Lucky Number 7

Learnings from a failed test run

Old Pool Ball
Image sourced from VintageInquisitor on Etsy

Project: MORE by Bourn
Little reminders to do more of what matters.

As the test run for my latest project MORE is slowly drawing to a close, I’ve never felt so relieved. In the past month I’ve sold 7 shirts, 2 of which came from someone I didn’t know, and it feels bittersweet. You’re probably wondering where I found the courage to share that information with you since this project failed horribly. Well, that’s precisely why. It failed and I wanted to share what I learned from my failure.

Plan it like a full project

Since I didn’t see this as a full project, I never set aside time to properly plan it. I came up with a few strategies and defined some goals but as you’ll see in the next few points, there were a few things I neglected. The planning stage of any project is always the most important part for me since it defines everything I do moving forward. I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t take the time to thoroughly strategize.

An ecommerce website needs to build trust

Though I’ve built a few ecommerce websites in the past, I’ve never been on the strategy team for them so it took me a while to figure out how to make the website compelling. When a website’s goal is to sell, it requires a different mindset than one that’s meant to be a tool which I wont get into right now. While I’m not too disappointed with the way it came out, I know it could’ve been much more compelling if I had the right approach.

Have a goal for social media

I’ve never really had a handle on social media so it has always been hard to figure out what to do to gain traction with that channel. Either way, a key thing I think I missed with the Instagram campaign I tried doing for this project and the different posts I had was not having a brand vision, look and goal for the platform. Depending on the strategy, I think the content I produced and the captions I used would have been more effective.

Have an audience ready

Whether it’s having an audience built up around the idea or reaching out to various bloggers and influencers with audiences you can leverage, this is important for any launch and a concept that took me way too long to grasp. I had nothing lined up in time for the launch of this project, partly because I rushed it. Therefore, I had to rely on my typical means of getting a project some traction. This time around however, it wasn’t enough and so sales suffered heavily because of this very mistake.

Don’t rush it

Since this project was inspired by Valentine’s Day, the launch of this project was based off that date. Time slipped by rather quickly and when I realized I had about a week or 2 to get this out there, I switched into high gear. While I got everything done in time, it felt rushed and I could feel that reflected in the content on the website, social media and sales.

Don’t treat a “test run” any differently

I think my biggest mistake on this project was that I didn’t approach it like I would any other project. While the level of effort I put into it didn’t change, I skipped a few important steps along the way because I approached it as a “test run” and that affected every decision I made going forward. So how would I describe a “test run” now? It’s a full blown project but one that’s time-boxed with hyper-focused goals.

Would I call this project a failure?

I can’t say that the idea failed but the execution certainly did so I do plan on giving it another shot in the future.

Compared to other projects I’ve done, this one gave me a few reality checks I didn’t realize I needed until now. It was also only the second project I’ve done that had a revenue model which makes a huge difference in how it should be handled.

I hope some of my learnings provide insight into your own process. What have you learned from your past failures?

CommentsWhat have you learned from your past failures?

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