#011 – Assessing the Damage (and the Good Stuff)

Eboni, who was our guest in the last ep + our Community Ambassador, is the one who gave me the idea for today’s episode. I was on the phone with her, ranting about some stuff that’s been bothering me and later on, telling her how I didn’t have an idea narrowed down for ep 011 yet.

She was like, “Marie, THAT’S what you need to talk about.”

So, this is about somethin’ I’ve been goin’ through.

To start, you just have to know that The Preservation Project is MY BIZ BABY.

IDK what your biz is – if it’s documenting life for clients, another creative biz, 9-5, raising humans, a mix of a few things, but TPP, right now, is my thing.

I could easily continue the path I started with teaching marketing and growing pre-potential dreamies – which to be blunt is easy money in a sense, because people I work with are hungry for a successful business.

It’s not that I’m taking advantage of anybody. What I mean, is that I think it’s viewed like a skill they don’t have yet, they need it better communication skills to get clients, which makes the investment justified + logical.

But, TPP is what has my heart. I’ve not created something more aligned with my heart than THIS. I’m not here to sell you on it – in fact, it’s not even open for registration right now – but instead want to tell you about my recent launch. It wasn’t a total failure, but it wasn’t GREAT.

I think TPP is, so far, is a harder sell. I think I got a little cocky and arrogant around launching, because in the past couple years, it’s been pretty simple + fruitful.

Much like my documentary photographer students, I’m up against people who don’t “get” the value of this thing yet.

So, I’m kind of going back to the beginning where I have to figure out how I can make my perception match the perception of my dreamies in the place where THEY’RE at, not realizing the value of this thing YET.

You might remember, I spoke about this in MMS and on my segment of the business class with Kirsten Lewis on CL, there’s a client journey. Often, we’re looking to get the lowest hanging fruit, so to speak, to buy from us, when we need to create our own pre-potential clients. I’m trying to learn the mindset of my pre-potential dreamies right now.

Point blank: to tell you I don’t have it all figured out.

I’m currently feeling like I’ve hit a wall that I’m having a hard time climbing over.

What annoys me when people say that – “I don’t have it all figured out too” – sometimes it’s a clear ploy to APPEAR relatable. You can always tell, because by the end there’s some nugget of wisdom that’s meant to leave you feeling inspired – often it’s a nugget of wisdom followed by an ask for some kind of sale. Ha.

Storytelling is a sales strategy too. But, that’s not what this is. I’m not here to give you a big takeaway lesson or sell you something today – just to selfishly use IDP as a place for me to document where I’m at right now with TPP.

Wanna bookmark all my business dirt? LOL! Pin this: 

Running a Launch in your Online Business

What’s a launch?

I know not a lot of my listeners are in this online biz space, so let’s start there. Basically, the cart was open, and I was in a short season of inviting new members to participate. So, when my cart is closed, you can’t buy into the program. It’s just a small window of time where I’m getting ready to do a live round – which now actually started today, a 4-week sprint of TPP.

I actually had a convo a that’ll be published later with Kyla Roma all about launching, so I’m not getting into the nitty gritty here.

The fact is: this launch kinda sucked.

My head wasn’t in it – I felt a lot of resistance around creating new / more pieces for it – and inside I just craved effortless results to be honest. I’ve been working my tail off on this podcast, reconnecting with my audience, and, like you, feeling the weight of having low FB reach, for example. Just yesterday, I posted in the GPG group. It was like a poll, but not the actual poll functionality. I was just asking a Q – answer in one of these 4 emojis. I thought, everyone was gonna chime in. These types of posts typically do really well. And I think I had 2 responses in a group with over 7k people.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?!

My email – still my most impactful platform in spite of this – open rates are lower than ever. So, essentially, I’m having a pity party over how hard things are feeling lately when I’ve been doing SO MUCH freakin’ work.

Don’t think I’m weird, but in January, I had a medium reading for my business.

These are really fun. I was told to slow down and look at my business like farming – that I need to have a season for prepping the land, for planting, for growth, for harvest, and other farm terminology I’m not familiar with.

Gosh, it was a reminder I needed then and still today. TPP is still pretty new. I’m obviously missing my mark in conveying the value – TPP is the richest, most valuable work I’ve ever created and the participants can and are backing me up in how revitalizing TPP is for your mindset (your value vision) and while I think it’s the most extreme to go to the question: “what would I leave behind for my fam if I were to die tomorrow?,” TPP helps you get your shit together in this area.

From the outside in, it can see how it could look like, “I can do this myself.”

But it’s not a matter of can you, it’s a matter of will you?

Does that sound familiar? Like when we’re thinking about our documentary potential clients who are like “uhhhh idk, I can take these kind of pics from my phone and blabity blah.” And the reality, if they hire someone, the results and what they get out of that is PRICELESS and they believe in it and feel it on the other side. They’re hooked.

So it’s not a matter of can you, but will you AND what are you missing – that only being in a documenting / preservation / intentional environment with others and taking the time to ask + check-in with yourself can show you the answer?

You’re probably gonna hear me say this in just about every episode on here, but I love that saying:

“You don’t know what you don’t know.”

It’s like a treasure hunt for life, to me, when I think about that and I think that applies here. So, somewhere I’m missing – there’s a missing link – it’s going to be a breadcrumb that I’m gonna find – but something’s not getting conveyed, b/c I think this might be the mindset of the people not getting into this thing.

