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How to Develop a Following of Passionate Fans Even Before Launch

A fundamental mistake entrepreneurs make is failing to first build an audience around their idea before they launch their business. 



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A fundamental mistake entrepreneurs make is failing to first build an audience around their idea before they launch their business. 

I’ve seen it many times: an entrepreneur spends countless days and nights creating a great product. As their launch date nears, their anxiety level goes sky high. They have stomach butterflies that keep them from eating and fears of failure that keep them from sleeping.  

Launch day finally arrives. This is the day they’ve been waiting for, working towards, the day to which all their blood, sweat and tears have led. All engines are running, the website is live, here we go! And — crickets. Nada. Zilch. They built it but no one came. They struggle to comprehend how all of their hard work has resulted in silence. No one cares. It’s one of the worst feelings a new entrepreneur can experience. Why has this happened? 

It’s simple — they failed to create a community of potential customers to whom they could launch, before the launch!  

If you plan to launch an idea that will change the world, you first have to build excitement about it. Like ripples in a pond, you have to drop a pebble into the water to stimulate the wave motion. The community of potential customers you build before your launch is that pebble: small but mighty, and essential for giving your idea the energy to spread.

What to do before you launch a product

A recent example of a successful pre-launch program to acquire and engage prospective customers comes from the stock trading app, Robinhood. Leading up to the launch of the app, Robinhood invited people to gain access to its private beta, giving them the chance to be among the first to benefit from what was on offer.

After opting in, users were placed on the waiting list and shown a “thank you” page displaying their position on the waitlist, along with the chance to move up the list by inviting their friends, family, and networks to the app, too. The more people a user got to join, the sooner they would get access to the app.

Through introducing this type of marketing in the pre-launch process, Robinhood was able to both acquire and engage prospective users long before the app was even available.  

Also, to reduce your risk of a failed launch, instead of putting all of your efforts and resources into building prospects in just one area, you create as many touch points with potential customers as possible.

Consider email marketing, for example. Many entrepreneurs, particularly in a product launch arena such as crowdfunding, commit a lot of resources to building an email list of subscribers before they launch.

This allows them to send an email to these potential buyers when a product becomes available, with the intention of driving a lot of traction and sales right from the moment of launch. While this is often a solid route to go and can go off without a hitch, there’s no plan B, however.

“When you build an audience, you don’t have to buy people’s attention – they give it to you. This is a huge advantage. So build an audience. Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos – whatever. Share information that’s valuable and you’ll slowly but surely build a loyal audience.” — Jason Fried

A few years ago, I was working on the launch of a technology eyewear product. There was a lot of interest in the product, people were excited to get their hands on a pair, and we had prioritized one core marketing communication channel for these folks: email marketing.  

Two days before launch, disaster struck. In our final pre-launch email to the subscriber list, we noticed the open rate of our email sends plummeted from something like a 50 percent open rate down to a mere 10 percent. All of a sudden, almost no one was opening the emails we were sending. 

These days, I have a pretty tight process if this were to happen. Back then, this was a first for me. After hours of digging, I discovered that the domain used in the sender name of our emails had been blacklisted by the email providers (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook and so on), due to website security errors on the client’s part.

This had then been flagged by the email platform (the mass email tool we were using to send emails to thousands of prospective buyers), meaning that emails being sent were being pushed in spam folders, rather than inboxes.  

We were in trouble. No matter how excited or interested these potential buyers were, if we couldn’t place an email in their inboxes on launch day then we had no way of informing them the product was now available. Thousands of excited community members would be left in the dark, unaware that our preorder sale was kicking off.  

In the end, we were able to somewhat save the situation by employing workaround tactics to reach these email subscribers via different marketing channels. It was a far from perfect solution, though, and significantly impacted the success of the launch.  

Lesson learned: one touch (one method of communication with community members) wasn’t enough. Putting all your eggs in one basket won’t work if the basket flips over. 

Will Russell is CEO of Russell Marketing, specializing in e-commerce launch marketing, which has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs validate their ideas and execute successful launches. He has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, Crain’s New York, Indiegogo, StartUp Nation and more. His new book is, Launch in 5: Take Your Idea from Lightbulb Moment to Profitable Business in Record Time (Nicholas Brealey, Nov. 8, 2022). Learn more at

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The 2-Minute Rule: The Secret to Habit Success

By starting with a small, manageable task, it becomes much easier to build consistency



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20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



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