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A 5-Figure Launch With A Tiny List

Natalie Koussa shares her story of coming back from a failed launch to have a 5-figure launch with a tiny audience.


In this episode, we talked about...

  •  Natalie's failed launch 
  •  How she pivoted her plans after the failed launch
  •  The real numbers of her tiny audience 
  •  Exactly how she hit a 5-figure launch 
  •  Why she takes a Human First approach to growing her visibility
  •  Her top piece of advice for anyone launching to a tiny audience

...and much, much more

Things mentioned in this episode

Learn more about Natalie Koussa

Natalie is a trauma-sensitive visibility coach and strategist. She supports leaders, healers and guides to grow their visibility, without losing themselves in the process. Her work takes a Human First approach, and she helps her clients to grow their visibility through relationships-based approaches like podcast guesting.

Before founding Uncommon People, Natalie was Director of Partnerships for a pro-choice non-profit. In that role, she designed ground-breaking services and cultivated the strategic relationships, and the multiple six-figure funding, to bring them to life. She's been quoted in The New York Times (a career highlight!), The Guardian, and The Times.

Read the full transcript so you don't miss a thing

Sara: If you've been tuning in to the launch playbook podcast for a while, you know I talk a lot about why and how human connection matters for launching and in business in general, which is why I'm extra excited to speak with her guest, Natalie Koussa today about how she had a five figure launch.

You're listening to the launch playbook podcast, the weekly podcast for service based business owners to discover the starts, stops and tools to transformation that go into launching their online offers. I'm your host, Sara Vartanian. And if you want to launch your ideas into the world faster, with more success and less burnout, well, friend, consider this show your secret playbook to get you there.

Natalie is a trauma sensitive Visibility Coach and strategist. She supports leaders, healers and guides who grow their visibility without losing themselves in the process. Her work takes a human first approach, and she helps your clients to grow their visibility through relationships based approaches like podcast guesting welcome, Natalie, thanks for joining us on the launch playbook podcast today.

Natalie: Thanks for so much for having me, Sarah, really happy to be here.

Sara: I'm so excited about this topic. And no in our in the greenroom before we were chatting around. But why we think today's topic will help like share a possibility that people can reach like a great launch with a tiny list. So I can't wait to really get into the meat of it and like what you did. So thank you for being so willing.

Natalie: and open book.

Sara: So first, we let us know what a human first approach to where your visibility is. And why does it matter?

Natalie: Absolutely. So human first is about prioritizing, understanding how we lead, create, show up and communicate from our core, so that we can start by meeting our core needs, and then layer on the strategy that suits us after that. And the reason it matters is because visibility brings up all the fields, doesn't it? You know, gosh, insurability. Yeah, it can be extremely vulnerable. It can bring up fears around rejection, it's kind of a catalyst, often for both the most positive feelings that we have about our work in our business, and the most challenging ones. So by starting with human first approach, recognizing and meeting our human needs first, then we've got a much better chance at creating strategy that is sustainable. And that works. And that takes us to where we want to be headed. So that's the approach that I take in my own business and with the support that I offer my clients.

Sara: Amazing, and what are some of those like human first needs your your mentioning? What What could they be for different people.

Natalie: So I use the leadership designs as the foundation for my work. And they were created by Sarah and Rachel Turner, who are both coaches, Rachel is a business coach, Sarah is a leadership coach. And together, they created the leadership designs which are so think of them like the Myers Briggs, or Strengths Finder, something like that. But they're a trauma aware way of understanding who we are at our core. And they're created specifically for entrepreneurs. So they're.

Sara: They're amazing!

Natalie: Yeah, they're amazing. There are four designs as the visionary, the nurturer, the conductor, and the analyst. And each of them has a core need. So that's where we start my clients go through the assessment, we dig into which bits resonate for them, which bits not so much. And then we build everything that we create together on that foundation.

Sara: Wow, that seems like such a great lens to be approaching visibility, and just learning more about ourselves as entrepreneurs.

