Timing Matters Far Less Than Product-Market Fit…

George Kao
4 min readApr 24, 2024


Have you ever announced an event or program, and some people respond:

“Looks good, but the timing is not right for me…”

Here’s my take:

Don’t believe it.

This is coming from 15 years of experience, having launched over 100 different events, courses, and programs, and coaching hundreds of solopreneurs who have launched hundreds more things.

It will always be true that for some individuals in your audience, the “timing” isn’t right. (But then again, I find that some people use “timing” as a polite way of saying that it’s not really interesting enough for them to sign up, but often they’re not willing to tell us that…)

If your event or program sold far less than you expected, the truth is that it’s more likely a problem of product-market fit…

I have been carefully tracking my launch numbers for years:

  • How many sales have I received after 24 hours of my first announcement? I write it down, even if it’s zero.
  • How many sales after the prelaunch (early bird discount) has ended? I write it down also.
  • Then, how many ultimately sell by the start of the event/program?

I’ve been writing down these numbers for dozens of course launches in the past 5 years.

My core learning from that experience is this:

The topic matters far more than the timing.

I’m assuming that, like me, you also sell products based on your knowledge and presence, such as coaching programs, courses, workshops, retreats, etc.

If so, I will reiterate the point:

Whether your event/program sells well has far more to do with the topic than the timing.

In fact, I’d go as far to say that mostly, the Title is the product. People get intrigued by the title and often have already decided whether they’re probably a “yes” or not. The rest of the description confirms their interest. The title, of course, stems directly from the Topic you’ve chosen.

Recently, I had to pivot from a course launch. Even though I worked diligently on the launch — with a title poll, a course image poll, social media announcements, and emails to my list — what I missed was doing a topic poll. So even though my always-supportive audience was kind about the launch, the amount of sales was pitiful, compared to my usual launches.

Sadly I had to cancel the course…

The majority of the feedback I got when I asked why people didn’t sign up was familiar: “Looks good! But the timing isn’t good for me.”

What’s interesting is that I immediately launched another course, on a totally different topic, and this time, it was one of the best-selling launches I’ve had in a long time.

And it was the same amount of effort, as the one that flopped.

Again, it’s rarely about the timing, unless you’re actually launching on the day after Christmas. (But even so, I’ve done that several times, to test — and to rebel against — the “timing” issue, and yet every time, my thesis is proven: even the bad timing launches do pretty well when the topic is desired by my audience.)

Even some of the people who said “bad timing” for my failed launch immediately signed up for the other course whose topic was interesting for them. Apparently, it wasn’t timing!

But even if they didn’t sign up, I notice that if there is product-market fit, then enough other people in the audience will buy the thing.

Again, the topic is far more important than the timing.

(By the way, it’s the same phenomenon with social media posting — the topic and quality of the post itself matters far more than the day/time you post it. If it’s a good fit for the audience, or if it’s on a trending topic, it’ll likely go viral even if you post it at the most suboptimal time.)

This is why I always do a prelaunch to my products, rather than just an all-out launch. The prelaunch is when I’m giving a discount for buying during the early bird period — when my “sales page” is not yet up (the webpage that is graphically designed and contains the polished description of the product.)

In other words, I’m asking my audience to trust me, based on a rough description of the product, in exchange for getting a discount on it. However, just because someone trusts me doesn’t mean they’ll buy the product. They also need to genuinely want the product (the topic of the event/program). If they want it — and they trust me — then I’ve noticed that there are always enough sales during the prelaunch period to make the launch itself worth it.

When the prelaunch sales are far lower than normal, then I know it’s time to cancel the launch and pivot to the next thing. The prelaunch is a reliable predictor of the ultimate number of signups, no matter how many comments about overwhelm there might be. Truthfully, we’ve all been overwhelmed ever since the internet! 😆

Again, when a topic is actually wanted by my audience… many people sign up, no matter the timing.

Still, I appreciate your compassionate comments about “looks good! but the timing isn’t right for me”, as I know that your kind intention is to support my launch! 🙏

Yet, you will probably find, as I have, that as you track the stages of your launches, and the sales at each stage, you’ll often see various “timing” reasons given, no matter the time of year…

(For my templates about how to do topic polling, as well as polls on titles, images, and other key aspects of figuring out the right topic to launch, check out my market research course.)



George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity" https://www.GeorgeKao.com