launch workshop, where I will teach you my launch method, so that you can have your best launch yet. Go to the show notes at sigrun.com/394, where you can sign up for the launch workshop. There is a low fee of $47, just to make sure that you show up and actually do the work. Thank you for listening to the Sigrun Show. Did you enjoy this episode? Then I would love for you to go to Apple Podcast and leave me a review. Then more people like yourself can find this podcast and listen to it and learn how to build their online business. Thank you so much upfront already for leaving a review? See you in the next episode.

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