Deception, Disappointment & Minimum Viable Products – IMP#35

In previous posts, we’ve covered the importance of launching your business by creating a minimum viable product – the smallest possible version of your product idea that you can release and get a real-world response to.

Personally, I swear by this approach and related concepts like the lean startup method and rapid implementation.

But what about the downsides of this approach? What if your minimal product is too minimal and your early users turn away in disappointment? Isn’t it even deceptive to promise a solution and then only deliver a very minimal concept of one?

These are the questions we address in today’s podcast episode…

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In this Episode:

  • What if you create a minimum viable product, with the intention of testing the market, but you just end up disappointing your early customers?
  • A quick summary of the concepts of minimum viable product, lean startup and rapid implementation.
  • Why a minimum viable product is not just a business strategy, but also a brain-hack.
  • The mindset-shift that will help you stop worrying and start shipping products.

I hope you enjoy this episode! If you have any questions about how to make outreach marketing work or have some examples of your own to share, please leave a comment below.

Also, if you like the Impact Marketing Podcast, I’d super-appreciate a rating and review on iTunes or Stitcher.

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Debra says:

    I saw the topic for this podcast, and thought “Oh, I really want to hear what he has to say on this!” Then I suddenly noticed that it was based on my comment from a while ago. I really appreciate you going into more detail on the psychology of creating MVPs.

    I also wanted to let you know that I have FINALLY jumped into the deep end with an MVP of my own – after 2 long years of procrastinating! It’s an online course that I actually sold before it was completed. I had the general info pulled together, but not put into actual lessons. The course is released on a schedule, and I’m finishing each week’s lesson as we go.

    I used a “proper” launch to market it, and I actually SOLD OUT of all 25 openings for this $99 pilot version. To sell $2,500 worth of products in one week, after only earning a few hundred dollars a year through my website is incredible! I’m eager to start earning $25,000 or more. This has totally changed my mindset!

    I can’t wait to complete this pilot course, because I’m now thinking of all the other ways I’d like to market the next version, along with other products to release in the future.

    I’ve broken through this ice dam of fear and procrastination, and I finally feel confident that I’ll start making some serious progress in my business now. Thanks so much for the kick in the butt! It really helped.

    • Monte Bertrand says:

      Congrats! That’s a fantastic story of success!

    • Chad says:

      Congratulations on this, Debra! I have a question on this approach though, which I also hear a lot of people raise in other platforms:

      “What if you only sold 3-4 courses during that launch? Were you going to refund to people who eagerly purchased from you or still create and deliver the course knowing the demand is low?”

      It’d also be good to hear Shane’s take on this.

      Again, congratulations on this and wishing you the best in your future launches.

      • Debra says:

        Thanks, Chad. I’m also curious as to what Shane would say about this. Last year, I marketed a different smaller course without doing a “proper” launch sequence. I only had 2 registrations, and due to that along with a flareup of a serious health issue, I cancelled and refunded the money.

        I’ve heard of other people that sometimes made major changes in their marketing during a launch, if the initial response was extremely poor. Sometimes that improved conversions.

        I had an unusual sales curve for this year’s course, as over two-thirds of my sales occurred on the very first day, and only one sale happened on the last day. For most peoples’ launches, the majority of the sales occur on the last day. Best wishes!

      • Shane says:

        Hi Chad,

        This is a great question and one worthy of a whole podcast episode by itself. I thought a lot about this and I have experience with this situation as well. But there’s no one-size-fits-all right answer for how to respond when the response to an MVP is really bad. So, look out for more on this topic in the near future. :)

      • Adam says:

        Hi Debra,

        Would it be possible to get in touch with you directly? I’m in exactly the same position as you, planning a launch of a training series, and would love to talk things through with you – ideally to learn from your experience.

        I appreciate I’m asking for something from you without a viable return, however it’s always worth asking! Who knows – I might have some expertese to offer in return.



    • Shane says:

      Hi Debra,

      Yes, it was your comment that inspired this episode, so thank you for that! And congratulations on your successful launch! I’m really happy to read about that. And it made me a bit nostalgic, because I remember what it felt like when I was in a similar position as the one you describe, a few years ago. :)

    • Matt says:

      Excellent Debra!

      Great story to read and inspiring.

      Congratulations on reaching the ‘pivot point’ and good luck with your $25k goal :)

      All the best,


  • griz says:

    Psycho therapy for Product Creators!

    I really appreciate your tips Shane. You’re like a voice in the back of my mind that encourages me to complete my many unfinished products and just get them out there.


    • Shane says:

      Haha, that’s a good way of putting it. Sometimes we just need a bit of a motivating reminder, right? :)

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