Launch Strategies for Coaches need an Equity-Centered Remix
It's time to take a hard look at how we sell, communicate, and hold space for our prospective clients.
Are you ready to apply an equity-centered lens to the way you launch?
Great. You’re in the right place.
Before we jump in, let’s take a second to explore what that really means for you and your business.
We’ll go deep on how to review your launch materials, how we sell, and even think about our contracts. I’ll answer some of the most common questions when it comes to building an equity-centered launch. But it’s important to check in on our understanding of what remixing your launch strategy, based on your values and an equity-centered lens really means.
(Download the Equity-Centered Launch Design Workbook here to work on your own program alongside me as we go.)
What Is an Equity-Centered Launch?
An equity-centered launch means using a strategy to create new offers for clients or a system within your business through an equity lens.
Remixing a business to center equity takes time and intention. These three commitments must be present in our work before we ever get to launching:
- A long term view, no one gets this right the first time. We’re always working towards doing better;
- A plan of action, we can’t do everything at once. An intentional plan is critical to moving forward;
- And, a motivated team in community with others doing the work of building a values-aligned culture.
Since your business is an extension of what you believe in, it’s essential to make sure your new offers are directly aligned with your values, the people you connect with, and your practices within your business.
Be prepared for some serious organizational change (ie. intentional efforts and systematic framework).
(Wondering where the heck to start on making this equity change initiative? Download the Equity-Centered Launch Design Workbook.)
How we launch is directly correlated with how we’ve integrated our values into the culture of our organization. So, before we talk specifically about your launch let’s review where you are on your journey. These questions help reveal opportunities for growth in ourselves and our organizations. Don’t worry, there’s no grade. It’s all for self-reflection so you can see where improvement can take place.
Have You Done The Deep Work Yourself?
You can’t expect others to show up if you haven’t done the work first.
Let me get real honest here for a minute.
Before you start to consider equity-centered launches or anything else (literally ANYTHING else), you need to make sure you’ve done the inner work of unpacking your own biases.
Yes, you need to hold up the proverbial mirror and see where your own complicity is. Perhaps, you need to own up to your own internalized connections to systems of oppression. Deep down, we’re all dealing with this in one way or another. Society has taught us, both explicitly and implicitly, problematic practices. We all have our own biases and misaligned practices. We all have unpacking of our own problematic issues to deal with.
Since we all need to unpack our whiteness and white-centered worldview, it’s not enough to slap a DEI label on a launch or add an impact statement to the sales page. And the honest truth is, doing so without the hard work can cause more harm than it does good.
Do us all a favor and get down to the hard work of your internal work first. It’s good for the world and good for you too.
If you haven’t done that yet, you’re not ready for an equity-centered launch.
If you haven’t done your internal work yet, creating a safe environment for everyone isn’t going to happen.
Is My Equity-Centered Launch All About the Marketing?
In a short answer: No. It’s much more than that.
There’s plenty of problematic marketing shit happening in the coaching space. But, how we create safety for people to thrive in our communities goes much deeper than that.
Most people think about their business launch and ask:
“What leverages can I take that will convert well?”
Instead, we need to ask:
“Who am I here to serve? Who am I meant to impact? Who might I be missing?”
Some examples of how you might shift your impact around launches:
- Give people more time for enrollment.
- Provide more flexibility for enrollment.
- Create webinars or lead magnet content that pivots your message to your communities and let people know you want them to come.
Where Do I Find the Margins with My Ideal Client?
You look at where diversity is within your client-base or intended client base.
For example, I’m talking about…
- Racial diversity,
- Gender diversity,
- Sexual orientation,
- And maybe (ok, probably) more.
There are many different ways people can be outside the center of a privileged group.
Honestly? The idea of having one ideal client is a big part of the problem. You can say your ideal clients are those who make six to seven-figure salaries, but there will still be diversity within that.
If your brand hasn’t been historically inclusive, then people who prioritize doing business with actively anti-racist businesses are going to pass you by and look for someone else to work with who is doing the work.
What Does Your Community Look Like?
Be explicit in your branding and who your program/launch is for.
Let’s face it, there will be people that will be a bad fit for your program.
While we want to keep equity front and center on your next launch, there is bound to be a group (or groups) you simply don’t want to work with.
- These are the people who are not in alignment with your values.
- There are people who are not ready to do the deep work you need them to do.
- There are people who are not willing to show up in the way you need them to.
- There are people who won’t be comfortable in the culture you want to create.
Be explicit about who you’re looking for when you set up your offers.
Be upfront. State your values. Be clear with your expectations.
Those who aren’t a good fit will see themselves out without any need to show someone the door.
Am I Short Changing Myself or Devaluing My Work by Making Accommodations for Different Needs?
No. Because you’re not making yourself accessible to everyone.
What you’re doing is giving reasonable accommodation to those you don’t want to shut out.
That may look like giving someone a few days to think after a sales call if they request it. Or, giving them respect when they want to consult with their partner.
Your business has a purpose, right?
There are people out there who need your services to make a transformation. You need to be accessible to those people and be flexible with providing for their needs. We need to bring this way of thinking back to launching, as coaches.
Look, it’s your choice if you want to give someone extra time to think. But here’s the deal, the idea of forced immediacy and false scarcity just isn’t inclusive, equitable, or just. So, if you feel like you need to close a sale at the end of the call, you need to ask yourself if that’s an action that’s really aligned with how you want to do business.
Being accessible aligns you with your values.
Will My People Be Successful if I Stop Using Pain-Pushing Tactics?
The success of your launch is determined by your people’s success, not just the money it brings in.
I am all-in on making big dollars on your offer. I’m 100% with you on making a great living. In fact, impact-driven business demands solid revenue.
