The Make Your Mark Launch Review

So I promised that I would do a full review of the launch process that I went through with this run of Make Your Mark, and now that the dust has settled – here it is!

What went well

Free content!

The most successful parts of the launch were the two pieces of free content that I produced to support it – the Creative Archetypes Quiz, and the Instagram Speed Art Challenge. I really enjoyed making both of these things and they landed beautifully with my audience. I promoted both of these to my existing audience, and also boosted the related posts on Facebook for a few quid each.

The Creative Archetypes Quiz

This was A LOT more work than I anticipated and took me hours to create – especially as I ended up making an eight-page PDF report for each of the five archetypes, instead of the one page I had originally intended. However, I’m really pleased with how they turned out, and I feel that they offer real value.

It also gave me a real insight into my audience, which was so useful, and made me feel like I’d created exactly the right product in Make Your Mark to help them. So far so good.

The Instagram Speed Art Challenge

I was worried that no one would take part in this and it would just be me populating the hashtag by myself! Luckily that was not the case and I ended up with a solid, core group of people participating in the challenge every day. I think the fact that each day’s prompt was only two minutes made a huge difference as it was so easy for people to find the time. It gave me a nice boost in Instagram followers and I finally tipped over the 1000 followers mark – woohoo!

I didn’t get a great deal of conversion over to my mailing list, though, and I think if I did it again I might get people to sign up and send the prompts out via email instead.

Facebook ads

I love Facebook ads – I ran a series over the course of the launch, pointing to both the free content and to the Make Your Mark sales pages and they generated a decent level of mailing list conversions. No sales, but there are now a whole bunch of people on the internet who have heard of me now, who hadn’t before, and my Facebook biz page jumped from 70 odd likes to over 500. I’ll be doing more of these, for sure.

What went poorly

Emails and conversions

I set out to do this launch as an experiment. I wanted to follow the ‘industry standard guidelines’ for launching a digital product and see if it worked for me. And, to cut a long story short, it didn’t. AT ALL.

Over the course of the launch I had to send out a ridiculous number of emails and I hated hitting send on every single one – it felt pushy and icky and just plain wrong. And my list responded as I had feared – I absolutely haemorrhaged subscribers and lost about a quarter of the list I’ve been building up over the last couple of years. That sucked balls. But I kept going – determined to follow the instructions to the letter.

The statistics say that the most sales will happen at the very beginning, the end of the early bird period, and the end of the sale. I got one sale at the beginning, and one sale at the end of the early bird. That was it – all that work (around 500 hours) for two sales.

As you can imagine, even with my conviction that this was ‘an experiment’, I was pretty gutted. My hourly rate for setting up the whole thing worked out at about 30 US cents per hour.

What went wrong?

After analysing everything that happened I’ve come to a few conclusions about my work and my art and how I’m presenting myself online. Here’s what I discovered:

I set out to be one thing, and ended up smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone again

When I rebranded at the end of last year, my goal was to use my online platform as a way of showing the world the artist and writer that I am. To be brave and out there and show the world my sparkle. I wanted to write and create the art that comes from deep within me and express myself fully.

Unfortunately, I somehow ended up being ‘the creative block girl’ again. It’s an established role I’ve worked in for a decade now, and I’ve realised it’s actually my go-to form of self-sabotage. I use helping others to make art as a way of avoiding making my own art. Helping others is squarely in my ‘zone of excellence’ (to borrow a phrase from Gay Hendricks) – I’m excellent at it, but it doesn’t set my soul on fire. It just doesn’t ‘do the thing’ for me, y’know? It is NOT my ‘zone of genius’.

I let the need to make money be my driving force

When I first made Make Your Mark at the beginning of 2016, it made sense. It pulled together all my knowledge on this particular subject and made it digestible and fun. It’s a great course, don’t get me wrong. But when I relaunched it this time around, I wasn’t feeling the passion that had led me to create it in the first place – I was selling it so I could make the money I needed to do other stuff – my own creative work.

I think that vibe came across during the sales process and people picked up on it – my energy around the whole thing was just wrong.

I tried to do things the ‘right’ way, when I should have followed my intuition

Despite all my out-there, free-spirited, live-by-your-own-rules weirdness, I have a deeply conventional streak in me. There’s a part of me that wants to follow the rules and not stand out and do things properly. It comes partly from fear, but also partly because that’s the way I am. It’s my job to reconcile the two and follow my intuition regarding when to follow the rules and when to break them.

I felt awful the whole time I was launching this course, but I pushed through regardless. It was HARD and stressful and my gut was screaming NO NO NO. I should have listened – I will next time.

What next?

This whole experience, no matter how rotten it felt at the time, has been an incredibly valuable one for me, and I’ve learned so much. It has taken me to a whole new place in my career and moving forward from this is going to be a new and exciting journey.

I’m saying ‘NO’ to all the things that don’t set my soul alight

The most important thing this experience has taught me is that enough is ENOUGH. I am no longer going to be working on projects that I’m not super-excited about. I’m no longer going to be working for free. I’m no longer going to be sacrificing my own art on the altar of helping (read: pleasing) other people. And most importantly, I am no longer going to play to the gallery – I am going to create the things that are absolutely 100% true to ME, and let them land as they will. Some will be hits, some won’t, but that isn’t going to be a factor in deciding what I make.

This means that The Creative Compass book project has been axed. I will not be finishing this book. Ahhh, the relief. There’s a reason it’s been in the works for nearly four years – it’s not the right thing for me to do. I’ll probably release what I’ve already done on it as an ebook or something, but I’m not giving it any more of my creative energy.

I’m saying ‘YES’ to bringing more of my true self into my work

I have shied away from sharing an awful lot of the art and writing I produce because it is provocative and potentially controversial. I have hidden away most of my dark side and shown only the light and fluffy side of who I am. It’s time to change that, and I have a plan for doing so which I’ll reveal in due course. This is probably the scariest part of the next phase, but the thought of sharing my sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll side with the world also makes me do happy dancing and gets me fizzing with excitement. That’s the feeling I want my art to bring me!

I have an inherent duality to my personality – one half is kittens and jam pots and woo-woo optimistic sparkle; the other half is sex and fetish heels and tequila. I am both. I need to stop shying away from sharing both sides of myself, because when I do – that’s where the magic happens.

I’m making the most of my existing body of work

I still have to eat and pay bills, obviously, so whilst I will be creating new and awesome exciting things, I’m also going to be going back to basics and making the most of my enormous body of existing work. That means a shop on my website selling my awesome digital products – including a self-study version of Make Your Mark (which is a kick-ass course, by the way), and various ebooks and bits & bobs. I’m also going to be stepping up my game with my print-on-demand artwork, so expect to see some more gorgeous products with my artwork on over the next few months.

And if you have enjoyed any of my work over the last few years – a blog post that moved you or a freebie or community project you’ve loved – then please consider leaving me a tip. I’ve resisted setting up a tip jar up until now (pride is a bitch) but now I’m putting my hand out. I’ve made some fab stuff for you guys over the last few years and if you’ve loved it, then I’d love you to help me make more by leaving a donation. Thank you.

In conclusion

The big fancy ‘proper’ launch of Make Your Mark has been simultaneously the best thing and the worst thing I ever tried.

It tanked financially, and took up all my time, energy and attention for about four months (sorry to all my friends who thought I’d fallen off the planet), and I hated nearly every minute of it.

BUT, it has brought me closer than ever to being the artist, and the person, that I really want to be. Goddamn personal growth ;b

Onwards and upwards, peeps. I hope you join me on the next phase of my journey.

Lots of love
Eli xxx

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