In the previous post, The 4 Layers of Authentic Business, I shared a framework for how I build, and recommend my clients build, an authentic business — one that is deeply meaningful while being financially sustainable.
Now I’ll offer a simple timeline for each of the 4 stages. First, decide how much time you want to take per Launch “cycle”. If you’re not sure, choose between 3 months (if you are able to act quickly) to 1 year (to take your time).
During each Launch Cycle:
33% of the time is spent focused on your Authentic Content Marketing.
The next 33% is adding on your Audience Research activities.
The final 33% of time is focused on Launch to Learn, while continuing with your content and research, although research can be at a slower pace, since you are learning through your launch.
If you’re not familiar with the terminology above, read The 4 Layers of Authentic Business first.
So if you are taking 1 year to do this, you’d spend the first 4 months focused solely on your authentic content marketing. Then the next 4 months on your audience research (while continuing your content), and the final 4 months of the year is launching to learn.
How much time per Launch Cycle depends on 7 factors:
- How quickly you need to launch your authentic business (your sense of urgency.)
- How productive you are (how effective your use of time + how much time you can spend working on your business).
- How skillful you are at creating content.
- How well you understand your audience, especially what they would buy.
- The effective size of your audience (not just how “big” your audience is, but how many of them actually pay attention to your content regularly.)
- How much your audience trusts you.
- How clear you are about what you want to sell.
The more you have in the above factors, the more you can do 3-month launch cycles and therefore learn much more quickly what you can effectively build a business around. If you have very little of the above, you’re looking at a 1-year launch cycle.
Why does it take time to build an authentic business?
If you consider the 7 factors above, you’ll see that most of them are about building your skill.
When you get better, your business gets better. And it takes time for you to learn and grow.
And because it’s an authentic business, it takes time for you to understand what you really want to build (your offering), what you really want to say (your content), whom you really want to help (your audience), and how to really work with joy in your business (joyful productivity).
It takes time primarily because you need the time.
Also, word-of-mouth marketing about your business, which is ultimately the most authentic type of marketing, also takes time to build. The easiest way for your audience to refer your business forward is by sharing your free content, and learning how to create good content (authentic & relevant) takes time.
It also takes time to build trust with an audience, but if you focus on the other factors, trust naturally builds.
It takes time to building authentic skill, developing authentic clarity, and nurture authentic relationships — and these are what an authentic business is built on.
Does a Launch Cycle guarantee your success?
Of course not, but the more you effectively follow the launch cycle — and the more launch cycles you do — the more you build the 7 factors above.
The more of the 7 factors you have above, the more your success is guaranteed.
So the ultimate question for you:
How quickly and effectively can you practice the Launch Cycle?
Once you have a product/service that is selling to your satisfaction, then you can add on the 4th layer of Authentic Business which is “Growing what works”. This is where you grow the quantity and quality of your product/service sales.
For now, focus on the first 3 layers (also known as “the Launch Cycle”) and doing that as effectively and quickly as you can.
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