5 Common Challenges with Running Challenges (and How to Fix Them)

Challenges can be a truly fun and rewarding way to grow your business. We’ve wrapped our second annual Double Your Summer Sales Challenge and I’m just so gratified by the level of participation and success our members have achieved!

I’ve come to really love running challenges as a part of our business, but I know from personal experience and from the experiences of our members that there are some common challenges that come up when running challenges!

If you’re considering running a challenge to promote your business, first click here to download our 3 Week List Building Challenge Swipe File — a complete document containing all my actual emails from one of my most successful challenges ever — to help you get started.

Then, to ensure that any challenge you run is a business win for you, be sure to watch out for some of these common mistakes as you plan:

  1. Overwhelm.
    Challenges require a lot of planning and work from you to run — even when you keep it super simple! If you’re running a daily challenge, you have to create content for each day (blog posts, emails, video, images, social media posts, live videos, worksheets, recipes, etc.) and you have to keep up the energy with your participants by being active in the group or on social media.

    Plus, many entrepreneurs promise way too much for their first challenge — they promise that they will give personal feedback to everyone in the group, answer every question, or do daily Q&A calls or videos. Delivering that kind of promise can become a full time job in itself quickly.

    It can be easy to get overwhelmed!

    Fix it:
    Choose the content you will create wisely and then be sure to start early and give yourself or your team plenty of time to execute your vision. Be very careful not to over promise — so that you can happily over deliver!

  2. Not prepared to sell.
    I’ve seen it happen before where someone creates and hosts an incredible challenge that gets way more participation and engagement than she was expecting — and then her sales page isn’t ready on the last day, or her webinar tech doesn’t work because she didn’t have time to test it, or the whole website crashes because she generated too much interest.Now, of course things happen! Tech problems can crop up no matter how prepared you are. But it’s wise to be sure to prepare for your launch and sales at the same time you’re preparing your challenge.

    Fix it: Prepare all your challenge materials and your sales or launch materials before you start the challenge. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to build a sales page while you’re running your challenge!

  3. Lack of participation.
    You build a fun and educational challenge, spend a ton of time planning and creating the content, even get a lot of people to sign up and then… crickets.Challenges can be an excellent way to build community engagement, but only if you prioritize that in the way you put the challenge together.

    Fix it: Build in opportunities for engagement when you’re planning the challenge. For example: ask people to share their results every day, encourage the group to comment on each other’s posts and provide support, offer prizes for participation, use a hashtag on all challenge posts, etc.

  4. Participants drop out before the end.
    Another common problem is that the challenge starts out with a ton of participation and excitement, but participation ebbs and drops off before the end of the challenge — likely right about when you were planning to make your sales pitch.This happens especially often with longer challenges. It’s very hard to keep up momentum for 30 days. Even 7-day challenges can see significant dropouts before the end of the week.

    Fix it: Plan ahead for the mid-challenge slump! Participation prizes often help keep engagement going toward the end, as does recognizing participants who are having success. Another good idea is to do some sort of special event — a live Q&A call or video, a demonstration, a webinar, etc. — at about the midpoint of the challenge or just after. Finally, if you’re doing a sales pitch via a webinar or similar event, consider scheduling the event before the challenge ends to catch a few more of the stragglers.

  5. Participants are confused.
    You may think that your daily challenges are super easy and doable, but your participants seem to be super confused. You’re spending all your time answering questions about how to do the challenge. Or people are getting frustrated and dropping out altogether.
    This is super common for people running a challenge for the first time. Because we generally want to help people, we want to teach them everything we know about a topic! But often, that’s just way too much.

    Fix it: Keep your challenge super simple (no, even simpler than that!) and make a “home base” where people can find all the daily challenges, resources, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated; even a blog post or a pinned post in a Facebook group can serve as your home base. And when you’re designing your challenge, think of the smallest possible step you can help people take — and then consider simplifying it even more!

Once you know what to watch out for, it’s easy to design your first challenge in a way that will be successful both for you and for your community.

If this has got you pumped to start designing your first challenge, click here and download the free 3 Week List Building Challenge Swipe File — which contains the exact emails I used in one of our first challenges. And then challenge yourself to run your first challenge for your business. You won’t regret it!


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