But here’s the deal:
The dollar signs aren’t going to add up to anything if the people you work with aren’t successful in the strategies you’re providing.
That’s why an equity-centered launch must include a solid plan for HOW you’re delivering to your people post-purchase, not just the sales process.
Planning for post-launch service means considering…
- Will the client walk away with the right tools to carry themselves in alignment with their values?
- Will they be able to do the deep work needed to succeed with my offer?
- Will they be able to correct the kinks in their own systems?
- Will they ask for help when they need it?
Success has never been synonymous with money. Your launch is a true success if the work you put in creates an overall positive outcome for everyone involved.
What About the People I Work With? Creating a Launch isn’t A One-Person Job.
Newsflash: You get to choose the people you work with.
You get to work with those who align with your values. If they don’t, don’t hire them, let them go, or move them out of your spaces in some other way. Simple as that. There are those who are familiar with launch strategies for coaches AND care about creating equitable opportunities for everyone. You don’t have to forego one for the other.
Here are some questions to ask before hiring a contractor, employee, or consultant to work with you on your launch:
- What kind of anti-racism work have you done?
- Do you have any ongoing equity training?
- How has diversity, equity, and inclusion shown up in your business?
Do You Have the Right Skills and Tools?
You can’t slap an “equity” label on a launch and call it a day.
You absolutely need to be prepared to handle your launch. When remixing a launch, you don’t want to be ambiguous about what your intentions are. The key is to be straightforward and provide clarity as much as possible, such as:
- Be clear where your values are and what you stand for,
- Have a clear layout of how you’re going to run your program, consultations, or sessions,
- Ensure clarity in your guidelines and processes,
- Be ready to hold conversations with your people.
The clearer you are, the more success you’ll see. Your people will want to show up for you, believing in the same values you’ve set out.
What Are Your Expectations For Others Within Your Launch?
You’re not alone on this journey. It wouldn’t be successful if you were.
It’s time to lay out your expectations for others and how they show up. Your team is an extension of you and where your priorities are. Let’s make sure they understand how to show up to reflect that. That means we want to:
- Have a clear onboarding structure that sets them up for what to expect;
- Have a vision and strategy example that can be easily understood;
- Layout what success looks like (Again, not a monetary value, but the actions that result from the launch/program);
- Have clear standards on how your people should show up. How should they act? What questions should they answer? How should they show respect and honor to others?
Don’t fall back on the status quo launch strategies and don’t let your people fall back on it either. Show up for them in an example of how they should show up for you. Together, you’ll create a successful launch.
Can I Protect Myself With Finance Fees and Other Fine Print?
Crazy high finance fees are crazy ridiculous. So is most of that fine print in a contract that’s put there to protect a not-so-equitable organization.
I hear a lot of businesses creating payment plans that include crazy expensive finance fees. Let me be blunt: That’s downright ridiculous. You are not a credit card company.
The reason for finance fees is always to reduce your risk (Yes, I know you’re worried about not getting all your payments).
But think about it this way: Your clients are taking a risk with you, too. They’re spending their money on the trust that you’re going to provide them with a positive change.
So while you’re busy trying to ensure they’re holding up their end of the deal, your clients want to be assured you’re going to hold up your end, too.
- Respect your people’s economic place by offering payment plans.
- If you absolutely HAVE to charge finance fees, be honest about what they’re covering.
- There’s no room for shady business in your equity launch.
What About the Sense of Urgency?
Be authentic about what is urgent. Don’t make stuff up.
We’ve all seen those rollover countdown clocks that sit under the “buy now” buttons. And by now, we all know they’re fake (and one of the most overused launch strategies for coaches). There’s no need for that nonsense.
So what is an authentic sense of urgency?
I’m talking about putting a real timeline on real products or services with real numbers. For example, if you have a course with 20 seats available, yes, mention it. If you can’t go above that capacity, it’s important for your clients to know there is limited availability.
But there’s no need to put a false timeline on something simply to make a sale. You want to serve your clientele without tricking them.
Will I Come Off Condescending? How Do I Check My White Savior Complex?
Taking action doesn’t mean you have to be self-congratulatory.
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to make a big performance about an equity-centered launch. In fact, I highly suggest you don’t.
There’s a huge difference between taking a much-needed action and doing 20-minute Facebook live patting yourself on the back for “blacking out” your Facebook.
It’s important to share your journey once you’ve started your shift and made changes. Just don’t come out the gate making a production about the new equity course you took and how amazing you’re going to be implementing that change.
Should I Start Focusing on an Equity-Centered Launch If I Haven’t Focused on it Elsewhere?
Hard no. See everything above.
The first place you need to start is in your personal journey. It’s an entire business transition to create an equity-centered company. You don’t get to pick and choose the parts of equity you want to keep. Either you’re on a liberation journey or you’re not.
Being equitable is a way of showing up differently in your work and your life. It’s being clear on your values and where your commitment is. It’s finding where you need to show up when there’s an inequitable gap.
If you know deep down there’s a change that needs to happen, you start with you. The bigger goal is to help people see your equity lens is bigger than a single launch or a sales process.
I’m Ready. I Want to do an Equity-Centered Launch! But… Am I Going to Screw This Up?
Possibly. But not forever.
Here’s the thing: nothing is forever perfect. You need to have an imperfect attitude. Be willing to make the changes that need to happen and make the mistakes that will happen along the way.
And when you make the mistakes? When you hear the criticisms? Own up to them and learn from them. That’s the only way you’ll make good change and growth over time. You’re not going to have a straight shot, perfect aim every time. That’s just part of being human.
Being on an equity-centered journey is all about getting comfortable in the uncomfortable. And if you can do that, you’ll not only have an awesome launch, you’ll be a better coach and a more impactful human.