Natalie: It changed my relationship to my work in my business first, and that so then I went ahead and got certified to be able to use it with my clients. And it essentially facilitates coming home to ourselves. You know, people say things like, I feel closer to myself now than I did before. I understood my leadership design, which is amazing. It really changes people's relationship with themselves with their work with their visibility.

Sara: And so depending on where do they fall in this leadership, which design they have does that so are there like sort of different visibility strategies depending on where they fall, that may work for them?

Natalie: It gives us a really great starting point for which visibility's unlikely to be a great fit. So for instance, if you're a visionary, and lots of entrepreneurs are visionaries, you're the kind of person that works often in high highs, and then low lows, and you can't always predict when your energy is going to be high or low. So the kind of advice that is you know, just show up be consistent. Very often. So for visionaries, the kinds of things we work on, are working around energy management, rather than time management. And then kinds of visibility strategies specifically that can be amazing for visionaries are things like podcast guesting because you're responding in the moment. It's conversational. It keeps the visionaries interest. And the core need for visionaries is to be validated. And often what that looks like is a need for connection. They just want recognition that their work matters and that they matter. So podcast guessing can be brilliant visionaries, and things like hot seats, you know, those kind of quick fire, thinking the moment really showing off your strengths of being able to respond in the moment and think quickly, and really kind of showing off that magnetic presence that visionaries have. So that's that's kind of one example. But each of the designs, has their own colonies, communicate communication style, and visibility strategy, there's likely to be a good fit, you know, we get experimental about it is likely to be a good starting point.

Sara: Wow, as I'm hearing, you're talking about that, like I'm nodding my head the whole way, like the high highs and low lows, like yep, yep. And not to eat, and all that I can definitely feel relating to that as myself. And I can hear that. It would definitely be like the Myers Briggs thing like coming home and learning about who we are, and how to approach things as an entrepreneur is so really interesting and helpful, I think to like plan our promotions and our the way that we work.

Natalie: Yeah, absolutely.

Sara: I think we could have a whole podcast about that. But I know we're here to talk about your launching, keep going forward. Although thank you for, you know, giving us a little like dive in a little peek into what that means. So what role do you think visibility plays in launching?

Natalie: So I think it works two ways. I think, firstly, you need to be visible, to be able to launch you need to have a relationship with visibility, where your capacity to let yourself be seen is large enough and grounded enough, in order that you're able to show your work is it's vulnerable logic, you pour your heart and soul into an offer. And then you share it with the world and say, Would you like this? Do you want it? That's one way that visibility relates to launching. And the other way, and I think this is true, whether or not it's kind of quote unquote, a successful launch, is that going through the motions of a launch increases your visibility, just through the launch itself? It, it's almost like putting your taxi lights on right and saying, I'm available. I'm here, I have things to offer. So I find for myself and my clients that that once we've been through a launch, it has a kind of spiral effect that podcast interview, you know, requests coming in, or people get in touch to say, I love what you're about, you know, in terms of what you're offering, would you like to come and do a guest expert session in my membership. So it has that kind of really fun and impactful spiral kind of effect after the launch has wrapped up. Whether or not you hit your revenue goals or, you know, your kind of strategic business goals in that sense.

Sara: I love that you bring that up. It's something I've talked about with like my one on one clients, that, you know, we're making our launch goals, that there's there's the launch itself, like whatever you're offering them, but then there's sort of the outside goals that could happen. Like, what are some of the other goals that could come from your launch? It would be exciting. And I know for myself sometimes when I'm launching, like, it's often as you said, it ends up coming out and like referrals later on like, Oh, my friend saw you or was that your hotseat session or, you know, join your list or saw this and then referred you to me, or they sign up for something else and one, or they come in, they join next round, but they've come into the audience like there are so many ways it pays back to us when we show up. And we and we do that work.

Natalie: Yeah, absolutely. It's something about showing up with that sustained energy that magnetizes people to us, and and, you know, they pay attention to us more than usual for that period of time. So top of mind, and they become more intimate with our work, I suppose as well, you have a better sense of what it is that we can offer and what our style is, and all that good stuff.

