The Launch and Learn Method

How much do you learn in your planning phase compared to when you launch your project?

As I’m typing this to you, I’m also working on installing a dreaded popup on, you know, the kind that ask for your email so you can get this letter? Only, it’s not exactly working. I mean, I can get it to pop up and I can enter my information, but then the information doesn’t actually go anywhere. It just vanishes. So, not only have I upset someone by interrupted their reading, I’m not getting anything from the experience.

But if I didn’t install it and if I didn’t launch it, and if I didn’t try to get it working so that I can test what happens with it in place, how will I know whether to recommend or not recommend it to you?


Most of us spend a lot of time planning, or thinking, or dreaming, or worrying. But we don’t launch. We just ask “what if” or we look at our stats in some part of our world and wonder why they’re going down.

What I’ve come to learn is that if you launch, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t a lot faster than when you sit around and plan. Right?

I just launched three different new projects in the last two weeks. Want to peek at one before it’s really official? One of them did okay, but not amazing. Another is giving me trouble, but I realized that the trouble was coming from me doing too much without a concrete plan. And that’s the next point.

Here’s what you need in place before you try this method.


* What is the goal/outcome you seek?
* How will you measure that goal or outcome?
* Which tools & resources will you use to get there?
* What are your intentions while working on this?
* What’s the actual plan you’ll follow?
* What problems will come up?
* How will you address those problems?
* Which actions will take (list them out)?

And then, you simply have to plot the compass against this:

* Before the action/event begins.
* During the action/event.
* After the action/event.

And that’s the compass.


There is, without a doubt, a project you’ve been putting off starting. You’re worried about some aspect of it. Today’s your day to work on that. Here’s what I want you to do.

1.) Copy/paste the Owner’s Compass above into a clean document, or copy it down into a notebook.

2.) Fill it out with regards to the project in mind.

3.) Look for any excess to the plan or your efforts that’s making it messy.

4.) Commit to launching the project now that you have a much better plan in place.

5.) Look for what works and what doesn’t, and fix what doesn’t. Emphasize what does.

6.) Rejoice. Repeat. Report back by hitting reply to me.

That’s it. No selly selly this week. But there’s a lot coming and we’ll announce it to you first. Why? Because I love you. : )


There’s an audio version of this week’s letter. If you’re willing, would you share this newsletter with people who matter to you? Thanks!

Join me for free and get valuable insights that go beyond the articles posted here.

Your privacy and email address are safe with us.

And thanks so much for your support.

–Chris… runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate


  1. jef menguin says:

    I appreciate your sharing of the Owner’s Compass. Thank you Chris.

  2. Phil Maguire says:

    Good luck with the pop-up, Chris. I personally find them annoying in the extreme. I’m just about to read an article and this pop-up blocks my view and and says something like

    “If you’re enjoying my writing, you can get this newsletter/ ebook/ blah blah blah”

    And I think “I don’t know if I enjoy this person’s writing because I haven’t read the article yet.” Then I get to the bottom and think “Well that was a good article, I might subscribe to his newsletter. Oh wait, now I can’t because the pop-up is gone”. So I have to log out of the site and log back in occasionally the pop-up doesn’t come back because it has registered that I have already seen it.

    Of course, the sites I really love are the ones where they keep hassling me to subscribe when I am already a subscriber. That is a truly wonderful way of making me feel devalued as a human being becuase it says

    “How I don’t care about you as a current subscriber. I only care about getting new ones.”

    Of course, the nice thing about them is that they are a passing phase. Once everyone gets to be as sick of them as me, then they will vanish as quickly as they came

    Stil I shall be interested to see if you find any value with them

  3. I’m in the early stage of writing a short book, and a longer one. Loved the podcast with Hugh McGuire, and now this. You’re a helpful human Chris.

  4. AAAAAaaaaaaaah I needed to read this. I’m navigating the line between marinating ideas on a new program I want to launch and well, procrastinating. My reason? I have too much TO DOs on my list and this important TO DO is getting pushed further down the list. Another reason; I’m not ready yet. I’d better schedule this launch or I will never be ready :)

  5. Okay, freaky! EXACTLY what I needed to read TODAY. Thank you!

  6. Jeff King says:

    Hey Chris,
    Although I agree with what you’re saying, the difficulty is the ‘doing.’ The first nervous step, especially for a perfectionist like me, is always the hardest. Am I really ready? Have I covered all the bases?
    What’s interesting about ‘The Owner’s Compass’ is that you’re not saying – forget preparation, don’t bother with a plan; you are saying – the plan is this checklist, it will help you into action, measure the results of that action and adjust where necessary, and then repeat. It’s quick and habit forming (in a positive way).
    Interesting that it resonates with your recent bass playing episode, you followed all the steps of ‘The Owner’s Compass’ in that single experience alone.
    Reminds me of a time when I was asked to step in at a moments notice to run a training event for a group of bank managers. When I say, a moments notice, I mean it. I arrived at work one morning with a view of the day ahead and it was completely turned on its head by an emergency which meant that having not formally trained in the preceding 8 years I had to front up to a professional group. The problem was further exacerbated by the fact that I was told I would be running the Sales Training course for which I was presented with a large manual which I read in the lift and in the 15 minute car journey to the event (I was driving at the same time), only to be introduced as the person who would be running “today’s Marketing Training course.” Big intake of breath…
    Here’s the interesting thing – if I had the time to prepare would I have been as spontaneous and in the moment during the event? Would I have used the attendees agenda or my own? Would it have been as engaging and successful as it turned out? AND THE REALLY BIG ONE FOR ME – would I have the level of confidence I have now when speaking in front of people?

    Thanks for a thought provoking article.

  7. What you do is hire a team that keeps a copy of your site locally and test thinsg for you! ;)

Speak Your Mind