6 Lessons I Learned Building Launch! For Accountants
After 58 weeks(!) I decided to close the book on weekly Launch! For Accountants content. I love new challenges, but my secret sauce to doing many things is to aggressively seek out things to not do.
It comes when LFA's YouTube channel was picking up steam, so why pull the plug today?
Every project needs a finish line
I created Launch in June of 2020 with three objectives:
- Learn email marketing tools
- Create a channel I could ship my own accounting products into
- Meet like-minded accounting tech enthusiasts
I look for projects like LFA to develop new skills in a low-stakes environment as part of a larger arc of personal development. You can read email marketing how-to's, but you'll never develop a deep understanding until you've done it yourself.
But what to do once you've grown into the skills the project required?
You cut the cord and spend the same time on a new project, developing your next skillset. If the project is profitable enough, maybe you hire a team to keep it going, but since my identity had become so closely tied to LFA, this was off the table.
Pay attention to the journey
Long-term objectives often take away from what you're discovering about yourself along the way. I would have killed LFA 6 months earlier had I not first posted a Loom video of the most popular launch of the week.
Was it any good? Absolutely not.
Did people click on it? They did! 4x more than any actual tool.
The traffic encouraged me to push through the awkwardness. A force that in retrospect probably got me through the trough of uncomfortableness when starting out with video.
Along the way, I learned I loved producing video content. I have an odd sense of humor, and the freedom video allows enables expression in off-the-wall ways.
It also served the purpose of simultaneously pushing away the buttoned-up old thymey profession, and endeared those of us who aren't taking ourselves too seriously.
Video was my greatest takeaway from running Launch - something I never expected from the outset and wouldn't have learned about myself had I not tried something new.
New Tech = New Automated Business Opportunities
Most of the heavy lifting of Launch was automated:
Video aside, the Launch workflow opened my eyes to just how passive a revenue-generating business can be. Using a stack of relatively new no-code tools, I'm able to provide value to accountants at scale, in a format advertisers are willing to pay for.
Where else are these opportunities? What service offerings can be enabled by new tech?
Automated service offerings have become an area of focus for me inside of my accounting firm. Beta testing new product offerings with clients is a great, low-stakes way to explore fully automated service offerings.
Re-orient around anti-goals
Equally important to learning what I enjoy is learning what I do not enjoy.
The looming obligation of time-sensitive requests is the most anxiety-inducing aspect of running a firm. It's something I won't sign myself up for again.
I think of the artist that rolls out of bed in the morning, sets a canvas in front of a landscape and paints all day. It's the antithesis of the cracked-out of knowledge work environment we now exist within.
What I found on the other side of urgency was an exciting alternative. The nature of Launch was timely, weekly recaps of tech news. By its nature, it was ephemeral and time-sensitive.
The alternative, content that's relevant for longer than a week, affords tremendous production flexibility. Where before I had to put time into production each week, I can now batch production and set up a proper content schedule.
Taking a week away? No problem, get out ahead of the production schedule. In an accounting firm, this is impossible, thanks to unknowable urgent requests. Running a company that isn't beholden to this is a breath of fresh air.
What is the shelf life of what you are creating?
The average client email probably has a 30 minute shelf life of value. You've answered their question, and the client has quickly forgotten the value you provided them.
How else could you spend the same 15 minutes in a way that will provide value to you for days, months, even years?
The relevance of most LFA content was short-lived. There were themes throughout Launch that were valuable, but the subject matter itself was fleeting. I avoid recurring tasks at all costs, so if I'm investing time into something each week, it needs to pay long-term dividends.
Embracing this mindset may be the ultimate growth hack of the internet age. Most knowledge workers, accountants especially, are head-down on fleeting daily tasks. We aren't investing time into building assets we can re-use and developing leverage-building skills.
Find the Highest Leverage Channel for your Message
We often fail to stop and assess: given the skill set I have today, what is the highest leverage use of my skills?
There was a time in my life when the highest leverage channel for my skills was taking an internship at a tax firm. 15 years later, many accountants I graduated with are still simply pumping all of their time into tax preparation.
Today, the best way to package what I know is in highly focused content to develop the next generation of accounting firm owners and visual developers.
So it's time for a reset. How do you take people on a journey, meeting them where they are today, beginner or expert? What content should be built for accountants vs. knowledge workers in general? How do we arm accountants to become the ultimate operators in the next wave of tech?
To all who joined in on the LFA journey - thank you! Some incredible relationships have developed over the past year thanks to this project, and those relationships won't end here.
Along the way we uncovered what's next for the profession. Native cloud integrations defined the current age of accounting, but the next will be defined by the people build bespoke solutions for their clients.
There's more fun ahead ✌