Sara: Absolutely make us during that time, too. You know, we're out there actually, as you said, like our taxi lights on like saying, like I'm here, this is what I do when we're really talking it up and talking about it. Whereas in other times, we may not be talking about it as explicitly and as often. So it lets people know that we're available and that we're interested in working with you and have something to offer but that that vulnerability part is so real. I know I feel it every single time I launched. And I think too many folks feel it which is why they can burn out to the end and run out of energy. But I'm guessing you know, if they knew more about their human first approach, they might be able to play into those like lean into different kinds. Energy and how they can best support themselves.

Natalie: Yeah, it can be really helpful. Yeah.

Sara: So today you're gonna share with us how you had a five figure launch with a tiny audience. But before you do, will you talk to us about the failed launch that preceded it? What were you selling? And what was your launch plan?

Natalie: Yeah, absolutely. So, by a failed launch, I don't mean that kind of faux failure. But really, it was a win. But, you know, I'm talking about as a failure. I mean, literally, nobody bought it. It was a $0 launch. So what I was offering was ongoing visibility coaching, which, you know, I've offered since the beginning of my business, but I haven't launched it in a, you know, kind of productized way, in quite the way that I tried to. So my launch plan, I mean, essentially, it followed, what we're often told, a launch looks like. So I created pre launch content, I added value, I offered a workshop. And at the end of the workshop, you know, invited people explained what the offer was, and invited people to book a connection call if they were interested in finding out more about whether the offer might be a good fit for them. And what made me realize almost instantaneously, that this was a kind of, quote, unquote, failed launch was that the workshop went really well, I had signups I had the number of people coming live that I expected to the chat was really active, I got some really, really lovely messages after the workshop saying, Thank you so much, you helped me with this aspect very specifically. So I knew the issue wasn't with the workshop, or with the quality of, you know, the value that I was creating. But even those very engaged people, not a single person asked me any more about the offer, I booked a connection call. And you know, sort of 24 hours later, 48 hours later, I'm thinking all something's not right here. But this hasn't. This kind of radio silence hasn't happened to me before, in quite this way.

So I got really vulnerable. And IDM, a couple of the people that I knew had come to the workshop and checked out the sales page, that the reason I was able to do this is because I'd had a connection with them for several months leading up, you know, wouldn't, I wouldn't suggest doing this for people that are brand new to your world. But I was just really honest. And I said, Hey, you know, I know that you've checked out this offer, can I ask what missed the mark for you, or why it wasn't a good fit for you. And that began, I think, credibly interesting conversation around, essentially my my messaging, didn't clearly enough, articulate what the difference was between having visibility coaching, and having business coaching. And the I'm gonna say the level of entrepreneur that that's not quite the right word, but the the level of experience of the entrepreneurs that I was speaking to the we're interested in visibility coaching, are already investing in ongoing business coaching. So they were saying, you know, it sounds amazing, but I just can't justify the additional additional investment of this time.

And that got me really curious that that said, to me, it's essentially a messaging challenge. I'm not showing what the core benefits of doing visibility coaching is in relation to business coaching or any other kind of coaching. So I got thinking about So who are the people that I really hoped this offer would call in, and I wrote a list of like, actual names of people in my audience that I would love to work with. And again, I got vulnerable, and I reached out to them. And I said, Hey, you know, you're exactly the kind of person that I would love to work with. Could we have a conversation about what it would be that you'd be looking for in visibility coaching, and I was really clear that this wasn't a sales pitch, there would be no sales pitch to follow. That wasn't the point of it. It was very much, you know, just doing market research. So I went away have these conversations. And they essentially taught me what my ideal client is looking for, which is different to what I thought they were looking for. So kind of in a nutshell, that's, that's the failure. And that's the point that it led me to in my business.

