September 28, 2018

Do you have a fear of launching? How I got over mine.

Launching is hard. At least it is for me.

I have a graveyard of projects that have never seen the light of day because I felt they weren't ready to be released. With the amount of time I had spent on them, I had my self-worth all wrapped up in their success, so I never launched – the risk of failure was too high. I've done this enough times that it became a clear hurdle I needed to overcome.

So to get over my fear of launching and to also learn about traction, I launched a small side-project called Decisionize on Product Hunt yesterday.

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/decisionize

The launch started out poorly. By the time I had launched, other products had upvotes and we're already on the front page. I started at the bottom and never had enough eyeballs to garner enough upvotes. This lasted the whole day.

I figured my submission had just fizzled and died, but the kicker was, it was ok! I didn't invest much into the launch or app, so no harm no foul. I just spent the rest of my day like any other.

The next morning, I had a message from a fellow Hunter and a follow on Twitter. I didn't think much of it until I noticed I had a lot more traffic then I should be getting to the app, so I checked Product Hunt and there was my app, on the front page! I hadn't considered that the PH algorithm would account for late product submissions in this way.

The important thing to note for me was this was a pleasant surprize! It wasn't required for me to feel good about launching or feel like I made some kind of progress. I had already felt like I had succeeded in overcoming my fear and learned something about launch timing. It was a cherry on top!

Anyway, it's a new day for me, but I suspect it'll be a new path forward as well. One where launching is easier and where I think about product development differently.


  1. 2

    It's hard for me too. I have 2 things I got to the "I think I'm ready to launch" point and then pulling back. Usually anxiety-inducing.

    Then I realized how expensive it is to not launch early.

    Question for you @devhoag: how did ProductHunt go?

    1. 1

      Hey Josh! Yeah, I can totally relate. A little bit of logic can help you get over that fear. Late launch and opportunity cost via lost time etc. are real motivators for me.

      As far as the PH launch, so far so good. Or, rather, better than I thought from where I was yesterday. I'm currently at 120 upvotes (@ProductHuntHi (bot?) sent me a tweet congratulating me on reaching 100), and getting some good feedback through the PH comments which is really valuable.

      Averaging about 4-5 users on the site at any given time and am at 700 visit on the day so far. A lot for me...

      It hasn't been all roses though. I've shared a bit on Reddit to crickets so far, but I see it as all part of the learning experience. Faster learning cuts at that opportunity cost as well.

      Thanks for the comment! Would have been crickets here too. :P

  2. 1

    I wrote a follow-up post to my launch if anyone here is interested. It describes my strategy for overcoming launch friction and details the results I saw. Short read (3 mins), filled with numbers, check it out! https://willhoag.com/writing/post/launching-decisionize