This is an exercise where you've reached the goal of actually completing your idea. It's live. It's available. People are using it and reaping the benefits of your hard work. It's vulnerable.
We often dream the day we launch our idea; it rains confetti, money, and praise. Like you've won America's Got Talent or something. Instant success and fame.
It's usually far less climactic.
It's also where the hard work really begins. You spent all this time focused on getting your idea out the door. Now that it's out, do you have a plan?
If you don't have a plan, can you think of some strengths you can use to boost your launch momentum?
Do you have an existing audience?
If you do, the way forward is relatively clear. Excite them with news of your new launch. If you have already done that, then engage. Stay in the conversation with them.
Seek your true fans if you have not yet identified them.
Do you have influencer friends?
If you're big in your industry, chances are you have a few influencer friends who can amplify your message. If not, perhaps you could pay an influencer (or otherwise convince them) to say nice things about your idea.
Don't expect a permanent boost from this, though. Attention from an influencer's audience is fleeting, but it can be a good way to get the word out fast. And chances are, if the influencer says the right things about your product, you could gain some followers yourself.
Are you in with industry blogs?
Perhaps you can guest post on popular websites within your industry. These can give you many longer-term benefits -- and maybe some SEO love (don't expect a lot).
The bigger and more popular the site you guest post on, the more you'll get back in return. But there is a flip side to this. Often the biggest sites have less engagement, and the audience isn't necessarily raving fans.
That's where medium-sized sites with moderate traffic, but raving fans can have a bigger impact on your idea's success.
It's not only about spreading the word about your idea.
More than just marketing
There are many things to worry about once your project is live. Over the next few paragraphs, I will bombard you with questions you should probably think about and be ready for.
How are you going to handle customer service? How far are you willing to support it? Can you calculate the return on investment when support takes a long time?
Is the platform you launched on stable? Is it so mission-critical to your success you must be on standby 24/7 to make sure it is up every possible second?
What if nobody shows up at all? What if there is no interest?
Are you ready for that kind of gut punch to your soul? If you are, then maybe you can muster the strength to find out why nobody was interested? Are they truly not interested, or is there no audience? Are you not solving a problem?
Who are the key stakeholders? Who's on the hook when things go sideways? Do you know your aspirations (and do the stakeholders share them)?
What is the status quo for your industry? Do you know of weaknesses in your idea you hold others won't find before you strengthen them? Do you have the skills in place to resolve them?
Here's a fun one. What if everything goes flawlessly? A perfect launch, tons of participation, you make a killing, win awards, and accolades.
There is always something to learn.
Even if you do launch your idea perfectly and nothing breaks down, there's always something you could do better. A bigger, better launch the next time.
Review what you did. You did a lot right, but is there a way you could amplify the message even more? Get more people into early email opt-ins?
Could you somehow make the same launch, but at a lower cost? Could you A/B test the copy ahead of time using social media ads to find the one resonating the most with your audience?
Think of ways you could be more efficient, bigger, or maybe quicker to market next time.
Take the time to really think about this.
This whole guide is nothing more than me trying to get you actually to think beyond your idea. When your word is "done," you need to be ready for what is next -- even if you can't completely predict the course, you'll take.
Don't dwell on this, but do spend some time actively thinking (daydreaming even) about the day your project goes live (or goes on sale) and all the various things you'll need to be ready for.
Good luck, and don't forget to measure the success of your work.