Sara: Amazing. I know you've been listening for a while to the podcast, Natalie. So I just, I love how you talked about that you went and you had direct like these like heart to heart like one on one conversations with the folks that you wanted to work with, because that's something we talk about too often on on the podcast here is it like like listening is our best sales strategy. Like we have those conversations we find out the messaging, it can give us so much insight into our offer and the things that we can be shifting To make it really connect with the folks you want to sell to, and like, you went out and you took this, you know, $0 launch and you took action and, and it is, as you mentioned, like vulnerable to ask these questions, right? And again, the calls with folks and be like, Okay, so like, what didn't work for you? What would make a difference? And you went out and you did that? So, how many people? Did you end up speaking to?

Natalie: Five? Yeah, number five people.

Sara: Amazing. And so, once you, you know, you had those conversations? How did that change your plans for your next launch?

Natalie: So I ended up designing a completely new offer, which package together work that I was already doing with clients, but in a different way. So the new offer is podcast guesting VIP day. And the reason I landed on that was that consistently, what these five very generous humans were telling me is that, yes, they wanted support with the inner work around vulnerability around visibility, sorry, straightaway goes, they wanted support around the vulnerability, that visibility brings up. But they also wanted very clear strategic outcomes at the end, which makes a lot of sense. So we dug into what those strategic outcomes would be that people were specifically looking for, and what was consistent across most of the five people. And what also matched with my experience, and what I was already doing with my clients, it also matches with my professional experience before becoming a business owner is podcasting. So supports around messaging and around pitching around partnerships, development, and around feeling confidence when when you turn up for your interview, and how do you communicate? And what are the topics that you want to be known for. All of that kind of stuff came up again and again. So I packaged it up into a VIP day. And the reason for doing a VIP day instead of an ongoing offer is that people were saying, I want it now, essentially, you know, I don't want to wait four months to be able to grow my visibility in the way that I know will have this wonderful impact on my business. I want to be set up tomorrow in two weeks time. That's the kind of timeframe for that would be ideal. So the VIP day was the best way that I could think of offering.

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Sara: So you got your offer dialed in. And then tell us now about the details of your five figure launch. How did you make it happen? We walk us through it.

Natalie: Yeah, I'd love to. So back to the leadership designs. Everybody has a primary and secondary leadership design mine I lead with nurturer and I have the visionary, a secondary and the nurturer is core need is emotional safety. So, for me following that kind of more traditional launch structure, you know, the the workshop and the value and the emails and all of that actually feels quite emotionally risky because it lacks the connection that I'm looking for. What I did with the what turned out to be my my first five figure launch is that I pre sold the offer. I again went back to the drawing board and I looked at previous clients and current clients and people that I would you know, I've had discovery calls with those kinds of people and thought Who do I know that might be interested in this offer? And let me invite them. So the first person that took me up on the offer was actually a current client. And we roll together her the hours that she had gone over the next few weeks into half a VIP day. And she loved that so much. She ended up investing in the second half of the VIP day. So by the time I had actually, you know by the time I came to share the offer publicly, had already sold a current number if it was two or three, but enough to validate that this was an offer that my right people were excited about and wanted to invest in. And that made me feel really safe, really confident. So then I could enter the kind of public phase of the launch, really just showing up as myself, you know, with without any of the kind of bravado that the more traditional launching formulas kind of bring out in me because, uh, not feeling so confident. So really meeting my core needs, and then showing up exactly as myself, of course, that calls people in because they can tell that you're showing up with integrity, and they get a really good sense of what it would like, what it would be like to work with you.

Sara: I think it's so interesting that you had a launch. And I really hope people are taking note, as you're listening to this conversation, not only because you had a launch that didn't have all the I'm gonna I'm air quality, healing all the traditional pieces, right? Like, you'd already sort of done that before, like the the workshop and probably the emails, and you decided to do something that worked for you. And I love that because launching doesn't have to look, I might read that for my clients like the pre webinar lunches, and the show of sequences, and the after, you know, after sales cart, open sequences, but you also can launch other different ways. And one of the way you just showed us was by reaching out to people that you think are a good fit. And I like how you pre validated that and shared and like share that how when you saw that it was working and made you feel safe and ready to like, bring it out to the world. So I love that I love that. I really I love when we can share different ways of launching the don't look like that traditional way, we've probably seen a lot of the, you know, people we look up to in the marketing space follow the we can do things our way. And it's still a logical launch, it's really putting our thing out there to the world. And, you know, sharing it in and selling it really. So you have a tiny audience, you know, you told me so can you tell us a little bit about that looks like us real numbers.

