My Subscription Box Launch Failed - what now?

It’shappened. You have pulled the trigger after all that time and energy intofinding the best most unique idea for your sub box.

  • Youhave lovingly crafted your pre-launch page.
  • Youhave built a killer website, taken gorgeous photos.
  • SpentHEAPS on amazing custom boxes and Facebook Ads.
  • Youstood up on your stage and shouted to the world that you are OPEN FORBUSINESS.

Here iswhere the money, that sweet recurring revenue, comes pouring in.


Ok – hold up for a second.

If you are someone who needs to be constantly praised. Stop Reading thisnow.

If you don’t like confronting uncomfortable truths. Please go and lookat Facebook.

If you are thinking your launch sucked for any other reason than you.You probably don’t want to read this.

Becausetoday we are going to explore 3 things:

  1. Exactlywhy your launch sucked,
  2. Whythis is a good thing, and
  3. Whatto do next.

Why your launch sucked

Because you probably didn’t try hard enough AKA if you are lazy and youknow it….clap your hands

If Iasked you to put your hand on your heart, then swear to me that you did everylittle part of your launch perfectly and didn’t half ass it. Could you?

Don’t lie – SANTA is watching.

  • Soyou took your time and made an email capture page that is beautiful, wellwritten and makes sense to your target audience.
  • Youmarketed your launch to your perfect audience and took the time to collectquality email addresses – not just freebie seekers.
  • Youcommunicated regularly with your email list, discussed ideas with them,got them engaged and enthusiastic about your upcoming launch. You know,had a conversation with them…
  • Youtook lovely high quality photos of your mock boxes, invested in havingthem edited and touched up.
  • Yousought partners, influencers and setup a marketing schedule, witheveryone’s efforts culminating on a single day, week, month.
  • Youbuilt your website perfectly and it makes sense to your customers who knowexactly what they are going to get and when.

Can you swear to me that you didall these things well?

Hey I’mnot here to judge.

After allthings said and done, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself.Have a deep dark look at everything you did for your launch.

Then askyourself: “Did I really do a good job or did I just do the bare minimum”.

Does my idea suck?

Does theworld need another “dog subscription box” or a box for albino hairless cats?

Be honestwith yourself. If the idea is not resonating with your ideal customers or maybeyour idea customers just don’t appear to be the type of group that is spendingmoney on a product – what’s the point? Just change direction and move on.

You are a try-hard. Stop trying so hard.

What –didn’t you just tell me I didn’t try hard enough?

There isa difference between putting in effort and coming across as desperate.

Postingcrap like “C’mon guys!! This box is amazeballs and without you it will nothappen. Please show your support” screams of someone who has recently given upon a Lularoe business only to latch onto the next big idea with the samefervent delusion.

The scentof your desperation transcends space and time and your prospects and customerscan smell it a mile off – even through the internet.

Play it cool Millhouse.

Honestly.If your idea fails. Who gives a shit? Yes it’s a kick in the guts, but idea’sare like farts. Everyone births a new one into the world every few minutes. Sojust birth the next one and move on.

Why your launch sucking is a good thing

SomethingI have learned from MarkMason’s bed time book: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck, isthat failure is liberation. It’s through the act of failing that we can grow,be it in business or our personal life.

"The desire for morepositive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, theacceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience."

What thismeans is that when we accept a negative experience such as a failed businesslaunch we accept we cannot control everything but we can control how we respondto it.

If youhave failed in something you can start changing and improving. Now you canstart looking at what we need to do to get better – without letting our ego andbias rule our actions.

What to do next

Let’senter what I call: The Post Launch Autopsy

This iswhere we layout the corpse of our launch and cut it open to see what caused itto fail. It's a time for honesty and thought. Don't rush this. 

Grab apen and paper and start answering the below questions.

Step 1: Review the website

Does it work?

Be thecustomer: Go to your site and confirm that everything works – buttons,checkout, post checkout etc. Can someone actually make a purchase?

Does it make sense?

Are youtrying to be too clever?

Are youusing simple language to explain the big three questions:

  • Whatdo you sell?
  • Whodo you sell it to?
  • Whydo I do to buy it?

Is it mobile friendly?

Does itlook good and function well on a mobile device. This is a must. Most of yourtraffic is going to be mobile traffic so having a site that actually works on amobile device is a non-negotiable.

Step 2: Review Your Marketing

Who is your target audience?

Do youeven know? What do you know about them? Are they men, women or somewhere inbetween? What language do they speak? Are they geeks, sporty or maybe fine artsaficionados?

Does yourwebsite speak to that group of people?

What was your pre-launch offer: discount, free box etc?

Was thecompetition congruent with getting someone to sign up for your box? Eg: Wereyou offering to win a free iPad or computer but you run a Rabbit Loverssubscription box.

Was youroffer any good? A 1% discount isn’t exactly enticing. What can you offer thatis better?

How did you position your product?

Was it away to maximise the enjoyment of a niche?

Do yougive access to something they couldn’t afford?

Do theyget exclusive new and exciting products?

Did you have a Marketing plan or just wing it?

How didyou attract prospects?

How didyou Influence them into becoming buyers? Did you not do this and just assumethey didn't need to be "sold"

Step 3: Your FollowUp          

Did you email your lists before, during and after the launch?

How didyou communicate with them? Did you just randomly email them or do you have aclear plan around what to say and when to say it?

Did you setup retargeting to people who visited your website?

Did youjust send people to your site and not follow up with them?

Did you offer chat support to people browsing your website?

Whatfeedback did you get? What are the common questions being asked?

What to do with your post mortem autopsy report?

If youhave been completely honest with yourself during this deep dive you will havestarted to identify some critical areas in your marketing where you canimprove. Your mission is to go and implement those changes!

If youneed help with all this I have courses available on launching and marketingyour subscription box within my membership site - The Subscription AcceleratorProgram. To find out more you can check it out here.Not only do you get access to all my courses but you can get regular feedback,tips and advice on all aspects of running your Subscription Box business.


While afailed launch may be painful initially it doesn’t mean that all is lost. Yes,you need to take a good hard look at what you did, because ultimatelyeverything about launching this business is your responsibility. But the firststeps to success are paved in making mistakes, picking yourself back up, fixingthem and moving on.

You havegot this. I know you do!