I’m so thankful + excited for those who joined this round – in fact, those who have spoke up about why they joined are wildly aligned with the type of person that TPP is for. It’s crazy, because there’s so many different reasons that that’s what makes it so hard for me to find a synchronicity in their stories. They’re really different, so it’s hard for me to pick out, “ok I need to say this, because this is where the value’s at and this is what I need to communicate.”

Like I said, they’re all different and it kinda does sound like, “I’m finally taking control of all this stuff I’ve not been paying attention to,” but when you say it like that, it makes it easy for the next logical thought to be, “Well, I can do this for myself.” So, that’s where I’m kinda stuck.

I’m so thankful for those who joined, but I’m also disappointed that more people didn’t jump in.

This was my 3rdlaunch. I thought for sure, I’d WAY increase the amount of people who would join, because I ran it 2x before, I knew what content was working, and now it was time to amplify by getting myself out there more – which could be FB ads, LIVES, actually posting on social (I didn’t the first 2 runs). So far, it’s ran 100% from my email. I thought for sure, this was gonna blow those other launches outta the water.

I have 14 participants this time around. I know, that sounds like a lot, but my goal is to make TPP a membership model and to work up to around 150 members that I can cheer on, serve, support, in an area that lights me up AND profoundly helps those who participate.

So 14 in this 4-week sprint are a far cry from the 150 I want, and basically, at the end of the 4-week sprint I invite people to continue on in an ongoing, very low monthly cost and it gets you a ticket into all the quarterly sprints that we do, but in-between light, focus missions, and documentary assignments for memory preservation.

You know most people won’t continue (that’s the nature of these things). So, that’s even further from the 150 I want.

And, just as an added layer here, I should also say that I let go of some of my income the past 6+ months to focus on this baby (hence, IDP, taking steps to retire the live version of MMS, etc.)

So, I’m frustrated. Here’s what I’m doing about it – take from it what you will:

Assessing what could have caused my low conversions

  • The price increase this time around. Could that have played a role?
  • Timing? May “everyone’s busy?” I don’t really buy that, but May has been known to be one of my lowest sales months, so it’s possible. I closed the cart of freakin’ Mother’s Day weekend, so, it kinda makes sense, who knows.
  • Value proposition – what am I missing? It’s NOT just about printing your damn pictures. I’m not taking people’s money to print their pictures lol It’s SO MUCH more than that, but in a way, I think that’s how it’s coming across + I need to fix that.
  • Visibility – didn’t hardly share on social, my email list is probably tapped out
  • Sales page copy – I kinda think it sucks and need to revamp that. There’s not even any testimonials on there – that’s one quick fix I need to do.

So, there’s all these little areas I can make improvements in and I’m thinking my next thing is to possibly ask for help.

Kyla Roma (I hope she says yes, if not, she’ll give me a referral). She helped me with a sales page that preformed really well, so I’m gonna reach out to her – idk if she’s taking on 1:1 clients right now.

One thing, I might do a future ep on this – it’s important to have a launch journal, so I’m gonna put all my stuff together so we can look at the data and I can get some outside perspective. I think it’s time for that – it’s one of those things where you can’t read the label on the bottle from inside the bottle, so I’m missing something.

And then, the next thing:

I’m gonna try again. I love this program and love what it’s doing for people.

Just from a couple participants in this TPP round, we have:

  • One is using this time to honor some loved ones who recently passed
  • Another is in here to help close a chapter of her life that brings up bad memories
  • Another has late teens, almost 20’s, and she’s like “omgosh I haven’t done much of anything” and needs to get started somewhere, so she’s here to start
  • Another is sucked into THE HUSTLE – cruisin’ through life – not slowing down enough to enjoy today and hoping TPP will help her value vision and get her back to the things that really matter to her

There’s so many different dimensions of this thing. How do you communicate that?

And, I’m gonna take it as a sign that I’m on the right track – even if I launch this baby again (in July) and only 3 people are in it with me, I’m gonna do it anyway. Because, I value the work I’m doing, it’s helping ME. If I don’t make revenue, I’ll get revenue another way.

This is a BIG sign, because I didn’t feel that way about my photography business. I just didn’t care that much, because after a few years, I realized that I don’t love shooting or making pictures per se – I love what the pictures do for me. Hello, TPP.

In my direct sales biz, I LOVED it so much. This reminds me of those days – where no matter what happens, I’m showin’ up to the party in my A game, FOR ME.

(If you’re reading between the lines, this is me arguing for my strengths and truths, because another old adage: if you argue for your limitations, you get to keep ‘em.)

So, all I can say is stay tuned for what happens in the future. I hope that being this transparent helps you see that whatever you’re working on is a process.

And maybe things are going really great right now, so you’re like ahh that sucks for you, but I’ve been at that end too. Pocket this for later. And now I’m on the other side, where I’m in this total growth state / growth season and it doesn’t feel all that great, ya know?

So I just wanna remind myself of the things that I know – which are my past successes – and if you’re someone who doesn’t have a bunch of past successes YET to build your confidence (maybe you’re biz is super new), then look at some of the other people that you know – not just from the outside on social media – but maybe a coach, a mentor, hey look at me. This isn’t my first rodeo – I’ve got several products under my belt that were built from the heart and totally fruitful.

Now I’m at a slow-still, but I know it’s figure-out-able. Marie Forleo is the first person I heard say that term, but everything is figure-out-able. So that’s what I’m doing. Figuring it out. I’ll keep you posted, bye.

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Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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