Natalie: I can. And by tiny I mean, I mean really timing. I saw at the time of that five figure launch, I had 82 people on my email list. And I had an Instagram following about 700 people, I think it was just under 700. And that's it. That's my entire audience slash community.

Sara: And did the people that you reach out to are they mostly on Instagram or your email list or sort of a mix?

Natalie: It was a combination. Actually, for the for that launch, Instagram was more impactful for me and my email list, which I found really interesting. But the people that that invested in the offer through Instagram, it was because they'd been in my world for quite a few months. So they were the people that you know, we'd already been DMing, we already knew each other a little bit. So I don't think it was so much about Instagram as a platform. I think it was more about, you know, this offer popped up. And they thought, you know, a couple of them said to me, I've been looking for a way to work with you, but none of your other offers were quite the right fit. And this is exactly what I was looking for. Yeah, you know, through Instagram, but really, it's about spending time getting to know the people that are already in your audience, we get told so much about audience building. And I'm not knocking that, you know, of course, it needs to happen to support longer term business growth. But even with a tiny, tiny audience, there are people there that are watching you and like you and trust you and already want to work with you. They're just looking for the right fit way for them to do so.

Sara: It's a great reminder around the importance of again, connection, which I know we both are big advocates for unlink building those relationships. And then they don't have to happen, say really quickly. Like it can be sort of like a slow burn like something that we get to know people over time. And you're so right that oftentimes our audiences is waiting for the right thing to work with us those people who are connected with us. So you know, and you provided that because you had gone out and done all that research. So you knew what it was apparently, which is great. So following your five figure launch, what lessons did you take away for next time, and anything you'll start, stop or continue doing?

Natalie: So I think the lessons do what it takes to show up as myself, you know, stop trying to adopt strategies that work for other people and place them into my business. I mean, learn from other people's strategies and all of that, but really make them my own and stay experimental. I mean, the the five figure launch was so much fun, because I was really playful with my messaging and I just showed up exactly as myself with an attitude of let me try this and see where it takes me. Which it felt great. I mean that that's what That's why I started my business is because I want to be experimental. And I want to learn what it takes to connect with my right people. So I can do really impactful work. So I think I think I think that's it stay experimental would be the one kind of lesson that that I would keep from it in terms of starting and stopping, I'm gonna stop doing that kind of more traditional pre launch workshop, follow up emails, that kind of shape of launch, at least for now, you know, maybe in the future, that will be a really good fit. But for me right now, it's not what I need. I'm going to continue pre selling, I'm going to continue having these one on one conversations, which are working so well for me. And audio also works really well for me, you know, I love podcasting. It's what I support my clients with. So next year, I'm making a private podcast, it's going to be called pod Damn, which is all about podcasting. Yes, I'm going to give that a go as a way of, yes, it'll be kind of lead generation and nurturing and inviting people into my VIP days for next year.

Sara: And then what do you wish more people knew about launching?

Natalie: They don't need a massive audience. I know, that's been the theme of our conversation today, but

Sara: Let's drive that one home, because it's so clear right?

Natalie: Well, it just gets talked about all the time, doesn't it, you know that there's a very small percentage of people that arrive on your sales page that will ever buy. So it's about driving more people to your sales page. And I think, you know, if you have a business model that is about high volume, you know, you sell courses or have a low cost membership, then that makes a huge amount of sense for that business model. But if you're somebody like me that sells coaching, you know, one, one to one coaching or small group coaching, so I need relatively few clients in a year to have a really profitable business, it becomes much more about one on one connection, and nurturing and listening and learning and responding to what the people in your audience want from you. And then filling that in a way that's in integrity with you and that place your strength.

Sara: You call it something that I think is really important, I want to just draw everyone's attention to it that you said, how you don't need a lot of people to have a really profitable business. And I think oftentimes, as Eternia, you mentioned it to like that we're being told, like to grow the audience, because like maybe only one or 2% convert, right? So we have this, like, we need to get like 1000s of people. However, we also need to think as you mentioned, like, what are your goals? Like? Can you have a great sustainable business, you know, with a smaller audience, you don't need your essay need that 10s of 1000s of people on your list are your goals to have, maybe it's a five figure like, you know, five figures a month, maybe that'd be a great goal for you. Or maybe it's six figures a year, maybe it's not, you know, seven figures a year, although, you know, or maybe you want to at least get to the hunting to the six figure mark, and then think, Okay, what's next from there? So thinking about our goals in terms of like, what do we actually need and want in our life? And what kind of business are we looking to have, because a seven figure business and a six figure business, obviously different in terms of team of 70, structures of systems, all the things, and then we don't all want that. So I really appreciate that you said, I can have a great business without having that huge list, you know, I can make something really profitable without having that huge list. And I think it's important for folks to be thinking about their goals, and like, what is it that they want? What feels like a sustainable revenue number for them and for the life that they want?

Natalie: Yeah, thanks, Sara. It's really validating to hear you say that, because it's not a conversation that we hear very much in the kind of online space is it. So I think it's really important to share an alternative way of, you know, growing your business and launching in a way that maybe doesn't look quite so mainstream, but can be really impactful. If it's the right fit for your business model and your business goals.

Sara: Absolutely. So if you could give just one piece of advice for our listeners by launching, what would it be?

Natalie: I'd love them to find out what their leadership design is, I know I'm biased for that, or something, something else that speaks to them, you know, maybe it's their strengths finder, or you know, there's lots and lots of different you know, human design, any There's any number of ways of understanding who you are, and how you relate to the world. But I think that they're such a powerful way of supporting yourself to show up in ways that feel really good and really nourishing. Instead of always trying to push through that I think it can genuinely change how you grow your visibility. And, you know, kind of intern how you grow your business.

Sara: Definitely. I know I'm very interested in learning more about this lining up peeking around your webs. It's super. I know that he looked at it before our episode, but I want to chat with you more about that offline. It's so interesting. I think the more we learn about ourselves, entrepreneurs and how we can show up and have the energy that feels right for us, because they didn't mean most of us start our business so that we have something that we loved. I think we can have a life that we love, and that we can enjoy doing our work doing the work that we do. And so how do we find out more about ourselves to make that happen? And the other thing is like, I think businesses is such a such a study in personal development, isn't it? Like there's so inter they're so intertwined?

Natalie: Absolutely. You cannot do one without the other. Can you as much as you try?

Sara: Not knowing that I wouldn't got into it. But once you're in it, you're like, oh, actually, these are? These are together. Yeah. So Natalie, thank you so much for joining us today. How can we work and connect with you? How can we find out about this amazing offer that you were launching, and other ways to work with you?

Natalie: Oh, thanks, Sara. So if you want to find out your leadership design, there's a free assessment. On my website, it's on the homepage. The website is www.uncommon-people.com And if you want to find out about the VIP day, again, the website is the best place to go for that. And I'm also on Instagram. It's just my name with an underscore after it. So come say hi, DM me if there's any takeaways from the episode I'd love to know.

Sara: Perfect, we will drop all those links in the show notes. Once again. Thanks for joining us today. Natalie have a great conversation. I appreciate how vulnerable and open you were and sharing about your steps so your five figure launch.

Natalie: Thanks so much for having me, Sara.

Thanks for tuning into the launch playbook podcast. If you want to get weekly launch secrets in your ears. I hope you'll hit subscribe on iTunes. You'll never miss an episode. Because who knows? It could reveal just a thing you've been looking forward to make your next launch a success. And be sure to leave a five star review in iTunes telling me how this episode inspired your launch plans. Until next time, keep putting your big ideas out into the world. I'm rooting for you.

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